23RD MARCH.—All hands were bent on an early start this morning, and, soon after seven, the party moved off. We crossed much grassy land, almost approaching to the character of scrub as to bushes; but we pursued a tolerably straight course to the N.W., until we again made the Narran at 81/2 miles. Various new plants attracted my attention this day, especially a beautiful Loranthus on the rosewood Acacia, and a small bush bearing a green pod resembling a small capsicum in shape. Among the sedges by the river we found the KYLLINGA MONOCEPHALA; and, on the rich black clayed soil near it, a species of bindweed out of flower, with large sagittate leaves: in the scrubs back from the river, grew a small bush, about four feet high, which has been considered either a variety of Brown's SANTALUM OBLONGATUM, or a new species distinguished by its narrow sharp-pointed leaves. The LORANTHUS LINEARI. FOLIUS was growing on the rosewood Acacia, and the branches of Eucalypti were inhabited by the parasitical ORANGE LORANTH.[*] Lat., 29 deg.1 0' 6" S. Therm. at sunrise, 51 deg.; at noon, 95 deg.; at 4 P. M., 99 deg.; at 9, 70 deg.;—wet bulb, 63 deg..
[* L. AURANTIACUS (All. Cunn. MS.); ramis elongatis laxis gracilibus, foliis oppositis longe petiolatis oblongis obtusis lanceolatisve acuminatis glabris 3-5-nerviis tenui-marginatis, paniculis folio brevioribus ditrichotomis, floribus erectis, calycibus subcylindraceis superne latioribus truncatis, petalis linearibus 6, stylo infra apicem geniculato, stigmate dilatato truncato.—W. J. H.]
24TH MARCH.—We set off still earlier this morning. I hoped to reach the Bokhara, on the West, a river shown on the map sent me by the Commissioner of the district, but after travelling about seven miles to the northward, I saw rising ground before me, which induced me to turn towards our own friendly river the Narran; but it proved to be very far from us, while in my search for it, to my surprise, I found it necessary to descend several considerable declivities, covered with waterworn pebbles. At length a slight opening in the dense scrubs through which we had forced our way, afforded a view towards the south-east of the low range we were upon, which trended very continuously to the north-west, covered thickly with the "Malga" tree of the natives; to the traveller the most formidable of scrubs. After several other descents, we reached the Narran, but only at half-past three in the afternoon, when we had travelled nearly twenty miles. How the teams were to accomplish this, it was painful to consider. I sent back a messenger to desire that the cattle should be detached and brought forward to the water; content to lose one day, if that indeed would suffice to recover the jaded animals. Casuarinae now grew amongst the river trees, and reminded me of the banks of the Karaula in 1831. We had also noticed another novelty in the woods we passed through this day; a small clump of trees of iron-bark with a different kind of leaf from that of the tree known by that name in the colony. On the higher stony land, a bush was common, and proved to be a broad-leaved variety of EREMOPHILA MITCHELLII, if not a distinct species. We there met with a new species of the rare and little-known genus, GEIJERA; forming a strong-scented shrub, about ten feet high, and having long, narrow, drooping leaves. Its fruit had a weak, peppery taste.[*] The rare ENCHYLOENA TOMENTOSA formed a shrub a foot high, loaded with yellow berries: all the specimens were digynous, in which it differed from the description of Brown. The CAPPARIS LASIANTHA was observed amongst the climbing shrubs still in fruit; and a beautiful new LORANTH, with red flowers tipped with green, was parasitical on trees.[**] On the bank of the Narran we found the AMARANTHUS UNDULATUS of Brown.
[* G. PARVIFLORA (Lindl. MS.); ramis erectis, foliis longis linearibus pendulis in petiolum sensim angustatis 4 unc. longis.]
[** Loranthus LINEARIFOLIUS (Hook. MS.); foliis lineari-filiformibus acutis carnosis glabris teretibus, pedunculis axillaribus brevibus bifloris, calycibus cylindraceis truncatis contractis, petalis 6 linearibus supra basin coalitis.]
The cattle arrived in the dark, and were watered in the muddy-banked Narran, by the light of burning boughs; then set to feed. Lat. 29 deg. 6' 33" S.; therm. at sunrise, 48 deg.; at 4 P. M., 101 deg.; at 9, 74 deg.; ditto with wet bulb, 62 deg..
25TH MARCH.—The cattle had now to return to bring forward the drays. Meanwhile I took a ride up the river, in order to ensure a moderate journey for these exhausted animals. Proceeding along the right bank, I found gravelly slopes almost closing upon the river. The direction of its course for four miles, was nearly southward. Then I saw gravelly ridges on the left, and a line of wood before me, while the river evidently came from the East round the margin of an extensive plain. I continued northward; found a rosewood scrub: then saw the Malga tree; passed through scrubs thereof; found myself on stony ridges, whence descending in a N. E. direction, again passed through rosewood scrubs, and only reached the river after riding 21/2 miles in that direction. I saw a continuous ridge, bare and distant, beyond what I considered the river bed, and a similar ridge to the westward. I crossed a native camp where the newly deserted fires still smoked. We saw one man at a distance, who did not mind us much; I could not have obtained any information from him, and therefore did not seek a parley. Crossing the Narran there, by a beaten track, beside a native fishing fence, I returned to the camp, on the bearing of S. S. W., and found a grassy plain the whole way back, until within sight of the tents, and a good rocky ford for the passage of the party next day. On the stony ridge I found a remarkable shrub, a species of Sida (ABUTILON), allied to S. GRAVEOLENS, Roxb., but distinct. The teams brought the drays in, about 5 P. M.; one animal of all being missing. Therm. at sunrise, 72 deg.; at noon, 89 deg.; at 4 P. M., 91 deg.; at 9, 60 deg.;—with wet bulb, 53 deg..
26TH MARCH.—Early this morning, William Baldock was sent back in search of the stray bullock, while the party crossed the Narran, and proceeded along my horse's track of yesterday. Baldock over took the party, having found the bullock on the river, four miles below our late encampment. The natives seen yesterday had disappeared, having previously set fire to the grass. We proceeded two miles beyond their fires, and encamped on the river bank in lat. 29 deg. 1' 57" S.
A small path along the river margin; marks on trees, where hollow portions of bark had been taken off; some ancient, some recent, huts of withered boughs and dry grass; freshwater muscle shells, beside the ashes of small fires; and, in some places, a small heap of pulled grass (PANICUM LOEVINODE), or of the coral plant; such were the slight but constant indications of the existence of man on the Narran. Such was the only home of our fellow-beings in these parts, and from it they retired on our approach. Ducks, which were rather numerous, and emus (coming to drink), probably constituted their chief food, as nets to ensnare both these kinds of birds, were found about their huts. Youranigh brought me one of their chisels, a small bit of iron fastened to a stick with gum, and tied with a piece of striped shirting. I directed him to place it carefully where he had found it. Thermometer at sunrise, 47 deg.; at noon, 90 deg.; at 4 P. M., 95 deg.; at 9, 69 deg.;—with wet bulb, 60 deg.. The mean height above the sea of the camps of 23d, 24th, and 26th March, was 461 feet.
27TH MARCH.—Pursuing, as well as we could, the course of the Narran, which came more from the northward, we again encamped on its banks after a journey of seven miles, without recognising any indication of the vicinity of the larger stream, which, according to our latitude, we ought by this to have reached. The current here had evidently been more decided, and dry trunks and other FLUVIATILE DEBRIS lay more in masses against whatever had lain in the water's way. Excellent grass clothed the plains over which we had passed during the two last days, and grew abundantly also about the banks of the river; but, in general, a belt of the POLYGONUM JUNCEUM, about 400 or 500 yards wide, grew between the immediate margin and the grassy plains. This shrub was found an infallible guide to the vicinity of the river, when, as sometimes happened, other lines of trees, resembling those on its banks, had led me to a distance from it. The day was cool and rather cloudy, a great novelty to us; for every day had been clear and unclouded, since long before we crossed the Barwan. Abundance of the stones of the quandang fruit (FUSANUS ACUMINATUS) lay at an old fire of the natives, and showed that we were not far from the northern limit of the great clay basin, as the quandang bush grows only upon the lowest slopes of hilly land. Lat. 28 deg. 55' 13" S. Thermometer at sunrise, 70 deg.; at noon, 90 deg.; at 4 P. M., 89; at 9, 70 deg.;—with wet bulb, 61 deg..
28TH MARCH.—At 2 A. M., loud thunder was heard in the south-west, where a dark cloud arose and passed round to the northward; a few drops of rain fell. The morning was otherwise clear, with a cooling breeze from S. W. Thermometer at sunrise, 56 deg.. We proceeded, travelling chiefly amongst very luxuriant grass. The river now disappeared as far to the westward of my northerly course on this left bank, as it had left me when on the other bank by unexpected turns to the eastward. I came upon its banks after travelling about eight miles. At the spot where I wished to place the camp I perceived a native, and with Youranigh's assistance, managed to prevent him from running away. He spoke only "Jerwoolleroy," a dialect which my native did not understand at all well. He told us, however, that this was still the Narran, and pointed N. W. to the Balonne. Upon the whole we gathered from him that neither that river nor the Bokhara was far from us. I endeavoured to convince him, by Youranigh's assurances, and our own civility to him, that we meant no harm to any natives, and were only passing through the country. He did not seem afraid, although he had never, until then, seen white men. We encamped near him. The river channel was very narrow, and contained but little water here-abouts. I understood from the native (through Youranigh) that the river here spread into various channels, and that "BARRO" was the name of a river beyond the Culg, which falls into it from the northward; "TOORINGORRA," the lagoon on which we encamped after meeting natives on the 31st March. Near this camp we found a PHYLLANTHUS, scarcely different from P. SIMPLEX; a SESBANIA near S. ACULEATA, but with smaller flowers; and the CHENOPODIUM AURICOMUM, formed a white-leaved shrub, three or four feet high. Thermometer at sunrise, 56 deg.; at noon, 78 deg.; at 4 P. M., 82 deg.; at 9, 61 deg.;— with wet bulb, 56 deg..
