Journal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical Australia
by Thomas Mitchell
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1ST FEBRUARY.—This morning Piper was sent off with Corporal Graham. Mr. Kennedy rode on also in order to find out the nearest police station, and make arrangements, if possible, there, for forwarding Piper to Bathurst, his own district, which would put it out of his power to molest the party by endeavouring to induce the other natives to leave it. On them this measure appeared to have a salutary effect, Yuranigh calmly observing that Piper had only himself to blame for what had befallen him, and that he had acted like a fool. Mr. Kennedy undertook also to obtain, if he could, some more kangaroo dogs to replace those which had died from excessive heat. By that loss our party was left almost without dogs; and dogs were useful not only to kill kangaroos and emus, but to afford protection from, or to give notice of, nightly attacks by the natives, in which attacks those on that part of the Darling we were approaching, had been rather too successful against various armed parties of whites. Thermometer at sunrise, 88 deg.; at noon, 104 deg.; at 4 P.M., 106 deg.; at 9 P.M., 88 deg.;—with wet bulb, 76 deg..

2ND FEBRUARY.—The setting sun descended on a blue stratus cloud which appeared along the edge of all other parts of the horizon, and eagerly watching any indication of a change, I drew even from this a presage of rain. Thermometer at sunrise, 88 deg.; at noon, 104 deg.; at 4 P.M., 106; at 9, 88 deg.;—with wet bulb, 72 deg..

3RD FEBRUARY.—High winds whistled among the trees this morning, and dark clouds of stratus appeared in the sky. A substantial shower fell about 9 A.M., and the horizon was gradually shut in by clouds of nimbus. The high wind had blown steadily from north both yesterday and this morning, and in the same quarter a thunder cloud seemed busy. But when the rain began to fall, the wind shifted to the S.W., from which quarter the rain seemed to come. With it came a very peculiar smell, which I had noticed near Mount Arapiles in 1836, about the time of the commencement of the rainy weather there; and nothing could have been more welcome to us now, than the prospect of rain, and the decided change in the temperature from 115 deg. to 73 deg.. This was almost the first day during a month in which the air had not been warmer than our blood; often had it been greater than fever heat, so that 73 deg. felt to us as cool as 50 deg. would have been to a resident of Sydney. Much rain did not fall at our camp, but it seemed that rain was falling about the sources of the Bogan and other places at which a supply of water was indispensable to enable us to proceed. At sunset, glimpses of a clear sky appeared about the horizon, and during the night the moon and stars came forth, and destroyed all hopes of more rain. We were thankful, however, for the relief afforded by what had fallen, which had lowered the temperature about 40 degrees, and enabled us to enjoy a night of refreshing rest. Thermometer at sunrise, 85 deg.; at noon, 80 deg.; at 4 P.M., 73 deg.; at 9, 68 deg.;—with wet bulb, 67 deg..

4TH FEBRUARY.—The morning dawned in a most serene sky, with refreshing breezes from the south, and the thermometer at 61 deg.. This day we had completed the repair of the wheels of half the drays. Many of the tire- rings had been cut, rewelded, and again fixed and bolted on the wheels; the wood of these having contracted so much in the intense heat, as to have rendered these repairs indispensable. The same repairs were required by the wheels of the remaining drays and those of the light carts, and the smith and wheelwright continued their work with activity and zeal. Meanwhile the cattle were daily regaining strength and vigour for another effort. Thermometer at sunrise, 61 deg.; at noon, 89 deg.; at 4 P.M., 89 deg.; at 9, 72 deg.;—with wet bulb, 62 deg..

5TH FEBRUARY.—This morning the mercurial column stood higher than I had yet observed it here, and clouds of cirrus lay in long streaks across the sky, ranging from east to west, but these were most abundant towards the northern horizon. The day was comparatively cool and pleasant, the thermometer never having risen above 96 deg.. By 6 P.M., the barometer had fallen nearly four millimetres, and even upon this apparently trivial circumstance, I could build some hope of rain; such was my anxiety for a change of weather at that time, when the earth was so parched as not only to preclude our travelling, but almost to deprive us of sight. Thermometer at sunrise, 60 deg.; at noon, 94 deg.; at 4 P.M., 96 deg.; at 9, 73 deg.; with wet bulb, 64 deg..

6TH FEBRUARY.—Dark stratus-shaped clouds wholly covered the sky, and shut out the sun, to my unspeakable delight. A most decided change seemed to have taken place; still the barometer remained as low as on the previous evening. A slight breeze from south-east changed to north, and at about 7 A.M. the rain began to fall. Clouds of nimbus closed on the woody horizon, and we had a day of rain. In the evening the barometer had fallen still lower, and it was probable that the rain might continue through the night. Range of thermometer from 74 deg. to 72 deg..

7TH FEBRUARY.—Some heavy showers fell during the night, and the mercurial column stood exactly at the same point as on the last evening. About 10 A.M. a very heavy shower fell, after which the sun broke through, and the mass of vapour separated into vast clouds of nimbus. Much rain seemed to be still falling in the east, where the Macquarie, Bogan, and other rivers had their sources. At noon, the barometer had risen one millimetre. The rain had penetrated the clay soil of the plains about five inches.

Mr. Kennedy returned in the afternoon, having duly provided for Piper's conveyance by the mounted police to Bathurst, and brought back a good bull-dog, and also some useful information respecting the various water- courses, and the river Macquarie, which he had gathered from the natives about the stations along the banks of that river. Thermometer at sunrise, 74 deg.; at noon, 86 deg.; at 4 P.M., 90 deg.; at 9, 80 deg.;—with wet bulb, 75 deg..

8TH FEBRUARY.—The moisture recently imbibed by the earth and air made us much more sensible of the high temperature in which we had been living, although it had been reduced by the late rains. The night air, especially, breathed no refreshing coolness as heretofore during the dry heat. The drier earth below seemed to be steaming the wet soil above it (as Brown, our cook, justly observed). Thermometer at sunrise, 80 deg.; at noon, 96 deg.; at 4 P.M., 95 deg.; at 9, 80 deg.;—with wet bulb, 75 deg..

9TH FEBRUARY.—The leisure we enjoyed at this camp, enabled us to bestow more attention on the vegetable and animal productions of these remarkable plains, than had been given during my former journey. It appeared that the saltwort plants, which were numerous, were not only efficacious in keeping the cattle that fed on them in the best possible condition; but as wholly preventing cattle and sheep from licking clay, a vicious habit to which they are so prone, that grassy runs in the higher country nearer Sydney are sometimes abandoned only on account of the "licking holes" they contain. It is chiefly to take off that taste for licking the saline clay, that rock-salt is in such request for sheep, lumps of it being laid in their pens for this purpose. At all events, it is certain that by this licking of clay both sheep and cattle are much injured in health and condition, losing their appetite for grass, and finally passing clay only, as may be seen near such places. In the salt plants on these plains, nature has amply provided for this taste of these large herbivora for salt. Our sheep nibbled at the mesembryanthemum, and the cattle ate greedily of various bushes whereof the leaf was sensibly salt to the taste. The colour of the leaves of such bushes is usually a very light bluish green, and there are many species. That with the largest leaves, called salt-bush by stockmen, and by Dr. Brown RHAGODIA PARABOLICA, was very useful as a vegetable after extracting the salt sufficiently from it. This we accidentally discovered from some experiments made by Mr. Stephenson, for the purpose of ascertaining the proportion of salt contained in the leaves. The leaves contained as much as a twentieth part of salt, nearly two ounces having been obtained from two pounds of the leaves.[*] We also found that after twice boiling the leaves a few minutes in water to extract the salt, and then an hour in a third water, the leaves formed a tender and palatable vegetable, somewhat resembling spinach. As the superior excellence of these runs for fattening cattle is admitted on all hands, as compared with others more abundant in grass on the eastern side of the great range, would it not be advisable for the colonists to cultivate this salt-supplying bush, and thereby to produce a vegetable substitute for the rock salt, which is not only expensive, but only a very imperfect remedy for the clay-licking propensities of sheep and cattle on many runs? Thermometer at sunrise, 70 deg.; at noon, 94 deg.; at 4 P.M., 98 deg.; at 9, 86 deg.;—with wet bulb, 75 deg..

[* The process of Mr. Stephenson was as follows:—"Two pounds of the green leaf were boiled in eight quarts of water for half an hour, then strained and evaporated nearly to dryness. The mass was then submitted to a red heat for half an hour. The residuum was next digested in one pint of water, filtered, and again evaporated to six ounces. It was then exposed to the sun's rays, which completed the desiccation; crystals of a cubic shape having previously been formed."]

10TH FEBRUARY.—This morning the natives caught, in a hollow tree, an animal apparently of the same genus as the DIPUS MITCHELLII, and which seemed to live solely on vegetables. The barometer had fallen three millimetres last evening, and by noon this day it had declined three more. A fresh breeze blew from N. N. E., and at 2 P.M. a dark thunder cloud came from the S. S. W. and passed over the camp. The thunder was very loud, the lightning close and vivid; the wind for some time high, and rain heavy. The sky was, however, clear by 4 P.M., except in the N. E. where the thunder continued. Thermometer at sunrise, 75 deg..

