Journal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical Australia
by Thomas Mitchell
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8TH MAY.—This morning Fahrenheit's thermometer stood at 21 deg. in my tent, a degree of cold I should never have expected to have seen indicated from my own sensations, or from the state of the pond, which was not frozen, neither was there any hoar frost. The sun rose in splendour; pigeons cooed, and birds were as merry as usual in the woods. The business of the day was most exciting; I was to ride over the fine open country to the westward of Mount Abundance, and there look still for a higher branch of the river, or A river; confident that so fine a region could not be deficient in water, but more confident from what I had seen of the range to which we had approached so near. Riding to the N. N. E. in about two hours we came upon the identical river we had so long followed up. It was accompanied, as usual, by the Acacia pendula; had its rounded bergs; reedy water holes; and an open strip along the left bank. Crossing it I rode over towards an elevated part of the open downs, in hopes to obtain a sight of what the country was beyond, but I found that to be impossible, as it seemed boundless. So, turning, I ascended an elevated north-eastern extremity of Mount Abundance, and from it beheld the finest country I had ever seen in a primaeval state. A champaign region, spotted with wood, stretching as far as human vision, or even the telescope, could reach. It was intersected by river lines from the north, distinguishable by columns of smoke. A noble mountain mass arose in the midst of that fine country, and was so elongated in a S. W. and N. E. direction, as to deserve the name of a range.

A three-topped hill appeared far to the north of the above, and to the S. E. of the first described, another mass, also isolated, overlooking that variegated land of wood and plain. To the S. E. of all these, the peaks of a very distant range were just visible. I determined to name the whole country Fitzroy Downs, and to identify it, I gave the name of the Grafton Range to the fine mass in the midst of it. In hopes of obtaining an elevated view over the country to the westward, I endeavoured to ascend the northern summit of Mount Abundance, but although the surface to near the top was tolerably smooth, and the bush open, I was met there by rugged rocks, and a scrub of thorny bushes so formidable as to tear leathern overalls, and even my nose. After various attempts, I found I was working round a rocky hollow, somewhat resembling a crater, although the rock did not appear to be volcanic. The trees and bushes there were different from others in the immediate vicinity, and, to me, seemed chiefly new. It is, indeed, rather a curious circumstance, but by no means uncommon, that the vegetation on such isolated summits in Australia, is peculiar and different from that of the country around them. Trees of a very droll form chiefly drew my attention here. The trunk bulged out in the middle like a barrel, to nearly twice the diameter at the ground, or of that at the first springing of the branches above. These were small in proportion to their great girth, and the whole tree looked very odd. These trees were all so alike in general form that I was convinced this was their character, and not a LUSUS NATUROE. [A still more remarkable specimen of this tree was found by Mr. Kennedy in the apex of a basaltic peak, in the kind of gap of the range through which we passed on the 15th of May, and of which he made the accompanying drawing.]

These trees grew here only in that almost inaccessible, crater-like hollow, which had impeded me in my attempt to reach the summit.[*] Leaving the horses, however, I scrambled through the briars and up the rocks to the summit, but found it, after all this trouble, too thickly covered with scrub to afford me the desired view to the westward, even after I had ascended a tree on the edge of the broad and level plateau, so thickly covered with bushes. On returning and descending eastward towards the open country, I found a much more practicable way down than that by which I had ascended. Returning to the valley of the Cogoon, I passed between the two summits, and found a good open passage to the westward between the brigalow. Thermometer, at sunrise, 20 deg.; at noon, 70 deg.; at 4 P. M., 68 deg.; at 9, 30 deg.. Height above the sea 1043 feet.

[* This remarkable plant constitutes a new and very curious genus of Sterculiads. It agrees with STERCULIA in the position of the radicle with respect to the hilum, but it is, otherwise, a BRACHYCHITON, with which it more especially corresponds in the singular condition of the seeds. These are placed, six together, in the interior of long-stalked, ovate, mucronate, smooth, deep brown follicles, of a tough papery texture, and lined with a thin fur of stellate hairs. The seeds themselves are also closely covered with starry hairs, which are so entangled that they hold the seeds together firmly; these hairs, however, are absent from the upper half of the seed, whose thin brittle vascular primine is shining, smooth, and marked with a brown nipple, the remains of the foramen. Within the primine lies the bony crustaceous secundine, which is quite loose, and seems as if it were independent of the primine. Eventually the end of the thin brittle primine breaks like an eggshell and the secundine falls out. The seeds themselves, remaining attached to each other and to the follicle, resemble six deep cells, or may be rather compared to half a dozen brown eggshells, placed on the broad end, from which the young have escaped through the point.

Sir Thomas Mitchell has named the genus after Sir Henry T. De la Beche, as president of a Society which has greatly encouraged him in his Australian researches; and in honour of a science which has occasionally thrown some light on his dark and difficult path. It may be scientifically described as follows:—


CHAR. GEN. CALYX 5-fidus, valvatus. ANTHEROE congestae. STYLI. ... STIGMATA. ... FOLLICULI coriaceo-papyracei, 6-spermi, longe stipitati, intus stellato-pubescentes. SEMINA albuminosa, albumine bipartibili cotyledonibus foliaceis parum adhaerente, pube stellari basi vestita, inter se et fundo folliculi cohaerentia; PRIMINA laxa, tenui, fragili, apice foramine incrassato notata, SECUNDINA crustacea, demum libera chalaza magna circulari notata. EMBRYONIS radicula hilo contraria.


ARBOR grandis, trunco in dolii speciem tumescente. LIGNUM album, laxum, mucilagine repletum, vasis porosis (bothrenchymate) maximis faciem internam cujusque zonae occupantibus, radiis medullaribus tenuibus equidistantibus. FOLIA lineari-oblonga, acuminata, integerrima, in petiolum filiformem ipsis duplbreviorem insidentia, subtus pallida et quasi vernice quadam cinerea obducta. INFLORESCENTIA axillaris, trichotoma, tomentosa, foliis brevior. CALYX valvatus, utrinque tomentosus.

The wood of the tree has a remarkably loose texture: it is soft, and brittle, owing to the presence of an enormous quantity of very large tubes of pitted tissue, some of which measure a line and half across; they form the whole inner face of each woody zone. When boiling water is poured over shavings of this wood a clear jelly, resembling tragacanth, is formed and becomes a thick viscid mass; iodine stains it brown, but not a trace of starch is indicated in it. No doubt the nutritious quality of the tree is owing to the mucilage, which is apparently of the same nature as that of the nearly allied Tragacanth tree of Sierra Leone (STERCULIA TRAGACANTHA).

It is not a little remarkable that the barrel-like form of the trunk should be almost exactly paralleled by another Sterculiad, the CHORISIA VENTRICOSA of Nees, called by the Brazilian Portuguese PAO BARRIGUDO. It seems, however, that a tendency to a short lumpish mode of growth is common among the order, as is indicated by the Baobab of Senegal, which is almost as broad as it is long, and the great buttress trees, or Silk- Cottons of tropical America.—J. L.]

9TH MAY.—The thermometer stood at 19 deg. in my tent this morning, yet no ice appeared on the adjacent pool; for this reason, we named that branch of the river Frosty Creek. In order to leave a more direct track for Mr. Kennedy to follow with the drays, I made the carts return about two miles to the spot where we first made these ponds. There I had a trench cut across the track to the camp we had quitted, and also buried a letter for Mr. Kennedy, in which I instructed him to avoid that detour which might have otherwise led him into scrubs. We then prolonged our track from the south, northward across the open downs. I travelled in the direction of the meridian, and most of our route, this morning, marked a due north line. We came, at length, upon a watercourse which I took for our river, as the banks were finely rounded, the ponds full of water, and the woods quite open. The scenery was parklike and most inviting. The watercourse, soon, however, dwindled into a mere chain of ponds, and these at last were found to contain no water, when we had completed our day's journey. Open downs surrounded us, and fortunately I could still distinguish my rocky position of yesterday, where I had noted that the general direction of the river channel we had now again left, bore N. W. We were still much to the southward of the line so observed, apprehending, as I did think then, that some tempting plains might take us too far along some western tributary. Riding in search of water, I perceived a column of smoke to the northward; and, taking the party in that direction, we found, in the first valley we fell in with, a chain of ponds, and in one of these water enough for our use, whereupon I gladly encamped. This day we discovered a new EUCALYPTUS which casts its bark in small angular pieces.[*] Latitude, 26 deg. 33' 34" S. Thermometer, at 4 P. M., 74 deg.; at sunset, 63 deg.. Height above the sea, 1299 feet.

[* E. VIMINALIS (Hook. MS.); foliis alternis glaucis lineari-lanceolatis breviter tenuiter petiolatis subfalcatis utrinque acuminatis reticulatovenosis, nervis lateralibus marginem prope, racemis paucifloris axillaribus, calyce turbinato in pedicellum brevem attenuato.]

