Journal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical Australia
by Thomas Mitchell
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21ST OCTOBER.—I took a ride with Mr. Kennedy to the summit to which I had attached his name, having occasion to take a back angle from it on Mount Owen, and one or two other points. I could there show him many of the distant summits to the northward of the country, I was about to lay down on my map. We rode over a fine tract of forest land, extending from the camp to the foot of the mountain, a distance of about twelve miles. On the high range grew a profusion of a beautiful little PTEROSTYLIS, quite new, but in the way of P. RUFA[*], a single specimen of a new KENNEDYA was gathered there.[**] On the plains we found a curious new form of the genus DANTHONIA, much resembling wheat in ear[***], and a new JASMINE, with a rich perfume, resembling I. LINEARE, but with short axillary corymbs of flowers. This species has been named by Dr. Lindley after myself.[****] We found also the SOLANUM VIOLACEUM with its violet flowers and orange spines. A fine wiry herbage was formed by the LAXMANNIA GRACILIS, now in flower, ERYTHROEA AUSTIALIS D. C., a smallflowered species of CENTAURY, the DIANELLA RARA, R. Br. and SALVIA PLEBEIA. Thermometer, at sunrise, 48 deg.; at noon, 85 deg.; at 4, P.M., 84 deg.; at 9, 65 deg. with wet bulb, 52 deg..

[* P. MITCHELLII (Lindl. MS.); foliis omnibus radicalibus stellatis, vaginis scapi multiflori 3 remotis, scpalis setaceo-acuminatis, labelli lamina ovato-lineari obtusa canaliculata supra pilis (luteis) articulatis crinita.]

[** K. PROCURRENS (Benth. MS.); foliolis 3 ellipticis ovatisve mucronulatis utrinque hirtellis subtus reticulatis, stipulis subcordato- lanceolatis acutissimis striatis, pedunculis versus apicem plurifloris petiolo multo longioribus, floribus subnutantibus.—Flowers considerably smaller than in K. PROSTRATA, and petals narrower.]

[*** D. TRITICOIDES (Lindl. MS.); culmo ramoso stricto, foliis glabris margine spinoso-scabris basi planis apice involutis, spica cylindracea disticha secunda, spiculis subtrifloris flore summo mutico abortiente, paleae inferioris dorso lanatae arista recta gluma mucronata multinervi longiore.]

[**** J. MITCHELLII; foliis ternatis glabris; foliolis linearibus linearilanceolatisque, ramis teretibus, corymbis axillaribus subsessilibus foliis multo brevioribus, calycibus pubescentibus subtruncatis 5-dentatis, corollae limbo 5-fido acuto.]

22D OCTOBER.—The information Mr. Kennedy had gathered from the natives, about the final course of the river; his surveys thereof, which, even on foot, he had extended sixteen miles (eight miles each way from the camp), and the fact, that the fish of the Balonne, Cod, or GRISTES PEELII had, at length been caught in it, all led to the conclusion that this river was no other than the tributary which on the 24th, of April I at first followed up, and afterwards halted and wrote back to Mr. Kennedy about. By following this down, the probability that we should find water seemed greater, than by returning along our old track, where we had left behind some ponds so small that we could not hope to find any water remaining, especially at two of the camps between us and Bindango, I therefore determined to follow this river downward, and to survey its course. We left the depot camp this morning, and to avoid some overhanging cliffs on the river, we travelled first over an open tract. The camp we left, namely, XXIX, or "MOONDI," or the "second depot camp," will be found a valuable cattle-station or sheep-station, by the first squatter coming this way. The runs about it are very extensive; the natives few and inoffensive, and the stock-yard etc., left there, renders it very complete. I must not omit, however, to mention, that the water had become slightly brackish, but not so as to be unpalatable, or even, indeed, perceptible, except to persons unused to it. The large reach had fallen two feet since the party first occupied that station. In other reaches lower down, that we passed during this day's journey, the water was perfectly sweet. I proceeded about thirteen miles with the light party, and encamped at the junction of a little river from the N. W. formerly crossed by me (on my ride of 23d May). A new poppy was found on the flats by the river, near PAPAVER DUBIUM; but the leaves, when dry, became darkgreen not pale; the aculei are too numerous and stout, pectant not depressed, and the flowers very small. The teams and drays did not arrive as expected, and the men with me had not brought any provisions with them. We saw natives in the woods before we encamped, and parts of the grass on fire. A beautifully worked net, laid carefully under a piece of bark, having two curiously carved stakes attached to it, was found by Mr. Kennedy, who made deep impressions of his boots in the soil near it, that the natives might see that white men had been there, and had left the net untouched. Thermometer, at sunrise, 47 deg.; at noon, 81 deg.; at 4 P.M., 85 deg.; at 9, 70 deg.; with wet bulb, 56 deg.. Height above the sea, 1185 feet (Camp 76).