11TH FEBRUARY.—The real "Duck Creek" was still to the northeastward of our camp, as Mr. Kennedy had ascertained when on the Macquarie. I hoped to find in it water sufficient at least to serve the party halting on it one night, on its way to the Macquarie, by which line alone I was now convinced water enough might be obtained to supply the party until it could arrive at the Darling; I therefore rode this day to examine it, with the elder native. I followed the bearing of N. N. E. from our camp, a direction in which it was likely to be met with, so as equally to divide the journey of the drays to the Macquarie, into two days. I crossed plains covered with luxuriant crops of very rich grass, and at length obtained a sight of Mount Foster bearing east. I reached Duck Creek (that of Sturt), or the "Marra" of the natives, ascertained by the bearing of Mount Foster, the native name of which is Narrab. I examined the bed of the Marra downwards for about two miles, without seeing therein the least indication of water, and returned to the camp fully resolved to proceed next day to the Macquarie, so as to reach it a little way below Mount Foster, a distance in that direction rather too great for the cattle to travel over in one day. Thermometer at sunrise, 59 deg.; at noon, 73 deg.; at 4 P.M., 76 deg.; at 9, 61 deg.;—with wet bulb, 57 deg.. From an average of twenty-five observations of the mercurial column, the height of this station has been determined to be 566 English feet above the level of the sea.

12TH FEBRUARY.—We broke up our encampment on Cannonba ponds, where we had greatly recruited ourselves, both men and cattle, and crossing the channel of the water-course near our camping ground, we travelled over open grassy plains towards the river Macquarie. At thirteen miles we reached the western branch of Duck Creek, or "Marra," a name by which it is universally known to natives and stockmen. Of this we crossed several branches, from which it would appear as if the name was derived from that of the hand, which is the same, especially as natives sometimes hold up the hand and extend the fingers, when they would express that a river has various branches or sources. I went on with an advanced party towards the Macquarie, and encamped on the bank of that river at 5 P. M. The thick grass, low forests of yarra trees, and finally the majestic blue gum trees along the river margin, reminded me of the northern rivers seen during my journey of 1831. Still even the bed of this was dry, and I found only two water holes on examining the channel for two miles. One of these was, however, deep, and we encamped near it, surrounded by excellent grass in great abundance. The Macquarie, like other Australian rivers, has a peculiar character, and this was soon apparent in the reeds and lofty yarra trees growing on reedy plats, and not, as usual in other rivers, on the edge of water-worn banks. The channel was here deep and dry. We found this day, in the scrubs by Marra Creek, the ACACIA SALICINA, whereof the wood has a strong perfume resembling violets, also a new small-leaved KOCHIA with intricate branches.[*] Thermometer at sunrise, 47 deg.; at 4 P. M., 77 deg.; at 9, 57 deg.;—with wet bulb, 56 deg..

[* K. THYMIFOLIA (Lindl. MS.); fruticosa, ramosissima, ramulis intricatis pubescentibus, foliis carnosis obtusis teretibus fructibusque glabris.]

13TH FEBRUARY.—I was again laid up with the MALADIE DU PAYS—sore eyes. Mr. Stephenson took a ride for me to the summit of Mount Foster, and to various cattle stations about its base, with some questions to which I required answers, about the river and stations on it lower down. But no one could tell what the western side of the marshes was like, as no person had passed that way; the country being more open on the eastern side, where only the stations were situated; Mr. Kinghorne's at Graway, about five miles from our camp, being the lowest down on the west bank. Mr. Stephenson returned early, having met two of the mounted police. To my most important question—what water was to be found lower down in the river—the reply was very satisfactory; namely, "plenty, and a FLOOD COMING DOWN from the Turmountains." The two policemen said they had travelled twenty miles with it, on the day previous, and that it would still take some time to arrive near our camp. About noon the drays arrived in good order, having been encamped where there was no water about six miles short of our camp, the whole distance travelled, from Cannonba to the Macquarie, having been about nineteen miles. In the afternoon two of the men taking a walk up the river, reported on their return, that the flood poured in upon them when in the river bed, so suddenly, that they narrowly escaped it. Still the bed of the Macquarie before our camp continued so dry and silent, that I could scarcely believe the flood coming to be real, and so near to us, who had been put to so many shifts for want of water. Towards evening, I stationed a man with a gun a little way up the river, with orders to fire on the flood's appearance, that I might have time to run to the part of the channel nearest to our camp, and witness what I had so much wished to see, as well from curiosity as urgent need. The shades of evening came, however, but no flood, and the man on the look-out returned to the camp. Some hours later, and after the moon had risen, a murmuring sound like that of a distant waterfall, mingled with occasional cracks as of breaking timber, drew our attention, and I hastened to the river bank. By very slow degrees the sound grew louder, and at length, so audible as to draw various persons besides from the camp to the river-side. Still no flood appeared, although its approach was indicated by the occasional rending of trees with a loud noise. Such a phenomenon in a most serene moonlight night was quite new to us all. At length, the rushing sound of waters and loud cracking of timber, announced that the flood was in the next bend. It rushed into our sight, glittering in the moonbeams, a moving cataract, tossing before it ancient trees, and snapping them against its banks. It was preceded by a point of meandering water, picking its way, like a thing of life, through the deepest parts of the dark, dry, and shady bed, of what thus again became a flowing river. By my party, situated as we were at that time, beating about the country, and impeded in our journey, solely by the almost total absence of water—suffering excessively from thirst and extreme heat,—I am convinced the scene never can be forgotten. Here came at once abundance, the product of storms in the far off mountains, that overlooked our homes. My first impulse was to have welcomed this flood on our knees, for the scene was sublime in itself, while the subject—an abundance of water sent to us in a desert—greatly heightened the effect to our eyes. Suffice it to say, I had witnessed nothing of such interest in all my Australian travels. Even the heavens presented something new, at least uncommon, and therefore in harmony with this scene; the variable star ARGUS had increased to the first magnitude, just above the beautiful constellation of the southern cross, which slightly inclined over the river, in the only portion of sky seen through the trees. That very red star, thus rapidly increasing in magnitude, might, as characteristic of her rivers, be recognized as the star of Australia, when Europeans cross the Line. The river gradually filled up the channel nearly bank high, while the living cataract travelled onward, much slower than I had expected to see it; so slowly, indeed, that more than an hour after its first arrival, the sweet music of the head of the flood was distinctly audible from my tent, as the murmur of waters, and the diapason crash of logs, travelled slowly through the tortuous windings of the river bed. I was finally lulled to sleep by that melody of living waters, so grateful to my ear, and evidently so unwonted in the dry bed of the thirsty Macquarie. Thermometer, at sunrise, 47 deg.; at noon, 79 deg.; at 4 P. M., 88 deg.; at 9, 63 deg.;—with wet bulb, 57 deg..

14TH FEBRUARY.—The river had risen to within six feet of the top of the banks, and poured its turbid waters along in fulness and strength, but no longer with noise. All night that body of water had been in motion downwards, and seemed to me enough to deluge the whole country to the Darling, and correct at least any saltness in its waters, if stagnant; a probability which had greatly reconciled me to the necessity for changing the line of my intended route, as the waters above the junction of the Castlereagh had never been known to become salt. We proceeded, falling soon into a cart track which led us to Graway, Mr. Kinghorne's cattlestation, and we encamped about five miles beyond it, near a bend of the river. We were already in the midst of reeds, but these had been so generally burnt, that we had little difficulty in crossing those parts of the marshes. The IMPERATA ARUNDINACEA, with its long head of white silky flowers, was common, and a straggling naked branched species of dock, on the parts unburnt. Thermometer at sunrise, 54 deg.; at noon, 91 deg.; at 4 P. M., 82 deg.; at 9, 72 deg.;—with wet bulb, 60 deg.. Height above the level of the sea, 475 feet.

15TH FEBRUARY.—Mr. Kinghorne obligingly accompanied me this day, and guided us across arms of the marshy ground. I was very glad to have his assistance, for I saw no line of trees as on other rivers, nor other objects by which I could pursue its course or keep near its waters; trees of the aquatic sort and reeds grew together. At one time nothing was visible to the eastward but a vast sea of reeds extending to the horizon. Where the long reeds remained unburnt, they presented a most formidable impediment, especially to men on foot and sheep, and twenty of these got astray as the party passed through. We encamped on a bank of rather firm ground, in lat. 30 deg. 53' 55" S. The grass was very rich on some parts of open plains near the marshes, and the best was the PANICUM LOEVINODE of Dr. Lindley, mentioned in my former journals[*] as having been found pulled, and laid up in heaps for some purpose we could not then discover. Mr. Kinghorne now informed me that it was called by the natives "coolly," and that the gins gather it in great quantities, and pound the seeds between stones with water, forming a kind of paste or bread; thus was clearly explained the object of those heaps of this grass which we had formerly seen on the banks of the Darling. There they had formed the native's harvest field. There also I observed a brome grass, probably not distinct from the BROODS AUSTRALIS of Brown; it called to mind the squarrose brome grass of Europe. Thermometer at sunrise, 59 deg.; at noon, 87 deg.; at 4, 89 deg.; at 9, 73 deg.;—with wet bulb, 66 deg..

[* Vol. i. p. 237.]