29TH MARCH.—After prayers (the day being Sunday) I sent Mr. Kennedy forward to explore the course of the river, in order to ensure a more direct line for to-morrow's route. Mr. Kennedy was accompanied by one of the men armed, and also by Youranigh, all being mounted. He returned in about four hours, having found the river coming from the northward, and he also reported favourably of the ground. Thermometer at sunrise, 48 deg.; at 4 P. M., 81 deg.; at 9, 51 deg.;—with wet bulb, 47 deg..
30TH MARCH.—The night had been cool and pleasant, Thermometer at sunrise only 42 deg.. The cattle were yoked up early, and we travelled on over fine grassy plains, and with open gravelly ridges on our right. At length, about the sixth mile, these ridges closed on the river, where there was one hill almost clear of trees or bushes. I ascended it, but could only see plains to the westward, and a dense line of river-trees running north. We at length encamped on what appeared to be still the Narran, after a journey of about eight miles.
We this day passed a small group of trees of the yellow gum, a species of eucalyptus growing only on the poor sandy soil near Botany Bay, and other parts of the sea-coast near Sydney. Thermometer at sunrise, 42 deg.; at 4 P. M., 83 deg.; at 9, 61 deg.;—with wet bulb, 57 deg.. Mean height of the camps of the 27th, 28th, and 30th, above the level of the sea, 509 feet.
31ST MARCH.—The various lines of trees were now so much dispersed across the country, that to follow the line of the Narran, it was necessary to see its ponds and channel as frequently as possible. The course, if not of the river, at least of its ana-branches; and there were besides those, branches of another kind, namely, true branches coming from the main channel, as branches leave the stem of a tree, never to unite with it again. Some of those of this description, so closely resembled in every respect the Narran, that the difference was only to be distinguished by observing the marks of flood on trees, and ascertaining the direction of the current. We had crossed several such, and were rather in a "fix" with some lagoons, when I perceived several native children in one of them. I wished here to intercept some natives who might tell us where was the ford of "Congo," where white men had crossed the Balonne, or where was the river Balonne. The children fled, but two manly voices were heard immediately, and two natives came confidently up to Youranigh and then to me. The eldest seemed about fifty-five years of age; the other was a lad of about twenty. They spoke of "Congo," and the Balonne (BALONGO) as quite at hand, and undertook to conduct us to both. It was quite evident from their pronunciation, that "Baloon" was not the proper native name, but Bal, the termination they gave it of "GO," being an article they very often use, Bal-go being equivalent to THE Balonne; as in speaking of the Barwan, they say "Barwango." I had nearly completed the usual short journey when we fell in with these natives, but I was unwilling to lose the advantage of their assistance, and so travelled on under their guidance, full five miles further, before I fixed on a spot for the camp. This was by a splendid piece of water, named by them Tooningora, nearly on a level with the adjacent plains, and covered with ducks. We had passed other fine sheets of water guided by our native friends, and over a rich grassy country remarkably level and free from scrub. It was evidently changed by the vicinity of the larger river. I continued to follow our new friends beyond where I had directed the party to encamp, in expectation of seeing the marked tree at Congo, and the river Balonne. After going forward thus about four miles, we saw five gins running off at a great distance across some open plains, apparently near the river. The eldest of our guides ran after them, and I requested him to assure them that the white men would do no harm, and to tell them not to run away. At length he overtook them. Two appeared to carry unseemly loads across their backs, dangling under large opossum-skin cloaks, and it was evident that these were mummied bodies. I had heard of such a custom, but had not before seen it. I had then but a distant view of these females, as they resumed their flight, and continued it until they reached woods bounding the plain on the westward. The line of Yarra trees of the great Balonne river ran parallel to our march westward, and there also, according to my guides, was "Congo," the ford marked out by my son, and which spot I most anxiously desired to see and identify by his initials. Still my guides led westward towards the woods, and as we approached them, the shout or scream of little Dicky, a native child of the Bogan, follower of my camp, first drew my attention to a black phalanx within the forest, of natives presenting a front like a battalion. Youranigh my interpreter halted and remonstrated: our elder guide ran forward, and on his reaching that body, the sound of gruff voices that arose from it strongly reminded me of Milton's description of Satan's army:
"Their rising all at once was as the sound Of thunder heard remote."
Youranigh would not advance another step, although much pressed by the other native remaining with us to do so, but declared that "those fellows were murry coola," (very angry). We therefore retraced our footsteps to the camp, without having seen either the Balongo or Congo. Our guide soon overtook us, accompanied by fourteen of the strange natives, who, all curiosity, passed the night at our camp, and they brought with them a lad named "Jemmy," who spoke a little English, and had visited many of our cattle-stations. He was very intelligible to Youranigh, who but very imperfectly understood the language of the rest. They seemed upon the whole a frank and inoffensive race. Their food consisted of the fish of the river, ducks, and the small indigenous melon, CUCUMIS PUBESCENS, which grew in such abundance, that the whole country seemed strewed with the fruit, then ripe, and of which the natives eat great quantities, and were very fond. It is about the size of a plum only, and in the journal of my first interior journey (in 1831), is mentioned as a cucumber we were afraid to eat. (Vol. I. p. 88.) Latitude of camp, 28 deg. 38' 47" S. Thermometer at sunrise, 42 deg.; at 4 P. M., 83 deg.; at 9, 61 deg.;—with wet bulb, 57 deg..
1ST APRIL.—The whole party moved off about the usual hour, 7 A. M., still under the guidance of our new acquaintance, towards the Balonne. On our way the natives were very careful to point out how muddy hollows could best be avoided by our drays. I saw seated at a distance, in due form, the tribe to which they belonged; and having directed the party to halt, went up to them. They were seated in three groups; old men on the right, painted red; old women in the centre, painted white; and other women and children on the left. The few strong men who appeared, formed a circle around me, and told me their names as they came up to me. I desired Youranigh to tell them that we were passing that way across the Balonne to a very far-off country, and did not wish to disturb them, etc. When all was said that could be said, and I was about to return, one of the chiefs, "Yarree," said "good night," words which he must have learnt at some cattle station. Although it was only morning, I returned the compliment with all possible gravity, and took my leave. Soon after, we arrived on the bank of the Balonne, as fine a looking river as I have seen in the colony, excepting only the Murray. There was a slight current, and the waters lay in broad reaches, under banks less elevated above the bed than those of the Darling. In breadth the channel surpassed that of the last named river in any part, I believe, of its course.
We encamped near a shallow place, which the natives at first said was "Congo," but where we found no marks on the trees. The curiosity of the natives having been gratified, they disappeared; but I must mention that, having missed the elder of the two men who had guided us here since the first evening, I learnt, on inquiring what had become of him, that he had gone back to his little boys, whom he had left at the water-holes where he first met us, six miles back, and for whom he had apparently gathered his little net of melons. Nothing could have been finer than this man's conduct. He had at once come on with us to guide us where we wanted to go; took great pains to make us known to his own tribe, and, I believe, to other assembled tribes at some risk to himself; and then, without claiming my promised gifts, he had returned to his little family, left at such a distance, only that he might do that which was civil, to us strangers. Yet we call these men savages! I fear such disinterested acts of civility on the part of the civilised portion of mankind are rather rare. He had rendered to us, at all events, a very great service; for the danger of sudden collision with the natives was at an end, after our introduction by him to the tribes. In the afternoon, Slater, one of the bullock-drivers, found a good fording-place; and I sent a few men to cut the banks, and fill up a soft part of the river bed with logs, branches, and earth, for the better passage of the drays; a work they completed before night. I rode about five miles beyond the river to the north-west, and met, first with a very broad lagoon full of water, nearly on a level with the plains, and apparently permanent; secondly, I found beyond this, a river or chain of ponds somewhat like the Narran. This I ascertained was called the Cawan by the natives, and that it meandered very much. The country was rather fine. These waters were bordered by well-grown trees, and the plains were covered with good grass. Lat. of our camp, on the Balonne, 28 deg. 25' 38" S. Thermometer at sunrise, 44 deg.; at noon, 75 deg.; at 4 P.M., 79 deg.; at 9, 60;—with wet bulb, 54 deg.. Height of the bed of the Balonne above the level of the sea, 494 feet; an average of three observations.
2D APRIL.—All the drays and the party crossed the river this morning in good order, and without any accident or much delay, by the little bridge we had made in its bed. While they were crossing, the place seemed to me so favorable for a ford that it might still be possible to find some of the marked trees said to be at "Congo." I again questioned the natives on this point, and one youth undertook to point out some marks made by white men. Mr. Kennedy ran with him on foot up the left bank of the river, and was shown two trees marked, the one with "J. Towns," the other with "Bagot, 1845." Being thus convinced that this ford was really at or near the place called "Congo," where Commissioner Mitchell had crossed, and found the Culgoa, at a distance of only seven miles north-west, I determined to go forward, in the same direction, to that river, taking my track of yesterday, which enabled me to avoid the broad lagoon.