23RD OCTOBER.—We were obliged to halt, and await the arrival of the drays, which only took place at 1/2 past 11, A.M. The cattle were found to be so fat and fresh, that the drivers could not get them along faster. Mr. Stephenson obtained a specimen of the dove observed by me on the Victoria. (GEOPALIA CUNEATA). I had heard the note in the woods, and directed his attention to it. The SWANSONIA CORONILLOEFOLIA adorned the rich flats with its crimson pear-shaped blossoms, and the CROTALARIA DISSITIFLORA, was also in flower, but smaller than usual; more rigid, with a denser silky pubescence, and smaller, shorter leaflets. The SIDA (Abutilon) FRAZERI (Hook. M S.)[*] and also the CLEMATIS STENOPHYLLA[**], were found on this part of the river. Thermometer, at sunrise, 48 deg.; at noon, 91 deg.; at 4 P. M., 93 deg.; at 9, 65 deg.;—with wet bulb, 53 deg..

[* S. (ABUTILON) FRASERI (Hook. MS.); tota stellato-pubescens, foliis ovatiscordatis acutis argute crenato-serratis, petiolo folium aequante, pedunculis axillaribus solitariis unifloris apicem versus articulatis, calycis 5-partiti segmentis ovato-lanceolatis.—SIDA DUMOSA, J. Backhouse MS. in Hook. Herb. (not Swartz). This has a most extensive range; having been found at Moreton Bay by Mr. Backhouse, at Brisbane River by Fraser and Smith, and in other parts of this colony by All. Cunningham.]

[** C. STENOPHYLLA Fraser in Hook. Herb. C. OCCIDENTALIS A. Cunn. in Hook. Herb.—Very nearly allied to C. MICROPHYLLA of De Cand. Syst. i. p. 147. but in that the carpels are said to be glabrous.]

24TH OCTOBER.—Soon after leaving the camp this morning, we entered upon an open country, the downs extending before us from the right bank of the river, the course of which was somewhat to the eastward of south. The cattle came on faster this day, and we encamped on the skirts of the plain, near a fine reach of water in the river. We were now upwards of twenty miles to the westward of Bindango, with abundance of water; whereas I had always looked back to much difficulty in returning by that route, as the ponds near it were likely to be dried up. I had seen the higher parts of these downs from the summit of Bindango, but did not then suspect that a large river was in the midst of them, whose course was so favourable for a traveller proceeding northward. The discovery of these extensive downs was an important incident in this journey, watered as they were by a fine river; especially as the country to the N. W. was open or thinly wooded, and likely to be found so as far as the central downs and plains on the banks of the river Victoria. A new and very remarkable Ventilago was found this day.[*] I now again numbered the camps, continuing the series backwards, by a different character; this was numbered 77; the last, 76. The utility of these numbers along our surveyed line will be admitted, when the country is taken up, as they will not only serve to identify localities with the map, but may also enable the land-surveyors to connect local surveys with the general map of the country. The sky was overcast with thunder-clouds in the afternoon, and the mercurial column was low; but no rain fell, and a clear starry sky, at 9 P. M., admitted of our observations as usual. Thermometer, at sunrise, 53 deg.; at noon, 85 deg.; at 4 P. M., 83 deg.; at 9, 58 deg.;— with wet bulb, 47 deg.. Height above the sea, 1295 feet. (Camp 77.)

[* V. VIMINALIS (Hook. MS.); foliis anguste elongato-lanceolatis integerrimis nervis costa parallelis, paniculis axillaribus terminalibusque.—The other hitherto known species of the genus, have broad leaves, more or less denticulate, with patent nerves. The flowers and fruit entirely accord with those of the genus.—W. J. H. "Tree 20 feet high, growing on high sandy ridges."]

25TH OCTOBER.—We continued in the direction of a column of smoke I had perceived yesterday, believing that there I should intersect the river, or at least find water. We found the open downs at length, hemmed in by ACACIA PENDULA, growing openly; but which gave place to a scrub, as we approached some ridges. These ridges consisted of red gravel; the scrub contained callitris, casuarina, silver-leaved iron-bark, malga and brigalow, the two latter growing so thickly as to compel me to turn eastward to avoid them. This elevated rocky ground was found more extensive than I had expected, throwing down many water-courses to the east and north-east; but, at length, we made the river, and encamped after a journey of 10 1/3 miles. It there ran through a deep valley, due south, with a broad channel, in which we found a reach of water covered with ducks. The country beyond it, to the eastward, over which our former route passed, appeared like high table-land in bluey distance; but neither of the mountains Bindango or Bindyego were visible from the country traversed by the party this day. Thermometer, at sunrise, 43 deg.; at noon, 81 deg.; at 4 P. M., 94 deg.; at 9, 65 deg.;—with wet bulb, 51 deg.. Height above the sea, 1186 feet. (Camp 78.)