16TH FEBRUARY.—Mr. Kinghorne set out with a man of our party to examine Duck Creek, a native boy having told him that water was to be found in it lower down. I sent back early this morning, our native, with the store- keeper, some of the men, and the shepherd, to look for the lost sheep in the reeds, and Yuranigh fortunately found them out, still not very far from the spot where they had been separated from the rest of the flock. Our greatest difficulty in these marshes was the watering of the cattle. We had still the Macquarie at hand—deep, muddy, and stagnant—not above thirty feet wide, the banks so very soft that men could scarcely approach the water without sinking to the knees. We could water the horses with buckets, but not the bullocks. The great labour of filling one of the half-boats, and giving the cattle water by that means, was inevitable, and this operation took up three hours of the morning; a wheel required repair, the box having been broken yesterday. I for these reasons found it advisable to halt this day, which I did very reluctantly. At sunset, Mr. Kinghorne returned, having found no water in the "Marra," (Duck Creek).

Among the grasses growing among the reeds, we perceived the ANDROPOGON SERICEUS and an ERIANTHUS, which appeared to differ from E. FULVUS in having no hair upon the knees. The smooth variety of the European LYTHRUM SALICARIA, raised its crimson spikes of flowers among the reeds of the Macquarie, as it does in England on the banks of the Thames. We saw also MORGANIA FLORIBUNDA, SENECIO BRACHYLOENUS (D. C.), a variety with toothed leaves, also a BRACHYCOME resembling B. HETERODONTA, only the leaves were entire. A new species of LOTUS appeared among the reeds, very near the narrow-leaved form of L. AUSTRALIS on the one hand, and the South European narrow-leaved form of L. CORNICULATUS on the other; the flowers were pink, and smaller than in L. AUSTRALIS.[*] Also an ETHULIA [**], which may, on further examination, constitute a new genus; it was found by Allan Cunningham on the Lachlan. Thermometer at sunrise, 54 deg.; at noon, 86 deg.; at 4 P.M., 84 deg.; at 9, 61 deg.;—with wet bulb, 54 deg..

[* L. LAEVIGATUS (Benth. MS.); subglaber glaucescens, foliolis linearibus v. lineari-cuneatis vix acutatis, pedunculis folio longioribus 3—6- floris, calycis subsessilis appresse pubescentis dentibus setaceo- acuminatis tubo suo paullo longioribus, legumine recto tereti glabro.]

[** ETHULIA CUNNINGHAMI (Hooker MS.); glaberrima, caule dichotomo, foliis oblongis sessilibus dentato-serratis, capitulis paucis corymbosis globosis, involucri squamis oblongis imbricatis viridibus, pappo e setis paucis brevibus.]

17TH FEBRUARY.—The party moved off early, and Mr. Kinghorne having shown me a few miles more of the best ground between the scrubs and reeds, went towards a cattle station beyond the Macquarie, where a belt of open forest separated the reeds and enabled him to pass. He prevailed on a native whom he met with there to come with him to me, and to guide me to water until I reached the Barwan. This native at first seemed rather afraid of our numerous party, but our own native, Yuranigh, endeavoured by every means to make him at ease, and to induce him to remain with us. He guided us this day by fine open ground westward of the marshes, to a part of the Macquarie where the banks were solid enough to admit of the cattle drinking. The name was Bilgawangara; I reached the spot early, but at sunset no drays had come up. At length I was informed that such was the softness of the soil, that the drays had sank frequently, that two were fast in one place, four in another, and that two of the bullocks were astray. The marshes were said to be just then occupied by some angry tribes, of whom Mr. Kinghorne had warned me to be on my guard. The patience necessary to any traveller depending on bullocks and bullock drivers, I then thought ought to exceed that of Job. Our native guide was very shy, and Yuranigh feared he meant to "bolt." We depended on him for finding water—on our own native for finding bullocks; but it would not have done then to have sent him away. The weather might change, and these marshes become impassable; indeed, we were as much at the mercy of Providence in this respect as the Israelites were in the bed of the Red Sea. It depended on the weather whether we should deserve to be considered Jews or Egyptians. The teams came in about midnight, after the moon had risen, by which the drivers were enabled to see my track. Lat. 30 deg. 45' 55" S. Thermometer at sunrise, 48 deg.; at noon, 85 deg.; at 4 P.M., 88 deg.; at 9, 60 deg.;—with wet bulb, 54 deg..

18TH FEBRUARY.—Two bullocks were still astray some miles behind, and the iron axle of one of the drays having got bent, required repair. The cattle, I was told, were so jaded, as to be unable to make a day's journey without more rest, and I was again obliged to halt. One only of the two lost bullocks was found, and for this one we were indebted to little Dicky, a native only ten years of age, whom the big fool who had lost them was at some trouble to coax to go and assist him in the search, as Yuranigh could not be spared from the more important duty of entertaining our less civilised guide, and preventing him from making his escape. It must, indeed, appear strange to these people of the soil, that the white man who brought such large animals as oxen with them into the country, should be unable to find them without the assistance of a mere child of their own race. Dicky had soon found both, but one of them being young and wild, escaped again amongst the tall reeds.

In the rich soil near the river bed, we saw the yellowish flowers of the native tobacco, NICOTIANA SUAVEOLEUS, the MINURIA HETEROPHYLLA (D.C.), found by Allan Cunningham near the Lachlan, and a FUGOSIA near F. DIGITATA of Senegambia. In the scrub we found a fine new silvery ATRIPLEX with broad rounded leaves and strings of circular toothed fruits.[*] Thermometer at sunrise, 53 deg.; at noon, 93 deg.; at 4 P.M., 96 deg.; at 9, 67 deg.;— with wet bulb 59 deg..

[* A. NUMMULARIA (Lindl. MS.); caule suffruticoso glabro ramoso, foliis alternis ovato-subrotundis integerrimis petiolatis basi cuneatis utrinque argenteis, floribus monoicis, spicis longis pendulis, bracteis subrotundis dentatis basi connatis.]

19TH FEBRUARY.—We set off early, guided by our native friend. He was a very perfect specimen of the GENUS HOMO, and such as never is to be seen, except in the precincts of savage life, undegraded by any scale of graduated classes, and the countless bars these present to the free enjoyment of existence. His motions in walking were more graceful than can be imagined by any who have only seen those of the draped and shod animal. The deeply set yet flexible spine; the taper form of the limbs; the fulness yet perfect elasticity of the GLUTEI muscles. The hollowness of the back, and symmetrical balance of the upper part of the torso, ornamented as it was, like a piece of fine carving, with raised scarifications most tastefully placed; such were some of the characteristics of this perfect "piece of work." Compared with it, the civilised animal, when considered merely in the light of a specimen in natural history, how inferior! In vain might we look amongst thousands of that class, for such teeth; such digestive powers; for such organs of sight, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling; for such powers of running, climbing, or walking; for such full enjoyment of the limpid water, and of all that nature provides for her children of the woods. Such health and exemption from disease; such intensity of existence, in short, must be far beyond the enjoyments of civilised men, with all that art can do for them; and the proof of this is to be found in the failure of all attempts to persuade these free denizens of uncultivated earth to forsake it for the tilled ground. They prefer the land unbroken and free from the earliest curse pronounced against the first banished and first created man. The only kindness we could do for them, would be to let them and their wide range of territory alone; to act otherwise and profess good- will is but hypocrisy. We cannot occupy the land without producing a change, fully as great to the aborigines, as that which took place on man's fall and expulsion from Eden. They have hitherto lived utterly ignorant of the necessity for wearing fig leaves, or the utility of ploughs; and in this blissful state of ignorance they would, no doubt, prefer to remain. We bring upon them the punishments due to original sin, even before they know the shame of nakedness. Such were the reflections suggested to my mind by the young savage as he tripped on lightly before me by the side of his two half-civilised brethren of our party, who, muffled up in clothes, presented a contrast by no means in favour of our pretensions to improve and benefit their race. Yet our faithful Yuranigh was all that could be wished. He was assiduously making to the stranger such explanations of our wants and purposes, as induced him to conduct us in the direction these required. He led us, thus admonished, over those parts of the country most favourable for the passage of wheels. The rosewood acacia was abundant, but many parts were covered with most luxuriant grass. We encamped on the edge of a salt-bush plain, where there was a small pond of water left by the last rains on a clay surface. There was certainly enough for ourselves and horses, but it appeared that our guide had greatly underrated the capacity for water, of our hundred bullocks. For these, however, there was superb grass to the westward, and a little dew fell on it during the night. Thermometer at sunrise, 59 deg.; at noon, 102 deg.; at 4 P. M., 104 deg.; at 9, 77 deg.;—with wet bulb, 65 deg..

20TH FEBRUARY.—From the necessity for obtaining water as soon as possible for the bullocks, we travelled over ground which was rather soft, otherwise our guide would have pursued a course more to the westward, and over a firmer surface. We, at length, crossed two narrow belts of reeds not more than twenty feet across, and had the great satisfaction to learn from him that these were the last of the reeds. A shallow creek appeared soon thereafter on our right, in which our guide had expected to find water, but was disappointed; cattle having recently drank up there, what had been a large pond when he was there formerly. He showed us the recent prints of numerous cloven feet, and thus we were made to feel, in common with the aborigines, those privations to which they are exposed by the white man's access to their country. On proceeding some miles further, our guide following down the channel, he at length appeared at a distance making the motions of stooping to bathe, on which Yuranigh immediately said "He has found plenty of water;" and there, in fact, our guide had found two large ponds. They were still in the attenuated channel of the Macquarie, here called by them Wammerawa, the course of which river is continuous throughout the marshes; and marked by some high reeds greener than the rest, even when the reeds may have been generally burnt. These reeds are distinctly different from the "balyan," growing on the marshy parts of the rivers Lachlan, Murrumbidgee, and Millewa; the former being a cane or bamboo, the latter a bulrush, affording, in its root, much nutritious gluten. We found good grass for the cattle on both sides of the water-course, which was fringed with a few tall reeds, near which the pretty little KOCHIA BREVIFOLIA observed at Muda on the Bogan, again occurred. The native name of the spot was "Warranb." The soft earth had again impeded the drays; the teams of two came in at twilight, an axle of one dray having been damaged; the six others were brought up in the course of the evening. Thermometer at sunrise, 60 deg.; at 4 P. M., 103 deg.; at 9, 78 deg.;—with wet bulb, 68 deg..