On arriving at the "Cawan" we saw two natives fishing in a pond with hoop nets, and Yuranigh went to ask them about the "Culgoa." He returned accompanied by a tall athletic man; the other was this man's gin, who had been fishing with him. There he had left her to take care of his nets, and, without once looking at me or the party, proceeded to conduct us to the Culgoa. I never saw a Spanish or Portuguese guide go with a detachment half so willingly. Yuranigh and he scarcely understood a word of what each other said, and yet the former had the address to overcome the usual difficulties to intercourse between strange natives, and their shyness to white men, and to induce this native thus to become our guide. He took us to the Culgoa, which we made at about seven miles from the Balonne, and I was so much pleased with the willing service and true civility of this native, that I presented him with an iron tomahawk, and I heard him twice ask Yuranigh if it really was meant for him to keep. He then hastened back to his gin, whom he had left five miles off. This river presented as deep a section as, but a narrower bed than, the one we had just left. It had all the characteristics, however, of a principal river, and really looked more important than the Barwan, except that its waters were not then fluent. Gigantic blue gum trees overhang the banks, and the Mimosa grew near the bed of the current. I should say that these and much sand were the chief characteristics of the Culgoa. There were no recent marks of natives' fires, and I was informed that they did not much frequent that part of the river. The grass along the banks was very luxuriant. Latitude 28 deg. 31' 19" south. Thermometer at sunrise, 39 deg.; at noon, 75 deg.; at 4 P.M., 76 deg.; at 9, 50 deg.;—with wet bulb, 46 deg.. The height of this camp above the level of the sea, being forty feet above the bed of the river, 543 feet; from the mean of four observations.
3RD APRIL.—The section of this river being forty feet deep, and the banks in general steep, the work necessary to render it passable to our heavy drays could not be accomplished yesterday afternoon. This day, however, our camp was established on the right bank of the Culgoa. Thermometer at sunrise, 35 deg.; at noon, 80 deg..; at 4 P.M., 77 deg.; at 9, 49 deg.; and with wet bulb, 46 deg..
4TH APRIL.—We were now to proceed along the right bank of the Culgoa upwards to the United Balonne, and thence to continue ascending along the right bank of that river also, as far as the direction was favourable to our progress northward. This remained to be ascertained in exploring that river upwards. In gaining the right bank of the Culgoa, we had crossed the vast basin of clay extending from the Bogan on the south, to this river on the north, and westward to New Year's Range and Fort Bourke. That country was liable to be rendered quite impassable, had the rains set in. But even in such seasons we could still travel over the dry, firm ground bounding this basin of clay on the northward, as the left bank of the Bogan was also passable, however rainy the season, indeed more conveniently then than during a dry one. Rain, if it had fallen at this time, had greatly facilitated our exploration of the northern interior; but these rivers we had reached would supply us with water for some degrees to the northward, as I had been informed by the Commissioner of the district, and in our progress so far, I hoped we should arrive at a better watered country.
Taking a northerly course, we traversed fine grassy land, on which grew luxuriantly the ACACIA PENDULA and other shrubs, that reminded us of the banks of the Bogan, to which country we found here the exact counterpart, only that this was better watered. The course of the Culgoa was more easterly than I had calculated on, for, after going six miles northward, I had to travel at least as many eastward before I again found the river. We encamped on the acute north-western angle of an anabranch biting into the firm soil, and it was evident that we had reached the Balonne Major, or that part above the separation of the Culgoa from the Minor Balonne, both of which we had already crossed, and which ran thus, as from our camp the lines of trees along each of the minor channels were distinctly visible.
The character of these rivers had been described to me by Commissioner Mitchell, the discoverer thereof. It was late before the drays came in, and Mr. Kennedy was led into the camp quite blind, having been suddenly attacked with purulent ophthalmia, when engaged in the survey of our route, about four miles from the camp. The heat had somewhat abated, but still this complaint, which we had attributed to it, had lately affected many of the party suddenly, as in the case of Mr. Kennedy. Latitude, 28 deg. 27' 11" S. Thermometer at sunrise, 33 deg.; at noon, 83 deg.; at 4 P.M., 88 deg.; at 9, 53 deg.; with wet bulb, 47 deg..
5TH APRIL.—The party halted, and I took a ride to explore the course of the river, proceeding first northward. In that direction I came upon an angle of the Balonne, at about three miles from the camp. Beyond, after passing through much ACACIA PENDULA, I crossed a small plain, bounded by a Casuarina scrub. Partly to ascertain its extent and character, and partly in the hope of falling in with the river beyond, I entered it. I found this scrub full of holes, that obliged me to pursue a very tortuous course, impeded as I was too by the rugged stems and branches. I got through it, only after contending with these impediments for three miles. The country beyond it looked not at all like that back from the river, and I turned to the N.E., pursuing that course some miles; then eastward two miles, and next two miles to the S.E., still without finding any river; but, on the contrary, scrub in every direction. The sun was declining, and I turned at last to the S.W., and in that direction reached an extensive open forest, beyond which I saw at length the river line of trees. I continued to ride S.S.W., and finally south, until I saw our cattle grazing, and the tents, without having regained first, as I wished, my outward track. On the bank of the Balonne we found an apparently new species of ANDROPOGON with loose thin panicles of purplish flowers, and in the scrub I passed through, in my ride, I found a CASUARINA, indeterminable in the absence of flowers or fruit. It produces a gall as large as a hazel nut. Thermometer at sunrise, 37 deg.; at noon, 90 deg.; at 4 P.M., 94 deg.; at 9, 57 deg.;—with wet bulb, 53 deg..
6TH APRIL.—Mr. Kennedy's eyes being still very bad, I could not proceed, as the survey of our route was very important, in order to keep our account of longitude correctly. The necks of the cattle were much galled, and I therefore the more willingly halted another day. It was not without some impatience, however, that I did so, as we were approaching a point whence I could set out with horses to the north-west, and leave the cattle to refresh in a depot on this fine river, which afforded an excellent base for our exploratory operations, in the wholly unknown regions immediately beyond it. This line of exploration I had anxiously wished to pursue in 1831, when obliged to return from the Karaula or Upper Barwan; and whatever had since been ascertained about that part of the interior, confirmed me the more in my first opinion as to the eligibility of that direction. It had occurred to me, on crossing the Culgoa, that by marking deeply on a tree, at each camp, a number of reference, our survey might be more practically useful and available to the colonists, as connecting so many particular localities therewith. I therefore marked that No. I. in Roman numerals; this II., and I shall add in this journal, at the end of the narrative of each day's proceedings, whatever number or mark may be made to distinguish the place of encampment described.
In the scrub near this, we observed an Acacia, apparently new, a broadleaved, white-looking wattle. There was also a branching Composite, which Sir W. Hooker has determined to be a very distinct and undoubted species of FLAVERIA of which all the other species are natives of the New World.[*] The CAPPARIS LASIANTHA was also found here growing on EXOCARPUS APHYLLA of Brown; it was found by Allan Cunningham and Frazer on Liverpool Plains, also, at Swan River. Thermometer, at sunrise, 44 deg.; at noon, 95 deg.; at 4 P.M., 96 deg.; at 9, 63 deg.;—with wet bulb, 57 deg.. Height above the sea, 497 feet.
[* FLAVERIA AUSTRALASICA (Hook. MSS.) foliis lineari-lanceolatis integerrimis basi dilatatis, capitulis densissime globoso-fasciculatis, fasciculis subinvolucratis, bracteis exterioribus praecipue fasciculos superantibus omnibus late amplexantibus.]
7TH APRIL.—When all were preparing to set off early this morning, I was informed that two bullocks were missing, and a third fast in the mud on the river bank. The two stray animals were soon found; but it was impossible to bring on the other in the mud, for he was blown, from having drunk too much water, after over-eating himself with grass. Our journey was continued round one angle of the river in my horse's track. Afterwards turning to the N. E., we crossed two miles of open forest land, where the grass was good, and having the river in sight. At length, even on an easterly course we could not keep it longer in view, but got involved in a scrub on soft red sand. Emerging from this on a course of E. S. E., we again got upon open ground, and soon saw the majestic trees of the river in a line circling round to the northward. Coming upon it at an angle where scrubs of rosewood and ACACIA PENDULA crowned the slopes, we encamped on a beautiful spot. The river was magnificent, presenting a body of water of such breadth, as I had only seen in one other river of Australia, and the banks were grassy to the water's edge.
This day, "Jemmy," a young native whom we had seen on the Minor Balonne, came to our camp with another youth, and the voices of a tribe were heard in the woods. As Jemmy had not kept his word formerly, having left us suddenly, and was evidently a scamp, I peremptorily ordered him away. I had heard of his having brought gins to my camp at night on the former occasion, and he was very likely to be the cause of mischief, and could not, or at least, would not, render us any service. We desired no further intercourse, at that time, with the natives, as those with us did not understand their language. The misfortunes of Mr. Finch arose through that sort of intercourse with his men, and had arrested my journey fifteen years ago, when I had advanced to within forty miles of this camp, intent on those discoveries I hoped at length to make even now. I had good reason, therefore, to keep the natives at a distance here, at a time, too, when the bodies of six white men were said to be still uninterred in this neighbourhood. A species of CYPERUS with panicled globular heads of flowers was found here in the sloping bank. Thermometer, at sunrise, 47 deg.; at noon, 97 deg.; at 4 P. M. 97 deg.; at 9, 69 deg.;— with wet bulb 57 deg.. Height above the sea 634 feet. Latitude 28 deg. 23' 59" S. (Camp III.)
