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´╗┐Title: Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales
Author: Oxley, John, 1783-1828
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 "Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales" ***

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Production notes:
* 12 items of errata listed in the book have been corrected in this eBook.
* Illustrations, Maps and Charts have not been included in this eBook.
* Notes included within the text have been included in square
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* Italics have been converted to upper case.





No. I.  Instructions for conducting and leading first expedition.
No. II  Report of tour over Blue Mountains in 1815 by the Governor.
No. III Letter from Oxley to Governor advising of his return from first
No. IV  Diary of Mr. Evans, from 8th to 18th of July, 1818.
No. V.  Governor's report  on the return of Oxley from the second
        expedition, together with a letter from Oxley on his arrival
        at Port Stephens..
No. VI. Governor's report on Oxley's discovery of Port Stephens together
        with a letter from Oxley to the Governor on this subject.
A brief abstract of the population of N.S.W in 1815, 1816 and 1817.
A statement  of land in cultivation, quantities of stock, etc. from
        1813 to 1817 inclusive.


Field Plains from Mount Aymot.
The Grave of a Native of Australia.
Arbuthnot's Range, from the West.
Liverpool Plains. West Prospect from View Hill.
Bathurst's Falls.
A Native Chief of Bathurst.


Range of the Thermometer from April 9th to August 30th 1817 by John
A Chart of Part of the Interior of New South Wales, 1817.
     First Expedition.
A Chart of Part of the Interior of New South Wales, 1818.
     Second Expedition.
Reduced Sketch of the Two Expeditions.
A Plan of Port Macquarie Including a Sketch of Part of Hastings River,
     on the East Coast of New South Wales.
A General Statement of the Inhabitants of New South Wales as per General
     Muster commencing 28th September 1818, with an account of same
     at Van Diemmens Land.
A General Statement of the Land in Cultivation etc., the quantities
     of Stock etc., as accounted for at the General Muster, with an
     account of same at Van Diemmens Land..

Part I.



The colony had been established many years before any successful attempt
had been made to penetrate into the interior of the country, by crossing
the range of hills, known to the colonists as the Blue Mountains: these
mountains were considered as the boundary of the settlements westward,
the country beyond them being deemed inaccessible.

The year 1813 proving extremely dry, the grass was nearly all destroyed,
and the water failed; the horned cattle suffered severely from this
drought, and died in great numbers. It was at this period that three
gentlemen, Lieutenant Lawson, of the Royal Veteran Company, Messrs.
Blaxland, and William Wentworth, determined upon attempting a passage
across these mountains, in hopes of finding a country which would afford
support to their herds during this trying season.

They crossed the Nepean River at Emu Plains, and ascending the first
range of mountains, were entangled among gullies and deep ravines for a
considerable time, insomuch that they began to despair of ultimate
success. At length they were fortunate enough to find a main dividing
range, along the ridge of which they travelled, observing that it led
them westward. After suffering many hardships, their distinguished
perseverance was at length rewarded by the view of a country, which at
first sight promised them all they could wish.

Into this Land of Promise they descended by a steep mountain, which
Governor Macquarie has since named Mount York [Note: This mountain was
found to be 795 feet in perpendicular height above the vale of Clwydd.].
The valley [Note: Named by Governor Macquarie the Vale of Clwydd.] to
which it gave them access was covered with grass, and well watered by a
small stream running easterly, and which was subsequently found to fall
into the Nepean River. From Mount York they proceeded westerly eight or
ten miles, passing during the latter part of the way through an open
country, but broken into steep hills. Seeing that the stream before
mentioned as watering the valley ran easterly, it was evident they had
not yet crossed the ranges which it was supposed would give source to
waters falling westerly; they had however proceeded sufficiently far for
their purpose, and ascertained that no serious obstacles existed to a
farther progress westward.

Their provisions being nearly expended, they returned to Sydney, after
an absence of little more than a month; and the report of their
discoveries opened new prospects to the colonists, who had began to fear
that their narrow and confined limits would not long afford pasture and
subsistence for their greatly increasing flocks and herds.

His Excellency Governor Macquarie, with that promptitude which
distinguishes his character, resolved not to let slip so favourable an
opportunity of obtaining a farther knowledge of the interior. Mr. Evans,
the deputy surveyor, was directed to proceed With a party, and follow up
the discoveries already made. He crossed the Nepean River on the 20th of
November, 1813, and on the 26th arrived at the termination of Messrs.
Lawson, Blaxland, and Wentworth's journey. Proceeding westward, he
crossed a mountainous [Note: Since named Clarence Hilly Range.] broken
country, the grass of which was good, and the valleys well-watered, until
the 30th, when he came to a small stream, running westerly; this stream,
called by him the Fish River, he continued to trace until the 7th of
December, passing through a very fine country, adapted to every purpose
either of agriculture or grazing; when he met another stream coming from
the southward: this latter stream he named Campbell River, and when
joined with the Fish River, the united streams received the name of the
Macquarie River, in honour of his excellency the present governor of
New South Wales.

Mr. Evans continued to trace the Macquarie River until December the
18th, passing over rich tracts clear of timber, well-watered, and
offering every advantage which a country in its natural state can be
supposed to afford. During this excursion, Mr. Evans fell in with
abundance of kangaroos and emus, and the river abounded with fine
fish: he saw only six natives during the whole time of his absence,
viz. two women and four children, although on his return he observed many
fires in the neighbourhood of the mountains. On the 8th of January, 1814,
he returned to Emu Plains, having gone in the whole near one hundred
in a direct line due west from the Nepean River.

From the report of Mr. Evans, Governor Macquarie was induced to believe
that a road might be opened for the whole distance already surveyed, and
was most anxious that the colony should reap as soon as possible the
advantages, which the discovery of such extensive and fertile tracts
seemed to open.

The ample means afforded for this purpose enabled Mr. Cox, to whose
superintendence this work was entrusted, to complete a road passable for
loaded carriages early in 1815. This road extended in length upwards of
one hundred miles, the first fifty of which passed along a narrow ridge
of the Blue Mountains, bounded on each side by deep ravines, and
precipitous rocks. The road which was cut down Mount York was a work of
considerable labour and magnitude, and reflected the highest credit
upon all employed in it. This important task being finished, the
governor resolved in person to visit a country of which so much had been
said, and to judge from actual observation how far the sanguine hopes
which had been entertained were likely to be realized; his excellency
therefore, accompanied by Mrs. Macquarie and his suite, set out from Emu
Plains on the 26th of April, 1815, and arrived on the 4th of May at a
small encampment (the site of which had been previously selected), on
Bathurst Plains, near the termination of Mr. Evans's journey. Governor
Macquarie having been pleased to publish for the information of the
colonists such observations on the country as he deemed necessary, I
shall not presume to add any thing to an account, which so clearly and
accurately describes all that could be interesting or beneficial to the
colonist and general inquirer.

I have therefore inserted in the Appendix the account published by the
Governor in the Sydney Gazette, of the 10th of June, 1815, as affording
the best and most authentic information on the subject. During the
Governor's stay at Bathurst, he despatched Mr. Evans, and a party with a
month's provisions, to explore the country to the south-west, and it is
the result of that journey which led to the expedition, the direction of
which was entrusted to my command.

The means which his excellency placed at my disposal were well
calculated to attain the object in view, and it is a matter of the most
sincere regret, that the nature and description of the country which we
passed through was for the most part such as to afford few interesting
objects of research or remark.

The botanical productions of the country have however in a great measure
been ascertained by Mr. Allan Cunningham, the King's botanist, who
accompanied the expedition.

With respect to the construction of the chart prefixed to this Journal,
it is thought proper to observe, that the situation of the principal
stations of Bathurst, and the depot on the Lachlan River, were
ascertained by celestial observations, and connected by a series of
triangles, commencing at the latter point, and closing at Bathurst. New
base lines were frequently measured, and any unavoidable errors which
might arise from the nature of the country were corrected at every proper
opportunity by observed latitudes; so that on the return of the
expedition to Bathurst, I had the satisfaction to find the connection of
the angles complete, the error in the whole survey not exceeding a mile
of longitude.

The instruments chiefly used were a small theodolite by Ramsden, and
Kater's pocket compass [Note: A most valuable instrument, combining all
the advantages of the circumferentor, without being so liable to be
damaged and put out of order by carriage.], with the addition of an
excellent sextant, pocket chronometer, and artificial horizon. I have
to lament that our mountain barometers were broken at an early stage
of the expedition; the height however of some principal points had been
previously obtained, and is marked on the chart; these in two instances
were verified by geometrical measurement, and the difference was found
to be too trilling to be noticed. The conveyance of such delicate
instruments is always attended with great risk, and in our case
peculiarly so, our means being only those of horseback. I am afraid
that a method of constructing those instruments, so as to place them
beyond the reach of injury by carriage, will always remain among the
desiderata of science. I have given to our thermometrical observations
the form of a chart, as affording the readiest view of the atmospherical
changes which took place during our journey. The winds and weather are
also more particularly noticed on the same sheet than in the narrative.

It may perhaps be not superfluous to mention, that it is the intention
of His Majesty's Government to follow the course of the Macquarie River,
and it is sanguinely expected that the result of the contemplated
expedition will be such as to leave no longer in doubt the true
character of the country comprising the interior of this vast island. It
would be as presumptuous as useless to speculate on the probable
termination of the Macquarie River, when a few months will (it is to be
hoped) decide the long disputed point, whether Australia, with a surface
nearly as extensive as Europe, is, from its geological formation,
destitute of rivers, either terminating in interior seas, or having
their estuaries on the coast.

J. O.
Sydney, New South Wales,
Dec. 11, 1817.

ERRATA: 12 items of errata, listed in the book at this point,
have been corrected in this eBook.


On the twenty-fourth of March I received the instructions of his
excellency the Governor to take charge of the expedition which had been
fitted out for the purpose of ascertaining the course of the Lachlan
River, and generally to prosecute the examination of the western
interior of New South Wales.

On the sixth of April I quitted Sydney, and after a pleasant journey
arrived at Bathurst on the fourteenth, and found that our provisions
and other necessary stores were in readiness at the depot on the
Lachlan River. We were detained at Bathurst by rainy unfavourable
weather until the nineteenth, when the morning proving fine, the BAT
horses, with the remainder of the provisions, baggage, and instruments,
were sent off, we intending to follow them the ensuing morning.

Bathurst had assumed a very different appearance since I first visited
it in the suite of his excellency the Governor in 1815. The industrious
hand of man had been busy in improving the beautiful works of nature; a
good substantial house for the superintendant had been erected, the
government grounds fenced in, and the stack yards showed that the
abundant produce of the last harvest had amply repaid the labour
bestowed on its culture. The fine healthy appearance of the flocks and
herds was a convincing proof how admirably adapted these extensive downs
and thinly wooded hills are for grazing, more particularly of sheep. The
mind dwelt with pleasure on the idea that at no very distant period
these secluded plains would be covered with flocks bearing the richest
fleeces, and contribute in no small degree to the prosperity of the
eastern settlements.

The soil, in the immediate neighbourhood of Bathurst, is for the first
six inches of a light, black, vegetable mould, lying on a stratum of
sand, about eighteen inches deep, but of a poor description, and mixed
with small stones, under which is a strong clay. The surface of the
hills is covered with small gravel, the soil light and sandy, with a
sub-soil of clay. The low flats on the immediate borders of the river
are evidently formed by washings from the hills and valleys deposited by
floods, and the overflowings of the watercourses.

Sunday, April 20.--Proceeded on our journey towards the Lachlan River.
At two o'clock we arrived at the head of Queen Charlotte's Valley,
passing through a fine open grazing country; the soil on the hills and
in the vale a light clayey loam, occasionally intermixed with sand and
gravel: the late rains had rendered the ground soft and boggy. The trees
were small and stunted, and thinly scattered over the hills, which
frequently closed in stony points on the valley. The rocks a coarse

Monday, April 21.--Our journey for the greater part of the way lay over
stony ridges, and for the last six miles over a country much wooded with
ill-grown gum and stringy bark trees (all of the eucalyptus genus); the
grass good, and in tolerable plenty, and much more so than the
appearance of the soil would seem to promise. At three o'clock, the
horses being very much fatigued, we stopped under the point of a rocky
hill for the evening.

April 22.--A clear and frosty morning. Last night was the coldest we had
yet experienced, the thermometer being at six o'clock as low as 26. We
felt the cold most severely, being far beyond what we had been
accustomed to on the coast; the difference of temperature in twelve
hours being upwards of twenty degrees of cold. Our route lay through a
dull uninteresting country, thickly covered with dwarf timber, daviesia,
etc. Passed under Mount Lachlan, a hill of very considerable height; a
stream of water runs north-westerly under its base. Turned off a little
from our track to the right, and ascended Mount Molle, whence there is a
beautiful and extensive prospect from the south by the west to the
north. The country (except the dividing range between the Lachlan and
Macquarie Rivers, which is very lofty and irregular) rising into gentle
hills, thinly timbered, with rich intervening valleys, through which
flow small streams of water. I think from Mount Molle, between the
points above mentioned, a distance of forty miles round may he seen; the
view to the west being lost in the blue haze of the horizon, no hills
appearing in that quarter. The Mount itself is a fine rich hill,
favourably situated for a commanding prospect; the valleys which
surround it are excellent land, well watered with running streams. We
descended its west side, and stopped for the night in the valley
beneath, on the banks of a small rivulet.

April 23.--A fine clear morning. At two o'clock we arrived at Limestone
Creek, passing through a beautiful picturesque country of low hills and
fine valleys well watered: the timber, as usual of diminutive growth,
and unfit for any useful purpose. The ridges of the higher eminences
were invariably stony, and about a mile and a half from the Creek, there
is a narrow slip of barren country covered with small slate stones: the
soil until then was on the sides of the hills of a fine vegetable mould,
the more level and lower grounds a hazel-coloured stiff loam, both
covered with grass, particularly the anthistria. The timber standing
at wide intervals, without any brush or undergrowth, gave the country a
fine park-like appearance. I never saw a country better adapted for the
grazing of all kinds of stock than that we passed over this day. The
limestone, which is the first that has hitherto been discovered in
Australia, abounds in the valley where we halted; the sides and abrupt
projections of the hills being composed entirely of it, and worn by the
operation of time into a thousand whimsical shapes and forms. A small
stream runs through the valley, which in June 1815 was dry; the bottom
of this rivulet was covered with a variety of stones, but the bases of
the hills which projected into it, and from which the earth had been
washed, were of pure limestone of a bluish grey colour.

April 24.--A fine mild morning. A small piece of limestone which had
been put in the fire last night was found perfectly calcined into the
purest white lime. At eight o'clock proceeded on our journey, through a
very uninteresting but good grazing country: nature here seemed to have
assumed her tamest and most unvarying hue. The soil of the country we
passed through was generally excellent, but the timber was still as
useless as we had hitherto found it. We arrived about one o'clock at a
small pond of water, where it was necessary to stop, as there was no
other water nearer than the Lachlan River, which was distant about
fourteen miles.

April 25.--Our course for the first seven or eight miles was through a
level open country, the soil and grass indifferently good. We now
ascended a hill a little to the left of the road, for the purpose of
viewing the country through which the river ran: it appeared a perfect
plain encompassed by moderately high hills, except in the south-east
and west quarters, these being apparently the points whence and to which
the river flows. The whole country a forest of eucalypti, with
occasionally on the banks of the river a space clear of timber: there
was nothing either grand or interesting in the view from this hill,
neither did I see in any direction such high land as might be expected
to give source to a river of magnitude. When we quitted the hill, we
went west, to make the Lachlan River, passing for nearly six miles over
a perfect level, the land poor, and in places scrubby. At two o'clock
saw the river, which certainly did not disappoint me: it was evidently
much higher than usual, running a strong stream; the banks very steep,
but not so as to render the water inaccessible: the land on each side
quite flat, and thinly clothed with small trees; the soil a rich light
loam: higher points occasionally projected on the river, and on those
the soil was by no means so good. The largest trees were growing
immediately at the water's edge on both sides, and from their position
formed an arch over the river, obscuring it from observation, although
it was from thirty to forty yards across. At four o'clock we arrived at
the depot.

We had scarcely alighted from our horses, when natives were seen in
considerable numbers on the other side of the river. I went down
opposite to them, and after some little persuasion about twenty of them
swam across, having their galengar or stone hatchet in one hand, which
on their landing they threw at our feet, to show us that they were as
much divested of arms as ourselves. After staying a short time they were
presented with some kangaroo flesh, with which they re-crossed the
river, and kindled their fires. They were very stout and manly, well
featured, with long beards: there were a few cloaks among them made of
the opossum skin, and it was evident that some of the party had been at
Bathurst, from their making use of several English words, and from their
readily comprehending many of our questions.

April 26.--Fine clear warm weather. The natives were still on the
opposite bank, and five of them came over to us in the course of the
morning; but remained a very short time. During the last night a few
fine shrimps were caught; the soldiers stationed at the depot said they
had frequently taken them in considerable numbers. During the day
arranged the loads for the boats and horses, that they might be enabled
to set off early the next morning.

April 27.--Loaded the boats with as much of the salt provisions as they
could safely carry, and despatched them to wait at the first creek about
seven or eight miles down the river until the loaded horses came, and
then to assist in taking their loads over the creek; intending myself to
follow with the remainder of the baggage early to-morrow morning.

The observations which were made here placed the depot in lat. 33. 40.
and in long. 148. 21. E., the variation of the needle being 7. 47. E.
The barometrical observations, which had been regularly taken from Sydney
to this place, did not give us an elevation of more than six hundred feet
above the level of the sea; a circumstance which, considering our
from the west coast, surprised me much.

The few words of which we were enabled to obtain the meaning from the
natives who occasionally visited its, being different from those used by
the natives on the east coast, it way perhaps be interesting to insert


Nh-air,         The eyebrows.
Whada,          The ears.
Ulan-gar,)      The head.
Anany,          The beard.
Morro,          The nose.
Er-ra,          The teeth.
Mill-a,         The eyes.
Narra,          The fingers.
Bulla-yega,     The hair of the head.
Chu-ang,        The mouth.
0-ro,           The neck.
Bargar,         The arms.
Ben-ing,        The breast.
Bur-bing,       The belly.
Mille-aar,      The loins.
Dha-na,         The thighs.
Wolm-ga,        The knees.
Dhee-nany,      The feet.
Dhu-a,          The back.
Mor-aya,        Bones worn in the cartilage of the nose.
Mada,           Skins, with which they are clothed.
Wamb-aur,       Scars, raised for ornament, or distinction,
                on their bodies.
Gum-iil,        Girdles worn round the body.
Un-elenar,      One night.
Gow,            Woman.
Mar-o-gu-la,    Another tribe.
Mem-aa,         A native man.
Wam-aa,         A kind of hornet's-nest, which they eat.
Warenur,        Fire.
Curr-eli,       Timber, or trees.
Galu-nur,       Thistles, the roots of which they eat.
Gulura,         The moon.
Yandu,          Sleep.
Ori-al,   )     Stone hatchets.

The above were all the words the meaning of which we could clearly
comprehend: the words used by the natives on the coast to express the
same objects have not the remotest resemblance to the above.

April 28.--Fine clear mild weather. Proceeded with the remainder of the
baggage to join the boats down the river; arrived at Lewis's Creek,
which, although nearly dry when crossed by Mr. Evans in 1815, is now a
considerable stream. The distance from the depot is about nine miles;
the country on both banks of the river low but good: the upper levels
would afford excellent grazing, but the soil is of inferior quality: the
points of the low hills end alternately on each side the river. The land
up both banks of Lewis's Creek is very rich, and covered with herbage.
The boats had come safely down the river, although the large boat
once; the river appears to me to be from three to five feet above its
usual level.

Several specimens of crystallized quartz were found on the adjoining
hills, also some small pieces of good iron ore.

April 29.--Proceeded on our journey down the river, directing the boats
to stop at the creek which terminated Mr. Evans's former journey. The
country through which we passed this day in every respect resembles the
tracts we have already gone over. The crowns and ridges of the hills are
uniformly stony and barren, ending as before alternately on each side of
the river; the greater proportion of good flat land lies on the south
side of the river; there are however very rich and fertile tracts on
this side. After riding about eight miles, we ascended a considerable
hill upon our right, from the top of which we could see to a considerable
distance; between the south-west and north-north-west, a very low level
tract lay west of us, and no hill whatever bounded the view in that
quarter. Three remarkable hummocks bore respectively S. 72. W.,
S. 51 1/2 W. and S. 34 1/2 W., within which range of bearing the country
was uniformly level, or rising into such low hills, as not to be
distinguished from the general surface. The tops of distant ranges could
be discerned over low hills in the north-west, whilst, from north by the
east to south, the country was broken into hill and valley. The whole of
this extensive scene was covered with eucalypti, whilst on the rocky
summits of the hills in the immediate neighbourhood a species of
callitris was eminently distinguished. From this extensive view I named
the hill Mount Prospect.

At five o'clock in the afternoon we arrived at the place where the
horses had been directed to wait for the boats, but they had not
arrived; the distance is at least doubled by following the immediate
course of the stream, but I had calculated that its rapidity would make
up for the distance, and enable the boats to keep pace with the horses.

At six o'clock the boats arrived safe, the men having had a very
fatiguing row, and been obliged to clear the passage of fallen trees,
and other obstructions; so that we determined to give them some repose,
and halt here for the night. At half past eight o'clock proceeded down
the river, intending to stop at the termination of Mr. Evans's journey
in 1815, about five miles further, for the purpose of repairing the
small boat, which had sustained some slight damage in coming down the
river yesterday. I rode about three miles back into the country; the
callitris was here more frequent, though not of large growth; the soil
is not good. In returning to the river we came upon the creek which
terminated Mr. Evans's journey, down which we travelled until we came to
the river, about half a mile from which is a large shallow lagoon, full
of ducks, bustards, black swans and red-hills. At twelve o'clock the
horses arrived at the mouth of the creek, and the boats half an hour
afterwards. The banks of the creek were very steep, and it was three
o'clock before all the provisions were got over. The creek was named
Byrne's Creek, after one of the present party, who had accompanied Mr.
Evans in his former journey.

May 1.--The creek fell upwards of a foot during the night, by which some
of the articles in the large boat received damage. Commenced the survey
of the river from this point. The flats on both sides the river were
very extensive, and in general good; the same timber and grass as usual;
the stream was from thirty to forty yards broad on an average. There was
not even a hillock on which to ascend during this day's route, so that
our view was bounded by less than a mile on each side of the river.
Traces of the natives were observed, but no natives were seen. The boats
were much impeded by fallen timber: it was half past two o'clock when
they arrived at the place where I intended to halt, although we had only
gone between nine and ten miles.

The trees on the immediate banks of the river were very large and
ramified, but few of them were useful: another species of callitris was
seen to-day.

May 2.--Our journey this day was very fatiguing, the grass being nearly
breast high, thick, and entangled. The soil is tolerably good within a
mile and a half of the banks: I rode five or six miles out, in hopes of
finding some eminence on which to ascend, but was disappointed, the
country continuing a dead level, with extensive swamps, and barren
brushes. The timber, dwarf box, and gum trees (all eucalypti), with a
few cypresses and casuarinas, scattered here and there: few traces of
the natives were seen, and none recent. Upon the swamps were numerous
swans and other wild fowl. In the evening we caught nearly a hundred
weight of fine fish.

May 3.--Proceeded down the river. We passed over a very barren desolate
country, perfectly level, without even the slightest eminence, covered
with dwarf box-trees and scrubby bushes; towards the latter part of the
day a few small cypresses were seen. I think the other side of the river
is much the same. We have hitherto met with no water except at the
river, and a few shallow lagoons, which are evidently dry in summer. I
do not know how far this level extends north and south, but I cannot
estimate it at less than from ten to twelve miles on each side; but this
is mere conjecture, since for the last three days I have been unable to
see beyond a mile: I have, however, occasionally made excursions of
five or six miles, and never perceived any difference in the elevation
of the country. To-day the course of the river has been a little south
of west: its windings are very frequent and sudden, fully accounting for
the apparent heights of the floods, of which marks were observed about
thirty-six feet above the level of the stream. At six o'clock the boats
had not arrived; and as I had given directions on no account to attempt
to proceed after dark, I ceased to expect them this evening.

May 4.--As soon as it was light I sent two men up the river to search
for the boat: at nine o'clock one of them returned, having found it
about four miles back. It appeared that the large boat had got stoved
against a tree under water, and that the people were obliged to unload
and haul her on shore to undergo some repairs, which they had effected;
but the rain prevented them from paying her bottom. They expected to be
able to proceed in an hour or two, as the weather had begun to clear up.
It was fortunate that no damage had befallen any part of the boat's
lading. At twelve proceeded about three quarters of a mile down the
river, and from a small eminence half a mile north of it, an extensive
tract of clear country was seen, bearing N. 50. W., about two or three
miles from us, having a low range of hills bounding them in the
direction of S. 65. W. and N. 65. E. The river wound immediately under
the hill, taking a westerly direction as far as I went, which was about
three miles; its windings were very sudden, and its width and depth much
the same as before. The country, as far as I could see, was precisely
similar to that already passed over: the hills were slaty and barren,
with a few small cypresses: in fact, I have seen them grow on no other
spots so frequently as on those stony hills. The boats arrived about two

May 5.--Proceeded down the river, ascended the eminence mentioned
yesterday, and from the top of a cypress tree a very distant view of the
whole country was obtained: the opening through which the river
apparently runs bore S. 75 1/2 W.; the country to the south and
south-west extremely low. A range of hills, lying nearly east and west,
bounded the level tract on the other side of the river; these hills and
two or three detached hammocks excepted, there was nothing to break the
uniformity of the scene.

The country was in general poor, with partial tracts of better ground;
the hills were slaty, and covered as well as the levels with small
eucalypti, cypresses, and casuarinas. About a mile from this place we
fell in with a small tribe of natives, consisting of eight men; their
women we did not see. They did not appear any way alarmed at the sight
of us, but came boldly up: they were covered with cloaks made of opossum
skins; their faces daubed with a red and yellow pigment, with neatly
worked nets bound round their hair: the front tooth in the upper row was
wanting in them all: they were unarmed, having nothing with them but
their stone hatchets. It appeared from their conduct that they had
either seen or heard of white people before, and were anxious to depart,
accompanying the motion of going with a wave of their hand.

About three miles from our last night's halting-place we had to cross a
small creek, the banks of which were so steep that we were obliged to
unload the horses. I rode up the creek about three quarters of a mile,
and came upon those extensive plains before-mentioned; the soil of this
level appears a good loamy clay, but in some places very wet: it was far
too extensive to permit us to traverse much of it; we saw sufficient to
judge that the whole surface was similar to that we examined; it was
covered with a great variety of new plants, and its margin encircled by
a new species of acacia, which received the specific name of PENDULA,
from its resembling in habit the weeping willow. Low hills to the north
bounded this plain, whilst a slip of barren land, covered with small
trees and shrubs, lay between it and the river.

It appeared to me that the whole of these flats are occasionally
overflowed by the river, the water of which is forced up the creek
before-mentioned, and which again acts as a drain on the fall of the

At four o'clock we halted for the evening, after a fatiguing day's
journey; the boats were obliged to cut their passage three or four
times, and the whole navigation was difficult and dangerous: the current
ran with much rapidity, and the channel seemed rather to contract than
widen. We were obliged to stop on a very barren desolate spot, with
little grass for the horses; but further on the country appeared even
worse. The south bank of the river (as far as I could judge) is
precisely similar to that which we are travelling down. The clear levels
examined to-day were named the Solway Flats. Many fish were caught here,
one of which weighed upwards of thirty pounds.

May 6.--Proceeded down the river. It is impossible to fancy a worse
country than the one we were now travelling over, intersected by swamps
and small lagoons in every direction; the soil a poor clay, and covered
with stunted useless timber. It was excessively fatiguing to the horses
which travelled along the banks of the river, as the rubus and
were so thickly intermingled, that they could scarcely force a passage.
After proceeding about eight miles, a bold rocky mount terminated on the
river, and broke the sameness which had so long wearied us: we ascended
this hill, which I named Mount Amyot, and from the summit had one of the
most extensive views that can be imagined. On the opposite side of the
river was another hill precisely similar to Mount Amyot, leaving a
passage between them for the river, and the immense tract of level
country to the eastward; this hill was named Mount Stuart. Vast plains
clear of timber lay on the south side of the river, and which, from our
having travelled on a level with them, it was impossible for us to
distinguish before. These plains I named Hamilton's Plains, and they
were bounded by hills of considerable elevation to the southward; whilst
the whole level country thus bounded was honoured with the designation
of Princess Charlotte's Crescent.

To the west of Mount Amyot the view was equally extensive, being bounded
only by the horizon; some high detached hills, rising like islands from
the ocean, broke, in some measure, the sameness of the prospect. I
estimated that in the west north-west I could see at least forty miles,
and in the south south-west as far; the view in other points being
slightly interrupted by low ranges of hills, rising occasionally to
points of considerable elevation: none of those elevated spots was
nearer than twenty-five or thirty miles, and considerable spaces of
clear ground could, by the assistance of the telescope, be distinguished,
interspersed amidst the ocean of trees whence those hills arise: a long
broken mountain, bearing W. 32 1/2. N., was named Mount Melville;
one W. 24. N. Mount Cunningham; and another, bearing S. 70. W. Mount
Maude. Smoke, arising from the fires of the wandering inhabitants of
desolate regions was seen in several quarters. At four o'clock we stopped
for the evening, about three miles west of Mount Amyot.

I have reason to believe that the whole of the tract named Princess
Charlotte's Crescent is at times drowned by the overflowing of the
river; the marks of flood were observed in every direction, and the
waters in the marshes and lagoons were all traced as being derived from
river. During a course of upwards of seventy miles not a single running
stream emptied itself into the river on either side; and I am forced to
conclude that in common seasons this whole tract is extremely badly
watered, and that it derives its principal if not only supply from the
river within the bounding ranges Of Princess Charlotte's Crescent. There
are doubtless many small eminences which might afford a retreat from the
inundations, but those which were observed by us were too trifling and
distant from each other to stand out distinct from the vast level
surface which the crescent presents to the view. The soil of the country
we passed over was a poor and cold clay; but there are many rich levels
which, could they be drained and defended from the inundations of the
river, would amply repay the cultivation. These flats are certainly not
adapted for cattle; the grass is too swampy, and the bushes, swamps, and
lagoons, are too thickly intermingled with the better portions to render
it either a safe or desirable grazing country. The timber is universally
bad and small; a few large misshapen gum trees on the immediate banks of
the river may be considered as exceptions. If however the country itself
is poor, the river is rich in the most excellent fish, procurable in the
utmost abundance. One man in less than an hour caught eighteen large
one of which was a curiosity from its immense size, and the beauty of its
colours. In shape and general form it most resembled a cod, but was
speckled over with brown, blue, and yellow spots, like a leopard's skin;
its gills and belly a clear white, the tail and fins a dark brown. It
weighed entire seventy pounds, and without the entrails sixty-six pounds:
it is somewhat singular that in none of these fish is any thing found
in the stomach, except occasionally a shrimp or two. The dimensions of
this fish were as follow:

                                            Feet. Inches.

Length from the nose to the tail              3     5
Circumference round the shoulders             2     6
Fin to fin over the back                      1     5
Circumference near the anus                   1     9
Breadth of the tail                           1     1 1/2
Circumference of the mouth opened             1     6
Depth of the swallow                          1 foot.

Most of the other fish taken this evening weighed from fifteen to thirty
pounds each, and were of the same kind as the above.

May 7.--A fine clear frosty morning. The horses having been much
fatigued by the two last days' journey, I determined to halt to-day
instead of Saturday, as the grass was good, which is more than could be
said of it for some days past. Observed the latitude to be 33. 22. 59. S.

May 8.--Proceeded down the river. Our general course was westerly, and
the country, though equally level with any we had passed, improved in
the quality of the soil, which, during the greater part of to-day's
route, was a good vegetable mould, the land thickly covered with small
acacia and dwarf trees. On the south side of the river it was apparently
the same; and the whole we passed over bore evident marks of being
subject to inundations.

The banks of the river were, I think, much lower, not exceeding fifteen
or twenty feet high, and they were rather clearer of timber than before.
The casuarina, which used to line the banks, was now seldom seen, the
acacia pendula seeming to take its place. We stopped for the night on a
plain of good land, flooded, but clear of timber: large flocks of emus
were feeding on it, and we were fortunate enough to kill a very large
one after a fine chase. At three o'clock, the boats not having arrived,
I sent a man back to look for them; at eight he returned, having found
them about six miles up the river, unable to proceed until morning,
having met with continual interruptions from fallen trees. These
impediments in the navigation of the river obstruct our progress very
materially, and its windings continue so great and frequent, that the
distance travelled by land is nearly trebled by water.

May 9.--The boats not having arrived at ten o'clock, Mr. Evans proceeded
with the BAT horses another stage down the river. Mr. Cunningham and I
waited to bring up the boats, which shortly afterwards came in sight. We
proceeded to join the horses, which we did about five o'clock, the boats
having gone in that time nearly thirty-six miles, although the distance
from the last station did not exceed seven in a direct line.

The country we had passed through during this day's route was extremely
low, consisting of extensive plains divided by lines of small trees:
the banks of the river, and the deep bights formed by the irregularity
of its course, were covered with acacia bushes and dwarf trees. The
river, at the spot where we stopped, wound along the edge of an
extensive low plain, being at least six miles long and three or four
broad; these I called Field's Plains, after the judge of the supreme
court of this territory; they are the same which we saw from the top of
Mount Amyot. The soil of these plains is a light clayey loam, very wet
in many places; they were fringed round with that beautiful tree, the
acacia pendula, which here seems to perform the part of the willow in
Europe; the cypresses were also more frequent, and the banks of the
river much lower than even those we passed yesterday. I cannot help
thinking that the whole of this extensive region has been at some time
or other under water, and that the present river is the drain by which
the waters have been conveyed to lower grounds. It is evident that even
now the plains (on those parts clear of trees) are frequently under
water, and that at very high floods the wooded lands are so too, for it
is almost impossible to distinguish any difference in their elevation;
but the wooded lands, from being actually higher, seem to have given
time for the growth of the diminutive timber with which they are
covered, whereas the lower plains are too frequently covered to give
time for such growth.

May 10.--The horses having strayed in the night, and it being nearly
noon before they were found, I determined to make this a halting day.

These plains are much more extensive than I supposed yesterday, and many
new plants were found on them. The river rose upwards of a foot during
the night, and still continues to rise; a circumstance which appears
very singular to me, there having been no rains of any magnitude for the
last five weeks, and none at all for the last ten days. We are also
certain that no waters fall into it or join it easterly for nearly one
hundred and fifty miles. This rise must therefore be occasioned by heavy
rains in the mountains, whence the river derives its source; but it is
not the less singular, that during its whole course, as far as it is
hitherto known, it does not receive a single tributary stream. Observed
the latitude 33. 16. 33. S.

May 11.--The river rose about four feet during the night, and still
continues to rise. Set forward on our journey down the river. About four
miles and a half from this morning's station. the river began to wash
the immediate edge of the plain, and so continued to do all along. My
astonishment was extreme at finding the banks of the river not more than
six feet from the water: it at once confirmed my supposition that the
whole of this extensive country is frequently inundated; the river was
here about thirty yards broad. Mount Cunningham was at this time distant
about two miles, and Mount Melville four miles; the plains winding
immediately under the base of each. At twelve o'clock ascended the south
end of Mount Cunningham, a small branch of the river running close under
it. From this elevation our view was very extensive in every direction,
particularly in the west quarter. The whole country in that direction
was so low, that it might not improperly be termed a swamp, the spaces
which were bare of trees being more constantly under water than those
where they grew. A remarkable peaked hill bearing W. 27 1/4. N. was
named Hurd's Peak [Note: After Captain Hurd, Hydrographer to the
Admiralty.], and a lofty hummock S. 83 1/2. W, Mount Meyrick: these were
the only elevations of any consequence in the western direction. To the
north, low ranges of rocky hills bounded the swamps, which on the south
had a similar boundary, except that occasionally a bolder rocky
projection would obtrude itself on the flat.

On descending from the hill, we proceeded to the point where the
north-west arm is separated from the main branch, but apparently to join
it in water, bearing from Mount Cunningham W. 40. N.: on arriving there
we found the boats and horses. The crew of the former reported, that an
equally considerable branch of the river, with that down which they had
come, had turned off to the south-west, about two miles below the place
where we stopped last night. After directing the horses and baggage to
be got over the north-west arm, I returned to examine the branch passed
by the boats, and found it at least as considerable as that which we
were pursuing. I am in hopes that when again joined, the width and depth
of the river will be considerably increased. At half past four returned
to the tents on the north-west arm. The river (from whatever cause) was
still rising, and no part of the banks was more than four feet above
the level of the water. I consider that the river may have from eight to
ten feet more water in it than usual: its present average depth is about
eighteen feet.

The soil of these extensive plains, designated Field's Plains, is for
the most part extremely rich, as indeed might be expected, from the
deposition of the quantities of vegetable matter that must take place in
periods of flood. The plains are in some places even lower than the
ground forming the immediate bank of the river, very soft, and difficult
for loaded horses to pass over. If we had been so unfortunate as to have
had a rainy season, it would have been utterly impossible to have come
thus far by land. The ranges of hills are unconnected, and are rocky and
barren; the swamps for the most part surrounding them. Mount Cunningham
is a lofty rocky hill, about a mile and a half long, composed of granite
rock, but entirely surrounded by low swampy ground.

Here we were so unfortunate as to find the barometer broken, the horse
which carried the instruments having thrown his load in passing the
swamps: every precaution had been taken in the packing to prevent such
an accident, which was the more to be regretted, as it interrupted a
chain of observations by which I hoped to ascertain the height of the
country with tolerable accuracy. The last observations that were made,
reduced to this place, gave us an elevation of not more than five
hundred feet above the sea, or about a hundred feet lower than the
country at the depot.

Since the river has been swollen, the fish have eluded us, none having
been caught since yesterday morning. Two black swans were however shot
on the river. Our present situation is by no means enviable: in the
first place, there is every chance that the river may be lost in a
multitude of branches, among those marshy flats, and farther navigation
thus rendered impossible; and in the second, a rise of four feet in the
river would sweep us all away, since we have not the smallest eminence
to retreat to. Should the river lead through to the westward, and be
afterwards joined by the branches we have passed, it may become
something more interesting and encouraging: a wet or even a partially
rainy season will, in my judgment, preclude us from returning by our
present route, more especially if these low countries continue for any

I am by no means surprised at the paucity of natives that have been
seen: it would be quite impossible in wet seasons to inhabit these
marshes, and equally so for them to retreat in times of flood. Their
fires are universally observed near the higher grounds, and no traces of
any thing like a permanent camp has hitherto been seen; but in many
on the banks quantities of pearl muscle-shells were found near the
of fires. That large species of bittern, known on the east-coast by the
local name of Native Companions, I believe from the circumstance of their
being always seen in pairs, was observed, on the flats, of very large
size, exceeding six feet in height: they were so shy that we were unable
to shoot any.

May 12.--The fine weather still continues to favour us. The river rose
in the course of the night upwards of a foot. It is a probable
supposition that the natives, warned by experience of these dangerous
flats, rather choose to seek a more precarious, but more safe
subsistence in the mountainous and rocky ridges which are occasionally
to be met with. The river and lagoons abound with fish and fowl, and it
is scarcely reasonable to suppose that the natives would not avail
themselves of such store of food, if the danger of procuring it did not
counterbalance the advantages they might otherwise derive from such

About three quarters of a mile farther westward we had to cross another
small arm of the river, running to the northward, which although now
full, is, I should think, dry when the river is at its usual level. It
is probable that this and the one which we first crossed join each other
a few miles farther to the westward, and then both united fall into the
stream which gave them existence. We had scarcely proceeded a mile from
the last branch, before it became evident that it would be impossible to
advance farther in the direction in which we were travelling. The stream
here overflowed both banks, and its course was lost among marshes: its
channel not being distinguishable from the surrounding waters.

Observing an eminence about half a mile from the south side, we crossed
over the horses and baggage at a Place where the water was level with
the banks, and which when within its usual channel did not exceed thirty
or forty feet in width, its depth even now being only twelve feet.

We ascended the hill, and had the mortification to perceive the
termination of our research, at least down this branch of the river: the
whole country from the west north-west round to north was either a
complete marsh or lay under water, and this for a distance of
twenty-five or thirty miles, in those directions; to the south and
south-west the country appeared more elevated, but low marshy grounds
lay between us and it, which rendered it impossible for us to proceed
thither from our present situation. I therefore determined to return
back to the place where the two branches of the principal river
separated, and follow the south-west branch as far as it should be
navigable; our fears were however stronger than our hopes, lest it
would end in a similar manner to the one we had already traced, until it
became no longer navigable for boats.

In pursuance of this intention we descended the hill, which was named
Farewell Hill, from its being the termination of our journey in a
north-west direction at least for the present, and proceeded up the
south bank of the stream. We were able to reach only a short distance
from the spot where we stopped last night, having been obliged to unload
the horses no less than four times in the course of the day, added to
which, the travelling loaded through those dreadful marshes had
completely exhausted them: my own horse, in searching for a better
track, was nearly lost, and it consumed four hours to advance scarcely
half a mile.

My disappointment at the interruption of our labours in this quarter was
extreme, and what was worse, no flattering prospect appeared of our
succeeding better in the examination of the south-west branch. I was
however determined to see the present end of the river in all its
branches, before I should finally quit it, in furtherance of the other
objects of the expedition.

May 13.--Returned to the point whence the river separates into two
branches; intending first to descend the south-west branch for some
distance before the boats and baggage should move down, being unwilling
the horses should undergo an useless fatigue in traversing such marshy
ground, unless the branch should prove of sufficient magnitude to take
us a considerable distance; conceiving it an object of the first
importance that the horses should start fresh, if I should find it
necessary to quit the river at this point of the coast.

May 14.--This branch of the river has fallen about a foot. Having
directed the casks in the boats to be prepared for slinging on the
horses, and the tools and arms to be put in order preparatory to leaving
the river, I proceeded to examine the branch. After going about four
miles down, it took a similar direction (north-westerly) to that which
we had previously traced. The banks on both sides were a mere marsh, and
about six miles down, a small arm from it supplied the marshes between
this and the north-west branch. The fall of the country from the
south-east to the north-west was very remarkable; the water in the
branch was here nearly level with the banks, and was narrowed to a
width of not more than twenty feet. Finding that it would be equally as
impracticable to follow this branch as the other, I returned and
commenced preparations for setting out for the coast, which I purpose
not to do until Sunday, in order that the horses may be refreshed, as
they will at first be most heavily laden.

My present intention is to take a south-west direction for Cape
Northumberland, since should any river be formed from those marshes,
which is extremely probable, and fall into the sea between Spencer's
Gulf and Cape Otway, this course will intersect it, and no river or
stream can arise from these swamps without being discovered. The body of
water now running in both the principal branches is very considerable,
fully sufficient to have constituted a river of magnitude, if it had
constantly maintained such a supply of water, and had not become
separated into branches, and lost among the immense marshes of this
desolate and barren country, which seems here to form a vast concavity
to receive them. It is impossible to arrive at any certain opinion as to
what finally becomes of these waters, but I think it probable, from the
appearance of the country, and its being nearly on a level with the sea,
that they are partly absorbed by the soil, and the remainder lost by

May 15.--Mr. Cunningham made an excursion under Mount Melville, and
found the country in that direction as full of stagnant water as to the
north-west. Some tracts rather more raised above the usual level were
barren, and covered with acacia scrubs. The natives had been recently
under Mount Melville, perhaps to the number of a dozen: abundance of
large pearl muscle-shells was found about their deserted fireplaces, but
these shells had been apparently some months out of water.

May 16.--Felled a tree of the acacia pendula, the wood extremely hard
and beautiful; a black resinous juice exuded from the heart, which much
resembled the black part of the lignum vitae. Our observations placed
this spot in latitude 33. 15. 34. S.; longitude 147. 16. E. and the
variation of the compass 7. 0. 8. E.

May 17.--After reducing our luggage as much as possible, we sent every
thing down the branch about two miles, and landed on the south shore;
got every thing in readiness for proceeding on our journey to-morrow;
hauled up the boats on the south bank, and secured them, together with
such heavy articles as we could not take with us. The provisions
occupied our whole fourteen horses, including my own, and each will
still be very heavily laden.

May 18.--At nine o'clock we commenced our journey towards the coast; at
three stopped within four miles of Mount Maude, on a dry creek, with
occasional pools of very indifferent water. The country through which we
passed from the branch was for the first three miles very low and wet,
with large lagoons of water. During the latter part of the journey the
country was more elevated though still level, the soil light and rotten,
and overrun with the acacia pendula. The horses being very heavily laden
fell repeatedly during the early part of the day. Our course was nearly
south-west, and we performed about ten miles.

May 19.--At two miles passed over a low rocky range connected with Mount
Maude: the remainder of our day's journey (nearly twelve miles) lay
chiefly through a barren level country, the ground rather studded than
covered with grass, and that only in patches, by far the greater part
producing no grass at all. The trees were chiefly cypresses, a new
species of staculia, together with scrubs of the acacia pendula. The
soil a light red sand, the lower levels being stronger and more clayey.
We did not meet with any water, and were obliged to stop in the middle
of an acacia brush, the horses being too much fatigued to proceed
farther, and as the country had been lately burnt, the grass was a
little better than usual. At four o'clock sent two men to search for
water, and in about half an hour they returned, having found several
small ponds of good water about three quarters of a mile to the
south-west: the swamp appeared to extend to the northward a considerable
distance. Several native huts were on the edge of one of the ponds, but
they had not been recently inhabited.

May 20.--Proceeded forward south-west eleven miles through a most barren
desolate country, the soil a light red sand, literally parched up with
drought, there being no appearance of rain having fallen for several
months. The country through which we passed being a perfect plain
overrun with acacia scrubs, we could not see in any direction above a
quarter of a mile; I therefore halted at two o'clock on purpose to gain
time to find water before sunset, as we had seen no other signs of any
on our route than a few dry pits. It is impossible to imagine a more
desolate region; and the uncertainty we are in, whilst traversing it, of
finding water, adds to the melancholy feelings which the silence and
solitude of such wastes is calculated to inspire.

The search for water was unsuccessful, about three gallons of muddy
liquid being all that could be procured: our horses and dogs, I am
afraid, were the greatest sufferers.

May 21.--The water was so extremely bad that, pressed as we were by
thirst, we could scarcely even by twice boiling it render it drinkable.
After travelling ten or eleven miles through a country equally barren
and destitute with that of yesterday, without meeting with the least
appearance of water, and the horses being completely worn out, I
determined to halt on a small patch of burnt grass; two of the horses
had fallen several times under their loads, and nothing but the
evenness of the road enabled us to reach thus far. The same level plain
extended on all sides, and our view was confined to the scrubby brush
around us. A small hollow lying across our track, I sent a man on
horseback to trace it, in hopes it might lead to water: he returned
about four o'clock with the joyful news that he had found water in a
large swamp about five miles to the north-west: he also saw a native,
who however ran too swiftly to allow him to come up with him. This was
the first living creature of any kind we had seen since we quitted the
river. Both the kangaroo and emu seem to have deserted these plains for
other parts of the country better watered, and affording them more food.
The horses being utterly unable to proceed without rest, I determined to
remain here to-morrow to refresh them.

May 22.--The nights cold and frosty, the days warm and clear: I think it
is very evident that the altitude of the country declines in a
remarkable manner to the north-west; from the south-east to the
south-west it appears nearly of the same elevation; and in travelling we
appear to be going along an inclined plane, the lowest edges being from
west to north. I went about five miles to the north-west to the place
whence the water was procured; the country poor, and as barren as can
well be imagined; the soil a light red sand, acacia scrubs, small
box-trees, and a few miserable cypresses.

May 23.--Our route lay through a country equally bad, if not worse, than
any which we had passed the preceding days: in some places it was
difficult for the horses to force a passage through the brush;
occasionally low stony ridges intervened, which, when viewed from higher
eminences, were not to be detected from the plain out of which they
rose. The soil was alternately a sterile sand and a hardened clay,
without grass of any description: the country appeared to form the
bottom of a dry morass, and I am convinced if the weather had not been
dry for a considerable time, travelling would have been impossible.
After proceeding ten miles we were obliged to stop, the horses being
unable to go further. We had seen no signs of water during our route,
but stopping at a stony water-course we were in hopes of finding a
sufficiency to supply our wants, and on a hill at the end of it, about a
quarter of a mile to the westward, water was found.

May 24.--A day of rest and preparation. The country seems to rise
hereabouts and to be more broken, the ridges stony: the dwarf timber and
brush very thick. In searching for the horses this morning several
kangaroos and emus were seen, also the huts of a tribe of natives
recently inhabited.

May 25.--The horses much refreshed, except one which is unable to carry
any thing; his load was therefore obliged to be distributed among the
rest, already too heavily laden. At nine o'clock set forward on our
journey. At two we arrived at the base of a hill of considerable
magnitude, terminating westward in an abrupt perpendicular rock
from two hundred and fifty to three hundred feet high. The country we
passed over was of the most miserable description; the last eight miles
without a blade of grass. The acacia brushes grow generally on a hard
and clayey soil evidently frequently covered with water, and I consider
that these plains or brushes are swamps or morasses in wet weather,
since they must receive all the water from the low ranges with which
they are generally circumscribed. It is a remarkable feature in the
hills of this country that their terminations are generally
perpendicular westward, rising from the lower grounds round from
south-west to north-west very gradually; their terminating rocky bluffs
are usually two or three hundred feet high. I include in these
observations not only the single detached hills, but the points of the
ranges. This hill was named Mount Aiton. The country having been
recently burnt, some good grass was found for the horses a little to the
south-west. We therefore stopped for the night, and ascended the face of
the mount for the purpose of looking around: a very large brown speckled
snake was killed about half way up, which, in the absence of fresh
provisions, was afterwards eaten by some of the party. On arriving at
the summit we had an extensive prospect in every direction; the country
was most generally level, but rose occasionally into gentle eminences
bounded by distant low ranges from the south south-west to the
north-west. The most considerable of these ranges were named PEEL'S
RANGE, and GOULBURN'S RANGE: a very lofty hill, distant at least seventy
miles, was named MOUNT GRANARD. Interspersed through the country,
bounded by those ranges, were several large tracts entirely devoid of
wood; these are however, I fear, only a repetition of the acacia plains
of which we had lately been but too abundantly favoured. From
south-west by south round to north-east were some low broken hills, with
some to the east-south-east of greater magnitude; but their distance was
so great as to appear but faintly in the horizon. Upon the whole the
country appeared more open and somewhat better, particularly in the
immediate vicinity of our station to the south-west. There were not the
smallest signs of any stream, neither is-ere there any fires in the
direction we had to take. Three or four fires were seen in the
north-west, and recent traces of the natives were discovered near our
tents. The inhabitants of these wilds must be very few, and I think it
impossible for more than a family to subsist together; a greater number
would only starve each other: indeed their deserted fires and camps
which we occasionally saw, never appeared to have been occupied by more
than six or eight persons. The scarcity of food must also prevent the
raising of many children, from the absolute impossibility of supporting
them until of an age to provide for themselves. We have seen so few
animals, either kangaroo or emu, and the country appears so little
capable of maintaining these animals, that the means of the natives in
procuring food must be precarious indeed. We found just a sufficiency of
water to answer our purpose in a drain from the Mount; our dogs are,
however, in a wretched condition for want of food.