26TH OCTOBER.—A river coming into the Maranoa, about a mile from our camp, was apparently the river Amby; but without having traced its course throughout, I could not feel certain of this, after all I had seen of these rivers: I think this was the same, however. We kept the Maranoa on our left during the whole of this day's journey, and were thus able to pursue a tolerably straight line in the direction of about 20 deg. E. of S. At length, arriving at the junction of an important tributary from the N. W., full of water, and seeing another also join from the east, I crossed the main channel and encamped on the left bank, in sight of a reach of broad blue water below the junction, of an extent which reminded us of the Balonne itself. The valley of the river seemed bounded by continuous ranges of high land, which looked in the back-ground like table-land. Recently, much grass and bushes had been burnt, along the banks of the river, by the natives; and we this day passed over a tract where the grass was still in a blaze on both sides of us. Crows and hawks hovered over the flames, apparently intent on depriving the devouring clement of whatever prey more properly belonged to them. In a dry part of the bed of the river, I met with many instances of a singular habit of the eelfish (JEWFISH) PLOTOSUS TANDANUS.[*] I had previously observed, elsewhere, in the aquatic weeds growing in extensive reaches, clear circular openings, showing white parts of the bottom, over which one or two fishes continually swam round in circles. I now found in the dry bed, that such circles consisted of a raised edge of sand, and were filled with stones, some as large as a man's closed fist. Yuranigh told me that this was the nest of a pair of these fish, and that they carried the stones there, and made it. The general bed of the river where I saw these nests, consisted wholly of deep firm sand; and that the fish had some way of carrying or moving stones to such spots, seemed evident, but for what purpose I could not discover. Thermometer, at sunrise, 56 deg.; at noon, 83 deg.; at 4 P. M., 93 deg.; at 9, 75 deg.;—with wet bulb, 59 deg..

[* See Pl. 6. fig. 2. p. 44. vol. i. of Three Expeditions.]

27TH OCTOBER.—We now travelled along the left bank of the river, and found the country tolerably open. The ADRIANIA ACERIFOLIA grew on an islet in the river.[*] This still pursued a remarkably straight course, and contained abundance of water. After passing over a place where the bush was on fire, we saw a female in the act of climbing a tree. When she had ascended about eight feet, she remained stationary, looking at us without any appearance of dismay. I continued to pursue a straight- forward course, but told Yuranigh to inquire, EN PASSANT, what was the name of the river; to which question she replied, in his own language, "The name of that water is Maranoa:" thus confirming the name we had already understood, however indirectly, to be that of the river. It proved the accuracy of my servant Brown's ear, for it was first communicated to him, during my absence, by the old chief at Bindango. The gin appeared to be climbing in search of honey. To state that this female wore no sort of clothing, were superfluous to any reader of this journal who may have been in such interior parts of Australia. After travelling about fourteen miles, we came upon a fine reach of the river, and encamped beside it. Thermometer, at sunrise, 59 deg.; at noon, 68 deg.; at 4 P. M., 95 deg.; at 9, 77 deg.;—wet bulb, 65 deg.. Height above the sea, 832 feet. (Camp 80.)

[* A. ACERIFOLIA (CROTON ACERIFOLIUM All. Cunn. MS.); foliis cordato- ovatis trifidis segmentis acuminatis grosse inaequaliter sinuato- serratis, subtus bracteisque pubescenti-tomentosis.—Shrub three feet high. Flowers scarlet. Collected by Allan Cunningham along the Lachlan river.]

28TH OCTOBER.—Heavy rain was falling soon after day-break, and I most willingly sat still in my tent, hoping the rain would continue. Just in sight of it grew a picturesque tree: the half-dead, half-alive aspect presented by the same sort of tree, was not unfrequent in the Australian woods; and I was induced to sketch this specimen, as highly characteristic of the scenery. These trees, "so wither'd and so wild in their attire," generally appear under the shelter of other taller trees; have half their branches dead, the part still in foliage drooping like the willow, the leaf being very small. It is an Acacia (A. VARIANS), and I was informed by Yuranigh that it is the Upas of Australia; the natives call it "Goobang," and use a bough of it to poison the fish in waterholes. They are too honest and fair in their fights to think of poisoning their weapons. The aspect of this half-dead tree is certainly characteristic of its deleterious qualities, in the wild romantic outline resembling Shakspeare's lean, poison-selling apothecary,—

—"who dwelt about the very gates of death, Pale misery had worn him to the bones."