10TH MAY.—Continued nearly northwards, over fine open forest land. The sprinkling of mountains of peculiar forms here and there, and the open country, which showed a bluey distance, were new features in the scenery, and most pleasing to us, so long accustomed to travel through a level woody country. The visible possibility of overlooking the country from any eminence, is refreshing at all times, but to an explorer it is every thing; besides he is not half so much in danger of wanting water, when in the neighbourhood of mountains: with these sentiments I went forward this morning, even although rather despairing of seeing more of our friendly river. We crossed two chains of dry ponds, apparently some of its highest sources. Still I travelled steadily towards a fine mountain before us, over open downs, but with scrubs on either side. Reaching a dry bushy hill S. E. of the mountains, about the time we should have encamped, I perceived that the country sloped most to the eastern side of it, which was rather out of my course; for the sake of finding water more readily I got into a water-course falling that way, and followed it down. This, opening soon into grassy flats, enabled us to avoid the scrubs. The welcome white-trunked Eucalyptus next over-hung the holes of the water- course, and the valleys spread into beautiful open plains, gracefully fringed with Acacia pendula. Still, the ponds were dry. I crossed a bare grassy eminence, and, where several channels met, I saw luxuriant white trunks; heard and saw many cockatoos of the same colour (PSITTACUS GALERITUS); and found there an abundant pond of water, beside which we encamped. On some of the Eucalyptus trees grew a beautiful Loranthus, which was new to us; it proved to be one formerly discovered by the indefatigable Allan Cunningham, but only now described by Sir William Hooker.[*] Thermometer, at sunrise, 28 deg.; at 4 P. M., 76 deg.; at 9, 38 deg.;— with wet bulb, 34 deg..

[* L. NUTANS (All. Cunn. in Hook. Herb.) totus incano-glaucescens, foliis oblongis ellipticis sublanceolatis obtusis coriaceis obscure trinerviis tenui-rubro-marginatis basi in petiolum mediocrem attenuatis, pedunculis axillaribus longitudine petiolorum racemosis compositis, floribus ternis nutantibus, calycibus globoso-campanulatis ore contracto, petalis linearibus.—Two varieties, a narrow-leaved and a broad-leaved, were subsequently discovered; that now described was the narrow-leaved form.]

11TH MAY.—I ascended the mountain accompanied by two men with axes, and one carrying my theodolite. The summit was covered with thick scrub interlaced with vines, but my horse could push his way almost any where. I fortunately found a rock near the summit, and, on throwing down a few of the trees about it, obtained an extensive view over the country to the northward. Open downs surrounded the mountain. Beyond these, valleys, also clear of trees, or thinly wooded, fell on one side to the S. E., on another side, other valleys fell to the N. W., leaving a rather elevated tract between; which appeared to connect this mountain with a range just dimly visible, bearing nearly north. The valley descending towards the N. W., seemed to me to be the head of a river likely to pass through a remarkable gap in a flat range, beyond which the view did not extend. To the westward a woody, and rather level country appeared, from which I thought I saw ridges, with plains or downs between them, descending towards the N. W. river.

Anxious to discover the division of the waters, I carefully levelled my theodolite and swept the northern horizon, but found, to my surprise, that the country to the westward was lower than the hill on which I stood, and that the ridge northward with the gap in it, was lower still, the only greater elevation visible being the lofty mass bearing about due north. Could this be all the obstruction I was prepared to open a pass through? Could the hidden mystery of the division between the northern and southern waters be here? Far in the east, a river line was evident from columns of smoke, as well as from the termination of various lateral ranges, between my position and the great mountain to the northward. That was, probably, still the Balonne falling southward. Here I had found an interior river that would, at all events, lead north-west, and this I resolved to follow. On this mountain there grew, in several spots, the remarkable trees I had first seen on Mount Abundance; some of them much resembling bottles, but tapering near the root. On descending and returning to the camp, which was about five miles from the hill, I found eight natives, who had come frankly forward to the party during my absence. I was very glad to see them, and gave to an old man, a tomahawk to express my sentiments, and welcome the strangers, for little could be understood by our native, of their speech, or by them, of his. We did, however, make out from them, that the hill I had just returned from, was "Bindango;" its lesser brother to the westward of it, Bindyego; and the ponds or creek beside which we were then encamped, "Tagando;" all very good sonorous names, which I was glad to adopt at once in my notes and map. These natives were coloured with iron-ochre, and had a few feathers of the white cockatoo, in the black hair of their foreheads and beards. These simple decorations gave them a splendid holiday appearance, as savages. The trio who had visited us some days before, were all thoughtful observation; these were merry as larks, and their white teeth, constantly visible, shone whiter than even the cockatoo's feathers on their brows and chins. Contrasted with our woollen-jacketted, straw- hatted, great-coated race, full of work and care, it seemed as if nature was pleased to join in the laugh, at the expense of the sons of art. Sun never shone upon a merrier group of mortals than these children of nature appeared to be. One amongst them was a fine powerful fellow, whose voice sounded so strongly, that it seemed as if his very whisper might be heard half a mile off. The old man remained by our fire all night; the others who, as I understood, were all his sons, had departed about 11 P. M., having left their gins in the vicinity. Thermometer, at sunrise, 22 deg.; at noon, 76 deg.; at 4 P. M., 59 deg.; at 9, 35 deg..

12TH MAY.—I took a ride in the direction where I hoped to find a river flowing towards the interior, according to my observations at Mount Bindango. I rode over an open plain, or open forest country, soon found the dells marked by water-courses, and, at length, the channel of a river, with the Yarra trees. Following this new channel downwards a short way, I found the beds of the ponds moist, and seven emus, running from one a-head of me, first indicated the situation of a large pond; from which three wood-ducks also waddled away as I approached it. This water was only fifteen miles from where I had left the party encamped, to which I hastened back with the tidings of a discovery that was likely to expedite so much our momentous journey. Thermometer, at sunrise, 30 deg.; at noon, 81 deg.; at 4 P. M., 59 deg.; at 9, 52 deg.;—with wet bulb, 51 deg.. Height above the sea, 1168 feet.

13TH MAY.—I buried a letter here for Mr. Kennedy. This day the party crossed the dividing ground, which I found to be elevated only 1563 feet above the sea, and consisting, as already stated, of fine open grassy downs, sprinkled with Acacia pendula and other shrubs. One or two knolls projected, however, and resembled islands in a sea of grass. I rode to one and found it consisted wholly of trap-rock in nodules. This was the first trap I had seen during the journey beyond the Barwan, and from their aspect I thought that other minor features of the mountains Bindango and Bindyego, which I had not leisure to examine then, also consisted of this rock. The little knoll I did visit, was about one hundred yards in diameter at its base on the plains, and was covered with trees wholly different from those in the adjacent forest, namely, CALLITRIS PYRAMIDALIS, EUCALYPTUS (Iron-bark species), etc. We next descended to a separate system of drainage, apparently falling to the north-west. Instead of following rivers upwards, as we had hitherto been doing, and finding them grow less, or taking a tributary for a main channel, we were now to follow one downwards, with the prospect of finding it to increase as we proceeded. The relief from the constant apprehension of not falling in with water was great, as each day's journey was likely to show additional tributaries to our new found river, and, of course, to augment the supply. The old native at Tagando, had pointed much to the north-west, frequently repeating the word "MARAN;" whether that was, or what was, the name of this river, remained to be ascertained. A sweet breeze from the N. W. met us as we descended the slopes, and thus it was that white men first passed in that direction, "AL NACIMIENTO DE LA ESPECERIA." Thermometer, at sunrise, 26 deg.; at noon, 75 deg.; at 4 P. M., 64 deg.; at 9, 43 deg.. Height of camp above the sea, 1226 feet.

14TH MAY.—The left bank of the river being rather steep and broken, I crossed it, determined to pursue a N. W. course, so long as I found the country open, thinking I might easily fall in with the river about the time I wished to encamp, believing its course would be towards the gap. We passed through some scrub, but chiefly over good forest land. When we had travelled on about ten miles, I saw hills nearly clear of wood before me, and halted the party while I went forward to look at the country in that direction. I soon overlooked a deep dell, full of the richest grass, and wooded like a park. The fall of the enclosing ranges showed me, however, that our river might be further to the westward than I had thought at all likely. On returning to the party, I found they had been called to by natives in our rear, one of whom was formally seated in advance, prepared for a ceremonious interview; and I accordingly went forward to him with the green bough, and accompanied by Yuranigh. We found him in a profuse perspiration about the chest, (from terror, which was not, however, obvious in his manner,) and that he had nothing at all to say to us after all; indeed his language was wholly unintelligible to my native, who, moreover, apprised me that he was the big bully from the tribe at our former encampment, then distant some twenty-five miles. He handled my hat, asked for my watch, my compass, and was about to examine my pockets, when Yuranigh desired him to desist, in a tone that convinced him we were not quite at his mercy. I thought he said that the river was called the "Amby," and something about the "Culgoa!" It then, for the first time, occurred to me, from a gesture of this man's arm, that this might be only a tributary to the Culgoa after all. We bade him adieu as civilly as we could, but he hung upon our rear for a mile or two, and I perceived that he had brought with him his whole tribe after us. Nothing more unfortunate can befall an explorer, than to be followed by a wild tribe like this, as I had experienced in former journies. The gift of the tomahawk had done all this mischief, and how it would end, was a thought which caused me some anxiety. The tall savage had set his heart upon our goods and chattels, and it was not in human nature for him to desist from his aggressive purpose, if we could not, in some way, contrive to cheek the pursuit. I knew instinctively, by the first sound of a loud whisper of his at "Tagando" at night, near our tents, that there was no music in this man's soul. We soon arrived at a ridge of ferruginous sandstone, whereof the strike tended S. S. W. and the dip was to the eastward. A gradual ascent brought us to the verge of a low ridge, which was steep towards the N. W., and a rocky knoll (of red sand-stone) afforded me a view of the gap I had seen from Bindango, and hills about it. I perceived, with great disappointment, that the structure of the country was not according to my anticipations. The river course seemed marked out by plains far to the south-west, and all the valleys and watercourses fell FROM the gap in that direction, and not TO the gap. Still the country about that opening looked very inviting. Picturesque hills, clothed with grass and open forest, especially on their summits, and dells between them, yellow or red with rich ripe grass, indicated a spot of the finest description; and through the gap lay my destined line of route, to the north-west, river or no river. Just then, however, we wanted water, but on following a little channel about a mile downwards, we found in it a spacious pond, and encamped. I rode three miles further down this channel, which there turned SOUTHWARD, so that I despaired of my newly discovered river Amby being of any further utility now; but I was almost convinced that it would have brought me into this very country, had I come round by Fort Bourke. Latitude 26 deg. 17' 8" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 35 deg.; at 4 P. M., 80 deg.; at 7 P. M., 71 deg.; at 9, 48 deg.. Height above the sea, 1150 feet.