May 26.--The horses having strayed in the night, every man was employed
in searching for them. In passing through those barren brushes
yesterday, a great quantity of small iron-stones was picked up, from the
size of a large pea to a hen's-egg, all nearly round, being washed into
heaps by the waters, which in time of rain sweep over those flats. The
front of Mount Aiton was found to decline about fifteen degrees from the
perpendicular; the rocks were composed of a hard sandy free-stone. It
was eight o'clock in the evening before any of the people returned, and
then only two men came back with two horses, being all they were able to
find: the other three men are still absent, but they had found the track
of the other horses before these men left them. The two horses were
discovered in the midst of a thick brush, entangled among creeping
plants and unable to get further: they must have strayed in search of
water, the water at this place not being sufficient for them all. The
animals were all spencilled, but such is the scarcity of both water and
grass, that they will wander in search of each.

The natives have been reconnoitring us: we have several times heard
them, but have been unable to see them. At sunset their fires were
seen about two miles to the south-west.

May 27.--At day-light, despatched the other two men and horses to the
assistance of the rest, who remained out all night.

A native was seen about half a mile from our fires: the dogs attacked
him, and when called off, he ran away shouting most lustily; he was a
very stout man, at least six feet high, entirely naked, with a long
bushy beard: he had no arms of any kind. At two o'clock, two of the men
who had been out all night returned, after an unsuccessful search,
leaving three more out to pursue it in every possible direction. Water
is evidently the reason of their straying, as several patches of burnt
grass have been passed by them, and they would naturally return to the
place where they last found it, if they could find none nearer.
At sunset the men returned with nine of the horses, five being still
missing: they were found ten miles on the road back, and near the place
where they fed on the 24th.

May 28.--At daylight despatched four men on horseback to resume the
search for the missing horses, taking with them two days' provisions.

May 29.--At four o'clock in the afternoon the men returned, still

May 30.--At seven o'clock I proceeded to the north-east with two men,
whilst Mr. Evans went to the north-west. At ten I was fortunate enough to
fall in with the horses about eight miles from our camp; returned with
them, and prepared every thing for setting forward to-morrow morning. In
one of the brushes an emu's nest was found, containing ten eggs; our
dogs also killed two small birds. Mr. Evans returned about three
o'clock, having seen nothing remarkable: the country was very thick and
brushy, and he was much impeded by creeping vines.

Mr. Cunningham here planted the seeds of quinces, and the stones of
peach and apricot trees.

May 31.--Fine weather as usual, and at nine o'clock we set off with
renewed hopes and spirits. Our first nine miles afforded excellent
travelling through an open country of very indifferent soil. The trees
thin and chiefly cypress, with occasionally a large sterculia, but no
water whatever: at the ninth mile we entered a very thick eucalyptus
brush, overrun with creepers and prickly acacia bushes. We continued
forcing our way through this desert until sunset, when, finding no hopes
of getting through it before dark, we halted in the midst of it, having
travelled in the whole nearly twenty miles, and for the last mile been
obliged to cut our way with our tomahawks.

Both men and horses were quite knocked up, and our embarrassment was
heightened by the want of water for ourselves and them, as this desert
did not hold out the slightest hope of finding any. No herbage of any
kind grew on this abandoned plain, being a fine red sand, which almost
blinded us with its dust. It was with some little hesitation that we
affixed a name to this brush; but at length nothing occurred to us more
expressive of its aspect than EURYALEAN. This was the first night which
we had passed absolutely without water.

June 1.--A cold frosty morning. The weather during the might changed
from very mild and pleasant to extreme cold; the thermometer varying
24. At daylight we loaded the horses and set forward to get out of this
scrub, and endeavour to procure water and grass for the horses, which
we were obliged to tie to bushes, to prevent them from straying. After
going about two miles farther we cleared the thickest of it: but the
country was only more open, and not in any degree more fertile. We
proceeded on towards the south-east end of Peel's range until twelve
o'clock, when, having gone nearly eleven miles, the horses were unable
to proceed farther with their loads. There was nothing left for us but
to unload them, and separate in every direction in search of that most
precious of elements, without tasting a drop of which both men and
horses had now existed nearly thirty-six hours.

Water was found in three holes in the side of Peel's range sufficient
for all our necessities, and a most grateful relief it proved,
particularly to the poor horses, who were nearly famished for the want
of it: one of the best of our animals was so exhausted that it was with
some difficulty he could be taken to the water. I wish the grass had
proved equally good, but there is nothing for them but dead wire-grass
(IRA). We saw no game, with the exception of three or four kangaroo
rats: many beautiful small parrots were observed; and, barren as the
scrub appeared to us, yet our botanists reaped an excellent harvest
here; nothing being more true than that the most beautiful plants and
shrubs flourish best where no grass or other herbage will grow.

June 2.--Fine and clear as usual, the nights cold. One of our best
horses, mentioned yesterday as having fallen repeatedly under his load,
was this morning extremely ill, having entirely lost the use of his
hind quarters. Finding that he was quite unable to accompany us, and in
fact unfit to do any more work, it was with extreme reluctance that I
caused him to be shot, since it would have been no mercy to suffer him
to linger in his present miserable condition. Observations were taken to
ascertain our situation, and they placed us lat. 34. 8. 8. S.,
long. 146.03. E., the variation of the compass being 7. 18. E.

The hills to the southward of us are curiously composed of pudding-stone
in very large masses, the lower stratum being a coarse granite
intermingled with pieces of quartz, and a variety of other stones.

June 3.--Set forward on our route, passing over a rugged, barren, and
rocky country for about four miles and a half, when we ascended a hill
upon our right which promised a view in all directions. To the
southward, south-west, and even west, the country was a perfect plain,
interspersed with more of those dreadful scrubs which we had passed
through. In coming from Mount Aiton to the south-east were some low
ranges, with a level barren country between us and them; this hill was
named Mount Caley, and the termination of Peel's range to the southward,
a lofty rocky hill, was called Mount Brogden. On descending the hill, I
had the mortification to find that one of the horses, who had hitherto
performed well, now sunk under his load, and was unable to proceed
farther: in short, all of them appeared so debilitated, that the utmost
we could promise ourselves was their proceeding three or four miles
farther in search of grass and water. Directing the man to stay by his
load, we proceeded towards some burnt grass which had been seen from
Mount Caley, and after going about four miles farther we stopped upon
it. As the ultimate success of the expedition so entirely depended upon
the capability of the horses to perform the journey, it was judged
advisable that they should have two or three days rest before we
attempted to penetrate farther; and as we were now on a spot that at
least afforded them a mouthful of fresh wire-grass, I determined, if
water should be found, to remain here until Friday morning.

The country is so extremely impracticable, and so utterly destitute of
the means of affording subsistence to either man or beast; water is so
precarious, and when found is only the contents of small muddy holes,
which under different circumstances would be rejected equally by horses
and by men, that I much fear we shall not be able to proceed much
further; but my mind is made up to persevere until the last horse fails
us, keeping that course which, although inclining to the westward, will
bring us out upon the coast upon a nearer line than Cape Northumberland,
which I intended to steer for when we quitted the Lachlan River.

Sent back assistance to the man and horse left under Mount Caley, and at
eight o'clock they returned.

After searching in every direction, no water was found, except in a
small hole evidently dug by the natives under Mount Brogden, and
containing scarcely sufficient for the people.

June 4.--Weather as usual fine and clear, which is the greatest comfort
we enjoy in these deserts, abandoned as they seem to be by every living
creature capable of getting out of them. I was obliged to send the
horses back to our former halting-place for water, a distance of near
eight miles: this is terrible for the horses, who are in general
extremely reduced; but two in particular cannot, I think, endure this
miserable existence much longer.

At five o'clock, two men, whom I had sent to explore the country to the
south-west and see if any water could be found, returned, after
proceeding six or seven miles: they found it impossible to go any
farther in that direction or even south, from the thick brushes that
intersected their course on every side; and no water (nor in fact the
least sign of any) was discovered either by them, or by those who were
sent in search of it nearer to our little camp.

No other trace of inhabitants (besides the well from which we derive our
supply of water) has hitherto been seen: no game of any kind, nor grass
to support any, have resulted from the various routes and observations
of the different persons who were employed for that purpose during the
day. I almost despair of finding any, for the country being perfectly
level (some few elevated stations excepted), and the soil a deep loose
red sand, the rain which falls must be immediately absorbed, and indeed
it is quite impossible that water should remain on the surface of the
land which we have travelled over since we have left the river.

At the period we quitted the river I considered our height above the
level of the sea to be about five hundred feet, an elevation too
trifling to afford a hope that any streams could rise in these regions
and flow thence into the sea. In traversing these flats, the declivity,
when it could be observed, was always towards the west and north-west,
obliging me to believe that either the country continued a desert of
sand as at present, or that its westerly inclination would cause all
that part of it to consist of marshes and swamps. Since quitting the
river we have not enjoyed what under any other circumstances would be
called drinkable water; what was found being merely the contents of
shallow mud holes, in the bottom of acacia swamps, over which the
dryness of the season alone enabled us to travel. We have uniformly been
obliged to strain our water before we drank it, and its taste, from the
decayed vegetable matter it contained, was sour and unpleasant.

June 5.--A clear cold frosty morning: sent the horses to the watering
place: if it be any way possible to get them on, it is my intention to
proceed to-morrow morning, as it is almost as much labour to them to go
for water as it would be to perform a short day's journey.

From every thing I can see of the country to the south-west, it appears,
upon the most mature deliberation, highly imprudent to persevere longer
in that direction, as the consequences to the horses of want of water
and grass might be most serious; and we are well assured that within
forty miles on that point the country is the same as before passed over.
In adopting a north-westerly course, it is my intention to be entirely
guided by the possibility of procuring subsistence for the horses, that
being the main point on which all our ulterior proceedings must hinge.
It is however to be expected that as the country is certainly lower to
the west and north-west than from south-east to south-west, there is a
greater probability of finding water in this latter direction. In our
present perplexing situation, however, it is impossible to lay down any
fixed plan, as (be it what it may) circumstances after all must guide us.
Our horses are unable to go more than eight or ten miles a day, but even
then they must be assured of finding food, of which, in these deserts,
the chances are against the existence.

Yesterday, being the King's birthday, Mr. Cunningham planted under Mount
Brogden acorns, peach and apricot-stones, and quince-seeds, with the
hope rather than the expectation that they would grow and serve to
commemorate the day and situation, should these desolate plains be ever
again visited by civilized man, of which, however, I think there is very
little probability.

Our observation placed the situation of the tent in lat. 34. 13. 33. S.,
long. 146. E.; the variation of the compass 8. 08. E.

June 6.--A mild pleasant morning: set forward on our journey to the
westward and north-west, in hopes of finding a better country: at two
o'clock halted about two miles from Peel's range, after going about
eight miles through a very thick cypress scrub; the country equally bad
as on any of the foregoing days. We saw no signs of water during our
route: the whole country seems burnt up with long continued drought; no
traces of natives, or any game seen.

After two hours' search a small hole of water was found at the foot of
the range, sufficient for the horses, and in a hole in the rocks a
little clearer was procured for ourselves.

June 7.--Set forward to the north-west, the horses being a little
fresher than for some days past. Halted at four o'clock, having gone ten
miles through a country which, for barrenness and desolation, can I
think have no equal; it was a continued scrub, and where there was
timber it chiefly consisted of small cypress: we saw no water as usual,
but stopped on some burnt grass near the base of a low range of stony
hills west of Peel's range, from which we are distant eight or ten
miles. These ranges abound with native dogs; their howlings are
incessant, day as well as night: as we saw no game, their principal
prey must be rats, which have almost undermined this loose sandy

As we had brought a small keg of water with us, we did not on this
occasion suffer absolute want: we hope that the instinct of the horses
would lead them to water in the course of the night--but we were too

Our spirits were not a little depressed by the desolation and want that
seemed to reign around us: the scene was never varied, except from bad
to worse. However, the scarcity of water and grass for the horses are
our greatest real privations, for the temperature is mild and equable
beyond what could be expected at this season, and it is this
circumstance alone that enables us to proceed: the horses are too much
reduced to endure rainy weather, even if the loose soil of the country
would permit us to travel over it.

June 8.--During the night there was light rain. At daylight sent out in
search of water, but all our efforts proved unsuccessful. Peel's range
being the nearest high land, I determined to search the base of it, in
hopes of finding water, since it was impossible that either men or
horses could long endure this almost constant privation of the first
necessary of life. I accordingly set off towards the range, but was
prevented from making it by impenetrable scrubs: we then returned to the
range a little to the west of the tent, whence we could see a
considerable distance to the west and north-west; it is impossible to
imagine a prospect more desolate. The whole country in these directions,
as far as the eye could reach, was one continued thicket of eucalyptus
scrub: it was physically impossible to proceed that way, and our
situation was too critical to admit of delay; it was therefore resolved
to return back to our last station on the 6th under Peel's range, if for
no other purpose than that of giving the horses water. I felt that by
attempting to proceed westerly I should endanger the safety of every man
composing the expedition, without any practical good arising from such
perseverance: it was therefore deemed more prudent to keep along the
base of Peel's range to its termination, having some chance of finding
water in its rocky ravines, whilst there was none at all in attempting
to keep the level country. It was too late to pursue this resolution
this evening.

June 9.--During the night heavy rain. At eight o'clock set off on our
return to our halting-place of the 6th, the horses having been now
forty-eight hours without water. We had scarcely proceeded a mile when
it began to rain hard, and continued to do so without intermission until
we stopped at the place where water had been previously found: it was by
this time two o'clock, the horses failed, and the people were in little
better condition, not having tasted any thing since the evening before.
All our clothes were wet through, a circumstance which added greatly to
the unpleasantness of our situation.

The true nature of the soil was fully developed by this day's rain.
Being in dry weather a loose light sand without any apparent
consistency, it was now discovered to have a small portion of loam mixed
with it, which, without having the tenacity of clay, is sufficient to
render it slimy and boggy: I am quite satisfied that two days' rain will
at any time render this country impassable. The mortification and
distress of mind I felt at being obliged to take a retrograde direction
was heightened by seeing the horses struggling under loads far beyond
their present powers, their labour rendered still more trying by the
miserable country they were obliged to pass through.

June 10.--Light rain during the night, the morning fair and pleasant:
upon mature deliberation it was resolved to remain here until the 13th,
for the purpose of refreshing the horses. I also determined to send a
detachment on before us, to endeavour to find an eligible station for us
to stop at, that we might proceed with more certainty.

Mr. Cunningham named those thick brushes of eucalyptus that spread in
every direction around us EUCALYPTUS DUMOSA, or the dwarf gum, as they
never exceed twenty feet in height, and are generally from twelve to
fifteen, spreading out into a bushy circle from their roots in such a
manner that it is impossible to see farther than from one bush to the
other; and these are very often united by a species of vine (cassytha),
and the intermediate space covered with prickly wire-grass, rendering a
passage through them equally painful and tedious

The low ranges of hills which we quitted yesterday morning we named
Disappointment Hills, from our not being able to penetrate beyond them
to the north-west or west, and also from our not finding any water on
them; our hopes being thus disappointed of penetrating into the interior
in the direction that I intended when we quitted Mount Brogden.

June 11.--A party set forward to the northward to explore our
to-morrow's route, and to endeavour to find water at some eligible

They returned about four o'clock, having proceeded eight or ten miles.
Small holes of water were found in almost every gully. They saw several
traces of the natives, but none recent: the dogs killed several
kangaroo-rats, and some new species of plants were discovered.

June 12.--Fine and clear. At eight o'clock set forward on our journey
along the west side of Peel's range: we proceeded to the north,
inclining westerly for about ten miles; the travelling for the horses
very bad, the ground being extremely soft, the description of the
country the same. The trees resembled bushes more than timber, being
chiefly small cypresses, which is the prevailing wood. The grass where
we stopped was very bad, but the quantity and quality of the water
compensated for it. No recent marks of the natives having visited this
part of the range.

June 13.--Fine mild pleasant weather. Proceeded along the foot of Peel's
range for about ten miles; we then inclined north-easterly, the range
taking that direction, and after going about four miles farther we
stopped for the evening: the country was wretchedly barren and scrubby,
and to the north-west and west a continued eucalyptus dumosa scrub,
extending as far as the eye could reach from the occasional small hills
which we passed in our route.

Water was found about two miles off in the range, affording a bare
sufficiency for ourselves and horses.

June 14.--Fine clear weather. Proceeded on our journey northwards: the
first four or five miles was over a rocky broken country, consisting of
low hills, rising westerly of Peel's range. After going about six miles
and a half the country became more open and less rocky; as the grass was
here better than at our last night's halting-place, and the water
convenient and tolerable, we resolved upon stopping, particularly as I
intended resting the horses to-morrow; and I was fearful if I proceeded
farther I might meet with neither, and thus be obliged to continue
travelling to-morrow; an exertion which the horses were not in a
condition to make. Nothing can be more irksome than the tedious days'
journeys we are obliged to make through a country in which there is not
the smallest variety, each day's occurrences and scenes being but a
recapitulation of the former: our patience would frequently be
exhausted, were we not daily reanimating ourselves with the hopes that
the morrow will bring us to a better country, and render a journey, the
labour of which has hitherto been ill repaid, of some service to the
colony, and of some satisfaction to the expectations which had been
formed of its result.

June 15.--Observed in lat. 33. 49. 09. S., and long. 145. 54. E.
Mr. Cunningham went upon Peel's range in search of plants, and found a
new ones; the country to the north appeared hilly and broken, but no
scrubs, such as obstructed our progress westward, were seen. Goulburn's
range had a remarkable appearance, being broken into peaks and
singularly shaped hills. A solitary native was seen by one of our party,
but he ran off with great precipitation on friendly signs being made to
him to approach.

June 16.--It blew extremely hard during the night, and rained
incessantly, as it still continues to do, with scarcely any
intermission. This morning we had the misfortune to find one horse dead,
the same that fell under his load on the 3d instant, and, as he had
carried little or nothing since, he appeared to be recovering his
strength. Independently of the continuance of heavy rain, which would
certainly have prevented me from attempting to set forward, the ground
has become so hollow and soft from the rain which fell during the night,
that it was the universal opinion that the horses could not travel under
their loads. It cleared up towards night, with the exception of
occasional heavy showers.

June 17.--Towards morning the weather became fine, with fresh winds from
the north-east; at eight o'clock set forward on our journey, the ground
extremely wet and soft.

We could not proceed above ten miles when we stopped, one of the horses
being completely disabled from going any farther. The line of country we
passed over was rocky, barren, and miserable, the level grounds being a
perfect bog; to the westward, low irregular rocky ranges, with blasted
and decayed cypresses on their summits, were the only objects which
presented themselves to our view. There was neither grass nor water
where we stopped; of course, nothing but the absolute necessity that
existed to spare the horses could induce us to halt. People were sent to
search the range for water, but all their endeavours proved fruitless,
after wandering in every probable direction until sunset. The coldness
of the air would have prevented us from feeling much inconvenience from
this privation, had it been in our power to have satisfied our hunger
but salt pork, would have proved an aggravating meal without water; we
therefore preferred an absolute fast to the certainty of increasing our

About sunset the wind increased to a perfect storm, accompanied by heavy
showers, which prevented the horses from suffering so severely as they
otherwise would.

June 18.--The weather was very tempestuous during the night: towards
morning the wind somewhat abated, and left light drizzling showers. Our
search after water was renewed, and so far succeeded as to procure us
about a pint of rain-water each, which afforded us great relief. It did
not appear that the horses had been equally successful.

Upon consultation, in our present critical situation it was resolved
that Mr. Evans should proceed forward to the north-north-west until he
found grass and water, and as it was evident to all that the horses were
utterly incapable of proceeding with their present loads to any
distance, I thought it expedient to leave half our provisions behind,
and proceed to the place selected by Mr Evans, and then to send back for
the remainder: in fact, there remained no alternative; reduced as the
horses were in their strength, it would have been in the highest degree
imprudent to have dared the almost certainty of killing them by
proceeding with their usual loads.

After going about three miles we came upon a small valley which afforded
both good grass and water; the latter was rain-water collected in holes
at the base of the range, which was composed of a hard granite rock. In
this valley we found several holes dug by the natives, for the purpose
of receiving water; in some a few quarts of muddy water were found,
others were quite dry. It rained almost incessantly during the whole of
this day, rendering our situation extremely unpleasant.

As if to add to our misfortunes, it was now first discovered that
three of the casks, which had all along been taken for flour casks, were
filled with pork; and upon a minute investigation it came out, that
when, on the 1st of May, the large boat had been reported to have filled
from the falling of the river without any other accident, that then, in
fact, three of the upper tier of casks had been washed out of her. It
was impossible, at this distance of time, to exactly ascertain how such
a serious loss could have happened and not have been discovered before,
for the boatmen persisted in declaring that their cargo was then all
safe; but, as so large a quantity could not possibly have been consumed
by the party clandestinely without certain discovery, it appeared quite
clear that the loss either happened on that day or on the 4th, when the
large boat sunk from having been stove. In counting our casks up to this
period, three, in every respect the same as the flour casks, with
similar marks, had been reckoned in their lieu by us all, whilst the
deficiency being then apparently in the pork was not suspected by any.

In this distressing dilemma nothing remained for us but to reduce our
ration of flour in such a proportion as would leave us twelve weeks of
that article, and as we had still plenty of pork, to issue an extra
pound of it weekly. Since leaving the depot we had been so extremely
guarded in the issue of provisions, to prevent the possibility of our
suffering from any longer protraction of our journey than was expected,
that never more than six pounds of flour had been issued to each person
weekly, which now, from this accident coming to light, was reduced to
four pounds: it was, in truth, extremely fortunate that we had thus kept
within the calculated ration, as otherwise our situation would have been
highly alarming.

Some of our party began even now to anticipate the resources of famine,
for a large native dog being killed, it was pronounced, like lord
Peter's loaf, in the Tale of a Tub, to be true, good, natural mutton as
any in Leadenhall-market, and eaten accordingly: for myself, I was not
yet brought to the conversion of Martin and Jack.

The natives had been in this valley very recently, and I conjectured
that they were then not far from us. In the afternoon, the rain still
continuing, I sent back the strongest of the horses to bring up the
provisions left behind. Towards eight o'clock the wind increased to a
storm, so that the rain was forced through our tent in every part, and
we were fairly washed out: this abated about ten o'clock, and the
weather partially cleared up. Upon the whole this was the most
uncomfortable day and night we had experienced since we quitted the

June 19.--Fresh winds from the north-west, with thick small rain. The
valley was now a complete bog, the hills closing on each side of it, and
its widest part not exceeding two hundred yards: the soil imbibes all
the water almost as fast as it falls. There was one comfort in all this
bad weather; we had plenty of water, and the horses tolerable grass.

Taking advantage of a fair interval, I explored to the north-north-west
about a mile, whence I had a tolerable view of the country between the
showers: it was broken into very remarkable hills between the north-west
by north and north-east; to the west it was more level, and having been
burnt, the young grass gave it a more cheering aspect than any we had
seen for some time. Bearings were taken to several remarkable hills for
the purpose of connecting the survey.

Two swans passed over the valley to the north-west, which we considered
as a sign that water lay in that direction.

June 20.--The weather broke up during the night, and the morning was
fair and pleasant. However desirable it was that the horses should
remain another day in this valley to recruit, yet, in the present
unsettled state of the season, I was unwilling to lose an hour more than
was absolutely necessary. We here left all the spare horse-shoes, broken
axes, etc. in order to lighten the burden of the horses. This little
valley received the name of Peach Valley, from our having here planted
the last of our fruit-stones.

At eight we proceeded to the north-north-west, our course taking us over
a broken barren country; the hills composed of rocks and small stones,
the valleys and flats of sand. To the westward of our route the country
was covered with scrubs of the eucalyptus dumosa; these scrubs we
avoided, by keeping close along the base of Peel's range, where the
country had been lately burnt. It is somewhat singular that those scrubs
and brushes seldom if ever extend to the immediate base of the hills:
the washings from them rendered the soil somewhat better for two or
three hundred yards. As to water, we did not see the least signs of any
during the whole day. After proceeding between nine and ten miles, we
stopped for the evening on some burnt grass, which existed in sufficient
quantity; but, although we procured a few gallons of water for
ourselves, not all our researches could find a sufficiency for the

The dogs killed a pretty large emu, which was a most luxurious addition
to our salt pork, of which alone we were all well satiated. I ascended
the range behind the tent, and I never saw a more broken country, or one
more barren. It appeared more open to the north-north-west, to which
point our course will be directed to-morrow.

June 21.--Fine mild weather: at eight o'clock set forward on our
journey. The farther we proceed north-westerly, the more convinced I am
that, for all the practical purposes of civilized man, the interior of
this country westward of a certain meridian is uninhabitable, deprived
as it is of wood, water, and grass. With respect to water, it is quite
impossible that any can be retained on such a soil as the country is
composed of, and no watercourses, for the same reason, can be formed;
for, like a sponge, it absorbs all the rain that falls, which, judging
from every appearance, cannot be much. The wandering native with his
little family may find a precarious subsistence in the ruts with which
the country abounds; but even he, with all the local knowledge which
such a life must give him, is obliged to dig with immense labour little
wells at the bottom of the hills to procure and preserve a necessary of
life which is evidently not to be obtained by any other method.

We proceeded through a broken irregular country for nearly six miles,
when the evident weakness of the horses made it highly imprudent to
attempt to proceed farther. We therefore halted under a high rocky hill,
which was named Barrow's Hill; and sent round in all directions to
look for water. The goodness of Providence came to our succour when we
least expected it; an ample sufficiency for the people being found near
the top of the hill in the hollow of a rock.

I ascended Barrow's Hill, and from its summit had a very extensive
prospect from the west north-west round to east-north-east. To the north
the country appeared perfectly level, though the horizon was skirted
with distant hammocks, which could be but faintly distinguished.
To the north-east were some native's fires; and a lofty detached
mountain was named Mount Flinders: a high range to the westward was
named Macquarie's Range, in honour of his excellency the Governor.

The men returned late after an unsuccessful search for water, having
gone entirely round Mount Flinders. There was now nothing to be done but
to drive the horses to the base of the hill under which we were
encamped, and share with them the water whence we derived our own
supply: it was obliged to be handed from man to man in the cooking
kettle, out of which the poor animals drank; and I was happy to find
that a sufficiency would still remain to supply us until Monday morning,
when we intended again to set forward.

June 22.--The morning mild, but a thick drizzling rain continued until
near noon, when it cleared up. The variation of the compass was 7. 45. E.

About sunset Mr. Cunningham returned from a botanical excursion to
Mount Flinders; he had found many new plants on the west side of the
mount, but nothing was seen from its summit which had not been
previously observed from Barrow's Hill: Frazer, our botanical soldier,
also returned from Mount Bowen, in Goulburn's Range; but was not
fortunate enough to find any thing new in vegetation, as it had been
lately burnt: it was, however, remarkable that the paneratium Macquarie
should be found growing in great abundance at the very top; this plant
never being found except near moist Places, and in the vicinity of
water. At the foot of Mount Bowen, Frazer fell in with a native camp,
which had not been quitted more than a day or two: among the reliques
were three or four pearl muscles, such as we had observed on the river;
and it is probable that these may have been the property of natives who
live more immediately in that vicinity. These shells are used as knives,
being ground very sharp against the rocks, and certainly for a scraper
they may answer very well.

It may here be remarked, that the composition of the lofty detached
hills, designated as mounts, is uniformly different from the rock
composing the bases and summits of the more connected and elevated
tracts, and what may more properly be termed ranges; the latter being of
hard dark coloured granite, whilst the former rather resembles hard
sandstone, studded with pebbles and quartz. The west side of Mount
Flinders was covered with quartz, whilst the larger pieces of rock, on
being broken, appeared to be an indurated sandstone.

June 23.--The watering our horses took us up so much time, that it was
ten o'clock before we set forward to the northward. After proceeding
about four miles, the country became much more open, extending east and
west over a flat level plain, the botany of which, in every respect,
resembled Field's Plains; except that a new species of eucalyptus took
place of the acacia pendula. A flock of large kangaroos was seen for the
first time since we quitted the Lachlan; also many emus and bustards.
Our dogs killed three kangaroos and two emus. The soil of these plains
was a stiff tenacious clay, and had every appearance of being frequently
under water: as we were now in the parallel of the spot where the river
divided into branches, the altered appearance of the country induced us
to hope that we should shortly fall in with some permanent water, and be
relieved from the constant anxiety attendant on the precarious supply to
which we had lately been enured.

After going eight miles and a quarter, we suddenly came upon the banks
of the river; I call it the river, for it could certainly be no other
than the Lachlan, which we had quitted nearly five weeks before. Our
astonishment was extreme, since it was an incident little expected by
any one. It was here extremely diminished in size, but was still nearly
equal in magnitude to the south-west branch which we last quitted. The
banks were about twelve or fourteen feet above the water, and it was
running with a tolerably brisk stream to the westward. The banks were so
thickly covered with large eucalypti, that we did not perceive it until
we were within a very few yards of it; it appeared about thirty feet
broad, running over a sandy bottom. I think it extremely probable that
the waters of both the main branches, after losing a very considerable
portion over the low grounds in the neighbourhood of Mount Cunningham
and Field's Plains, have again united and formed the present stream.

Our future course did not admit of any hesitation, and it was resolved
to go down the stream as long as there was a chance of its becoming more
considerable, and until our provisions should be so far expended as
barely to enable us to return to Bathurst.

It is a singular phenomenon in the history of this river, that, in a
course of upwards of two hundred and fifty miles, in a direct line from
where Mr. Evans first discovered it, not the smallest rivulet, or, in
fact, water of any description, falls into it from either the north or
south; with the exception of the two small occasional streams near the
depot, which flow from the north.

The country to the southward, in its soil and productions, explains
pretty satisfactorily why no constant running streams can have sources
in that direction; and it may be esteemed, as to useful purposes,
a desert, uninhabitable country. A small strip along the sea-coast
may possibly be better, and derive water from the low hills which
are known to border on it: south of the parallel of 34. S. may
therefore be considered as falling under the above designation and
description of country.

The plains south of the river, and lying from Goulburn's to Macquarie's
Range, were named Strangford Plains; and a remarkable peak south of
Barrow's Hill, Dryander's Head.

We resolved to try if our old friends, the fish, still continued in the
streams; in the course of a short time five fine ones were caught: this
most seasonable refreshment had an excellent effect in raising our
hitherto depressed spirits; and eternal Hope again visited us in the
form of extensive lakes and a better country; and even when her
companion Fear obtruded herself on our minds, the certainty of plenty of
water, and the chance of a fresh meal, dispelled every remaining

It was a matter of considerable curiosity and interest to us, in what
direction the Macquarie River had run; it was clear that it had not
joined the present stream, for in that case it would have been much more
considerable: we were within three or four miles of the latitude of
Bathurst, and it was scarcely probable that it should continue for so
long a course to run parallel to the Lachlan. The whole form, character,
and composition of this part of the country is so extremely singular,
that a conjecture on the subject is hardly hazarded before it is
overturned; every thing seems to run counter to the ordinary course of
nature in other countries.

June 24.--The water is about three feet above the common level, and
although the banks on both sides are certainly occasionally overflowed,
there is no appearance of any fresh or flood having swollen the stream
for a considerable time.

At nine o'clock we set forward down the river; our course lay westerly,
and by three o'clock we had gone nearly twelve miles in that direction;
when we stopped for the night on the banks of the river near the
termination of Macquarie's Range, the north point of which I named Mount

Strangford's Plains lay along our course the whole way; the river being
hidden from our view by a thick border of trees. We observed several
hollows and gulleys, which being connected with the river in times of
flood, receive their waters from it; they were now dry; but the
singularity consisted in the water being conveyed by them over the low
lands instead of their being the channels by which the waters in rainy
seasons might be drained off to the river. During our whole journey, we
have never discovered in what manner any additional supply of water
could be conveyed to it, as the back lands (with the exception of the
ranges) were always lower than the immediate banks of the river itself;
where we stopped, it was about thirty feet wide, and nearly choked up
with fallen trees.

Whilst the horses were coming up, I set off, accompanied by Mr.
Cunningham, for the purpose of ascending Mount Porteous: the view from
it by no means repaid us for our trouble; the same everlasting flats met
our eye in every direction westerly round nearly to north, in which
quarter the horizon was occasionally studded with hills, at too great a
distance to render them objects of interest to us. The immediate
vicinity of the river was free from timber or brush in various places;
and these tracts have hitherto received the particular denomination of
PLAINS, which might with equal propriety be extended to the whole
country. The bases of the hills and ranges were invariably a barren red
sand, affording nourishment to a few miserable cypresses and eucalypti
dumosa; between which, and filling up all the intermediate spaces, grows
a variety of acacia and dwarf shrubs, rendering those parts nearly a
thicket. Within one hundred yards of the bank of the river, and there
alone, were seen the only timber trees we had met with in the country;
if huge unshapen eucalypti, which would not afford a straight plank ten
feet long, may be so denominated.

June 25,--Proceeded down the river, and at three o'clock halted for the
night, having performed about eleven miles; the country barren, even to
the very verge of the stream, which continues to run nearly west. We
were obliged to keep at a small distance from the river, owing to large
lagoons, partly full of water, which would have otherwise interrupted
our course, or rather our multitude of courses; for I never saw a stream
with such opposite windings, and no one reach was a quarter of a mile
long, so that it may be said to resemble a collar of SS. The opposite
plains were named Butterworth Plains.

Several new plants were the result of to-day's research, among them a
new species of amaryllis, upon which the botanists prided themselves
much; for in this country few were supposed to be in existence.

June 26--The morning cold and frosty. At nine o'clock we proceeded down
the river, which inclined to the south of west for ten miles; when at
three o'clock we stopped for the evening. We passed through a country to
the full as barren as any we had yet seen. There were occasional clear
spaces, but for the greater part thick cypress bushes, acacia, and other
low shrubs, rendered it difficult for the horses to pass. On the plain,
the acacia pendula again made a very fine appearance.

The timber on the intermediate banks of the stream became scarcer and
smaller; and from the marks on the trees in the swamps, it sometimes
overflows them to the depth of two feet; but they have now apparently
been long dry, the little water remaining in the hollows or holes being
a milky white.

The abundance of white cockatoos and crows, which is constantly about
the banks of the river, is astonishing; the other smaller birds appear
to be also common to the east coast. Since we have been on the river, no
recent traces of the natives have been seen; here, as higher up the
river, they rather seem to shun it, and frequent the higher grounds in
preference: perhaps their food is more easily procured on those grounds
than on the river, particularly as they appear unacquainted with the
method of taking the fish by hook and line.

As the horses were by no means in a condition to be forced, I determined
to remain here to-morrow to refresh them, and set forward again on
Saturday morning.

June 27.--After breakfast, I sent two men down the river to examine our
route for to-morrow: one of them crossed over to the north side, to
endeavour to reach some open spaces of plains which we saw from our
tent. In the course of the afternoon they both returned; one, who had
gone a little way inland on this side, could make no progress for
extensive swamps, covered with water of the depth of from two to four
feet, and abounding with black swans and wild fowl. The other man was
also unable to reach the plains on the other side for water supplied
from a creek of the river, and forming an extensive and deep morass.

With these unfavourable reports before us, we determined to keep close
to this bank of the river during tomorrow's journey; and if we should he
prevented by its overflowing from proceeding, to return, and endeavour
to round the morasses to the southward. Latitude by observation
33. 22. S., long. 145. 24. 15. E.; and the variation of the compass
7. 30. E.

June 28.--Upon farther consideration, it appeared more advisable that
the horses should proceed round the south edge of the morasses rather
than be obliged to return; after keeping by the river for three or four
miles, which to all appearance was as far as we should be enabled to
proceed in that direction. However, that there might remain no doubt as
to which was the preferable route, I adhered to my determination to go
down the banks of the river myself as far as I could, and return by the
route which the horses were to take. Our principal object being to keep
as close to the stream as possible, with reference to the ability of the
horses to travel over the ground.

The horses set forward at nine o'clock$ and I proceeded down the stream
five or six miles, when I was obliged to return to the place from which
I set out, being unable to cross a small drain that led from the swamps
to the river. I could in no place deviate above fifty yards from the
river without being bogged, the water lying in some places eighteen
inches deep, and in holes, much deeper. I attempted several times to
proceed southerly, intending to cross the track which I presumed Mr.
Evans would be obliged to take, but I was unable to accomplish it. The
route taken by Mr. Evans and the horses led along the edge of extensive
morasses covered with water; we proceeded nine or ten miles, when the
morasses almost assumed the appearance of lakes; very extensive
portions of them being free from timber, and being apparently deep
water. South of the edge of the morass along which we travelled, the
country was a barren scrub, and in places very soft; the horses falling
repeatedly during the day.

At the place where we stopped for the evening, I calculated that we were
about five miles south of the river; on the edge of a very large lagoon,
or lake. The country was so extremely low, that before I returned up the
river to rejoin the horses, wishing to see what the openings on the
other side were, I ascended a large gum tree, which enabled me to see
that the flats opposite were similar to those on the south side. Our
progress, upon the whole although we had travelled upwards of ten miles,
did not exceed in a direct line five miles. The lagoons abound with
water fowl, although we were not so fortunate as to obtain any; we were
however amply compensated by our dogs killing a fine large emu. Various
old marks of natives having visited these lakes, but none recent.

June 29.--Our course in the first instance was directed in such a
manner as to compass the lagoons, which after travelling about three
miles and a half to the south-west, we accomplished, and again came upon
the stream; the country thence backward bore the marks of being at some
periods near three feet under water, and was covered with small
box-trees: the country from our rejoining the river, to the place at
which we stopped for the evening, consisted of barren plains, extending
on both sides of the stream to a considerable distance backward. The
points of the bends of the river were universally wet swamps with large
lagoons; the back land, though equally subject to flood, was now dry;
but the travelling was very heavy, the ground being a rotten, red, sandy
loam, on which nothing grew but the usual production of marshes. I never
saw a stream with so many sinuosities; in many places a quarter of a
mile would cut off at least three miles by the river. The stream was in
places much contracted, sand banks stretching nearly across; its medium
depth was about eight feet.

There was not the smallest eminence whence a view might be obtained, the
country appearing a dead level; and although on these plains we could
see for some distance all round, yet there was not a rising ground in
any direction. The plains on the north side of the stream were named
Holdsworthy; and those on the south, Harrington. We were lucky enough to
procure two fine emus.

June 30.--The first two or three miles were somewhat harder travelling
than the greater part of yesterday. Immense plains extended to the
westward, as far as the eye could reach. These plains were entirely
barren, being evidently in times of rain altogether under water, when
they doubtless form one vast lake: they extended in places from three to
six miles from the margin of the stream, which on its immediate borders
was a wet bog, full of small water holes, and the surface covered with
marsh plants, with a few straggling dwarf box-trees. It was only on the
very edge of the bank, and in the bottoms of the bights, that any
eucalypti grew; the plains were covered with nothing but gnaphalium: the
soil various, in some places red tenacious clay, in others a dark
hazel-coloured loam, so rotten and full of holes that it was with
difficulty the horses could travel over them. Although those plains were
bounded only by the horizon, not a semblance of a hill appeared in the
distance; we seemed indeed to have taken a long farewell of every thing
like an elevation, whence the surrounding country could be observed. To
the southward, bounding those plains in that direction, barren scrubs
and dwarf box-trees, with numberless holes of stagnant water, too
clearly proclaimed the nature of the country in that quarter. We could
see through the openings of the trees on the river that plains of
similar extent occupied the other side, which has all along appeared to
us to be (if any thing) the lower ground. We travelled in the centre of
the plains, our medium distance from the river being from one to two
miles; and although we did not go above thirteen miles, some of the
horses were excessively distressed from the nature of the ground.

There was not the least appearance of natives; nor was bird or animal of
any description seen during the day, except a solitary native dog.
Nothing can be more melancholy and irksome than travelling over wilds,
which nature seems to have condemned to perpetual loneliness and
desolation. We seemed indeed the sole living creatures in those vast

The plains last travelled over were named Molle's Plains, after the late
lieutenant-governor of the territory; and those on the opposite side,
Baird's Plains, after the general to whom he once acted as aide-de-camp,
and whose glory he shared. The naming of places was often the only
pleasure within our reach; but it was some relief from the desolation of
these plains and hills to throw over them the associations of names dear
to friendship, or sacred to genius. In the evening three or four small
fish were caught.

July 1.--Dark cloudy morning, with showers of rain. However desirous I
was to proceed, I found that to do so would greatly injure the horses.
Towards noon it cleared up, permitting me to take a tolerable
observation, to ascertain our situation. I consider ourselves as
peculiarly fortunate in being blessed with so dry and favourable a
season; since all attempts to penetrate into the country during rain, or
after an inundation of the stream, must have failed. I am quite
convinced that at this place, when the banks are overflowed, the waters
must extend from thirty to forty miles on each side of the stream, as we
are that distance from any eminence. If there had been any nearer to the
north, west, or south, we must have seen it from those extensive plains
on which we have travelled for the last three days; for looking
eastward, we can distinctly perceive Macquarie's Range, from which we
estimate ourselves to be about thirty-five miles west. The stream was
sounded in various places during the day, and its greatest depth never
exceeded seven feet; the bottom and sides a stiff bluish clay. Latitude
observed 33. 32. 22. S., longitude 145. 5. 50. E.; variation of the
compass 6. 49. E.

July 2.--At nine o'clock we again set forward down the stream; our
course, as it has hitherto done, lay over apparently interminable
plains, nothing relieving the eye but a few scattered bushes, and
occasionally some dwarf box-trees: the view was boundless as the ocean,
neither eminence nor hillock appearing. On the edges of the stream
alone, and the lagoons that occasionally branched from it, was any thing
like timber to be seen. The occasional openings on the stream enabled us
to perceive, that the north side was in every respect similar to the
south: I was so much deceived, by the semblance of the plains on the
other side to sheets of water, that I twice went down to the edge of the
stream to assure myself to the contrary.

A strong current of water must frequently pass over these plains, as is
evident from the traces left by the washings of shrubs, leaves, etc. The
soil was a brown hazel-coloured sandy loam, very soft and boggy; in
places it was more tenacious, water still remaining in many holes. By
the marks on the trees it would seem that the stream occasionally
overflows its banks to the depth of three or four feet; and five miles
back from it small trees were seen, that had evidently stood from twelve
to eighteen inches in the water. As usual we saw no recent signs of
natives having visited these parts; here and there the remains of
burnt muscle-shells would denote that at certain seasons the stream is
visited by them for the purpose of procuring these shell-fish: I am
clearly of opinion that, in dry summers, there is no running water in
the bed of the present stream, and thus it is easy for them to procure
the muscles from the shallow stagnant pools which would naturally be
formed at every bend of the stream. To procure any such shell-fish
whilst a stream like the present is running in it, is totally

Although we did not travel above eleven miles, we were nearly seven
hours in performing it. Our halting place was within a few feet of the
river, and so wet and spongy, that the water sprung even from the
pressure of our feet; and this has been the case nearly ever since we
made the stream, though of course we chose the driest spots. Neither
hunting nor fishing were successful today, but as we had become from
experience not over sanguine, our expectations were not much
disappointed, and the aspect of the country promised nothing.

It had been remarked by all, for some days past, that a putrid sour
smell seemed to proceed from the plains, and we were at first at some
loss to discover the cause of it, as there did not appear sufficient
vegetable matter in a decayed state to produce such an effect. Mr.
Cunningham discovered that it proceeded from decayed plants of the
salsolae, which produce the same effect as decayed sea-weed does in salt
marshes; in short, all the plants found in our journey over these plains
are the natural productions of low wet situations.

July 3.--So thick a fog arose during the night, that in the morning we
could not see in any direction above one hundred yards; this delayed us
considerably, and it was the middle of the day before we could proceed.

Our course lay over the same description of country as we had previously
passed. The soil in some parts a red loamy mould; in others, a dark
hazel-coloured sandy soil: this last appears to have its origin in the
depositions left by floods, the former being the original or prevailing
soil. The plants and shrubs the same as yesterday.

Several flocks of a new description of pigeon were seen for the first
time; two were shot, and were beautiful and curious. Their heads were
crowned with a black plume, their wings streaked with black, the short
feathers of a golden colour edged with white; the back of their necks a
light flesh-colour, their breasts fawn-coloured, and their eyes red. A
new species of cockatoo or paroquet, being between both, was also seen,
with red necks and breasts, and grey backs. I mention these birds thus
particularly, as they are the only ones we have yet seen which at all
differ from those known on the east coast. [Note: See the Plates.] Our
visible horizon, in every direction, being merely studded with shrubs
and low bushes, gave the scene a singular marine appearance. We stopped
about two miles south of the river, not being able to reach it before
night-fall, the marshy ground having driven us a considerable distance

July 4.--During this day's course we repeatedly attempted to gain the
situation where we supposed the river to take its course, but were
always disappointed; immense swamps constantly barred our attempts to
travel northerly; these swamps were now covered with several feet of
water, which, from the marks of dwarf trees growing in them, is
sometimes three or four feet deeper. The same dead level of country
still prevailed; and the sandy deserts of Arabia could not boast a
clearer horizon, the low acacia bushes not in any degree interrupting
the view. It was remarkable that there was always water where the dwarf
box-trees grew; we might therefore be said to coast along from woody
point to point, since all attempts to pass through them were uniformly
defeated. The soil the same as yesterday, and most unpleasant to travel
over, from the circular pools or hollows, which covered the whole plain,
and which seem to be formed by whirlpools of water, having a deep hole
in the bottom, through which the water appeared to have gradually
drained off. It is clear that the entire country is at times inundated,
and that as every thing now bears the appearance of long-continued
drought, the swamps and stagnant waters are the residuum.

In the whole we proceeded upwards of fourteen miles, and stopped for the
night upon the edge of one of the swamps, which are now the only places
that afford any timber for firing. Some traces of natives were seen
today, about three or four days old; they appeared to have been a single
family of four or five persons. If there are any natives in our
neighbourhood, they must have discovered us, and keep out of the way,
otherwise upon these clear flats we could not avoid seeing them.

We were again fortunate enough to kill an emu, a most acceptable
supply, since continued exercise gives us appetites something beyond
what our ration can satisfy.

July 5.--Independently of the nature of the country rendering it
altogether uninhabitable, the noxious vapours that must naturally arise
during the heats of summer from these marshes (should the present
surface of land on which we are now travelling be then free from water),
would render the whole tract peculiarly unhealthy. Even during the short
space of a fortnight, when it might be presumed that the winter's cold
had in a great degree rendered the effluvia innoxious, every person in
the expedition was more or less affected by dysenterical complaints; and
the putrid sour smell that constantly attended us was symptomatic of
what would be its effects when rendered active by the powerful heats of

Although there was no grass out of the marshes for the horses to feed
upon, yet they appeared to live very tolerably upon a species of
atriplex which covered the plains, and being extremely succulent was
eaten with avidity by them; they certainly preferred it to the grasses
which the swamps produced.

Our route lay over the same unvarying plain surface as on the preceding
days, and after travelling about five miles, we again saw the line of
trees growing on the banks of the stream; and having performed about ten
miles more, we halted on the immediate banks of it. These were
considerably lower, being about six feet above the water; the current
was almost imperceptible, and the depth did not exceed four feet, and
was extremely muddy; the trees growing on the banks were neither so
large nor so numerous as before, and a new species of eucalyptus
prevailed over the old blue gum. The north-east side was precisely of
the same description of country as the south-east. A very large sheet of
water or lake lay on the north-west side, opposite to the place where we
made the river. The horizon was clear and distinct round the whole
circle, the line of trees on the river alone excepted. From the marks on
these trees, the waters appear to rise about three feet above the level
of the bank; a height more than sufficient to inundate the whole
country. This stream is certainly in the summer season, or in the long
absence of rain, nothing more than a mere chain of ponds, serving as a
channel to convey the waters from the eastward over this low tract. It
is certain that no waters join this river from its source to this point;
and passing, as it does, for the most part, through a line of country so
low as to be frequently overflowed, and to an extent north and south
perfectly unknown. but certainly at this place exceeding forty miles, it
must cause the country to remain for ever uninhabitable, and useless for
all the purposes of civilized man.

These considerations, added to the state of our provisions, of which, at
the reduced ration of three pounds of flour per man per week, we had but
ten weeks remaining, determined me to proceed no farther westward with
the main part of the expedition; but as the state of the greater part of
our horses was such as absolutely to require some days' rest and
refreshment, before we attempted to return eastward, I considered that
it would be acting best up to the spirit of my instructions to proceed
forward myself with three men and horses, and as we should carry nothing
with us but our provisions, we should be enabled to proceed with so much
expedition, as to go as far and see as much in three days as would take
the whole party at least seven to perform.

My object in thus proceeding farther was to get so far to the westward
as to place beyond all question the impossibility of a river falling
into the sea between Cape Otway and Cape Bernouilli. In my opinion, the
very nature of the country altogether precludes such a possibility, but
I think my proceeding so far will be conclusive with those who have most
strongly imbibed the conviction that a river enters the sea between the
Capes in question, which was certainly an idea I also had entertained,
and which nothing but the survey of a country, without either hills or
permanent streams, could have destroyed.

I must observe as a remarkable feature in this singular country, that
for the last fifty miles we have not seen a stone or pebble of any kind,
save two, and they were taken out of the maws of two emus. I am now
firmly persuaded that there are no eminent grounds in this part of the
country, until these low sandy hills [Note: From Encounter Bay to this
slight projection (Cape Bernouilli), the coast is little else than a
bank of sand, with a few hummocks on the top, partially covered with
small vegetation, nor could any thing in the interior country be
distinguished above the bank. Flinder's Voy. Vol. I. p. 197.] which
bound the south-western coast-line are reached; and these, in my
judgment, are the only barriers which prevent the ocean from extending
its empire over a country which was probably once under its dominion.

July 6.--A fine and pleasant morning; one of the horses was found dead,
the greater part of the others in a very weakly state.

July 7.--At eight o'clock, taking with me three men, I proceeded to
follow the course of the stream; I attempted in the first instance to
keep away from the banks, but was soon obliged to join them, as the
morasses extended outwards and intersected my proposed course in almost
every direction. About three miles and a half from the tent, a large arm
extended from the north bank to a considerable distance on that side;
the banks continually getting lower, and before we had gone six miles it
was evident that the channel of the stream was only the bed of a lagoon,
the current now being imperceptible, with small gum trees growing in the
middle. Three miles farther the morasses closed upon us, and rendered
all farther progress impossible. The water was here stagnant. The large
trees that used to be met with in such numbers up the stream were
entirely lost, a few diminutive gums being the only timber to be seen:
the height of the bank from the water-line was three feet six inches;
and the marks of floods on the trunks of the trees rose to the height of
four feet six inches, being about one foot above the level of the
surrounding marshes. It would appear that the water is frequently
stationary at that height for a considerable time, as long moss and
other marks of stagnant waters were remaining on the trunks and roots of
the trees, and on the long-leaved acacia, which was here a strong plant.
There could not be above three feet water in this part of the lagoon, as
small bushes and tufts of tea grass were perceptible. The water was
extremely muddy, and the odour arising from the banks and marshes was
offensive in the extreme. There were only four different kinds of plants
at this terminating point of our journey, viz. the small eucalyptus, the
long-leaved acacia, the large tea grass, and a new diaeceous plant which
covered the marshes, named polygonum junceum. It is possible that the
bed of the lagoon might extend eight or ten miles farther, but I do not
think it did, as the horizon was perfectly clear in all directions, a
few bushes and acacia trees, marking the course of the lagoon, excepted.