21ST FEBRUARY.—The first thing done this morning was to send back cattle to draw forward the dray with a bent axle, to the camp, that it might be repaired. This was done so as to enable the party to continue the journey by 1 P. M. The barometer was going down at a rate which was alarming enough, considering what our position must have been there in a flood, or even after a heavy fall of rain. I therefore pressed forward with the light carts, and guided by the native. He brought us at 5 P. M. to "Willery," the place where he had expected to find water; but here again, he had been anticipated by cattle, which had drunk up all, and trodden the ponds as dry as a market-place. He gave us no hopes of finding water that night, nor until we could reach the Barwan, then distant, I was quite sure, at least twenty-four miles, according to the latitude observed (30 deg. 19' 54" South). We encamped here, and I sent back directions that the drays should at once halt, taking their places beside the leading dray, and that the cattle should be driven back in the morning to be watered at the last camp (Warranb), and then to return and follow in my track. Mr. Drysdale, the storekeeper, had also to go back to serve out a week's rations to the party with the drays, and he returned to my camp by 2 A. M., in the moonlight, bringing, on the horse of the former messenger, rations for my party. Here we found the KERAUDRENIA INTEGRIFOLIA. Thermometer at sunrise, 70 deg.; at noon, 105 deg.; at 9, 83 deg.;— with wet bulb, 57 deg..

22D FEBRUARY.—My guide was now desirous that I should cross the Macquarie, to open plains which he represented to be much more favourable for wheel carriages; but I endeavoured to explain to him, by drawing lines in the clay surface, how the various rivers beyond would cross and impede my journey to the Barwan. There were the Castlereagh, Morissett's Ponds, and the Nammoy.[* If Arrowsmith's map had been correct, which it was not, for the Nammoy joins the Darling separately, at least fifty miles higher than the junction of the Castlereagh.]

An instance occurred here of the uselessness of new names, and the necessity for preserving the native names of Rivers. I could refer, in communicating with our guide, to the Nammoy only, and to the hills which partly supplied the Castlereagh, whereof the native name was Wallambangle. I wanted to make them understand the probability that some flood had come down the channel of the Castlereagh, and that we might therefore hope to find water below its junction with the Macquarie. This, with the aid of Yuranigh, our own native, was at length made intelligible to our Barwan guide, and he shaped his course accordingly. He took us through scrubs, having in the centre those holes where water usually lodges for some time after rain, where some substratum of clay happens to be retentive enough to impede the common absorption. But the water in these holes had been recently drunk, and the mud trampled into hard clay by the hoofs of cattle. Thus it is, that the aborigines first become sensible of the approach of the white man. These retired spots, where nature was wont to supply enough for their own little wants, are well known to the denizens of the bush. Each locality has a name, and such places are frequented by helpless females with their children, or by the most peaceably disposed natives with their families. There they can exist apart from belligerent tribes, such as assemble on large rivers. Cattle find these places and come from stations often many miles distant, attracted by the rich verdure usually growing about them, and by thus treading the water into mud, or by drinking it up, they literally destroy the whole country for the aborigines, and thereby also banish from it the kangaroos, emus, and other animals on which they live. I felt much more disgusted than the poor natives, while they were thus exploring in vain every hollow in search of water for our use, that our "cloven foot" should appear everywhere. The day was extremely hot, which usually happened to be the case whenever we were obliged to experience the want of water. The thermometer under a tree stood at 110 deg.. The store-keeper was taken ill with vertigo. Our bull-dog perished in the heat, and the fate of the cattle, still a day's journey behind us, and of the sheep, which had not drunk for two days, were subjects of much anxiety to me at that time. It may, therefore, be imagined with what pleasure I at length saw before me large basins of water in the channel of the Macquarie, when I next approached the banks, after a journey at a good pace for six hours and a half. We had made it below the junction of Morissett's Ponds, and found that a recent flood had filled its channel with water. The natives dived into it to cure their headaches, as they said, and seemed to go completely under water, in order to take a cool drink. We had reached the united channel of the Macquarie and Morissett's Ponds, and were at an easy day's journey only distant from the junction with the BARWAN or "Darling." The use of the aboriginal name of this river is indispensable amongst the squatters along its banks, who do not appear to know it to be the "Darling." It is most desirable to restore to such rivers their proper names as early as possible after they have been ascertained, were it only to enable strangers thereby to avail themselves of the intelligence and assistance of the natives, in identifying the country by means of the published maps. The river Castlereagh is known to the natives as the Barr; Morissett's Ponds, as the Wawill; and the lower part of the Macquarie, as the Wammerawa. The squatting system of occupation requires still more that the native names of rivers should be known to commissioners empowered to parcel out unsurveyed regions of vast extent, whereof the western limits would be, indeed, beyond their reach or control, but for the line of an angry savage population, which line the squatter dares not to cross unsupported by an armed mounted police. Thermometer at sunrise, 59 deg.; at noon, 110 deg.; at 4 P. M., 107 deg.; at 9, 89 deg.; —with wet bulb 72 deg..

23RD FEBRUARY.—The drays did not come up, nor was any intelligence of them received at our camp until late in the afternoon, when a man I had sent back in the morning to tell the drivers to halt in good time to send forward the cattle by daylight along my track to the water, brought me word that he left them on the way ten miles off about eleven in the morning. This man (Smith) also brought forward the sheep with him. They had not drank for two nights, and ran skipping and baaing to the water, as soon as they saw it. The heat of this day and yesterday was excessive, a hot wind blowing hard all the time. Among the scrub on the banks of the Macquarie, a salt plant belonging to the genus SCLEROLOENA was remarked; it was perhaps not distinct from S. UNIFLORA. The GOODENIA GENICULATA overran the ground, with its strawberry-like runners, and yellow flowers. Latitude, 30 deg. 12' 56" S. Thermometer at sunrise, 75 deg.; at noon, 105 deg.; at 4 P.M., 94 deg.; at 9, 73 deg.;—with wet bulb, 62 deg..

24TH FEBRUARY.—Some of the teams came up, having been out all night. The drivers brought me word that they had been detached at twilight to come six miles; the night was very dark; of course they could not see my track, and as a matter equally of course, the spare bullocks had strayed from them. Such were the almost daily recurring causes of delay by the bullock drivers on this journey. Here, within a day's journey (thirteen miles) of the Barwan, I was compelled to halt thus several days, and really the prospect of performing so long a journey with such drivers seemed almost hopeless. Thermometer at sunrise, 59 deg.; at noon, 80 deg.; at 4 P.M., 85 deg.; at 9, 64 deg.;—with wet bulb, 59 deg..

25TH FEBRUARY.—In the evening, the carpenter brought in ten of the stray bullocks; four were still wanting, and I dispatched Mortimer, a bullock driver, and the carpenter to show him where he had last left the track of the animals still astray; both were mounted. Thermometer at sunrise, 53 deg.; at noon, 90 deg.; at 4 P.M., 94 deg.; at 9, 79 deg.;—with wet bulb, 62 deg..

26TH FEBRUARY.—Mortimer came in early, saying he had found only one of the bullocks, that the others had gone back to the last wateringplace twenty-two miles distant. His companion did not arrive during the day; he said he had left him bringing on the animal they had fallen in with. I blamed him for leaving him, and ordered him to find him forthwith on foot. I could not afford to lose horses. Here, it seemed, we were doomed to remain. I endeavoured to make the most of the time by carrying on the mapping of our survey, in order to make good our longitude at crossing the Barwan. Thermometer at sunrise, 60 deg.; at noon, 94 deg.; at 4 P.M., 101 deg.; at 9, 72 deg.;—with wet bulb, 62. deg.

27TH FEBRUARY.—When the teams were about to be put to the drays this morning, I was informed that five bullocks were astray. This delayed the party until 10 A.M., and then we left one lame bullock still missing. I reduced the men's rations by one pound per week, and declared that a proportional reduction should be regularly made to correspond with such unlooked-for delays in the journey. We proceeded over firmer ground, having the river almost always in sight, until, after travelling about six miles, our guide showed me the river, much increased in width, and said they called that the "Barwan." As it was still a mere chain of ponds, though these were large, I was sure this was not the main channel; he also said this joined the main channel a good way lower down. I was convinced that it was only the Castlereagh that had thus augmented the channel of the Macquarie, which I found afterwards to be the case, the junction taking place two miles higher. I willingly encamped on it, however, to afford more time for the lost man, and the man sent after him, to rejoin the party.

I this day gave "Yulliyally," our guide, the promised tomahawk, a pipe, tobacco; and, in addition, a shirt; also a few lines to Mr. Kinghorne, certifying that this native had done what he had engaged to do. Thermometer at sunrise, 62 deg.; at noon, 94 deg.; at 4 P.M., 97 deg.; at 9, 70 deg.;— with wet bulb, 57 deg..