15TH MAY.—My servant Brown drew my attention, early this morning, to natives occasionally peeping at us from a hill overlooking our camp. Some time after, I perceived a figure resembling a large black quadruped, with head erect like a lion, prowling about, amongst the long grass beside my after breakfast tree. Taking my glass, I recognized the identical big savage of yesterday.

Hamlet might here have exclaimed—

"What a piece of work is man! ... ..... how infinite in faculties! In form and action how like a QUADRUPED! In apprehension, how like a DEVIL!"

There the fate of Mr. Darke[*] doubtless awaited me; and this was to be the result of my spontaneous gift of a tomahawk to the old man! This savage had evidently been watching us all night, and his party were concealed behind the hill. Our only remaining little dog, Procyon, had been very restless during the night, when these people were, probably, drinking at the pond near us. My rifle (fortunately I now think) was in the case, but I fired a carbine so that the fellow should hear the bullet whistle near him into the long grass; and at the same time shouted, expressive of my disgust at his conduct, making the men join in a loud JEERING cheer as he galloped off, still on all-fours, towards his camp. My horse was standing saddled for a ride of reconnoissance in a different direction, and, as it was not desirable that these people should know either where I went, or even that I was absent, I took this opportunity of frightening them away from our rear, and covering my ride the other way. With this intention, I immediately mounted, rode first to the tree, with my rifle in hand, and, accompanied by one of the men and Yuranigh, both mounted, I next examined their camp behind the hill, whence I found that a great number had just retired, leaving even their opossums still roasting on the fire;—they having, in a very brief interval, by rapid strides, retired to a considerable distance, where I heard their shouts in the woods, calling their gins together for a precipitate retreat— aware that we were now justly offended. I then set out, passing behind some hills on the opposite side of our camp, and proceeded with the business of the day, through woods in an opposite direction. I found a low flat-topped range, extending nearly W. N. W., and consisting of black ferruginous sandstone. It was broad and of peculiar structure, so that it might well have been considered a dividing feature. Parallel to it on the south, a line of pointed hills of trap or basalt, extended so as to give birth, in the valley intervening, to the watercourse by which we were encamped. On one of these Mr. Kennedy afterwards found the Bottle tree, represented at page 154. I at length reached the gap in this range, and in it discovered a most favourable and curious opening to the country westward. Passing, then, into that region, I eagerly sought a watercourse, soon found one, and followed it down to Yarra trees and dry ponds; its first direction having been, as usually remarked in the commencement of various other channels, to the N. W. Following this downwards, I found the valley to improve, and two retreating emus drew our attention to a particular spot, where we found water, at length, in a pond. But the course of this little river had come round to S. W., and the ridges enclosing its tributaries from the eastward, being apparently in the same direction, I was still rather at a loss, but determined to bring forward my little party to this pond, and then to reconnoitre the country beyond. The XEROTES LEUCOCEPHALA was just coming into flower, and the country seemed to contain much good grass. Thermometer, at sunrise, 38 deg.; at noon, 82 deg.; at 4 P. M., 82 deg.; at 9, 43 deg..

[* This gentleman was killed by natives when obeying the calls of nature behind a tree.]

16TH MAY.—We pursued a tolerably straight and level route with the carts, from the camp to the Pass. The trap hills appearing successively on the right hand, rendered the scenery more than ordinarily picturesque, while the probable future utility of this pass, gave them still more importance in my estimation. We found a more direct route than along the creek, to my pond of yesterday, where we encamped, thankful to find water at such a convenient distance, during such a dry season. Lat. 26 deg. 15' 24" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 27 deg.; at 4 P. M., 83 deg.; at 9, 49 deg.. Height above the sea, of the Pass, 1458 feet;—of this camp, 1256 feet.

17TH MAY.—Another reconnoissance seemed indispensable, before I could move the carts. Taking the direction of an opening in the sandstone ranges before us, I found that our little creek turned (as I hoped it would), to the W. and N. W., having on all sides broken ranges enveloping valleys of good open forest land. Some of the tops of these ranges were clear of timber, and bore a heavy crop of grass. I ascended one, and found it was capped with trap rock in amygdaloidal nodules. This height afforded me an extensive view northward, where the country appeared to be chiefly flat and thinly wooded. A low range of hills broke the horizon, and presented some favourable points, and I thought I could trace the course of our little river, through an extensive intervening woody flat. I descended from the hill, and followed the little river down, but could find no more water in its ponds. There were the Yarra trees, and fine grassy flats on its banks; and I came to a fine looking piece of rising ground, on the right bank, where the grass was on fire. We sought the inhabitants of the woods, but could discover none. I now found our creek turning towards the south, and that its channel disappeared in a spacious open flat. While thus perplexed, and under an apprehension that our further progress northward in such a season would be found impossible, I perceived a dense line of trees, skirting a grassy flat, and rode towards it, observing, that any where else I should have said we were approaching a large river. I next perceived steep sloping earthy banks; then, below these, a deep section of rock, and at length, dark green reeds, and the blue surface of extensive reaches of water. I had left my party at a pond that could not have lasted long,—here I saw at once secure, a firm footing thus far into the interior. Whence the river came, or whither it went, was of less importance; thus far we had water. The river was fully as large as the Darling, and I very soon saw that its course was from N. to S.; but in that case, we could, by following it upwards, penetrate far on our way into the interior, and at its sources probably fall in with other streams, flowing where we wished to go. I followed the course downwards about two miles, and passed through native camps just deserted, the water vessels and other gear of the natives having been left suspended on trees near their fires. I found that the river turned sharp under the rocky extremities of sandstone spurs from the S., and that its final course was an enigma not to be solved without much more research. I returned to my camp, glad that I could take the party forward to a permanent supply of water. Thermometer, at sunrise, 29 deg.; at noon, 78 deg.; at 4 P. M. 75 deg.; at 9, 49 deg..

18TH MAY.—Leaving a buried letter for Mr. Kennedy we proceeded to trace, with our cart-wheels, the best route I could find for the heavy drays coming forward with him. The soil was sandy, but in other respects the country was good: consisting chiefly of open forest, and being well covered with grass. Another gap enabled me to pass very directly on to the newly-discovered river, and it seemed that this, and the other gap behind it, were almost the only openings in the ranges from which we had descended. Both led in the direction of our route, and the pond we had just left was ascertained to be the only one in the little channel. I sought a good position for a depot camp on the newly-discovered river, and found one extremely favourable, on a curve concave to the N. W., overlooking, from a high bank, a dry ford, on a smooth rocky bed; and having also access to a reach of water, where the bottom was hard and firm. We approached this position with our carts, in the midst of smoke and flame; the natives having availed themselves of a hot wind to burn as much as they could of the old grass, and a prickly weed which, being removed, would admit the growth of a green crop, on which the kangaroos come to feed, and are then more easily got at. Latitude of this camp, 26 deg. 12' 47" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 40 deg.; at 4 P. M., 78 deg.; at 9, 57 deg..

19TH MAY.—I could now venture to halt a day without any apprehensions about leaving sufficient water for the party who were following us; and I had recently obtained many angles I wished to put together, in order to learn the character of the country, which required much study. That I should have overlooked an extensive country, without perceiving any indication of a large river flowing through it, almost at my feet, seemed a singular circumstance, and I was still as little aware of its ultimate course. I found on laying down my work on paper, that the chief elevations ran, in a continuous line, nearly due north from Mount Red Cap, Bindango, and Bindyego, to the high ranges nearer the coast. That the nascent stream on the western side of Bindango (the Amby), and flowing first N. W., turned towards the S. W. within a range of basaltic rock, which was a branch from the main stem between Bindango and the northern range. Thus, upon the whole, this seemed but one side, and that the south-eastern, of the basin of the river we had discovered. Where was the other? The marks of flood were not high. The waters were full of fish, but they would not take the bait. Thermometer, at sunrise, 46 deg.; at noon, 73 deg.; at 4 P. M., 76 deg.; at 9, 65 deg..