8TH APRIL.—We continued our journey nearly northward, keeping the river woods in sight, as much as the country permitted. An arm or anabranch, at first containing much water, and coming from the north, was on our right for some miles. In following it, our natives found the tracks of three horses, one only having had shoes on, and two foals, as if proceeding first towards our camp, then returning. The branch from the river became dry and sandy, but still we followed its course. We saw about a mile to the eastward, beyond this dry channel, a splendid sheet of water on a level with the general surface, and having extensive tracts of emerald green vegetation about it. The dry channel obliged me to make a longer journey than I had intended. At length, on finding the requisite water in its bed, I encamped. This was near a pond, on whose sandy margin we saw still the tracks of the three horses that had been there to drink. The scrubs came close to the river with intervals of grassy plain. The ACACIA PENDULA, and its concomitant shrubs, the SANTALUM OBLONGATUM, and others, gave beauty to the scenery, and with abundance of water about, all hands considered this a very fine country. At sunset, thunder-clouds gathered in the S. W., and at about 7 P. M. the storm reached our camp, accompanied by a sudden, very strong gale from the S. E. The lightning was very vivid, and for half an hour it rained heavily. By 8 P. M. it was over, and the serene sky admitted of an observation of Regulus, by which the latitude was found to be 28 deg. 17' 8" S. (No. IV.) Thermometer at sunrise, 61 deg.; at noon, 91 deg.; at 4 P. M. 94 deg.; at 9, 66 deg.;—with wet bulb 63 deg..
9TH APRIL.—The branches of the river, and flats of Polygonum, obliged me to follow a N. W. course. I did so most willingly, as we had already got further to the eastward than I wished. The arm of the river spread into a broad swamp, in which two of the drays sank, the drivers having taken no notice of a tree I had laid across the track, to show where the carts had been backed out. I made them unload the drays and carry the loads to firm ground. Keeping afterwards along the margin of this swamp for many miles, I perceived abundance of water in it, and passed the burning fires of natives, where their water kids and net gear hung on trees about. At length, upon turning to the eastward, I came upon the main river, where it formed a noble reach, fully 120 yards wide, and sweeping round majestically from N. E. to S. E. We here encamped, after a long journey. The banks were grassy to the water's edge. We saw large fishes in it; ducks swam on it, and, at some distance, a pair of black swans. This surpassed even the reach at camp III., and I must add, that such an enormous body of permanent water could be seen nowhere else in New South Wales save in the river Murray during its floods. The Anthistiria grew abundantly where we encamped, which was in latitude, 28 deg. 13' 34" S. and marked V. Thermometer, at sunrise, 63 deg.; at noon, 94 deg.; at 4 P. M., 97 deg.; at 9, 63 deg.;—with wet bulb, 62 deg..
10TH APRIL.—Pursuing a N. W. course, we crossed small grassy plains, fringed with rosewood and other acacias; but, in order to keep near the river, I was soon obliged to turn more towards the east, as Callitris scrubs were before me. In avoiding these, I again came upon the more open and firm ground adjacent to the river, and saw its course in the line of large Yarra trees, which always point out its banks with their white and gnarled arms. I may here state that the scrubs generally consist of a soft red sandy soil; the land near the river, of clay, which last is by far the best of the two soils for crossing with wheel carriages; the soft red sand being almost as formidable an impediment in some situations as mud. At length, in travelling N. eastward, we came upon a spacious lagoon, extending westward, and covered with ducks. Perceiving, by drift marks, that it came from the West, I kept along its margin, following it as it trended round to N. E., where we arrived at the main channel, about that part whence the waters of the lagoon emanate during high floods. That lagoon presented an excellent place for a cattle-station. Water could never fail, as the main stream was at hand, if even the lagoon dried up, which seemed not at all likely. PSORALEA ERIANTHA was abundant in the bed of the river, along with INDIGOFERA HIRSUTA, and CROTALARIA MITCHELLII.[*] Thermometer, at sunrise, 44 deg.; at noon, 99 deg.; at 4 P. M., 97 deg. at 9, 66 deg.;—with wet bulb, 58 deg..
[* C. MITCHELLII (Benth. MS.) erecta, ramulis flavescenti-tomentosis, stipulis parvis subulatis, foliis ovali-ellipticis obtusis retusisve basi angustatis supra glabris subtus calycibusque subsericeo- pubescentitomentosis, bracteolis in pedicello brevissimo minutis setaceis, legumine sessili glabro. Allied to C. RETUSA and SERICEA, but flowers much smaller, in short dense spikes. It agrees in most respects with the short character of C. NOVOE HOLLANDIOE, etc., but the leaf is not articulated on the footstalk, and the stipules exist.]
11TH APRIL.—Proceeding due north we had the river close on our right hand, when two miles on. After making a slight detour to avoid a gully falling into it, we continued the same course over open forest land, and, at length, saw an immense sheet of water before us, with islands in it. This was also a lagoon supplied by floods in the Balonne. It was covered with ducks, pelicans, etc. I called it Lake Parachute, no natives being near to give me their name for it. I must here add that the true aboriginal name is not Baloon, however, but Balonne, and this I the more readily adopt to avoid the introduction of a name so inappropriate amongst rivers. I was obliged to turn this lagoon, by moving some way about to my right, for it sent forth a deep arm to the S. W. which lay across my intended route. Continuing to travel northward, we arrived upon the banks of a lagoon, where they resembled those of the main channel, having trees of the same kind and fully as large. The breadth was very uniform, and as great as that of the river, so that it seemed this had once been the bed of the Balonne. We crossed it at a dry part of the swamp, the waters extending and increasing in it to the eastward. In the opposite direction it was equally uniform and continuous, but apparently dry. On crossing this old channel, I turned sharply to the N. E., aware that it is usually at acute angles in a river's course that such overflowings break out. I found it necessary in the present case to turn eastward, and even to the southward of east before I could find the river again. At length we came upon the channel divided amongst ridges of sand, where the waters took a sharp turn and broke thus into separate currents. I was now very desirous to select a camp where the cattle might remain to rest and refresh while I proceeded with a small party to the N. W. This place did not please me, having been too scrubby, the water not well tasted, and the grass dry, therefore liable to be set on fire by the natives, or by accident. A bulbous species of CYPERUS grew on the bank of the Balonne, and in the river we found the common European reed, ARUNDO PHRAGMITES: a Loranthus allied to L. LINEARIFOLIUS, but with broader leaves, grew on some of the trees, and we saw a fine new species of ADRIANIA.[*] (No. VII.) Thermometer, at sunrise, 47 deg.; at noon, 102 deg.; at 4 P. M., 104 deg.; at 9, 69 deg.; with wet bulb, 62 deg.. Average height above the sea, of camps V. VI. and VII., 559 feet.
[* A. HETEROPHYLLA (Hooker MSS.) foliis ovato-acuminatis grosse sinuatoserratis integris cordatisve trifidis, utrinque bracteisque glaberrimis.]
12TH APRIL.—I accordingly put the party in motion at an early hour, and soon came upon the river, where it formed a noble reach of water and came from the westward, a new direction, which, with the sand that had for some days appeared in shallow parts of its bed, raised my hopes that this river might be found to come from the north-west, a direction it maintained for five miles. The breadth was uniform, and the vast body of water was a most cheering sight. The banks were 120 yards apart, the course in general very straight, contributing much to the perspective of the scenery upon it. At one turn, denuded rocks appeared in its bed, consisting of ironstone in a whitish cement or matrix, which might have been decomposed felspar. I at length arrived at a natural bridge of the same sort of rock, affording easy and permanent access to the opposite bank, and at once selected the spot for a depot camp, which we established on a fine position commanding long vistas both up and down the river. It was, in fact, a tete-de-pont overlooking the rocky passage which connected the grass on both sides. This was No. VIII., and in latitude 28 deg. 1' 37''. Thermometer, at sunrise, 68 deg.; at noon, 104 deg.; at 4 P. M., 101 deg.; at 9, 74 deg.;—with wet bulb, 64 deg..
13TH APRIL.—Here I could leave the jaded cattle to refresh, while, with a small party on horse-back, I could ascertain the farther course of the river, and explore the country to the north-west where centred all my hopes of discovery. I set on foot various preparations, such as the stuffing of saddles, shoeing of horses, drying of mutton, and, first of all in importance, though last likely to be accomplished, the making a pair of new wheels for a cart to carry water. Thermometer, at sunrise, 47 deg.; at noon, 100 deg.; at 4 P. M., 101 deg.; at 9, 67 deg.;—with wet bulb, 62 deg..
15TH APRIL.—This day I sent Mr. Kennedy to examine the country in the direction of 3311/2 deg., my intended route, and he returned about 10 P. M., having seen what he considered indications of the river on his right when about twelve miles from the camp, and plains to the left. Upon the whole, I resolved, from what he said of the scrubs he had met with, to travel north-west, that direction being perpendicular to the general course of this river, and therefore the most likely to lead the soonest to higher ground. Thermometer, at sunrise, 68 deg.; at noon, 104 deg.; at 4 P. M., 103 deg.; at 9, 72 deg.;—with wet bulb, 67 deg..