28TH FEBRUARY.—The wheelwright and Mortimer came into the camp at 6 A.M., bringing back the horse of the former, and one of the lost bullocks. We set out early, and after travelling about six miles I came upon a cart-track, which I followed to the westward until overtaken by a stockman, who informed me that the Wammerawa, on which I had been encamped, joined the Barwan, then on my right, within two miles of the spot on which we stood; that he belonged to the cattle station of Mr. Parnell, Jun., which was distant from my last camp about five miles, and on the main river; also that the track I was following led to Mohanna, Mr. Lawson's station, seventy-five miles lower down the Barwan. I turned with him towards the junction of the Macquarie and Barwan, and encamped thereby, right glad to reach at length, the river beyond which our exploratory tour was to commence. The river looked well, with a good current of muddy water in it, of considerable width, and really like a river. I understood from my guide to this point, that there was a good ford across the river at his station; also that Commissioner Mitchell had been down the river a short time back, making a map to show all the cattle stations on both banks. We had neither seen nor heard anything of Mr. Wright, the commissioner of the Macquarie district through which we had just passed, except that he "might visit the district when the hot weather was over." Here we found a new species of CALOTIS.[*] Thermometer at sunrise, 61 deg.; at noon, 101 deg.; at 4 P.M., 100 deg.; at 9, with wet bulb, 62 deg..

[* Calotis SCAPIGERA (Hook. MSS.); stolonifera glaberrima, foliis omnibus radicalibus lineari-spathulatis, scapo nudo monocephalo, achenii aristis robustis subulatis retrorsum pilosis apice rectis vel uncinatis.—A very distinct species. Habit of BRACHYSTEPHIUM SCAPIGERUM D. C.: but that ought to have no aristae to the achenium: here the awns are very stout in proportion to the size of the capitulum.]

1ST MARCH.—When, fifteen years before, I visited this river at a higher point where it was called the Karaula [*], no trace of hoofs of horses or bullocks had been previously imprinted on the clayey banks. Now, we found it to be the last resource of numerous herds in a dry and very hot season, and so thickly studded were the banks of this river with cattle stations, that we felt comparatively at home. The ordinary precautionary arrangements of my camp against surprise by savage natives seemed quite unnecessary, and, to stockmen, almost ridiculous. We had at length arrived at the lowest drain of that vast basin of clay absorbing many rivers, so that they lose themselves as in the ocean. Here the final outlet or channel of the waters of the Macquarie, was but a muddy ditch one might step across, which the magnificent flood we had seen in the same river above the marshes was not at all likely to reach. That flood had gone to fill thousands of lagoons, without which supply, those vast regions had been unfit for animal existence. Here we discover another instance of that wonderful wisdom which becomes more and more apparent to man, when he either looks as far as he can into space, or attentively examines the arrangement of any matter more accessible to him. The very slight inclination of the surface of these extensive plains seems finely adapted to the extremely dry and warm climate over this part of the earth. If the interior slope of the land from the eastern coastranges were as great as that in other countries supplying rivers of sustained current, it is obvious that no water would remain in such inclined channels here; but the slope is so gentle that the waters spread into a net-work of reservoirs, that serve to irrigate vast plains, and fill lagoons with those floods that, when confined in any one continuous channel, would at once run off into the ocean.

[* We then understood the natives very imperfectly and might have been wrong about the name, which is the more likely, as CARAWY, which the name resembles, means any deep water-hole.]

In a wet season, the country through which we had traced out a route with our wheels had been impassable. The direction I should have preferred, and in which I had endeavoured to proceed, was along the known limits of this basin, and formed a curved line, or an arc, to which the route necessity had obliged us to follow was the chord; thus we had not lost time; but had, in fact, shortened the distance to be travelled over very considerably. A permanent route had, however, seemed to me more desirable to any country we might discover, than one liable to be interrupted by flooded rivers and soft impassable ground. The track of our drays, along the western side of the Macquarie marshes opened a new and direct route from Sydney to the banks of the river Darling, by way of Bathurst; and afforded access to a vast extent of excellent pasturage on the Macquarie, along the western margin of the marshes, which land would, no doubt, be soon taken up by squatters. In so dry a climate, and where water is so frequently scarce, it may, indeed, be found that the shortest line of route with such advantages would be more frequented than any longer line, possessing only the remote advantage of security from interruption by too much water. Thermometer at sunrise, 64 deg.; at noon, 100 deg.; at 4 P.M., 101 deg.; at 9, 81 deg.; with wet bulb, 61 deg..

2ND MARCH—MONDAY. I took a ride to examine the ford at Wyabry, (Mr. Parnell, Jun.'s station,) which I found practicable for our drays, although, for their descent and ascent, it was necessary to cut better approaches on each side. The Macquarie, although the channel was so attenuated and ditch-like, was likely to prove also an obstacle without some work of the same kind. Accordingly, on my return to the camp, I sent some men to the last-mentioned work.

I learnt from natives whom I met at Mr. Parnell's station, that the rivers Bolloon, Culgoa, and Biree were then flowing, some abundant rains having fallen about their sources. Also, from the stockman, that the Narran was thirty-five miles distant, but that a native could be found to guide me to water only ten miles off. Water was also to be obtained at a distance of only seven miles beyond the Barwan there at the "Morella Ridges," to which the natives were in the habit of resorting at certain seasons, by a path of their own, to gather a fruit of which they were very fond, named by them "Moguile," and which I had previously ascertained to be that formerly discovered by me, and named by Dr. Lindley CAPPARIS MITCHELLII.[*] We found back from this camp the RUTIDOSIS HELYCHRYSOIDES of De Candolle. Thermometer at sunrise, 72 deg.; at noon, 101 deg.; at 4 P.M.; 100 deg.; at 9, 78 deg.; and with wet bulb, 62 deg..

[* See "Three Expeditions," etc., vol. i. page 315.]

3D MARCH.—Early this morning a party of men were sent to cut better approaches to the ford across the Barwan at Mr. Parnell's station. Ascertained the longitude of the junction of the rivers Macquarie and Darling at our present camp to be 147 deg. 33' 45" E., by actual measurements connected with my former surveys of the colony. Mr. Kennedy had chained the whole of the route from Bellaringa, and I had connected his work with latitudes observed at almost every encampment, and after determining at various points the magnetic variation, which appeared to be very steady, I made the latitude of this camp 30 deg. 6' 11" south. Thermometer at sunrise, 72 deg.; at noon, 99 deg.; at 4 P.M., 97 deg.; at 9, 72 deg.; and with wet bulb, 65 deg.. The height above the sea level of the bed of the river here, the average result of eight observations, as calculated by Capt. King, was 415 feet.

4TH MARCH.—The party moved off towards the ford over the Barwan at Wyabry, crossing the bed of the Macquarie about half a mile above its junction with the Barwan; there, although the approaches had been well enough cut, we found the bottom too soft for our heavy vehicles, one of which dipped its wheel to near the axle. We were obliged to pave the soft and muddy bed with logs, and to cover these with branches, on which earth was thrown, ere the rest could be got across. The party arrived about noon at Wyabry, and by 2 P.M. the whole was safely encamped on the right bank of the Barwan. I had received this morning a dispatch from my son, commissioner of this district, in which he gave me a most favourable account of several rivers he had explored in the direction of my proposed route. These dispatches came to me at the last camp by the hands of a native, in forty-four hours after the superintendent of Mr. Lawson, being then on his way down the river, had promised to send them to me, from a station forty-five miles off, towards Fort Bourke, where it had been supposed my party would pass. Lat. of this camp, 30 deg. 5' 41" S. On this northern bank of the Darling we looked for novelty in botany, and found some interesting plants, such as a toothed variety of SENERIO BRACHYLOENUS D. C., a kind of groundsel; MORGANIA FLORIBUNDA, loaded with purple blossoms, and a variety of HELICHRYSUM BRACTEATUM, somewhat different in the leaves from the usual state of the species. Thermometer at sunrise, 70 deg.; at 4 P.M., 98 deg.; at 9, 72 deg.;—with wet bulb, 61 deg..

Chapter III.


5TH MARCH.—Early this morning the stockman brought over two natives, brothers, who were to guide us to water ten miles on towards the Narran, which was said to be thirty-five miles off. In the first two miles we passed over some soft ground. Further on, hills were visible to the left, which our native guides called Goodeingora. Fragments of conglomerate rocks appeared in the soil of the plains, pebbles and grains of quartz cemented by felspar. These plains appeared to become undulating ground as we proceeded northward, and the surface became firmer. At length the country opened into slight undulations, well clothed with grass, and good for travelling over, the soil being full of the same hard rock found on the rising grounds nearest to the Darling, in the lowest parts of that river explored formerly by me. The red earth seemed to be but the decomposed matrix of that rock, as the water-worn pebbles of quartz so thickly set therein, here covered the ground in some places so thickly as to resemble snow. Much Anthistiria and other good grasses grew on those plains. I was, indeed, most agreeably surprised at the firm undulating stony surface and open character of the country, where I had expected to see soft clay, and holes and scrubs. At six miles, other slight elevations appeared to the N. E. which the natives called Toolowly, a name well calculated to fix in white men's memory elevations TOO LOW to be called hills. They were quite high enough, however, along a line of route for such heavy drays as those following us. There appeared much novelty in the trees on this side the Darling. The ANGOPHORA LANCEOLATA was every where; Callitris grew about the base of the hills, and some very singular acacias, a long-leaved grey kind of wattle, the ACACIA STENOPHYLLA of Cunningham. On one tree large pods hung in such profusion as to bend the branches to the ground. From this abundance I supposed it was not good to be eaten; nevertheless, I found in another place many of the same pods roasted at some fires of the natives, and learnt from our guides that they eat the pea. The pod somewhat resembled that of the Cachou nut of the Brazils,—Munumula is the native name. The grasses comprised a great variety, and amongst the plants a beautiful little BRUNONIA, not more than four inches high, with smaller flower-heads than those of BR. SERICEA, quite simple or scarcely at all lobed, and a hairy indusium.[*] The tree, still a nondescript, although the fruit had been gathered by me in 1831, and then sent to Mr. Brown, was also here; and I saw one or two trees of a species of CAPPARIS. Mr. Stephenson found a great variety of new insects also.