20TH MAY.—The sky was wholly overcast, and drizzling rain afforded us some grounds for hoping that the great impediment to our exploration during this dry season, was at an end. The temperature underwent a sudden change, and this day was the coldest as yet experienced during the journey; the thermometer at noon being only 48 deg.. F. Yuranigh contrived to catch three fishes, of a kind wholly different from those of the rivers in the south; leaving it doubtful, again, whether this river could belong to the system of the Barwan. Thermometer, at sunrise, 53 deg.; at noon, 48 deg.; at 4 P. M., 45 deg.; at 9, 45 deg..

21ST MAY.—The morning being clear, frosty, and serene, induced me to ride towards an elevated point, about thirteen miles to the north-west, in hopes of obtaining a view of more distant mountains. Crossing the river near our camp I met with no obstruction, but found open forests, and a good grassy country throughout; the soil being, however, rather too loose and sandy, for the easy passage of wheel carriages. I crossed three channels of water-courses all dry, but evidently receptacles of water in ordinary seasons. They now contained a most luxuriant crop of oat-grass (Anthistiria). The hill was rocky and open on the summit, the chief trees being very remarkable; especially a species of FICUS, of a unique kind, but not in fruit, closely resembling the English ash; but growing wholly on rock. Bottle trees (DELABECHEA) grew also in a romantic nook, such as they seem to delight in, in the neighbourhood of minor shrubs, equally strange. The rock consisted of a sandstone with vegetable impressions, such as I had never seen on the sandstone of the ranges. From this summit, the crests of very distant ranges appeared to the northward; the highest bearing nearly north, by compass, and apparently distant 70 or 80 miles. The course of the river, or at least of a river, judging by a line of smoke, came from the north-westward, between that mountain, and others to the westward of it. More to the right, or eastward, the horizon presented flat-topped ranges; increasing in elevation as they receded from that side of the country whence we had come. That sort of level horizon seemed always to bound our view to the southward, the little gap was the only relieving blue break in the whole of that side. The eye ranged over a vast extent of country, however, at its base, extending eastward, where open plains or downs shone bright in the remote distance; in which direction, much smoke arose from fires of the natives. I returned from the hill but little wiser than I went, except that I had observed the strata dipping southward, and that we might, therefore, still look for their synclinal line to the northward; and beyond that, for the heads of other rivers. These hills, overlooking the valley of the river, resembled rocky bergs, at a distance of ten or twelve miles west of it. They, however, partly formed a small range, and belonged to an extensive tract of sandstone country; which, on the south, was broken into gullies, falling towards the river. Thermometer, at sunrise, 27 deg.; at noon, 54 deg.; at 4 P. M., 55 deg.; at 9, 30 deg..

22D MAY.—This morning, the thermometer in my tent stood at 20 deg.; and in the open air, at 12 deg.. The river was frozen, and the grass was white with hoar-frost. The soil appearing so sandy in the country before us, I resolved to form a depot with our drays and heavy equipment here, and to await their arrival before I proceeded further with the carts. The spot was eligible in every respect; and in awaiting the arrival of Mr. Kennedy with the drays, I could have time to investigate more extensively the character of the surrounding country. I was, indeed, rather apprehensive that the drays could not reach without difficulty even this point; and I was resolved, on their arrival, to make some arrangement for continuing the journey, without dragging them any further through the heavy sand. It was most irksome, during the finest of weather, thus to be obliged to remain comparatively inactive, in the middle of such a journey, when horses and light carts might have enabled me to have pursued it to a conclusion, without such delays. Thermometer, at noon, 54 deg.; at 4 P. M., 55 deg.; at 9, 27 deg..

23D MAY.—The river seemed to cut its way through rocky ranges, and to receive many tributaries; had, in some places, bergs, and margins of ancient gravel and sedimentary strata; in others, rocky escarps of great height, presented sections of rocks through which it passed. Its further course downwards, seemed accessible for some way from this camp; and, in awaiting the arrival of the drays, I resolved to explore it. With this view, I this day proceeded westward to head the gullies falling to it from the other bank, from the sandstone country already mentioned. I ascended by an extremity of the hill, to the rocky crest without difficulty, or much deviation from my intended course. On reaching the western side of the rough scrubby table of the range, I found the descent gradual, through an open forest: traversed two flats, having in them the Yarra gums, but no water-course, the surface very sandy. Here grew the ACACIA CONFERTA, a small shrub just coming into flower; the XANTHORRHOEA MIMOSA (with rough bark), yellow gum, black-butted gum, iron-bark, and stringy bark. The woods astonished my native companion Yuranigh; who remarked that they were trees belonging to the sea coast at Sydney. But deep rocky ravines prevented me from exploring the country, in the direction in which I should have expected to find the river. At length, we approached a valley, in which was a deep channel with rocky banks; but quite dry, and very sandy. It ran to the southward; in which direction I turned with it, to follow it to its junction with the main river; but it pursued a very tortuous course, and our time did not admit of my going far enough that day, and I returned to the camp, resolved to extend this interesting search on a greater scale subsequently. I had seen, from the furthest point I reached, that the same table land to the southward, extended west; and it therefore appeared to me probable that the river would be found at its base. In the evening we heard, at a short distance from our camp, the songs of females or children; as if the overflowing of their animal spirits. I had seen their smoke in a part of the range I passed this day, to which I feared they had fled on our approach, hearing our guns, and in terror of strangers. I was, therefore, glad to find that they had no longer any dread of us, and had returned to THEIR home, the river bank. These people had no clothing,—the mercury stood at 19 deg. and 20 deg. F.; the means of subsistence open to them, had been scarcely enough to have kept white men alive, even with the aid of their guns. Yet, under such circumstances, and with such strange visitors so close to them, these human beings were so contented and happy, that the overflowings of their hearts were poured forth in song! Such is human nature in a wild state. Their happiness was not such as we could envy; on the contrary, I was so solicitous that we should not disturb it, that, much as I wished to learn the original name of this interior river, and something about its course, I forbade any of the party from taking any notice of these, its original inhabitants. Our last intercourse with the natives, had also taught me to bear ever in mind aesop's fable of the camel. Thermometer, at sunrise, 12 deg.; at noon, 52 deg.; at 4 P. M., 56 deg.; at 9, 32 deg..

24TH MAY.—I proceeded, with two men bearing axes, to a hill about two miles S. W. of our camp, one of the extremities of the range already mentioned, (which I call River Head Range). We passed, at no great distance from our camp, those natives whose song we had heard last evening, but without taking any notice of them, except by slightly waving my hand. One tall female stooped amongst the long grass, and several others, male and female, endeavoured to hide themselves in a similar manner, as they beheld, probably for the first time, a white man on horseback, followed by others bearing a saw and axes. On the summit, grew the Malga tree; which is an acacia of such very hard wood, that I was obliged to be content to cut off the top branches only of a tree on the summit I had endeavoured to cut down, and to erect a sort of platform on the remainder, whence I took my angles. Up the river, there appeared some open plains, and a level horizon, in the direction of its apparent course. Thermometer, at sunrise, 11 deg.; at noon, 65 deg.; at 4 P. M., 67 deg.; and at 9, 30 deg..

25TH MAY.—Protracting the observed angles I endeavoured to fix, if possible, some prominent points, whereby I might obtain some knowledge of the structure of the surrounding country. The result of my work was a conviction that the course of the river was parallel to the projecting extremities of the low range beyond it (River Head Range), and that its basin had extensive ramifications, back amongst the sandstone cliffs on this side. But the course downwards still remained a question, which diminished in its importance, as I discovered the upper course to come from where it was my wish to go. I resolved, nevertheless, while thus awaiting the arrival of the drays, to extend my ride of the 23RD MAY, and ascertain whether it could turn westward under the southern cliffs, the only direction in which it was likely to be available to us, downwards, at this time. Thermometer, at sunrise, 17 deg.; at noon, 70 deg.; at 4 P.M. 68 deg.; and at 9, 38 deg..

26TH MAY.—Taking with me two men and Yuranigh, mounted, I retraced my former track to the westward, and on proceeding beyond the dry river bed, where I had previously been, I entered amongst sandstone gullies, where one grassy flat extended nearly in the direction I wished to pursue; and this brought me to a sort of table-land, covered with an open forest of iron-bark (with the common leaf). The rock consisted here of the same felspathic sort characterising most of the hills of the Barwan basin; the soil sterile, bearing, in lieu of the ordinary grass, the stiff, hard leaved, glutinous TRIODIA PUNGENS. But this was better than scrub, and, further on, I perceived through a forest on the western slopes, the blue distance and yellow plains of an open country. As plains usually accompany rivers, I believed I was approaching the river I was in search of. We crossed a deep watercourse falling to the S.E.b.S., and entered on a noble flat of firm rich soil, whereon grew luxuriantly, the ACACIA PENDULA (not previously seen by us in that region), and the two best kinds of grass, ANTHISTIRIA and PANICUM LOEVINODE. Then we came to a good pond of water, with recent footmarks of natives, and, at about a mile beyond, we reached the open downs. They extended eastward as far as we could see between the range on the S., under which I had expected to find the river, and the rocky country over which we had come. Westward, the downs were bounded by several very picturesque isolated conical hills,— the southern sandy ranges on the S., still continuing westward like a limit to all this interior open country. Yet through that barrier the river had found a course, and instead of its overlooking the river, I found that the ground rose towards it, and I hastened four or five miles further westward, in hopes still to see it beyond the open downs, but I saw nothing like it. Kangaroos showed their heads occasionally amid the long grass: the air was all astir with pigeons, and traces of native inhabitants were numerous. As the sun was then near setting, we hastened back to the pond, and lay down beside it for the night, which happened to be a mild one. Thermometer, at sunrise, 20 deg.; at noon, 72 deg.; at 4 P.M., 71 deg.; at 9, 44 deg..