Some good soaking rain fell until about 10 A. M., after which we had a cool day and cloudy sky. The rain ensured to us at least dew on the grass for a morning or two; and this, with the prospect of finding the channel dry lower down, was a great advantage. Thermometer, at sunrise, 61 deg.; at noon, 75 deg.; at 4 P. M., 76 deg.; at 9, 60 deg.;—wet bulb, 51 deg..

29TH OCTOBER.—A clear cool morning. We travelled this day with so much ease, that we got over twenty miles without apparent fatigue, to bullocks or horses. The necessity for travelling so far arose from the utter want of water in the river bed. The course was very direct; the country was open, and clothed with rich verdure on which our cattle could have reposed, doubtless with great satisfaction, both to themselves and drivers, had water also been at hand; but after travelling over, and measuring twenty miles, we were obliged to encamp without any. As this seemed only a branch of the river. I sent Corporal Graham to ascertain what was beyond, while I, with Yuranigh, examined this channel backwards. We found no water in either direction, but Corporal Graham discovered the main channel at a mile and a half westward from our camp, and traced it to near the junction with the ana-branch on which we were encamped. We discovered this day a club and shield, such as the natives use on the Belyando, carefully put away upon a sort of scaffold of bark, and covered with bark. The shield was made of very light wood, the face being rounded, and having been covered with a dark varnish like japan; for which the surface had been made rough by crossed lines, resembling those made on the first coat of plaster. It was evident, from the marks on this shield, that the clubs were frequently used as missiles.[*] Each man of the tribe that visited my camp on the Belyando, carried three or four of these, but no shields; a plain indication that they were not then armed for war against other aborigines. Thermometer, at sunrise, 36 deg.; at noon, 68 deg.; at 4 P.M., 73 deg.; at 9, 49 deg.;—with wet bulb, 40 deg..

[* Deposited in the British Museum (60, 61.).]

30TH OCTOBER.—We were now fifty-two miles from the junction of the dry channel we crossed by the Balonne, and forty from the nearest part of our former route, in advancing into this country. The risk of want of water was worth encountering in the most direct line homewards, which was by following down this river. I travelled, as straight as the bush would allow, towards the junction; Graham examining the channel while we proceeded. No water was found where the rivers united. Having halted the small party with me, I followed one branch many miles with Yuranigh, but all we could find were some wells, dug by natives, in a part of the sandy bed; in one of which Yuranigh found, by a long bough he thrust in, that there was moisture about five feet below the surface. I returned, determined to encamp near this, and dig a well. The bullock teams had also arrived when I returned to the party, and I learnt that Drysdale, having observed that my little dog Procyon came in wet, had been led to the discovery of a lagoon about three miles back, at which the cattle had been already watered. I immediately encamped. At finding water the dog was most expert, the native next, we inferior to both. We had come about fifteen miles, and I wished to lay down the journey on the map. On doing this, I found we had at length attained a point from whence, in case of necessity, we could go as far as the Balonne, even if no water were found in the country intervening, the direct distance being under forty miles. During the afternoon, a still larger lagoon was found, higher up than the first. I resolved to give the cattle a day's rest, and then to proceed prepared, by well watering them previously, to travel on to the Balonne, but not with much expectation that scarcity of water would oblige us to go so far. Thermometer, at sunrise, 34 deg.; at noon, 70 deg.; at 4 P. M., 78 deg.; at 9, 60 deg.;—with wet bulb, 46 deg..

31ST OCTOBER.—Two men were sent to the westward, where they found a dry sandy country with pines, the same as that seen by me on my first ride from St. George's bridge to the N.W., on the 18th of April. I was myself engaged at the camp, on my general map of the country. Thermometer, at sunrise, 33 deg.; at noon, 81 deg.; at 4 P. M., 84 deg.; at 9, 51 deg.—wet bulb, 43 deg.. Height above the sea, 882 feet.

1ST NOVEMBER.—The cattle and horses, having been all night loose beside Drysdale's ponds, were brought in early, and we then proceeded. After travelling about eight miles, over ground bearing traces of inundation, and looking, as we proceeded, into the river channel for water, Yuranigh found a lagoon in a hollow parallel to the river, and I encamped, resolved to reduce as much as possible the distance to be traversed in uncertainty about finding water. We had, however, found rocky ridges on the left, like bergs to the river; and the voices of natives in the woods, as well as these ridges, redeemed the country from the aspect of drought. This was but a small portion of the fine pastoral country, traversed by this river, where we found the channel dry; and I think this want was compensated by many lagoons and watercourses in that back country extending to the little river from Mount Abundance, the Cogoon.