16TH APRIL.—In order better to contend with the difficulty of wanting water, and be better prepared for it, I formed my party rather of infantry than cavalry, taking only two horses, drawing a cart loaded chiefly with water, and six trusty men, almost all old soldiers. We were thus prepared to pass several nights without requiring other water than that we carried with us. I hoped thus to be enabled to penetrate the scrubs, and reach, and perhaps cross, the higher land bounding this great basin. Our first day's progress, being rather experimental, did not extend above ten miles. I had been obliged to send back the shaft horse, and exchange him for a better, as our load of water was heavy. The day was very sultry. Thermometer 105 deg. Fahrenheit, in the shade. We had passed over ground more open than I expected, but by no means clear of scrubs. Thermometer, at sunrise, 64 deg.; at 4 P. M., 105 deg.; at 9, 71 deg.;—with wet bulb, 67 deg..
17TH APRIL.—The messenger returned early with two horses, one being my own second charger, which I put as leader to the cart. We then got forward on foot as fast as the men could walk, or rather as fast as they could clear a way for the cart. We passed through much scrub, but none was of the very worst sort. The natives' marks on trees were numerous, and the ground seemed at first to fall westward as to some water-course; and, after travelling about five miles, there appeared a similar indication of water to the eastward of our route. At one place even the white-barked gum trees appeared; but, although they had the character of river trees, we found they grew on an elevated piece of clay soil. After completing about ten miles, I halted for two hours to rest the horses, where there was a patch of good grass, and we gave them some water from our stock. The mercurial column afforded no indication that we were at all higher than our camp overlooking the river, and it seemed, therefore, not improbable that we might meet with some other channel or branch of that prolific river. After resting two hours we continued, passing through woods partly of open forest trees, and partly composed of scrub. Towards the end of our day's journey, we crossed land covered with good grass, and having only large trees on it, so thinly strewed as to be of the character of the most open kind of forest land. Saw thereon some very large kangaroos, and throughout the day we had found their tracks numerous. We finally set up our bivouac a little before sunset, on a grassy spot surrounded by scrub. In this scrub I found the CLEOME FLAVA of Banks, and the strong-smelling AMBRINA CARINATA. A very remarkable whiteness appeared on the leaves of the EUCALYPTUS POPULIFOLIUS, which, on very close examination, appeared to be the work of an insect.[*] On the plains the SALSOLA AUSTRALIS formed a round bush, which, when loose from its very slight root, was liable to be blown about. Thermometer at sunrise, 71 deg.; at 9 P. M, 68 deg.;—with wet bulb, 64 deg..
[* The following letter from Mr. Westwood to Dr. Lindley relates to specimens of this brought to England:—
"I am sorry that the state of the specimens from Sir Thomas Mitchell (or rather, I should say, the time when they were gathered) does not allow me to say much about the insect by which they are formed. It is an extremely beautiful production, quite unlike any thing I have yet seen, and is, I have no doubt, the scale of a coccus. It is of a very peculiar form, resembling a very delicate, broad, and flattened valve of a bi-valve shell, such as the genus Iridina, the part where the hinge is being a little produced and raised, and forming the cover of the coccus which secretes the beautiful material just in the same unexplained way as the scale insects form the slender attenuated scales beneath which they are born. I could not discover any insect beneath the specimens of Sir Thomas Mitchell's production in a state sufficient to determine what it really is, as I only found one or two exceedingly minute atoms of shrivelled up insects. It is extremely brittle, and looks more like dried, white, frothed sugar than any thing else."]
18TH APRIL.—A pigeon had flown last evening over our camp in a N. N. E. direction, and as the ground sloped that way, and the men believed that water was there, I rode this morning in that direction, leaving the other horses to feed in the meantime. At two miles from our bivouac I found some hollows in a scrub where the surface consisted of clay, and which evidently at some seasons contained water, although they were then dry. Polygonum grew around them, and I doubt not that after a fall of rain water would remain there some time. On riding two miles beyond, in the same direction, I found open forest land only. The country was well covered with good grass, very open, yet finely wooded. We again proceeded north-west over some fine forest land. The soil was, however, only soft red sand, and made it very heavy work for our horses drawing the watercart.
On passing through a Casuarina scrub, we entered upon a different kind of country as to wood and grass, the soil being much the same, or still more loose and sandy. The surface bore a sterile heathy appearance, and the trees consisted chiefly of a stunted box, growing but thinly. Instead of grass, black, half-burnt roots of a wiry plant appeared, which I afterwards found in flower (SEE INFRA), and one small, shrubby, brown bush, very much resembling heath; apparently a Chenopod with heathlike leaves, and globular hairy heads of flowers. The roots of the firstmentioned plant presented much obstruction to our cart-wheels in passing over the soft sand. As I stood awaiting the cart's arrival, some birds drew my attention, as I perceived I had attracted theirs. They descended to the lowest branches of the tree in whose shade I stood, and seemed to regard my horse with curiosity. On my imitating their chirp one fluttered down, and attempted to alight on my horse's ears. On my whistling to them, one whistled some beautifully varied notes, as soft as those of an octave flute, although their common chirp was harsh and dissonant. The male and female seemed to have very different plumage, especially about the head; that on the one having the varying tint of the Rifle bird, the head of the other more resembling in colour, that of the DACELO GIGANTEUS. They were about the size of a thrush, and seemed the sole residents of that particular spot, and I had not seen them elsewhere. The carts came slowly forward, the horses being much distressed. I continued to ride some miles ahead, and passed through a scrub in a clay hollow, to which succeeded another open forest country with more of the soft red sand. The people with the cart could not overtake me, and I returned. Meeting them at a rather bad place, I determined to encamp at some patches of grassy ground somewhat out of our line, in latitude, 27 deg. 43' S. It is remarkable that, according to the barometer, we had not ascended higher than our depot camp on the river, at a distance of nearly forty miles from it. I had just quitted my horse's back, and had resolved to return, when two horsemen were seen approaching along our track. They were two of our party come from the depot to bring me a despatch, which had been forwarded by Commissioner Wright, communicating the news of Dr. Leichardt's return from Port Essington, and enclosing the Gazette with his own account of his journey. Thus it became known to us that we could no longer hope to be the first to reach the shores of the Indian Ocean by land. Thermometer, at sunrise, 62 deg.; at 4 P. M., 93 deg.; at 9, 71 deg.;—with wet bulb, 64 deg..
19TH APRIL,—I left the men with the cart, to follow while I rode forward along its track, and sat down to peruse the newspapers sent me, until the cart overtook me in the evening, the horses being quite exhausted by the heat and the heavy sand. Thermometer, at sunrise, 61 deg.; at noon, 86 deg.; at 9, 63 deg.;—with wet bulb, 59 deg..
20TH APRIL.—The men who brought the despatches yesterday having been ordered to bring fresh horses this day from the depot, I sent our tired animals on thither at once, as we could give them but a limited quantity of water. I rode forward also to the camp, and met the fresh horses about half-way. I immediately ordered the repair of the wheels of another light cart, determined to lose no time in exploring a passage towards the head of Carpentaria. Thermometer, at sunrise, 48 deg.; at noon, 95; at 4 P. M., 93 deg.; at 9, 63 deg.;—with wet bulb, 58 deg..
21ST APRIL.—The cart came in about 9 A. M. The morning was cloudy, for the first time this month, and a slight shower fell. Had three or four days' rain fallen at that time, it would have enabled me to have explored by much less circuitous routes, than along the bank of this great river, the country to the north-west. In this case, the tour from which I had just returned might have been continued, as I wished and intended, had it been possible to find water, to the mountains or higher ground, whatever it might be that formed the limits to this basin on that side. Thermometer, at sunrise, 65 deg.; at noon, 76 deg.; at 4 P. M., 77 deg.; at 9, 60 deg.; —with wet bulb, 53 deg..
22D APRIL.—The clouds continued to lower, and a great change in the temperature accompanied this visible change in the sky, but the mercurial column remained uncommonly steady. Arrangements for a concentrated party engrossed my attention so fully this day, with the insertion also of our late work on the general map, that even the newspapers from the colony lay unread. Mr. Kennedy took a ride across the river in a S. S. E. direction, and found a fine grazing country with open forest, as far as he went, which was about twelve miles. On the banks of the Balonne, during my absence, they had found, besides a small bearded CYPERUS, a new creeping PSORALEA [*], and a new species of Acacia, which Mr. Bentham has named A. VARIANS.[*] Thermometer, at sunrise, 41 deg.; at noon, 76 deg.; at 4 P. M., 77 deg.; at 9, 61 deg.;—with wet bulb, 56 deg.. Mean elevation of this camp above the level of the sea, being 50 feet above the river, 623 feet.
[* P. ERIANTHA (Benth. MS.) prostrata, canescenti-pubescens, foliis pinnatim trifoliolatis, foliolis ovatis oblongisve dentatis, pedunculis elongatis multifloris, floribus inferioribus remotis superioribus approximatis, calycibus pube molli albida dense tomentosis, legumine molliter villoso.]
[* A. VARIANS (Benth. MS.) glabra, pallida v. glauca, ramulis subangulatis, phyllodiis oblongo-lanceolatis v. inferioribus late obovatis summisve linearibus, omnibus basi longe angustatis apice obtusis v. oblique mucronatis subimmarginatis vix obscure glanduliferis uninervibus tenuiter reticulato-penniveniis, capitulis sub 20-floris solitariis subracemosis v. in racemos foliatos dispositis, calycibus truncatis, legumine glabro crasso sublignoso. Very near A. SALICINA, and possibly a mere variety; but the phyllodia are generally considerably broader, and the inflorescence different.]