Had there been any hill or even small eminence within thirty or forty
miles of me they must now have been discovered, but there was not the
least appearance of any such, and it was with infinite regret and pain
that I was forced to come to the conclusion, that the interior of this
vast country is a marsh and uninhabitable. How near these marshes may
approach the south-western coast, I know not; but I do not think that the
range of high and dry land in that quarter extends back north-easterly
for any great distance; it being known, that the coast from Cape
Bernouilli to the head of Spencer's Gulf is sandy and destitute of
water. [Note: The view from the top of Mount Brown (in lat. 32. 30. 15.
and lon. 138. 0. 3/4. E. head of Spencer's Gulf) was very extensive,
its elevation not being less than three thousand feet; but neither
rivers nor lakes could be perceived, nor any thing of the sea to the
south-eastward. In almost every direction the eye traversed over an
uninterruptedly flat woody country, the sole exceptions being the ridge
of mountains, extending north and south; and the water of the gulf to
the south-westward. Flinder's Voy. Vol. I. p. 159.]

Perhaps there is no river, the history of which is known, that presents
so remarkable a termination as the present: its course in a straight
line from its source to its termination exceeds five hundred miles, and
including its windings, it may fairly be calculated to run at least
twelve hundred miles; during all which passage, through such a vast
of country, it does not receive a single stream in addition to what it
derives from its sources in the eastern mountains.

I think it a probable conjecture that this river is the channel by which
all the waters rising in those ranges of hills to the westward of Port
Jackson, known by the name of the Blue Mountains, and which do not fall
into the sea on the east coast, are conveyed to these immense inland
marshes; its sinuous course causing it to overflow its banks on a much
higher level than the present, and in consequence, forming those low wet
levels which are in the very neighbourhood of the government depot. Its
length of course is, in my opinion, the principal cause of our finding
any thing like a stream for the last one hundred miles, as the immense
body of water which must undoubtedly be at times collected in such a
river must find a vent somewhere, but being spent during so long a
course without any accession, the only wonder is, that even those waters
should cause a current at so great a distance from their source;
everything however indicates, as before often observed, that in dry
seasons the channel of the river is empty, or forms only a chain of
ponds. It appears to have been a considerable length of time since the
banks were overflowed, certainly not for the last year; and I think it
probable they are not often so: the quantity of water must indeed be
immense, and of long accumulation, in the upper marshes, before the
whole of this vast country can be under water.

My intention to penetrate farther westward being thus frustrated, I
returned to the tent about three o'clock, and determined, should the
horses appear sufficiently recovered and refreshed, finally to quit
this western part of the country on Thursday next; a few days rain
would prevent us from ever quitting it, but we have been bountifully
favoured by Providence with a season of continued fair and pleasant
weather, which could hardly have been expected, and which alone could
have enabled us to decide so satisfactorily, if it can be called
satisfaction to prove the negative of the existence of any navigable
rivers in this part of Australia.

July 8.--Observed the sun's magnetic amplitude in rising from the clear
horizon of the plain, a circumstance that rarely can occur in any
country unless such a one as the present; it strongly marks the.
horizontal level which seems to run now from east to west.

Mean lat. of our tent   33 degrees 53 minutes 19 seconds S.
Comp. long.            144         33         50         E.
Mean variation           7         25         00         E.

Situation of the spot where the stream ceased to have a current.

Lat                     33 degrees 57 minutes 30 seconds S.
Long. comp.            144         23         00         E.
Do.    do.             144         31         15         E.

No hill or eminence in a south-west direction terminating in
lat. 34. 22. 12. and in long. 143. 30. 00. E. which is the calculated
extent of our visible clear horizon.

The afternoon proved cloudy, with occasional showers: prepared every
thing for our return eastward on the morrow.

July 9.--The morning fair and pleasant, but cold, the ground being
covered with hoar-frost. At half-past eight we set out on our return
eastward, every one feeling no little pleasure at quitting a region
which had presented nothing to his exertions but disappointment and
desolation. Under a tree near the tent, inscribed with the words "Dig
under," we buried a bottle, containing a paper bearing the date of our
arrival and departure, with our purposed course, and the names of each
individual that composed the party. I cannot flatter myself with the
belief, however, that European eyes will ever trace the characters
either on the tree or the paper; but we deposited the scroll as a
memorial that the spot had been once in the tide of time visited by
civilized man, and that should Providence forbid our safe return to
Bathurst, the friends who might search for us should at least know the
course we had taken.

About two o'clock we arrived at our halting-place of the 4th; and
there being no place convenient for pitching our tent within six or
seven miles farther on, we determined to remain here.

July 10.--Observed the variation of the compass by amp., at sun-rising,
to be 7. 47. E., by Kater's compass. The horses having strayed, it was
nearly eleven o'clock before we could set out, and between four and five
o'clock we stopped at our halting-place of the 3d. On our way we passed
a raised mound of earth which had somewhat the appearance of a
burial-place; we opened it, but found nothing in it except a few ashes,
but whether from bones or wood could not be distinguished; a
semicircular trench was dug round one side of it, as if for seats for
persons in attendance.

July 11.--At nine, again set forward on our return up the river, and it
was near four o'clock before we arrived at a convenient halting-place on
its banks, the river presented a most singular phenomenon to our
astonished view. That river which yesterday was so shallow that it could
be walked across, and whose stream was scarcely perceptible, was now
rolling along its agitated and muddy waters nearly on a level with the
banks: whence this sudden rise, we could not divine, any more than we
could account for the non-appearance of a fresh twenty miles lower down;
unless the marshes which we have traced for the two last days, at a
distance from the river, should have absorbed the waters in passing, or
unless the extremely winding course should so protract and retard the
current of them as to cause a considerable time to elapse before a flood
in the upper parts could reach the lower. We considered ourselves as
extremely fortunate in having quitted our station of the 8th a day or
two before it was originally intended, as we should otherwise have been
in considerable danger.

The present height of the bank above the level of the stream is four
feet nine inches.

A singular instance of affection in one of the brute creation was this
day witnessed. About a week ago we killed a native dog, and threw his
body on a small bush: in returning past the same spot to-day, we found
the body removed three or four yards from the bush, and the female in a
dying state lying close beside it; she had apparently been there from
the day the dog was killed, being so weakened and emaciated as to be
unable to move on our approach. It was deemed mercy to despatch her.

A tomb similar in form to that which we observed yesterday being
discovered near our halting-place of this day, I caused it to be opened:
it is as a conical mound of earth about four feet high in the centre,
and nearly eight feet long in the longest part, exactly in the centre,
and deep in the ground: we at first thought we perceived the remains of
a human body, which had been originally placed upon sticks arranged
transversely, but now nearly decayed by time; nothing remained of what
we took for the body but a quantity of unctuous clayey matter. The whole
had the appearance of being not recent, the semicircular seats being now
nearly level with the rest of the ground, and the tomb itself overgrown
with weeds. The river fell about three inches in the course of the

July 12.--It is impossible that any weather can be finer than that which
we are favoured with. For days together the sky is unobscured by even a
single cloud, and although the air is cold and sharp, yet the dryness of
the atmosphere amply repays us for any little inconvenience we sustain
from the cold. At nine, we again set forward on our return up the river,
and at three arrived on its banks, having performed about twelve miles.
The river had fallen about one foot in the course of the day. The horses
being much fatigued by the heavy travelling over the flats, and many of
them being very sorely galled in the back, I propose halting to-morrow
to refresh them. We were this day once more cheered by the sight of
rising ground; Macquarie's Range just appearing above the horizon,
distance about forty miles; and we felt that we were again about to
tread on secure and healthy land, with a chance of procuring some sort
of game, which would now be very acceptable, our diet being entirely
confined to pork and our morsel of bread. The weather is far too cold for
us to have any hopes of procuring fish; all our attempts to catch them
for the last fortnight being unsuccessful. The odour from the river and
marshes was most fetid, and was, I think, even stronger than that which
we had before experienced.

July 13.--In the course of the day the river fell upwards of a foot.

July 14.--The river fell about eighteen inches. We found that the horses
had again strayed, and they were not found and brought home until past
sunset, having wandered about in search of food from eight to twelve
miles in various directions. As the people had of course separated in
the search, three men still remained out; and being fearful that the
darkness of the night might prevent them from finding the camp, fired
several musquets, and kindled a fire upon the plains. It was twelve
o'clock before they were fortunate enough to regain the tents.

July 15.--At three, having travelled about twelve miles, halted on the
stream for the evening. The dogs killed an emu.

July 16.--Cloudy, but mild and pleasant. We retraced this day much of
the same ground which we travelled on the 28th ult. The horses were
frequently up to their shoulders in deep holes, to the danger of
breaking their own limbs, or those of their leaders or riders. There is
a uniformity in the barren desolateness of this country, which wearies
one more than I am able to express. One tree, one soil, one water, and
one description of bird, fish, or animal, prevails alike for ten miles,
and for one hundred. A variety of wretchedness is at all times
preferable to one unvarying cause of pain or distress.

We halted on the margin of one of the swamps, after travelling about
eleven miles, which it took eight hours to accomplish.

July 17.--Part of the horses again strayed; these delays in such a
country try our patience to the very utmost, and their very rambling is
the sole means of their being kept alive. It was past eleven before we
could set out, and the rain that had fallen during the night rendered
our track so extremely soft that it was with difficulty the horses could
proceed. At three we halted for the evening on a large lagoon near the
river, having gone about nine miles and a quarter.

July 18.--At nine proceeded onwards towards Macquarie's Range; and at
four, we halted at the place we rested at on the 24th ult. For the first
time since we left Cypress Hill we heard natives on the other side of
the river, but they kept out of our sight.

July 19.--At nine we proceeded up the river, and at three arrived at the
spot where we first reached the river on the 23d ult. The fresh in the
river was still considerable, being from three to five feet above its
apparent usual level.

July 20.--Rested the horses to-day, having had a hard week's work, and
the weather being unfavourable. Confirmed my intention of returning to
Bathurst instead of the depot on the Lachlan, for the following reasons.
The route up the Lachlan would be difficult and very tedious, not to say
impracticable, without the assistance of boats in crossing the two
principal creeks; and if it should have proved wet and rainy, it would
be nearly impossible to travel over the low-lands with loaded horses.
Again, our return by the route outward would not afford us any
additional knowledge of the country, and presuming this river to be the
Lachlan, the course and the country in the neighbourhood of the
Macquarie would still remain unknown. To return to Bathurst by a
northerly course would enable us to trace the Macquarie to a very
considerable distance; it would give us a knowledge of the country at
least two hundred miles below Bathurst; and although the difficulties we
may meet with in the attempt are of course unknown to us, yet I consider
it a far preferable route to returning by the Lachlan, the difficulties
of which are known, and I think we may reach one station as soon as the

To-morrow, therefore, I am resolved to set forward again up the stream,
and take the earliest opportunity to cross it; when, should the
inclination of its course be such as to give reason to believe it to be
the Macquarie, we shall continue on the north bank the whole way to
Bathurst: but, on the contrary, should its course leave it no longer in
doubt that it is the Lachlan again rising from the marshes under Mount
Cunningham, we shall quit its banks, and, taking a north-easterly
course, endeavour to fall in with the Macquarie, which having found, I
shall pursue my first intention of keeping along its banks until we
arrive at Bathurst. The river has risen in the course of the night and
morning about eighteen inches. We killed this day a red kangaroo, and
three emus.

July 21.--The stream has risen nearly eighteen inches in the night. It
is extremely puzzling whence such a body of water can come thus
suddenly. There must have been a great deal of rain in the eastern
mountains, and the accumulated waters can be only now bending their way
to the lower grounds; should the winter have proved wet to the eastward,
it will undoubtedly solve the problem.

At half past eight o'clock we proceeded up the river, which during our
day's journey trended nearly north. Both banks appeared equally low:
that on which we were travelling extended to the base of Goulburn's
Range, and was wet and barren. About two miles from our night's
encampment, we ascended a low stony hill, from which the country
northerly was broken into detached hills; to the east was Goulburn's
Range, and to the north-west the country was low without any rising
grounds as far as we could see. The sameness which had so wearied us
during the last month was somewhat relieved by the various rising
hills and low ranges which were scattered over the otherwise level
surface of the country. A hill bearing N. 15 E. received the name
of Mount Torrens; it stood quite detached. Two of the men, who were
about a mile ahead of the main party, fell in with a small native
family, consisting of a man, two women and three children, the
eldest about three years old. The man was very stout and tall; he
was armed with a jagged spear, and no friendly motions of the men (who
were totally unarmed) could induce him to lay it aside, or suffer them
to approach him: during the short time they were with him, he kept the
most watchful eye upon them; and when the men calling the dogs together
were about to depart, he threw down with apparent fierceness the little
bark guneah which had sheltered him and his family during the night, and
made towards the river, calling loudly and repeatedly, as if to bring
others to his assistance: he was quite naked, except the netted band
round the waist, in which were womerahs. The women were covered with
skins over their shoulders, and the two younger children were slung in
them on their backs.

There was a very considerable fresh in the stream, and its windings
to-day were singularly remarkable, insomuch that it was frequently taken
for two different rivers; necks of land near a mile long, but not one
hundred yards wide, being the only separation between several of the
reaches. At three o'clock we halted on its banks, having travelled
eleven miles and a half.

July 22.--The river had risen during the night upwards of a foot, and
was now about eight feet from the banks; its breadth from thirty to
fifty feet, whilst its apparent usual channel could not exceed from
fifteen to twenty. The calls of the natives were heard this morning on
the opposite side of the river. At nine o'clock we again proceeded up
the river, which to-day trended east by north. About four miles east
from our last station, we ascended a stony mount being near the
north-east extreme of Goulburn's Range: the country to the north-east
and round to east was without any eminences of magnitude, but several
rising chains of low hills were scattered over the general surface of
the country; they were mostly bare of trees, being stony and barren. It
is impossible to imagine a worse tract of country than that through
which our route lay this day; to the very edges of the stream, it was a
barren acacia scrub intermingled with cypresses and dwarf box-trees. The
flats were uniformly swampy, and covered with bushes (rhagodea); the
hills instead of grass were clothed with gnapthalium. We repeatedly saw
the river in our course, but I could find no eligible place to cross it,
as the trees which would have suited our purpose for bridges were now,
in consequence of the fresh or flood, in the very middle of the stream.
The banks where the rising grounds came immediately on the river were
high and of a red loamy clay, and when this was the case the opposite
banks were seen to be low in proportion: when we halted for the night,
they were not above five or six feet, and I think there must have been
from ten to twelve feet more water in the bed of the stream than usual.
Bad as the travelling was even close to the stream, it was still worse
about two miles back from it; several small scrubs of the eucalyptus
dumosa and prickly shrubs were passed through by the men who had taken
out the dogs in search of game; and from the hill we first ascended, we
observed several very extensive scrubs to the northward, of the same
description. At half past three we halted for the night, having gone
about eleven miles.

July 23.--The river had fallen a little during the night. At nine
o'clock we again set forward: the country became extremely low and
marshy, far more so than any we had passed over east of Macquarie's
Range. These marshes extended so far southerly that to have gone round
them would have led us far from our purposed course without answering
any useful purpose, and although we judged that at first they might not
extend above three or four miles back, yet we soon had reason to change
that opinion. The river had led us upon a general course nearly east
about six miles, when about half a mile from the bank southerly, a very
extensive lake was formed, extending about east-south-east and
west-north-west from three to four miles, and being about a mile and a
half wide. Excepting the sheet of water on the north side near the
termination of the stream, this was the only one we had seen that could
justly be entitled to the denomination of lake. We crossed over a low
wet swamp, by which its overflowings are doubtless re-conveyed to the
river. This lake was joined to another more easterly, but much smaller.
We could not form any correct judgment how far the marshy ground
extended south-east of it; but the country was low and level as far as
Mount Byng, and a low range extended north-easterly from it. We now kept
the banks of the stream, till at the tenth mile we ascended a small hill
a mile south of it, from which Mount Byng bore N. 12. E. Close under the
hill ran a considerable branch of the river, which certainly supplied
the lakes and lower grounds with water; on the other side of this arm,
the country was low, and apparently marshy as far as we could see. On
examination I found it would be extremely difficult to cross this
branch, as the water was too shallow to swim the horses over, and the
ground so soft that they could not approach the banks within several
yards. I therefore determined to get upon the river nearly where this
branch separated from it, and endeavour to construct a bridge, by which
we might convey the provisions and baggage over: as to the horses, they
could easily swim across.

The course of the river during the day had been nearly due east, but
from the separation of the branch it seemed to take a more northerly
direction; the banks were very low, and never exceeded five feet from
the water. Occasional points of land somewhat more elevated than the
general surface would of course make them in Places a little higher; but
we could not discover any marks which denoted a greater rise than six
feet, or six feet six inches, above the present level. When we halted in
the evening, the stream was running with great rapidity. The water did
not appear to have either risen or fallen during the day; but all the
trees which would have best answered our purposes were now several feet
in the water. We had however no alternative but to cross somewhere in
this neighbourhood, as we were fearful of entangling ourselves in marshy
ground by proceeding farther up this bank; and to attempt to penetrate,
or even to round, the marshes to the southward, (if it were
practicable,) would take up more time (without being of any service)
than we could spare. Experience had made us too well acquainted with the
nature of these marshes to run any needless risks; and we had besides
great hopes that we should find better travelling to the northward,
which as the river seemed inclined to come from that point would also be
a great convenience to us, as I did not purpose to quit its banks as
long as it continued to run any thing north of east.

As to the soil and general description of country passed over this day,
the low-lands were all swamps covered with atriplex bushes, and where
the land was a little more elevated, the soil was sandy and barren,
covered with acacias, dodonaeae, small cypresses and dwarf box-trees. Our
course was E. 4. N. 6 3/4 miles; but by the windings of the river, we had
measured nearly 12 miles. The lake I named Campbell Lake, in honour of
Mrs. Macquarie's family name.

July 24.--At day-light we attempted to construct our bridge near to the
place where we were encamped, but as fast as the trees were felled they
were swept away by the rapidity of the current; the breadth on an
average being now, by reason of the flood, nearly sixty feet, and the
trees on the immediate or proper banks being several feet in the water:
we were therefore obliged to fell trees farther inland, and these, as
before remarked, were swept away, falling short of the land on the
opposite side.

All our attempts to construct a bridge during the day were fruitless, as
the flood was too violent to allow the trees to take firm hold: in
searching the banks of the stream for a proper place for our purpose, an
arm nearly as large as the main branch up which we had travelled was
discovered about a mile down the stream on the north side; it ran to the
north-north-west, and then apparently trended more westerly. Thus is this
vast body of water, all originating in the Eastern or Blue Mountains,
conveyed over these extensive marshes, rendering uninhabitable a tract
which they might reasonably be expected to fertilize.

Finding that in the present high state of the water we could not succeed
in crossing the river, at least near our present station, and that if we
returned lower down we should experience a farther difficulty in
crossing the north-west arm recently seen, it was judged best to try if
we could get over the branch on the south side, and swim the horses over
in the main stream near the mouth of the branch. We could not, however,
find any tree on this side that would reach across; although it was
quite dark before we gave over the attempt for the night.

July 25.--Every means was again employed in constructing the bridge over
the south-west branch. The stream had fallen but a few inches, and
continues to fall too slowly to permit us to entertain any hopes of
crossing it in this vicinity.

Our bridge was finished by one o'clock, but it being too late to cross
the horses and baggage this evening, I went in company with Byrne on
horseback to view the country to the southward. After going about two
miles and a quarter south of the tent, we were most agreeably surprised
with the sight of a very fine lake; we rode down to its shores, which on
this side were hard and sandy beaches. On the south side the shores were
bolder, being red clay cliffs. We now found that the creek or arm which
I had supposed to be the source whence Campbell Lake was supplied, had
not any communication with it, but supplied the lake we now saw: a low
ridge of hills, bare of trees except small cypresses in clumps, lying
between the two lakes, which were distant from each other two or three
miles. Finding I might obtain a better view by going to the point of
these bare hills about five miles westward, I rode thither along the
margin of the lake, but quitted it to ascend the hill, which was about
two miles and a half from it. The hill was but low in comparison with
Goulburn's Range and other hills in the vicinity, but was sufficiently
elevated to afford me the most varied and noble prospect I had seen in
New South Wales The expanse of water was too large and winding to be
seen in one point of view, but it broke in large sheets from east to
west for upwards of six miles; its medium breadth being from two and a
half to three miles: it was bounded six or seven miles from its eastern
extremity by a low range of hills connected with Mount Byng, and from
the dark broken woody appearance of the country in that direction, I
felt assured that the stream came from a more northerly quarter. To the
westward was Goulburn's Range, distant about five or six miles; its bold
rocky peaks of lofty elevation forming a striking contrast to the dead
level of the country southerly, in which however Mount Aiton appeared
like a blue speck on the horizon. To the northward was Mount Granard,
the highest of a very elevated range, it having been seen at a distance
of seventy-two miles from Mount Aiton; and to the north-north-east were
extensive open flats; in one place, bearing N. 17. E., I thought I could
distinguish water. Between the hill on which I stood and the stream,
Campbell Lake wound along the plain, but its width did not allow it to
be so conspicuously seen as the present one. To the south-east and round
to the north-east the country was covered with dark foliage of the
eucalyptus, intermixed with the cypress; whilst to the south-west, as
far as the base of Goulburn's Range, it was more open, with gentle hills
clothed with a few small cypresses. These hills were rocky and barren,
the lower grounds a red loamy clay; but the intermingled light and shade
formed by the different description of trees and shrubs, the hills,
but above all, the noble lake before me, gave a character to the scenery
highly picturesque and pleasing.

From this eminence I took the following bearings to objects connected in
the survey, viz.

The highest point of Goulburn's Range N. 225 degrees distance 5 or 6
Do.             Do.  Mount Aiton         143
Table Hill                               116
Mount Byng                               114
West extreme of the lake N. 106. 30. distance 2 1/2 miles.
East       Do.       Do. N.  65.     distance 5 or 6 miles
Highest point of Mount Granard          N. 341
Extremes of extensive flats from N. 346 1/2 to N. 10. distance
     12 or 14 miles, the last point being also the extreme of a low
Appearance of water or a lake N. 17 degrees
Mount Torrens                 N. 294 1/2
Mount Davidson                N. 317 1/2
Bluff point of the clear hill on which I stand, and to which bearings
     had been previously taken to ascertain its situation, N. 186,
     distance 3/4 Mile.
Low range of hills extending from Mount Byng to N. 55.; nearest part
     of that range, N. 81, distance 8 or 9 miles.

I came back to the tent at half-past four o'clock and it was extremely
satisfactory to us to find, on laying the different bearings down on the
chart, that the connection of the survey with Mount Aiton corresponded to
less than a mile of longitude, although it had extended on a most varied
course from that point between three and four hundred miles.

The water in the stream has remained stationary throughout the day.

July 26.--Mr. Evans set out to view the lake and take some sketches,
whilst I remained to forward the horses and baggage over the arm of the
river, by which time I expected he would return, so as to enable us to
proceed at least a few miles farther up. By half-past eleven we had got
the horses and every other thing safely over, and they proceeded up the
river. Mr. Evans did not return until half-past one to the bridge,
having been highly gratified with his excursion to the lake, of which he
had taken two views.

After proceeding to the north-east about three miles, through a low,
wet, and barren country, which is at times from eighteen inches to two
feet under water, we came upon another fine lake about a mile distant
from the river. This lake was not so large as the last, but was
nevertheless a fine sheet of water, about three miles long and one and a
half or two miles wide; the opposite or south shore was much more
than that near the river, which had here extremely low banks, the water
in the stream not being above four feet below them; the marks of flood
upon the trees were also upwards of three feet higher. The cypress-tree
grew very thick and strong on the opposite side of the lake, casting a
dark shade over its transparent waters, which, though certainly
originating in the river, had not received any supply for apparently a
considerable time. The land from hence to the place where we stopped for
the night was very low and much flooded, with fine, deep, clear lagoons
winding round almost every bend of the stream; the soil was also much
better, having more the appearance of fertility than any we had seen for
some time. About one and a half or two miles from the river a thick
cypress brush bordered the low lands, and was of course free from
floods. The small dwarf box-tree still, however, continued to be the
prevailing wood, and covered, as usual, the more wet and boggy portions
of the low land. The north-west side appeared to be higher, and the
banks, as much at least as we could see of them, seemed of better soil.
A large native's canoe having been found hauled tip near to the spot on
which we stopped, appearing to me sufficiently strong to be capable of
transporting ourselves and baggage to the opposite side of the river, I
determined to make trial of it for that purpose, and if found
practicable to cross at once, rather than wait the chance of the waters
falling sufficiently to enable us to construct a bridge, where, in the
event of failing in that design, no friendly canoe might be at hand to
assist us.

The waters in the stream had not fallen at all, and were about four or
five feet from the banks, continuing to run with great rapidity. The
first lake seen yesterday was named the Regent's Lake, in honour of His
Royal Highness the Prince Regent.

A superb scarlet flower, named kennedia speciosa, was found on the shore
of the first named lake. The course of the river this day was
north-east, and our distance five miles and a half, although we had
travelled upwards of eight and three-quarters.

July 27.--As soon as it was light, our little canoe was launched; but
our hopes and expectations had been too sanguine as to her capability:
sufficiently strong and buoyant to contain one person, more was too much
for her; I therefore of necessity abandoned the design, and at half-past
nine o'clock again proceeded up the strewn. The fresh did not in
the least diminish, but I thought rather rose than fell. A line which
had last night been thrown into the stream, with little hope or
expectation of catching any thing, was found, when taken up this
morning, to have hooked a very fine fish. Since the flood we had almost
ceased to think of fish, as we never had the least success in our trials.

The river, as we had conjectured it would, trended this day again to the
north-east. The country passed over was low and nearly level. The points
and immediate banks were deeply flooded, forming extensive morasses, and
there were generally between them and the drier and more elevated land
deep serpentine lagoons, the water in which was clear and transparent,
it having been apparently a long time since that of the river had filled
them. The back land was a red sandy loam, very light, covered with
acacia bushes, spear-wood, and small cypresses; the only herbage, a
coarse tea-grass; and yet I do not think the kind of soil which appears
to be the universal one upon the drier lands, can be strictly called
barren: I have seen apparently much worse soils in a state of
cultivation. We crossed one or two large plains, clear of wood and even
bushes; the soil a stiff tenacious clay, which, though not flooded by
the river, retains all the water that falls upon it, there being no
descent or fall by which it can be conveyed to its natural drain, the
river. These plains were now dry and hard, and having been lately burnt,
the coarse natural herbage springing up fresh, gave them a pleasing
green appearance. One or two beautiful new shrubs in seed and flower
were found to-day, to the great satisfaction of the botanists, who had
not lately made many very splendid or valuable additions to their

A party of natives was seen on the opposite side of the river,
consisting of one man, two lads, and two women; they disappeared as soon
as they observed us.

The flood had swollen the stream to a considerable breadth; it was at
least sixty feet wide at the spot where we stopped, and was about six
feet below the banks.

July 28.--The waters in the stream continue stationary. There must
have been heavy rains to the eastward, to maintain at this height such
a body of water. As to the rains that fall westward of the Blue
Mountains, I am clearly of opinion, that they are in no way auxiliary in
forming this stream. The soil, the general level surface, without a
single water-course north or south, prove that all the waters which fall
are quickly absorbed; and I think it very probable that rain falls here
extremely seldom, and never simultaneously with the rain of the eastern
coast and mountains.

The day was full of cross accidents, and ended in the separation of the
expedition for the first time. The river turned suddenly north, whilst
extensive swamps ran out from it to the south-east, backed by thick
scrubby land, which we afterwards found, having taken another sudden
bend into the north-west, to be at a considerable distance, and which we
had some difficulty in finding at all, the smaller plains being
separated from the larger one by lagoons, edged with trees similar to
those on the banks of the river.

Not having been able to find the rest of my companions this evening, I
halted with three men on the spot where we reached the river, firing
muskets, that if any of the missing party were near, they might be
enabled to join us in the morning.

The bendings of the river were singularly remarkable, trending suddenly
from south-east by east to north-north-west, and then back to the north
and north-east; I mean the principal bending in the general course, for
the smaller ones were as usual innumerable.

Of the swamps, which in places, extended from eight to ten miles from
the river south-east and south, some parts were dry and others under
water; and there were occasionally large lagoons covered with
innumerable wild fowl of various descriptions. Great numbers of
native companions, bustards, and emus, were seen on the plains, Which, at
the termination of our day's journey, were of a better and drier
description than usual. The north-east hills bounding them were low,
thinly studded with trees, and although rocky on the summits, were
covered with green tea-grass. The flood in the river was very high, but
from the appearance of the banks, which were about five feet from the
water, I did not think it had risen much in the course of the day.

July 29.--At day-light sent a man on horseback to search for our missing
companions up the river, as we thought we had heard a musquet in that
direction in reply to one of ours. The man shortly returned, having met
with two men whom I had seen yesterday looking for their horses; they
had been joined by Mr. Cunningham, and had encamped about half a mile
higher up the stream than ourselves: of Mr. Evans's party, consisting
besides himself of five men, they had heard or seen nothing, nor had
they fallen in with any of their marks. At half-past eight o'clock I
proceeded with the horses up the river to join the two men, expecting
also that Mr. Evans would certainly return downwards when he found that
we did not join him. It was twelve o'clock before we found him, and we
then proceeded up the river, whilst one man and myself went to a clear
hill in the range of Mount Byng, and from which we expected a good
prospect. We passed over a large plain, washed by the river; the soil, a
stiff red clayey loam, long parched by drought; the sides of the hill
light red sandy loam. Small blue gum-trees, box, cypress, and a
multitude of acacia shrubs of various species, were the usual
productions of the drier and more elevated grounds.

Our expectations of an extensive prospect from the top of the hill were
not disappointed: we had a distinct view round the compass. The river
wound close under the foot of the hill, and trending to the south-east
through low marshy grounds covered with atriplex bushes and the acacia
pendula, evidently and distinctly showed that it originated in the
separated branches of the Lachlan, which it is probable united fifteen
or twenty miles below Mount Cunningham, forming the present stream. The
north-east side of the river was equally low and marshy. All the points
which had been set at Mount Cunningham were distinctly recognised, and
bearings being now taken to them, served to correct and prove the
survey. The bearings taken from this hill, named Piper's Hill, were as
follows by the theodolite:

Mount Cunningham               E.  9 deg. 20 min. S.
Mount Meyrick                  S. 67      10      E.
Mount Maude                    S. 62       0      E.
Table Hill                     S.  4      30      E.
Line of Mount Byng,
  called Watson Taylor's range E.  7       0      W.
Mount Granard                  N. 79       0      W.
Mount Barrer                   N. 68       0      W.
     about the same distance as Mount Granard.
Extreme of a high range from N. 59 1/2 W., to N. 24 1/2 W.;
     nearest extreme distance about thirty miles, westward 45.
Extremes of another range from N. 10. W., to N. 2. W.,
     about twelve miles long; another range, N. 3. E. to N. 50 1/2 E
Hurd's Peak, N. 72. E.; a mount north of it (Mount Hawkins),
     N. 71. 15. E.; a distant one, N. 86 1/2 E (Mount Riley).
Low ranges in N. 44. E., N. 35. E. and N. 26 1/2 E.,
     all the intermediate spaces being low level land.

On descending, we waited on the stream till the arrival of Mr. Evans,
about half-past three o'clock, when we halted.

It was determined that as we had now ascertained the course of the
Lachlan, from the depot to its termination, any farther trace of it,
running as it did from the south-east, would take us materially out of
purposed course to Bathurst, without answering any good purpose, at the
same time that we should entangle ourselves in the mushy grounds which
had been seen both from Mount Cunningham, Farewell Hill, and our present
station; and that therefore we should immediately proceed to construct a
raft on which we might transport our provisions and baggage across the
river, afterwards taking such a course as we deemed most likely to bring
us to the Macquarie river, and so keep along its banks to Bathurst.
This work, and the task of getting the baggage over, will take two days

The stream where we stopped was about four feet from the banks, running
with much rapidity; and I think the flood in it has rather increased
than abated.

Almost directly under the hill near our halting-place, we saw a tumulus,
which was apparently of recent construction (within a year at most). It
would seem that some person of consideration among the natives had been
buried in it, from the exterior marks of a form which had certainly been
observed in the construction of the tomb and surrounding seats. The form
of the whole was semicircular. Three rows of seats occupied one half,
the grave and an outer row of seats the other; the seats formed segments
of circles of fifty, forty-five, and forty feet each, and were formed by
the soil being trenched up from between them. The centre part of the
grave was about five feet high, and about nine long, forming an oblong
pointed cone [Note: See the drawing].

I hope I shall not be considered as either wantonly disturbing the
remains of the dead, or needlessly violating the religious rites of an
harmless people, in having caused the tomb to be opened, that we might
examine its interior construction. The whole outward form and appearance
of the place was so totally different from that of any custom or
ceremony in use by the natives on the eastern coast, where the body is
merely covered with a piece of bark and buried in a grave about four
feet deep, that we were induced to think that the manner of interring
the body might also be different. On removing the soil from one end of
the tumulus, and about two feet beneath the solid surface of the ground,
we came to three or four layers of wood, lying across the grave, serving
as an arch to bear the weight of the earthy cone or tomb above. On
removing one end of those layers, sheet after sheet of dry bark was taken
out, then dry grass and leaves in a perfect state of preservation, the
wet or damp having apparently never penetrated even to the first
covering of wood. We were obliged to suspend our operation for the
night, as the corpse became extremely offensive to the smell, resolving
to remove on the morrow all the earth from the top of the grave, and
expose it for some time to the external air before we searched farther.

July 30.--Employed in preparing dead cypress-trees for the timber of the
raft. The rain continued throughout the day without intermission. and
prevented us from making much progress with it. This morning we removed
all the earth from the tomb and grave, and found the body deposited
about four feet deep in an oval grave, four feet long and from eighteen
inches to two feet wide. The feet were bent quite up to the head, the
arms having been placed between the thighs. The face was downwards, the
body being placed east and west, the head to the east [Note: "Nay,
Cadwal, we must lay his head to the east; my father has a reason for

It had been very carefully wrapped in a great number of oppossum skins,
the head bound round with the net usually worn by the natives, and also
the girdle: it appeared after being enclosed in those skins to have been
placed in a larger net, and then deposited in the manner before
mentioned. The bones and head showed that they were the remains of a
powerful tall man. The hair on the head was perfect, being long and
black; the under part of the body was not totally decayed, giving us
reason to think that he could not have been interred above six or eight
months. Judging from his hair and teeth, he might have been between
thirty and forty years of age: to the west and north of the grave were
two cypress-trees distant between fifty and sixty feet; the sides
towards the tomb were barked, and curious characters deeply cut upon
them, in a manner which, considering the tools they possess, must have
been a work of great labour and time. Having satisfied our curiosity,
the whole was carefully re-interred, and restored as near as possible to
the station in which it was found. The river fell in the course of the
day near two feet.

July 31.--Again employed in the construction of our raft, which I hope
will be completed sufficiently early to-morrow to allow us time to get
every thing over, and encamp on the other side. The river fell about two
feet in the course of the day, and still continues to fall rapidly. The
dogs were very successful, killing three emus and a small kangaroo.

August 1.--Still employed on the raft, which will be ready for use about
one o'clock. The river fell a foot during the night, but the trees that
would have been useful to us are still under water. The mean of the
different observations made here gave the following results.

Mean lat.     33 deg. 04 min. 02 sec. S.
Comp. long.  146      31      50      E.
Variation      7      23      00      E.

The series of triangles by which the longitude from our situation on the
17th of May has been computed, corresponds precisely with the bearings
taken from this station to the principal objects forming their bases,
and whose relative situation on the chart had been fixed on the 17th of
May; it was extremely satisfactory to find in so extensive a survey that
the angles should thus so completely verify our situation.

Our raft was finished and launched by one o'clock; its capability of
carrying any burden we had to put upon it fully answered our
expectations; but here its utility ended, the violence of the current
caused by the high flood or the stream rendered all our labour abortive,
as no exertions we were capable of making could enable us to get it
across the stream. We had stretched a line across the river by which to
tow it over, but the men were not able to withstand the force of the
current acting on the body of the raft; they let go their line and were
carried about three quarters of a mile down, when they were brought up
by some trees and got safe on shore, making the raft fast. The flood had
been slowly subsiding all day, giving us hopes that we should still be
enabled to fell some trees for a bridge, which was now our only
resource, as it was considered most advisable to use our utmost efforts
to cross here rather than go farther up the stream.

August 2.--Cloudy weather with heavy rain during the night, which still
continues. We commenced felling some trees, which we were in hopes would
answer our purpose, our anxiety to cross being very great; as it is
probable, from the long continued fine weather we have experienced until
lately, that the rainy season in this part of the country may shortly
set in, which would extremely embarrass and distress us.

We were again disappointed in our hopes of crossing by means of trees,
as the flood which still continued swept them away as soon as felled. I
sent Byrne up the stream to endeavour to find a better Place; but he
returned in the afternoon without any success: he reported that about
three or four miles above the tent a branch joined the stream, that he
had travelled up it six or seven miles, but not far enough to say where
it quitted the main stream; the low plains were several inches under
water from the present rain; and the ground that appeared the driest was
the worst to travel on, being a wet, loose, sandy bog. As the flood
continued rapidly to subside, we resolved upon again trying the raft
to-morrow morning; all hands were accordingly sent to tow her up, which
was accomplished by night.

August 3.--A bleak cold morning, with continued small rain. At day-light
we set to work with our raft: and after many trials had the
satisfaction to find that we should succeed in getting over our baggage.
Whilst Mr. Evans superintended this work, I rode up the river with Byrne
to see the branch: I found it but an inconsiderable one, being merely a
lagoon, except in times of flood like the present, when it appears
nearly as large as the parent stream; it forms an island ten or twelve
miles long, and from two to four broad. The impossibility of our
travelling up this side was demonstrated, as well as the nature of these
lower grounds or clear plains, which retain all the water that falls
upon them, the little inequalities forming shallow pools. It was much
better travelling over them, than on a low ridge of hills a couple of
miles from the river on which I returned; the soil of the latter being
so loose and boggy as to render it difficult for the horses to proceed.

On my return I found considerable progress had been made in transporting
our luggage, and by four o'clock every thing was safely crossed; our
little bark was however completely water logged, and at last would
scarcely support a single man, though when first launched, three or four
might venture in her with safety.

As I think the state of the seasons in New South Wales may serve to
explain, at least partially, why there are no running streams in
the western parts of it, it may be worth while to make some little
inquiry into that subject. It appears to me that it can never rain
simultaneously westward of the Blue Mountains and on the coast,
for these reasons: first, That the Lachlan and Macquarie Rivers,
being the sole channels by which the waters falling on the Blue Mountain
range are conveyed westward to the low-lands, are always flooded in
times of great rains in those mountains and on the coast; secondly, that
the winter, that is to say, the period between March and August, is the
time when the rains are most to be expected, and have most generally
fallen on the east coast, and which so falling would naturally cause a
flood in the streams above mentioned; thirdly, that in the summer
season, or from September to February, which is certainly the driest
period of the year, the rains fall westward of the Blue Mountains; but
falling upon flat sandy land without any watercourses, do not in the
smallest degree add to the waters of the Lachlan or Macquarie, which are
then consequently in a state nearly if not entirely stagnant. It is at
this season, therefore, that these streams are visited by the natives,
as they are then enabled to procure the shell and other fish which abound
in them. The tracks and impressions made by the feet of the natives were
certainly made when the ground was very soft and marshy, whilst their
guneahs were merely the branches of trees, and erected in places which we
found to be swamps, but which in summer would, in comparison with the
plains, be dry ground, the waters from them being drained off into
the river.

The Blue Mountain range is by far the highest in New South Wales; the
ranges westerly, though high when viewed from the low grounds from which
they rise, cannot in any respect be compared with them.

In the summer, the north-east and south-east winds coming from the sea
are forced over these mountains, and the vapours with which they are
charged are attracted by the lower ranges westerly, and converted into
rain. In the winter, the prevailing winds on the coast and inland, as is
evident from the trees on the tops of the hills, are from south-west to
north-west. In the winter, these westerly winds blowing over a vast
extent of country, and coming with great violence on the Blue Mountains,
confine those clouds and vapours which would occasion rain, to the
vicinity of the coast, and the eastern side of the mountains. A wet
summer on the east coast would occasion a flood in the Lachlan at that
season; and should the rains then be attended with easterly winds,
causing rain on the western side also, the whole low country must be
under water for a double reason. This is a circumstance which, I think,
could seldom happen, otherwise the consequence to the miserable natives
must be dreadful.

It may be remembered that for nearly two years (viz. 1814 and 1815),
scarcely a drop of rain fell on the east coast of New South Wales; and
when the country about Bathurst was first visited, it bore marks of
being similarly affected by drought. The last summer was a very wet one
on the east coast; at the depot on the Lachlan, during that period when
the rains were heaviest (in February), the people enjoyed the finest
weather, at the same time the river was constantly flooded, sometimes
rising to a great height in the most sudden manner.

Since the present expedition has been out it has generally enjoyed dry,
clear weather, otherwise we could not have travelled. Our meteorological
journal will, when compared with one kept at Sydney, throw farther light
upon this subject; and I merely hazard the above ideas as hints for a
more general and extended view of the natural causes which seem to
govern the seasons in this truly singular country.

Another proof (if more were wanting) that the river is only periodically
full and flowing, I think may be derived from the numberless windings of
the stream, setting aside the general course. If the water was always
running, it would doubtless have forced a straighter channel through the
soft, loose, sandy, loamy country through which it flows; it being also
remembered that there is not a single stone or rock to be found along
the whole banks of the river: the few low rocky hills that terminate
upon it, either have a narrow slip of soft land between their base and
the river, or the country is flat to a considerable distance on the
opposite shore. Its windings and sudden bends are so remarkable, that I
am sure I under estimate it, when I consider that on a straight line of
ten miles from point to point, the water passes over twenty-five miles;
in many places, from thirty to thirty-five would be within the truth.

The animals differing from those in the neighbourhood of Bathurst are
but few: the principal is a new species of red kangaroo; a smaller
species of the same, having a head delicately formed, called by us the
rabbit-kangaroo. Two other birds besides the pigeon and cockatoo
beforementioned may be noticed: we suppose them to be both birds of
night, being only heard at that time; neither of them was seen: one was
remarkable for exactly imitating the calls of the natives, the other the
short sharp bark of the native dog, insomuch that our dogs were
constantly deceived by the noise.

August 4.--Proceeded to the north-east by east, intending to keep that
course for two or three days, to clear us of the low grounds north of
the Lachlan, before we bent more easterly for Bathurst; the above course
would also carry us so far northward, as to ensure our falling in with
the Macquarie at a considerable distance from the settlement, and also
enable us to discover if any similar streams had their source westerly
of the high range from whence the coal river derives its source, as we
shall then be some miles north of that port.

Our route lay through a low wet country for the first eight or ten
miles, the flats covered with the acacia pendula; the last three miles
were rather more elevated: the soil in general a loose, red, sandy loam,
with small cypress, box, and acacia trees; a few acres in patches had
been burned, occasionally relieving the eye from the otherwise barren
scrubby appearance of the country. We passed through two or three small
eucalyptus scrubs, and upon getting out of one, having gone thirteen
miles and a quarter, we fortunately happened to fall in with a native
well, containing a few gallons of water sufficient for our own supply;
whilst the open level land which the scrub led to having been burnt, we
hoped would afford succulent herbage sufficient for the horses, and
prevent them from suffering from the want of water. Our course was
N. 69 E. thirteen miles.

August 5.--The water for our breakfast drained our little well to the
dregs. Hoping that we should be more fortunate in this day's route, at
half past eight o'clock we again set forward, on the same point as

The first four miles of our course led through one of those dreadful
scrubs of eucalyptus dumosa, and prickly grass, which we had often
before experienced; it was on rather an elevated plain, and, exclusive
of the difficulty of forcing a passage through it, was extremely boggy
and distressing to the horses. After passing through it, the country for
five or six miles farther was more open, the same elevated plain or
level still continuing, being thinly studded with box and cypress trees,
with abundance of acacia and other shrubs: the soil a loose, red, sandy
loam. At the tenth mile we providentially found a small muddy hole of
water which, bad as it was, refreshed both men and horses extremely;
fearing, from the appearance of the country, that we should not find any
water farther on, we filled our small keg, containing nearly three
gallons, which would at all events free us from absolute want. We went
four miles farther through the same desert country, when evening drawing
on, and the small trees and shrubs becoming thicker, we thought it best
to stop before we again encountered an eucalyptus brush; which not
affording the smallest fodder for the horses, would, added to the want
of water, render them in all probability unable to take either us or
themselves out of the desert in which we were.

The spot we halted on afforded some dry tea-grass and a few syngeneceous
shrubs; and praying for a heavy dew to moisten them, we hoped the
animals would not on the whole fare much worse than ourselves.

The rain which had fallen while we were on the river was not perceptible
here; indeed I think sufficient to deluge any other country must fall,
before it is seen on the surface of such a soil as prevails in this part
of New South Wales. A little rain renders it however so soft and slimy
as to make it difficult to travel over; and I should conjecture, from
the milky whiteness of the water in the holes we have seen, that it
rests on a substratum of white clay three or four feet below the
surface; the water holes at least had that bottom, although their
margins were of the red, sandy loam before mentioned.

An accident happened to the vessel containing the mercury of the
artificial horizon, by which the greater part was lost, leaving scarcely
sufficient for use. It had been a matter of surprise to me that such a
misfortune had not occurred sooner, the box containing the instruments,
etc., being so shaken by the horse forcing his way through the scrubs,
that I considered myself extremely fortunate not to have been deprived
of the use of them long before. To carry barometers, and other
delicately constructed mathematical instruments, safely through such a
journey as the present is impossible. Our course made good was N. 68 E.,
distance thirteen miles and a half. The evening fine and clear.

August 6.--Proceeded on our course, which led us for nine or ten miles
through what might be termed an open forest country, with respect to the
timber growing on it, but it was overrun with mimosa and acacia bushes,
many of which were coming into flower, relieving in some measure the
sombre foliage of the cypress and box trees which were scattered among
them: it was rather an elevated tract that we travelled through, with
such gentle rises and descents as to be almost imperceptible from a
level surface. I ascended a hill about three miles north of the road,
but could see nothing remarkable in any direction, the whole appearing
irregularly broken into low hills and valleys, thickly clothed with
small trees and bushes. At the eighth mile we came upon a small
waterhole, which our poor horses soon emptied; again at the tenth mile,
just at the commencement of a very broken stony range, we also found a
few gallons of water, which the horses also enjoyed, it being much too
muddy for our use; and besides, we had hopes that after passing the
range of hills in which we were about to enter, we should find water on
the other side. The range continued in short broken hills for upwards of
three miles and a half, and led through such a country as distressed
both men and horses exceedingly: the surface was covered with small
quartz stones, without herbage of any kind. The box and cypress trees
disappeared, and their place was supplied by a numerous species of iron
bark, between which the acacia, mimosa, and a new prickly acacia
rendered it almost impossible to force a passage: after enduring this for
upwards of three miles and a half, we began to descend, by keeping a
more easterly course; but before we could come into a better country,
either for grass or water, we were obliged to halt for the night, being
too much fatigued to proceed farther.

Our search after water was not attended with success, but the ground
being extremely boggy, we were in hopes of procuring a little by
digging. Our spade, which had so unfortunately been left at Bathurst,
would now have been of the most essential service, but the carpenter's
adze proved a useful substitute. Choosing a place which seemed most
likely to have received the drainings of the hills, and on which a
little rain-water still remained, we dug a tolerably good well, and in a
few hours were rewarded by obtaining near a quart of thick muddy water
per man, which by boiling, skimming, and straining, was rendered
palatable to persons who must otherwise have gone without their dinner
or breakfast the next morning, it being impossible to eat either our
bread or pork without something to quench our thirst.

The soil of the country passed over was of the same red, sandy
description as on former days; the hills were covered with small pieces
of broken white quartz, and occasionally a large granite rock showed
itself from beneath the surface. The botanical productions of the hills
seemed also to undergo a considerable change, indicating, as we would
fain hope, that a better country is not far off. Several new plants were
acquired today, some of which were very beautiful. Our course made good
was N. 71. E., distance thirteen miles and a half.

August 7.--The horses suffered much from want of food and water; but it
is absolutely necessary to proceed and get into a better country with
all the expedition which we are capable of using, and which the nature
of this country will allow. It is some consolation to us that the horses
are but lightly loaded, by reason of our not being now encumbered with
much provisions, and are consequently enabled to travel farther and
better. At half past eight o'clock we again set forward, and for four
miles and a quarter continued to pass through the same thick, barren
country as yesterday, the ground being absolutely covered with acacia
of various species, some extremely beautiful; after which the country
became more open; the grass had been burnt, and the marks of the mogo or
stone hatchet on the trees, made by the wandering natives of these
deserts in search of food, gave us renewed hopes of soon coming to
water. A rose-hill parrot was seen for the first time for many months,
and we were farther fortunate in killing a fine kangaroo. The country
seemed to improve as we advanced, and at the ninth mile, as we had been
gradually ascending, we were gratified by an open prospect to the
eastward, which showed low gentle hills and valleys thinly studded with
trees. The broom-grass, now dead, gave them a white appearance, and,
contrasted with the acacia in full flower, and the darker foliage of the
trees, gave the whole the most pleasing and varied aspect. To the
north-west round to the north, the country was nearly the same; but from
north to north-east by east, it was more broken into low barren hills;
the tops and sides covered with iron bark, and cypress growing among the
interstices of the granite rocks. We had however seen no water, but
there was something in the aspect of the whole country that flattered
our hopes of finding it in some of the valleys that lay in our course;
nor were we disappointed: after going rather more than four miles
farther, through a very open country, thickly covered with broom-grass
(killed by the frost), we ascended a rocky hill of moderate elevation,
connected with others lying east and west: opposite to us was a low
rocky range, the summits of which were clothed with iron bark and
casuarina trees. We saw from this hill Mount Melville bearing N. 175.,
Mount Cunningham N. 189 1/2., Mount Maude N. 192., a round mount
N. 218., named Mount Riley, a gap in a range N. 283., distance about
thirty miles: descending into the valley we found plenty of water, to our
great relief, as the horses were quite exhausted, and without this
seasonable supply would have been altogether unable to proceed farther.
The grass in the valley, although perished by the winter's frost, was
tolerable, and the worn out state of the horses made me determine to
remain here to-morrow, to recruit them a little before we proceeded

The country we have passed through this day afforded some of the most
beautiful specimens of acacia which we had yet seen, at the same time
that they were quite new in the species. The soil however was still of
the same description, red and sandy, but for the last five or six miles
more firm and compact; many of the plants were recognized as having been
originally seen in the neighbourhood of the Macquarie River, and not
since: this, with the more generally open appearance of the country,
gave us hopes that in a few days we should be fortunate enough to fall
in with that stream, which would free us from any farther apprehensions
of suffering from want of water; for in that event it is my intention to
keep in its immediate vicinity until our arrival at Bathurst. Our course
made good was N. 71. E., distance thirteen miles and a quarter.

August 8.--Made the usual observations to ascertain our situation, the
result of which placed us in lat. 32. 47. 58. S., long. 147. 23. E., and
the variation of the needle 5. 20. E. The valley in which we encamped is
enclosed by forest hills on all sides but the east, affording us plenty
of water from what is, even at this dry season, a perceptible stream.
The grass however was quite killed by the frost, and, although abundant,
did not afford such nourishment to the horses as their condition
required, insomuch that if we fall in with a part of the country that
has been burnt in the course of to-morrow's route, I shall give them a
day's rest.

Kangaroos of a very large size abound in every direction around us: our
dogs killed one weighing seventy or eighty pounds, which proved a great
and refreshing acquisition to us.

To the valley I gave the name of Emmeline's Valley, and the hill from
which we corrected our survey with Mount Melville and Mount Cunningham,
Macnamara's Hill. The day was clear and mild, and in the course of it
some new and fine plants were procured.

August 9.--The morning fine and pleasant. At half past eight we left the
valley, intending still to keep our course north of east, as the most
likely point on which to make the Macquarie River, from which, judging
by the botanical productions of that stream, we cannot be very far.