27TH MAY.—We rode nearly westward towards a conical hill, which I had seen on the evening before, and named Mount Lonsdale. This peak appeared to me then to promise an extensive view to the W. and S.W., and in that expectation I was not disappointed. I also fortunately recognised two of my fixed points, at distances of thirty-two and fortytwo miles respectively, besides an elevated extremity of the continuous range on the S., which I had previously intersected, and here determined to be only five miles off, bearing about S.E.b.S. I could now see not only westward, but to the southward of S.W., for nearly twenty miles over a long flat, containing indeed, a line of ACACIA PENDULA scrub, such as accompanies lines of water drainage, but no river. All the country in sight more to the northward seemed to fall that way, or southward, and although it seemed possible that a cross line of valley and blue mist at the far extremity of the flat might be the river, it was much more probable, from the general slope of the country, that it was only another tributary coming from the north.[*] Such was Yuranigh's opinion too, who alone stood on that peak with me, and who there reminded me of the fate of the rivers Macquarie and Narran, and maintained that rivers were not to be found every where. "Where then is our river, Mr. Yuranigh?" "Bel me know," was the reply. I could soon have found this out, however, had it been an object for our journey northward. It was enough to know then that it did not turn into that interior country, which was open, and looked much lower, and how much further the fine valley extended beyond the twenty miles, an adjacent woody hill prevented me from seeing. The land around me was fair to look on; nothing could be finer than the forms of the hills—half clear of wood, the disposition of open grassy downs and vales—or the beauty of the woods. Water was not wanting, at least there seemed to be enough for the present inhabitants, and to an admirer of nature there was all that could be desired. Deeply impressed with its sublime and solitary beauty, I sketched the scene, and descended from that hill, resolved to follow the river upwards, as more favourable, in that direction, to the chief object of my mission. I named the hill overlooking that lonely dale, Mount Lonsdale, in honour of my valuable geological friend. We reached the depot camp in the evening, and found all well, only that a very tall and powerful native had been reconnoitring our position during the day, from various trees commanding a view of it; probably only from curiosity. These visits, however, always happened to be made, as it would appear, when some portion of the party was absent, as on this occasion. Thermometer, at sunrise, 34 deg.; at noon, 79 deg.; at 4 P.M., 68 deg.; at 9, 59 deg.; with wet bulb, 50 deg..

[* Probably the Nive. See INFRA.]

28TH AND 29TH MAY.—My ride westward had enabled me to intersect more points to the northward; but this was certainly the most intricate country I had ever either to survey or explore; for neither by laying down points on a map, nor by overlooking it from high summits, could I gain a satisfactory knowledge of its structure. Upon the whole, however, I was convinced that the downward course of the river, above our depot camp, was in a favourable direction for the continuation of our journey. The arrival of the drays and the rest of the party was now an important desideratum; for I had resolved to establish them in a dephere, and continue the journey with a smaller party and the horses; the sandy soil beyond the river, appearing almost impassable for the absurdly heavy drays, with which the party had been equipped. They had now had nearly time sufficient to come thus far, making due allowance for sand and other obstructions. In the mean while I determined to extend my reconnoissance northward from a commanding height, distant fourteen miles, and bearing 271/2 deg. E. of N. from my camp. Thermometer, at sunrise, 47 deg.; at noon, 85 deg.; at 4 P.M., 79 deg.: at 9, 65 deg..

30TH MAY.—I proceeded, accordingly, to the hill, over a tract of excellent open forest land, which extended to its base. The summit consisted of trap-rock in nodules, and, towards the highest point, was much broken. On the most elevated part of the summit, grew one of those remarkable trees, first seen by me on Mount Abundance. I had since seen them in various solitary singular situations; two on the Hogs'-back crest of Bindango; two or three near the summit of various other heights. The girth of this was thirty feet at its greatest circumference, and only sixteen at the ground. There was only one companion of the same kind, a very young one, beside this; which in locality, form, and quality, seems to be as remarkable a tree, amongst trees in general, as the kangaroo is remarkable amongst other animals. Of its quality, much, I am sure, remains to be said, when it becomes better known; the wood being so light, moist, and full of gum, that a man, having a knife or tomahawk, might live by the side of one without other food or water; as if nature in pity for the most distressed of mortals, hiding in solitary places, had planted even there this tree of Abundance. The wood must contain a great portion of mucilage, for, on chewing it, it seems to contain as much nutritious matter, as fibre. The pods contain a great number of seeds which are eaten by the natives, and also by many birds; and, from the circumstance of my having found one pod half-eaten by a bird on a rock, the very apex of a lofty summit, the solitary locality of this tree may, perhaps, be considered at least partly owing to its seeds being the favourite food of some birds inhabiting such places, each seed probably requiring to be picked out of the thick shell, in order that it may grow.[*] The view the hill afforded me was most gratifying and satisfactory. I saw again Mounts Bindango, Bindyego and Abundance, to the southward; the cone I had lately visited in the west, (Mount Lonsdale): the course of the river downwards, marked by open plains in the S. W.; and, an extensive rather level country lay to the northward, beyond which, at great distances, the summits of lofty mountains were just visible. Through the wide champagne country intervening, the river's course seemed marked by a line of smoke; a hot wind was then blowing, and the natives are in the habit of burning off the old grass on such occasions. The river seemed to come from the mountains, nearly from the N.N.W.; so that the prospect of finding water in that direction, or towards these mountains, was all I could desire. Here I intersected various lofty distant summits seen on the 21st instant, and could thus connect the whole trigonometrically with back angles to Bindango, Mount Abundance, etc. In the eastward, a range of tabular masses, some almost clear of wood, extended apparently to the coast ranges; and seemed to be also connected with those stretching towards Bindango, and separating the basin of the upper Balonne from this interior country. A hill similar to that on which I stood, but of less height, lay on the interior side of it, having a remarkable conic summit clear of bushes. The valley at the base of these two hills contained a fine crop of ANTHISTIRIA; and there was also a chain of ponds, where natives had been encamped not long before, but in which no water then remained.

[* A new genus, since named DELABECHEA.]

On returning to the camp in the evening, I learnt that soon after I left it in the morning, two natives came boldly up, painted white, bearing, each, several spears and four or five bommerengs. They were followed by two females bearing loads of spears. The men were got immediately under arms, forming a line before the tents, and Corporal Graham beckoned to the natives to halt. They pointed after me, and by very plain gestures motioned to the party to follow me, or to begone. Finding the men before the tents made the same signs to them, and stood firm, the principal speaker edged off towards a man at a distance, in charge of the horses. Graham got between, so as to cover the man and the horses, when they advanced more boldly upon him, quivering their poised spears at him, at a distance of only ten or twelve paces. At length the foremost man turned round, and by slapping his posteriors, gave him to understand by that vulgar gesture, his most contemptuous defiance: this induced the old soldier to discharge his carbine over the head of the savage, who first sprung some feet into the air, and then ran off with all the others. Soon after, the same native was seen creeping up the steep bank, so as to approach the camp under the cover of some large trees, the rest following, and he was again met by our party. He then seemed to recite with great volubility a description of the surrounding territory, as he continually pointed in the course of his harangue to various localities, and in this description he was prompted by the female behind, who also, by rapid utterance and motions of the arm, seemed to recite a territorial description. Finding, however, that his speech made no impression on the white strangers, and that they still beckoned them to depart; he stuck a spear into the ground, and, by gestures, seemed to propose that, on the one side, the ground should be occupied by the strangers, and on the other side, by them. Graham apparently assenting to this, they seemed more satisfied and departed. There were two deep reaches; one above, the other below, our camp. The upper one was deepest, largest, and more remote from our party, and most within reach of the natives. I gave strict orders that no man should go there; nor that the cattle should be allowed to feed there; that it should, in fact, be left wholly to the natives; that no ducks should be shot, that no men should fish there. Nothing could be more reasonable than the proposal of this native, nor more courageous than his appearance before our more numerous party, with his spears and open defiance; and I was determined to take every precaution to avoid a collision with his small tribe, and prevent, during our probably long residence here, our people from doing them any harm. Thermometer, at sunrise, 22 deg.; at noon, 60 deg.; at 4 P.M., 63 deg.; at 9, 31 deg..