ADVANCE WITH A LIGHT PARTY—LEAVING THE REMAINDER WITH THE BULLOCKS AND DRAYS TO REST THREE WEEKS AT ST. GEORGE'S BRIDGE.—DISCOVER A RIVER JOINING THE BALONNE FROM THE NORTH-WEST.—CROSS IT, AND STILL TRACE THE BALONNE UPWARDS.—FINE RIVER SCENERY.—VAST PLAINS EXTENDING TO THE EASTERN HORIZON DISCOVERED FROM A TREE.—TRIBUTARY FROM THE NORTH-WEST— AND RICH PLAINS.—TRACE THIS SMALL RIVER UPWARDS.—EXCELLENT COUNTRY FOR GRAZING PURPOSES.—MOUNTAINS, SEEN AT LENGTH, TO THE NORTHWARD.—NATIVES AT OUR CAMP.—ASCEND MOUNT FIRST VIEW.—MOUNT INVITING.—ASCEND MOUNT RED CAP.—RIDE TO THE BORDERS OF FITZROY DOWNS, AND ASCEND MOUNT ABUNDANCE.— THE BOTTLE TREE.—ASCEND MOUNT BINDANGO.—DISCOVERY OF THE RIVER "AMBY."—DANGEROUS FOLLOWERS OF A CAMP.—RECONNOISSANCE TO THE NORTH- WEST.—ASCEND A TRAPITIC RANGE.—A GAP OR GOOD OPENING THROUGH IT FOUND FOR THE CARTS.—SMALL RIVER DISCOVERED BEYOND, CONTAINING ONE POND OF WATER.—THE CHANNEL DISAPPEARS ON OPEN FLATS.—DISCOVER THE RIVER MARAN.—SELECT A POSITION FOR A DEPOT.—RIDE OF RECONNOISSANCE TO THE NORTHWARD.—RIDE INTO THE WESTERN INTERIOR.—ASCEND MOUNT LONSDALE.— EXTENSIVE VIEW FROM THE SUMMIT.—WATER NOT VERY PLENTIFUL.—RETURN TO THE CAMP.—ASCEND A HIGH POINT TO THE EASTWARD.—VIEW THENCE OF THE SUMMITS OF A RANGE TO THE NORTHWARD.—CAMP VISITED BY HOSTILE NATIVES DURING MY ABSENCE.—ARRIVAL OF MR. KENNEDY WITH THE MAIN BODY OF THE PARTY.—HIS ACCOUNT OF THE HOSTILITY OF THE CHIEF AND TRIBE AT "TAGANDO."—VARIOUS PREPARATIONS MADE FOR AGAIN ADVANCING WITH A LIGHT PARTY.—DEPOT CAMP ESTABLISHED ON THE MARAN.
23RD APRIL.—Our little party started at noon. I took with me eight men, two native boys, twelve horses, besides my own two, and three light carts with provisions for ten weeks—determined, if possible, to penetrate northward, into the interior country, and ascertain where the division of the waters was likely to be found. I intended, with this view, to trace upwards the course of the Balonne, until I found mountains to the north- westward of it; then, to endeavour to turn them by the west, and thus acquire some knowledge on that most interesting point, the watershed towards the Gulf. I left instructions with Mr. Kennedy to follow my track with the drays and main body of the party, and to set out on Monday, the 4th of May, when the cattle would have had three weeks' rest.
The first few miles of this day's journey were along a clayey flat or hollow, which enabled me to avoid scrubby and sandy ground on each side. I believed its direction (N. E.), to be about parallel to the river. Leaving it at length to make the river, I met with rather a thick scrub; but came upon the river where the banks were very rocky and picturesque. Its course seemed to be from N. E.; but, following another flat of firm clay, I got again into scrub so thick that I turned eastward towards the river, and travelled along its bank until I encamped in lat. 27 deg. 56' 12" S. There was but little water in the bed of the river there; but long islands of sand, water-worn banks, with sloping grassy bergs behind. The bed, in most places, consisted of rock, the same ferruginous conglomerate, or clay ironstone, seen in the same river lower down. Grass was excellent and abundant on the bergs and near the river, but thick scrub crowned these bergs on our side. It was too late to admit of my examining the other. On our way through the scrub this day, we saw the ENOCARPUS SPARTEA of Brown, a leaf-like wing-branched shrub; and the beautiful parasite, LORANTHUS AURANTIACUS, occupied the branches of Eucalyptus. Thermometer, at sunrise, 49 deg.; at 9 P. M., 47 deg.;—with wet bulb, 41 deg.. [* The dates on the map show my camps; the Roman numerals those afterwards taken up by Mr. Kennedy, in following my track with the main body.]
24TH APRIL.—Set off early, travelling along the bank. The direction was N. N. W. and N. W. For the first few miles, the scenery was wild and very fine. Masses of rock, lofty trees, shining sands and patches of water, in wild confusion, afforded evidence of the powerful current that sometimes moved there and overwhelmed all. At this time, the outlines were wild, the tints sublimely beautiful. Mighty trees of Casuarinae, still inclined as they had been made to bend before the waters, contrasted finely with erect Mimosae, with prostrate masses of driftwood, and with perpendicular rocks. Then the hues of the Anthistiria grass, of a redbrown, contrasted most harmoniously with the light green bushes, grey driftwood, blue water, and verdure by its margin; all these again—grass, verdure, driftwood, and water—were so opposed to the dark hues of the Casuarinae, Mimosae, and rifted rocks, that a Ruysdael, or a Gains-borough, might there have found an inexhaustible stock of subjects for their pencil. It was, indeed, one continuous Ruysdael.
"That artist lov'd the sternly savage air, And scarce a human image plac'd he there."
May the object of our journey be successful, thought I then; and we may also hope that these beauties of nature may no longer "waste their sweetness in the desert air;" and that more of her graces may thus be brought within the reach of art. Noble reaches next extended in fine perspective before us; each for several miles, presenting open grassy margins along which we could travel on firm ground unimpeded by scrub. At length I perceived before me a junction of rivers, and could see along each of them nearly a mile. I had no alternative but to follow up that nearest to me, and found upon its bank many recent encampments of natives; at one of which the fires were still burning. The country was grassy, and so open, as almost to deserve the colonial name of "plain." This channel took me a long way northward, and to the N. N. E.; but finally turned west, and at last south. Its bed was full of sand; and at length we found it quite dry, so that, when I would have encamped, I could find no water. Yet it bore all the character of a large river; marks of high floods, Mimosae, sand, and river driftwood, like the other. It might, and probably did, finally come out of the main channel; but this seemed too remote a contingency for our wants then, and I crossed it, to look for the other. In riding eastward, I found a wide plain bounded by trees that looked like those along the river. No time could be spared for further reconnoissance: I took the party across, and made for the nearest part. My course was first N. E., then East, finally South, in following the various slopes; and it was only after travelling fifteen miles beyond the point where I met with this river, that I reached the bank of the other, at a spot distant only FOUR miles from where I had quitted it. This was only accomplished at forty minutes after 4 P. M., when we had travelled twenty-six miles. As our circuitous route was likely, if followed by Mr. Kennedy with the heavy drays, to cause delay and inconvenience, I resolved to halt next day, and write to him on the subject, explaining how he could most readily fall into my track by crossing the other channel, quitting first the other track, at a spot to be marked by Graham, who took the letter. Nevertheless, it had been imperative on me to follow it up as I had done; because, whether as a separate tributary or an ana-branch only, the right bank was likely to suit us best, provided only that water could have been found in its bed. Near the new river, the INDIGOFERA HIRSUTA of Linnaeus, with its spikes of reflexed hairy pods, was common; and also the MOSCHOSMA POLYSTACHYUM. Lat. 27 deg. 47' 57'' S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 38 deg.; at 9 P. M., 59 deg.;—with wet bulb, 56 deg..
"The dawn is overcast, the morning lowers, And heavily in clouds brings on the day."
A grateful change in the weather promised rain; but suggested to me a contingency for which I had not provided in my letter to Mr. Kennedy, and Graham was gone. A flood coming down, might fill the channel of the other, and prevent Mr. Kennedy's party from crossing to fall into my track; or, if that should finally prove only an ana-branch, shut me up in an island. On this point I again, therefore, wrote to Mr. Kennedy, and buried my letter at the spot marked by Graham, and according to marks on trees, as I had previously arranged with him. I then instructed him to examine the dry channel far enough upwards (halting his party for the day) to ascertain whether it was a separate river, or an ana-branch; and, in the latter case, to keep along its banks, and so avoid the possible difficulty of crossing it during rainy weather. Thermometer, at sunrise, 65 deg.; at noon, 70 deg.; at 4 P. M., 66 deg.; at 9, 64 deg.;—with wet bulb, 63 deg.. Mean height above the sea, 586 feet.
26TH APRIL.—Sunday. Corporal Graham returned from the depot camp at 1 P. M. The sky continued cloudy, and the barometer low. High wind from the west arose about 3 P. M. Thermometer, at sunrise, 63 deg.; at noon, 78 deg.; at 4 P. M., 78 deg.; at 9, 56 deg.;—with wet bulb, 53 deg..