For three or four miles the country was tolerably open and good, being
clothed with luxuriant broom-grass. The cypress trees of good
dimensions; but no signs of water. For the remainder of our day's
journey, we passed over tracts of low barren ridges covered with brush,
and iron bark trees, and open valleys; the country was of moderate
elevation, but still we were not so fortunate as to find any water,
although every slope was searched. After having travelled fourteen
miles, during the latter part of which it rained hard, I thought it most
advisable to stop, as we had just passed through a thick brush into a
more open country, which would afford the horses something to eat; the
rain, which still continued, relieving us from apprehension of their
suffering much from want of water. As to ourselves, we had taken our now
usual precaution to fill our keg, which gave us a pint each for our
evening consumption, and the same quantity for breakfast the next

In the course of the day the stirculia heterophylla was very abundant,
and we remarked that the cypresses were those originally known as the
callitris australis, and not of either of the other two species, which
were common in the neighbourhood of the Lachlan. The brushes and scrubs
were the only places that afforded any thing to the researches of the
botanists; the open lands being covered with grass, and the shrubs being
of acacias whose species had been already often seen on this side of the
Blue Mountain range.

August 10.--The morning proved clear and mild, and at nine we again
proceeded; as it was impossible to remain in a place that did not afford
us any water, and not good grass.

The country continued open forest land for about three miles, the
cypress and the bastard box being the prevailing timber; of the former
many were useful trees. We seemed neither ascending nor descending, but
travelling on somewhat of an elevated plain. The broom-grass was very
luxuriant, being four or five feet high; the soil, as before, a light,
red, sandy loam. To this open tract succeeded three miles of barren
brush land, covered with clumps of small cypresses, iron barks, and
acacias; the slightest elevation or ascent was always stony, and in one
or two places large masses of granite rock were observed. We have
hitherto seen no other signs of this being an inhabited country than the
marks usually made by the natives in ascending the trees, and none of
these were very recent. It is probable that they may see us without
discovering themselves, as it is much more likely for us to pass
unobserved the little family of the wandering native, than that our
party, consisting of so many men and horses, not travelling together,
but sometimes separated a mile or two, should escape their sight,
quickened as it is by constant exercise in procuring their daily food.

At the end of the brush we came upon a large chain of ponds, the fall of
water in which being north, induced us to believe that the Macquarie
could not be far distant: we proceeded down them about a mile, when the
situation offering us all we could wish for, we halted for the night, it
being past two o'clock, determining to remain here to-morrow for the
sake of the horses.

The country on the east side of this chain of ponds was again an open
forest as far as we could see in that direction; which however was not
very far, as we were nearly on a level. I rode down the ponds Six or
seven miles, hoping to fall in with their junction with the river. Two
or three miles from our halting-place the ground became very scrubby,
and was much over-run with brush and small pines; there were marks of
flood in the watercourse of the ponds, from eight to ten feet high. I
saw several shags, ducks, herons, cranes, and other birds that frequent
low or watery situations, but the night coming on obliged me to return.

August 11.--Along the banks of these ponds, several transitory
encampments of the natives were found, but none that had been inhabited
within these four or six months; by all of them were found abundance of
the pearl muscle-shell so common on the Lachlan. The soil, as far as we
examined round our tents, east of the ponds, was a good sandy loam. The
timber very open, and if the country had been divested of the numerous
acacia bushes with which the face of it was covered, it would be
impossible to wish for land more lightly timbered: the grass anthistiria
was very luxuriant. The ponds appear to have not been flooded for a very
considerable time, the water in many being of a milky whiteness, and the
dry channels are overrun with reeds and grass. These ponds were called
Coysgaine's Ponds, and by our observations the tent was in
lat. 32. 44. 29. S., long. 147. 46. 30. E., mean variation 7. 18. E.

August 12.--Proceeded on our course, which, as I hoped and expected we
were not far from the Macquarie River, was altered to north-east, for
the purpose of joining it lower down than our former course would have
done; being anxious to know as much of the country in the vicinity of
the river as our time and circumstances would permit. An open forest
country with tolerably good soil continued for nearly five miles, when
we suddenly came upon a large swampy plain surrounded by the acacia
pendula. Water was still remaining on several parts of it, and we had no
doubt from its whole appearance that it would lead immediately to the
river; from the south-west edge of this plain (which was six or seven
miles round), we had a distant prospect of a very lofty mountainous
range to the eastward, named Harvey's Range; the north extreme of which
bore north, and the highest part N. 94. This range was by far the
highest we had seen westward of the Blue Mountains. and its elevation
could be very little if at all inferior. Crossing this plain and
pursuing our north-easterly course, we entered a poor barren country
covered with box trees, and low acacia shrubs; our hope of meeting the
river was however disappointed. We travelled upwards of six miles
through this box scrub, when coming to two or three holes of good water
I thought it advisable to halt, rather than proceed a mile or two
farther, which was the utmost we could have done; and then in all
probability, be obliged to halt at a spot that would not afford us that
necessary article.

The inclination of the loftier trees, particularly the cypress trees,
for these two or three days past, denoted the strength and prevalence of
the south-west and westerly winds: this is more easily discernible from
the tops of low ranges; the western side of the tree being generally
deprived of its branches, and the trunk bent in a remark-able manner to
the north-east. This inclination and prevalence of the winds was not
observed in any particular degree westward of Mount Cunningham, and was
most remarkable in that elevated range of country lying between the
depot on the Lachlan and Bathurst; and which elevated tract continues
with little interruption to the western base of the Blue Mountain range,
on which there is not a single tree that does not denote prevalence of
the westerly wind.

August 13.--Again set forward, intending to keep a north-easterly course
through the day, when if we do not fall in with the river, our future
course will be directed more easterly; as we shall be then full seventy
miles north of Bathurst, and north of the parallel of Port Stephens. The
country through which our course led us to-day was of various
description, the first three miles and a half being indifferent forest
land, open with respect to timber, but much overrun with small acacia
bushes; at the end of this tract was a small stream of water in ponds,
having its course in the lofty range east-south-east of us, and which
was not very distant from us; this stream was named Allan Water, and its
stream was northerly. The next four miles north-east of this burn was
through a barren scrubby country, full of dry water-holes, and thickly
covered with the casuarina filifolia, box trees, and acacia bushes. The
cypress seemed to shun this kind of barren clayey soil, and was more
prevalent and flourishing on the open forest land where the soil was
light and loamy, and covered with luxuriant broom-grass; this was the
case for the last few miles, which consisted of a very good tract of
land. The cypresses here grew into very handsome timber, and indeed were
the only useful wood, as the box tree was usually stunted and crooked.
At the end of twelve miles we found a small spring of water that
supplied some ponds, which also run northerly. The grass being pretty
good, although old, we determined to halt for the evening, as the horses
were not all arrived having had a considerable detour to make in
crossing Allan Water. On the banks of that burn many heaps of the pearl
muscle-shells were found, and marks of flood about eight feet. We have
for several days past seen no signs of any natives being recently in
this part of the country; the marks on the trees, which were the only
marks we saw, being several months old, and never seen except in the
vicinity of water. Marks of the natives' tomahawks were to us certain
signs of approaching water.

August 14.--We had now come from the river Lachlan upwards of an hundred
miles in a north-east direction, without being so fortunate as to fall
in with the Macquarie; we were also near seventy miles north of
Bathurst, and much about the same distance west of it: it was therefore
evident that the Macquarie must have taken at least a north. north-west
course from the place where it was last seen; how much farther north it
had gone, of course we were ignorant: it is however probable, from the
watercourses we have lately passed leading northerly, that the above
point would be nearly the course which it has taken. To travel farther
to the north-east would lead us very far from our proper route to
Bathurst; farther indeed than we had provisions to enable us to travel,
having only from Saturday next enough for fourteen days at a reduced
allowance; and that time I calculated would be barely sufficient to take
us to Bathurst on a direct course, presuming no local obstacles to
arise. These considerations induced me to alter our course to east,
which however would be nearly at right angles with that which we imagined
the river to have taken, and would therefore enable us to reach it
perhaps as soon as on any other course, as we could only infer its
probable situation from the nature of the country over which we
travelled. At half past eight o'clock, we again set forward on the above
course (east): it led us generally through a good open grazing country
for about eight miles, when it became more broken and hilly; these hills
were all covered with grass, their summits and sides rocky, with small
stones: the colour of the soil had been apparently getting darker for
some miles, and was now a light, hazel-coloured, sandy loam. The small
blue eucalyptus, so common in the neighbourhood of Bathurst, again made
its appearance, taking the place of the box tree; iron and stringy barks
of small size were also common on the tops and sides of the hills: two
Sydney or coast plants were also seen. Between the eighth and ninth mile
we ascended a small hill, whence we had a distant view from the south
round by the west to north, taking in that tract of country over which
we had passed. Not a hill or eminence of any kind broke the dead level
surface of the country in those quarters; and the day was so clear, that
had any been within sixty or seventy miles they must have been seen.
From the east to the south was the lofty range before mentioned, and now
distant five or six miles: it was broken and rocky; iron bark trees were
however growing on the very summit. To the north-east and north our view
was not more than ten or eleven miles, being broken into low grassy
hills of pretty much the same elevation with that on which we stood. The
smoke of several natives' fires were seen in the range to the eastward,
and some to the north-west. Proceeding about four miles farther to the
eastward among those hills, we halted in a pretty valley, having a small
run of water in it falling northerly. We had just pitched our tent when
hearing the noise of the stone-hatchet made by a native in climbing a
tree, we stole silently upon him, and surprised him just as he was about
to descend: he did not perceive us until we were immediately under the
tree; his terror and astonishment were extreme. We used every friendly
motion in our power to induce him to descend, but in vain: he kept
calling loudly, as we supposed for some of his companions to come to his
assistance; in the mean time he threw down to us the game he had
procured (a ring-tailed opossum), making signs for us to take it up: in
a short time another native came towards us, when the other descended
from the tree. They trembled excessively, and, if the expression may be
used, were absolutely INTOXICATED with fear, displayed in a thousand
antic motions, convulsive laughing, and singular motions of the head.
They were both youths not exceeding twenty years of age, of good
countenance and figure, but most horribly marked by the skin and flesh
being raised in long stripes all over the back and body; some of those
stripes were full three-quarters of an inch deep, and were so close
together that scarcely any of the original skin was to be seen between
them. The man who had joined us, had three or four small opossums and a
snake, which he laid upon the ground, and offered us. We led them to our
tent, where their surprise at every thing they saw clearly showed that
we were the first white men they had met with; they had however either
heard of or seen tomahawks for upon giving one to one of them, he
clasped it to his breast and demonstrated the greatest pleasure. After
admiring it for some time they discovered the broad arrow, with which
it was marked on both sides, the impression of which exactly resembles
that made by the foot of the emu; it amused them extremely, and they
frequently pointed to it and the emu skins which we had with us. All
this time they were paying great attention to the roasting of their
opossums, and when they were scarcely warm through, they opened them,
and, taking out the fat of the entrails, presented it to us as the
choicest morsel; on our declining to receive it they ate it themselves,
and again covered up the opossums in the hot ashes. When they were
apparently well done, they laid them, the snake, and the things we had
presented them with, on the ground, making signs that they wished to go;
which of course we allowed them to do, together with their little store
of provisions and such things as we were able to spare them. The
collection of words which we had made at the depot on the Lachlan, we
found of no use, as they did not understand a single one. They had
neither of them lost the upper front tooth, though apparently men grown.

August 15.--We were somewhat disappointed in not seeing anything more of
our native acquaintances, as we hoped the treatment and presents they
had received would have induced them to return to us with their
companions, as they had endeavoured to make us understand by signs they
would. At eight we proceeded on an easterly course, when a mile of
gently rising ground brought us to the edge of a fine valley, in which
was a chain of ponds connected by a small stream; alternate hills and
valleys of the best description of pasture land: the soil, a rich,
light, sandy loam, continued until we halted, at the end of eleven
miles, in a spacious, well-watered valley; where to our great surprise
we found distinct marks of cattle tracks: they were old, and made when
the ground was soft from rain, as appeared from the deep impression of
their feet. These cattle must have strayed from Bathurst, from which
place we were now distant in a direct line between eighty and ninety
miles. From several of the hills over which our route led us, we had the
most extensive and beautiful prospects; from thirty to forty miles
round, from the north to south, the country was broken in irregular low
hills thinly studded with small timber, and covered with grass: the
whole landscape within the compass of our view was clear and open,
resembling diversified pleasure grounds irregularly laid out and
planted. The animation of the whole scenery was greatly increased by the
smoke of the natives' fires arising in every quarter, distinctly marking
that we were in a country which afforded them ample means of
subsistence; far different from the low deserts and morasses to the

The tops of the hills were generally stony (granite of different degrees
and qualities), but the broom-grass grew strongly and abundantly in the
interstices. We never descended a valley without finding it well
watered, and although the soil and character of the country rendered it
fit for all agricultural purposes, yet I think from its general
clearness from brush, or underwood of any kind, that such tracts must be
peculiarly adapted for sheep-grazing; there being no shelter for native
dogs, which are so destructive and annoying in other more thickly wooded
parts of the country. In the fine valley where we pitched our tents, our
dogs had some excellent runs, and killed two large kangaroos; the
clearness of the country affording us a view of the chace from the
beginning to the end.

Some of the baggage horses, which were a mile or two behind the others,
came up to the tents, with nine natives, who had joined them on the
road: they were entirely unarmed, and there was but one mogo, or
stone hatchet, among them; we had reason to suppose that their women and
children were at no great distance, as they were observed to hide
themselves when the men were first seen. The greater part of them had
either seen or heard of white men, as they were neither alarmed nor
astonished at what they saw. I should think that the loss of the front
upper tooth is not common to every tribe, as several of these men
retained it, although others were without it; the wearing a stick, or
bone, through the cartilage of the nose, appeared common to all of them.
They remained about an hour with us: we gave them the fore-quarter of a
kangaroo, and putting our remaining pork into a bag, we distributed the
iron hoops of the keg in small pieces among them; these were received
with as much pleasure as an European would have felt at being presented
with the like quantity of gold. It was impossible distinctly to make out
anything that they wished to express, by reason of the variety of their
gestures; but their frequent pointing to the south-east (the direction
of Bathurst), induced us to believe that they thought we were going
there, a conjecture which we did all in our power to confirm. Wishing,
if possible, to learn if they knew anything of the river, a fishing hook
was given to one of them, but he did not seem to understand the use of
it until Mr. Evans drew the resemblance of a fish, and made signs that
the hook was to take it, when they immediately understood him, and
pointing to the east made signs that the fish were there; but our
endeavours to learn the distance of the river were wholly fruitless.
They appeared a harmless, inoffensive race of people, extremely cautious
of giving offence, and never touching anything until they had first by
signs obtained permission. Many of the words collected at the depot were
known to them, others were not; but ignorant as we of course were of
each other's meaning, we found it a vain task to endeavour to learn
their names of things. To collect a vocabulary of words in a strange
language, it is in some measure necessary that the party who is to
afford the knowledge should understand for what purpose he is
questioned, which it was impossible to make these simple creatures
comprehend. They left us about an hour before sunset, highly gratified
with their adventure.

August 16.--Quitted the valley (which was named Mary's Valley) on our
eastern course, anxiously hoping that we should reach the river in the
course of the day. We had heard last night and this morning the screams
of the white cockatoo, which we have always looked upon as a certain
sign of approaching water.

The same fine grazing tract of country continued over irregular hills
and valleys for about four miles, when ascending a high hill (named
Mount Johnston), a little upon our left, we had a very extensive view to
the north-east and east. In the former quarter, a beautiful range of
stretching north and south, bounded at a distance of about eight miles
the fine extensive valley before us; under those hills we would fain
have found the Macquarie, fancying that we could distinguish the haze
arising from water. To the northward, two hills skirted the valley at a
distance of six or seven miles, which might be about the medium width of
it from north to south, in which quarter a rocky range, clothed with
pines and iron-bark, prevented us from seeing to any great distance; to
the east and south-east, the same low irregular country appeared, thinly
covered with trees and grass.

Desirous of ascertaining if our conjectures were well founded in respect
to the river, we altered our course, which was east, to north-east,
keeping down the south side of the valley or plain, which we had seen
from Mount Johnston. A finer or more fertile country than that we passed
through for about four miles and a half cannot be imagined: the soil, a
light brown, sandy loam, covered with broom-grass from four to five feet
high. After travelling the above distance, we most unexpectedly came
upon a stream, which from its high grassy banks and rocky bottom we were
obliged to conclude must be the river we were in search of; but so
diminished in magnitude that the motion of the water connecting the long
chains of reedy ponds, was so slow as scarcely to entitle it to the
appellation of a living stream. The whole country from where we quitted
the Lachlan to this spot had borne evident marks of long continued
drought, and in no part was it more apparent than in the present stream
which was so much smaller than it was at Bathurst, even after the great
drought in 1815, that after going up it three or four miles, I began to
entertain great doubts of its being the same, hoping that it might be
one of the channels which must convey the waters from the high ranges of
hills, lying nearly midway between the Lachlan and the Macquarie Rivers.

Observing a fine and extensive flat on the opposite side of the stream,
which having been formerly burnt, was now covered with good grass, we
crossed over at a place not ankle deep, and about six or eight feet wide,
over a bottom of sand and stone, and halted for the evening; intending
also to remain the ensuing day, to refresh the horses, as they had
performed an excellent and continued week's work, and much required it.

On reaching the present stream numerous cattle tracks were observed, and
although not very recent, I do not think they were more than four or six
months old, since the marks of young cattle were among them; it is
probable they were those that have been missing for a length of time
from the government herds at Cox's River, and are now straying wild
through this beautiful country, abounding in every thing that can tempt
them to remain here.

The plants on the banks and in the stream were precisely similar to
those on the Macquarie in the vicinity of Bathurst; but I have observed
that no certain conclusions can be drawn from a similarity between the
botanical productions of two places, a truth which has been exemplified
more than once in the course of this Journal.

August 17.--During the whole day the weather did not permit me to make
the usual observations; it was not however uselessly passed, as the
country was examined several miles to the north-east and east of our
tents, and every report concurred as to the general beauty and goodness
of the tracts passed over. Mr. Evans and myself ascended a high grassy
hill about a mile and a half north of the tent, and the prospect round
was highly pleasing. The general appearance of the country southerly
made me still adhere to the opinion I entertained that the stream along
which we were travelling would prove to derive its source from a very
lofty range in that direction; whilst the Macquarie would be found still
farther to the eastward, in which quarter I must have deceived myself
greatly, if we do not find a stream superior to the present; and my
hopes in that respect are much strengthened when I consider that we are
not above fifty miles in a straight line from the spot where Mr. Evans
left the Macquarie, a strong and powerful stream, and that too in a
season as long and even longer dry than the present one. In these hopes
and expectations I shall continue an easterly course until nearly on the
meridian of Bathurst, when they must either be realized, or the negative
indisputably established, that there are no considerable rivers rising
in the interior of New South Wales. From the hill on which we stood,
bearings were taken to the most remarkable objects, which were but few;
for the country, as far as the eye could reach, was a continued series
of low grassy hills and valleys; the whole thinly covered with wood, and
in many places entirely bare of it. The hills to the southward and
south-west on the west side of the stream, and immediately bordering on
it, were rocky and irregular; a few cypresses were growing on their
sides and summits. We named the hill on which we stood Mount Elizabeth,
and the extensive flats or plains north of it, and on the east side of
the stream, McArthur's Plains.

The tracks of cattle were observed in various places on these plains,
some very recent, perhaps not a month old. A fish was also caught, of
the species common both to the Lachlan and the Macquarie. The soil of
the country round, is far as we had time to examine it, was a rich,
light, sandy loam, most abundantly covered with long broom-grass: the
rocks and stones on the hills were granite of various qualities. Nothing
was found new to the botanists; in truth, this is not a country adapted
to their pursuits.

August 18.--In pursuance of the intention formed yesterday of still
continuing an easterly course, we again set forward at half past eight

The general description of country was nearly the same as that which we
passed over on preceding days; several pieces of limestone were found,
which proved of good quality. On going between three and four miles,
ascending a range of hills which lay directly across our course, we had
a prospect of a fine and spacious valley, bounded to the east by low
grassy hills; there was every appearance of a watercourse being in it,
but it was distant five or six miles, and our access to it was rendered
difficult by lofty rocky hills forming deep and irregular glens, so
narrow that I feared we should not be able to follow their windings, the
rocks rising in such vast perpendicular shapes as seemingly to debar
our passage. After some little hesitation, we found a place down which
the horses might descend in safety. This being accomplished, we
traversed the bottom of the glen along all its windings for nearly three
miles and a half: a fine stream of pure water was running through it.
Here, doubtful of being able before dark to gain the valley we were in
search of we halted for the night. It is impossible to imagine a more
beautifully romantic glen than that in which we lay. There was just
level space on either side of the stream for the horses to travel along,
the rocks rising almost perpendicularly from it to a towering height,
covered with flowering acacia of various species, whose bright yellow
flowers were contrasted and mingled with the more sombre foliage of the
blue gum and cypress trees: several new plants were also found, of
beautiful descriptions.

The stream in the glen running north-easterly encouraged us to hope that
we should ultimately be rewarded by finding a considerable stream in the
valley, which was the cause of our deviation from our more direct course
to Bathurst. The glen which was to afford us access to it, we named
Glenfinlass: it might, perhaps, be properly termed the glen of many
windings, as it was formed of several detached lofty hills; between each
of which deep ravines were formed, communicating in times of rain their
waters to this main one.

August 19.--Full of the hopes entertained yesterday, at half past eight
o'clock we pursued our course down Glenfinlass. A mile and a half
brought us into the valley which we had seen on our first descending
into the glen: imagination cannot fancy anything more beautifully
picturesque than the scene which burst upon us. The breadth of the
valley to the base of the opposite gently rising hills was, between
three and four miles, studded with fine trees, upon a soil which for
richness can nowhere he excelled; its extent north and south we could
not see: to the west it was bounded by the lofty rocky ranges by which
we had entered it; this was covered to the summit with cypresses and
acacia in full bloom: a few trees of the sterculia heterophylla, with
their bright green foliage, gave additional beauty to the scene. In the
centre of this charming valley ran a strong and beautiful stream, its
bright transparent waters dashing over a gravelly bottom, intermingled
with large stones, forming at short intervals considerable pools, in
which the rays of the sun were reflected With a brilliancy equal to that
of the most polished mirror. I should have been well contented to have
found this to be the Macquarie River, and at first conceived it to be
so. Under this impression, I intended stopping upon its banks for the
remainder of the day, and then proceeding up the stream southerly.
Whilst we were waiting for the horses to come up we crossed the stream,
and wishing to see as much of the country on its banks northerly, as
possible, I proceeded down the stream, and had scarcely rode a mile when
I was no less astonished than delighted to find that it joined a very
fine river, coming from the east-south-east from among the chain of low
grassy hills, bounding the east side of the valley in which we were.
This then was certainly the long sought Macquarie, the sight of which
amply repaid us for all our former disappointments. Different in every
respect from the Lachlan, it here formed a river equal to the Hawkesbury
at Windsor, and in many parts as wide as the Nepean at Emu Plains. These
noble streams were connected by rapids running over a rocky and pebbly
bottom, but not fordable, much resembling the reaches and falls at the
crossing place at Emuford, only deeper: the water was bright, and
transparent, and we were fortunate enough to see it at a period when it
was neither swelled beyond its proper dimensions by mountain floods, nor
contracted by summer droughts. From its being at least four times larger
than it is at Bathurst, even in a favourable season, it must have
received great accessions of water from the mountains north-easterly;
for from the course it has run from Bathurst, and the number of streams
we have crossed all running to form it from the south and south-west, I
do not think it can receive many more from that quarter between us and
Bathurst, at least of sufficient strength to have formed the
present river.

Reduced as our provisions were, we could not resist the temptation of
halting in this beautiful country for a couple of days, to allow us time
to ascertain its precise situation, and to ride down the banks of the
river northerly as far as we could go and return in one day. The banks
of the river in our neighbourhood were low and grassy, with a margin of
gravel and pebble stones; there were marks of flood to the height of
about twelve feet, when the river would still be confined within its
secondary banks, and not overflow the rich lands that border it. Its
proper width in times of flood would be from six to eight hundred feet,
its present and usual width is about two hundred feet. The blue gum
trees in the neighbourhood were extremely fine, whilst that species of
eucalyptus, which is vulgarly called the apple tree, and which we had
not seen since we quitted the eastern coast, again made its appearance
on the flats, and of large size; as was the casuarina filifolia, growing
here and there on its immediate banks.

The day throughout was as fine as could be imagined, and it was spent
with a more cheerful feeling than we had experienced since we quitted
the depot on the Lachlan. The river running through the valley was named
Bell's River, in compliment to Brevet Major Bell, of the 48th Regiment;
the valley Wellington Valley; and the stream on which we halted on
Sunday, Molle's Rivulet.

August 20.--The day proved as favourable as could be wished, and the
observations placed our situation in lat. 32. 32. 45. S., and our
compared long. 148. 51. 30. E., the variation of the needle being
8. 38. 38. E. A valuable discovery was made in the course of the day by
the men who were out with the dogs, the hills bounding the east side of
Wellington Vale being found of the purest limestone, of precisely
similar quality with that found at Limestone Creek. We were never due
north of that place, and it is more than probable that the same stratum
extends on the same meridian through the country.

August 21--At eight o'clock, accompanied by Mr. Evans and
Mr. Cunningham, set out on our intended excursion down the Macquarie
River. Crossing Bell's River in the valley, we came in a mile to where
the steep rocky hills forming the west side of the vale advance their
perpendicular cliffs directly over the river. These hills we soon
rounded, and entered the vale north of them: I shall not in this place
attempt to describe the rich and beautiful country that opened to our
view in every direction. Alternate fine grazing hills, fertile flats and
valleys, formed its general outline; whilst the river, an object to us
of peculiar interest, was sometimes contracted to a width of from sixty
to eighty feet between rocky cliffs of vast perpendicular height, and
again expanded into noble and magnificent reaches of the width of at
least two hundred feet, washing some of the richest tracts of land that
can be found in any country; the banks were in those reaches low and
shelving, and covered with pebbles, whilst even at the highest floods
secondary banks restrained the river from doing the smallest damage:
these secondary banks might be from six to eight hundred feet in width,
and I think the highest marks of flood did not exceed twenty feet
perpendicular. The rapids were usually formed by small stony islands,
which. dividing the stream rendered it shoaler in those places than in
others, but they never extended above one hundred yards, and were none
of them fordable. Limestone of the best quality and of various species
abounded; and it appeared to me to be as common as the other stone
forming the hills, which was a fine and hard granite. We passed through
this charming country for upwards of twelve miles, the course of the
river during that time being nearly north, and from appearances we
thought it must continue in that direction for a considerable distance
farther. A perpendicular limestone rock overhanging the river terminated
our excursion; adjoining to this rock (which was called Hove's Rock,
from its being covered with a beautiful new species of hovia), a
stratum of fine blue-slate was found. A little lower down, the bank on
the east side was formed of perpendicular red earth cliffs at least
sixty feet high, extending along the reach nearly three quarters of a
mile; this bank was named Red Bank: a fine grassy hill thinly covered
with wood rose eastward of it.

The timber was unusually fine, consisting chiefly of very large and
straight blue guns; beautiful large casuarina trees were occasionally
growing at the very edge of the water. The tops and sides of the rocky
precipices on the west side of Wellington Vale were clothed with cypress
trees, which had all the appearance of the pinus silvestris, that adorns
the mountains and glens of Scotland. It was nearly five o'clock before
we returned to our tent, highly gratified with our day's excursion.

Nothing can afford a stronger contrast than the two rivers, Lachlan and
Macquarie; different in their habit, their appearance, and the sources
from which they derive their waters, but above all differing in the
country bordering on them; the one constantly receiving great accession
of water from four streams, and as liberally rendering fertile a great
extent of country; whilst the other, from its source to its termination,
is constantly diffusing and extenuating the waters it originally
receives over low and barren deserts, creating only wet flats and
uninhabitable morasses, and during its protracted and sinuous course is
never indebted to a single tributary stream. The contrast indeed
presents a most remarkable phenomenon in the natural history of the
country, and will furnish matter in other parts of this Journal, for
such conclusions as my observations have enabled me to form.

August 22--Among the other agreeable consequences that have resulted
from discovering the river in this second Vale of Tempe, may be
enumerated, as not the least, the abundance of fish and emus with which,
we have been supplied; swans, and ducks, were also within our reach, but
we had no shot. Very large muscles were found growing among the reeds
along some of the reaches; many exceeded six inches in length, and
three and a half in breadth. Traces of cattle were found in various
places as low as Hove's Rock, which are now doubtless straying through
the country.

Our horses have recruited themselves exceedingly within the last ten
days, and being lightly laden, I have great hopes of being enabled to
reach Bathurst before our provisions are altogether expended; we have
now left but four pounds and a half of flour, and the same quantity of
pork per man; our chief dependence must be on the success of our dogs
for any additional supplies, and in such a country as the present, we
have no fear of being in want of food.

We had scarcely laden our horses and began to proceed up the river, when
the rain recommenced, and continuing without intermission, obliged us to
halt after we had gone about six miles; which we did upon a reach of the
river, that for magnitude and extent equals if not surpasses any in the
Hawkesbury, and exceeds that much admired one on the Nepean River,
winding round Emu Plains. The country on both sides was of the greatest
possible fertility, and beautifully diversified by hills and open
valleys. Timber is good, and in two places where the hills on this side
nearly closed on the river, immense quantities of fine limestone were
again found, the rocks being entirely composed of it. The rapids were
few and unimportant, and occasioned as usual by the river dividing into
two channels forming small islets. They did not appear to me to impede
in any manner the navigation of the river; the open reaches had
apparently depth to float the largest vessels, and there was certainly
breadth sufficient for that purpose. Nothing in fact can be imagined
grander or more beautiful than we have hitherto found the river, and
that too so near Bathurst that no reasonable expectation could have been
formed of finding it such as we did. Many good specimens of agate
forming on granite were found on the hills, chiefly where the limestone
appeared in the largest and most continued stratum. We indulged
ourselves in the probable speculation, that where limestone was found in
such abundance as in this country, quarries of marble would also be
discovered not far beneath the surface, as is usual in other countries
most abounding in this useful stone. Fish and emus were procured in
great quantities in the course of the afternoon.

August 23--The last allowance of our provisions was now distributed, and
at half past eight o'clock we proceeded up the river, which this day
might be said to come through a mountainous country. Rocky points of
hills frequently terminated on the river and occasionally opened into
fine valleys and flats: in every valley a watercourse conveyed the
waters from the back country to the river. I think the north bank was
most frequently the lower: several small runs of water also fell in on
that side. The hills, uniformly stony and rocky as they were, were
covered with good grass to their summits. The scenery on the river was
beautifully picturesque, and more magnificent reaches cannot be found in
any river; these were interrupted in their uniform course by rapids,
which having a much greater fall than any we had seen lower down, would
materially impede the navigation of the river by boats farther than this
station, up to which point I conceive it navigable. No falls had yet
been seen that boats could not easily pass over; but in seasons of
greater drought than the present, some difficulty might be experienced.

The travelling was excessively bad along the sides and points of the
hills; and as we had every reason to believe the country was much lower
back from the river, I determined to quit its immediate banks, and
endeavour to make a more direct course than we found it possible to do
in following its windings, which, even if it were practicable, our
provisions will not permit.

August 24.--A very thick fog arising from the river prevented us from
setting forward until nearly ten o'clock, till when we could not see
fifty yards in any direction. Taking the earliest opportunity to quit
the river, we passed through a mountainous tract of country extremely
irregular and stony, but full of springs of water, and good grass. We
found it impossible to accomplish more than eight or nine miles, the
tops of the hills standing quite detached and unconnected into regular
ranges. We seemed ascending the ranges, which in some measure separate
the country farther westward from the river; as it was much lower in a
direction from south-south-west to north-west, and appeared to be fine
open grazing land. At four o'clock, we halted in a small valley for the
evening. Our course made good on a variety of bearings was 8. 6. W.,
seven miles.

August 25.--We again set forward, hoping soon to clear these lofty
hills, among which we seemed to be entangled: four or five miles, on
various courses, through a very rugged, but grassy country, freed us
from the dividing range, as we found by the streams all running
westerly, and apparently joining the river in Wellington Vale. Just
before we descended what we considered the principal range, we saw Mount
Lachlan bearing south from this point; and we were enabled for the
remainder of the day to make a direct course towards Bathurst, through a
good open grazing country of gentle hills and dales, abounding in
beautiful rivulets, having their rise in the mountains east of us, which
bending round to the west and north-west, and watering the finest
districts in their course, contribute their waters to the Macquarie.

The country now passed over was generally good, and although the hills
were stony, yet the soil upon them was equal to the flats or valleys,
and covered with grass. We saw no good timber, it consisting chiefly of
small box trees, thinly scattered over the sides and tops of the hills.
There was plenty of kangaroos and our valuable dogs killed two fine

Coarse gravel and small slate were the most common stones, but the
bottoms of the rivulets were composed of a species of black jade. Quartz
was very frequent.

Few traces of natives have been observed, either on the river, or since
we quitted it. The population of this country must be extremely small:
as the natives derive their chief support from opossums, squirrels, and
rats, which are known to frequent barren scrubs and hollow trees, such
neighbourhoods are unquestionably frequented by them in preference to
the open country and river banks. It must be a mere accident that
enables the natives to kill either a kangaroo or emu: as to fish, they
certainly are ignorant of the manner of taking them by hook and line.

August 26.--At eight o'clock we proceeded on our course towards
Bathurst. The country throughout the day's journey was extremely hilly,
with steep descents into fine valleys, in every one of which was a
running stream. It appeared to me, that we were pursuing a course which,
intersecting the streams near their sources, rendered our road much more
irregular and difficult than it would have been either a few miles
farther westward, or even on the immediate banks of the river, the line
of which we several times saw during the day. The country north-east of
the river was very elevated and broken. The tops and sides of even the
most mountainous parts were covered with grass, and thinly clothed with

Many of the valleys were composed of extremely rich soil: the hills were
also generally good land and covered with grass; though there were
occasionally barren stony summits, and ridges producing nothing but iron
and stringy bark trees of diminutive growth. These tracts were however
too inconsiderable in extent, to be considered other than what ought
naturally to be expected in such an irregular tract as that which we
travelled over.

Had not the appearance of the country round the Macquarie, where we
first reached it, fully accounted for its magnitude, the course we have
pursued since would satisfactorily have explained the cause; it is in
point of fact a country of running waters: on every hill we found a
spring, and in every valley a rivulet, either flowing directly
north-east to the river, or taking a course westerly to join the river
in Wellington Vale. Of the waters that may fall into it from the
north-east we were of course ignorant, but the appearances of the
country indicated that they were at least as numerous as from the

After proceeding a few miles, we halted for the night in an extensive
valley, watered by a rivulet running through it directly to the river,
from which I think we were distant six or seven miles.

August 27.--Nothing could be more delightful than the climate and the
temperature of the season.

At eight o'clock we took our road through a very rugged and broken
country. The glens were enclosed on either side by almost perpendicular
rocks, mostly slate of fine quality, mixed with coarse granite. In these
glens or defiles were fine running streams. The declivity and steepness
of the road delayed our progress, in seeking for better paths for the
horses; and after riding a few miles we came to the edge of a very steep
glen or valley, at the point of junction of two large streams, the
largest coming from the south-west, the other from the north-west. Both
united formed a very powerful stream, rushing with great impetuosity
over a rocky bottom, with frequent falls or rapids. The hills being on
both sides too steep even for the men to descend in safety, we were
obliged to pursue the ridge of them up the north-west river, until we
found a place where we could descend and cross, which we did about five
o'clock in the afternoon with considerable difficulty. So steep indeed
was the side on which we now were, that we could not find a level space
sufficient to pitch our tent upon. The rocks consisted chiefly of slate
and coarse granite intermixed. There appeared in each river to be more
water than usual; and marks of flood were visible at a height exceeding
eighteen feet.

Finding that we were entangled among the streams of the Macquarie, I
determined on the morrow to proceed by the mountains dividing the
north-west and south-west rivers; and if they should lead me
considerably westward before their junction, to cross the south-west
river, which, from its apparent direction and vicinity to Bathurst, I
considered to be the only stream of consequence which we should find
between our present station and that place.

Rugged and uneven as the country generally was during this day's
journey, there was considerable intermixture of the good with the
barren; many portions consisting of excellent pasture land, and even the
rocky hills were divested of the appearance of being so barren as they
actually are, by being covered with shrubs and grass intermingled among
the box and small gum trees, that find support between the interstices
of the stones.

August 28.--At eight o'clock we proceeded on our journey, and pursuing
the ridge which separated the two streams, we found that their general
direction was from the southward, opening, as we advanced, into fine
valleys, rounding gentle rising hills, thinly wooded and covered with
grass. The ridge itself was chiefly of slate-rock, intermixed with
masses of coarse siliceous granite. We followed the ridge for about six
miles, when we descended into the valley through which the south-west
rivulet ran, and after travelling about four miles farther, we crossed
it when it was running a strong stream. Waiting for the horses at this
spot, I took the opportunity of ascending a very lofty conical hill,
forming part of the range bounding the north-east side of the valley.
From this hill our hopes and expectations were gratified by a view of
Bathurst Plains, which I estimated to be distant about twenty-two
miles, bearing on the course we were pursuing. A Journal is but ill
calculated to be the record of the various hopes and fears, which
doubtless in some degree pervaded every mind upon this intelligence:
these feelings, whatever they might be, were soon to be realized, and
in an absence from our friends and connections of nineteen weeks how
much might have occurred in which we were all deeply interested!

After travelling about three miles farther, we stopped for the evening,
under expectations that we might possibly reach Bathurst on the morrow.

From the hill whence I saw Bathurst the view in every direction (except
north-east, where it was bounded by a range of equal height between me
and the river) was very extensive; the country to the southward and
south-west was broken into low grassy hills with four intervening
valleys. The rivulets derive their main supply from those hills, and
from the range upon which we had travelled the greater part of the day:
almost every hollow contained a running stream, having its source in
springs near the summit of the hills.

Stringy bark trees were seen most generally on barren ridges, the larger
sized blue gums in the valleys. In the evening the weather was unsettled
with flying showers.

August 29.--At eight o'clock we proceeded towards Bathurst, hoping to
reach it by the evening; this we effected between eight and nine
o'clock, passing over a very hilly country with numerous running
streams, joining the river near Pine Hill, and afterwards keeping
along its banks.

The hospitable reception which we met with from Mr. Cox went far to
banish all present care from our minds: relieved, as they were, by the
knowledge that our friends were well, we almost forgot in the hilarity
of the moment, that nineteen harassing weeks had elapsed since we last
quitted it.

Although the winter at Bathurst, we learnt, had been cold and severe,
there had not been much rain; little or none had fallen in the depot on
the Lachlan, although the people there had observed some very high
floods in the river; one particularly that would nearly correspond with
the time when an unexpected fresh surprised us on our return down the
Lachlan on the 11th of July.



--qua nulla pedum vestigia ducunt,
  Nulla rotae currus testantur signa priores.   GROTIUS.

etc. etc. etc.


Sydney, New South Wales,
July 21, 1819.


The general appearance of the country of New South Wales and the
magnitude of the Macquarie River, as seen on the return of the
expedition in 1817, had caused the most sanguine expectation to be
entertained, that either a communication with the ocean, or interior
navigable waters, would be discovered by following its course. The
important benefits that would result to the colony in the event of such
an expectation being realized, determined his Excellency Governor
Macquarie to lose no time in fitting out a second expedition, which
should have the elucidation of this point for its principal object. This
expedition was also entrusted to my direction. I had scarcely a doubt of
ultimate success, and set out with a confidence which nothing short of
ocular demonstration could destroy. The result of our voyage down the
Macquarie River, and the conjectures which naturally arose in my mind
founded upon observations of its apparent termination, together with
our subsequent journey to the east coast, will be found in the following

In the map which accompanies the present Journal, every bounding range
to the westward is laid down, from which it will appear that the
north-west interior is nearly a perfect plain; the lower parts of which
are certainly in most seasons under water. The highest land we crossed
lies in lat. 31. S., and long. 151. 10. E. From this apparently dividing
or principal range, the country gradually declines to the north-west;
when, the hills terminating abruptly, the level land commences, over
which is discharged all the waters that have their rise in this dividing
range; and also those waters which rising in the hills (for they cannot
with propriety be termed mountains) to the south-west, have the Lachlan
River for their channel.

The nature of the country will be best explained by a reference to the
Journal; generally speaking, it is fine and open. The bounding high
lands to the north-west seem to take a direction nearly parallel with
the coast line, and the evident declension of the country northerly
affords strong ground for belief, that if those interior waters have any
outlet to the sea [See Note at end of this paragraph.], it will be found
in that direction; and I think the probability is that the waters falling
westerly, will there approach the high tracts of country, much nearer
than they do to the south-west. The whole country to the north of our
track appeared so extremely open and practicable, that it offers in my
opinion but few obstructions to a series of triangles being carried over
it; the longest sides of which, being traced along the bounding high
lands to the north-west, and carried as far northerly as the isthmus,
which separates the gulf of Carpentaria from the sea to the eastward,
would effectually set at rest all questions as to the existence of an
interior sea. Farther north than this point, there can be no reasonable
expectation of finding either waters or an outlet.

[Note: The observations made in the recent voyage of Lieutenant King
along the west and north coasts preclude every reasonable hope of any
opening being found on those coasts. The voyage which he is at present
prosecuting will doubtless determine that point beyond all future

So few natives were seen in the interior, that those extensive regions
can scarcely be described as inhabited; some scattered families comprise
the entire population, and the scanty remarks we were enabled to make
satisfied us of the strict identity of this race of human beings with
those of the coast. The same method of procuring their food, the same
arms and utensils, are common to both. This remarkable similarity in the
natives of different tribes extends also to the animal and vegetable
productions of the country: the eucalyptus and casuarina; the kangaroo
and the emu, with their various species, alike inhabit the cold regions
of Van Diemen's land, and the warmer latitudes within the tropics.

A short description of the most remarkable plants collected during the
expedition by Mr. Charles Frazier, the government collector, is added to
this Journal; and although the result as to the principal object of the
expedition has not been answerable to the expectation which was
entertained when it set out, yet when the general knowledge obtained of
so considerable a portion of this extensive country is considered, it is
hoped that it has not been undertaken and performed in vain; and that
the field which it has opened to the colonists will be attended with
ultimate benefit both to them and to the parent country.

Sydney, July 17, 1819.


May 20, 1818. Having received his Excellency the Governor's instructions
for the conduct of the expedition intended to examine the course of the
Macquarie River, and every preparation having been made at the depot in
Wellington Valley for that purpose, I quitted Sydney in company with Dr.
Harris (late of the 102nd foot), and after a pleasant journey, arrived at
Bathurst on the 25th. Our little arrangements having been completed by
the 28th, we again set forward with the baggage horses and men that were
to compose the expedition.

We at first kept nearly upon the track pursued by us on our return from
the first expedition in August last; but on approaching Wellington
Valley, keeping a little more to the westward, we avoided much of that
steep and rugged road which we then complained of; the country being
open, the valleys and flats good, the hills limestone rock. We did not
meet with the slightest interruption, and arrived at the depot on the
2nd of June, where we found the boats, etc. in perfect readiness for our
immediate reception.

June 4.--Got all the horses and provisions over to the north side of the
river, and made every preparation to pursue our journey on the morrow.
The river rose about a foot during the day. The accident which had
befallen our barometer during the former expedition not being repaired,
we are of course deprived of means to make any observations on the
height of the country above the sea, otherwise than by careful
observation of the several falls or rapids: I do not think that our
station here is much above four hundred feet below the level of

June 5.--About one o'clock the weather cleared up a little, when Lewis
with the boat-builder's party set out on their return to Bathurst,
taking with them three of the worst of the horses, and leaving with us
nineteen. The river rose but little during the day: it is quite high
enough for our purpose. A new species of fish was caught, having four
smellers above and four under the mouth; the hind part of it resembled
an eel; it had one dorsal fin, and four other fins, with a white belly;
it measured twenty-one inches and a half, and weighed about two pounds
three quarters.

June 6.--Proceeded down the river about four miles, when the boats were
finally laden. The river in Wellington Valley had been swelled by the
late rains, insomuch that the water below its junction with the
Macquarie was quite discoloured. From the fineness of the soil, the rain
had made the ground very soft, rendering it difficult for the horses to

June 7.--Proceeded on our journey, both boats and horses being very
heavily laden with our stores and provisions. The river rose but
little. Our day's journey lay generally over an open forest country,
with rich flats on either side of the river: high rocky limestone hills
ended occasionally in abrupt points, obliging the horses to make
considerable detours. The hills were very stony, and so light was the
soil upon them, that the rain rendered the ground very soft. The river
had many fine reaches, extending in straight lines from one to three
miles, and of a corresponding breadth. The rapids, although frequent,
offered no material obstruction to the boats. The current in the long
reaches was scarcely perceptible, and it appears to me that the
difference of elevation between this station and the last is not

June 8.--The river expanded into beautiful reaches, having great depth
of water, and from two to three hundred feet broad, literally covered
with water-fowl of different kinds: the richest flats bordered the
river, apparently more extensive on the south side. The vast body of
water which this river must contain in times of flood is confined within
exterior banks, and its inundations are thus deprived of mischief. About
six miles down the river, a freestone hill ended on the north side of
the river: I mention this, as the only stone of that description I had
yet seen. The trees were of the eucalyptus (apple tree), and on the hills
a few of the callitris macrocarpa [Note: Callitr. Vent decad.] were seen:
the trees would furnish large and useful timber. Between eight and nine
miles lower, passed the mouth of Molle's rivulet, now a fine stream. At
four o'clock halted for the evening on rather an elevated spot,
overlooking the rivulet, and a most luxuriant country, on the south side
of the river, well clothed with wood. The boats, during this day's work,
met with no obstructions that were not easily avoided; the rapids were
not so numerous, neither were they so shoal as in the vicinity of the
depot. Our sportsmen provided us with plenty of kangaroos, and a swan.

June 9.--This day the river ran to the north-west by north; about six
miles below our halting-place it received Mary's River, a pretty little
stream. The country on the north side which we passed over was of
various description; the hills barren and stony, with dwarf eucalypti,
or gums, casuarinae, and a few of the sterculia heterophylla; the
country hilly and open: some of the flats on the banks of the river were
extensive and rich, and apparently not subject to floods. On the south
side of the river, the country was more generally a rich flat, backed by
distant hills; to the south-west, stony eminences occasionally ended on
the river. On the hills many specimens of agate, iron-stone, and jasper
were procured, also some flint; the low stones of the river produced the
same: abundance of fine freestone was every where seen. The general
elevation of the country still continues high; the river pours along a
vast body of water; there is no fresh in it, and it is not in any
respect above its usual level. The rapids are caused by the river
dividing into two channels, forming small islands; the water here runs
with great rapidity on a rocky and stony bottom, but of considerable
depth; the obstructions solely arising from trees which have been washed
by the floods from the banks, and which on the subsidence of the water
have remained in the narrows. The character of this river is in every
respect different from the Lachlan; its waters are pure and transparent,
with no marks of flood; it derives its source and continuance from
springs and additional streams, and is in no way dependent upon rains
for its permanent existence.

June 10.--Remained at this station for the purpose of refreshing the
people and horses. Examined the country to the north-east for a few
miles; it differed but little from that already passed over, in point of
quality of soil, but was broken into irregular hills and valleys,
without rising into any one distinguishing or remarkable hill: the
surface of the country seemed elevated, and rising to the eastward. The
soil for the most part a reddish light mould, the hills covered with
small stones, the trees dwarf gum, box, a few cypresses and casuarinae;
the soil well covered with grass. Kangaroos, fish, and swans, were the
produce of this day's sport, so that we enjoyed all the necessaries, and
many of the luxuries of life.

June 11.--Proceeded down the river about eight miles, meeting with no
obstructions of any consequence: the water had risen about a foot in the
last night, and now ran with considerable rapidity, particularly in the
narrows. It is by no means desirable that the river should rise any
higher; there is abundance of water for our purposes, any addition would
only partially cover the stumps of trees and increase our danger; at
present we see and avoid them. After travelling six miles we came to a
small river running from the eastward; there was at this time a fresh in
it, so that we had to unload the horses and use the boats to transport
our baggage over. It was three o'clock before we had got every thing
across, we therefore halted for the evening. The country passed through
was of the finest description, and apparently equally good on the
opposite side; rich flats bounded by gentle hills were on each side of
the small river, which received the name of Erskine River, after the
present lieutenant governor of the colony. These flats were covered with
the species of eucalyptus called apple tree, but (like the other
trees) of small size. While we were employed in crossing the river, I
rode up it about three miles through a similar country. I went to the
north-east; the country gently rose, and was generally of an excellent
soil, well watered and fit for all purposes of cultivation, with partial
exceptions of stony and brushy ridges. Many hills and elevated flats
were entirely clear of timber, and the whole had a very picturesque
and park-like appearance. I hailed Erskine River as a good omen of
ultimate success: it was the first stream we had met with falling from
the eastward, and was a proof to me that the Macquarie was the natural
reservoir or channel for the waters from the north-east, as I knew it to
be from the south. We had as yet seen no inhabitants, and very few signs
that the country is inhabited at all. Fish, flesh, and fowl are
abundant, but there are no human beings to enjoy them but ourselves:
native dogs are in considerable numbers, and keep up during the night a
continual howling.

June 12.--We this day passed over a very beautiful country, thinly
wooded, and apparently safe from the highest floods; the river had
considerable windings, but was of noble width and appearance; the
rapids were few, and offered no obstruction; its medium width from one
hundred and fifty to two hundred and fifty feet, and in many reaches
much more. On one of the higher back ridges there are some good iron
bark trees, with abundance of cypress; the apple, blue gum, and box,
were the principal trees growing on the flats. Kangaroos were in very
great numbers: our dogs took four; they were of that species called by
Dr. Smith macropus elegans, and are very rare on the east coast. The
stones and rocks were generally hard whinstone, or freestone, the former
in large masses; the beach, of pebbles of all colours and kinds, from
quartz to sandstone. About a mile from our resting-place, we passed the
mouth of the small rivulet named in the former journey Elizabeth's Burn;
the stream now in it was inconsiderable.

June 13.--Our route during this day's journey was generally over a very
level country, the land three or four miles back from the river very
inferior to that on the borders of it, being covered with small trees
and brush; the soil a light, red loam. The rich flats on the banks on
either side were not flooded, and were of the best quality: these flats
seemed more extensive on the south than the north side of the river, and
were bounded by the fine hills, which were passed over on the return of
the expedition last year. About five miles from our last night's
resting-place, we fell in with a small rivulet from the north-east,
which I named after Major Taylor, of the 48th regiment. On the west side
of it, we came suddenly upon a couple of native families; they, however,
with the exception of an old man, and a boy who was up a tree, made
their escape. No entreaties could bring the boy down; he seemed, in
fact, as well as the old man, petrified with terror. The man was
possessed of the remains of an iron tomahawk, which he had fitted as a
mogo, or native axe. I think it probable he became possessed of this
treasure through others of his countrymen who had visited the party in
Wellington Vale, as it was clear he had never seen white people before.
The man made repeated attempts to induce us to depart, which to his
great joy we shortly did. The left side of this man's body was one
continued ulcer, occasioned most likely by a burn. The river wound upon
every point of the compass, and its breadth was much contracted by
shoals and rapids running over a rocky bottom: the stream ran with
great velocity, and the boat experienced no interruptions. The banks
were very high and wide, and although the marks of flood were observed
to upwards of thirty feet, the waters were confined to the actual bed of
the river, without flooding the lands on either side. Large masses of
coarse granite were in the river where we stopped for the evening; it
was of a different species from any we had hitherto seen, and the bases
of the hills ending on the river seemed to be composed of it.