1ST JUNE.—The sound of a distant shot about noon, which proceeded from the Doctor firing at a bird, gave us the first notice of the approach of the other party. Soon after, Mr. Kennedy came in, measuring the line; and, subsequently, the drays, and the whole of the men in good health. The cattle had got refreshed without delaying me, and I could now again proceed with a good supply of stores, leaving them again in depot here. Mr. Kennedy had examined the river, about which I had written to him, for twelve miles up, and found that it was a separate river, coming from the N.W., and that in all its bed no water could be found. The tribe of Tagando had been troublesome to him, as I feared they would, after their attempt upon us. The following account of their visit to Mr. Kennedy is from his own notes:—"At 1 P.M., an old native, accompanied by five younger men, approached the camp, each carrying a green bough, and when within forty yards, they sat down in a line, the old man (probably their chief) taking up his position about four yards in advance of the rest. Sir Thomas Mitchell having mentioned, in a communication I received here, that the natives had been friendly to him, I was anxious to preserve that good feeling, but at the same time to keep them at a distance, according to my instructions. I therefore went up to them with a green bough, and endeavoured by signs to make them leave:—finding that of no avail, I presented the chief with an old hat, and gave to each a piece of bread. After they had eaten it, I raised the old man with my right hand, and taking another in my left, I led them away in the direction whence they had come, broke off a green branch, gave a portion to each, and bid them farewell. As the others still remained in STATU QUO, I went through the same ceremony with them until they were all on their path homewards. Having heard nothing more of them for some time, I flattered myself that I had succeeded in giving them a friendly hint that we did not wish them beside us; but I soon discovered my mistake, for at 4 P.M. a large number of natives, accompanied by two or three gins and children, came boldly up and encamped within a few yards of the tents, and two hundred more were reported to me by Mortimer as being at a short distance in their rear. I gave strict orders that no man should go near them, and I mustered the party myself at 8 P.M. Shortly afterwards, three or four natives came down to our fires, and on the men saying that they would not be made to leave, I put my hand upon their shoulders, and shewed them their own camp. One tall young native in particular, wearing an opossum cloak, exhibited a strong inclination to resist. I continued to watch their movements until half-past eleven, P.M. up to which time they were talking very earnestly, continually repeating the words "white fellow." I had not retired to my tent five minutes when I heard Baldock (one of the two men on watch) several times desire the natives to go back, who, as it appeared, would insist on coming forward to our fires. Serjeant Niblet then called me, saying he thought "all was not right," that the natives refused to keep away, and that he had seen the fire sticks of others approaching from several directions. On turning out, I found them making a line of fires within twenty-five yards or less of our tents, and the grass on fire, the old man urging them on in their mischievous work. I called to them in the language of some of the aborigines, to go away quickly, using the words "Yau-a-ca-burri!" but seeing that they still drew nearer with their fires, to the imminent danger of the camp, I desired the men, who by this time had got ready with their arms, to charge them with a shout, but not to fire until they received orders. We succeeded in making them run; when, to add to their alarm, one or two shots were fired in the air. In their haste, they left the old hat I had given them, an iron tomahawk, and a few other implements, behind them, all of which I caused to be left untouched, in order to show them that we had only objected to their intrusion. All being quiet, and the cattle brought close to the camp, I added a third man to the morning watch, and no more was heard of the natives." This was a specimen of the treacherous nature of their mode of warfare, and very characteristic of the aborigines, but by no means so creditable to them, as the conduct of our neighbours at this camp, where the arrival of the other party was likely to convince them still more, that they could not induce us to quit that position, until we thought proper to do so. I had instructed Mr. Kennedy to continue the numbering of the camps; but as the drays could not keep pace with mine, only some of my camps have been so numbered, the others marked being those where his party had passed the night. This depot camp was, thus, No. XXIX, and the numbers of such others of mine as have been marked between this and VIII., shall be added to this journal, and the whole marked on the map. A new species of CALLITRIS appeared among the trees, the ACACIA STENOPHYLLA, and the large leaved variety of ACACIA DECORA, further removed than usual from the common form, and approaching, in some respects, to A. RUBIDA. Among the bushes was the beautiful little A. CONFERTA, remarkable for its little heath-like leaves, and among the grasses was remarked an abundance of a new annual SPOROBOLUS with extremely minute flowers.[*] Thermometer, at sunrise, 18 deg.; at noon, 64 deg.; at 4 P.M., 64 deg.; at 9, 30 deg..

[* S. PALLIDUS (Lindl. MS.) foliis planis glabris ligula nulla nisi squamula quadam, panicula effusa ramis brevibus alternis verticillatisque scabriusculis, paleis truncatis altera 3-nervi altera binervi.]

2D JUNE.—Two half-boats were mounted on frames, and fixed over two of the light carts, and other preparations made for the prosecution of the journey with a small party. My plan was to reduce each man's ration of flower from 7lbs. to 4lbs. per week: to allow a larger quantity of mutton: some gelatine and barley, dried potatoes, etc. With my party, I now proposed to take forward a portion of the sheep, as not requiring carriage, and Mr. Stephenson, a man to assist him, and the shepherd, formed the only addition to the number with which I had advanced to this point. Mr. Kennedy had brought me a dispatch from Commissioner Mitchell, accompanied by some newspapers, in which I read such passages as the following:—"Australia Felix and the discoveries of Sir Thomas Mitchell now dwindle into comparative insignificance." "We understand the intrepid Dr. Leichardt is about to start another expedition to the Gulf, keeping to the westward of the coast ranges," etc., etc. Not very encouraging to us, certainly; but we work for the future. Thermometer, at sunrise, 11 deg.; at noon, 67 deg.; at 4 P.M., 67 deg.; at 9, 30 deg..

3D JUNE.—This day one of the party caught several fishes in the river, which appeared to be of the same species as the Eelfish, or Plotosus tandanus described in the journal of my first journey (Vol. i. p. 95). It is therein stated to be an Asiatic form of fish, on the authority of Mr. Wm. M'Leay, but in other respects this was identical with one in the Barwan. The course downwards of the new river, which we even now believed to be called the Maran, from what we had gathered from the natives, was thus almost proved to be towards the southern rivers. I instructed Mr. Kennedy to employ the party in digging, and fencing in, and daily watering, a garden; also, to make a stockyard wherein to lodge the cattle at night, as this would leave more men disposable for the immediate protection, if necessary, of the camp and stores. I also gave him very particular instructions as to the natives, that no intercourse should be allowed between them and the men; that he should, nevertheless, use them very civilly, and endeavour to obtain some information, if possible, respecting the final course of the Maran, etc. Thermometer, at sunrise, 16 deg.; at noon, 69 deg.; at 4 P.M., 66 deg.; at 9, 34 deg..

Chapter V.


4TH JUNE.—EVERY preparation having been made, I bade Mr. Kennedy adieu, for at least four months, and crossed the Maranwith my party and light carts. It was not without very much regret that I thus left this zealous assistant, and so large a portion of my men, behind, in departing on a hazardous enter prise, as this was likely to be, where the population might be numerous. Anxiety for the safety of the party left, predominated with me, for whatever might be the danger of passing and repassing through these barbarous regions, that of a party stationary for a length of time in one place, seemed greater, as they were more likely to be assailed by assembled numbers, and more exposed to their cunning and treachery. I gave to Mr. Kennedy the best advice I could, and we parted in the hope of a happy meeting, at the period of my return—a hope, I must confess, I could not indulge in then, with any degree of pleasure, looking forward to the many difficulties we were prepared to encounter, and considering the state of my own health.

The sandy bed of the river was difficult to cross with the carts, and delayed us an hour. A different adjustment of the loads was necessary; therefore I was obliged to turn out of my intended route for this day, and go into a bight of the river for water, in making a much shorter journey. This was only of six miles from the depot camp. Amongst the waterworn pebbles in the bed of the river, we found various portions of coal and the rocky sections in parts of the banks resembled its concomitant strata. Thermometer, at sunrise, 16 deg.; at 9 P.M., 40 deg..

5TH JUNE.—The ground was sandy, and several gullies descending to the river occasioned difficulties which tried the mettle of our horses, and convinced me that we now carried too much weight for them. I accordingly sent back Edward Taylor and another man with a note to Mr. Kennedy, and with directions to pick out ten good bullocks, and bring forward one of the drays as soon as possible. We met with various dry channels of tributaries so deep and rocky, that they seemed, at first sight, like the main river. I wished to reach the bank of this, at a favourable point to encamp at, and await the arrival of the expected dray. But there gullies rendered the access difficult. Sand and callitris covered the intermediate ground, and augmented the impediments the horses had to contend with. After crossing three rather important channels, I turned to the N. E., and fortunately came upon the river, where the ground was very open, and the acclivities gentle. The bed of the river was full of water, forming a long reach covered with a red weed, the course from north to south, straight. Height above the sea, 1190 feet. This we marked XXXI., last camp being XXX. Thermometer, at sunrise, 24 deg.; at 4 P.M., 70 deg.; at 9, 43 deg..

6TH JUNE.—Taylor arrived early with a fine team and strong dray, confident in being able to keep up with the carts, and lightly loaded, of course, that he might cross heavy sand, or deep gullies. I employed the time usefully, in adapting Mr. Kennedy's measurements to my map. I had now measured bases, besides those of latitude for my trigonometrical work, and I should not have regretted even a day longer in camp, to have had more time to protract angles, but time was too precious, as my men were voluntarily on very reduced rations. The DODONOEA HIRTELLA of Miquel was the only novelty found here. Latitude 26 deg. 6' 25" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 30 deg.; at noon, 75 deg.; at 4 P.M., 76 deg.; at 9, 50 deg..

7TH JUNE.—We set off at a better pace this morning, and kept it up, as we found the ground firmer, and less broken. Several hollows with water- courses in them, lay in our way, but presented no serious impediment. At length, I saw some of the heads of River-Head Range, and a long ridge appeared before us. On ascending it obliquely, following up the smooth clay floor of a water-course, I found myself gradually entangled in a bad scrub of brigalow and rosewood. After cutting our way through it, for a mile and a half, I sought on the other side for any hollow leading off water, and found one which brought us into an open forest flat with a fine chain of ponds. The Acacia pendula appeared on its skirts; and, at length, abundance of water, also, in the ponds. The grass was so luxuriant near one of these, that I encamped beside it, without seeking the river, to which these ponds seemed adjacent. Thermometer, at sunrise, 36 deg.; at 4 P.M., 85 deg.; at 9, 70 deg. (XXXII.). Height above the sea, 1309 feet.