2D NOVEMBER.—After watering all the animals, we went forward, prepared to go on to the Balonne, even if we should meet with no water until we arrived at that river. We found, however, that the country we were to traverse was well watered. Three miles on from our camp, the country appeared quite verdant, and park-like in its woods. The channel of the river was bordered with green reeds, and contained a deep reach of sparkling water. The river took a turn to the eastward, and, in the angle formed by its again turning south, a little tributary entered it from the north, which was full of ponds of water, and had not long ceased to run. This came from the rocky tract situated between our old line of route, along the little river Cogoon near Mount First View, and the Maranoa. The water now found supplied the only link wanting in our explored line along the last mentioned river, and I had no doubt that, by crossing that country more directly towards the upper part of the Maranoa, a supply would be found at convenient stages. On crossing the little tributary (which I called Requisite Ponds), we found that the river resumed its straight course towards the Balonne; and, in latitude 27 deg. 31' 37" S., we again saw green reeds and a good pond, beside which we encamped. Thermometer, at sunrise, 50 deg.; at noon, 76 deg.; at 4 P. M., 79 deg.; at 9, 63 deg.; —with wet bulb, 61 deg.. (Camp 82.) Height above the sea, 969 feet.

3D NOVEMBER.—The river accompanied us but a short way this day, as I had determined to follow a straight line towards the junction with the Balonne, aware that the course of the river, for ten or twelve miles above that point, turned very much to the westward. We passed through much open forest, and over much sandy ground, on which the callitris always appeared to predominate. Little scrub lay in our way. At length, plains again appeared before us through the trees; and, beyond them, after travelling twenty-two miles, we saw before us the river line, running north-east. We crossed it, and still continued to travel on towards the main river; but night overtook us when not far distant from it, so that we were obliged to encamp within the distance of a mile and a half, after a journey, with carts, of 261/2 miles. Here occurred the only Epiphyte observed during the expedition. It was growing in the dead parts of trees in the forest, and proved to be the CYMBIDIUM CANALICULATUM of Brown. One of the specimens had a raceme of flowers above a foot long. The fragrant JASMINUM MITCHELLII occurred, with narrower leaves than usual, at the foot of the forest trees. JUSTICIA ADSCENDENS, an inconspicuous weed, covered the plains in large tufts. The MELALEUCA TRICHOSTACHYA was there; and on the plains, and in open forests, grew a woolly. ANDROPOGON, which appeared not to be distinct from the A. BOMBYCINUS. In the open forest grew, here and there, the delicate COESIA OCCIDENTALIS, and on the plains a small species of HEDYOTIS; a new CALOCEPHALUS in bunches[*], and a creeping plant, with yellow flowers, since found to be a new species of GOODENIA.[**] Thermometer, at sunrise, 51 deg.; at noon, 85 deg.; at 4 P.M., 86 deg.; at 9, 66 deg.;—with wet bulb, 54 deg.. Height above the sea, 819 feet.

[* C. GNAPHALIOIDES (Hook. MS.); annua erecta arachnoidea superne dichotome ramosa, foliis linearibus, capitulorum glomerulis laxiusculis corymbosis, involucri cylindracei squamis pellucidis albis.—Probably a distinct genus.]

[** G. FLAGELLIFERA (de Vriese MS.); herbacea, glabra, foliis radicalibus longe petiolatis, spathulatis, flagellis elongatis: floribus radicalibus, axillaribus, longissime pedunculatis; calyce supero, quinquefido, laciniis lineari-lanceolatis, bibracteolato; corolla bilabiata flava, labio superiore fisso; fllamentis et antheris liberis; stigmatis indusio ciliato; flagellis folii-et floriferis valde elongatis capsula prismatica, biloculari; seminibus marginatis compressis; flagellis floriferis; floribus in axilla folii ovatorotundati, auriculati, subamplexicaulis, contentis, brevius pedunculatis.—Folia radicalia, 8-10 cent. longa, 11/2-2 cent. lata, apice rotundata, subrepandula, deorsum attenuata, subdecurrentia, utrinque glaberrima, subtus pallidiora; folia flagellorum bracteiformia, ovata, subrotunda, uno vel utroque latere auriculata, alterutra auricula multo minore, floribus vero in bractearum illarum axillis, reliquis multo minoribus neque ad normam perfectis, brevius pedunculatis. Affinis species G. HEDERACEOE.—DE VR.]