27TH APRIL.—The party set off early. We found that a river from the north joined the channel we were about to follow up in its course from the east. The northern river contained water in abundance; and I determined to follow it up so long as the course was favourable, and water remained in it. The general course was much the same as that of the first (about 39 E. of N.). The bed and ponds increased; and after following it up about eleven miles, I encamped the party, and rode northward to ascertain if it was likely to change its course. In ten minutes, I came upon a splendid reach, extending north-west as far as I could see it. Lat. of our camp, 27 deg. 42' 42" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 37 deg.; at noon, 69 deg.; at 4 P. M., 72 deg.; at 9, 57 deg.;—with wet bulb, 55 deg..
28TH APRIL.—Masses of a ferruginous rock extended across the river bed like a dyke, in a N. W. and S. E. direction; and as the river here broke through these rocks, changing, at a sharp angle, its course to the S. W., it seemed probable that the general course from above might be parallel to these rocks. Continuing along the bank, we found the reaches large, full of water; the country clear of scrub and covered with luxuriant grass. One singular flat sweeping round to the W. S. W. was covered with the rich grass PANICUM LOEVINODE. The tropical PEROTIS RARA, a delicate grass, producing long purple tufts of reflexed bristles, was also here observed. The general direction of the river was towards the N. W., and whenever it took any turn towards the east, I continued to travel northward, and thus, on three occasions, came upon its bank again, cutting off detours I must otherwise have described in following its course. We encamped on a beautiful spot, the sight of which would have rejoiced the heart of a stockholder. A fresh westerly breeze blew during the day, and we were as free from the annoyance of heat, as if we had been in England during the same month. Latitude 27 deg. 32' 37" S. The direction of the river's course was uncommonly straight, and its long sweeping reaches, full of water, seemed capable of being rendered available for the purpose of forming water communications. The surface of the adjacent country presented a thin deposit of sand, near the river, attesting the great height to which its waters sometimes rise; and minor features of ground near, showed, in their water-worn sections, that they had been wholly deposited by the river. Thermometer, at sunrise, 39 deg.; at 4 P. M., 69 deg.; at 9, 48 deg.;—with wet bulb, 46 deg..
29TH APRIL.—The tendency of the soft earth of the banks to break into gullies, branching back into impervious scrubs, was such as to prevent me from either seeing much of the river during this day's journey, or pursuing a straight course. At one place I could only follow the grassy margin of the river, by passing between its channel and the berg, all seared as it was with water-worn gullies, and crowned with scrub; but I was soon locked up under these where a bad hole impeded our progress along the river, and I was obliged to back the carts out, the best way I could. While travelling along the margin I perceived a slight current in a gravelly part of the bed. I had previously observed a whitish tinge like that of a fresh in the river water, this day and yesterday, doubtless the product of the late rain, and probably from these clay gullies. After a circuitous journey, we came out on a clear grassy brow over-looking much open country. There I still met with heads of gullies, but could easily avoid them, and after traversing a fine grassy plain, we encamped as near the river as the gullies would allow, in latitude 27 deg. 28' 27". One of the party, John Douglas, from the top of a tree, discovered vast plains in the N. E. extending to the horizon, a river line pursuing a northerly course, and in the N. W. a mass of cloud hung over what he supposed to be mountains. Thermometer, at sunrise, 36 deg.; at 4 P. M., 63 deg.; at 9, 47 deg.; with wet bulb, 44 deg..
30TH APRIL.—Obliged to keep at some distance from the river, I came upon open forest land, where gentle undulations took the place of the rugged gullies. Thus we travelled over a beautiful country, due north, with sufficient indications of the river on our right, in the slopes that all fell to that side. There were ponds in some hollows, and we made the river itself at various parts of our route. At length, where it bit on a high scrubby bank, I again proceeded northward and came upon a large lagoon, sweeping round to S. W. and S. S. W., further than we could see. It had on its surface numerous ducks, and a large encampment of native huts appeared at one end. We encamped by this lagoon, in latitude 27 deg. 20' S. Again vast plains and downs to the N. E. were seen by Dicky, our youngest native, from a tree. Thermometer, at sunrise, 27 deg.; at 4 P. M., 65 deg.; at 9, 43 deg..
1ST MAY.—On leaving the lagoon, passing between its head and the river, we were soon enveloped in a thick scrub of Casuarinae, on ground broken into gullies falling to the river. I tried to pass by the lower margin of this, but gullies in the way obliged me to ascend and seek a passage elsewhere. Forcing our way, therefore, through the scrub and out of it, we found outside of it, in an open forest, the box and Angophora, and could go forward without impediment, first to the N. W., afterwards northward, and N. E. At length the woods opened into fine grassy plains, bounded on the east by trees belonging to the river berg. There I saw still the trees we had so gladly got away from, the Casuarina; also the cheering white arms of the Yarra, or blue gum. The prospect before us improved greatly; fine plains presented a clear way to the northward, with the river apparently coming thence, and even round from the N. W. From a tree, Yuranigh descried hills in the N. E. and the plains extending before us. I also perceived, from the wide plain, a distant low rise to the N. W. We crossed two hollows on these grassy plains, each containing deep ponds, and descended towards what seemed a branch of the river; we encamped near it, in latitude 27 deg. 15' 4" S. As we approached this spot, natives were seen first looking at us, and then running off— Yuranigh said he recognized one of them as a countryman of his own. I endeavoured to make him cooey to them, or call them, but they made off, setting fire to the grass. Any information from natives of these parts might have been very useful to us then, and I hoped they would at length come to us. Thermometer, at sunrise, 26 deg.; at 4 P. M., 67 deg.; at 9, P. M., 48 deg.;—with wet bulb, 46 deg..
2D MAY.—There was a decided difference between the river we were now upon, as well as the country along its banks, and the large river by which we had travelled so far. This was undoubtedly but a small tributary, as its direction seen this day showed, being from the westward, while its waters, meandering in various narrow channels amongst plains, reminded us of some of the finest parts of the south. Which was the principal channel, and which to cross, which to travel by, was rather difficult to determine. The country was very fine. These water courses lay between finely rounded grassy slopes, with a few trees about the water's edge, marking their various courses at a distance. A considerable breadth of open grassy plain, intervened between this river and the woods back from it. At length, sloping stony bergs came near the river's bed, but there the smooth naked water-worn clay was the best ground we could have for wheels, and we thus hugged each bend of the river, passing close to the channel. I hoped thus to find plains on the next change of the river's course. And so it turned out for some way, but the receding bergs guided me, even when only seen at a considerable distance, in shaping my course. Keeping my eye on their yellow slopes, I travelled far along a grassy flat which brought me to a lake containing water like chrystal, and fringed with white lotus flowers. Its western shore consisted of shelving rock. An immense number of ducks floated on its eastern extremity. From this lake, following a grassy flat to the N. W., we at length reached the river, or rather its bed, seared into numerous channels. The lake, and long flat connected with it, appeared to me more like the vestiges of a former channel, than as the mere outlet of surplus waters; nor did it seem that the water is now supplied from the floods of the river. I followed this a few miles further, and then encamped just beyond, where much gravel appeared in the banks. While the men were erecting the tents, I rode some miles to the westward, and found an open iron-bark forest covering it, with much luxuriant grass. This was rather peculiar, as compared with any other part passed through. It was also undulating; and, from a tree ascended by Yuranigh, it was ascertained we were approaching mountains, as he saw one which bore 77 deg., also a hill to the eastward, in which latter direction (or rather in that of 333 deg.), he saw also an open country. Thermometer, at sunrise, 47 deg.; at 4 P. M., 62 deg.; at 9 P. M 57 deg.; mean height above the sea, 694 feet.
3RD MAY.—Natives were heard near our camp during the night, and we perceived the smoke of their fires, in the bushes, behind in the morning. Yuranigh went up to them, accompanied by one of the party bearing a green branch, and he prevailed on three of their tribe to come to our tents. One stood amongst the carts and tents, apparently quite absorbed in observation. Intense curiosity in these men had evidently overcome all their fears of such strangers. They were entirely naked, and without any kind of ornament or weapon, offensive or defensive. With steady fixed looks, eyes wide open, and serious intelligent countenances, what passed in their minds was not disguised, as is usual with savages. On the contrary, there was a manly openness of countenance, and a look of good sense about them, which would have gained my full confidence, could we but have understood each other. They asked for nothing, nor did they show any covetousness, although surrounded by articles, the smallest of which might have been of use to them. There must be an original vein of mind in these aboriginal men of the land. O that philosophy or philanthropy could but find it out and work it! Yuranigh plied them with all my questions, but to little purpose; for although he could understand their language, he complained that they did not answer him in it, but repeated, like parrots, whatever he said to them. In the same manner, they followed me with a very exact repetition of English words. He, however, gathered from them that the lake was called "Turanimga," this river "Cogoon," a hill to the eastward "Toolumba," etc. They had never before seen white men, and behaved as properly as it was possible for men in their situation to do. At length we set out on our journey, and in mounting my horse, which seemed very much to astonish them, I made signs that we were going to the mountains.
Travelling by the river bank was easy, over grassy forest land. The deep ponds were tolerably well filled, but the quantity of water was small, in comparison with that in the Balonne; which the natives seemed to say we had left to the right, and that this was "one of its brothers." Malga scrub crowned the bergs of the river, where they bounded one of these forest flats forming its margin, and the mere sight of that impervious sort of scrub was sufficient to banish all thoughts of making straighter cuts to the north-west. Our course, with the river, was, however, now rather to the west of north-west; and that this was but a tributary to the Balonne, was evident. That river line, as traced by us, pursued a tolerably straight direction between the parallels of 29 deg. and 27 deg., coming round from nearly north-east to about north. For these last three days we had travelled with this minor channel, to the westward of north-west; in which direction I had, therefore, good reason to expect that we should soon find mountains.