8TH JUNE.—The country beyond this camp in a northerly direction was very fine. The Acacia pendula, open forests, and gently undulating country intersected by chains of ponds then dry, were its characteristics. At length, we reached the river bank, and could travel along it to the west. Just there, I perceived the junction of a river (perhaps the main channel) from the N. N. W. It seemed full of water, whereas that which I was obliged to follow, being the most westerly, was nearly dry, although its banks were boldly broken, and precipitous. Its course came round even from S. W., and deep ravines and water-courses coming into it, obliged me to travel to the southward of that bearing in order to avoid them. We thus, at length, came into a fine open grassy country, tolerably level, and could resume a north-west course. In that direction, we crossed a water-course from the S. W., and came to another in a deeper valley, where we saw natives, who did not run away. There was a water-hole nearest to our side, and one from which a native was ascending when I approached. I directed the men (having encamped here) to keep the cattle from that water-hole, if possible, anxious to avoid giving any offence on this delicate point to the natives of these forests. Thermometer, at sunrise, 36 deg.; at 4 P. M., 85 deg.; at 9, 70 deg.. (XXXIII.)

9TH JUNE.—The sky being overcast, and rain likely to fall, I considered that the bullocks' necks might be galled by the yokes in wet weather; and, being in some doubt about finding water in the direction in which I wished now to travel, I set out with two men on horseback to explore the country to the N. W., leaving the party to enjoy a day's rest. Little rain fell, and the ride was very pleasant. A perfume like that of hay, but much more fragrant, arose from the moistened vegetation, and I found a beautiful country of open forest with ACACIA PENDULA in graceful clumps. A few miles on, we were suddenly hailed from behind a few bushes, by about twenty-five natives, painted red. We halted and endeavoured to talk to them, but not a word was intelligible to Yuranigh, who was with me. In vain he inquired about rivers, or water, in his language, and in vain they bawled to us in theirs: so, after this unintelligible parley at some distance, (for they would not come close up,) we rode on. We came at length on a sandy country with much Callitris, but the whole surface was undulating, and we crossed several chains of deep ponds, all falling to our right, or eastward; some containing water. At length, I perceived on the right, a deeper valley, and found in it a little river with a rocky bed, and coming from the N. N. W. At two miles further, along my N. W. course, I found it crossed it, coming from W. S. W., and here I turned, well pleased to find an abundant supply of water, and a good country in the best direction for our interior journey. The river ran chiefly on rock, and the water was plentiful. Having returned to the camp, in the evening, after sunset we were called to by a numerous tribe of natives, assembled on the opposite steep bank of the chain of ponds, over which we had encamped. By the particular cooey, I recognised the same party we had seen in the morning. Their language was now loud and angry, and war was evidently their purpose; from experience I judged it best to nip the evil in the bud, and ordered five men under arms, who were first formed in line before the tents, and with whom, at the bugle's sound, I advanced steadily up the opposite bank, as our only reply to all their loud jeering noise. They set up a furious yell on our approach, and advanced to the brow of the cliff, as if prepared to defend it; but as we silently ascended, they fell off, and, by the time we gained the height, they had retired to a considerable distance, still shouting vociferously. Two, however, were seen drawing round our left flank, in a little gully, followed by a female carrying spears. I discharged my rifle over their heads, upon which they hastened to their fellows. On firing another shot over the dark noisy mass before us, they became suddenly quite silent, probably persuaded that we were really in earnest. We marched through their camp, made a feint, by descending into a gully, of coming upon them unawares, and continued there, until silence and darkness secured our peaceful occupation of the ground. Thus I prevented a night of alarms and noise, which might have been kept up until morning, and until they had worked themselves into that sort of frenzy, without which I do not think they have courage to fight Europeans; and having once got their steam up, they were sure to have followed us, and gathered a savage population in our rear. Lat., 25 deg. 54' 17" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 56 deg.; at 4 P. M., 70; at 9, 50 deg.. (XXXIII.)

10TH JUNE.—We advanced at an early hour, crossing Possession Creek, for so we called it (and which proved rather an impediment, until we filled a hollow with logs), and followed my horse's tracks of yesterday. Thus we reached the little river in good time, notwithstanding much heavy sand in the way of our carts, and encamped at the furthest point I had previously visited. Thermometer, at sunrise, 30 deg.; at 4 P.M., 75 deg.; at 9, 39 deg.. Height above the sea, 1240 feet. (XXXIV.)

11TH JUNE.—Keeping along the bank of the rocky river, we were obliged to turn southward, and even S.S.E., such was the direction whence the river came. I therefore encamped the party, after a journey of only 31/2 miles, and proceeded to explore again, towards the N. W. I thus came upon the rocky river where the rock formed a bridge affording an easy means of crossing it, and this I valued more, as being the only passable place I had seen in it, so deep and rocky was the bed elsewhere. The strata at this bridge dipped N. N. E., a circumstance which induced me to travel westward instead of N. W., in hopes to cross thereby sooner, a synclinal line, and so arrive at the sources of some northern river. We passed through some scrub, and attained, by gradual ascent, considerable elevation. The country in general consisted of open forest, and contained grass in great abundance. At nine miles, I came upon a chain of ponds falling northward, and in which were two good ponds of water, whereupon I returned to the camp. Thermometer, at sunrise, 38 deg.; at 9 P.M., 38 deg.. Height above the sea, 1287 feet. (XXXV.)

12TH JUNE.—The rock about the river here was deeply impressed with ripple marks, and also dipped N.N.E. or northward. It consisted of a yellow sandstone in thin strata, covered in some parts with beds of waterworn pebbles. These consisted chiefly of quartz, felspar, and a silicious petrifaction of woody appearance. We proceeded along my horse track of yesterday. In crossing what seemed a principal ridge on which grew brigalow scrub (through which we had, in parts, to cut a way), we came upon a fine specimen of the Bottle Tree (DELABECHEA); near it grew the GEIJERA PARVIFLORA, which did not attain a greater height than 10 feet. I found by the syphon barometer that our height above the sea was here 1579 feet. By the same gauge I found that two other ridges further on were still higher (1587 feet). In the afternoon, the sky became overcast with dark, round, heavy clouds, and in the evening, slight showers fell. Thermometer, at sunrise, 20 deg.; at noon, 74 deg.; at 4P.M., 73 deg.; at 9, 60 deg.. The wind and clouds came from the west.

13TH JUNE.—The line of ponds we were upon might turn to the northward; nevertheless I was unwilling to follow them down, and again lose westing, until I had made another attempt to penetrate to the N. W. The morning was rainy, and, as in such weather travelling was likely to gall the necks of the bullocks, I halted the party, and took a ride in that direction. I encountered much soft sand and scrubs of brigalow, rosewood, and Callitris. Scrubs of the latter were most dense and continuous. I fell in with a goodly little river at five miles; its course there was from S. W. to N. E. Beyond it, I found the country still more sandy, although intersected by one or two water-courses falling to the northward. The furthest one, at fifteen miles from our camp, had in it ponds containing no water. It seemed near the source, and that we had almost reached the crest of some dividing feature. A thunder-storm then burst over us, and the time of day did not admit of going further. I therefore returned, convinced that I could not in that direction make much progress.* Thermometer, at sunrise, 49 deg.; at noon, 57 deg.; at 4 P.M., 54 deg.; at 9, 48 deg..

[* This was unfortunate: it will be seen by the map, that ten miles further would have taken me to the river Warregin a direct line to the head of the river Victoria, avoiding the mountains.]

14TH JUNE.—A drizzling rain continued, and the barometer indicated a change; hence I hoped the rain would last until the water-holes were filled. The day being Sunday, I gave the party another day of rest, and took that opportunity of laying down on my map, the recently discovered rivers and water-courses. It was only after I had done so, that I began to think the water-course we were encamped upon, was worth following down. The evening was clear, and I ascertained the latitude to be 25 deg. 47' 28" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 52 deg.; at noon, 55 deg.; at 4 P.M., 57 deg.; at 9, 38 deg. (XXXVI.). Height above the sea, 1528 feet.

15TH JUNE.—In following down this chain of ponds, we found its channel became a well-formed river, with abundance of water in it, a few miles below our camp. The course thus far was northward; and I saw in one part of it rocks dipping to the westward. I was in expectation that it would have continued northward, when it suddenly turned towards the S.S.W. I thereupon crossed it, and resumed my N.W. course. My path was thus again crossed by our river flowing northward: we had then travelled 121/2 miles, and I encamped on its banks. The whole of the day's journey, with little exception, had been over heavy sand, and, but for the rain that had fallen, it must have greatly distressed the horses and oxen. As it was, they got over it wondrous well. In a pond of this river, Mr. Stephenson caught a great number of the harlequin fish, a circumstance almost proving that this was a tributary to the Maran. We found this day a new narrow-leaved TRISTANIA[*], thirty feet high, with bark thick, soft, and fibrous. A smooth narrow-leaved variety of ACACIA HOLOSERICEA was loaded with spikes of crooked sickle-shaped pods. Among the herbage was observed the TEUCRIUM ARGUTUM of Brown; and the XEROTES LEUCOCEPHALA grew in the light dry sand. Novelty in the plants, animals, and fishes, was now to be expected; the weather was cool and pleasant, and our travelling equipment tolerably efficient. Thermometer, at sunrise, 30 deg.; at 4 P. M., 58 deg.; at 9 P. M., 46 deg. (XXXVII.). Height above the sea, 1827 feet.