June 14.-I had determined to halt this day, for the purpose of verifying
our situation by survey, but was prevented by rain of great violence
throughout the day, accompanied by strong winds from the north-west;
this confined us to our tents.

June 15.--Our journey lay over alternate rich flats and barren stony
scrubs; the country irregular, and the banks much elevated: the land to
the north-west and north, as far as we could see, (ten or twelve miles)
broken into bare, irregular hills and valleys. On the south side of the
river the flats were more extended; thick coppices, and tracts of
barren land, were also observed on that side. About four miles down the
river large blocks of granite were scattered in its bed, and formed the
base of the surrounding hills, the tops of which were covered with
different kinds of stone, cemented or fused together by the action of
fire: many of those stones were beautifully crystallised, and the
appearance of some kind of mineral was evident. The river sometimes
swept along in fine reaches, then, becoming contracted into narrow rocky
channels, rushed through those straits with extreme violence, rendering
it difficult to steer the boats clear of the obstructions that presented
themselves on every side: the large boat struck twice in those narrows.
The water has fallen considerably, and it does not appear to be even now
at its usual level; its quality is very hard. The granite we fell in
with four miles below our last encampment was of a totally different
species, being much finer and closer grained, with small black specks
thickly intermingled in the mass; some freestone was also seen. The
botany of the country was in all respects the same as observed on our
journey homewards last year; the grassy nature of the herbage preventing
any material addition to our collection. Kangaroos were in great
numbers, and continued to furnish us with a welcome addition to our

June 16.--Our day's route was as usual over a very flat though rich
country, thickly wooded with good timber of the eucalyptus and angophora
species, with some fine cypresses in the looser soils, and back from the
river. The country, although flat, appears considerably elevated, and is
neither flooded nor swampy; the opposite side apparently of the same
kind. We fell in with another small camp of natives; the women and
children withdrew before we came up with them: among the men (seven in
number) we recognised four whom we had seen on the last expedition at
Mary's Rivulet; the recognition was mutual, and they seemed highly
pleased with it: they accompanied us about eight miles farther to our
evening's encampment, where being gratified with some kangaroo, and
undergoing the operation of shaving, (at their earnest request, after
seeing one of their number disencumbered of an immense beard) they left
at sunset to join their families, which were probably at no great
distance. About four miles above our encampment, on the immediate banks
the river, we discovered a large mass of saponaceous earth; I at first
took it to be a fine pipeclay, but on examination, it appears to possess
all the valuable qualities of fuller's earth; and a piece of woollen
being partially greased, and then rubbed over with the earth, the grease
was perfectly extracted and the cloth left entirely clean. Among this
earth, small white pieces of a hard marly substance were found, and
appeared either to be pure lime, or to contain a very considerable
portion of it. On one of the beaches a small shell was found, which was
unanimously adjudged to be a marine production; at least, we had never
before seen any fresh-water shell resembling it. The river fell during
last night and the course of this day very considerably, and is, I think,
below its proper level; there is however an ample sufficiency of water
for our boats: the chief dangers are from stumps and branches of trees
in the narrows; and what previously to the great fall in the water we
could have passed over without difficulty, now occasions us some anxiety
and trouble. The course the river took to-day was considerably to
the north.

June 17.--A very severe frost, the ice a quarter of an inch thick. About
a mile down the river, we saw a native burial-place or tomb, not more
than a month old; the characters carved on the trees were quite fresh:
the tomb had no semicircular seats, but in other respects was similar to
those seen on our last journey. The country still continued perfectly
level, the greater part extremely good and rich; back from the river it
was occasionally marshy, with barren rocky scrubs; the timber large, and
generally good: we could not see beyond a mile on the opposite side, but
the country there appeared much the same. One of the men, who was some
distance ahead of the horses, saw a large party of the natives, who fled
at his approach, and swam the river; there were upwards of twenty men,
besides women and children: the moment they were safely across, they
brandished their waddies and spears in token of defiance: this was the
first time any of the natives were seen armed, or in any way hostilely
inclined. The river ran to the north-west by north over a bottom of rock
and sand: in point of depth, it was amply sufficient for much larger
boats than ours; but it was impossible always to avoid concealed
dangers, over which the waters did not cause the slightest ripple. The
large boat struck on a sharp rock, and with such violence as to stave
her bottom; she was immediately unladen, and temporarily repaired
without injury to the cargo. Although the river is extremely low, there
is a very large body of water in it; the outer banks are nearly a
quarter of a mile wide, and far out of the reach of flood, the marks of
which were, to our extreme astonishment, observed nearly fifty feet
high. We have not seen during these last two days any hill or other
eminence; the country within our sight and observation being perfectly

June. 18.--As we were on the point of setting forward, a large party of
natives made their appearance on the opposite side of the river: they
set up a most hideous and discordant noise, making signs, as well as we
could understand them, for us to depart and go down the river. After
beating their spears and waddies together for about a quarter of an
hour, accompanied by no friendly gestures, they went away up the river,
while we pursued our course in an opposite direction. We had hitherto
met with no obstructions in the navigation, except such as arose from
the wrecks of successive floods lodging in the narrows; these were
easily overcome: the course of the river to-day for nearly six miles
was a fine and even stream, from forty to fifty yards wide, and from
eight to sixteen feet deep, over a bottom of rock and sandy gravel; when
a reef of rocks at once interrupted our progress in the laden boats, the
water breaking with such violence over them, that I was afraid they
would be greatly endangered even when light. The horses had stopped at a
cataract about three quarters of a mile lower down, and it appeared that
the rocky shoal extended to that distance, when a fall of five feet over
a bed of rocks would have stopped the boats altogether. The horses were
immediately unladen and sent to bring the cargos of the two boats, which
being accomplished, we got them safely over the shoals by the cataracts;
when hauling them over land about two hundred yards, they were again
launched into deep water. The country on either side during this days
journey was by no means so good as it had hitherto generally been, being
very brushy, and thickly timbered, chiefly with the species of
eucalyptus called box, and another kind appearing to be different from
those frequently observed. The banks of the river were very high; and,
notwithstanding the country was perfectly level, it was far above the
reach of any flood. The body of water falling over the cataract was
surprising, the low state of the river being considered, and this
incident instead of discouraging us increased our already sanguine
hopes, that its termination would not deceive the expectations we could
not avoid indulging.

June 19.--The boats during their progress this day did not experience
any obstruction, the river winding in fine though narrow reaches, over a
bottom of sand and occasionally rock; the depth from eight to sixteen
feet. The country still continued perfectly level, but generally of
excellent soil: two or three miles back from the river north-east, there
were several extensive plains, without any timber on them, and in many
places water was on the surface, probably occasioned by the heavy rain
on the 14th instant; since these flats, and indeed all the country we
had hitherto travelled over, were quite clear of any floods from the
river. The banks of the river are, I think, ten or twelve feet lower
than they are fifteen or twenty miles higher up; the floods evidently do
not rise to so great a height, not exceeding, as far as we can judge,
sixteen feet. I do not think the timber is either so large or so good as
we had hitherto found it; but there is a great quantity of it, chiefly
box, and a species of blue gum. Although at such a distance from the
Lachlan, we have recognised most of the plants found in its vicinity: in
all other respects the neighbourhood of the two rivers is totally
dissimilar; and in nothing more observable than in the rivers
themselves. The water in the river continues so extremely hard as to
render it difficult to raise a lather from soap; it is also very pure
and transparent.

June 20.--The night cold, a sharp frost congealing some standing water
by the river's side. The river rose upwards of a foot during the night,
and still continues gradually to rise. Having gone upwards of one
hundred and twenty-five miles from Wellington Valley, I thought it
advisable that the two men who accompanied us for that purpose should
return to Sydney with an account of our proceedings, agreeably to the
governor's instructions. Despatched two other men on horseback to the
north-east, with directions to go as far as possible in that direction,
and to return by sunset; which they did, and reported that they had been
from fourteen to sixteen miles, through a very fine though level
country: the brushes were of small extent, and communicated with the
finest tracts, chiefly of forest land thinly wooded: no marks were seen
of any floods either from the river or land side, and these flats were
watered by chains of ponds or watercourses, which doubtless when
overflowed communicate with the river. Abundance of kangaroos and emus.

June 21.--The result of the observation this day gave for our situation
lat. 31. 49. 60. S., long. 147. 52. 15. E., and the variation 8. 22. E.

June 22.--Completed the necessary papers for the governor's information,
and made all ready to proceed on our journey tomorrow. The river in
these last two days has risen between two and three feet.

June 23.--Having despatched Thomas Thatcher and John Hall to Bathurst,
with an account of our progress, the expedition set forward down the
river. For four or five miles there was no material change in the
general appearance of the country from what it had been on the preceding
days, but for the last six miles the land was very considerably lower,
interspersed with plains clear of timber, and dry. On the banks it was
still lower, and in many parts it was evident that the river floods
swept over them, though this did not appear to be universally the case.
The far greater part of the last six miles was covered with shrubs, and
the acacia pendula. These unfavourable appearances threw a damp upon our
hopes, and we feared that our anticipations had been too sanguine. The
river continued nearly as before, but much narrower, and more winding,
in some measure accounting for the great height of the floods which we
observed fifty or sixty miles back, where the river was probably four
times as wide: we missed with regret the striking characteristics which
had hitherto distinguished it, the sandy and gravelly beaches, and rocky
points; though there was certainly the same volume of water which had
originally given me such strong hopes that it could never be dissipated
over marshes. The banks are no more than twenty feet high in their most
elevated places, and the probability is, that all our doubts,
speculations, and hopes, will be clearly decided within the week; the
soil is of the richest quality, but the flatness of the land, and want
of any eminence, are great drawbacks upon the bounties of nature: not
but there are numerous spaces above the reach of either land or river
flood, which would offer secure retreats to the inhabitants of these
singular regions. Several new birds were seen to-day of very beautiful
plumage; none however were procured, so as to enable me to describe them.
We also saw the crested pigeon, and grey and red parrot of the Lachlan;
some fine and singular plants also enriched our collection: it would seem
as if nature here delighted in wasting her most beautiful productions
upon the "desert air," rather than placing them in situations where
they would become more easily accessible to the researches of science
and taste.

June 24.--The country was still extremely flat, and perfectly overrun
with acacias, dwarf box (eucalyptus), some species of suffruticore
atriplex [See Note at end of this paragraph.], and other shrubs; and
intersected by nunumerous extensive lagoons now quite dry, but which when
the river is about one-third full, convey the water back over vast plains
and levels for the most part clear of every kind of brush, and on the
of the waters these lagoons act as drains to the lands. The brushes were
most numerous and perplexing in the neighbourhood of the river, a course
we were obliged to keep, in order not to part company with the boats. The
country two or three miles along the banks of the river was only
partially flooded, the land being much lower at a greater distance from
it; the most part of the soil was a rich, alluvial deposition from
floods. Except on those clear plains which occasionally occurred on the
sides of the river, we could seldom see beyond a quarter of a mile.
Byrne, who was at the head of the hunting party, surprised an old native
man and woman, the former digging for rats, or roots, the other lighting
a fire: they did not perceive him till he was within a few yards of
them, when the man threw his wooden spade at Byrne, which struck his
horse; then taking his old woman by the hand, they set off with the
utmost celerity, particularly when they saw the dogs, of which they seem
to entertain great fears. In the evening, natives were heard on the
opposite side of the river, but none came within view. There was no
alteration in the appearance or size of the river during this day's
course; the banks were in no respect lower: it ran with great rapidity
over a sandy bottom, and was from six to thirty feet deep; the water
still clear, and remarkably hard.

[Note: Other genera of chenopodeae likewise exist on these plains,
of which some salsolae, and that curious lanigerous shrub sclerolaena
paradoxa of Mr. Brown, with spinous fruit, are most remarkable.]

June 25.--The weather cold, but fine: the thermometer is about 28
degrees, and I think from this extraordinary degree of cold so far to
the north, that notwithstanding the lowness of the surrounding country
(as compared to its relative situation with the river), that we are
still at a considerable elevation above the sea. In our last journey,
three degrees farther south, we experienced at the same season no such
cold, the weather being equally fine and clear as at present. The
appearance of the country was much the same as yesterday; the whole
ground we passed over being liable to flood, and covered with eucalyptus
or gum tree, acacia pendula, and various other species of that extensive
genus, one of which appeared quite new but not in flower. Four or five
miles back from the river (east), the country rises and is not flooded,
the soil being there much inferior, but covered with fine cypresses:
notwithstanding this tract was much higher than that more immediately on
the river, there was no eminence from which we could look around. The
banks of the river are much lower than yesterday, scarcely exceeding
twelve feet high; the floods are low in proportion, and I did not see
any mark showing that the rise of water ever exceeded a foot above the
banks. The river did not offer the slightest obstruction, and was from
twenty to twenty-four feet deep. There is probably from two to three
feet more in it than usual; the breadth varies considerably, in some
places not more than sixty feet, in others two hundred. All the lagoons
(though very deep), in the neighbourhood of the river are quite dry, and
appearances indicate that the country has not been flooded for years.
Emus and kangaroos are in abundance; but we have lately caught no fish,
owing most likely to the coldness of the weather: various birds
altogether unknown to us were seen; and although the leading plants were
the same as those found through nearly the whole of Australia, new ones
were daily met with. The river has continued inclining to the northward:
its course to-day was north-north-west.

June 26.--The country this day was as various as can be imagined; low
but not level; in some places covered with the acacia pendula,
chenopodeae, and polygonum juncium; in others, with good gum and box
trees. The whole, with few exceptions, appeared liable to flood. Four or
five miles back the country imperceptibly rises, and is free from river
floods; but the hollows, proceeding from the inequalities of its
surface, are in rainy seasons the reservoirs of the land floods. The
whole country was now perfectly dry, and must have been so for a long
period: it would indeed have been impossible, had the season been wet,
to have kept company with the boats. The river itself continues
undiminished, and is a fine stream, with nothing to impede the
navigation; its windings, however, are very considerable. The banks
appear lower by nearly three feet than yesterday: there are still no
marks of flood rising upon the land above a foot on either side: the
depth of the stream is from twenty to twenty-four feet, breadth from
sixty to one hundred and sixty, and its current is about a mile and a
half per hour. The river has fallen yesterday and to-day nearly eighteen

June 27.--The river continues to fall. We had gone about five miles
through a country as low and brushy as usual, when we were agreeably
surprised with the view of a small hill about a mile to the eastward: we
hastened to it, in hopes that we should find that the country rose to
the north-east; we however saw nothing but another hill still higher,
about three miles to the north-north-west, in the direction of the
river. The hill, or rather rock, we had just quitted, was about a
quarter of a mile long by half a quarter broad, and about seventy feet
high; it was nothing but granite, having the sides and summit covered
with broken pieces of a fine and very compact species of the same
mineral. We named it Welcome Rock; for any thing like an eminence was
grateful to our sight. From the summit of the hill seen to the
north-north-west our view was very extensive; but nothing indicated
a speedy change of country or a termination of the river. To the
the land was a perfect level, with clear spaces or marshes interspersed
amidst the boundless desert of wood. To the east, a most stupendous
range of mountains, lifting their blue heads above the horizon, bounded
the view in that direction, and were distant at least seventy miles, the
country appearing a perfect plain between us and them. From north-west
to north-east nothing interrupted the horizontal view, except a hill
similar to the one we were on, about five miles distant to the
north-north-west. Extended as was our prospect, it did not afford much
room for satisfactory anticipation; and there was nothing that gave us
reason to believe that any stream, either from the east or west, joined
the river for the next forty miles at least. The hill from which this
view was taken was named Mount Harris, after my friend, who accompanied
the expedition as a volunteer; that to the north-north-west, Mount
Forster, after Lieutenant Forster, of the Navy; and the lofty range
before mentioned to the eastward was distinguished by the name of
Arbuthnot's Range, after the Right Hon. C. Arbuthnot, of His Majesty's
Treasury. The two first mentioned hills are entirely of granite, from
one and a half to two miles long, by half a mile to one mile wide: their
formation must be considered a most singular geological phenomenon,
detached as they are by an immense space from all mountainous ranges,
and rising from the midst of a soft alluvial soil. Small pieces of
granite were in several places thrown into heaps, as if by human means;
and their whole surfaces were covered with similar pieces, detached from
the solid mass to which they had once belonged. If I might hazard a
conjecture, I should attribute to them a volcanic origin: I think, on
examination, their constituent parts will be found to have undergone the
action of fire, by which they have been fused together. To those
conversant in the structure of the earth, and with the means used by
nature to accomplish her purposes, these singular hills may offer a
subject for curious inquiry. The natives appear numerous in these
regions of apparent desolation: we fell in with several parties in the
course of the day, in the whole probably not less than forty, and many
fires were seen to the north. Being a mile or two ahead of our party in
a thick brush, I came suddenly upon three men; two ran off with the
greatest speed; the third, who was older and a little lame, first threw
his firestick at me, and next (seeing me still advance) a waddie, but
with such agitation, that though not more than a dozen paces distant, he
missed both me and my horse. I returned to my party, and in company with
them surprised the native camp; we found there eight women and twelve
children, just on the point of departing with their infants in their
cloaks on their backs: on seeing us, they seized each other by the hand,
formed a circle, and threw themselves on the ground, with their heads
and faces covered. Unwilling to add to their evident terror, we only
remained a few minutes, during which time the children frequently peeped
at us from beneath their clothes; indeed, they seemed more surprised
than alarmed: the mothers kept uttering a low and mournful cry, as if
entreating mercy. In the camp were several spears, or rather lances, as
they were much too ponderous to be thrown by the arm; these were jagged:
there were also some elamongs (shields), clubs, chisels, and several
workbags filled with every thing necessary for the toilet of a native
belle; namely, paint and feathers, necklaces of teeth, and nets for the
head, with thread formed of the sinews of the opossum's tail for making
their cloaks. The men belonging to the camp were heard shouting at no
great distance: their affection for their families was not, however,
sufficiently powerful to induce them to attempt their rescue from the
hands of such unfabulous centaurs, as we doubtless appeared to them. The
boats met with no interruption, the river continuing a fine and even
stream, running at the rate of a mile and a half per hour: it was in
places very narrow, and our astonishment would have been excited that
such a channel should contain the powerful body of water falling into
it, if we had not found its medium depth to be from twenty to thirty
feet. The height of the banks is not more than seven feet above the
water, and they appeared to have been flooded to that height. It did not
seem that back from the river, beyond three or four miles, the country
was ever flooded, except by the waters which would fall on its surface
in rainy seasons; it was, however, now quite dry, and the hollows of the
surface bore evidence of a long continued drought. The course of the
river still continued to the north-north-west. The rocks composing Mount
Harris are apparently basaltic, the whole seeming to have been shot up
in points. the angles of which are complete. The stones are very heavy
and compact, and when dashed against each other were extremely sonorous.

June 28.--Remained here this day for the purpose of rest and
refreshment: the grass and country poor, and covered with acacia trees
and small eucalypti in our immediate vicinity. Despatched two men to
view the country to the north-east. The botanical collector crossed the
river and ascended Mount Forster, on which he was fortunate enough to
procure many plants seemingly new: he thought he saw a branch of the
river separating from it and running to the north-west, whilst the river
itself continued to go northerly. The account brought by the men in the
evening was far from flattering; they had been out ten or twelve miles
to the north and east, and found the country as bad as can be imagined;
in fact, a dry morass, with higher land, free from floods, but overrun
with brushes, among which a few pines were scattered: they saw no water,
and but little game of any kind.

June 29.--As we proceeded down the river, the country gradually became
much lower in its immediate vicinity; and between four and five miles
from our resting-place it was even with the banks, and in some places
overflowed them. All travelling near the river with horses was at once
interrupted, and this was the more perplexing as it rendered the
communication with the boats uncertain, and liable to be cut off
altogether. Finding that those marshes were only impassable for a mile
or little more from the river, and that occasionally we could approach
within one hundred yards of it, the horses were directed to keep round
the edge of them, making for the river whenever practicable, and firing
guns to let the boats know our situation. At two o'clock in the after.
noon we stopped, after going about ten miles and a half, about one
hundred and fifty yards from the river. which we could not approach
nearer by reason of wet and boggy marshes; in fact, the place where we
stopped is of the same description, but now (fortunately for us) dry.
The country north-east of us, along the dry edge of which we were
obliged to keep, is as bad as possible, being in wet seasons full of
water-holes, and consequently impassable. The river still continues
undiminished, as we find that the branches and small streams that
frequently run from it join it again at short distances, and that they
owe their existence at this time to the full state of the river, which
is certainly some feet above its usual level. The breadth and depth of
the river were various throughout the day: in the places where it
overflowed its banks, there was not more than from ten to twelve feet; in
others, where it ran very broad, but was confined within them, fifteen
feet; and in narrower places, under the same circumstances, upwards of
twenty feet. Thus it seemed to vary with the capacity of the channel to
contain its waters, which were very muddy, the current running at a
medium rate of a mile per hour. The boats arrived at about half past
four o'clock, meeting nothing to interrupt them.

June 30.--After making every arrangement that we could devise to ensure
our keeping company with the boats, we proceeded down the river. Our
progress was, however, interrupted much sooner than I anticipated; for
we had scarcely gone six miles, and never nearer to the river than from
one to two miles, when we perceived that the waters which had overflowed
the banks were spreading over the plains on which we were travelling,
and that with a rapidity which precluded any hope of making the river
again to the north-west by north, in which direction we imagined it to
run for some distance, when its course appeared to take a more northerly
direction. Our situation did not admit of hesitation as to the steps we
were to pursue. Our journey had, in fact, been continued longer than
strict prudence would have warranted, and the safety of the whole party
was now at stake: no retreat presented itself except the station we left
in the morning, and even there it was impossible that we could, with any
regard to prudence, remain longer than to carry the arrangements which I
had in contemplation into effect. The horses were therefore ordered
back, and two men succeeded, after wading through the water to the
middle, in making the river about three miles below the place they set
out from. Fortunately the boats had not proceeded so far, and on their
coming up were directed to return. The boats arrived at sunset, having
had to pull against a strong current. The river itself continued, as
usual, from fifteen to twenty-five feet deep, the waters which were
overflowing the plains being carried thither by a multitude of
little streams, which had their origin in the present increased
height of the waters above their usual level. The river continued
undiminished, and presented too important a body of water to allow
me to believe that those marshes and low grounds had any material
effect in diffusing and absorbing it: its ultimate termination,
therefore, must be more consonant to its magnitude. These reflections
on the present undiminished state of the river would of themselves
have caused me to pause before I hastily quitted a pursuit from
the issue of which so much had naturally been expected. For all
practical purposes, the nature of the country precluded me from
indulging the hope, that even if the river should terminate in an
inland sea, it could be of the smallest use to the colony. The
knowledge of its actual termination, if at all attainable, was,
however, a matter of deep importance, and would tend to throw some
light on the obscurity in which the interior of this vast country is
still involved. My ardent desire to investigate as far as possible this
interesting question, determined me to take the large boat, and with
four volunteers to proceed down the river as long as it continued
navigable; a due regard being had to the difficulties we should have to
contend with in returning against the stream. I calculated that this
would take me a month; at all events, I determined to be provided for
that period, which indeed was the very utmost that could be spared from
the ulterior object of the expedition.

July 1.--The water not rising. Employed in making every preparation to
proceed on the voyage down the river to-morrow morning. On mature
deliberation, it was resolved that on my departure, the horses with the
provisions should return back to Mount Harris, a distance of about
fifteen miles, as the safety of the whole would be endangered by a
longer stay at this station, and to that point I fixed to return with
the large boat. It was determined, that during my absence Mr. Evans
should proceed to the north-east from fifty to sixty miles, and return
upon a more northerly course, in order that we might be prepared against
any difficulties that might occur in the first stages of a journey to
the north-east coast. The only one which I contemplated in a serious
point of view, was the probable want of water until we came in contact
with high land, and I hoped this might be partially provided against by
Mr. Evans's expedition. The horses were all in good condition, and, from
the length of time I expected to be absent, the baggage would be reduced
to the smallest possible compass, and the cooper would have time to
diminish the pork casks, which were far too heavy for the horses, being
intended for boats only; for it had not been contemplated that the
nature of the country would so soon deprive us of water carriage.

July 2.--I proceeded down the river, during one of the wettest and most
stormy days we had yet experienced. About twenty miles from where I set
out, there was, properly speaking, no country; the river overflowing its
banks, and dividing into streams which I found had no permanent
separation from the main branch, but united themselves to it on a
multitude of points. We went seven or eight miles farther, when we
stopped for the night upon a space of ground scarcely large enough to
enable us to kindle a fire. The principal stream ran with great
rapidity, and its banks and neighbourhood, as far as we could see, were
covered with wood, encreasing us within a margin or bank. Vast spaces of
country clear of timber were under water, and covered with the common
reed [Note: Arundo phragmites. Linn.], which grew to the height of six
or seven feet above the surface. The course and distance by the
river was estimated to be from twenty-seven to thirty miles, on a
north-north-west line.

July 3.--Towards the morning the storm abated, and at daylight we
proceeded on our voyage. The main bed of the river was much contracted,
but very deep, the waters spreading to the depth of a foot or eighteen
inches over the banks, but all running on the same point of bearing. We
met with considerable interruption from fallen timber, which in places
nearly choked up the channel. After going about twenty miles, we lost
the land and trees: the channel of the river, which lay through reeds,
and was from one to three feet deep, ran northerly. This continued for
three or four miles farther, when although there had been no previous
change in the breadth, depth, and rapidity of the stream for several
miles, and I was sanguine in my expectations of soon entering the long
sought for Australian sea, it all at once eluded our farther pursuit by
spreading on every point from north-west to north-east, among the ocean
of reeds which surrounded us, still running with the same rapidity as
before. There, was no channel whatever among those reeds, and the depth
varied from three to five feet. This astonishing change (for I cannot
call it a termination of the river), of course left me no alternative
but to endeavour to return to some spot, on which we could effect a
landing before dark. I estimated that during this day we had gone about
twenty-four miles, on nearly the same point of bearing as yesterday. To
assert positively that we were on the margin of the lake or sea into
which this great body of water is discharged, might reasonably be deemed
a conclusion which has nothing but conjecture for its basis; but if an
opinion may be permitted to be hazarded from actual appearances, mine is
decidedly in favour of our being in the immediate vicinity of an inland
sea, or lake, most probably a shoal one, and gradually filling up by
immense depositions from the higher lands, left by the waters which flow
into it. It is most singular, that the high-lands on this continent seem
to be confined to the sea-coast, or not to extend to any great distance
from it.

July 7.--I returned with the boat late last night, and was glad to find
that every thing had been removed to Mount Harris. Mr. Evans had not yet
set out on his journey, but intends to do so to-morrow.

July 8.--Mr. Evans set forward to the north-east, taking with him eight
or ten days' provisions, which I hoped would be sufficient to enable him
to form a competent idea of the country we should now have to travel
over. In the mean time we employed ourselves in diminishing our baggage,
and setting aside eighteen weeks' provisions on a reduced ration, which
was the utmost the horses could take; the remainder serving us for
consumption during our stay here.

July 18.--During the last week the weather was very variable and
unsettled, with constant gales from the north-west round to the
south-west, and occasional heavy rain. We had reason to congratulate
ourselves on the change of our situation: a delay of a few days would
have swept us from the face of the earth. On the 10th, the river began
to rise rapidly, and on the 15th, in the evening it was at its height,
laying the whole of the low country under water, and insulating us on
the spot on which we were; the water approaching within a few yards of
the tent. Nothing could be more melancholy and dreary than the scene
around us; and although personally safe, we could not contemplate
without anxiety the difficulties we might expect to meet with, in
passing over a country which the waters would leave wet and marshy, if
not impracticable. By this morning the waters had retired as rapidly as
they had risen, leaving us an outlet to the eastward, though I feared
that to the north-east the waters would still remain. In the evening
Mr. Evans returned, after an interesting though disagreeable journey. His
horses were completely worn out by the difficulties of the country they
had travelled over. His report, which I shall give at length, decided
me as to the steps that were now to be pursued; and I determined on
making nearly an easterly course to the river which he had discovered,
and which was now honoured with the name of Lord Castlereagh. This route
would take us over a drier country, and the river being within a short
distance of Arbuthnot's range, would enable me to examine from those
elevated points the country to the north-east and east; and to decide
how far it might be advisable to trace the river, which it is my present
inclination to do as long as its course continues to the eastward of
north. From Mr. Evans's Journal, it will be perceived that the waters of
the Macquarie have flowed to the north-east, and still continued flowing
among the reeds, which forced him to alter his course. The circumstance
of the river and other large bodies of water crossed by Mr. Evans all
flowing to the north, seems to bear out the conclusion that these waters
have but one common reservoir.

July 19.--A tempestuous night, with thunder, lightning, and rain.
Impressed with the important use we should be able to make of our boats,
it was determined to construct a carriage for the small one, which we
did by the afternoon. Our labour was wasted; for we were altogether
unable to contrive any harness by which the horses could draw it: we
were therefore reluctantly obliged to relinquish our intention.

July 20.--The morning was fine; and after much contrivance, we succeeded
in taking with us whatever was essential to our future security, and the
whole of the provisions except two casks or flour. The horses were,
however, very heavily laden, carrying at least three hundred and fifty
pounds each; a weight which I was fearful the description of country we
had to pass over would render still more burthensome. We had, however,
relinquished every thing that was not indispensable, and the saddle
horses were equally laden with the others. Mount Harris, under
which we had remained for the last fortnight, is in lat. 31. 18. S.,
long. 147. 31. E. and variation 7. 48. On the summit of the hill we
a bottle, containing a written scheme of our purposed route and
intentions, with some silver coin. Our course during the day was east by
north, by compass, over a level country intersected with marshes, over
which the horses travelled with the utmost difficulty, and not without
repeated falls. Considering how heavily they were laden, I was unwilling
to press them at this early period of our journey, and halted after
going seven miles on the above course. From Mount Harris, bearings were
taken to the most remarkable elevations in Arbuthnot's Range, as

Mount Exmouth,  (northern extreme of the range)  N. 79. E.
Mount Harrison, (centre)                         N. 85. E.
Vernon's Peake                                   N. 88. E.

July 21--Proceeded on the same course, through a country of alternate
brush and marsh: whatever obstacles the former opposed to the progress
of the horses, were nothing to the distress occasioned by the latter, in
which they sank up to their knees at every step; I could not suffer them
to proceed farther than seven miles, which, indeed, was not accomplished
without severe labour. It is a singular feature in this remarkable
country, that the botany and soil are in all respects the same as two
hundred and fifty miles farther to the south-west, presenting nothing
new to our researches. Passed a very large chain of ponds now running to
the north-east, and named them Wallis's Ponds, after my friend, Captain
Wallis, of the 46th regiment.

July 22.--We passed over much the same country as yesterday, but having
a large proportion of cypress forest. After travelling nearly ten miles,
we halted on the edge of a very extensive flat, from three to four miles
in diameter, covered with water. From this plain we had an excellent
view of Arbuthnot's Range, which, from so low and level a country,
appears of vast height. The horses failed much during the day, and
several of them were severely wrung with their burthens.

July 23.--The weather continues remarkably fine and favourable to our
progress over these plains. Our course to-day was chiefly through a
thick brush of acacia and cypresses; a few trees of the eucalyptus and
casuarina were intermixed. The marshy ground was not so frequent, and we
effected between eight and nine miles, when we stopped on a small chain
of ponds but now a running strean, doubtless having its rise in the
marshy grounds a few miles south of us: its course was to the north. We
saw and shot several unknown birds within these few days, but the
botanical sameness continues. These ponds were named Morrissett's Ponds,
after Capt. Morrissett, of the 48th regiment.

July 24.--About a mile and a half from last night's station, we crossed
another small stream similar in all respects to Morrissett's Ponds. Our
course was alternately over wet flats and dry brushes; but in the latter
we met with difficulties which we did not anticipate, namely, dry bogs
of a most dangerous description; they are from thirty to forty yards
broad, and the apparent firmness of their surface treacherously conceals
the danger beneath. One was discovered before the horses were too far
advanced to retreat, and by unlading them, we passed safely over.

The horses were upon the other before we discovered the extent of our
danger, and it was only by instantly cutting away their loads and
harness, and by the exertion of all hands, that they were dragged out;
but they were so exhausted by the struggles they had themselves made,
that I found it would be highly imprudent to proceed farther, though we
had only gone five miles and a half. Such of the horses as had not come
up, their loads being carried over, crossed the bog half a mile higher,
where the ground was somewhat firmer. We had this day the misfortune to
find two of our horses much strained in their hind quarters. The soil of
the brushes is in general a light, sandy loam; on the plains it is an
alluvial mould, on a substratum of clay: the water on these plains is
seldom deeper than the ankles, but travelling over them is very
wearisome. Arbuthnot's Range was in sight during the whole day. The
country was so generally level, that it was impossible to discern any
inequality in it. The waters however, ran with a pretty brisk stream

July 25.--At nine o'clock we set forward with anxious hopes of reaching
Castlereagh River in the course of the day; we struggled for nine miles
through a line of country that baffles all description: we were
literally up to the middle in water the whole way, and two of the horses
were obliged to be unladen to get them over quicksand bogs. Finding a
place sufficiently dry to pitch our tent on, though surrounded by water,
we halted, both men and horses being too much exhausted to proceed
farther. Mr. Evans thinking we could not be very far from the river,
went forwards a couple of miles, when he came upon its banks. This same
river, which last Wednesday week had been crossed without any
difficulty, was now nearly on a level with its first or inner bank: and
its width and rapidity precluded all hope of our being able to cross it
until its subsidence. This was most perplexing intelligence, our
situation being such that we could neither retreat nor advance beyond
the bank of the river, which Mr. Evans represented as being both higher
and drier ground, and to all appearance sufficiently elevated to protect
us from the flood should it increase: thither I determined to remove in
the morning, and to take such further measures as might be deemed
advisable in our present hazardous situation. Since Mr. Evans re-crossed
the river, we have had no rain in our immediate neighbourhood
sufficient to cause the sudden rise, which therefore must be attributed
to heavy falls among the mountains to the east-south-east, from whence I
have no doubt it derives its source. It was most providential that
Mr. Evans and his companions crossed the river when they did; a single
day might have proved fatal to them. We would fain lessen to our own
imagination the dangers which surround us, and eagerly grasp at every
circumstance that tends in any way to enliven our future prospects. That
Providence, whose protection has hitherto been so beneficently extended
to us, will, we confidently hope, continue that protection, and lead us
in safety to our journey's end.

Owing most probably to the violent motion it experienced, my chronometer
stopped: this accident was the more to be lamented, as the watch with
which I was furnished by the crown had also stopped, and we had now
nothing to regulate our time by.

July 26.--We passed a dreadful night; the elements seemed to be bursting
asunder, and we were almost deluged with rain. Towards noon the weather
partially cleared tip. Our design of moving was however rendered
abortive: we found it impossible to bring the horses near the tents to
lade them, and the rain recommencing with great violence, continued
throughout the day. An inmate of an alarming description took up its
lodging in our tent during the last night, probably washed out of its
by the rain: a large diamond snake was discovered coiled up among the
flour bags, four or five feet from the doctor's bed.

July 27.--This morning the weather cleared up just in time to enable us
to retreat to the river banks in safety, for we were washed out of the
tent. The provisions and heavy baggage were carried by the people to a
firmer spot of ground, at which place the horses being lightly laden, we
got every thing transported to the river by one o'clock. Castlereagh
River is certainly a stream of great magnitude; its channel is divided
by numerous islands covered with trees: it measured in its narrowest
part one hundred and eighty yards, and the flood that had now risen in
it was such as to preclude any attempt to cross it. The outer banks were
good firm land, apparently free from floods, and extending not more on
this side than a quarter of a mile, when it became wet and marshy: the
banks were from twelve to seventeen feet high, and gradually sloped to
the water. The trees on this firm margin of land were a species of
eucalyptus, cypresses, and the sterculia heterophylla, with a few
casuarinae. This river doubtless discharges itself into that interior
gulf, in which the waters of the Macquarie are merged: to that river it
is in no respect inferior, and when the banks are full, the body of
water in it must be even still more considerable. Towards evening I
thought the waters were falling, which was an event we anxiously looked
for, to enable us to proceed to Arbuthnot's Range, from the heights of
which we hoped for an interesting view. Natives appear to be numerous;
their guniahs (or bark-huts) are in every direction, and by their
fire-places several muscle-shells of the same kind as those found on the
Lachlan and Macquarie Rivers were seen. Game (kangaroos and emus),
frequenting the dry banks of the river, were procured in abundance.

July 28.--The river during the night had risen upwards of eight feet;
and still continued rising with surprising rapidity, running at the rate
of from five to six miles per hour, bringing down with it great
quantities of driftwood and other wreck. The islands were all deeply
covered, and the whole scene was peculiarly grand and interesting. The
sudden rise probably was caused by the heavy rains of the preceding
days; but great must be the sources from whence so stupendous a body of
water is supplied, and equally grand must be that reservoir, which is
capable of containing such an accumulation of water as is derived from
this and the Macquarie Rivers; not to mention the supplies from the
occasional streams which had their sources in the marshes which we have
crossed. The water was so extremely thick and turbid, that we could not
use it; but were forced to send back to the marshes for what we wanted.
At night, the river seemed at its greatest height.

July 29.--The waters this day subsided rapidly. It is evident that there
has been no flood in the river for a very considerable period prior to
the present one, there being no marks of wreck or rubbish on the trees
or banks. Now the quantity of matter is astonishing, and, such as must
take some years to remove. The rapid rise and fall in the water would
seem to indicate that neither its source nor its embouchure can be at
any great distance. The former is probably not far east of Arbuthnot's

August 2.--It was not until this morning that the river had fallen
sufficiently to allow us to ford it. Though the morning was unpromising
with slight rain, it was not deemed prudent to lose a moment in passing
it, while in our power; and by one o'clock every thing was safely over,
to our great satisfaction. Before this, it had begun to rain hard, and
it continued to do so throughout the day, and great part of the
night. Our observations place this part of Castlereagh River in
lat. 31. 14. 14. S., long. 148. 18. E., variation 8. 14. E.

August 3.--A dark cloudy morning. At nine o'clock proceeded on our
eastern course towards Arbuthnot's Range. The river had risen in the
night so considerably, that had we delayed until this morning, we should
have been unable to pass it. The rain had rendered the ground so
extremely soft and boggy, that we found it impossible to proceed above
three-quarters of a mile on our eastern course. We therefore returned,
resolving to keep close to the river's edge, until we should be enabled
to sound the vein of quagmire, with which we appeared to be hemmed in.
In this attempt we were equally unfortunate, the horses falling
repeatedly: one rolled into the river, and it was with difficulty we
saved him: my baggage was on him, and was entirely spoiled; the
chart case and charts were materially damaged, and our spare thermometer
broken: we therefore unladed the horses where they stood, and the men
carried the provisions to a firmer spot, where they were reladen. We
again proceeded easterly, and for upwards of a mile we travelled up to
our knees in water and mud: the horses were here stopped by running
waters from the marshes, encircling a spot of comparatively dry ground;
they were again unladen, and with the utmost difficulty we got every
thing safe over. Both men and horses were so much exhausted by the
constant labour they had undergone, that I determined to halt, in order
to restore our baggage to some order. Our ardent hopes are fixed upon
the high lands of Arbuthnot's Range, which I estimate to be about twenty
miles off. The intermediate country, we fear, will be one continued

August 4.--Proceeded on our journey. In the seven miles and a half which
we accomplished to-day, the water and bog were pretty equally divided;
and a plain covered with the former was a great relief both to men and
horses, since an apparently dry brush, or forest, was found a certain
forerunner of quicksands and bogs. The natives appear pretty numerous:
one was very daring, maintaining his ground at a distance armed with a
formidable jagged spear and club, which he kept beating against each
other, making the most singular gestures and noises that can be
imagined: he followed us upwards of a mile, when he left us, joining
several companions to the right of us. Emus and kangaroos abound, and
there is a great diversity of birds, some of which have the most
delightful notes, particularly the thrush.

August 5.--At three o'clock we were obliged to give up all attempts to
proceed farther this day; it was with the utmost difficulty we
accomplished six miles: for the last half mile, the horses were not on
their legs for twenty yards together. This, too, was in the middle of an
apparently dry forest of iron bark and cypress trees: the surface gave
way but little to the human tread, but the horses were scarcely on it
before the water sprang at every step, and the ground sank with them to
their girths. In this dilemma, it was agreed to rest for the night, and
in the morning endeavour to proceed to the nearest hill, which appeared
to be distant about two miles and a half, with very light loads upon the
best track we could find, and then return for the remainder of the
baggage and stores. A foreknowledge of the difficulties we should have
to encounter would certainly have prevented me from attempting to reach
these mountains; the nature of this country baffles all reasonable
expectation and conjecture, and that which appears one thing at a
distance, has a quite different form and aspect when more nearly
approached. Neither rivers, brushes, nor marshes, seem to make the least
difference in the vegetation of this singular tract: a dreary uniformity
pervades alike its geology and its botany.

August 6.--At eight o'clock the horses set forward with half the
baggage; with considerable difficulty they at length reached the hill,
and were immediately sent back for the remainder of the stores. The hill
was about three miles from our camp, and from it a view of Arbuthnot's
Range was obtained, distant nine or ten miles: its elevated points were
extremely lofty, and of a dark, barren, and gloomy appearance; the rocks
were of a dark grey, approaching to black, and from their crevices, a
few stunted trees protruded themselves. It was half past three o'clock
before every thing was removed to the foot of the hill, when it was much
too late to think of proceeding, anxious as we were to arrive at the
main range itself. We killed this day one of the largest kangaroos we
had seen in any part of New South Wales, being from one hundred and
fifty to one hundred and eighty pounds weight. These animals live in
flocks like sheep; and I do not exaggerate, when I say that some
hundreds were seen in the vicinity of this hill; it was consequently
named Kangaroo Hill: several beautiful little rills of water have their
source in it, but are soon lost in the immeasurable morass at its base.

August 7.--About a mile from Kangaroo Hill, after crossing a marshy
plain, we came to a limestone rock, spreading in smaller pieces over a
low hill. It is somewhat remarkable, that this stone should again be
found precisely under the same meridian as seen on the Lachlan and
Macquarie Rivers: the same stratum appears to have run from south to
north, upwards of two hundred miles. This hill is certainly its northern
termination, since beyond it the low and marshy plains of the interior
commence. At one o'clock we arrived under the hill which Mr. Evans had
previously ascended: at this spot I intended to remain a couple of days,
as well to refresh the horses, as for the purpose of ascending Mount
Exmouth, from whence I promised myself an extensive view of the country
over which our intended route lay. On ascending the hill before
mentioned, I was surprised with the remarkable effect which the
situation appeared to have on the compass. The station I had chosen was
the highest part, and nearly the centre of the hill; placing the compass
on the rock before me, the card flew round with extreme velocity, and
then suddenly settled at opposite points, the north point becoming the
south. Astonished at such a phenomenon, I made the following
observations. The compass on the rock, Mount Exmouth, bore S. 60. W.
(its true bearing being N. 75. E.), and on raising it gradually to the
eye, the card was violently agitated, and the same point now bore
N. 67. E. About one hundred yards farther south, the compass was again
placed on the rock; the effect on the compass was very different, Mount
Exmouth bore E. 48. S., and the tent in the valley beneath S. 74. W. The
card on raising the compass was rather less agitated than before, and
the eye, Mount Exmouth bore N. 77. E., and the tent S. 15. W., the true
bearing of the latter being S. 13 1/2. W. Thus the magnetic fluid seemed
on this spot to have less influence on the needle, than on the spot where
its power was first observed; and at a short distance from the base of
the hill the needle regained its natural position. The rocks, when
broken, were of a dark iron grey: they did not appear to contain any
iron, for when tried at the tent, the magnet had no power over them.
I could not discern any regular stratum of rock, the hill being covered
with large detached stones, many of which formed figures of five and six
sides: the evening was too far advanced to permit any farther
observations to be made. [Note: The island of Cannay, one of the
Hebrides, affects the needle in a nearly similar manner. A rock in it is
named The Loadstone Rock.] Observed the variation of the needle by
azimuth, to be 6. 22. E.

August 8.--We set off early this morning to ascend Mount Exmouth,
distant four or five miles: at its base we crossed a pretty stream of
water, having its source in the Mount; it took us nearly two hours of
hard labour to ascend its rugged summits: we were however amply
gratified for our trouble by the extensive prospect we had of the
surrounding country. Directing our view to the west, Mount Harris and
Mount Forster, whose elevations do not exceed from two to three hundred
feet, were distinctly seen at a distance of eighty-nine miles. These two
spots excepted, from the south to the north it was a vast level,
resembling the ocean in extent and appearance. From east-north-east to
south, the country was broken and irregular; lofty hills arising from
the midst of lesser elevations, their summits crowned with perpendicular
rocks, in every variety of shape and form that the wildest imagination
could paint. To this grand and picturesque scenery, Mount Exmouth
presented a perpendicular front of at least one thousand feet high, when
its descent became more gradual to its base in the valley beneath, its
total elevation being little less than three thousand feet. To the
north-east commencing at N. 33. E., and extending to N. 51. E., a lofty
and magnificent range of hills was seen lifting their blue heads above
horizon. This range was honoured with the name of the Earl of Hardwicke,
and was distant on a medium from one hundred to one hundred and twenty
miles: its highest elevations were named respectively Mount Apsley, and
Mount Shirley. The country between Mount Exmouth and this bounding range
was broken into rugged hills, and apparently deep valleys, and several
minor ranges of hills also appeared. The high lands from the east and
south-east gradually lessened to the north-west, when they were lost in
the immense levels, which bound the interior abyss of this singular
country; the gulf in which both water and mountain seem to be as
nothing. Mount Exmouth seems principally composed of iron-stone; and
some of the richest ore I had yet seen was found upon it. On its sides
were many different stones; but its perpendicular cliffs were of a dark
bluish grey colour, shining when broken, very heavy, and close grained.
Mount Harris, and Mount Exmouth, are composed of distinct materials, and
in their formation bear not the slightest resemblance to each other;
the granite of the former being more allied to the hills to the
south-south-east of it, from which however it is distant at least one
hundred miles, a perfect level filling up the intermediate space. Many
new, and otherwise interesting subjects of the indigenous botany were
discovered on the hills: among which were a species of persoonia, not
previously observed, some xanthorrhaeae or grass trees, and two or three
coast plants. The heteromorphous sterculia of the interior, and some
species of eucalyptus of very stunted growth covered its sides, which
however for a considerable distance were not deficient in grass.
was found in large masses in the rivulet at its base, with pebbles of
various colours, and of species none of which was found on the mount
itself. It was near four o'clock before we returned to the tent, highly
gratified with our excursion.

August 9.--In the course of the day, I again ascended Loadstone Hill,
and repeated the experiments made on Friday, with the same results.
Several different stations on the summit were tried, and the needle was
variously affected; the spot where the phenomenon was first observed
seemed to have the greatest effect on the needle. A common sewing needle
was strongly rubbed with a magnet, and balanced on the point of the
rock, when it was much agitated, and the point flew round from the
north to the south. The needle of the circumferenter, taken out of the
box, was affected in a similar manner, only that when balanced on the
rock, the fluid did not possess sufficient power to turn the point more
than one point of the circle instead of quite round, as when balanced in
the compass box. A compound magnet was laid on the rock, and applied to
it in different ways, but it did not seem in any manner affected by the
power which had so surprised us with its effect on the compass. The
weather within the last week has become perceptibly warmer: the
thermometer being seldom under 70 degrees at noon. The fires of the
natives were seen at no great distance from us; and they seem to attend
upon our motions pretty closely. The observations made here placed us in
lat. 31. 13. S., long. 148. 41. 30. E., and I estimate the mean variation
to be about 7 1/2 easterly. We found that no reliance could be placed on
bearings taken with the compass on heights in this vicinity, and I am
fearful that the bearings taken from Mount Exmouth will require
verification, a difference of 4 degrees being observed in some, when
compared with other bearings, which could not be supposed to be affected
by the magnetic fluid.

August 10.--Proceeded on our journey: our course for the first six or
seven miles being to the north-north-east, and afterwards north-east half
east, which latter course I intended to steer for some time. It was the
best day's travelling we had experienced since quitting the Macquarie
River, being generally over low strong ridges, the sides and summits of
some of which were very thick brush of cypress trees, and small shrubs,
particularly the last two miles. We stopped for the evening in an
extensive low valley north of Mount Exmouth, and running under its base,
bounded on the north-east by low forest hills. To the south the hills
were rocky, abrupt, and precipitous. On the whole we accomplished eleven

August 11.--Our route lay over low valleys of considerable extent of
open forest ground, but so soft and boggy, that it was with difficulty
we made any progress: it would seem that much rain had fallen here
lately, and completely saturated the soil, which is a light, sandy
mould. In these valleys there are small streams of water, having their
origin in the surrounding hills; they all terminate northerly. We could
accomplish but seven miles on a north-east by east course. In the
evening we had an awful storm of thunder and lightning, accompanied with
torrents of rain. The reverberation of sound among the hills was
astonishing. The natives continue in our vicinity unheeded, and
unheeding: even the noise of their mogo upon the trees is a relief from
the otherwise utter loneliness of feeling we cannot help experiencing in
these desolate wilds.

August 12.--We found that we could not maintain our direct course, as
the low ground was so boggy, that the horses were altogether unable to
move on it. Keeping therefore the banks of the little stream where the
ground was firmer, we reached the chain of hills bounding the valley to
the southward: we wound along the base of the hills on a variety of
courses, not being able to quit them twenty yards without being bogged.
Finding that the hills trended too much to the south-west, we kept down
the bed of a small stream for two or three miles, and halted on a fine
apple tree flat of rich land, watered by a very fine small stream, which
was joined by the one we came down. The main strewn ran to the
northward. The apple tree flats are uniformly of firm hard ground, while
the soil on which grow the iron-bark, pine, and box, is as invariably a
loose sand, rendered by the rain a perfect quicksand. These bogs are the
more provoking, as without such impediments the country is clear and
open, and as favourable for travelling over as could be wished: we have
had any thing but a dry season, and it is to the heavy rain which might
naturally be expected to fall near high mountains, that our present
difficulties must be ascribed. We travelled between nine and ten miles,
but our course made good was nearly south-east only five miles. A few
new plants were found: the hills were a mere bed of iron ore.

August 13.--We proceeded at our usual hour; and did not halt till near
sunset, but accomplished no more than six miles, in the course of which
the horses were obliged to be unladen, and the men carried the loads
upwards of half a mile before the horses could be got across the
quicksands. They are indeed properly so termed, consisting of two or
three inches of light mould, on about eighteen inches of loose sand, the
whole covering a rocky or stony bottom. On treading on them, water would
fly up several inches; and it was with difficulty men could pass over
them, much less horses. Quicksands of a similar nature prevented our
reaching a small creek running under a high craggy ridge of hills;
we therefore stopped at the edges of them, every body completely
worn out. The appearance of the country passed over was most desolate
and forbidding, but quite open, interspersed with miserable rocky crags,
on which grew the cypress and eucalyptus. On the more level portions
of the country, a new and large species of eucalyptus, and another of
its genus (the iron bark), were the principal if not the only trees.
Many of the rocks were pointed and basaltic, but the general species
was a coarse sandstone. Miserable as the country was in other respects,
it was fruitful in new plants.

August 14.--As it rained hard during the night, and the rain still
continued to fall in thick showers, I thought it advisable to rest.