[* B. SIMPLEX (Lindl. MSS.); pumila, foliis undique scapisque longitudinaliter sericeis, villis appressis, capitulis subsimplicibus, bracteis majoribus oblongis, indusio extus piloso.]

Our guides brought us at length to some waterholes, amongst some verdant grass on a plain, where no stranger would have looked for water; and here we encamped fifteen good miles from the Barwan. The ponds were called "Carawy," and were vitally important to us, enabling us to pass on towards the Narran, which was still, as we had been informed, twenty-five miles off. As we approached these springs, I saw some natives running off, and I sent one of the guides after them to say we should do them no harm, and beg them to stop, but he could not overtake them. The undulations crossed by us this day seemed to extend east and west in their elongations, and were probably parallel to the general course of the main channel of drainage. The same felspathic rock seen in other parts of this great basin, seems the basis of the clay, although the fragments imbedded are very hard. The earth is reddish, and much resembles in this respect the matrix of the conglomerate. Near these springs we found a new HELICHRYSUM.[*] Thermometer at sunrise, 61 deg.; at noon, 100 deg.; at 4 P. M., 102 deg.; at 9, 79 deg.;—with wet bulb, 65 deg..

[* HELICHRYSUM RAMOSISSIMUM (Hook. MSS.); suffruticosum valde ramosum arachnoideo-tomentosum, foliis lineari-spathulatis subflaccidis acutis, capitulis in racemis terminalibus parvis globosis flavis, involucri squamis lineari-subulatis undulatis fimbriato-ciliatis.]

6TH MARCH.—The drays not having come up, in consequence of the excessive length of yesterday's journey, and very hot weather—(161/2 miles by latitude alone)—we were obliged to remain inactive here on a beautiful cool morning. I found near the ponds, several huts made of fresh branches of trees and the remains of fires, doubtless the deserted home of the fugitives of yesterday. At these fires I found the roasted pods of the acacia already mentioned (Munumula). The water was surrounded by fresh herbage, and such was the simple fare of those aborigines, such the home whence they fled. As I looked at it in the presence of my sable guides, I could not but reflect that the white man's cattle would soon trample these holes into a quagmire of mud, and destroy the surrounding verdure and pleasant freshness for ever. I feared that my good-natured but acute guides thought as much, and I blushed inwardly [*] for our pallid race.

[* The author of Waverley maintains that one may LAUGH inwardly— conscience may, I suppose, make us also blush inwardly sometimes.]

All day we sat still in anxious suspense about the non-arrival of our drays—the ground having been so good. With a country so interesting before us, this delay was doubly irksome, and as the cattle could only be watered by coming forward, why they did not come was the question; and this was not solved until evening, when a messenger came forward to ask if they might come, and to inform me that they were nearly exhausted. The fatal alternative of endeavouring to make them work in the morning, after passing a night without water, had been adopted, and as, on the day before, they had been worked until dusk in expectation of reaching my camp, they could not draw on the morning after; I instantly directed them to be brought forward; but the consequence of this derangement was the death of one, and much injury to many others. This contretemps arose wholly from the guides not having been understood at the Barwan as to the real distance, and this we had calculated too surely upon. Latitude 29 deg. 52' 26" south. Thermometer at sunrise, 68 deg.; at noon, 96 deg.; at 4 P. M., 102 deg.; at 9, 83 deg.;—with wet bulb, 68 deg..

7TH MARCH, 1846.—The bullocks having been sent back after they had been watered last evening, the drays came up about 9 A. M. I left them in Mr. Kennedy's charge, and proceeded with the light carts followed by all the bullocks yoked up. They had trodden into mud the little water that had been left at that camp, and could not live much longer without more. The guides assured us the Narran was not far off, although we had understood when at the Barwan that the distance was twenty-five miles from these springs. We passed over very good ground, and found the country to improve as we advanced. We were conducted through the most open parts of scrubs by our guides, who were made to comprehend clearly how desirable that was for our "wheelbarrows;" and after travelling about seven miles, they pointed to a line of trees as the "Narran," beyond an extensive open country, which had a singular appearance from being higher than that we were upon. We crossed one or two slight elevations wholly composed of compact felspar in blocks—forming ridges resembling an outcrop of strata, whereof the strike always pointed N. W. and S. E. Various curious new plants and fruits appeared; amongst others a solanum, the berry of which was a very pleasant-tasted fruit. The plant was a runner and spread over several yards from one root. There was also a fruit shaped like an elongated egg; it appeared to be some Asclepiad, and was called by the natives "Doobah." They ate it, seeds and all, but said it was best roasted. As we approached the elevated country between us and the distant line of trees, we perceived that the vast level was covered with POLYGONUM JUNCEUM in a verdant state. The colour was dark green, such as I had never seen elsewhere in this "leafless bramble," as Sturt called it, which looks ever quite dry and withered along the margins of the Darling. We had good reason to love and admire its verdure now, when we found amongst it pure water in great abundance, into which all our native companions immediately plunged, and rolled about like porpoises. This, they said, was the "Narran," but to the vast swampy plain they gave the name of Keegur, a name quite useless for white men's memories or maps. They seemed to say it was wholly an emanation from the Narran, and pointed to the nearest part of the trees beyond, saying the river Narran was there. I still endeavoured to proceed, as they wished, towards the nearest trees beyond, until a winding narrow pond of water, in very soft mud, precluded all hopes of crossing with our drays, without some sort of bridge; I therefore immediately counter-marched the party with me, now far advanced in that sea of dark green polygonum, and conducted it into a position on open stony ground to the westward of our route, with the intention to await there the arrival of the drays, and to prepare materials for a bridge to be laid across the muddy pond, as I had seen a small clump of pines (Callitris) at no great distance back. My guides did not encourage a hope I entertained, that this swamp might be turned by the westward, in which direction the open country extended to the horizon. The man who travels with bullocks must expect to be impeded by wet ground, as well as by the scarcity of water, in many situations where horses could pass without difficulty. I directed the bullocks, that had been driven forward with me, to be allowed to graze beside the water until sunset, and then to be taken slowly back by moonlight to Mr. Kennedy. Five had dropped down on the way, and had not come forward to the water. Those sent back were also ordered to be allowed to feed all the next day at Mr. Kennedy's camp, and only to start with the drays there next evening, to come on by moonlight, thus avoiding the intense heat, so oppressive under extreme thirst. The thermometer during the day, rose to 103 deg. in the shade. Latitude of the camp on Narran swamp, 29 deg. 45' 51" S. Thermometer at sunrise, 47 deg.; at noon, 97 deg.; at 4 P. M., 97 deg.; at 9, 69 deg.; ditto with wet bulb, 57 deg.. The height of this camp above the sea, the average of five registered observations, is 442 feet.

8TH MARCH.—The view northward from our present camp was most extensive. Far in the northeast a yellow slope presented the unusual appearance there, of a cultivated country. It was doubtless ripe grass, yet still the earth there had not even been imprinted with any hoof. Between that slope and our camp, lay the element, in abundance, which had been so scarce on the other side of the Darling. To the northward, at no great distance, was the river, where, as our guides informed us, we should no longer be ill off for water in pursuing our journey along its banks. I set the carpenter to cut sleepers and slabbing to enable us to bridge the muddy creek, for I had examined it early in the morning, and had crossed it with my horse; although I found several watercourses almost as soft, beyond. The natives maintained that the water in this extensive swamp came neither from the east nor west, but from the river directly before us, which came from the northward. Just behind our camp, to the southward, was a gentle elevation, almost a hill, consisting of the usual rock, felspar; and it seemed to me that this stony ground alone impeded the further progress of the water towards the Barwan. The ridge trended north-west, as most others did in this extensive basin; and this direction being nearly parallel to that of the coast ranges further northward, seemed to afford additional reason for expecting to find anticlinal and synclinal lines, and, consequently, rivers, much in the same direction. D'Urban's group, distant 150 miles lower down the Darling, consisted of a quartzose rock, exactly similar to this, exhibiting a tendency, like it, to break into irregular polygons, some of the faces being curved. This rock is most extensively distributed in the interior of New South Wales. It was not until the evening of this day that the approach of the drays was announced, and then prematurely, the teams only having been brought forward to the water without them. So weak were the unfortunate animals, that not even by night, nor by doubling the numbers, could they be made to draw the drays forward, for the short distance of eight miles; a distance which we had been given to understand was so much greater. Forward, all was most promising, and it may be imagined how bitterly I regretted the alteration of my original plan of equipment, which had reference to horses and light carts alone. A new species of ANTHISTIRIA occurred here, perfectly distinct from the kangaroo grass of the colony, very like APLUDA MUTICA, and remarkable for the smooth shining appearance of the thin involucral leaves.[*] The TRICHINIUM ALOPECUROIDEUM, in great abundance, was conspicuous, with its long silky ears of green flowers. On the stony ground occurred a very curious new woolly KOCHIA [**], also a species of CYPERUS; the TRICHINIUM LANATUM in great perfection; a grass resembling the close reed (CALAMAGROSTIS of England), and which proved to be the little-known TRIRAPHIS MOLLIS. On the margin of the morass the DACTYLOCTENIUM RADULANS, spreading over the interstices, reminded the traveller of the grasses of Egypt; and, in stony ground near the morass, we observed the JUSTICIA MEDIA of Brown. Thermometer at sunrise, 66 deg.; at noon, 98 deg.; at 4 P. M. 102 deg.; at 9, 81 deg.; ditto with wet bulb, 74 deg..