4TH NOVEMBER.—At an early hour we proceeded, and had the satisfaction soon to find our old wheeltracks along the bank of the majestic Balonne. This truly noble river was here as broad as the Thames at Richmond; its banks were verdant with a luxuriant crop of grass, and the merry notes of numerous birds gave the whole scene a most cheering appearance; especially to us who were again upon a route connected with home, and at a point 200 miles nearer to it, than where we had last seen that route. We had since made the discovery, and completed the survey, of the lower Maranoa, a river which had brought us in a very straight direction back to this point; and by tracing this down, we had established a well watered line of route back to the fine regions we had discovered in the more remote interior. I marked a tree at this camp (83.), which mark is intended to show where this route turns towards the Maranoa x. being marked at the next camp back along the old track. In the Balonne, huge cod-fish (GRISTES PEELII) were caught this afternoon; indeed, we already felt comparatively at home, although still far from the settled districts, and strangers to all that had been passing in the world during seven months. I was busy endeavouring to complete my maps before other cares should divert my attention from the one subject that had occupied it so long. But in perusing nature's own book, I could, at leisure, think sometimes on many other subjects, and I fancied myself wiser than when I set out,—much improved in health,—bronzed and bearded; sunproof, fly- proof, and water-proof: that is to say, proof against the want of it, "LUCUS A NON LUCENDO." Thermometer, at sunrise, 44 deg.; at noon, 76 deg.; at 4 P.M., 85 deg.; at 9, 71 deg.;—wet bulb, 59 deg.. Height above the sea, 738 feet.

5TH NOVEMBER.—We now travelled back along our old track towards Camp VIII., at St. George's Bridge, where the first depot had been stationed; the tracks of several horsemen, returning after rain, were visible along our route, and the prints of natives' feet with them. How far these parties had been further on, along the other route by which we had advanced, we could not then ascertain. In the course of our ride this day, we came suddenly upon two females, who were so busy digging roots on a plain crossed by our track, that we were too near to admit of their running off before they perceived us; they therefore remained on the spot until we went up to them. They informed us, through Yuranigh, that "the tracks were those of five white men on horseback, who had been accompanied by natives on foot. They came there about one moon before then, and had been looking very much all about; these females could not think what for." We took up our old position, overlooking the rocky bed of the river. Pieces of old iron had been left untouched by the natives, both at this camp, and were found on our old track in returning. As these articles were such as they could have made great use of, I considered their leaving them a proof of their good disposition towards the exploring party; and of the very favourable impression we had made formerly on the aborigines, at the interview with the assembled tribes of this river. In the scrubs adjacent, we found, for the first time, the ripe fruit of the "Quandang" (FUSANUS ACUMINATUS), and several shrubs in flower that we thought new to botany. Thermometer, at sunrise, 44 deg.; at noon, 76 deg.; at 4 P.M., 85 deg.; at 9, 71 deg.;—wet bulb, 59 deg..

Chapter IX.


5TH to 9TH NOVEMBER.—These days I devoted to the protracting of angles taken on the Victoria, and the last day to writing my despatch to the Government; and on this morning (the 9th) I sent Mr. Kennedy, followed by Corporal Graham and John Douglas, to examine the country in the direction of the furthest point attained by me on my journey of 1831; that was on the Barwan (Karaula) in latitude 29 deg. 2' S., and bearing about 20 deg. E. of S. from this camp. A chain of ponds, called the "Mooni" ponds, were said to water the intervening country, and I wished to ascertain whether they were favourable for the connection of our recently explored route, with the termination of that marked out by me in 1831, when my journey, undertaken expressly with the same objects in view, was accidentally frustrated.

Corporal Graham was to go forward to the postoffice at Tamworth with the despatches, when Mr. Kennedy, having ascertained the situation of the Mooni ponds, should return. In the meanwhile, I continued to finish maps and drawings, although suffering much inconvenience from excessive heat, under a tent infested with numerous flies. The banks of the river were gay with the purple flowers of SWAINSONA CORONILLOEFOLIA; FUSANUS ACUMINATUS, produced its crimson-coloured fruit, which Yuranigh brought us from the bush; the spotted bark tree, ELOEODENDRON MACULOSUM, was also in these scrubs. A yellow-flowered herbaceous plant, has been determined by Professor De Vriese to be identical with the Swan River GOODENIA PULCHELLA. A salt plant, greedily eaten by the cattle, proved to be a variety of the ATRIPLEX NUMMULARIS, observed in February on the Macquarie. A species of GREWIA, in fruit, appeared to be the same as the G. RICHARDIANA of Walpers. The TRICHINIUM FUSIFORME R. Br., was covered with its globular, shaggy flower-heads, in the sandy open parts of the forest. A very remarkable shrub, five or six feet high, with the foliage of a Phyllirea, and spreading branches, was loaded with short racemes of white flowers. It proved to be a plant of the natural order of Bixads, and allied to MELICYTUS, but with hermaphrodite flowers.[*] A submerged plant, in the water, was found to be a new species of MYRIOPHYLLUM, with tuberculate fruit.[**] CASSIA CORONILLOIDES, a low shrub, was in flower.[***] A shrubby MYOPORUM put forth sweet and edible fruit. A new ELOEODENDRON, with small panicles of white flowers, formed a forest tree twenty feet high, remarkable for its spotted bark.[****] A fir-leaved CASSIA, with thin, sickle-leaved pods, formed a bush, from four to five feet high.[*****] A new blue-flowered MORGANIA, decorated the river- bank[******]; lastly, a new species of indigo[*******], completed the list of plants we gathered at this season at the camp over St. George's Bridge.