August 15.--Cloudy, with strong winds from the south-east. We crossed
the creek about two miles from our resting-place, but soon found that
any attempt to advance in that quarter would be abortive, the morass and
quicksands extending into the very water, and denying all egress. We
therefore recrossed the rivulet about a mile more northerly with better
success, and succeeded in gaining some stony hills, which, with two or
three intervening marshy valleys, continued for the rest of the day's
route; the latter part being up very high, rocky, barren hills, with
narrow defiles. From these heights we descended into a pretty valley of
considerable extent, and, to our great joy, of sound, firm soil, with
plenty of good grass: the water however was strongly impregnated with
iron, so that we could hardly drink it. This valley, which we named
Wiltden Valley, was enclosed on all sides except the north, by lofty,
rocky hills of coarse sandstone, adorned with various species of acacia
in full bloom, with a vast variety of other flowering shrubs of the most
beautiful and delicate description, adding greatly to our botanical
collection. We accomplished in the whole twelve or thirteen miles, about
six of which were in the direction of our proper course.

August 16.--We had hardly begun to lade the horses, when the rain
recommenced with greater violence than in the night, and effectually
prevented us from proceeding. The country presents sufficient
obstructions to our progress, not to render the delay caused by a day's
rain a matter of much inquietude. The loss of time is of little
consideration, when compared with the soft and boggy ground which such
heavy falls leave. A species of banksia was seen to-day under the same
meridian as on the Macquarie. It would seem that particular productions
of the vegetable as well as of the mineral kingdom run in veins nearly
north and south through the country. This peculiarity has been remarked
of other plants, besides the species of banksia.

August 17.--Our course this day led us over a barren, rocky country,
consisting of low stony ranges, divided by valleys of pure sand, and
usually wet and marshy: latterly we appear to be descending from a
considerable height, to a lower country to the north-east. The whole was
a mere scrub covered with dwarf iron barks, apple trees, and small gums;
the soil scarcely any thing but sand, on which grass grew in single
detached roots. The horses fell repeatedly in the course of the day,
and they were now so weak that they sank at every soft place. Between
four and five o'clock, after travelling about ten hours, we stopped at a
small drain of water for the night, having accomplished nearly eleven
miles. In our track we saw no signs of natives, and the country seemed
abandoned of every living thing. Silence and desolation reigned around.

August 18.--It is impossible to describe in adequate language the
different trying obstructions we encountered during this day's journey:
after meeting and overcoming many minor difficulties of bog and
quicksand, we had accomplished nearly eleven miles, and were looking out
for a place to rest, when we entered a very thick forest of small iron
barks which had been lately burnt; and their black stems and branches,
with the dull bluish colour of their foliage, gave the whole a
singularly dismal and gloomy appearance. So thick was the forest that we
could hardly turn our horses, nor could the sun's rays penetrate to the
sandy desert on which these trees grew. Without the usual appearances of
a bog, our horses were in an instant up to their bellies, and the
difficulties we had in extricating them would hardly obtain belief. In
this dilemma, scarcely able to see which way to turn, we traversed the
margin of this extensive quicksand for nearly three miles in a direction
contrary to our course, before we could find firm ground or water for
the horses, which we did not effect till sunset; and then (as for the
last three days) there was nothing for them to eat but prickly grass,
which possesses no nourishing qualities. This fare, after their hard
labour, reduces them daily.

August 19.--After wandering about the whole day without gaining any
thing on our course, for the quicksands kept us revolving as it were in
a circle, the exhaustion of the horses obliged us to stop. It was
painful to behold them, after being disencumbered of their loads, lay
themselves down like dogs about us: it was the fourth day that they had
been without grass, and they preferred the tender branches of shrubs,
etc., to the prickly grass. The backs of the greater part of them were,
notwithstanding every care, dreadfully galled, so that they could, when
first saddled, scarcely stand under their burdens. These quicksands lie
in the hollows between the low irregular hills, which rise on this
otherwise level country: their point of discharge is uniformly
north-westerly. The union of many of these minor drains forms
occasionally a large one, and the points of the hills which meet upon
them afford the only means of crossing them. It was evident that the
early part of the winter had been very wet., and the late rains had
probably been the cause of these morasses, which still continued to
drain themselves off in running water. This region must at all times be
impassable from opposite causes: in wet seasons it is a bog; in dry
ones, there is no water. Finding, as above remarked, that northerly and
north-east the country declined as it were to nothing, it was resolved
to pursue a more easterly course than that hitherto followed; and
instead of attempting to go round the morasses which we might meet with
to the north, to follow them southerly, a course which in time must
certainly take us to a more elevated country. Such a road is rendered
now absolutely necessary by the condition of the horses. Our dogs, which
had so long contributed to our support, had been for the last four days
dependant upon us for theirs, and we were too much indebted to their
exertions not to share our meals with them with cheerfulness. These
woods abound with kangaroo rats, and it is singular that, pinched as the
dogs were, they would not touch them even when cooked.

August 20.--This day after travelling upwards of nine miles, and having
pushed the horses at the risk of their lives through two minor branches
of the bog, what was our mortification to find, that we were within a
few hundred yards of the spot we set out from! We had first attempted
to cross the main bog northerly, and afterwards kept along its edge
southerly; and the result was, that we found it to extend in a complete
circle around us. From a slight rise in the centre of it, we could see
the country to the north-east, north, and north-west, low and uneven;
Hardwicke's Range distant about forty miles, bounding it between the
north and east. The result of this day's exertion quite subdued our
fortitude, and for a moment a feeling nearly allied to despair had
possession of our minds. We knew not which way to turn ourselves. To
return to Arbuthnot's Range, and again undergo what it had cost us so
much to overcome, could not be thought of for a moment; but upon that
mature reflection which our serious situation demanded, it was deemed
the most prudent plan to return so far back as would enable us to reach
the higher lands to the south-east. This we expected to do by Saturday
evening: twenty miles back we had left land of considerable elevation;
and we could only hope that in its vicinity we should find a dry ridge
on which to accomplish our purpose, and occasionally a patch of country
in which the horses might find subsistence; for they were at present
very much reduced.

August 23.--We returned yesterday to Parry's Rivulet, within twelve
miles of Weltden Valley, which was the whole distance we had gone in the
direction of our course towards the coast, although we had travelled
during the week upwards of seventy miles. The weather for the last four
days has been extremely tempestuous, with slight showers of hail and
rain: the winds were chiefly from the west and north-west, the
temperature being extremely cold for the latitude and season. The
observations of to-day place this station in lat. 30. 57. 20.,
long. 149. 20. E. Variation 8. 42. E.

August 24.--We were a little surprised at finding that a severe frost
had taken place during the night, and that the thermometer was now as
low as 28 degrees. Ice lay within a few yards of our fire, of the
thickness of a dollar. Our course throughout the day was southerly, and
led us up the banks of Parry's Rivulet. We experienced fewer
difficulties than on any day since we had entered this desert, and
accomplished between nine and ten miles, at the end of which we entered
a small valley of good forest ground with tolerable grass; though early
in the day, the horses needed refreshment too much, not to induce me to
stop here for the remainder of it: as we could not at the utmost have
gone above two miles farther. This valley, and the appearance of forest
hills to the southward, gave us strong hopes that by continuing our
present course for a day or two longer we should get into a better line
of country, and be enabled to resume our easterly course. Parry's
Rivulet was here a series of large ponds, near which were traces of
natives, but of old date. In this desert, we have never met with any
signs that can lead us to believe it has ever been before crossed by any
human being.

August 25.--A smart frost during the night: the morning fine and clear.
At eight o'clock we proceeded on our route, taking a more easterly
direction according to circumstances. Between three and four miles from
our camp, we had an extensive view to the east and south-east, and saw
with extreme satisfaction a lofty chain of fine forest hills thinly
timbered, bearing east-south-east of us; and distant fourteen or fifteen
miles. To the east were extensive flats, bare of timber, and apparently
either composed of white sand, or covered with dead grass; our distance
would not enable us to distinguish which: these flats were bounded by
remote rising hills seemingly clear and open. A high peak, bearing
north, was named Kerr's Peak; and a very lofty mount, under which the
west extremity of the plains lay, was named Mount Tetley: and the
westernmost remarkable hill in the chain first mentioned, Whitwell Hill.
The bogginess and ruggedness of our route, for the remainder of the day,
sufficiently tried our strength: we accomplished however thirteen miles,
and halted in a small valley about four miles south of Whitwell Hill.
This valley was bounded east and west by rocky hills, but the soil was
better, and the grass of good quality. The base of these hills was of
close-grained white-coloured granite, or whinstone: the summits of good
freestone: on the sides several good pieces of iron ore were picked up.

August 26.--While Mr. Evans proceeded with the horses on an eastern
course for Mount Tetley, Dr. Harris and myself went towards the spacious
valley at the foot of Whitwell Hill. This we soon reached, and travelled
down its centre, along the banks of a beautiful stream of water which
fertilized and drained it. The extent of this valley towards the
south-west, we could not discover, as its windings were lost among the
forest hills in that direction. We went down to the east between seven
and eight miles, when we rejoined the horses at the base of an elevated
conical hill, standing detached at its east entrance, which was here
four or five miles wide. On ascending this hill, the view which was on
all sides presented to our delighted eyes was of the most varied and
exhilarating kind. Hills, dales, and plains of the richest description
lay before us, bounded to the east by fine hills, beyond which were seen
elevated mountains. To the north-east an extensive valley, from eight to
ten miles wide, led to Hardwicke's Range, being a distance of about
thirty-five miles. In this great valley were numerous low hills and
plains, thinly studded with timber, and watered by the stream, down the
banks of which we had travelled. From its eastern side, these low hills
gradually rose to a loftier elevation: but were still thinly timbered,
and covered with grass. To the east-south-east, and south-east, clear
plains extended to the foot of very lofty forest hills, at a medium
distance of from twenty-five to forty miles. These were the plains seen
on our yesterday's route, and which we feared were sand. We found them
to consist of a rich dry vegetable soil; and although, from their vast
extent, they may, as a whole, be properly denominated plains, yet their
surfaces were slightly broken into gentle eminences with occasional
clumps, and lines of timber. Their white appearance was occasioned by
the grass having been burnt early in the year, and the young growth
killed by the frosts. The little rivulet, that watered the north-west
side of this track of country, had overflowed within these few days; but
the ground left by the retreating waters was as firm and solid, as those
parts which had not been touched. The sides of the hills were of the
same black mould, stony towards their summits, and the higher eminences
rocky. The rocks were of a very hard whinstone, the stratum nearly
perpendicular, or rather standing up in regular basaltic figures,
similar to those on Loadstone Hill. These valleys and hills abound with
kangaroos, and on the plains numbers of emus were seen. We seemed to be
once more in the land of plenty, and the horses as well as men had cause
to rejoice at the change, from the miserable harassing deserts through
which we had been struggling for the last six weeks, to this beautiful
and fertile country. From the hill on which we stood, bearings were
taken to the most remarkable points and objects connected with the
survey; and the most distinguished, in point of beauty or singularity of
appearance, were honoured with distinctive appellations. The valley down
which we had travelled was called Lushington's Valley (after the
Secretary to His Majesty's Treasury); the extensive one to the
north-east, leading to Hardwicke's Range, Camden Valley (after the noble
Marquis); the plains to the east and south-east were honoured with the
name of Lord Liverpool; the hills bounding Lushington's Valley, on the
south side, Vansittart's Hills, after the Chancellor of the Exchequer;
while several less remarkable hills were designated after persons
endeared to our recollections by early friendship. A great variety of
new plants rewarded the exertions of our botanist, in ascending Mount
Tetley; and many, hitherto only known on the coast, were discovered on
the hills and in the valleys: the acacia pendula was also seen; it had
hitherto been the usual characteristic of wet lands, but it was here
growing on the most dry and elevated situations. The timber on the
plains and hills was chiefly those species of eucalyptus called apple
tree, box, and gum trees; and on the banks of the rivulet were a few
large casuarina. So much time was consumed in ascending hills and
examining the country, that we did not go more than ten miles on a
direct course: it was however time well bestowed. Three native fires
were seen in Lushington's Valley, but the whole of this part of the
country appears to be very thinly inhabited; a few wandering families
making up the total of its population. The small rivulet in Lushington's
Valley was named Yorke's Rivulet, in honour of Sir J. S. Yorke.

August 27.--Pursuing our course to the eastward, towards the range of
low hills bordering the plains in that quarter, between five and six
miles, we came to a fine stream of water, crossing the plains from the
south to the north. There had been a flood in this rivulet within these
few days, marks of which were observed about fifteen feet high; but
still within the banks. It appears that the plains are chiefly flooded
from Yorke's Rivulet, the remaining waters of which, together with
rain-water, were in several places still standing on the surface; but
not to the extent that the horizontal level of these plains would have
led me to suppose would probably be the case. The far greater portion
was a rich dry soil, and that the water is never permanent on any part
of them is clearly demonstrated by the total absence of any aquatic or
bog plants. From this rivulet, the three main branches of these immense
plains were clearly visible to the east by south-south-east, and
north-east. Of the extent of the two former, we could only judge from
the lofty bounding chains of hills in those quarters; and which we could
not estimate to be nearer than from forty-five to fifty miles.
Hardwicke's Range bounded these to the north-east, with many intervening
beautiful hills and valleys. We found the distance across the plains to
the hill where we stopped, to be upwards of fourteen miles on an east
line. Chains and ridges of low forest hills, which gradually rise from the
horizontal level, are scattered over these plains, and stand for the most
part detached like islands; varying the scenery in a most picturesque
manner, as they are generally clothed with wood of apple tree, cypress,
and other species of eucalyptus, intermingled with various acacias in full
flower. Mr. Evans ascended Mount Tetley to take bearings from it. He found
the compass to be affected in a similar manner to that remarked on
Loadstone Hill; the north point of it when placed on the rock, becoming
the south. This remarkable alteration of the needle was also observed on
several other hills in this vicinity, but in a less degree; the bearings
generally varying from two to three points from the truth. On the hill
under which we stopped this evening, named View Hill, the needle varied
three points. In consequence of the heavy rains and recent floods,
travelling on many parts of these plains was very heavy; the soil being a
rick loose loam, of a dark red approaching to a black colour, but of
great apparent fertility and strength: some hundreds of kangaroos and
emus were seen in the course of the day. We killed several, the dogs
being absolutely fatigued with slaughter: the game was by no means shy,
but came close up to us, as if to examine us. Indeed I do not think they
are much disturbed by natives, of whom we have seen few signs in this
neighbourhood. The stream crossing the plains was named Bowen's Rivulet,
in honour of Commissioner Bowen, of the Navy Board.

August 28.--The season continues to get warm and sultry. We pursued an
east-north-east course during our day's journey, leading us through a
fine open forest country generally level in the direction of our course,
but rising into forest hills to the north and south of us. At eight
miles, ascending from this level, we saw the great plains which extend
along the line of our course, and are separated from us by a rich open
country of hill and vale, distant four or five miles. A branch from these
plains led to the north-east across our course, and was distant five or
six miles. We proceeded in the whole ten miles, and stopped in a pretty
forest valley, with plenty of water and good grass. The stones composing
the hills were very various, sometimes different species of granite, then
sandstone, and on others loose slate. On View Hill we found particularly
rich iron stone. The soil was uniformly good, and covered with grass; the
country by no means thickly timbered, chiefly with box, and a few

August 29.--On our departure we almost immediately descended a rocky
and steep hill, covered with cypress and small brush; from thence we
descended upon a level forest country, which continued for the remainder
of our journey (seven and a half miles), to the edge of the extensive
flat which we had seen yesterday. As we should not have been able to
cross it before nightfall, I thought it better to remain where there was
plenty of grass and water. From our tent we had a singularly picturesque
and pleasing prospect. To the north, Hardwicke's Range, distant between
forty and fifty miles: the country broken into low forest hills and
plains to its base. To the north-east, east, and south-east, our view was
bounded by beautiful forest hills seldom rising to any great elevation,
thinly wooded, and covered with grass. These hills bounded the plains,
and varied in distance from ten to thirty miles. To the north-east the
country was lowest, but appeared good and open: that part of the plain
near which we encamped was wet and marshy; and the horizontal level of
the whole appeared to warrant the supposition that at some (perhaps not
distant) period, these vast plains formed chains of inland lakes, which
the washings from the hills have now nearly filled up; as the water at
present does not exceed a few inches in depth, and is only partially
spread on the surface, forming but a moderate proportion of the whole. In
dry seasons there is evidently none: the hills passed over this day were
of a curious species of pudding-stone and freestone. The hills on the
opposite side of the plains were named Melville Hills, in honour of the
first Lord of the Admiralty; and the valley at the extremity of it
leading to Hardwicke's Range, Barrow's Valley, after one of the
secretaries of that board.

August 30.--A day of rest and refreshment to ourselves and horses. Game
abounds, and our dogs abundantly supply us. The observations made here,
place our situation in lat. 31. 7., long. 150. 10. E.

August 31.--We were agreeably disappointed, in finding that the wet
marshy ground did not extend above three quarters of a mile, the
remainder being dry firm land of the richest description: at six miles we
crossed a considerable stream, running to the north through Barrow's
Valley: this stream, divided the plain into nearly two equal parts, it
being ten miles and a half across. This stream had been very recently
flooded, and the water, yet muddy, had not subsided within its proper
level; the height of the banks from fifteen to twenty feet. On the east
side of the plain, we found the marsh extend about one mile and a quarter
from the forest ground which borders it; though wet, it was now strong
ground, and might easily be laid dry. On quitting the plains we entered a
very fine open forest flat, through which we proceeded a mile and a half,
and encamped for the evening under a lofty hill named Mount Dundas, by a
small spring of excellent water. Ascending this mountain, we found that
the country in the line of our course was high, broken forest land, the
easternmost ranges of which (distant from thirty-five to forty miles)
appeared to have a stream running under them, by reason of the thick
haze which rose from the valley beneath. To the north bending round to
the north-east, the country was beautifully picturesque, consisting of
low, open forest hills, bounded by higher chains of hills that formed the
southern side of the spacious valley under Hardwicke's Range; through
which I no longer doubted that a considerable stream had its course,
since all the waters we had hitherto crossed ran in that direction. A
great many smokes, arising from the fires of the natives, were seen to
the north-east and north. To the south-east, south, and south-west, our
view extended over that vast tract of level champaign country
intermingled with hills, sometimes rising into lofty peaks, as has
already been described. The abundance of game, such as emus, and
kangaroos, and of wild ducks on the stream, was wonderful: our dogs
after severe battles killed two emus, who however tore one of them very
dangerously. We called the river which divided and watered the plain
Field's River, in honour of the Judge of the Supreme Court.

September 1.--We pursued our course to the east-north-east, winding
through rich valleys bounded by lofty forest hills for seven miles; when
by a gentle descent we entered a rich and spacious vale, bounded on the
east by very high hills, and on the west by others less elevated. At
twelve miles we stopped at some ponds near the centre of the vale. The
hills were very stony, of various species--granite, freestone, and
pudding-stone; they were however well covered with grass, and quite clear
and open; the valleys and levels excellent, with good timber, chiefly
apple tree, box, and gum. On the higher ridges of the hills, and
occasionally on their sides, were many fine cypresses: there was nothing
grand or imposing in the scenery; but it was simple and attractive from
its richness and extent: the hills sometimes rose into singular forms
which were continually changing in our progress, and appeared well
calculated to afford an ample range of sheep pasture. The extensive vale
in which we stopped was named Goulburn Vale, in honour of the under
Secretary of State for the colonies.

September 2.--Our expectations of finding a river to the eastward, were
this day verified: after passing for eleven miles across this beautiful
vale, we came to a deep and rapid stream running to the north, through
the valley whose eastern side it waters: finding it too deep to be
forded, we constructed a bridge across a narrow part of it, by felling
such large trees as would meet, by which the baggage was taken over: the
horses were swum across. One of the men, foolishly attempting to swim
over on a horse, nearly paid for his imprudence with his life: as he
could not swim, he was carried down the stream near a quarter of a mile,
and was several minutes under water. His body being providentially washed
across a log, was the means of his preservation. It was late in the
afternoon before our passage across was effected, so that we halted on
the banks. This was the largest interior river (with the exception of the
Macquarie and Castlereagh), which we had yet seen. It would be impossible
to find a finer or more luxuriant country than it waters: north and
south, its extent is unknown, but it is certainly not less than sixty
miles, whilst the breadth of the vale is on a medium about twenty miles.
This space between the bounding hills is not altogether level, but rises
into gentle inequalities, and independently of the river is well watered;
the grass was most luxuriant; the timber good and not thick: in short, no
place in the world can afford more advantages to the industrious settler,
than this extensive vale. The river was named Peel's River, in honour of
the Right Hon. Robert Peel. A great many new plants were found to-day and
yesterday, chiefly of the orchis tribe [Note: Orchideae of Juss. and
BROWN.]: we saw numbers of the ornithorynchus, or water mole, in the
river, also a few turtle: we were not successful in obtaining any fish,
so that we were unable to decide whether it contained the same species as
the Macquarie.

September 3.--After passing over a fine and gently rising country for
between four and five miles, we ascended a very lofty chain of hills,
being the eastern boundary of Goulburn Vale; these hills were of
good soil, and covered with excellent grass to their very summits.
Ascending two of the highest ridges, several circular orifices were
observed on them about twelve feet in diameter, and five feet deep.
Great quantities of small stones resembling basaltes were in heaps
round the edges, at a little distance from which the stones were
perpendicular, and firmly bedded in the earth; many of them regular
six-sided figures, and all fractured into laminae, from two to nine
inches in thickness. The rocks upon this range were of a peculiarly hard
quality, and of a deep blue colour, approaching to black when broken. The
country easterly appeared broken into a series of rocky detached hills:
and on descending this range, we found an immediate change in the quality
of the soil, being in the valleys of a light coarse sand, the surface
covered with gritty particles as from pulverised coarse granite. The
difference in the rocks composing the hills was here very remarkable,
being a very coarse granite of the same description as in the
neighbourhood of Bathurst, scattered in immense masses both in the
valleys and on the hills; and our astonishment was more than once
excited at the causes which could have effected their removal from their
primitive bed. On a hill near which we encamped, was a single mass of
granite apparently thrown up perpendicularly from the bosom of the earth:
it was twenty-six feet high and had six distinct sides, ending in an
irregular point at the summit, and was forty-eight feet in circumference.
The valleys, though sandy, afforded us plenty of good grass and water,
and the hills furnished abundant employment for the botanical collector.

September 4.--After leaving the valley in which we encamped, we entered
one much more extensive, and communicating with Goulburn Vale. Between
five and six miles on our route, we reached a beautiful small river
coming from the eastward and joining Peel's River, of which it appears to
be a principal branch. For the remainder of the day's journey, we
proceeded up the fine valley which this stream watered, bounded on the
north and south by lofty and fertile hills covered with rich herbage,
having numerous smaller valleys and streams terminating in this principal
valley. The whole scenery was thinly clothed with wood, and occasionally
a bold craggy promontory terminating at the river gave it a diversity,
which its general softness of feature or outline required: there were no
principal ranges of hills, but they broke in and upon each other, forming
the utmost variety of shape. The rocks and stones which composed the
bases and summits of these hills, were not less various than their form:
scarcely two were alike. Granite, coarse porphyry, freestone, and
whinstone were frequently found on the same hill, and the beds of the
streams were of every variety of pebble. This fine stream received the
name of Cockburn River.

September 5.--Our course this day sometimes led us over very elevated
ridges, and at other times through deep and rich valleys. Some of these
hills were at least three thousand feet in height, and clothed with grass
to their summits. Others of the less elevated were entirely free from
rocks, and of the finest soil. The timber chiefly box, with some few
trees of another species of eucalyptus called stringy bark, and cypress.
A number of small streams watered the deep valleys to the north and
south, falling into Cockburn River. Large quantities of quartz were in
various places, as also good flint, which was found in large masses in
the bed of Cockburn River, and also in small pieces on the hills. This
was the second flint that has been discovered in New South Wales. We
halted in a small and beautiful valley near Cockburn River, after having
accomplished nine miles.

September 6.--A day of rest. The observations place this station in lat.
31. 04. 35 S., long. 151. 05. 30. E., variation 9. 58. E.

September 7.--The morning clear and fine. At half past seven o'clock we
proceeded on our journey: in the whole course of it, we never experienced
more precipitous travelling than during the first six miles. Travellers,
less accustomed to meet difficulties, might perhaps have been a little
alarmed at traversing such steep and shelving hills, the loose stones on
which added to the insecurity of our footing. Nevertheless we found it
extremely pleasant, from the romantic beauty of the scenery and the
freshness of the verdure. We had been ascending an extremely elevated
country for the last thirty miles; and I was in great hopes of soon
reaching the point of division between the eastern and western waters. By
a tolerably easy acclivity, we gained that which I took to be the highest
of these congregated hills, in hopes it might possibly lead into a main
range. From its summit we had a very extensive prospect over the country
we had left, and also to the southward, in which direction the land
appeared broken and hilly, and but thinly clothed with timber. To the
east and north-east it appeared far less broken, and certainly less
elevated than the ridge we were on. This ridge soon expanded to a broad
surface of open forest land, and proceeding on it to the east about a
mile, we perceived in the valley beneath us a considerable and rapid
stream running to the north, and afterwards apparently taking a more
easterly direction. A more remarkable change in the outward appearance of
a country was perhaps never before witnessed. In less than a mile, the
timber had entirely changed from the bastard box to another kind of
eucalyptus, called common blue gum, which grew in great luxuriance in the
country before us. Until now this species had never been seen except on
the immediate banks of running streams. In the course of the day, great
quantities of fine stringy bark were also seen. The soil, instead of the
light black mould, which had been the general covering of the country,
was now changed to a stiff tenacious clay; and although well clothed with
grass, its less luxuriant growth evidently showed the difference of soil
not to be favourable. From this hill or range we descended very gradually
for nearly two miles to the river before seen, and up the banks of which
we proceeded about a mile farther, when we halted for the evening. The
country was perfectly open, though much covered with fallen timber; the
banks of the river sloping and quite clear of timber; and being within
one hundred miles of the sea coast, I had a strong belief that we had
descended from the highest land, and that we should meet with no dividing
ranges in the course of our future progress. It is impossible to form any
certain conclusion at present, as to the course taken by this stream.
Whether it finds its way to the coast, or is lost like the other streams
of this country, will, I think, in a great measure depend upon the fact
of our having crossed the highest ranges of the country. One of the men
who had taken the dogs out after kangaroos fell in with a party of
natives, among whom were some women and children. Two of the men
accompanied him to the tent. It was evident from the whole tenor of their
behaviour that they had previously heard of white people (most probably
from the settlement at New Castle); their appearance was most miserable,
their features approached deformity, and their persons were disgustingly
filthy: their small attenuated limbs seemed scarcely able to support
their bodies; and their entire person formed a marked contrast to the
fine and manly figures of their brethren in the interior. We gave them a
small turtle which we had just caught in the river, and they sat down to
dress it instantly. In fact, their cooking was very simple; the fire soon
separated the shell from the meat, which with the entrails was devoured
in a few minutes. Some of the people went to visit their camp, where they
found eight or ten men, but the women and children were sent away. The
same jealousy of women exists throughout the interior. The great number
of fallen trees was in some measure accounted for by the men observing
about a dozen trees on fire near this camp, no doubt the more easily to
expel the opossums, rats, and other vermin which inhabit their hollows.
We were not successful with our lines, though the depth and breadth of
the river had made us a little sanguine. There did not appear any great
marks of flood; none was seen exceeding five feet in height, which led us
to conclude its source was not very distant. This river was named Sydney,
as we this day crossed the meridian of that town.

September 8.--We proceeded up Sydney River to the south-east about three
miles before we could find a convenient Place to Cross, as the stream
ran with great rapidity over a rocky bottom. The country on either side
sloped to the river with gradual declension, and was an open forest
country. On crossing the river, we passed through some noble forests of
stringy bark, growing generally on the sides and ridges of stony barren
hills: thew forests extended above two miles from the east of the river.,
after which the country became perfectly open, and of a level, or rather
alternately rising surface. To the north and north-east the river was
beautiful, the same description of country extending as far as the eye
could reach, with no elevated points or ridges to obstruct it. Indeed I
am clearly of opinion, that if we had kept a more northerly course from
Lushington Valley, we should have avoided the rugged though fine country
we have passed through for the last two days. The determination of all
the hills and slopes is northerly, and the rivers which we have crossed
have also taken the same direction. We proceeded about nine miles farther
through the finest open country, or rather park, imaginable; the general
quality of the soil excellent, though of a strong and more tenacious
description than farther westerly. We halted in a fine and spacious
valley, where art, so far as it is an auxiliary of beauty, would have
been detrimental to the fresher and simpler garb of nature. This valley
was watered by a fine brook, and at a a distance of a mile we saw several
fires, at which appeared many natives: upon discovering us, however, they
immediately departed. I think that the most fastidious sportsman would
have derived ample amusement during our days journey. He might without
moving have seen the finest coursing, from the commencement of the chase
to the death of the game: and when tired of killing kangaroos, he might
have seen emus hunted with equal success. We numbered swans and ducks
among our acquisitions, which in truth were caught without much exertion
on our part, or deviating, in the least from our course. Granite and a
hard whinstone were the most predominant among the stones; small pieces
of quartz, and loose rotten slates covered the tracks, on which grew
some of the finest stringy bark trees I ever saw. Indeed the other timber,
which consisted chiefly of common blue gum, was far larger than usually
seen on forest lands. That species of casuarina called the beef wood
(or she oak), was also seen to-day for the first time: it is in part
a coast tree, and sufficiently denoted that we were approaching the sea.
Observed the variation of the compass to be 8. 51. E.

September 9.--In the night we had a severe frost, which in the morning
was succeeded by a dense fog. We found however that it was confined to
the valley, for on ascending the hills, the prospect was clear and open.
We passed over a beautiful and well-watered country for about six miles,
when we came on the rivulet which we had quitted in the morning; but
now, by the addition of several brooks from the valleys, increased to a
considerable stream. Its banks were quite clear of timber, and expanded
into extensive sheets of water, which added greatly to the beauty of the
scenery. This stream running to the east southeast verified the
conjecture that we had passed the dividing range of hills, and that this
and most probably Sydney River (much superior in magnitude) were coast
streams. Crossing the former, we ascended a hill on the opposite side,
from whence the river's course was seen to the south-east, running
through a fine and open country. To the northward and north-east the
prospect was equally satisfactory, the hills being connected by long and
easy slopes, which would have rendered their ascent a matter of little
difficulty had our course lain over them. After crossing the river, the
country still continued open, but the soil was not so good, and we found
that we were ascending in a gradual manner. For the last five miles the
country was thickly timbered with stringy bark and gum trees, the soil
bad, and crossed by numerous wet hollows, which showed we were nearly on
the summit of a level and extensive range of hills. We accomplished
fourteen miles with much ease, and halted for the evening in a thick
stringy bark forest, where there was worse entertainment for both man and
horse than we had experienced for some weeks.

September 10.--A tempestuous morning, with occasional showers of small
rain, prevented us from quitting our camp. In the intervals of fair
weather, I walked to a hill about one mile off, being the highest part of
the range we were upon. Our prospect from it was exceedingly grand and
picturesque. The country from north to south-east was broken into
perpendicular rocky ridges, and divided longitudinally by deep and
apparently impassable glens. The rocks were covered with climbing plants,
and the glens abounded with new and beautiful ones. Our collector
descended one of those nearest to us, and was amply repaid by the
acquisition of nearly sixty most desirable plants, some of which appeared
even to constitute new genera. The rocks were covered with epidendra
[Note: Of the genera cymbidium and dendrobium of Swartz.], bignoniae, or
trumpet-flowers, and clematides, or virgin's bower, of which last genus
three species apparently new were discovered. Far different was the
character of these glens from the rugged and barren blue mountain ranges:
fine open forest land ended abruptly on the precipices. The bottoms were
of the richest soil, the rocks instead of being of a coarse sandstone
were of a hard texture, and of a blue shining appearance when broken. The
country eastward of these glens appeared very lofty, and much broken; but
as in the direction of our course, we should have some miles of good open
country to travel over, we had strong hopes that our difficulties would
prove greater in contemplation than reality. Among the timber in these
glens were some of the stateliest stringy bark trees that we had ever
beheld: in fact, the timber altogether is unusually good. To the
south-west and north-west, the country is low and beautifully diversified
by long sloping hills.

September 11.--Our course for near eight miles led us along a broad and
very elevated ridge of poor forest land, intermixed with brush; when we
were stopped from proceeding farther eastward by the deep chasm or glen,
which we had seen at a distance yesterday. This tremendous ravine runs
near north and south, its breadth at the bottom does not apparently
exceed one hundred or two hundred feet, whilst the separation of the
outer edges is from two to three miles. I am certain that in
perpendicular depth it exceeds three thousand feet. The slopes from the
edges were so steep and covered with loose stones, that any attempt to
descend even on foot was impracticable. From either side of this abyss,
smaller ravines of similar character diverged, the distance between which
seldom exceeded half a mile. Down them trickled rills of water, derived
from the range on which we were. We could not however discern which way
the water in the main valley ran, as the bottom was concealed by a thicket
of vines and creeping plants. From the range on which we were, we could
distinctly see the coast line of hills. The country between us and the
coast was of an equal elevation, and appeared broken and divided by
ravines and steep precipices. We continued along the edge of this ravine
southerly for about four miles, when we halted for the day. Our only hope
of being enabled to cross this barrier depends upon our pursuing a
southerly course, when if the waters run northerly, the dividing range
between them and Hunters River will permit us again to turn easterly. If
on the contrary they run southerly, their junction with Hunter's River
will equally (it is to be hoped) facilitate that object.

September 12.--We were obliged during the whole of this day's journey, to
keep along the ridge bordering on the glen. It is impossible to form a
correct idea of the wild magnificence of the scenery without the pencil
of a Salvator. Such a painter would here find an ample field for the
exercise of his genius. How dreadful must the convulsion have been that
formed these glens! The principal glen led us to the westward: there were
others that fell into it from the southward; but we perceived that the
waters in it ran north-easterly, which gave us strong hopes of soon
being enabled to head it. Several times in the course of the day we
attempted to descend on foot; but after getting with much difficulty a
few hundred yards, we were always stopped by perpendicular precipices.
Scarcely a quarter of a mile elapsed without a spring from the top of the
ridge crossing our track, forming at its entrance into the main glen a
vast ravine. The ridge along which we travelled was, as might be
expected, very stony. It was otherwise open forest land, thickly timbered
with large, stringy bark trees, casuarinae, and a large species of
eucalyptus. Kangaroos abounded on it, and the tracks of emus were
also seen.

September 13.--We were too anxious to find a passage across this river
(for such we now perceived it to be), to permit us to rest this day. We
proceeded on a variety of courses to avoid the deep ravines or glens
which conducted numerous small streams of water to the principal one. Our
road was very rugged, and our elevation sometimes very considerable,
every part heavily timbered. Our course, which led us chiefly west, now
terminated at one of the most magnificent waterfalls we had ever seen.
The water was precipitated over a perpendicular rock at least one hundred
and fifty feet in height in one unbroken sheet, falling into a large
reservoir about one third down the whole declivity: hence it wound its
way through the glen for about half a mile farther, when it joined the
main stream. This grand fall was called Beckett's Cataract, in honour of
the Judge Advocate General. It now commenced raining so heavily that we
were obliged to stop on the spot, though by no means an eligible
situation. We had not seen any place where there had been the slightest
possibility of descending; but as we were not many miles from the river
which we crossed on Wednesday last, we knew that this rugged country must
soon end.

September 14.--The weather preventing us from proceeding, parties were
sent out to search the banks of the glen, for a place by which to descend
and cross it. Two of the people traced it up so far as to ascertain that
the river which we had crossed on Wednesday was the same which had so
embarrassed us. It entered the glen in a fall of vast height: above,
there was no difficulty in crossing it, the country being clear and open,
and of moderate height. A kangaroo was chased to this fall, down which he
leapt and was dashed to pieces; like the hero of Wordsworth's "Hartleap
Well." It is wonderful that the dogs escaped the same fate. We had
been also successful in finding a passage nearer to the tent. About a
mile above Beckett's Cataract, a pass was discovered by which we might
descend, and the opposite side appeared equally favourable. It appears
that we have been hitherto deceived respecting the magnitude of the river
which runs through the glen, owing to the vast height from which it was
viewed, and to our being seldom within a mile of it. The geologist would
here have a most interesting field for research, and would doubtless be
enabled to account for those natural phenomena, which, from their
defiance of all rule, perplex us so greatly. These mountains abound with
coal and slate. The dip of the rocks on this side (the north) of the
glen, is about twenty degrees to the west.

September 15.--We first attempted the pass nearest to us, and which was
reported to be practicable. The horses with tolerable ease descended the
first ridge, which was about one third down; but it was impossible to
proceed a step farther with them: indeed we had the utmost difficulty to
get them back again. Three of them actually rolled over, and were saved
only by the trees from being precipitated to the bottom. Quitting this
place, we proceeded up the glen, into which many small streams fell from
the most awful heights, forming so many beautiful cascades. After
travelling five or six miles, we arrived at that part of the river at
which, after passing through a beautiful and level though elevated
country, it is first received into the glen. We had seen many fine and
magnificent falls, each of which had excited our admiration in no small
degree, but the present one so far surpassed any thing which we had
previously conceived even to be possible, that we were lost in
astonishment at the sight of this wonderful natural sublimity, which
perhaps is scarcely to be exceeded in any part of the eastern world. The
river, after passing through an apparently gentle rising and fine
country, is here divided into two streams, the whole width of which is
about seventy yards. At this spot, the country seems cleft in twain, and
divided to its very foundation: a ledge of rocks, two or three feet
higher than the level on either side, divides the waters in two, which,
falling over a perpendicular rock two hundred and thirty-five feet in
height, forms this grand cascade. At a distance of three hundred yards,
and an elevation of as many feet, we were wetted with the spray which
arose like small rain from the bottom: the noise was deafening; and if
the river had been full, so as to cover its entire bed, it would have
been perhaps more awfully grand, but certainly not so beautiful. After
winding through the cleft rocks about four hundred yards, it again falls
in one single sheet upwards of one hundred feet, and continues in a
succession of smaller falls about a quarter of a mile lower, where the
cliffs are of a perpendicular height, on each side exceeding one thousand
two hundred feet, the width at the edges about two hundred yards. From
thence it descends as before described until all sight of it is lost,
from the vast elevation of the rocky hills which it divides and runs
through. The different points of this deep glen seem as if they would fit
into the opposite fissures which form the smaller glens alternately on
either side. The whole is indeed a grand natural spectacle, and is an
indubitable mark of the vast convulsions which this country must at one
period have undergone. The rocks are all slate, the upper romanae of
which are of a light brown colour, rotten, and easily separated. Nearer
the base or surface of the water they are of a dark blue, and of a firmer
texture. The waters are quite discoloured, owing to the nature of the bed
over which they run, the soluble particles of coal among the slate
tinging them a dark brown. This fine fall is not more than five miles
below the place where we crossed the river on the 9th instant, and we
were doubtless prevented from hearing the noise of the waters, by the
numerous smaller falls in the vicinity. This most magnificent fall and
the river itself were respectively named Bathurst and Apsley, in honour
of the Noble Secretary of State for the colonies. Although a week had
elapsed in effecting the passage of this river, we could not consider
it as entirely lost, especially as it enabled us to ascertain that its
direction was to the coast; and we hoped that the nature of the country
would permit us to fix its embouchure.

September 16.--The weather for some days past has been very unseasonable,
cold and tempestuous, with frequent heavy and continued showers of rain:
this remarkable coldness of temperature in such a latitude (31 degrees,)
I cannot but attribute to the considerable elevation of the country above
the sea, being certainly between four and five thousand feet. We
proceeded to the south-east during this day's journey, on purpose to
avoid the broken land in the vicinity of the river. It was good
travelling though hilly: the soil, for the most part, a poor clay; and
the timber not so good or large as usual. There was however much good
land, particularly in the valleys, through every one of which a stream of
water took its course to the river. At twelve miles, we halted on the
banks of a considerable and rapid stream watering an extensive and wide
valley. The many waters which fall into Apsley River must very
considerably increase its magnitude; and I am in hopes after it has
cleared this mountainous tract and we again fall in with it, that we
shall find it a useful as well as fine stream. The river on which we
encamped was named Croker's River, in honour of the First Secretary of
the Admiralty.

September 17.--We proceeded on an easterly course during this day's
journey; and seven miles from Croker's River crossed a smaller stream
running to the north-east. For the first ten miles the country was
very poor and badly timbered, with barren stony hills; but from the
last mentioned stream to our halting-place, at the end of twelve
miles, though the land was hilly the soil was excellent, consisting
of a rich, dark mould. The hills were particularly rich and thickly
clothed with fine timber, blue gum, and stringy bark. We halted
on the side of a hill, from the top of which we could see a great
distance to the north and east. In the first quarter, lofty hills were
seen from eighty to one hundred miles off, and generally very irregular.
To the east the land was elevated, but more divided by sloping valleys,
and we augured that at least for thirty miles in the direction of our
course, we should not meet with any such serious obstruction as the last:
indeed we imagined we could trace the course of the river nearly on a
parallel line with us. We this day saw a solitary native, but I believe
we were indebted for the sight rather to the circumstance of his being
deprived of the use of his limbs than to his boldness or curiosity. Two
or three families had been encamped on the spot where we found him, but
they had all departed. He seemed more astonished than alarmed at the
sight of our cavalcade, and expressed his wonder in a singular succession
of sounds, resembling snatches of a song. His countenance was mild and
pleasing, and was entirely divested of the ferocity we had seen expressed
in the visages of some of his countrymen: he had lost the upper front
tooth, and I think it was probable that he had heard of such beings as
ourselves before. He was a miserable object: several ribs on his left
side had been broken; his back was twisted, which apparently had been
the means of depriving him of the use of his limbs, as no injury could
be discovered about them.

September 18.--During the night and this morning it has continued to blow
a perfect equinoctial storm. We were in constant dread that some of the
branches of the trees which surrounded us would fall on the tent.
Proceeding on our course to the east-north-east, we did not advance above
a mile and a half before a small stream running to the north-east through
a very steep and narrow valley obliged us to alter our course more
southerly, which we did, and soon entered a forest of stringy bark and
blue gum trees of immense size and great beauty. The soil on which they
grew was a rich vegetable mould covered with fern trees [Note: Alsophila
australis of Brown.] and small shrubs. We found that this part of the
country was intersected by deep valleys, the sides of which were clothed
with stately trees, but of what kind we were ignorant: creepers and
smaller timber trees, all of species not previously noticed by us, grew so
extremely thick that we found it impossible to penetrate through them.
We therefore continued along the edge of those valleys, our progress
much impeded by the vast trunks of fallen trees in a state of decay,
some of which were upwards of one hundred and fifty feet long, without
a branch, as straight as an arrow, and from three to eight and ten
feet in diameter. The forest through which we travelled appeared to
be an elevated level or plain, and at three o'clock in the afternoon,
after proceeding three or four miles to the westward, we cleared this
truly primeval forest, and descended into a small valley of open
ground, through which ran the stream we had crossed in the morning.
Indeed we were not more than two miles south of the place we had
quitted. Our hope of proceeding without much interruption was thus
disappointed: the gloominess of the weather, and the constant showers
that fell, so impeded our view and distorted its objects, that what
appeared plain and practicable at a distance of two or three miles, when
approached was found impassable. I think it probable, however, that our
most serious obstructions will be the thickness of the timber, rotten
trees, and creeping plants; the soil is so rich and free from rocks, that
I do not think the steepness of the descents will greatly endanger us.
The wind, which had been extremely violent all day, was now accompanied
by heavy showers; and we thought ourselves extremely fortunate in not
being obliged to encamp in the forest. The storm as the evening advanced
increased to almost a hurricane, with torrents of rain. Since Apsley
River had been ascertained to take a direction coast-wise, the principle
which governed the direction of our course had been to endeavour to make
a port on the coast laid down in lat. 30. 45. S., and which I had an idea
might probably receive this river, now increased by a multitude of smaller
streams, and if so, that it might serve as a point of communication with
the fine country in the interior. It is true this port is marked as a bar
harbour; but I knew that it had never been examined, and I was aware how
possible it was for a harbour to appear closed by a reef from a ship
sailing at a distance along the coast. At all events the point was worth
ascertaining; and notwithstanding the repeated disappointments we had
experienced in attempting a north-easterly course, I shall, if we are
enabled to clear the deep valleys we are at present embarrassed with,
persevere for some time longer. I consider it every way important to know
into what part of the coast these waters are discharged.

September 19.--The storm continued to rage with unabated violence
throughout the night and the whole of this day, accompanied by torrents
of rain and hail: the weather was also extremely cold and bleak; the
thermometer in the mornings and evenings being not more than 5 or 6
degrees above the freezing point: indeed, the season much nearer
resembles the winter of a far more southern latitude than the spring
of lat. 31.

September 20.--Towards the morning the storm abated, but throughout
the day it was dark and gloomy, with passing showers. In the present
state of the weather we did not think it prudent to attempt penetrating
through the thick forests which we knew were before us, and our
horses would be the better for rest. The botanical collector descended
into one of the valleys nearest to us, and found the sides of it
clothed with the timber before mentioned: it was quite new to us. Some
of the flower and seed were procured, as it was generally found in full
flower, which gave these stately trees a richness and beauty I had never
seen equalled. A great variety of other equally interesting plants was
also found, some of them new species of timber. The valleys were of the
richest soil, having a small run of water in their bottoms. Observed the
variation by evening azimuth to be 10. 39. E.

September 21.--With a severe frost, the morning and day were finer than
usual, though the weather was very unsettled. We accomplished seven miles
on a south-east by east course, through a very heavily wooded country;
the timber generally of the best description, and the soil, with some
partial exceptions, was equally good and rich. It was, however, so
thickly covered with ferns and bushes among the trees, with vines running
from them, that in many places we found it difficult to pass. Our course
was accidentally such as to avoid all the deep valleys but two, the
descents of which were extremely difficult. In them strong streams of
water ran to the north-east, no doubt joining the main river. From
the hill over one of the streams near which we halted the coast
line of hills was plainly seen; and we appeared to have but a
rugged journey before us. Our horses too were so extremely weak and
crippled, that the short distance we are enabled to travel is
accomplished with pain and difficulty. We were forced to leave one of
them about a mile and a half from our resting-place, as he was utterly
unable even to walk without his load. which was distributed among the
others. Some natives' fires were seen about two miles to the north-east
of us in the same valley.

September 22.--A dark tempestuous morning. Sent back for the horse we
left yesterday afternoon: he was somewhat recovered, and may perhaps live
to reach the coast, the point whither our hopes have long pointed, and
where I trust the horses will experience some relaxation from their
present incessant but necessary labour. We had no choice in the route we
pursued this day, taking that which appeared most practicable for men and
horses: it was a continued ascending and descending of the most frightful
precipices, so covered with trees and shrubs and creeping vines, that we
frequently were obliged to cut our way through: at the bottom of one of
these, we left the sick horse in a dying state. To add to our
perplexities, it rained incessantly, and was so thick and dark, that
towards evening it was with difficulty we could see sufficient of our way
to avoid being dashed to pieces. About two hours before sunset, after a
descent of upwards of five thousand feet, we found ourselves at the
bottom of the glen, through which ran a small stream; but a passage down
it was impossible, as it fell over rocky precipices to a still greater
depth. The opposite side was a mountain equally steep with the one we had
just descended. The horses were also so weak that it was impossible they
could take their loads up it, and there was no possibility of remaining
on the spot, since there was neither grass nor room even to lie down. All
the heavy baggage was therefore obliged to be left behind, and by
unremitted exertion we were enabled to gain a small spot of ground,
formed by the mountains retiring from the immediate descent to the gulf
below. It was, however, near eight o'clock before this was accomplished;
and we were after all obliged to leave two of the horses below, as all
our attempts to move them were fruitless, even when unladen; a
circumstance which we lamented the more, as they were on a spot that did
not afford a blade of grass. The rain ceasing, was succeeded about nine
o'clock by one of the severest storms of wind I ever remember to have
witnessed; and for the first time perhaps during the journey, we were
alarmed for our personal safety. The howling of the wind down the sides
of the mountain, the violent agitation of the trees, and the crash of
falling branches, made us every instant fear that we should be buried
under the ruins of some of the stupendous trees which surrounded us.

September 23.--Towards midnight the storm abated, and allowed us to pass
the remainder of the night in comparative comfort. The morning broke
fair, and as the state of the horses would not permit us to attempt
ascending the mountain with the baggage to-day, I contented myself with
dispatching them for the provisions left last night at the bottom of the
precipice, and to get up if possible the two remaining horses, whilst Mr.
Evans and myself should explore the range, and endeavour to find out a
somewhat more practicable route. We proceeded to ascend the mountain, the
summit of which was near two miles distant, and in many places extremely
difficult and abrupt. We however remarked on our road seven native huts,
which increased our hopes that these mountains would lead by a
comparatively easy descent to the coast line of country. Bilboa's ecstasy
at the first sight of the South Sea could not have been greater than
ours, when on gaining the summit of this mountain, we beheld Old Ocean at
our feet: it inspired as with new life: every difficulty vanished, and in
imagination we were already at home. We proceeded sufficiently far to
discover, that although our descent would be both difficult and
dangerous, it would not be impracticable. The country between us and the
sea was broken into considerable forest hills and pleasing valleys, down
the principal of which we could distinguish a small stream taking its
course to the sea. To the north and south the country was mountainous and
broken beyond any thing we had seen. Indeed, some idea of those barrier
mountains may be formed from the circumstance, that although we could
distinctly see the ocean, and the waving of the coast line, (which within
the distance of ten or twelve miles from the beach appeared low), yet we
were still nearly fifty miles from it. I estimated the height of this
mountain at between six and seven thousand feet; and yet the country
north and south appeared equally elevated. Numerous smokes arising from
natives' fires announced a country well inhabited, and gave the whole
picture a cheerful aspect, which reflected itself on our minds; and we
returned to the tents with lighter hearts and better prospects. In
removing the baggage left at the bottom of the hill a short quarter of a
mile, a most distressing accident occurred. A mare, one of the strongest
we had, in bringing up a very light load, not a quarter of her usual
burden, and when within one hundred yards of the tent, literally burst
with the violent exertion which the ascent required. In this shocking
state, with her entrails on the ground, she arrived at the tent, when, to
put an end to her agonies, she was shot. This was a serious loss to us,
in addition to that which we suffered on the day before: and three more
horses were so worn, that I scarcely expected to force them along even
unladen. It must not be supposed that we attempted to climb these hills
in a direct line; it would have been scarcely possible for a man to do
it: we wound round them in every practicable direction; and the loose
rich soil of which they were generally composed, together with the
thickness of the timber, by preventing our falling, favoured our
progress. In the course of the afternoon I tried the angle of elevation
and depression on various parts, and found it to be from 30 to 35 and
even 40 degrees. By the same means we found that the mountain which we
had descended yesterday evening exceeded four thousand seven hundred feet
in height on those angles. The mountain we shall have to ascend to-morrow
is very considerably higher; but, with one or two exceptions, the ascents
are not so abrupt. After the provisions were brought up, all hands were
sent to cut a road for the horses through the brushes which surrounded
the bottoms of the steepest ascents, and without which it would have been
impossible for them to pass laden; the vines which crossed each other in
various directions forming an almost impenetrable barrier. It may seem
superfluous to speak of soil and timber among such mountains as these;
yet I will say that except where the rocks presented a perpendicular
face, and along the highest ridges, the soil was light and good. The
timber consisted of blue gum and stringy bark, and forest oak
[Note: Casuarina torulosa.] of the largest dimensions: the gorges of the
valleys were covered with loose small stones, and in those gorges all the
trees which are usually found in places of a similar description
in the district of the Five Islands (with the exception of the red
cedar), were to be met with. The stones and rocks were mixed with
a considerable portion of quartz, and were generally in loose detached
masses of various sizes. The mountain from whence we first saw the ocean
was named Sea View Mount, and I should think might be distinctly seen by
ships at some distance from the coast.