[* A. MEMBRANACEA (Lindl. MSS); involucris carinatis margine membranaceis foliis vaginisque glaberrimis, floribus verticillatis pedicellatis (masculis?), glumis omnibus scabris, arista glaberrima gluma 3plo longiore.]

[** K. LANOSA (Lindl. MSS); ramis strictis foliisque linearibus acutis cinereis tomentosis, fructibus lanatis, calycis laciniis elongatis.]

9TH MARCH.—My native guides, tired of the delay, were anxious to return, and as the assistance they could afford me was likely to be extremely useful, and the arrival of the drays was most uncertain, I went forward this morning with one of them, two men, and Youranigh, our interpreter, all mounted. Amongst the trees, beyond the swamp, fine reaches of water appeared in a river channel, apparently continuous to the northward, but which, in the other direction, or towards the swamp, abruptly terminated like a cul-de-sac. On my asking the natives where it went to, they pointed to the various narrow water courses and the swamp as the final depositories of the water. Admirable distribution of the contents of a river in a country where water is so scarce, and the climate so hot and dry! We proceeded along the margin of the "Narran," which led us nearly due north, until we forded it, at the desire of our guides, on a good gravelly bottom, the water reaching to our saddle-flaps. Crossing a slight elevation where the soil was gravelly, and in which grew the shrubs of the ordinary scrubs with several interesting novelties, we again came upon an angle of the Narran, and continued along its banks for about thirty miles, until near sunset, when we tethered our horses, and lay down for the night. The Narran was full of water every where, and with this abundance of water there was also plenty of most excellent grass. The PANICUM LOEVINODE of Dr. Lindley seemed to predominate, a grass whereof the seed ("Cooly") is made by the natives into a kind of paste or bread. Dry heaps of this grass, that had been pulled expressly for the purpose of gathering the seed, lay along our path for many miles. I counted nine miles along the river, in which we rode through this grass only, reaching to our saddle-girths, and the same grass seemed to grow back from the river, at least as far as the eye could reach through a very open forest. I had never seen such rich natural pasturage in any other part of New South Wales. Still it was what supplied the bread of the natives; and these children of the soil were doing every thing in their power to assist me, whose wheel tracks would probably bring the white man's cattle into it. We had followed well-beaten paths of natives during the whole of this day's ride, and most anxious were my guides and I to see them; but they avoided us. Our guide was of that country, and not at all unwilling or timid; but evidently very desirous to introduce us to the inhabitants, and procure amongst them other guides to lead us further. The night was very hot, and flies and mosquitos did their utmost to prevent us from sleeping. Thermometer at sunrise, 75 deg.; at noon, 99 deg.; at 4 P. M., 105 deg.; at 9, 83 deg.; ditto with wet bulb, 75 deg..

10TH MARCH.—Anxious for an interview with some of the natives, I continued the pursuit of the Narran's course about five miles higher, but with no better success. I then turned, after obtaining from our guide, through Youranigh, what information could be gathered thus, as to the river's further course, the best bank for the passage of our drays, etc. We were still, he said, a long way from the "Culgoa." There was no perceptible change in the aspect of the "Narran" as far as we had examined it, except that where we turned, there were flood-marks, and the dead logs and river wreck, deposited on the upper side of trees and banks, showing a current and high floods. The last of these, our guide said, had occurred about five moons before. In riding back to the camp we kept the castern bank, that the track might be available for our drays. This ride along a river where we could, when we pleased, either water our horses, or take a drink ourselves, was quite new and delightful to us, under a temperature of 105 deg. in the shade. Our guide, aged apparently about fifty, walked frequently into the river, while in a state of perspiration; dipped quite under water, or drank a little with his lip on the level of its surface, and then walked on again. He was at last very tired, however, and pointed to the large muscles of the RECTUS FEMORIS as if they pained him. We found at the camp, on our return, five of the drays that had come up, the other three being still behind, and requiring double teams of exhausted cattle to bring them forward. In the vicinity of our camp we found the TRICHINIUM ALOPECUROIDEUM, with heads of flowers nearly five inches long; an eucalyptus near E. PULVERULENTA, but having more slender peduncles; a sort of Iron-bark. We found also a tall glaucous new HALORAGIS [*], and a curious new shaggy KOCHIA was intermingled with the grass.[**] Thermometer at sunrise, 77 deg.; at noon, 102 deg.; at 4, 107 deg.; at 9, 76 deg.;—with wet bulb, 71 deg..

[* H. GLAUCA (Lindl. MSS.); annua, stricta, glaberrima, glauca, foliis oppositis lineari-oblongis obtusis petiolatis grosse serratis, racemis apice aphyllis, fructu globoso tuberculato laevi.]

[** K. VILLOSA (Lindl. MSS.); ramis erectis foliisque linearibus villosissimis, fructibus glabris.]

11TH MARCH.—All the drays came in early. I gave to the two natives, the tomahawks, tobacco, and pipes, as promised; also a note to the stockman on the Barwan, who had provided me with them, saying that they had been very useful. I this morning examined the country to the westward of the swamp, and found a narrow place at which we could pass, and so avoid much soft heavy ground. The ramifications of the watery Narran penetrated into the hollows of the stony ridge, presenting there little hollows full of rich verdure and pools of water, a sight so unwonted amongst rocks characteristic of D'Urban's arid group. In one little hollow, to the westward of our camp, it seemed possible for two men with a pickaxe and shovel to have continued it through, and so to have opened a new channel for the passage of the waters of the Narran swamp, into the dry country between it and the Barwan. Thermometer at sunrise, 55 deg.; at noon, 105 deg.; at 4 P. M., 102 deg.; at 9, 75 deg.;—with wet bulb, 59 deg..

12TH MARCH.—I found it necessary to sit still here and refresh the jaded bullocks; thus days and months passed away, in which with horses I might have continued the journey. The very extensive country before us, which appeared to absorb these waters, was quite clear of timber, and irrigated by little canals winding amongst POLYGONUM JUNCEUM. This open country appeared to extend north-eastward about eight miles, thence to turn eastward, as if these waters found some outlet that way to the Barwan. I regretted that this swamp led too far out of our way, to admit of our tracing its limits to the eastward.

This day I received letters from Commissioner Mitchell, in which he strongly recommended to my attention the rivers Biree, Bokhara, and Narran, as waters emanating from, and leading to, the Balonne, a river which he said might supply our party with water, in this very dry season, almost to the tropic. I was able to inform him in reply, that I was already on the Narran, and that I had already availed myself of his account of the rivers formerly sent me, on which I must have been obliged to depend, even if the party had passed by Fort Bourke.

This evening, by moonlight, I conducted a dray, carrying two platforms, to the place where the narrow channel, feeding the swamp, could be passed without our meeting beyond any other impediment to the drays. The sleepers used for this purpose were made of pine (CALLITRIS PYRAMIDALIS), found half a mile back from our camp. They were fourteen feet long, two feet wide, being composed of cross-pieces, two feet long, fixed at each end between two sleepers, so that they somewhat resembled a wooden railway. These, when laid at the proper distance apart to carry both wheels, were bedded on the soft earth, and the interval between was filled to a level with them, by layers of polygonum and long grass, alternate with earth, forming together a mass of sufficient resistance to support the feet of the draught oxen. The whole formed a compact bridge or gangway. Thermometer at sunrise, 51 deg.; at noon, 95 deg.; at 4 P. M., 107 deg.; at 9, 70 deg.;—with wet bulb, 61 deg..

13TH MARCH.—The party once more moved onward, and the drays trundled across the swampy arm by means of our bridge, which, even in the event of an accession of water there, might have proved serviceable on our return. Three miles beyond it we had to ford the Narran, passing over a gravelly bottom to the eastern bank, and encamping there. The drays were slow in arriving at this ford and camp, as the ground was soft and hollow, but by sunset all had crossed, and our camp established on the Narran. Thermometer at sunrise, 71 deg.; at noon, 100 deg.; at 4 P. M., 100 deg.; at 9, 71 deg.;—with wet bulb, 65 deg.. The height of this camp above the sea, according to ten registered observations, is 487 feet.