[* M. ? OLEASTER (Lindl. MS.); glaberrimus, foliis lineari-lanceolatis supra griseis subtus virentibus venosis racemis strictis multo longioribus, floribus hermaphroditis.—OBS. SEP. 5. PET. 5 hypog. imbricata. ST. 5 in margine disci magni inserta. OVAR. ovatum 1-loc. plac. 3-par. STYLUS simplex. STIGMA parvum 3-dent. FRUCTUS ignotus, verisim. carnosus.]

[** M. VERRUCOSUM (Lindl. MS.); foliis submersis capillaceo-multifidis emersis ternatim verticillatis ovatis pinnatifidis, floribus octandris, fructibus tuberculatis.]

[*** C. CORONILLOIDES (A. Cunn. MS.); ramis subangulatis petiolisque minute puberulis, foliolis 8-10-jugis lineari-oblongis obtusiusculis glabris, glandula cylindrica inter par infimum, racemis axillaribus 2-3- floris folio multo brevioribus.—Very near C. AUSTRALIS, but the leaflets are fewer and smaller, and the subulate glands of that species are wanting.—G. B. M. DULCE (Benth. MS.); ramulis laevibus, foliis anguste lanceolatis planis acutis uninervibus basi angustatis, laciniis calycinis linearilanceolatis acutis brevibus, corollae limbo imberbi.—Intermediate between M. TENUIFOLIUM Br. and M. DESERTI Cunn.]

[**** E. MACULOSUM (Lindl. MS.); inerme, foliis linearibus obovatis integerrimis obtusis, paniculis terminalibus ultra folia evectis.]

[***** C. CIRCINNATA (Benth. MS.); glabriuscula, petiolis phyllodineis lineari-subteretibus, foliolis nullis, racemis phyllodio plerumque brevioribus 1-2-floris, legumine plano glabro cincinnato v. spiraliter contorto.—Phyllodia one to one and a half inch long, resembling the leaflets of C. HETEROLOBA. Pod like that of several PITHECOLOBIA, but not yet ripe.]

[****** M. FLORIBUNDA (Benth. MS.); dense glandulosa, caeterum glabra, ramis strictis dense foliosis foliis linearibus rarissime dentatis, pedicellis plerisque geminis folio florali multo brevioribus.—This is a very distinct species which was also gathered by Sir T. Mitchell in 1836, but my specimen was not complete enough to describe it accurately, the branches are thickly covered with leaves and flowers. The lower leaves are one to two inches long, the flowers blue, like those of M. GLABRA. G.B.]

[******* I. BREVIDENS (Benth. MS.) fruticosa, gracilis, pilis parvis canescens, foliolis 6-10-jugis cum impari oppositis obovatis subplanis mucronatis v. emarginatis utrinque strigosis, racemis multifloris laxis folia vix superantibus, bracteis minutis, calycis villosuli dentibus brevissimis obtusis, corolla pubescente, legumine strigilloso incurvo.— It has much the aspect of I. MICRANTHA (Bunge), but the flowers are not quite so small, and the teeth of the calyx are very different.]

15TH NOVEMBER.—Mr. Kennedy having been absent much longer than was expected, at length appeared on the opposite bank of the river with Douglas, both being on foot, and Douglas leading only one (strange) horse. The information Mr. Kennedy brought me was favourable to the project of uniting this route with that to the Barwan, and the (now) settled district of the Nammoy. He had found that the Mooni ran nearly north and south, and that its banks were occupied with cattle-stations to within a day's ride of our camp. This ride of discovery had, however, cost the lives of two of our horses, the bearing already mentioned as the direction given for Mr. Kennedy's guidance having been TRUE and not magnetic. Pursuing that bearing BY COMPASS, Mr. Kennedy had ridden almost parallel to the Mooni, sixty-three miles, without hitting them, or finding water. The heat was intense, one of the horses died, and the men were very ill; when they at length reached these ponds. In returning, he had travelled by the stations, and borrowed the horse brought back, from the station nearest to us, occupied by Messrs. Hook. From these gentlemen Mr. Kennedy had ascertained that Sir Charles Fitzroy was the new Governor.