As soon as we arrived at an eligible spot for the camp, I proceeded, with Yuranigh, towards a height presenting a rocky face, which I saw through the trees, and seemed distant about two miles. From that crest, I perceived woody ridges on all sides, but all apparently sloping from the south-west; and a misty valley beyond the nearest of them in the northeast, like the line of the Balonne. But the most interesting sight to me then, was that of blue pics at a great distance to the north-west, the object of all my dreams of discovery for years. No white man had before seen these. There we might hope to find the DIVISA AQUARUM, still undiscovered; the pass to Carpentaria, still unexplored: I called this hill Mount First View, and descended, delighted with what I had seen from its rocky crest. The sides were covered with Malga scrub. The rock was felspathic, apparently allied to those already seen in the Balonne. Lat. 27 deg. 2' 57" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 45 deg.; at 4 P. M., 68 deg.; at 9 P. M., 45 deg.;—with wet bulb, 43 deg..
4TH MAY.—An Australian morning is always charming,—amid these scenes of primaeval nature it seemed exquisitely so. The BARITA? or GYMNORHINA, the organ-magpie, was here represented by a much smaller bird, whose notes, resembling the softest breathings of a flute, were the only sounds that met the ear. What the stillness of even adds to such sounds in other climes, is felt more intensely in the stillness of morning in this. "The rapture of repose that's there" gratifies every sense; the perfume of the shrubs, of those even that have recently been burnt, and the tints and tones of the landscape, accord with the soft sounds. The light red tints of the ANTHISTIRIA, the brilliant green of the MIMOSA, the white stems of the EUCALYPTUS, and the deep grey shadows of early morning, still slumbering about the woods, are blended and contrasted in the most pleasing harmony. The forms in the soft landscape are equally fine, from the wild fantastic tufting of the Eucalyptus, and its delicate willow- like ever-drooping leaf, to the prostrate trunks of ancient trees, the mighty ruins of the vegetable world. Instead of autumnal tints, there is a perpetual blending of the richest hues of autumn with the most brilliant verdure of spring; while the sun's welcome rays in a winter morning, and the cool breath of the woods in a summer morning, are equally grateful concomitants of such scenes. These attach even the savage to his woods, and might well reclaim the man of crime from thoughts likely to disturb the harmony of human existence.
Following up the little river with more confidence now, since I had seen whence it came, I proceeded more directly north-west. Thus I found myself on a small creek, or chain of ponds, from the west and southwest, so that I crossed it and made for some open ground, between ridges clothed with dense Malga scrub. We thus crossed a low ridge, and descended towards a fine open country, on which pigeons were numerous, and traces of natives. It was also sloping to the northward, and I had no doubt that we had passed into a valley which I had observed yesterday from Mount First View, and had supposed it contained a larger river. In the open ground, I found a small rocky knoll which I named Mount Minute. From its summit, I recognised Mount First-Sight, bearing 128 deg. 30'. We next passed through some scrub, and came to a hollow full of Acacia pendula. Following this down we arrived at a chain of ponds, and these led to an open grassy valley, in which we found our old friend, the river, still pursuing, steadily, a north-west course. Travelling along the bank, for a mile or two, we found that these now consisted of fine open forest flats; and at length encamped on the margin, after a journey of about twelve miles. Near our camp, I saw natives on the opposite bank, first standing in mute astonishment, then running away. I held up a green bough, but they seemed very wild; and, although occasionally seen during the afternoon, none of them would approach us. We found on the banks of this river, a purple- flowered CALANDRINIA, previously unknown.[*] Lat. 26 deg. 57' 39" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 25 deg.; at 4 P. M., 70 deg.; at 9, 37 deg.;—with wet bulb, 34 deg..
[* C. BALONENSIS (Lindl. MS.); foliis angustis obovato-lanceolatis alternis oppositisque, racemis secundis multifloris caulibus multo longioribus, floribus (conspicuis) polyandris.]
5TH MAY.—The three last nights had been cold, each, in succession, colder than the former. This morning the thermometer stood at 19 deg. E., yet the water was not frozen, nor did our natives, sleeping in the open air, seem to feel it. Hence, it was obvious that, in a dry atmosphere, extreme cold can be more easily borne than in one that is moist. So, also, in the opposite extreme of heat and drought, we had been so accustomed to a higher temperature than 100 deg. F., that any degree under that felt refreshing. Our journey this day by the side of the little river was still very straight towards the N. W. We met with rocks at the westerly bends; from which side it was also joined by a small tributary, with ponds and hollows containing marks of flood, and beds of the POLYGONUM ACRE. Still, however, the main channel could be distinguished from these, and the open forest flats along its banks became more and more extensive and open as we ascended this channel,—leading so directly where we wished to go.
Hills were occasionally seen back from it, chiefly covered with scrub, but some were grassy and seemed fit for sheep. Others were clothed with callitris, and there the woods were open enough to be travelled through. I rode to the summit of one and recognized two of the points seen from Mount First Sight. At one sharp turn of the river rugged rocks had to be removed to make a way for the carts, but this was soon done. Beyond, there was a noble reach of water in a rocky bed, traversed by a dyke of felspathic rock, which exhibited a tendency to break into irregular polygons, some of the faces of which were curved; its strike was E. and W. We encamped on open forest land in lat. 26 deg. 54' 16" S. It was only during the last two days that I could perceive in the barometer, any indication that we were rising to any higher level above the sea than that of the great basin, in which we had journeyed so long, and the difference was still but trifling, as indicated by not more than six or seven millimetres of the Syphon barometer; our actual height above the sea being 737 feet. Thermometer, at sunrise, 19 deg.; at 4 P. M., 67 deg..
6TH MAY.—The banks of the Cogoon became more open, and the slopes less abrupt as we advanced. They frequently consisted of a mixture of sand, at a height of twenty feet above its bed; where it occupied a section of considerable width, as much, perhaps, as 100 yards between bank and bank. On these rounded off banks or bergs of forest land, Youranigh drew my attention to large, old, waterworn, trunks of trees, which he showed me had been deposited there by floods. As they were of a growth and size quite disproportioned to other trees there, I was convinced that they were the debris of floods; and, consequently, that a vast body of water sometimes came down this channel. This native was taciturn and observant of such natural circumstances, to a degree that made his opinion of value in doubtful cases. Such, for instance, as which of two channels, that might come both in our way, might be the main one; thus my last resource, when almost "in a fix," was to "tomar el parecer," as they say in Spain, of this aboriginal, and he was seldom wrong. At length, the cheering expanse of an open country appeared before us, and a finely shaped hill, half-covered only, with bushes. On reaching an elevated clear part, I saw extensive downs before me. The river turned amongst woods to the eastward, and I continued on our route to the north, sure of meeting with it again, as some fine forest ridges hemmed in the valley to the eastward. Besides the hill already mentioned (which I named Mount Inviting), there was a curious red cone some miles to the westward, crowned with a bit of rock, on which I longed to plant my theodolite. After crossing the plain, we entered an open scrub of Acacia pendula which gradually changed to an open forest, within which I met with a chain of ponds, and encamped in lat. 26 deg. 46' S. I immediately set out, with a man carrying my theodolite, for Mount Red Cap, distant from our camp about six miles. This little red cone had a very singular appearance, as we approached it from the east. A dark tinted scrub of flat-topped trees enveloped its base, on the outside of which the light and graceful Acacia pendula also grew on the grassy plain. I found the red rock to be the common one of the country, in a state of decomposition. It was hollowed out by some burrowing animal, whose tracks had opened ways through the thick thorny scrub, enabling us to lead our horses to near the top. From the apex, I obtained an extensive view of the country then before us, in many parts clear of wood to the verge of the horizon, and finely studded with isolated hills of picturesque form, and patches of wood. Looking backward, or in the direction whence we had come, our valley appeared hemmed in by more continuous ridges; and, towards the extremity of them, I could just recognise Mount First View, this being one of the distant cones I had seen from it. I took as many angles as the descending sun permitted, and then retraced our horses' tracks to the camp. Thermometer, at sunrise, 20 deg.; at 9 P. M., 47 deg.. Height above the sea, 747 feet.
7TH MAY.—Pursuing a N. W. course, we crossed a fine tract of open forest, then a plain, beyond which we entered a scrub of Acacia pendula, in which pigeons and quail were very numerous. Turning northward, now anxious again to see the river, on approaching this open country, we found what we considered the highest branch of it, in a chain of ponds skirting the wood bounding the plains. Halting the party, I continued my ride a mile and a half further northward, to the summit of a clear ridge. From thence I saw an open country to the northward, with some little wood. On my right, or to the eastward, a double topped hill sate in the centre of this fine open country, and from the abundance of good pasturage around it, I named it Mount Abundance. We continued still to follow the now attenuated channel upwards, and found it to come from the west, and even south-west, leaving the extreme corner of the open downs, and leading us into a scrub. There, it formed two branches, in neither of which could we find any water, and had consequently to return to the last of its ponds, situated exactly at the close of the open country towards the S. W. There, we encamped in latitude 26 deg. 42' 27" S., thankful that we had been enabled by its means to advance thus far, and to discover so fine a tract of country as that watered by it. Thermometer, at sunrise, 48 deg.; at 4 P. M., 68 deg.; at 9, 30 deg..