September 24.--At eight o'clock the horses began to ascend the mountain,
and it was twelve before we reached the summit, a distance of exactly two
miles. How the horses descended I scarcely know; and the bare
recollection of the imminent dangers which they escaped, makes me
tremble. At one period of the descent, I would willingly have compromised
for a loss of one third of them, to ensure the safety Of the remainder.
It is to the exertions and steadiness of the men, under Providence, that
their safety must be ascribed. The thick tufts of grass and the loose
soil also gave them a surer footing, of which the men skillfully availed
themselves. The length of the descent was two measured miles and three
quarters, and upon first, an angle of depression of 40 degrees for one
thousand two hundred and fifty-four feet: we then slightly ascended 4 or
6 degrees for four thousand six hundred and twenty, and from thence the
descent, in a continued straight line, to the run of water at the base,
was on the various angles of 28, 32, 35, 40, and 46 degrees, eight
thousand five hundred and eighty feet; from whence I deduce the
perpendicular height to be nearly six thousand feet, which is certainly
underrated. The descent terminated in a very narrow steep valley, down
which we proceeded for near three quarters of a mile, when the small
stream before mentioned joined a very considerable one seen yesterday from
Sea View Mount; and the valley opening, we halted on the banks of the
river on a spot which afforded us plenty of excellent grass, and was in
other respects favourable for that rest which the horses required before
they could resume their journey. One of the horses when about a third down
the mountain was quite incapable of proceeding, we therefore were obliged
to leave him for the night, with the loads of two other horses. It was
past four o'clock before we arrived at our halting-place, having been
exactly three hours and a half in descending.

September 25.--Despatched the men to bring down the horse and the baggage
left on the mountain yesterday. They returned in the afternoon with both,
but the horse was scarcely able to stand. In the course of the day
examined the valley a few miles, when we found that it opened
considerably four or five miles down; the hills previously thereto being
very steep, but covered with grass, and abounding with kangaroos. It was
therefore determined to move farther down the river to-morrow, instead of
remaining here two days as originally proposed. In the present
reduced state of the horses, we were obliged to make short stages with
frequent halts, in hopes of sufficiently recruiting their strength so as
to proceed with greater expedition along the coast.

September 26.--We proceeded between four and five miles down the river,
which was named Hastings River, in honour of the Governor General of
India; the vale gradually opening to a greater width between steep and
lofty hills, the soil on which was very stony, but rich, and covered with
fine grass two or three feet high. At the place where we stopped, small
rich flats began to extend on either side, and confirmed our hopes that
we should find a more regular country as we approached the sea. The route
which we had travelled lay over steep and sharp points of mountains
ending on the river, but did not offer any great obstruction. Yet we were
obliged to leave the horse which had failed the day before, half-way, as
he dropped through utter weakness, though unladen. These valleys and
hills are astonishingly rich in timber of various kinds, many new, and
their botanic supplies were inexhaustible. Indeed our cargo now
principally consists of plants.

September 27.--The morning fine and clear. Sent back for the horse left
yesterday, which with some difficulty was brought to the tent. Observed
our latitude to be 31. 23. 10. S., longitude by estimation 152. 8. E.,
variation 8. 22. E. We this day cleaned all the arms, and put our
military appointments in order to guard against any hostile attempts that
might be made by the natives, who are reported to be in this quarter
numerous and treacherous.

September 28.--As we proceeded down the river, the vale still continued
to open on either hand, the hills receding from each bank of the stream
from two to three miles. The land on the more elevated spots, and
irregular low hills, was strong but of good soil, covered with grass: the
flats which occurred alternately on both sides of the river were very
rich, the grass long and coarse; the timber, blue gum and apple tree. As
the points of the higher hills sometimes closed on the river, we found it
convenient to cross it, which in the course of the day we did no less
than three times. In the hollows of the higher hills were thick brushes
of the same description as those at the Five Islands. About six miles and
a half down the river it was joined by a considerable stream from the
northward, running through a fine and spacious valley. The accession of
this water materially altered the appearance of the river, as it began to
form long and wide reaches, with alternate rapids over a shingly bottom.
The northern stream was named Forbes's River, in honour of the Marquis of
Hastings' nephew. Although our proximity to the sea seemed to preclude
the probability of Hastings River being joined by any other considerable
waters; yet its present size made us a little anxious to find that it had
a serviceable discharge into the ocean. The ground over which we travelled
being very favourable to the weak state of the horses, we accomplished
between eight and nine miles. Kangaroos abounded; four were this day
killed. Marks of flood were observed to the height of sixteen feet,
but the river appeared now to be in its lowest state, and the sides of
the barren mountains showed that there had been no rain of any consequence
for a considerable time.

September 29.--The country we passed through is what is generally known
in New South Wales as open forest land, with occasionally small flats on
the river: steep hills sometimes ended on the river, and north and south
of us were detached ranges of a similar description. The whole face of
the country was abundantly covered with good grass, which, having been
burnt some time, now bore the appearance of young wheat. Six miles down
the river it was joined by a fine stream from the southward, apparently
watering a spacious valley. We crossed this, and named it Ellenborough
River, in honour of the Chief Justice of England. We proceeded about
three miles farther before we halted at the edge of a thick detached
brush [Note: Many very beautiful shrubs inhabit these shaded thickets,
of which the following may serve as a specimen. Tetranthera dealbata,
BROWN'S PRODR.; Cryptocarya glaucescens, BR., genera of laurinae.
The Australian sapota fruit, Achras australis, BR.; Cargillia australis,
a date plum. Myrtus trinervia of Smith, and Ripogonum album, BR.],
which came nearly down to the water's edge. In this brush was a
quantity of fine red cedar trees, affording us reason to hope, that this
valuable wood might, as we advanced to the coast, be found in yet greater
abundance. The timber generally might be termed heavy, consisting of blue
gum, stringy bark, and iron bark, with fine forest oaks. The stones on
the surface of the land were hard and splintery, being principally of
coarse quartz; some hard sandstone was also seen: the rocks in the river
were of a fine dark blue colour, singularly hard and slippery. Although
we had seen no natives, there were abundant signs of them. This season
probably is better calculated for them to procure their food on the coast
than in the woods.

September 30.--Our progress this day was greatly impeded by thick
brushes, which, covering the sides of the hills, ended on the river: some
of them were upwards of a mile in extent, and we were obliged to cut a
road to enable the horses to pass through them. There were several rich
flats on both sides of the river; the hilly projections ending
alternately at the several bends of the stream. The obstruction offered
by the brushes excepted, the road was no wise difficult: the hills were
stony, with rocky summits: the river's course was over large rocks and
pebbles; it was fordable in several places, with intervening deep
reaches. It was late in the afternoon before we had accomplished six
miles, and halting on a flat bounded easterly by extensive brush, I
resolved to cross the river. There appears to be plenty of fish
in it; we caught six fine perch, weighing above two pounds each, in a
very short time. The timber continues heavy and good: we saw however but
little cedar after passing the first brush.

October 1.--Our travelling to-day was nearly the same as yesterday. The
windings of the river were very sudden, and its banks were most generally
covered with a thick brush, which in some places extended back a
considerable distance. Between those brushes the ground was open forest
with good grass, casuarina or beefwood, and large timber: the hills as
usual stony. Near our halting-place a remarkable rocky range of hills was
seen to the east-south-east of great height, and presenting nearly a
perpendicular front to the north-west. Between east-north-east and east by
south, with the imperfect view which we could obtain from the low hills
we were traversing, it appeared but slightly broken, the higher ranges
breaking off to the north-east and south-east, leaving a spacious valley
through which we conjectured the river flowed. Near us were a few cedar
trees, and marks of flood exceeding twenty feet, but confined to the bed
of the river. On the whole we accomplished near eight miles, but scarcely
five were in the direction of the sea, which we still estimate to be from
twenty to twenty-five miles distant in a direct line.

October 2.--In order to avoid the brushes, which lined the banks of the
river, we kept at some distance from it to the south, which led us under
the high rocky peaked hill mentioned yesterday. Our road was however
by no means bettered, and I afterwards regretted that I did not keep
close to the river. It is proper to mention that the brush land
is of the richest description, being composed entirely of vegetable
mould, the produce of decayed trees for ages: it is singularly well
watered; every little valley has its run to the river. A great deal of
cedar was seen to-day, and the more common timber was very large and
good; the forest ridges between the brushes were well clothed with grass.
We have hitherto seen no natives, though they are certainly numerous, as
their frequent recently deserted camps witness: we are not very anxious
for better proof. The leeches in the bushes were very troublesome, and
made many plentiful meals at our expense: this would probably have done
us no great harm, but the wounds which they made usually festered and
became painful sores. Our botanical collector ascended the peaked hill on
our left, and had a most extensive prospect. The river, winding a
few miles below our station of this evening, was distinctly seen to the
coast, which he did not estimate to be above fifteen or eighteen miles
off. The account which he gave of the interesting prospect, and the
circumstance of its being the only eminence between us and the coast from
whence any object could be distinguished, determined me to ascend it the
ensuing morning, and ascertain the principal points in this beautiful
country. We travelled this day in the whole near six miles in an
east-south-east course, the horses being very weak, and a road needing to
be cut for them nearly the whole way, the last mile excepted, which was
open forest land.

October 3.--Soon after daylight, accompanied by the botanist, I returned
to the peaked hill, leaving the horses with Mr. Evans to proceed to the
north-east. Certainly a more beautiful and interesting view is not often
seen. The spacious valley, through which the river flowed, extends along
the coast from Smoaky Cape to the Three Brothers, and its width north of
me was above eight miles, gradually narrowing to the base of Sea View
Mount where we first entered it, and which bore west by north. Wide and
extensive valleys stretched to the west-south-west, and south-south-west,
under its base on either side, the hills in which were of moderate
height, and of open forest land. To the north by east, though high land
was seen at a distance of near sixty miles, the general face of the
country was low with moderate and regular elevations, the highest lands
being immediately behind the capes and projecting points into the sea.
But the object that most interested me in this extensive survey was the
appearance of the river: at a distance of seven or eight miles north-east
of me, it opened into wide reaches extending to the sea, which it seemed
after a winding course to enter nearly east, or in about the situation
assigned by Captain Flinders to a lake across the entrance of which
there appears to be a bar. The country on its banks, and within the
limits before mentioned, appeared very brushy and low; the banks
themselves seeming to be the highest ground. I conjectured that
the river's extending itself to such a considerable breadth, was
probably caused by the tide-water; and I could not help entertaining the
strongest hope from its appearance that it would prove navigable,
whatever its entrance might be. To the north of the river, a few miles
from it, appeared lagoons, or swamps, probably having some beach
communication with the sea. Another large lake was also seen to the
south-east, under the Three Brothers. Several other small patches I
thought might possibly prove to be marshes between my station and the
coast; the country in its immediate vicinity appearing too low to afford
drainage. Descending the hill, I proceeded after the horses, passing for
nearly three miles through a good open forest country; the timber large,
with numerous casuarinae. At the entrance of a brush I met the horses
returning, having been prevented from continuing their easterly course by
a large tea-tree swamp, full of water. We therefore pursued a more
northerly course, with the hope and intention of making the river near
the wide reaches, which I had seen from the hill. From the forest land we
immediately entered a thick brush, and after cutting our way for near two
miles, the evening advancing, I thought it best to send back the horses
to the forest land, where there was plenty of grass, and proceeded myself
with some men to cut the road to the river; an object, which in about
another mile we effected. We happened to make it near the spot wished for.
The tide was going out, the water having fallen near three feet; though
not perfectly good it was drinkable, and would doubtless be sweet at
low-water. A small island here divides the river into two branches: below
the island the water appeared very deep, as did also the north side of the
island. Its breadth might be nearly a quarter of a mile; both banks were
very thick of brush, and the soil rich. About three quarters of a mile
down the reach, the bank on the southern side appears to become a little
more open, and, as I intended halting tomorrow, I determined to cut a road
to it, and clear the way as far as possible down the banks before we
proceeded on Monday. Our distance from this spot to the coast line did
not exceed eight or ten miles. It was nearly dark before we returned to
the place which we had fixed to encamp on, amidst abundance of fine grass
and good water.

October 4.--We could distinctly hear, during the night, the murmurs of
the surf on the beach, and the sound was most grateful to our ears, as
the welcome harbinger of the point to which eighteen weeks of anxious
pilgrimage had been directed. I accompanied the men who had been
appointed to cut the road along the banks of the river. We had performed
about a mile when we were stopped by a large stream from the southward. It
was therefore necessary to carry the road along the banks, which we did
for nearly two miles, when we left of for the day and returned to our
tent. I caused the main branch of the river to be sounded near the
junction of the southern branch which I had named King's River,
(after my friend who is now surveying the coast of this continent),
and found, at one third ebb, four fathoms. King's River appeared equally
deep, and was about one hundred yards broad; the water at this time of the
tide brackish: the country covered with brush, the soil very rich; and a
few ceder trees were scattered among the other timber. The vines were of
enormous size, and in many instances had entirely enveloped the trees to
which they had attached themselves, a small part of their trunks only
being here and there visible.

October 5.--Sent a party to cut the road up King's River. After advancing
between four and five miles, a small piece of forest ground was
discovered, which determined me to remove the horses and baggage thither,
since the distance which the people had to go to their work occasioned
much delay. A great many natives' canoes were seen on the river to-day
fishing, and as the use of these canoes to cross King's River would have
been very desirable, we endeavoured to tempt their owners to visit us,
but without success; it being out of our power to make them understand
our meaning.

October 6.--We set out this morning with an intention of proceeding up
the west bank of King's River by the road already cut, but before we had
arrived at it, two natives in a canoe were induced to cross over to us.
Their vessel we detained, making them a present of a tomahawk. The moment
they saw one of the horses (which happened to be a white one), descending
the bank for the purpose of being unladen, they made signs expressive of
their idea, that we were going to put the horses in the canoe,
which they immediately quitted and swam to the opposite shore. As it was
extremely probable that many smaller branches would fall into King's
River, I determined to cross it at its mouth, and so proceed along the
banks of the main river. It was two o'clock before we had got every thing
over, when, upon examining the road which we had to travel, we found that
about half a mile lower down another small stream joined the river. To
this latter stream we therefore cut a road, keeping the canoe for farther
use. By its means we found that after we should cross this last stream,
we should get into an open forest country, with good grass: and we hoped
that we should meet with no farther obstructions in our progress, which
the thickness of the country and the intersection of streams rendered
extremely tedious. The river at low-water was sufficiently fresh for us
to drink. From the limited observations I was enabled to make, the depth
at that time of tide was from two to three fathoms, and the rise of tide
was five feet: but the tides appeared very irregular, being evidently
influenced by the great body of fresh water in the river. What land we saw
or passed over was a rich vegetable mould; the brush extremely thick on
both sides, with fine timber of various kinds. I do not think the higher
forest ground was more than a mile or two back from us. King's River, and
that which we shall cross tomorrow, are formed by numerous smaller runs
of water from the valleys in the higher grounds to the southward and

October 7.--We crossed the small stream mentioned yesterday, by the
help of our friendly canoe, in safety. The horses however having had
little or nothing to eat the night preceding, I halted for a couple of
hours to refresh them. The horse which had been so weakly, that nothing
but the short stages we were obliged to make enabled him to keep up with
us, in crossing the stream landed on a small muddy patch, dry at low
water: here he fell, and all our efforts were unavailing to carry him to
the forest-land, where I intended to leave him for the chance of
recovery. To prevent a more lingering death, I now caused him to be shot.
We afterwards proceeded near four miles, through an excellent open forest
country, with low rising hills well watered, and plenty of good grass and
timber. We halted near a large lagoon, deriving its source from springs
in the valleys southerly and south-west, having an outlet to the river,
which having bent considerably to the north-westward, we have not
seen since we quitted its banks this morning. The weather for some days
back has been remarkably fine, and we find the brushes a great protection
from the heat of the sun, which is now becoming very powerful.

October 8.--We proceeded on our course, passing over for upwards of three
miles a good and open country: the river three or four miles north of us.
We soon afterwards came to a very large fresh water lagoon on our left,
several miles in circumference, with smaller branches from the valleys,
which emptied itself into the river: its point of discharge we could not
discern. At five miles we were stopped by a large run of fresh water,
which, from its proximity to the sea, we conjectured fell into the lower
part of the harbour. At this place we were obliged to construct a bridge,
which we did by two o'clock, sufficiently large and strong to take over
the laden horses. During the time we were thus employed, we heard the
natives' call close to us; and, on being answered, they immediately
presented themselves to the number of ten, taking great care to show us,
by lifting up their hands and clapping them together, that they were
perfectly unarmed. Seeing them not disposed to approach near us, I went
towards them, when they all retired to a greater distance except three or
four, among whom I recognised the young man from whom we had borrowed the
canoe. I made them several presents of fish hooks, and kangaroo skins,
but could not get them to approach within a hundred yards of us. After a
short interval I left them, and mounting a horse, they on seeing me
took to their heels and ran as for their lives. They were all handsome,
well-made men, stout in their persons, and showing evident signs of
good living. Crossing this run, we passed over an excellent and rich
country; alternately thick brush and clear forest, with small streams
of water for near four miles more, when, to our great joy and
satisfaction, we arrived on the sea-shore about half a mile from
the entrance of what we saw (with no small pleasure), formed a port
to the river which we had been tracing from Sea View Mount. Thus,
after twelve weeks travelling over a country exceeding three hundred
and fifty miles, in a direct line from the Macquarie River, without
a single serious fatality, we had the gratification to find that
neither our time nor our exertions had been uselessly bestowed; and we
trusted that the limited examination, which our means would allow us to
make of the entrance of this port, would ultimately throw open the whole
interior to the Macquarie River, for the benefit of British settlers. We
pitched our tent upon a beautiful point of land, having plenty of good
water and grass; and commanding a fine view of the interior of the port
and surrounding country. I purpose to remain here until Monday, by which
period I expect to be enabled to complete (as far as possible, without the
assistance of boats), the examination of the harbour's mouth.

October 11.--Our time for these last two days has been occupied in
making a sketch of the entrance into the river, and, as far as our
limited means would permit, in ascertaining its capability to receive
small vessels. The entrance between the sand-rollers and over the
bay appeared sufficiently deep for vessels whose draught of water might
not exceed ten or twelve feet; and when within the bar, a deeper though
narrow channel seemed to afford safe means of communication with part of
the country traversed by us, on the 3rd and 4th inst. The nature of the
country in the immediate vicinity of this port and river has already been
described; and should the channel, which, as far as we are able to judge,
appears safe and sufficiently deep, hereafter prove to be so, I indulge
the hope, that the knowledge we have obtained will be beneficial to the
interests of the colony; and facilitate the settlement of a rich and
valuable tract of country. The natives in the vicinity of the port
appeared very numerous: they kept, however, on the other side of
the harbour, and seemed by no means inclined to have closer communication
with us. We however prevailed on four young men to come over; and by
making them small presents of hooks, lines, etc., this shyness has soon
worn off. They were evidently acquainted with the use of fire-arms; if
any of the people took up a musket they immediately ran off, and it was
only by laying it down that they could he prevailed upon to return,
showing by every simple means in their power their dread of its

The port abounds with fish: the sharks were larger and more numerous
than I ever before observed in any place. We caught one very large
one, which we offered to the natives, but they would not touch it.
making signs that it would make them ill: our people however found no
bad effects from eating it.

The forest hills and other rising grounds in the neighbourhood are
covered with large kangaroos; and the marshes, which in some places
border on the port, afford shelter and support to innumerable wild fowl.
Independent of Hastings River, the whole country is generally
well-watered, and there is a fine spring at the very entrance into the

I named this inlet, Port Macquarie, in honour of His Excellency the
Governor, the original promoter of these expeditions.

October 12.--We quitted Port Macquarie at an early hour on our course
homewards, with all those feelings which that word even in the wilds of
Australia can inspire. We kept at a distance from the sea shore for
nearly six miles; the country was exceedingly rich, the timber large
with frequent brushes. Just before we came on the beach, we observed an
extensive freshwater lagoon, running for several miles behind the beach,
bounded on the west by forest land of good appearance; a strip of sandy
land about three quarters of a mile wide dividing it from the sea. At the
back of Tacking Point rises a small stream of fresh water, which flows
into the lagoon. The country is of moderate height. After travelling near
fifteen miles, we stopped at the extremity of a sandy beach on a point
of good land, with an excellent spring of water rising on it, about four
miles north of the northernmost of the Three Brothers. Tacking Point,
bearing N. 25 1/4 E. Two of our remaining three dogs, had been for the
last two days deprived of the use of their limbs: one died this morning;
the other, we brought on horseback with us, willing, if possible,
to save the life of a valuable and faithful servant. We conjecture
that something they had eaten in the woods must have caused so universal
a paralysis.

October 13.--Crossing the point of land on which we had been encamped, we
came to a sandy beach, on which we travelled three miles and a half. At
the end of it was an opening safe for boats, (and probably for small
craft at high water), into an extensive lake. As we had no canoe by which
to cross over, we were obliged to keep along its north shore with an
intention of going round it. The lake formed a large basin with a deep
channel, which as it approached the base of the northern Brother narrowed
into a river-like form, and in the course of a mile it again expanded
from the north-north-west to the south-west, to a very great extent. The
land on its eastern side was low and marshy (fresh water). To the north
and north-west, it was bounded by low forest hills covered with luxuriant
grass; and to the southward and south-west extended along apparently the
same description of country, nearly to the western base of the
Second Brother. The ranges of high, woody hills laid down by Captain
Flinders dwindle when approached into low unconnected forest hills. The
Northern Brother, the highest of the three, is a long hill of moderate
elevation, and is seen from such a distance in consequence of the other
parts of the country being comparatively low. The timber was chiefly
black butted gum [Note: Species of eucalyptus], stringy bark, turpentine
tree, and forest oak [Note: Casuarina torulosa]. The stones are chiefly
a hard sandstone. On the lake were great numbers of black swans,
ducks, etc. Various small inlets from the lake much impeded us,
and after travelling near seven miles along its shores, we halted for
the evening near a small spring of fresh water, in a good rising grass
country. The easternmost highest part of the North Brother was S. 4. W.
From the observed amplitude of the sun at rising this morning, the
variation was found to be 9. 33. E.

October 14.--We were considerably delayed in our progress this day by
salt water inlets, which occasioned us much trouble to cross, and at
length we were altogether stopped by a very wide and deep one, near the
west end of the lake: it was too late in the day to take any measures
for crossing it this evening; we therefore pitched our tents on the banks
near a swamp of fresh water which borders on it and the lake, from which
we were distant about one mile and a half. The inlet was brackish, and
must have a considerable body of fresh water near its head. In our route
we had disturbed a large party of natives, some of whom were busily
employed in preparing bark for a new canoe. There were several canoes on
the lake, in which they all fled in great confusion; leaving their arms
and utensils of every description behind them. One of the canoes was
sufficiently large to hold nine men, and resembled a boat; of course we
left their property untouched, though we afterwards regretted we did not
seize one of their canoes, which we might easily have done. We however
determined to send back in the morning for the unfinished canoe, and try
our skill in completing it for use. The ground passed over for the last
six miles was hilly and very stony, but covered with excellent timber of
all descriptions, and also good grass. There were plenty of kangaroos, but
we had but one dog able to run; so that we succeeded in killing only a
small one.

October 15.--A party was sent back early this morning to secure the
canoe, while we examined the river. The people returned in the course of
the forenoon unsuccessful, as the natives had removed it with all their
effects in the course of the night, throwing down and destroying their
guniahs or bark huts. We also found that about a mile higher up the
river, a branch from it joined that which we last crossed about two
miles back, making an island of the ground we were upon. The main
branch continued to run to the north-north-west, and north-west.
We therefore lost no time in returning part of the way to the entrance
into the haven, (which we named after Lord Camden), where we proposed
to construct a canoe. The natives seem very numerous, but are shy:
we saw many large canoes on the lake, one of which would be quite
sufficient for our purposes.

October 18.--On Friday we returned to the entrance of the haven, and
immediately commenced our endeavours to construct a canoe: our first
essays were unsuccessful, but by Saturday night we had a bark one
completed, which we hoped would answer our purpose; though I think if the
natives saw it they would ridicule our rude attempts. This morning, the
ebb tide answering, we commenced transporting our luggage, and in three
hours every thing was safe over. A very serious misfortune however
occurred in swimming the horses across: two of them were seized with the
cramp near the middle of the channel, one with difficulty gained the
shore, the other sank instantly and was seen no more; he was one of our
best and strongest horses, and even now their weak state can ill afford a
diminution in their number. This haven appears to have a perfectly safe
entrance for boats and small craft at all times of tide, except at dead
low water with a strong surge from the eastward, when it slightly breaks,
but is still quite safe for boats if not for larger vessels. When we were
in it, there appeared a safe and deep channel through the sand shoals
which spread over it: the channel also appeared deep leading into the
inner haven. There is plenty of fresh water in swamps, on almost every
part of the shore on which we were. The higher lands abound with good
timber, the points nearest the sea being covered with Banksia
integrifolia, of large dimensions, fit for any kind of boat timber. It is
high water full and change at ten minutes after nine, and the tide
appears to rise between four and six feet. From a point near the
entrance, several bearings were taken; and we also saw another large
lake, or perhaps fresh water lagoon, Under the southernmost of the Three
Brothers. A sunken rock was also discovered off to sea, lying upwards of
two miles from the next point southerly of us, and bearing S. 5. W.:
a deep clear channel lies between it and the shore. At one o'clock we
departed, and by sunset had accomplished near fourteen miles of our
journey. We saw the large lake under the Brothers from a high point on
the coast very clearly, and found that on the north it was bounded by the
North Brother, and separated from the sea by a strip of low marshy land
about three quarters of a mile wide. This lake I think is a fresh water
one: it was named Watson Taylor's Lake. The country west and southerly of
the Brothers consisted of low forest hills; and a range of hills of
moderate height, the entrance of which bore west-south-west distant
twenty or twenty-five miles, ended near Cape Hawke, the country
being to that range very low with marshes. A strip of sandy land
half a mile wide bounds the shore, on which is good grass and water.
On the beach where we halted we found a small boat nearly buried in
the sand, but quite perfect. It had belonged to a Hawkesbury vessel,
belonging to one Mills, which had been lost some time ago, and the
crew of which perished. We halted on the beach, the South Brother
bearing W. 32. N., and the Reef N. 53 1/2. E., and which we now saw
extended near three quarters of a mile north and south, and lying two
marine miles from the shore. It appears dangerous, since in fine weather
(as to-day) the north part of the reef only breaks occasionally.

October 19.--Proceeded on our journey up the coast: on attempting to cut
off a point of land which would have saved us a distance of some miles,
we found that the low part of the country was an entire fresh water
swamp, interspersed with thick barren brushes, in all respects resembling
the country between Sydney and Botany Bay. We therefore returned again on
the beach, and crossing nearer to the point in question found the remains
of a hut, which had evidently been constructed by Europeans, the saw and
axe having been employed on it. About four miles farther on the beach,
towards Cape Hawke, our progress was stopped by a very extensive inlet,
the mouth of which was nearly a mile wide. It was near high water, and the
sea broke right across with tremendous violence, affording us little hope,
circumstanced as we were, of being able to effect a passage. As we had
always experienced the difficulty, not to say impracticability of
attempting to go round such inlets as these. we stopped about half
a mile inside the entrance, on a spot affording good grass and water
for the horses, the greater part of which were entirely knocked up;
insomuch that I began to fear we would take very few of them to
Newcastle. It being early in the day, a party proceeded to explore
the shores of the inlet, to ascertain if it was possible for us to
proceed round it. After several hours' examination, and walking from
six to eight miles, we were obliged to give up all intention of
proceeding circuitously; and found that our efforts must be directed
to effect a passage near the entrance, since numerous fresh water
runs having their source in deep and impassable swamps or lagoons,
presented an insurmountable barrier to the horses. The main inlet
extended in two wide and extensive branches to the south-west and west,
the termination of which could not be seen, the water being apparently
deep; and the country to the westward rising into forest hills. In this
perplexing situation, with no other prospect before us but that of
effecting our own passage in a bark canoe, and being obliged to leave the
horses behind us; since the width of the channel (which at low water we
had the satisfaction to perceive did not exceed a quarter of a mile)
and the extreme rapidity of the tide, which ran at the rate of at
least three miles per hour, precluded all reasonable hope that,
in their present weak state, they would have strength to swim over.
In this state, the boat which had been washed on the beach suddenly
occurred to us. It was true that we were twelve or fourteen miles
distant from it, and that we should have to carry her that distance
on men's shoulders, but to persons in our situation such difficulties
were as nothing. It was therefore determined that twelve men should
depart before day, and use their efforts to bring her to the tent,
whilst those that remained to take care of the horses and baggage should
be preparing materials to give her such repair as must necessarily be
required. We had now fully experienced how little dependance can be
placed on the best marine charts, to show all the inlets and openings
upon an extensive line of coast. Perhaps no charts can be more accurate
than those published by Captain Flinders, the situation of the principal
headlands and capes, with the direction of the coast, being laid down
with the most minute attention to truth; but the distance at which he was
obliged to keep, although it did not prevent him from laying the coast
line down with an accuracy of outline sufficient for all nautical
purposes, did not allow him to perceive openings which, though doubtless
of little consequence to shipping, yet present the most serious obstacles
to travellers by land; and of which, if they had been laid down in the
chart, I should have hesitated to have attempted the passage without
some assistance from the seaward, or means wherewith to have constructed
boats. From our station on the north shore of the inlet, the extreme
of Cape Hawke bore south 7 1/2. W., and the highest part of the
Southern Brother, north 161. W.: a break in the land between high
ranges of hills bore west, and was distant from seventeen to twenty
miles. Black swans are very numerous on this inlet: few marks of
the natives having remained here for any time were observed, at least on
this side; recent marks of two men having traversed the shore being all
that were seen.

October 20.--At four o'clock the people set out to bring the boat, and at
two o'clock they had brought her safely to the tent, having gone in that
time upwards of twenty-six miles, thirteen of which they carried a twelve
feet boat on their shoulders; a proof how much may be effected by a
steady perseverance. In fact, I had no occasion to be anxious for the
result of any measure which at all depended on their personal exertions.
We had the satisfaction to find that the boat would be easily repaired,
wanting little besides caulking and oars, and we did not lose a moment in
commencing the necessary operations. It has blown a gale of wind from the
south all day, the surge breaking across the inlet with extreme violence:
within the bar the water is very deep, and in moderate weather at flood
tides there is doubtless a boat passage over the bar; for, notwithstanding
the break, there appears a sufficient depth of water. Whatever channel
there may be is on the north side of the entrance. I think, from the
height of the rise of tide (between four and seven feet), and the
rapidity with which it runs, that this inlet must penetrate a very
considerable distance into the country; and probably the lake which
we took to be fresh water under the two Southern Brothers, may be a
principal branch of this lake. It appears to be high water at the full
and change at about forty minutes after nine.

October 22.--Yesterday was employed in giving the boat such repairs as
our means permitted. Before six o'clock this morning we had transported a
good part of the baggage, when, the tide answering, we began towing the
horses over, which we safely effected by half past eight. I consider the
discovery of this boat most providential, for without its assistance we
should never have been able to transport the horses: being obliged to
cross near the entrance, the force of the tide and their own weakness
would have swept them among the breakers, and they would consequently
have perished. We lost no time in pursuing our journey up the coast, and
had by four o'clock accomplished six miles, when, to our great
mortification, another inlet barred our progress. The southerly gale.
attended with incessant rain, had by this time increased to such a
degree, that we could take no steps this evening to cross it. By the time
the tents were pitched every thing was drenched with rain; and I think
we felt the cold it occasioned more severely than on any similar
occasion. I should be of opinion that this inlet communicated with
the one we last crossed, as branches from each take such courses
as would, I think, cause them to unite. The last inlet was named
Harrington Lake, in honour of the noble earl of that title.

October 23.--The storm continued through the night. Late in the morning
we had intervals of fine weather, when all our strength was immediately
despatched to bring up our little boat, as we found that we could not
cross without its aid. When the people returned with the boat, it blew
with such violence that we dared not venture to cross in her. We however
moved a little nearer the point of entrance, to be more conveniently
situated when the weather should clear up. The men voluntarily undertook
to carry the boat on their shoulders until we should pass Port
Stephens--a service, reduced as their strength was by constant exertion,
I should have been unwilling to impose on them, however it might
facilitate our future progress.

October 24.--The weather was so extremely unfavourable (blowing in
violent squalls with almost constant rain), that it was near dark before
we got every thing safely over. I had sent on in the morning to examine
the beach for a few miles, and another inlet was discovered about four
miles in advance. We named this lake Farquhar's Lake, after Sir Walter.

October 25.--From the southern point of entrance into this lake the
following bearings were taken. The highest part of the South Brother,
north 6. E.; ditto North Brother, north 18. E.; Cape Hawke, south 3. E.
We set forward at our usual hour. At a mile along the beach we found the
wreck of a small vessel, which was recognised to be the Jane, of Sydney,
belonging to Mills, before mentioned as the owner of the boat in our
possession. It being low water when we arrived at the lagoon seen
yesterday, we crossed it at the mouth, without unlading the horses. We
proceeded along the beach for six or seven miles farther, when we turned
off to the westward to cut off a point of land, and entered an excellent
rising forest country, with rich thick brushes, bordering the coast line.
We travelled in the whole about nine miles and a half, and halted about
three quarters of a mile from the beach, from a point of which (one mile
south-south-east of us), we saw Cape Hawke bearing east 73. S., distant
six or eight miles; and at the extremity of a long curving sandy beach,
about six miles west of the same point, there was an opening which, from
the appearance of the country, we thought might probably form a lake.

October 26.--Two miles and a half farther travelling brought us again on
the beach, along which we went for near seven miles more, when the
opening or lake seen from the point yesterday obliged us to make use of
our boat. On the opposite side to us we saw the wreck of the brig
Governor Hunter, now nearly covered with sand, at high water the
tide washing over her. We had got the horses and great part of the
luggage safely over, and I was on the point of setting out to look
for a place to turn the horses on (the immediate margin of the bay
being a swampy brush); when an alarm was given, that the natives
had speared one of the people. Previous to crossing, we had seen them in
great numbers on the side opposite to us, probably to the amount of
seventy of all ages; but on seeing us launch our boat, they got into
canoes and went two or three miles farther up the lake, still keeping on
the south side. On the north side we did not see any natives, and
although on both sides of the lake we were prepared for them, had they
shown themselves in numbers on the beach, yet all were not on their guard
against individual treachery. One of the men, William Blake, had entered
the brushes about a hundred yards from the rest of the people on the
north side, with the design of cutting a cabbage palm: he had cut one
about half through, when he received a spear through his back, the point
of it sticking against his breast bone. On turning his head round to see
from whence he was attacked, he received another, which passed several
inches through the lower part of his body: he let fall the axe with which
he was cutting, and which was instantly seized by a native, the only one
he saw; and it was probably the temptation of the axe that was the
principal incitement to the attack. Blake was immediately put into
the boat and sent over to the south side, where the doctor was,
who fortunately succeeded in extracting both the spears; but from
the nature of the wounds, his chance of recovery was considered
very doubtful. It was so late before every thing was got over,
that we were obliged to remain on the spot close to the wreck of
the Governor Hunter. The natives before dark had assembled in great
numbers, and we could count twelve or fourteen fires from their
camps. United as we were, we had little to fear from their attacks,
particularly in the night; and we remained so short a time at any place,
that we did not give them time to make any concerted attack. The country
west and south-west of this lagoon is rising forest land of pleasant
appearance; but the shores are flat, with thick brushes and steep fresh
water swamps. The lagoon itself is at low water nothing but a sand shoal,
with narrow and shallow channels. The surf beats quite across the
entrance, and though at high water a small vessel might beat over the
bar, it would be a mere chance if she escaped being lost upon the
sand-rollers inside, the surf breaking with a flood tide and easterly
wind full half a mile within the outer bar. The tides run near four miles
per hour, and the rise is from five to eight feet. From the south side of
the entrance into the lake the highest part of the North Brother bore
north 15. E.; ditto of the South Brother, north 8. 10. E. The point of
land of the bay northerly, distant seven or eight miles north 8. 30. E.;
and a high bluff point or projection southerly, north 163. 30. E.

October 27.--We did not make much progress this day, being greatly
embarrassed by the thick brushes which border on the coast in the
vicinity of Cape Hawke, and fresh water swamps near the edge of the lake.
There was, however, a good deal of forest land, and the brushes grew in
good soil. We halted in the afternoon, having gone only four miles (Cape
Hawke bearing east distant two miles and a half), on a piece of forest
land surrounded by brush, through which, however, in the course of the
evening we cut a road to the beach, to the southward of Cape Hawke. From
a hill on that line we saw that the lake was much more extensive than it
was first supposed to be, reaching in a southerly direction to the base
of the forest hills, which run a north-west line from the next point of
south of Cape Hawke, and within a quarter of a mile of the beach. To the
north-west we could trace it upwards of twenty miles, winding among
forest hills and a generally fine looking country. The lake was studded
with numerous islands of forest lands, the interior of the lake being
apparently deep water with sandy beaches to the main and islands. The
whole appearance of the lake was extremely picturesque and beautiful.

October 28.--This day's journey afforded tolerably good travelling,
with the exception of the last two miles, when, quitting the beach,
we ascended a high hill over the lake, and again descended to a
small bay under a point of land south of Cape Hawke, where we halted for
the evening: having accomplished ten miles. Although we were obliged to
halt the greater part of the day, the extreme heat of the weather,
combined with the motion of the horse, rendered it impossible for our
poor wounded man to proceed. From this point Cape Hawke bore North Peak
on Ditto 357., highest part of the South Brother, N. 1. E.; North Brother,
N. 7. E.; line of coast westerly, N. 306.; a point N. 328 1/2 mile;
ditto N. 136 1/2. E.; ten or twelve chains islet of Sugarloaf Point,
N. 168. The rocks off ditto, N. 173. Sugarloaf Point, 174 1/2.

October 29.--The coast projecting into bold and perpendicular headlands
obliged us to keep at a distance from it, and travel over an elevated
range, from whence we saw that an extensive series of lakes, probably
forming one large one, continued at the back of the coast line nearly
as far as Blackhead. At five miles we descended from the range on a
small beach which terminated our day's journey; the nature of the
coast line preventing us from travelling along it. I therefore went
with two men to mark out a road for the horses to the beach on the
south-west side of Sugarloaf Point. The line we were obliged to pursue,
led us through a most miserable scrubby country, formed into irregular
steep hills of white sand, without a blade of grass, or herbage of any
kind; but with abundance of small black butted gums, red gums, etc. We
found the road across, to be too far for us to attempt this evening.
Indeed it was near sunset when I returned to the tent. The natives
are extremely numerous along this part of the coast; these extensive
lakes, which abound with fish, being extremely favourable to their
easy subsistence: large troops of them appear on the beaches, whilst
their canoes on the lakes are equally numerous. In the morning their
fires are to be observed in every direction: they evidently appear
to shun us, and we have no wish for a farther acquaintance. When we
stopped for the night, the lake was only separated from the sea by
a narrow neck of sand, and at spring tides, with an easterly wind,
it must be forced over it. This neck of sand appears likely to be
occasionally washed away, and to form a shallow opening into this
portion of the lake. Its principal entrance I expect to find southerly;
we however observed no tides in it, which makes us conclude it will
have but a shoal entrance. From this point, the Sugarloaf Point,
and island of it in one, bore N. 14 1/2, and the direction of the
lake was N. 275.

October 30.--We passed for five miles and a half through the country
described yesterday, when we arrived on the beach south-west of the
Sugarloaf Point. The rock off ditto bearing N. 88. E.; Shoal of ditto,
120., and Blackhead, N. 212 1/2; we went nearly six miles farther
on the beach, and halted near a rocky point for the evening. This
beach was a peculiarly productive one to us; a great number of fine
fish resembling salmon, had been pursued through the surf by larger
fish, and were left dry by the retiring tide: we picked up thirty-six,
and a welcome prize they proved to us. We had just got the tents
pitched, when a number of unarmed natives appeared upon the hill
near us, and among them a woman and a child. As they came in peace, so in
peace were they received. They approached the tents without any
hesitation, and in the course of an hour, their numbers amounted to
upwards of thirty, men, women, and children. Most of these people seemed
to have been at Newcastle, and appeared a friendly and peaceable set. We
did all in our power to continue these good dispositions by shaving the
men, cutting the hair of the children, and bestowing on them such little
articles as we could spare; not without a hope, that our kindness might
be of service to others, who might under different circumstances be
thrown among them. They were so far from showing the least jealousy of
their women, that every circumstance indicated that their favours might
be purchased: however that may be, we did not avail ourselves of this
privilege. Kindling their fires close to our tents, they seemed to have
taken up their quarters for the night. The weather had appeared to
threaten rain, and as they all departed about ten o'clock, it was
attributed to the circumstance of their being without shelter; and we
expected a friendly visit from them in the morning. From this station,
Blackhead bore N. 197.; and the island off Sugarloaf Point, N. 70. E.
The peak over the north entrance into Port Stephens, N. 211.

October 31.--The rain of the night still continuing in the morning,
and the tide not being sufficiently low to let us pass round the head,
we did not set off so early as usual. Dr. Harris and Mr. Evans had
gone to bathe near the point, and within one hundred and fifty yards
of the tent. Mr. Evans had already bathed and had began to dress
himself, when four natives, whom we recognised as being among those
whom we had treated so kindly yesterday, made their appearance with
their spears in their hands, in the attitude of throwing them from
the cliffs above. There was scarcely time to parley with them, when
a spear was thrown at Mr. Evans, Dr. Harris having leaped down the
rock into the sea, and escaped to the tent under its shelter. The
spear fortunately missed Mr. Evans, and he likewise escaped with the
loss of his clothes, by following the doctor's example. On the alarm
being given they were pursued, but they had disappeared among the
brush on the hill. This instance of their treachery redoubled our
circumspection, and our situation here being favourable for their
attacks, I determined to pass over the brow of the hill with the
horses--a road which from its extreme steepness, I had been willing
to avoid by waiting for the tide; and orders were given to collect
the horses and proceed on our route. Whilst this was doing, and as
I was sitting in the tent with Dr. Harris and Mr. Evans writing
this Journal, a shower of spears from the height above was thrown at the
tent, one of which passed directly over my shoulder, and entered the
ground at my feet: the others lodged around the tent, and among the
people who were getting ready the baggage, but providentially without
doing any harm. We had stationed men to watch the hill, but the
appearance of the natives and the flight of their spears was so
instantaneous, that they had not time to alarm us. To enable us therefore
to proceed in safety it was necessary to clear the hill, which was soon
done; for on our ascending that hill, they took their station on another
more distant. We travelled unmolested along the beach for upwards of
twelve miles, when we halted for the evening on a small point of clear
land, which at high water was an island. Here we found ourselves secure:
we had however but just unladen, when three natives were seen coming
along the beach from the side of Port Stephens. We knew that the party
which had behaved so treacherously had gone that way, and we suspected
that these men were sent to see whether we were disposed to resent their
conduct: they appeared unarmed, each holding up a fish as a peace
offering to us: but when they were within three hundred yards of us, they
stopped, and not receiving any encouragement from us to advance,
after halting a few minutes, they returned with all speed along
the beach to their companions. I had determined if they had approached
nearer to have made an example of them: and for the future, never to
suffer them to come near us at all. I was very much surprised to
find that Blackhead proved to be an island, with a good passage, at
least a mile and a half wide, between it and the main. There appears
excellent anchorage and shelter under it, and indeed it seems a far
better and more convenient roadstead than Port Stephens, being safe
from all winds, with a passage either from north or south. The relative
positions of the points and islands on this part of the coast, by no
means correspond with, nor does the longitude of Port Stephens
agree with that assigned to Sugarloaf Point by Captain Flinders, who
commenced at that point; Port Stephens, and this part, of the coast,
being laid down from other authorities. From this point, the north head
of Port Stephens bore N. 199.; Sugarloaf Point N. 45. E; and several
other bearings were taken for a sketch of the channel between Blackhead
Island, and the main.

November 1.--We departed early in the morning, and at three O'clock
arrived at Port Stephens. The natives had assembled in considerable
numbers at the back of the beach, and being armed, we suspected their
intention to be, to throw at us from the bank and brush as we passed. On
the advance of four men who were sent to clear the bank of them,
they quickly retired, and did not show themselves again until we
had passed. They appeared to be as cowardly as treacherous: and I
am convinced, that all the mischief they do, arises from a misplaced
confidence in their seeming friendly dispositions. A single person
of his guard is sure to fall a sacrifice to their thirst for plunder.
As we were unable to pass this port without the assistance of a
large boat, it was determined that Mr. Evans and three men should
cross the port in our own boat and proceed to Newcastle, from which
settlement we were distant about thirty-six miles; and procure such aid
as the commandant could afford us, together with a supply of provisions,
our own being nearly exhausted.

November 5.--Mr. Evans and party set forward at day-light on Monday
morning, and arrived the same evening at Newcastle. The commandant,
Captain Wallis of the 46th regiment, lost not a moment in dispatching a
large boat with an abundance of every comfort that could be acceptable to
travellers in our situation. We had also the satisfaction to learn
generally the welfare of our friends in Sydney.



No. I.

By His Excellency, Lachlan Macquarie, Esq., Captain General, and Governor
in Chief of the Territory of New South Wales, and its dependencies, etc.



The Right Honourable Earl Bathurst, His Majesty's principal Secretary of
State for the Colonies, having in a recent despatch authorised and
directed me to select and employ a properly qualified and competent
officer belonging to this government, for conducting and leading an
expedition for the purpose of prosecuting the discoveries made some time
since to the westward of the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, by Mr.
George William Evans, deputy surveyor of lands; and reposing especial
trust and confidence in your abilities, zeal and diligence, for
conducting and leading such an expedition: I do hereby constitute and
appoint you in virtue of the powers in me vested, to be chief of the
expedition now fitting out to prosecute the discoveries to the westward
of the Blue Mountains in the interior of the continent of Australia. You
are accordingly to be obeyed and respected as chief of this expedition,
and to be governed generally during the continuance of it, by the
following instructions.

First.--With the view of facilitating the objects of the present
expedition, and in justice to his former zealous and successful exertions
in making the original discoveries in the interior, to the westward of the
Blue Mountains; the Right Honourable the Secretary of State has directed,
that in the farther prosecution of these discoveries, Mr. George William
Evans, deputy surveyor of lands, should be associated with the person
appointed to head and direct the expedition; and to be considered the
second in command of it. You are therefore to consider Mr. Evans as next
in command to yourself during the progress of the expedition, and to
consult with him on all operations and points connected therewith; it
being presumed from his local experience in the interior, he will be able
to afford you very useful information and assistance.

Second.--Exclusive of yourself and Mr. Evans, I have deemed it advisable
to permit Mr. Allan Cunningham, one of the King's botanists, (lately sent
out to this country, for the purpose of collecting plants and seeds for
His Majesty's gardens at Kew), to accompany the expedition. I have also
ordered ten other persons to accompany you on the expedition in the
various capacities of assistants, or servants; and herewith you will
receive a schedule of their names, and respective designations, or

Third.--In order to give every facility to the objects of the expedition
now fitting out, and to afford you the means of prolonging your absence
from headquarters, and consequently extending the range of your
discoveries, I have deemed it advisable to furnish yourself and party
with a sufficient supply of good wholesome provisions for five months; in
which space of time, it is concluded, you will be able to ascertain all
the important objects of the expedition. And in order that this five
months supply of provisions may remain untouched, until you shall have
taken your final departure from the last discovered point on the Lachlan
River, I have had a depot lately established there for the purpose of
lodging the five months provisions, till your arrival at that point; the
necessary number of BAT horses having been provided for conveying the
provisions thither; and it has been lately reported to me, that almost
the whole of the five months provisions have already been conveyed to the
depot on the Lachlan River, and that the remaining part thereof will he
deposited there in the course of seven days from this date. You will
herewith receive a schedule, or account of the provisions, together
with a list of the BAT horses, and other various equipments furnished
and sent to the depot on the banks of the Lachlan River, for the use
of the expedition. I hope it is unnecessary for me to point out or
recommend to a person of your experience, the absolute necessity of
observing every possible economy in the expenditure of your provisions,
and preventing every possible waste thereof, so as to make them hold
out for the full space of time they are intended to last. There is
an ample and liberal daily ration of provisions allowed and sent for
each person sufficient for five months; and you must make it your
particular business to see that there shall be no waste or loss in
the issuing, or carriage of your stock of provisions.

Fourth.--Having been informed, first from the reports of Mr. Evans, the
original discoverer of the Lachlan River, and subsequently from those of
William Cox, Esq., who went thither lately at my particular request, that
there was every reason from its appearance to conclude that that river
would be found to be navigable for small boats; I some time since sent a
boat builder for the purpose of constructing two light boats for
navigating this river, and conveying the provisions and stores for the
expedition along it, to its junction with the sea, in case it should be
found to fall into it, which there is every reason to hope it does. In
the event of this hope being realized, it will greatly facilitate the
objects of the expedition to be able thus to transport all your
provisions, and other equipments, by water, instead of the tedious
process of carrying them by land on the backs of horses, through a woody
and intricate country.

Fifth.--The three grand and principal objects of the present expedition
are:--First, to ascertain the real course or general direction of the
Lachlan River, and its final termination, and whether it falls into the
sea, or into some inland lake. Secondly, if the river falls into the sea,
to ascertain the exact place of its embouchure, and whether such place
would answer as a safe and good port for shipping: and thirdly, the
general face of the country, nature of the soil, woods, and animal and
natural productions of the country through which this river passes;
carefully examining and noting down each of these particulars, and adding
thereto the nature of the climate, and description of such natives or
aborigines of the country as you may happen to see, or fall in with in
your progress through it.

For your farther information and guidance, you will receive herewith a
paper marked A, which is a copy of one lately received by me from Earl
Bathurst, His Majesty's principal Secretary of State for the colonies,
and which I am directed by his lordship to make the groundwork of my
instructions to the officer whom I might think proper to select for, and
entrust with the due execution of the services therein required. And I
therefore refer you for all farther instructions to the paper thus
alluded to; persuaded you will do every thing in your power to comply
with and execute, as far as your means will allow, the several orders and
directions therein contained; communicating these instructions to the
several persons employed with you on the expedition, in as far as they
are severally concerned in making the observations and collections
pointed out in the said instructions from the Secretary of State.

Sixth.--It will of course be necessary in order to ascertain the exact
distance and direction of your journies, whilst prosecuting your
discoveries, that the country through which you travel shall be regularly
chained and laid down upon a chart; but I leave it optional with yourself
to do this either during your outward or homeward bound journey; and as
it is expected that the Lachlan River will be found to empty itself into
that part of the sea on the south-west coast of Australia, between
Spencer's Gulf and Cape Otway, it is hoped you will he able to make all
the necessary discoveries, and return again to Bathurst considerably
within five months; as the greatest distance from thence to that part of
the coast, where the river is supposed to fall into it, cannot exceed six
hundred miles. It is also hoped and expected, that the Lachlan and
Macquarie Rivers unite at some distant point from where Mr. Evans
terminated his trace of the Lachlan River; and in case these two rivers
are found to form a junction, the exact place of their confluence must be
clearly and exactly ascertained in regard to latitude and longitude, and
noted down accordingly. The latitude and longitude of the junction of
both or either of these rivers with the sea, or inland lake, must also be
accurately ascertained and marked down in the chart to be made of your
entire tour and discoveries.