[* T. ANGUSTIFOLIA (Hook. MS.); foliis angusto-linearibus mucronatoacuminatis supra glabris subtus subsericeis marginibus arcte revolutis, paniculis terminalibus folio brevioribus calycibusque incano- tomentosis. These specimens were in fruit. It is very distinct from every other species.]

16TH JUNE.—Proceeding nearly north-west, we met with the little river I had discovered a few miles beyond my camp of the 13th and 14th instant. The distance of this point from the camp we had left this morning was about 21/2 miles. We crossed it, and turned to the westward, and even south-west, to avoid it. Over its extreme south-western bend there was a little rocky hill, which I ascended, and thence saw a mountain I had intersected from the high station east of the depot. It now bore 12 deg. west of north, and I directed my course towards it, as well as the country would permit. We crossed several sandy ranges on which the callitris was, as usual, the chief tree, as it was also on the soft heavy sand between them. Occasionally, the lowest parts where water would take its course, consisted of firm clay, and we took advantage of such flats, when their direction was favourable. I was at length under the necessity of encamping on one of these, where there was no water, nor any to be found in it after I had followed it down four miles. In my search for water, I found a curious new PHEBALIUM.[*] Thermometer, at sunrise, 43 deg.; at 9 P. M., 54 deg.. Height above the sea, 1646 feet.

[* P. GLANDULOSUM (Hook. MS.); foliis angusto-lineari-cuneatis retusis canaliculatis marginibus revolutis subtus ramulisque argenteo-lepidotis superne (praecipue) grosse glandulosis nudis, corymbis terminalibus parvis sessilibus fusco-lepidotis, calycibus subtruncatis, petalis ovatis concavis. Allied to P. SQUAMULOSUM and P. ELOEAGNOIDES, but very distinct, especially in the presence of the large semipellucid hemispherical glands, seen more or less in various parts of the plant, but very conspicuous on the upper side of the leaves.]

17TH JUNE.—Pursuing a course in the direction of the mountain already mentioned, I met with much heavy sand on which grew thick forests of callitris, frequently quite impervious to our carts except at open places amongst which we had to wind, as they permitted. The ground was undulating, and there was clay in the hollows, but the direction of these ran across my intended route, falling all to the east-ward. We at length attained what seemed the highest of these ridges, and on the summit I ascertained its elevation to be 1833 feet above the sea. Beyond it, we came to a flat of firmer surface, consisting of clay, and, as we greatly wanted water, I followed it down to the north-east. I found it soon hemmed in by sandstone rocks; but we travelled still on a broad grassy flat which fell into one still broader, through which ran a continuous but dry channel coming from the north-west. After following this downwards about a mile, we crossed towards an opening between the sandstone cliffs beyond it; this opening terminated under shelving rocks. Ascending at another place, with my horse, I found a table-land above, and an open forest country. I succeeded in getting the carts and dray up at a rocky point, and travelled thence E.S.E., anxious now to find the Maran, convinced by a deep ravine on our right, that it could not be far off. We descended by a gently inclined part of the sandstone to a dry watercourse lined with brigalow, and which soon guided us to the river. Here, however, the bed was dry and full of sand, of spacious and uniform breadth, and with grassy sloping banks. The course was towards S.W., and I followed it upwards, in hopes soon to meet with a pond. No water, however, was to be seen, when a rocky precipitous bank before us, and the sun setting in the west, obliged me to encamp the party. I hastened up the dry channel, followed by all the horses and the bullocks. We found some rain water on a level piece of rock, about two miles from the camp, which was scarcely enough for the horses, and afforded a few gallons for our kegs; nor could I find more, although I continued my search upwards until dusk; the bullocks had therefore to pass a second night without drinking. The bed and banks of this river were of very uniform extent throughout; averaging, in width about 100 feet; in height of banks from 30 to 50 feet. The course was straight, and it seemed as if a few dams might have sufficed to render it navigable, or at least to have retained a vast supply of water; for although the bed was sandy, the bottom was rocky, and the banks consisted of stiff clay. These being covered with rich grass, and consisting of good soil, water alone was wanting to make the whole both valuable and useful. Yet this was not so scarce amongst the gullies and tributaries, nor in the channel itself, lower down. I found, growing in the bed, the ALPHITONIA EXCELSA of Reissek, collected by Allan Cunningham and Frazer along the Brisbane and upper part of Hunter's River; also a remarkable kind of Brome grass I had never seen on the Darling. Thermometer, at sunrise, 36 deg.; at 9 P. M., 61 deg..

18TH JUNE.—Drizzling rain had fallen during the night, which greatly refreshed the grass for the cattle. Early this morning, I sent Corporal Graham and another man, up the river, in search of water; and the bullock-driver with his cattle down the river, with orders to go on until he fell in with some. Others of the party were directed to search amongst the rocky crevices nearer to our camp. I set out with Yuranigh for the summit of the mountain already mentioned, which, according to my survey, lay about seven miles off to the N.W. My ride to it was unimpeded by gullies; and, on ascending it, I obtained a most extensive view, embracing lofty ranges to the eastward and south-east. A line of volcanic cones (of which this was one) extended from these ranges in the direction of about N.E.b.N. But, besides these elevated summits, little could be seen of the adjacent country: nothing of the sandstone gullies, by which the party was then shut in. I could only imagine one bluey tint in a long line of ravines, to be over the bed of the Maran, which seemed thus to pass through the line of cones, and to come from high ranges about the 25th parallel. The country to the northward was still hidden from my sight by a portion of the old crater which was higher than that I had ascended. The western interior was visible to a great distance bounded by low ranges; some of which seemed to have precipitous sides, like cliffs, towards the west. Lines of open plains, and columns of smoke, indicated a good country, and inhabitants. I recognised, from this station, that eastward of the depot camp, to which, from the peculiar interest then attaching to that distant spot, I now named Mount Kennedy after the officer in charge of the party there. I could now intersect many of the summits observed therefrom; thus adding extensively to the general map, and checking my longitude, by back angles into the interior. I was now at a loss for names to the principal summits of the country. No more could be gathered from the natives, and I resolved to name the features, for which names were now requisite, after such individuals of our own race as had been most distinguished or zealous in the advancement of science, and the pursuit of human knowledge; men sufficiently well-known in the world to preclude all necessity for further explanation why their names were applied to a part of the world's geography, than that it was to do honour to Australia, as well as to them. I called this hill Mount Owen; a bald- forest hill to the N.E. of it, Mount Clift; a lofty truncated cone, to the eastward of these, the centre of a group, and one of my zero points, Mount Ogilby; a broad-topped hill far in the north-west, where I wished to continue my route, Mount Faraday; a high table land intervening, Hope's Table Land; the loftiest part of the coast ranges, visible on all sides, Buckland's Table Land, etc. etc. The part of Mount Owen on which I stood, consisted of basalt, which had crystallised cubically so as to form a tottering pile on the summit, not unlike the ruins of a castle, "nodding to its fall," and almost overhanging their base. Curious bushes grew amongst these rocks, unlike those in the lower country; amongst them, a climber, resembling a worm, which wholly enveloped a tree. On returning to the camp, I learnt that the bullock-driver had found a spacious basin in a rocky part of the bed, some miles down the river; having thereat watered his cattle and returned; also, that Corporal Graham had met with a pond ten miles higher up the river than our camp: thus it was evident that many miles intervened between these two ponds in the river. The other men left at the camp had fortunately found in the crevice of a rock beyond the river-channel, enough of water for the horses and themselves. But, had this river-channel contained much more water, I could not have followed it in its upward course, and so go to the north-east, instead of the north-west; neither had this been possible from the precipitous rocks overhanging it at almost every turning. I had found, in Mount Owen, a nucleus, which was a key to these sandstone gullies radiating about it, and I had also perceived from it that towards Mount Faraday, the north-western interior was tolerably clear of mountainous obstructions; three small or very distant cones, seemed the principal features beyond it. I wished much to have explored a route for our carts in that direction; but it was necessary that I should first establish the party near water. I accordingly determined to conduct it along the range towards Mount Owen next day, as far as might be necessary, in order to turn off to the right, and encamp, overlooking some rocky gully within a convenient distance of Mount Owen; and, again to explore these recesses for water, or send for it to Corporal Graham's pond in the main channel. Mr. Stephenson gathered near this camp two beautiful and delicate ferns, the ADIANTUM HISPIDULUM, and ADIANTUM ASSIMILE, the Australian maiden's hair. The ACACIA IXIOPHYLLA, and ACACIA CUNNINGHAMII, on the rocky cliffs; occurred with an Exocarpus, probably a variety of E. SPARTEA, and a new Eucalyptus.[*] Thermometer at sunrise, 56 deg.; at noon, 69 deg.; at 4 P.M., 63 deg.; at 9, 55 deg.. Height above the sea, 1578 feet; and above river bed 40 feet.

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