14TH MARCH.—We now had before us water and grass in abundance, to a distance as unlimited and indefinite, as our hopes of discovery. I intended to set out early each morning, and travel only four or five miles, that the jaded animals, exhausted by want of water and hard work, might have time to feed and refresh. One old cause of delay, however, again occurred to impede us,—three bullocks were reported missing. Now it was nearly full moon, and two men had been on watch all night. It really seemed that delay and disappointment must attend all who depend on bullocks and bullock-drivers. The stray cattle were not brought up until 9 A. M., when we proceeded, and encamped on an angle of the Narran, after travelling about five miles. In the scrubs passed through, we found the fragrant JASMINUM LINEARE in fruit, the flowers being nearly past; a bulb which proved to be the ANTHERICUM BULBOSUM of Brown; a shrub ten feet high, in fruit, the CANTHIUM OLEIFOLIUM of Sir William Hooker; a fine new CHENOPODIUM, with long naked spikes of woolly yellow flowers [*]; and a hoary variety of ACACIA LEPTOCLADA, or perhaps a distinct species, having a good deal of the aspect of A. DEALBATA, but the leaves and glands nearer those of A. LEPTOCLADA, according to Mr. Bentham. Thermometer at sunrise, 70 deg.; at noon, 103 deg.; at 4 P. M., 102 deg.; at 9, 81 deg.;—with wet bulb, 75 deg..

[* C. AURICOMUM (Lindl. MSS.); totum glaucum farinosum, caule stricto, foliis petiolatis oblongis subhastatis lobisque posticis obtusis supremis lanceolatis, spicis compositis nudis aphyllis glomeratis multifloris tomentosis.]

15TH MARCH.—The sand amongst the scrubs was so soft and yielding, that the draught animals could not draw the drays through it without great difficulty; indeed, it was only possible by double-backing, as the drivers termed their practice of alternately assisting one another, a process to which all had had recourse with one exception. It was not until 1 A. M. of this morning, therefore, that the last dray was brought to the camp. Another bullock died on the way, and thus I felt, when the field of discovery lay open before me, that my means of conveyance were unsuited to the task. Overloading at Boree, unskilful driving, excessive heat, and want of water, had contributed to render the bullocks unserviceable, and I already contemplated the organization of a lighter party and fewer men, with which I might go forward at a better rate, leaving the heavy articles of equipment and tired cattle in a depot, on some good grassy spot. The latitude of this camp was 29 deg. 38' 21" south. Thermometer at sunrise, 73 deg.; at noon, 84 deg.; at 4 P. M., 86 deg.; at 9, 65 deg.;— with wet bulb, 60 deg..

16TH MARCH.—I proceeded six miles, and chose a camp beside a bend of the Narran, full of deep water, and in the midst of most luxuriant grass. The drays arrived by 11 A. M. in such good order, that I was induced to try whether, by early starting, good feeding, and short journeys, the party could not be got forward to the Balonne, where I could leave the whole in one depot, to rest and refresh, while I took my intended ride forward. Latitude, 29 deg. 34' 11" S. Thermometer at sunrise, 43 deg.; at noon, 86 deg.; at 4 P. M., 87 deg.; at 9, 62 deg.;—with wet bulb, 55 deg..

17TH MARCH.—I proceeded seven miles, and the drays came forward as well as they did yesterday, so that I again entertained hopes of the progress of the united party, which was very desirable, as these plains were evidently sometimes so saturated with water as to be rendered wholly impassable for wheel-carriages or even horses. Latitude, 29 deg. 29' 11" S. Thermometer at sunrise, 47 deg.; at noon, 87 deg.; at 4 P. M., 91 deg.; at 9, 62 deg.;— with wet bulb, 52 deg..

18TH MARCH.—Again we made out a short journey over rather soft ground; all the drays coming in, although slowly. I rode to a gently rising ground, a great novelty, which appeared bearing E. N. E. from our camp, at a distance of 21/2 miles. I found it consisted of gravel of the usual conglomerate decomposed—of rounded fragments of about a cubic inch in bulk. The grass was good there, and I perceived that the same gravelly ridge extended back from the river in a north and south direction. Graceful groups of trees grew about this stony ground, which looked, upon the whole, better than the red sandy soil of the scrubs and callitris forest. This seemed the dividing ridge between the Narran and Barwan. From this elevation, I saw that the course of the former ran still in a good direction for us, to a great distance northward. On that stony ground I found a new PITTOSPORUM five feet high, with long narrow leaves, in the way of P. ROEANUM and ANGUSTIFOLIUM, but distinct from both in the form of its fruit.[*] Latitude of camp 29 deg. 25' 21". Thermometer at sunrise, 53 deg.; at noon, 90 deg.; at 4 P. M., 96 deg.; at 9, 69 deg.;—with wet bulb, 61 deg..

[* P. SALICINUM (Lindl. MS.); foliis lineari-lanceolatis coriaccis acutissimis aveniis, pedunculis unifloris aggregatis axillaribus, fructibus subglobosis vix compressis.]

19TH MARCH.—Pursuing the Narran, keeping its eastern or left bank, our course this day was more to the northward. I encamped after travelling six miles, not only because the ground was soft and heavy for the drays, but because I saw that the Narran turned much to the eastward, and I contemplated the passage across it, intending to look for it again, by travelling northward. Accordingly, as soon as our ground had been marked out, I crossed to reconnoitre the country in that direction. I found a fine, open, grassy country, but no signs of the river at the end of five miles, nor even until I had ridden as far eastward. There, recrossing it, I returned to the camp through some fine open forest country. Latitude observed, 29 deg. 21' 51", S. Thermometer at sunrise, 57 deg.; at 4 P. M., 96 deg.; at 9, 71 deg.;—with wet bulb, 62 deg..

20TH MARCH.—Retracing my homeward tracks of yesterday, we proceeded in a nearly E. N. E. direction, along much firmer ground than we had recently traversed. The great eastern bend of the river was found amongst much excellent grass and amidst much fine timber. A species of Anthistiria appeared here, which seemed different from the ordinary sort, although this was no stranger to me, when exploring the waterless plains westward of the Lachlan, where it looked as if stunted for want of moisture. Here, however, this variety presented the same knotty head, where other grasses grew luxuriantly. After getting round the extreme eastern turn of the Narran we encamped. Near the spot large rocks appeared in the bed, as if the river was passing through the stock of the gravelly ridge I had visited on the 18th. The rock consisted of that found about the basin of the Darling; a quartzose conglomerate with much felspar, and having pebbles of quartz imbedded. The large fragments of the conglomerate in the river bed were angular, and not at all rounded at the edges. Here the poor natives had been very industrious, as was evident from heaps of the grass PANICUM LOEVINODE, and of the same redstalked coral-like plant, also mentioned as having been observed in similar heaps, on the banks of the Darling, during my journey of 1835 (vol. i. p. 238). I now ascertained that the seed of the latter is also collected by the natives and made into a paste. This seed was black and small, resembling fine gunpowder when shaken out. Nevertheless it was sweet and pleasant to the taste, possessing a nutty flavour.

The human inhabitants were few, and as invisible as other animals in these forests—the prints of whose feet were also plain in the soft smooth surface. As faithless as the snows of the North [*], this soil bore the impressions of all animals obliged to go to the water, and amongst them those of the naked feet of men, women, and children, with the prints likewise of other BIPEDS, such as emus and kangaroos, and also those of the native dog. Here still was our own race amongst other animals all new and strange to Europeans. The prints of the foot of man alone were familiar to us. But here he was living in common with other animals, simply on the bounty of nature; artless, and apparently as much afraid of us, and as shy, as other animals of the forest. It seemed strange, that in a climate the most resembling that of Milton's paradise, the circumstances of man's existence should be the most degrading. Latitude of our camp, 29 deg. 19' 26" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 55 deg.; at noon, 100 deg.; at 4 P. M., 101 deg.; at 9, 70 deg.;—with wet bulb, 65 deg.. The mean elevation above the sea of our camps thus far on the Narran, seven in number, was 477 feet; the bed of the river being about 15 feet lower.

[* "And hungry Maukin's ta'en her way To kailyards green, While faithless snaws ilk step betray Whar she has been." BURNS.]

21ST MARCH.—Proceeded as usual through fine grass, the river coming favourably round towards the north. At about two miles I found some traces of horses, and I looked at the river bank for Commissioner Mitchell's initials, supposing this might be "Congo," where he had forded the Narran. But we had not reached the latitude of Congo according to his map. Nevertheless we found here such an excellent dry ford, with gently sloping banks to a stony bottom, that the two circumstances induced me to cross the Narran with the party. I travelled west-ward, until meeting with a dense scrub, I turned towards the friendly Narran, where we encamped in latitude 29 deg. 15' 31" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 56 deg.; at noon, 97 deg.; at 4 P. M., 101 deg.; at 9, 72 deg.; ditto with wet bulb, 66 deg..

22D MARCH.—Gave the party a day's rest, prayers being read by the surgeon, as was usual whenever circumstances admitted of our halting on Sunday. The bed of the Narran presented in several places the denuded rock, which seems the basis of all the soil and gravel of the country. At one place irregular concretions of milk-white quartz, cemented by a ferruginous basis, was predominant; at another, the rough surface of compact felspar weathering white presented merely the cavities in which large rounded pebbles had been imbedded, until the partial decomposition of the felspar, under the river floods, had exposed them once more to the action of water. The force of those waters, however, had not been sufficient to cut a channel through very soft rocks extending right across their course—a circumstance rather characteristic, perhaps, of a river like the Narran, watering a nearly level country, and terminating in a swamp. Thermometer at sunrise, 53 deg.; at noon, 95 deg.; at 4 P. M., 98 deg.; at 9, 72 deg.;—with wet bulb, 66 deg.. Height above the sea, 515 feet, from eight observations.

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