Seventh.--On your return from your journey to the sea-coast to Bathurst,
you are to direct all the journals or other written documents belonging
to, and curiosities collected by the several individuals composing the
expedition, to be carefully sealed up with your own seal, and kept in
that state until after you have made your report in writing to me at
Sydney, of the result of the expedition.

Eighth.--I have only to add, that I wish you to set out from Sydney on
the present service, on Monday, the 31st of this present month, so as to
arrive at Bathurst, on or before the 8th of the ensuing month.

On your arrival at Bathurst, you will find William Cox, Esq., there, and
to him I beg leave to refer you for every information relative to the
provisions, stores, horses for carriage, and other equipments ordered to
be forwarded to the depot on the Lachlan River, for the use of the
expedition; the arrangement and conveyance of all which has been wholly
entrusted to him. Mr. Cox having promised to accompany you as far as the
depot on the Lachlan River, he will be able to remove any unforeseen
difficulties that may arise on your arrival there, in getting the
provisions and stores for the use of the expedition forwarded.

Wishing every success may attend the expedition under your command, and a
safe return to all the individuals composing it;

I remain, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
(Signed,) L. MACQUARIE,
Governor in chief of New South Wales.
Government House, Sydney,
March 24, 1817.

* * * * *



Downing Street, April 18, 1816.

It is most desirable that any person travelling into the interior should
keep a detailed Journal of his proceedings. In this Journal all
observations and occurrences of every kind, with all their circumstances,
however minute, and however familiar they may have been rendered by
custom, should be carefully noted down; and it is also desirable that he
should be as circumstantial as possible in describing the general
appearance of the country, its surface, soil, animals, vegetables and
minerals, every thing that relates to the population, the peculiar
manners, customs, language, etc., of the individual natives, or the
tribes of them that he may meet with.

The following however will be among the most important subjects, on which
it will be more immediately the province of a traveller to endeavour to
obtain information.

The general nature of the climate, as to the heat, cold, moisture, winds,
rains, etc.; the temperature regularly registered from Fahrenheit's
thermometer, as observed at two or three periods of the day.

The direction of the mountains; their general appearance as to shape,
whether detached, or continuous in ranges.

The rivers, and their several branches, their direction, velocity,
breadth and depth.

The animals, whether birds, beasts, or fishes, reptiles, insects, etc.,
distinguishing those animals, if any, which appear to have been
domesticated by the natives.

The vegetables, and particularly those that are applicable to any useful
purpose, whether in medicine, dyeing, etc.; any scented woods, or such as
may be adapted for cabinet work, or furniture, and more particularly such
woods as may appear to be useful in ship-building; of all which it
would be desirable to procure small specimens, labelled and numbered,
so that an easy reference may be made to them in the Journal, to
ascertain the quantities in which they are found, and the situations
in which they grow.

Minerals, any of the precious metals, or stones, if used or valued by the

With respect to the animals, vegetables, and minerals, it is desirable
that specimens of the most remarkable should be preserved as far as the
means of the traveller will admit, and especially the seeds of any plants
not hitherto known: when the preservation of specimens is impossible,
drawings or detailed accounts of them are most desirable.

The description, and characteristic difference, of the several people
whom he way meet; the extent of the population, their occupation, and
means of subsistence; whether chiefly, or to what extent, by fishing,
hunting, or agriculture, and the principal objects of their several

A circumstantial account of such articles, if any, as might be
advantageously imported into Great Britain.

A vocabulary of the language spoken by the natives whom he may meet,
using in the compilation of each the same English words.

If the people are sufficiently numerous to form tribes, it is important
to ascertain their condition, and rules of the society; their genius and
disposition; the nature of their amusements; their diseases and remedies,
etc.; their objects of worship, religious ceremonies; and the influence
of those ceremonies on their moral character and conduct.

(True copy.)

* * * * *

No. Ia.


1 John Oxley, Esq., chief of the expedition.
2 Mr. George William Evans, second in command.
3 Mr. Allan Cunningham, King's botanist.
4 Charles Fraser, colonial botanist.
5 William Parr, mineralogist.
6 George Hubbard, boat-builder.
7 James King, 1st boatman, and sailor.
8 James King, 2nd horse-shoer.
9 William Meggs, butcher.
10 Patrick Byrne, guide and horse leader.
11 William Blake, harness-mender.
12 George Simpson, for chaining with surveyors.
13 William Warner, servant to Mr. Oxley.

(Signed,) L. MACQUARIE.
March 2,1, 1817.

* * * * *

No. II

Government House, Sydney,
June 10, 1815.

Mr. Cox having reported the road as completed on the 21st of January, the
governor, accompanied by Mr. Macquarie, and that gentleman, commenced his
tour on the 25th of April last, over the Blue Mountains, and was joined
by Sir John Jamison, at the Nepean, who accompanied him during the entire
tour. The following gentlemen composed the governor's suite: Mr.
Campbell, secretary; Captain Antill, major of brigade; Lieutenant Watts,
aid-de-camp; Mr. Redfern, assistant surgeon; Mr. Oxley, surveyor general;
Mr. Meehan, deputy surveyor general; Mr. Lewin, painter, and naturalist;
and Mr. G. W. Evans, deputy surveyor of lands, who had been sent forward
for the purpose of making farther discoveries, and rejoined the party on
the day of arrival at Bathurst Plains.

The commencement of the ascent from Emu Plains, to the first depot, and
then to a resting-place, now called Spring Wood, distant twelve miles
from Emu Ford, was through a very handsome forest of lofty trees, and
much more practicable and easy than was expected. The facility of the
ascent for this distance excited surprise, and is certainly not well
calculated to give the traveller a just idea of the difficulties he has
afterwards to encounter.

At a farther distance of four miles, a sudden change is perceived in the
appearance of the timber, and the quality of the soil; the former
becoming stunted, and the latter barren and rocky. At this place the
fatigues of the journey may be said to commence; here the country became
altogether mountainous, and extremely rugged. Near to the eighteenth mile
mark (it is to be observed the measure commences from Emu Ford), a pile
of stones attracted attention; it is close to the line of road, on the
top of a rugged and abrupt ascent, and is supposed to have been placed
by Mr. Caley, as the extreme limit of his tour; hence the governor
gave that part of the mountain the name of Caley's Repulse. To have
penetrated even so far, was an effort of no small difficulty. From
hence forward to the twenty-sixth mile is a succession of steep and
rugged hills, some of which are almost so abrupt as to deny a passage
altogether; but at this place a considerably extensive plain is arrived
at, which constitutes the summit of the western mountains, and from
thence a most extensive and beautiful prospect presents itself on all
sides to the eye. The town of Windsor, the River Hawkesbury, Prospect
Hill, and other objects within that part of the colony now inhabited, of
equal interest, are distinctly seen from hence. The majestic grandeur of
the situation, combined with the various objects to be seen from this
place, induced the governor to give it the appellation of the King's
Table Land. On the south-west side of the King's Table Land, the mountain
terminates in abrupt precipices of immense depth; at the bottom of which
is seen a glen, as romantically beautiful as can be imagined, bounded on
the farther side by mountains of great magnitude, terminating equally
abruptly as the others; and the whole whole thickly covered with timber.
The length of this picturesque and remarkable tract of country is
about twenty-four miles, to which the governor gave the name of
the Prince Regent's Glen. Proceeding hence to the thirty-third mile,
on the top of a hill an opening presents itself on the south-west
side of the Prince Regent's Glen, from whence a view obtained
particularly beautiful and grand: mountains rising beyond mountains,
with stupendous masses of rock in the fore ground, here strike
the eye with admiration and astonishment. The circular form in which the
whole is so wonderfully disposed, induced the governor to give the name
of Pitt's Amphitheatre to this offset or branch from the Prince Regent's
Glen. The road continues from hence for the space of seventeen miles, on
the ridge of the mountain which forms one side of the Prince Regent's
Glen, and there it suddenly terminates in nearly a perpendicular
precipice of six hundred and seventy-six feet high, as ascertained by
measurement. The road constructed by Mr. Cox down this rugged and
tremendous descent, through all its windings, is no less than three
fourths of a mile in length, and has been executed with such skill and
dexterity as reflects much credit to him: the labour here undergone, and
the difficulties surmounted can only be appreciated by those who view
this scene. In order to perpetuate the memory of Mr. Cox's services, the
governor deemed it a tribute justly due to him to give his name to this
grand and extraordinary pass, and he accordingly called it Cox's Pass.
Having descended into the valley at the bottom of this pass, the
retrospective view of the overhanging mountain is magnificently grand.

Although the present pass is the only practicable point yet discovered
for descending by, yet the mountain is much higher than those on either
side of it, from whence it is distinguished at a considerable distance:
when approaching it from the interior, and in this point of view, it has
the appearance of a very high distinct hill, although it is in fact only
the abrupt termination of a ridge. The governor gave the name of Mount
York to this termination of the ridge: on descending Cox's Pass, the
governor was much pleased by the appearance of good pasture land, and
soil fit for cultivation, which was the first he had met with since the
commencement of his tour. The valley at the base of Mount York he called
the Vale of Clwyd, in consequence of the strong resemblance it bore to
the vale of that name in North Wales: the grass in this vale is of a good
quality, and very abundant; and a rivulet of fine water runs along it
from the eastward, which unites itself at the western extremity of the
vale with another rivulet, containing still more water. The junction of
these two streams forms a very fine river, now called by the governor
Cox's River; which takes its course, as has since been re-ascertained,
through the Prince Regent's Glen, and empties itself into the River
Nepean; and it is conjectured from the nature of the country through
which it passes, that it must be one of the principal causes of the
floods which have been occasionally felt on the low banks of the River
Hawkesbury, into which the Nepean discharges itself. The Vale of Clwyd
from the base of Mount York, extends six miles in a westerly direction,
and has its termination at Cox's River. Westward of this river the
country again becomes hilly, but is generally open, forest land, and
very good pasturage. Three miles to the westward of the Vale of Clwyd,
Messrs. Blaxland, Wentworth, and Lawson, had formerly terminated their
excursion; and when the various difficulties are considered which they
had to contend with, especially until they had effected the descent from
Mount York, to which place they were obliged to pass through a thick
brushwood, where they were under the necessity of cutting a passage for
their baggage horses, the severity of which labour had seriously affected
their healths--their patient endurance of such fatigue cannot fail to
excite much surprise and admiration. In commemoration of their merits,
three beautiful high hills, joining each other at the end of their tour
at this place, have received their names in the following order, viz.,
Mount Blaxland, Wentworth's Sugar Loaf, and Lawson's Sugar Loaf.

A range of very lofty hills and narrow valleys alternately form the tract
from Cox's River, for a distance of sixteen miles, until the Fish River
is arrived at; and the stage between these rivers is consequently very
severe and oppressive to the cattle: to this range the governor gave the
name of Clarence's Hilly Range. Proceeding from the Fish River and a
short distance from it, a very singular and beautiful mountain attracts
the attention, its summit being crowned with a large and very
extraordinary looking rock, nearly circular in form, which gives to the
whole very much the appearance of a Hill Fort, such as are frequent in
India; to this lofty hill, Mr. Evans, who was the first European
discoverer, gave the name of Mount Evans. Passing on from hence the
country continues hilly, but affords good pasturage; gradually improving
to Sidmouth Valley, which is distant from the pass of the Fish River
eight miles. The land here is level, and the first met with unencumbered
with timber: it is not of very considerable extent, but abounds with a
great variety of herbs and plants, such as would probably highly interest
and gratify the scientific botanist. This beautiful little valley runs
north-west and south-east, between hills of easy ascent thinly covered
with timber. Leaving Sidmouth Valley the country again becomes hilly,
and in other respects resembles very much the country to the eastward of
the valley for some miles.

Having reached Campbell River, distant thirteen miles from Sidmouth
Valley, the governor was highly gratified by the appearance of the
country, which there began to exhibit an open and extensive view of
gently rising grounds and fertile plains. Judging from the height of
the banks and its general width, the Campbell River must be on some
occasions of very considerable magnitude; but the extraordinary drought
which has apparently prevailed on the western side of the mountains,
equally as throughout this colony for the last three years, has reduced
this river so much, that it may be more properly called a chain of pools
than a running stream at the present time. In the reaches, or pools of the
Campbell River, the very curious animal called the water mole
(ornithorhynchus paradoxus), is seen in great numbers. The soil on both
banks is uncommonly rich, and the grass is consequently luxuriant. Two
miles to the southward of the line of road which crosses the Campbell
River, there is a very fine rich tract of low lands which has been named
Mitchel Plains.

Wild flax was found here growing in considerable quantities. The Fish
River, which forms a junction with the Campbell River a few miles to the
northward of the road and bridge over the latter, has also two very
fertile plains on its banks, the one called O'Connell Plains, and the
other Macquarie Plains, both of considerable extent, and very capable of
yielding all the necessaries of life. At the distance of seven miles from
the bridge over the Campbell River, Bathurst Plains open to the view,
presenting a rich tract of champaign country of eleven miles in length,
bounded on both sides by gently rising and very beautiful hills, thinly
wooded. The Macquarie River, which is constituted by the junction of the
Fish and Campbell Rivers, takes a winding course through the plains, and
can be easily traced from the high lands adjoining, by the particular
verdure of the trees on its banks, which are likewise the only trees
throughout the extent of the plains.

The level and clean surface of these plains gives them at first view very
much the appearance of lands in a state of cultivation.

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

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

The governor must however add, that the hopes which were once so
sanguinely entertained of this river becoming navigable to the western
sea have ended in disappointment. During the week that the governor
remained at Bathurst, he made daily excursions in various directions: one
of these extended twenty-two miles in a south-west direction, and on that
occasion as well as on all the others, he found the country composed
chiefly of valleys and plains, separated occasionally by ranges of low
hills; the soil throughout being generally fertile, and well
circumstanced for the purpose of agriculture, or grazing.

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

The governor has here to lament, that neither coals nor limestone have
been yet discovered in the western country; articles in themselves of so
much importance, that the want of them must be severely felt, whenever
that country shall be settled.

Having enumerated the principal and most important features of this new
country, the governor has now to notice some of its live productions. All
around Bathurst abounds in a variety of game; and the two principal
rivers contain a great quantity of fish, but all of one denomination,
resembling the perch in appearance, and of a delicate and fine flavour,
not unlike that of a rock cod; this fish grows to a large size, and is
very voracious. Several of them were caught during the governor's stay at
Bathurst, and at the halting-place on the Fish River. One of those caught
weighed seventeen pounds, and the people stationed at Bathurst reported
they had caught some weighing twenty-five pounds. The field game are the
kangaroos, emus, black swans, wild geese, wild turkeys, bustards, ducks
of various kinds, quail, bronze-winged and other pigeons, etc. etc. The
water-mole also abounds in all the rivers and ponds.

The site designed for the town of Bathurst by observation taken at the
flag-staff, which was erected on the day of Bathurst receiving that name,
is situated in latitude 33. 24. 30. S., and in longitude 149. 29. 30. E.
of Greenwich; being also twenty-seven miles and a half north of
Government House, in Sydney, and ninety-four and a half west of it,
bearing west 18. 20. N., eighty-three geographical miles, or ninety-five
and a half statute miles; the measured road distance from Sydney to
Bathurst being one hundred and forty English miles.

The road constructed by Mr. Cox, and the party under him, commences at
Emu Ford, on the left bank of the Nepean, and is thence one hundred and
one miles and a half to the flag-staff at Bathurst: this road has been
carefully measured, and each mile regularly marked on the trees growing
on the left side of the road, proceeding towards Bathurst.

The governor in his tour made the following stages, in which he was
principally regulated by the consideration of his having good pasturage
for the cattle and plenty of water:

1st stage, Spring Wood, distant from Emu Ford, 12 miles.
2nd ditto, Jamison's Valley, or 2nd depot, distant from ditto, 28 miles.
3rd ditto, Blackheath, distant from ditto, 41 miles.
4th ditto, Cox's River, distant from ditto, 56 miles.
5th ditto, The Fish River, distant from ditto, 72 miles.
6th ditto, Sidmouth Valley, distant from ditto, 80 miles.
7th ditto, Campbell River, distant from ditto, 90 miles.
8th ditto, Bathurst, distant from ditto, 101 1/2 miles.

At all of which places the traveller may assure himself of good grass,
and water in abundance.

* * * * *

No. III.

Bathurst, August 30, 1817.

"I have the honour to acquaint your excellency with my arrival at this
place last evening, together with the persons comprising the expedition
to the westward, which your excellency was pleased to place under my

"Your excellency is already informed of my proceedings up to the 30th
of April. The limits of a letter will not permit me to enter at large
into the occurrences of nineteen weeks; and as I shall have the honour of
waiting on your excellency in a few days, I trust you will in the mean
time have the goodness to accept the summary account which I now offer.

"I proceeded down the Lachlan in company with the boats until the 12th
of May, the country rapidly descending, until the waters of the river
rising to a level with it, and dividing themselves into numerous
branches, inundated the land to the west and north-west, and prevented
any farther progress in that direction, the river itself being lost among
the marshes. Up to this point, it had received no accession of waters
from either side; but on the contrary, was constantly dissipating itself
in lagoons and swamps.

"The impossibility of proceeding farther in conjunction with the boats
being evident, I determined upon mature deliberation to haul them up; and
divesting ourselves of every thing that could possibly be spared, proceed
with the horses loaded with the additional provisions from the boats, on
such a course towards the coast as would intersect any stream that might
arise from the divided waters of the Lachlan.

"In pursuance of this plan, I quitted the river on the 17th of May,
taking a south-west course towards Cape Northumberland, as the best
adapted to answer my intended purpose. I will not here detail the
difficulties and privations we experienced in passing through a barren
and desolate country, without any water but such rain as was found
remaining in holes and the crevices of rocks. I continued this course
until the 9th of June, when having lost two horses through fatigue and
want, and the others being in a deplorable condition, I changed our
course to north, along a range of lofty hills running in that direction,
as they afforded the only means of procuring water until we should fall
in with some stream. On this course I continued until the 23rd of June,
when we again fell in with a stream, which we had at first some
difficulty to recognise as the Lachlan, it being little larger than one
of the branches of it where we quitted it on the 17th of May.

"I did not hesitate a moment to pursue the course of this stream, not
that the nature of the country or its own appearance in any manner
indicated that it would become navigable, or even permanent; but I was
unwilling that the smallest doubt should remain whether any navigable
waters fall westward into the sea, between the limits pointed out in my

"I continued along the banks of the stream until the 8th of July, it
having taken during this period a westerly direction, and passed through
a perfectly level country, barren in the extreme, and being evidently at
periods entirely under water. To this point the river had been gradually
diminishing, and spreading its waters over stagnated lagoons and
morasses, without receiving any tributary stream that we knew of, during
the whole extent of its course. The banks were not more than three feet
high, and the marks of flood on the shrubs and bushes showed that at
times it rose between two and three feet higher, causing the whole
country to become a marsh, and altogether uninhabitable.

"Farther progress westward, had it been possible, was now useless, as
there was neither hill nor rising ground of any kind within the compass
of our view, which was bounded only by the horizon in every quarter, and
entirely devoid of timber, unless a few diminutive gum, trees on the very
edge of the stream might be so termed. The water in the bed of the
lagoon, as it might now be properly denominated, was stagnant, its
breadth about twenty feet, and the heads of grass growing in it showed it
to be about three feet deep.

"This unlooked for and truly singular termination of a river, which
we had anxiously hoped, and reasonably expected, would have led to a far
different conclusion, filled us with the most painful sensations. We were
full five hundred miles west of Sydney, and nearly in its latitude; and
it had taken us ten weeks of unremitted exertion to proceed so far. The
nearest part of the coast about Cape Bernoulli, had it been accessible,
was distant above one hundred and eighty miles. We had demonstrated
beyond a doubt, that no river could fall into the sea between Cape Otway
and Spencer's Gulf, at least none deriving its waters from the eastern
coast; and that the country south of the parallel of 34 degrees, and west
of the meridian 147. 30. E. was uninhabitable, and useless for all the
purposes of civilized men.

"It now became my duty to make our remaining resources as extensively
useful to the colony as our circumstances would allow; these were much
diminished: an accident which happened to one of the boats in the outset
of the expedition had deprived us of one third of our dry provisions, of
which we had originally a supply for only eighteen weeks, and we had been
consequently for some time living on a reduced ration of two quarts of
flour per man, per week. To return to the depot by the route we had come
would have been as useless as impossible; and, seriously considering
the spirit of your excellency's instructions, I determined, after the
most mature deliberation, to take such a route, on our return, as would I
hoped comport with your excellency's views, had our then situation ever
been contemplated.

"Returning up the Lachlan, I recommenced the survey of it from the point
at which it was made on the 23rd of June, intending to continue up its
banks until its connection with the marshes where we quitted it on the
17th of May was satisfactorily established, as also to ascertain if any
streams might have escaped our research. The connection with all the
points of the survey previously determined, was completed between the
19th of July and the 3rd of August. In the space passed over within that
period, the river had divided itself into various branches, and formed
three fine lakes, which, with one near the termination of our journey
westward, were the only considerable pieces of water we had yet seen; and
I now estimated that the river, from the place where it was first made
by Mr. Evans, had run a course, including all its windings, of upwards of
one thousand two hundred miles; a length altogether unprecedented, when
the single nature of the river is considered, and that its original
source constitutes its only supply of water during that extent.

"Crossing at this point, it was my intention to take a north-east course
to intersect the country, and if possible to ascertain what had become of
the Macquarie River, which it was clear had never joined the Lachlan.
This course led us through a country to the full as bad as any we had yet
seen, and equally devoid of water, the personal want of which again much
distressed us. On the 7th of August the scene began to change, and the
country to assume a very different aspect; we were now quitting the
neighbourhood of the Lachlan, and had passed to the north-east of the high
range of hills, which on this parallel bounds the low country to the
north of that river. To the north-west and north the country was high and
open, with good forest land; and on the 10th we had the satisfaction of
falling in with the first stream running northerly. This renewed our
hopes of soon falling in with the Macquarie, and we continued upon the
same course, occasionally inclining to the eastward until the 19th,
passing through a fine luxuriant country, well watered; crossing in that
space of time nine streams, having a northerly course through rich
valleys, the country in every direction being moderately high and open,
and generally as fine as can be imagined.

"No doubt remained upon our minds that those streams fell into the
Macquarie, and to view it before it received such an accession, was our
first wish. On the 19th, we were gratified by failing in with a river
running through a most beautiful country, and which I should have been
well contented to have believed to be the river we were in search of.
Accident led us down this stream about a mile, when we were surprised by
its junction with a river coming from the south, of such width and
magnitude as to dispel all doubts as to this last being the river we had
so long anxiously looked for. Limited as our resources were, we could not
resist the temptation which this beautiful country offered us, to remain
two days upon the junction of these rivers, for the purpose of examining
its vicinity to as great an extent as possible.

"Our examination increased the satisfaction we had previously felt; as
far as the eye could reach, in every direction, a rich and picturesque
country extended, abounding in limestone, slate, good timber, and every
other requisite which could render an uncultivated country desirable.

"The soil cannot be excelled; whilst a noble river of the first magnitude
affords the means of conveying its productions from one part of the
country to the other. Where we quitted it, its course was northerly, and
we were then north of the parallel of Port Stephens, being in latitude
32. 32. 45. S., and 148. 52. E. longitude.

"It appeared to me that the Macquarie had taken a north-north-west course
from Bathurst, and that it must have received immense accessions of water
in its course from that place. We viewed it at a period best calculated
to form an accurate judgment of its importance, when it was neither
swelled by floods beyond its natural and usual height, nor contracted
within its proper limits by summer droughts; of its magnitude when it
should have received the streams we had crossed, independently of any
which it may receive from the east (which, from the boldness and height
of the country, I presume must be at least as many as from the south),
some idea may be formed when I inform your excellency, that at this point
it exceeded in breadth and apparent depth the Hawkesbury at Windsor, and
that many of the reaches were of grander and more extended proportion
than the admired one on the Nepean River, from the Warragamba to Emu

"Resolving to keep as near the river as possible during the remainder
of our course to Bathurst, and endeavour to ascertain at least on the
west side what waters fall into it, on the 22nd we proceeded up the
river, and, between the point quitted and Bathurst, crossed the sources
of numberless streams all running into the Macquarie; two of them were
nearly as large as that river itself is at Bathurst. The country whence
all these streams derive their source was mountainous and irregular, and
appeared equally so on the east side of the Macquarie.

"This description of country extended to the immediate vicinity of
Bathurst, but to the west of those lofty ranges the land was broken into
low grassy hills and fine valleys, watered by rivulets rising on the
western side of the mountains, which on their eastern side pour their
waters directly into the Macquarie. These westerly streams appeared to me
to join that which at first sight I had taken for the Macquarie, and, when
united, to fall into it at the point on which it was first discovered on
the 19th instant. We reached this place last evening, without a single
accident having occurred to any one of the party during the whole
progress of the expedition; which from this point has encircled within
the parallels of 34. 30. S. and 32. S., and between the meridians of
149. 29. 30. E. and 143. 30. E. a space of nearly one thousand miles.
I shall hasten to lay before your excellency the journals, charts, and
drawings, explanatory of the various occurrences of our diversified route;
amply gratified if our exertions should appear to your excellency
commensurate with your expectations, and the ample means which your care
and liberality placed at my disposal.

"I feel the most particular pleasure in informing your excellency of the
obligations I am under to Mr. Evans, the deputy surveyor, for his able
advice and cordial co-operation throughout the expedition; and, as far as
his previous researches had extended, the accuracy and fidelity of his
narrative was fully established.

"It would perhaps appear presumptuous in me to hazard an opinion upon
the merits of persons engaged in a pursuit in which I have little
knowledge; the extensive and valuable collection of plants found by
Mr. A. Cunningham, the King's botanist, and Mr. C. Frazer, the colonial
botanist, will best evince to your excellency the unwearied industry and
zeal bestowed in the discovery and preservation of them; in every other
respect they also merit the highest praise.

"From the nature of the greater part of the country passed over, our
mineralogical collection is but small. Mr. S. Parr did as much as could
be done in that branch, and throughout endeavoured to render himself as
useful as possible.

"Of the men on whom the chief care of the horses and baggage devolved,
it is impossible to speak in too high terms. Their conduct in periods of
considerable privation, was such as must redound to their credit; and
their orderly, regular, and obedient behaviour could not be exceeded.
It may principally be attributed to their care and attention, that
we lost only three horses; and that, with the exception of the loss
of the dry provisions already mentioned, no other accident happened
during the course of the expedition. I most respectfully beg leave to
recommend them to your excellency's favourable notice and consideration.

"I trust your excellency will have the goodness to correct any
omissions or inaccuracies that may appear in this letter: the messenger
setting out immediately will not allow me to revise or correct it.

"I have the honour to remain, with the greatest respect,
Your excellency's most obedient and humble servant,
(Signed),  J. OXLEY, Surveyor General."

To His Excellency, Governor Macquarie, etc., etc., etc.

* * * * *



No. IV.


Wednesday, July 8.--Left Mount Harris about nine o'clock. For six miles
the country tolerably good; afterwards, to the end of my day's journey,
it was alternately acacia pendula scrubs, and cypress brushes; the soil
light, and full of holes; abundance of water, but, latterly, no grass. In
the evening halted on the bank of a gully, having gone about twelve
miles. Mount Harris bearing 8. 35. W.

July 9.--Set forward at eight o'clock, and continued travelling until
five in the afternoon, chiefly through very thick brushes, consisting of
various shrubs, with casuarina and dwarf box trees; the country nearly a
marsh and almost impassable, so much so, that I had great difficulty in
keeping my course, being the greater part of the day up to our knees in

I estimate my distance this day to be about fifteen miles, on a
north-east course.

July 10.--The country worse than yesterday, being exceeding low and
marshy, with many thick scrubs. About eleven o'clock it opened, being
more thinly clothed with the acacia pendula: having travelled about ten
miles, we arrived on the borders of a large apparent plain, on which I
had proceeded about two miles, when we were suddenly stopped by deep
water among reeds; from hence I could distinctly see Arbuthnot's Range,
the north end of which bore N. 101., and the other part connected by a
low range bore from N. 108 to N. 112.

The country from north-west to north-east was open with the horizon,
being covered with water and reeds, as far as the eye could distinguish;
we saw immense numbers of wild ducks, many black swans, pelicans, and
birds resembling the sea gannet: I altered my course to east, and shortly
afterwards to south-east.

I estimate the distance travelled this day to be eighteen miles. Being
rather late, we were much at a loss to find a place dry enough to sleep
on: the north end of Arbuthnot's Range bore N. 98.

July 11.--Finding our efforts to travel in any direction north of east
useless, I altered my course for the north end of Arbuthnot's Range. The
country continuing nearly as yesterday, brushes and marshes alternately,
having gone about twelve miles, the last quarter of a mile of which was
at an almost imperceptible rise above the general level, I came to the
edge of a river, the stream of which was thirty or fort yards wide, but
the bed nearly one hundred yards, the banks being eight or nine feet
high: I forded it in the middle of a very long reach bearing north and
south, the stream clear, and running gently from the south, about three
feet deep, over a fine sandy bottom. After crossing this river, I
proceeded onwards about four miles, and halted on the edge of a brush,
having travelled sixteen or seventeen miles.

July 12.--After proceeding about four miles, we crossed a small stream
from the south-east; the country perfectly level, not a perceptible rise
in any direction, save Arbuthnot's Range: the space travelled over to-day
was a complete marsh, the soil good, being clearly alluvial. It will be
impossible for heavy loaded horses to walk over the country, traversed by
us these last three days; the trouble we have had is more than can well
be imagined. Travelled fifteen miles.

July 13.--A very cold morning, set off at sunrise: at the sixth mile
arrived on an open plain, over which was rather better travelling than we
had latterly experienced. Finding it unlikely that we should reach the
range, at least in time to view the country from it, I thought it best,
as I had no time to spare, to keep more southerly for a lofty eminence
about two miles distant, and apparently of easy ascent: this mount
afforded me a most extensive prospect. The south extreme of Arbuthnot's
Range bore south, the north extreme N. 20. E, then trends more easterly.
Westerly of the hill on which I stood and the range, the country is a
perfect level, without the slightest apparent rise or inequality; what I
could see of the country to the south-east, appeared to be very broken
and rugged, detached rocks projecting like pillars and pyramids, in
various parts of the ranges; there was a number of native fires about the
base of the range, and we saw plenty of kangaroos, for the first time
since quitting Mount Harris: I also this day shot a new species of
pigeon. The distance travelled, I suppose sixteen or seventeen miles.

July 14.--Set forward on my return to the tents in a south-west
direction, and passed, for four or five miles, through a good open forest
country, abounding with kangaroos: after passing that, the country
altered for the worse, becoming low and wet: at twelve miles, we crossed
a chain of ponds leading to the north.

Last evening we suspected that we had been watched by the natives. I saw
some of them, and our resting-place was surrounded by their smokes; they
however did not attempt to molest us. Stopped in an acacia pendula brush,
having travelled about twenty miles.

July 15.--It came on to rain in the night, and continued all this day.
Our journey was dreadfully bad and marshy; yet on the whole the country
had a better aspect, not being so much overrun with the plant called
atriplex as usual. On my track out, plains, brushes, indeed almost the
entire surface was covered with it, until within a few miles of
Arbuthnot's Range. After going about three miles, we again fell in with
and forded the river crossed on the 11th instant: it was here not quite
so wide as when first seen, but deeper. Halted, having gone about ten

July 16.--I altered my course from south-west to west, 80 degrees south,
and had an extremely tedious and unpleasant day's journey, through a wet
and dreary country; continued rain. Travelled fifteen miles.

July 18.--Arrived at the hut about one o'clock, p.m., having travelled
yesterday and to-day about thirty-seven miles.

(Signed) G. W. EVANS.

* * * * *

No. V.


Government House, Parramatta,
December 5, 1818.


The sanguine hope which his excellency the governor was induced to
entertain, that, by pursuing the course of the Macquarie River, which had
been discovered running in a north-west direction by John Oxley, Esq., on
his return last year from tracing the course of the Lachlan to the
south-west, would have amply compensated for the disappointment sustained
on that occasion; and his excellency having in consequence accepted the
farther services of Mr. Oxley, on a second expedition; the party
consisting of John Oxley, Esq., surveyor general; John Harris, Esq., late
surgeon of the 102nd regiment, (who most liberally volunteered to
accompany the expedition); Mr. Evans, deputy surveyor general; and Mr.
Charles Fraser, colonial botanist; together with twelve men, having
eighteen horses and two boats, and provisions for twenty-four weeks, took
their final departure on the 4th of June last, from a depot prepared
for the occasion in the Wellington Valley, at about ninety miles west of
Bathurst; and those gentlemen, and the entire party, having a few days
since arrived at Port Jackson by sea, from the northward, his excellency
is happy in offering his most cordial congratulations to John Oxley,
Esq., the conductor of this expedition, and to John Harris, Esq., Mr.
Evans, and Mr. Fraser, on their safe return from this arduous

The zeal, talent, and attention manifested by Mr. Oxley, considering the
perils and privations to which he and his party were exposed, in
exploring a tract of country so singularly circumstanced in its various
bearings, are no less honourable to Mr. Oxley than conducive to the
public interest; and although the principal object, namely, that of
tracing the Macquarie River to its embouchure, has not been so favourable
as was anticipated, yet the failure is in a great degree counterbalanced
by other important discoveries made in the course of this tour, which
promise, at no very remote period, to prove of material advantage to this
rising colony.

Whilst his excellency thus offers this public tribute of congratulations,
he desires to accompany it with expressions of his high sense and
approbation of Mr. Oxley's meritorious services on this occasion; which
his excellency will not fail to represent to His Majesty's ministers, by
the earliest opportunity.

The personal assistance and support so cheerfully and beneficially
afforded to Mr. Oxley by the gentlemen associated with him on this
expedition, demand his excellency's best acknowledgments, which be is
happy thus publicly to request them to accept.

The following letter received from Mr. Oxley on his arrival at Port
Stephens, on the 1st of November last, is now published for general
information on the interesting subject of this tour.

By his excellency the governor's command,

J. T. CAMPBELL, Secretary.

* * *

Port Stephens, November 1, 1818.


I have the honour to inform your excellency, that I arrived at this port
to-day, and circumstances rendering it necessary that Mr. Evans should
proceed to Newcastle, I embrace the opportunity to make to your
excellency a brief report of the route pursued by the western expedition
entrusted to my direction.

My letter, dated the 22nd of June last, will have made your excellency
acquainted with the sanguine hopes I entertained, from the appearance of
the river, that its termination would be either in interior waters, or
coastwise. When I wrote that letter to your excellency, I certainly did
not anticipate the possibility, that a very few days farther travelling
would lead us to its termination as an accessible river.

On the 28th of June, having traced its course without the smallest
diminution or addition, about seventy miles farther to the
north-north-west, there being a slight fresh in the river, it overflowed
its banks, and although we were at the distance of near three miles from
it, the country was so perfectly level that the waters soon spread over
the ground on which we were. We had been for some days before travelling
over such very low ground, that the people in the boats finding the
country flooded, proceeded slowly; a circumstance which enabled me to
send them directions to return to the station we had quitted in the
morning, where the ground was a little more elevated. This spot being by
no means secure, it was arranged that the horses, with the provisions,
should return to the last high land we had quitted, a distance of sixteen
miles; and as it appeared to me that the body of water in the river was
too important to be much affected by the mere overflowing of its waters,
I determined to take the large boat, and in her to endeavour to discover
their point of discharge.

On the 2nd of July I proceeded in the boat down the river, and in the
course of the day went near thirty miles in a north-north-west course,
for ten of which there had been, strictly speaking, no land, as the flood
made the surrounding country a perfect sea: the banks of the river were
heavily timbered, and many large spaces within our view, covered with the
common reed, were also encircled by large trees. On the third, the main
channel of the river was much contracted but very deep, the banks being
under water from a foot to eighteen inches; the stream continued for
about twenty miles on the same course as yesterday, when we lost sight of
land and trees, the channel of the river winding through reeds, among
which the water was about three feet deep, the current having the same
direction as the river. It continued in this manner for near four miles
more, when, without any previous change in the breadth, depth, and
rapidity of the stream, and when I was sanguine in my expectations of
soon entering the long-sought-for lake, it all at once eluded our farther
pursuit, by spreading at all points from north-west to north-east over
the plain of reeds which surrounded us; the river decreasing in depth
from upwards of twenty feet to less than five feet, and flowing over a
bottom of tenacious blue mud; and the current still running with nearly
the same rapidity, as when the water was confined within the banks of the
river. This point of junction with interior waters, or where the Macquarie
ceased to have the form of a river, is in lat. 30. 45. S., and
long. 147. 10. E.

To assert positively that we were on the margin of the lake, or sea, into
which this great body of water is discharged, might reasonably be deemed
a conclusion that has nothing but conjecture for its basis; but if an
opinion may he hazarded from actual appearances, which our subsequent
route tended more strongly to confirm, I feel confident we were in the
immediate vicinity of an inland sea, most probably a shoal one, and
gradually decreasing, or being filled up by the immense depositions from
the waters flowing into it from the higher lands, which, on this singular
continent, seem not to extend beyond a few hundred miles from the
seacoast; as westward of these bounding ranges, (which from the
observations I have been enabled to make, appear to me to run parallel to
the direction of the coast), there is not a single hill or other eminence
discoverable on this apparently boundless space, those isolated points
excepted, on which we remained until the 28th of July; the rocks, and
stones composing which, are a distinct species from those found on the
above ranges.

I trust your excellency will believe, that fully impressed with the
great importance of the question, as to the interior formation of this
great country, I was anxiously solicitous to remove all ground for farther
conjecture, by the most careful observations on the nature of the country;
which though it was to me a proof that the interior was covered with
water, yet I felt it my duty to leave no measure untried which would in
any way tend to a direct elucidation of the fact.

It was physically impracticable to gain the edge of these waters by
making a detour round the flooded portion of the country on the south-west
side of the river, as we proved it to be a barren wet marsh, overrun with
a species of polygonum, and not offering a single dry spot to which our
course might be directed; and that there was no probability of finding
any in that direction, I had a certain knowledge from the observations
made during the former expedition. To circle the flooded country to the
north-east yet remained to be tried; and when on the 7th of July I
returned to the tents, which I found pitched on the high land before
mentioned, and from whence we could see mountains at the distance of
eighty miles to the eastward, the country between being a perfect level,
Mr. Evans was sent forward to explore the country to the north-east, that
being the point on which I purposed to set forward.

On the 18th of July Mr. Evans returned, having been prevented from
continuing on a north-east course beyond two day's journey, by waters
running north-easterly through high reeds, and which were most probably
those of the Macquarie River; as during his absence it had swelled so
considerably as entirely to surround us, coming within a few yards of the
tent. Mr. Evans afterwards proceeded more easterly, and, at a distance of
fifty miles from the Macquarie River, crossed another much wider but not
so deep, running to the north: advancing still more easterly, he went
nearly to the base of the mountains seen from the tent, and returning a
more southerly route, found the country somewhat drier, but not in the
least more elevated.

The discretionary instructions with which your excellency was pleased to
furnish me, leaving me at liberty as to the course to be pursued by the
expedition on its return to Port Jackson, I determined to attempt making
the sea-coast on an easterly course, first proceeding along the base of
the high range before mentioned, which I still indulged hopes might lead
me to the margin of these, or any other interior waters which this
portion of New South Wales might contain; and embracing a low line of
coast on which many small openings remained unexamined, at the same time
that the knowledge obtained of the country to be encircled, might
materially tend to the advantage of the colony, in the event of any
communication with the interior being discovered.

We quitted this station on the 30th of July, being in latitude 31. 18. S.,
and longitude 147. 31. E. on our route for the coast; and on the 8th
of August arrived at the lofty range of mountains to which our course had
been directed. From the highest point of this range we had the most
extended prospect. From south by the west to north, it was one vast level,
resembling the ocean in extent, but yet without water being discerned,
the range of high land extending to the north-east by north, elevated
points of which were distinguished upwards of one hundred and twenty

From this point, in conformity to the resolution I had made on quitting
the Macquarie River, I pursued a north-east course; but after
encountering numerous difficulties from the country being an entire
marsh, interspersed with quicksands, until the 20th of August, and
finding I was surrounded by bogs, I was reluctantly compelled to take a
more easterly course, having practically proved that the country could
not be traversed on any point deviating from the main range of hills which
bound the interior; although partial dry portions of level alluvial land
extend from their base westerly to a distance which I estimate to exceed
one hundred and fifty miles, before it is gradually lost in the waters
which I am clearly convinced cover the interior. The alteration in our
course more easterly, soon brought us into a very different description
of country, forming a remarkable contrast to that which had so long
occupied us. Numerous fine streams, running northerly, watered a rich and
beautiful country, through which we passed until the 7th of September,
when we crossed the meridian of Sydney, as also the most elevated known
land in New South Wales, being, then in latitude 31. S. We were
afterwards considerably embarrassed and impeded by very lofty mountains.
On the 20th of September, we gained the summit of the most elevated
mountain in this extensive range, and from it we were gratified with a
view of the ocean, at a distance of fifty miles; the country beneath us
being formed into an immense triangular valley, the base of which
extended along the coast from the Three Brothers on the south, to the
high land north of Smoky Cape. We had the farther gratification to find
that we were near the source of a large stream running to the sea. On
descending the mountain, we followed the course of this river, increased
by many accessions, until the 8th of October, when we arrived on the
beach near the entrance of the port which received it; having passed
over, since the 18th of July, a tract of country near five hundred miles
in extent from west to east.

This inlet is situated in lat. 31. 25. 45. S., and long. 162. 53. 54. E.,
and had been previously noticed by Captain Flinders, but from the
distance at which he was necessarily obliged to keep from the coast, he
did not discover that it had a navigable entrance; of course our most
anxious attention was directed to this important point; and although the
want of a boat rendered the examination as to the depth of water in the
channel incomplete, yet there appeared to be at low water at least three
fathoms, with a safe though narrow entrance between the sand-rollers on
either hand. Having ascertained thus far, and that by its means the fine
country on the banks, and in the neighbourhood of the river, might be of
future service to the colony, I took the liberty to name it Port
Macquarie, in honour of your excellency, as the original promoter of
the expedition.

On the 12th of October, we quitted Port Macquarie on our course for
Sydney; and although no charts can be more accurate in their outline and
principal points than those of Captain Flinders, we soon experienced how
little the best marine charts can he depended upon, to show all the
inlets and openings upon an extensive line of coast. The distance his
ship was generally at, from that portion of the coast we had to travel
over, did not allow him to perceive openings, which, though doubtless of
little consequence to shipping, yet presented the most serious
difficulties to travellers by land; and of which, if they had been laid
down in the chart, I should have hesitated to have attempted the passage
without assistance from the sea-ward: as it is, we are indebted for our
preservation, and that of the horses, to the providential discovery of a
small boat on the beach, which the men with the most cheerful alacrity
carried upwards of ninety miles on their shoulders, thereby enabling us
to overcome obstacles, otherwise insurmountable.

Until within these few days, I hoped to have had the satisfaction to
report the return of the expedition without accident to any individual
composing it; but such is the ferocious treachery of the natives along
the coast to the northward, that our utmost circumspection could not save
us from having one man (William Blake), severely wounded by them; but by
the skillful care bestowed upon him by Dr. Harris, (who accompanied the
expedition as a volunteer, and to whom upon this occasion, and throughout
the whole course of it, we are indebted for much valuable assistance); I
trust his recovery is no longer doubtful.

The general merits of Mr. Evans are so well known to your excellency,
that it will here be sufficient to observe, that by his zealous attention
to every point that could facilitate the progress of the expedition, he
has endeavoured to deserve a continuance of your excellency's

Mr. Charles Fraser, the colonial botanist, has added many new species to
the already extended catalogue of Australian plants, besides an extensive
collection of seeds, etc.; and in the collection, and preservation, he
has indefatigably endeavoured to obtain your excellency's approval of his

I confidently hope that the Journal of the expedition will amply evince
to your excellency the exemplary and praiseworthy conduct of the men
employed on it; and I feel the sincerest pleasure in earnestly soliciting
for them your excellency's favourable consideration.

Respectfully hoping, that on a perusal and inspection of the journals and
charts of the expedition, that the course I have penned in the execution
of your excellency's instructions will be honoured by your approbation,

I beg leave to subscribe myself, with the greatest respect,

Your excellency's most obedient and humble servant,
(Signed), JOHN OXLEY, Surveyor General.
To His Excellency, Governor Macquarie, etc., etc., etc.

No. VI.


Government House, Sydney,
Thursday, June 17, 1819.

It is with feelings of much gratification that his excellency The
Governor is at length enabled to announce, thus publicly, that a safe
capacious harbour has been discovered, and now accurately described,
situated to the north-east of Newcastle; from whence it is distant about
one hundred and forty miles, and consequently about two hundred and
twenty miles in the same direction from Port Jackson.

This harbour, which was discovered by John Oxley, Esq., surveyor general,
on his reaching the coast last year from his tour of discovery in the
interior, then obtained from him the name of Port Macquarie; and
although, owing to his not having any boat or vessel at that time, he
could not then ascertain the soundings, and practicability of the
entrance into this harbour, yet the general appearances were sufficiently
favourable to induce him to form the opinion that it would prove safe;
and from the circumstances of the surrounding country being well watered,
and fertile, and the large River Hastings discharging itself into the sea
there, he concluded that a port so happily situated would be a valuable
acquisition to this colony. Impressed with this idea. he did not fail to
report his opinion in regard to it to his excellency, who was happy to
provide Mr. Oxley with a suitable vessel, to enable him to make the
necessary survey of the entrance and harbour of Port Macquarie.

The result of this survey having been as satisfactory as could have been
expected, his excellency is pleased to give publicity to Mr. Oxley's own
clear and circumstantial report on this valuable acquisition; and his
excellency desires to express his full and entire approbation of Mr.
Oxley's intelligent, zealous, and indefatigable exertions on this arduous
occasion, which evince an earnest and well directed desire to promote the
public service, and to advance the interests of the colony.

His excellency is also happy to add the expression of his approbation of
the liberal and judicious assistance rendered to Mr. Oxley, by
Lieutenant King, commander of His Majesty's colonial cutter, Mermaid,
whose exertions are so justly appreciated by Mr. Oxley, in the following
report; and his excellency desires both those gentlemen to accept his
thanks for the service thus rendered by their joint efforts to the

By his excellency's command,
J. T. CAMPBELL, Secretary.

* * *

Sydney, June 12, 1819.


In obedience to your excellency's commands to proceed in the Lady Nelson,
for the purpose of examining the entrance into Port Macquarie, and how
far it would be practicable and safe for vessels of a certain description
to enter it, I beg leave to report to your excellency, that I arrived off
the entrance of the harbour, on the 11th of May, in company with His
Majesty's cutter, Mermaid, commanded by Lieutenant King, who expressed
his intention to forward, by the superior means possessed by his vessel,
the view of your excellency, relative to the harbour.

Both vessels anchored off the bar, and the day was spent in sounding the
bar and channel; when we had the pleasure to find that we could enter
with safety. Accordingly the next morning they were warped into the
harbour, and moored alongside a natural wharf, on the south side of the

The examination of the harbour, and river falling therein, occupied us
until the 21st, when having completed the service directed by your
excellency, both vessels quitted the port with perfect ease; the Mermaid
pursuing her course to the northward on her ulterior destination.

Port Macquarie is situated in latitude 31. 25. 45. S., and in longitude
152. 53. 54. E. It is a bar harbour, on which however there is at low
water spring tides, at least nine feet; the tide rising from three to
four feet. The true channel is perfectly straight, and the tides set so,
that no danger is to be apprehended from their operation. The chief
danger to be avoided on entering is a sunken rock on the south side,
having about three feet on it at low water; and it will he necessary,
should the port he settled, that this danger should he buoyed. The bar
extends about two hundred yards; the bottom a soft sand when the water
deepens to two fathoms and a half, and alternately to three fathoms,
when secure anchorage will be found inside the Beacon Rock.

When vessels arrive off the bar, should the wind or tide be adverse to
entering the port, good anchorage will he found in from five to eight
fathoms outside the bar; Tacking Point being shut in by Peaked Hill
Point. When the winds are from the south, round by the west to north, the
bottom a clear sand.

The winds from north-east and south-east, if blowing strong, cause the
water to break across: but as those winds are fair for entering, no
danger is to be apprehended to vessels whose draft of water does not
exceed nine or ten feet. Should however circumstances render it imprudent
or impracticable to enter, the coast may be cleared on either tack, the
indenture of the coast line not being such as to cause it ever to be a
dangerous lee shore.

The port should be entered at or near high water, when, unless it blows
very hard, it seldom breaks on the bar. The tide of ebb runs with great
rapidity, sometimes nearly four miles per hour, owing to the great
quantity of fresh water in the Hastings River, and the narrowness of the
channel. The flood tide seldom exceeds one mile and three quarters per
hour. The tides are however very irregular in their operation, being
considerably influenced by local circumstances. The port is perfectly
capable to receive vessels of the class usually employed on the coasts of
this territory, and is in my opinion far better and safer than many
considerable bar harbours in Europe; and which are much frequented by
vessels adapted to their navigation.

Within the port the water deepens to five and six fathoms, which depth
continues for nearly ten miles, when the rapids of the river render it
impracticable for craft drawing more than six or eight feet; which depth
continues for six or eight miles farther, when the falls commence; it may
however, when the river is ordinarily full, be navigable for boats
some little distance farther.

My report to your excellency of the proceedings of the expedition of
discovery on its return in October, 1818, will have put your excellency
in possession of the nature and description of country watered by the
River Hastings from its source until it falls into the sea at Port

To that report I respectfully beg to refer your excellency, as my
opportunities of examining the country, at that period, were of course so
much more extensive. To the productions of the country as then reported,
may now be added great quantities of rose wood, the flooded gum, and
coal. Flint was before noticed lying in large masses on the beach. The
coal, as appears to me, may be worked without difficulty, as I think that
a stratum of it pervades the whole of the south side of the harbour,
which stratum is again seen southerly as far as Camden Haven.

I herewith respectfully submit to your excellency a plan of the entrance
into the port, with a sketch of part of Hastings River, for which I am
principally indebted to the assistance rendered me on all occasions by
Lieutenant King, who, I am happy in reporting to your excellency, fully
coincides with me, as to the advantages that may he expected to result
from the knowledge that the port has a navigable and safe entrance;
thereby affording a communication with the fine country on both banks of
Hastings River.

I have the honour to remain, with great respect,
Your excellency's most obedient and humble servant,
J. OXLEY, Surveyor General.

To His Excellency, Governor Macquarie, etc., etc., etc.

* * * * *


      |                         Souls at                          |
Year. |  Sydney.   Parramatta.   Windsor.   Liverpool.  Newcastle.| Total.
1815  |   5668        2566        2749        1167          346   | 12,911
1816  |   6882        3581        3164        1550          413   | 15,175
1817  |   7409        4257        4257        1922          553   | 17,265

FIVE YEARS, VIZ. 1813,1814,1815, 1816,1817, INCLUSIVE.

   |                       Acres in                                |
   |                     Peas      Garden                          |
Yr.|            Bar-     and Potat  and   Cleared Total Hor  Horned|
18-|Wheat Maize ley Oats Bean -oes Orchard Ground held  -ses Cattle|Sheep Hogs
13  7386 13814  694 299   68   308   960   52976 151057 1891 12543 45621 14641
14  8571  5880  537 355   33   205   906   61679 181787 2197 23263 73230 10921
15 10712  6089  708 610   51   333   901   67521 208547 2328 25279 62476 10106
16 13238  7540  836 787   68   380  1102   88685 221657 2451 21116 55097 11372
17 14446 11714  656 148  108   335   863   92894 224003 2851 33637 66684 15634

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