17TH NOVEMBER.—The whole party crossed the Balonne by St. George's Bridge, and I arrived, the same afternoon, with a small advanced party on the Mooni, which we made in latitude 28 deg. 17' 51" S. The channel was full of water, and thus we completed the last link wanted to form a chain of communication DIRECT FROM SYDNEY, to the furthest limits we had explored. The ground was imprinted with the hoofs of cattle, and we already felt as if at home. The day was one of extreme heat without any wind; the thermometer stood at 104 deg. in the shade. Yet the horses drew the carts easily twenty-four miles and a quarter. We had passed over a country covered with excellent grass, consisting chiefly of plains and open forest, with scrubs of ACACIA PENDULA, and a soil of clay. In the scrubs we found a new species of CANTHIUM, a shrub ten or twelve feet high; and in the open forest ACACIA NERIIFOLIA was observed in fruit; HIBISCUS STURTII Hook.; an Evolvulus related to SERICEUS; a new yellow CROTALARIA[*] ; and a noble new species of STENOCHILUS, with willowy leaves and large trumpet flowers.[**] Thermometer, at sunrise, rise, 62 deg.; at noon, 103 deg.; at 4 P.M., 104 deg.; at 9, 81 deg.;—with wet bulb, 67 deg.. Height above the sea, 622 feet. (Camp 84.)

[* C. DISSITIFLORA (Benth. MS.); herbacea, laxe ramosa, stipulis setaceis, foliolis elliptico-oblongis rarius ovalibus obtusis supra glabris subtus ramulisque pube tenui subcanescentibus, racemis erectis oppositifoliis elongatis, floribus (ultra 20) distantibus, carinae rostro brevi recto, ovulis numerosis, legumine breviter stipitato pubescente.— Very near to C. SENEGALENSIS among the LONGIROSTRES, but the habit is more rigid, the leaflets rather larger, the beak of the keel shorter, and the pod (which is only very young in the specimen) is borne on a short stalk.]

[** S. (PLATYCHILUS) BIGNONIAEFLORUS (Benth. MS.); glaber viscosus-foliis longe lanceolatis linearibusve apice subuncinato, calycis foliolis latis acutis, corollae glabrae ventricosae laciniis obtusissimis infima dilatata subtriloba vix caeteris magis soluta, staminibus vix exsertis.— Leaves three to six inches long, two to six lines broad, thick and clammy. Flowers above an inch long, remarkable for the broad divisions of the corolla, and the general form much that of a BIGNONIA. This difference in the form of the corolla, would perhaps justify the placing it into a distinct genus instead of a mere section, especially as that peculiarity which gave the name of STENOCHILUS does not exist, were it not that the forms of the corolla are so different in different other species, that they will not furnish generic characters where the habit is similar.—G. B.]

18TH NOVEMBER.—The teams came in very early, not having been above one mile behind. I remained encamped there, in the expectation of some decided change of weather. The night had been oppressively hot. The season during which we had been beyond the Balonne, viz., that between the 23rd April and 5th November, was the most proper for visiting the tropical regions of Australia.

Here we found TRICORYNE ELATIOR, a delicate yellow-flowered plant; a species of the genus Fugosia near F. DIGITATA, a plant of Senegambia, but less glabrous, and with the leaflets of the involucre much larger. MORGANIA GLABRA, a little erect herbaceous plant, having the appearance of being parasitical on roots; ACACIA VARIANS, in the open forest, in rich soil. ANTHERICUM BULBOSUM, formerly seen on the Narran. In the thick forest, a shrub six feet high with small white flowers, CATHA CUNNINGHAMII[*] (Hook. MS.), and a new species of VIGNA very near V. LANCEOLATA, though very different in habit.[**] Thermometer, at sunrise, 58 deg.; at noon, 102 deg.; at 4 P.M., 103 deg.; at 9, 76 deg.;—with wet bulb, 64 deg..

[* C. CUNNINGHAMII (Hook. MS.); inermis, foliis lineari-lanceolatis rigidis mucronato-acutis integerrimis subfalcatis superne latioribus basi in petiolum perbrevem attenuatis, floribus axillaribus fasciculatis, pedunculis simplicibus vel racemosis bracteolatis.]

[* V. SUBERECTA (Benth. MS.); leviter pubescens, suberecta, ramosissima, foliolis lato-lanceolatis basi integris vel hastato-trilobatis, pedunculis folio subbrevioribus apice paucifloris, calycis pubescentis campanulati dentibus tubo subaequilongis, carina rostrata acuta, legumine puberulo.]

19TH NOVEMBER.—The party moved off at an early hour. The tracks of cattle and horses became more and more numerous as we proceeded, and the channel of the little river was full of water, on which a large species of duck was very plentiful. At length we came upon the track of wheels, and followed them towards the station; which was not yet visible when our young native, Dicky, fell a shouting and laughing, drawing my attention to what certainly was a "RARA AVIS" to him. This was a white woman going with pails to milk the cows, and the first white female he could ever have seen. The jeering laugh of the young savage was amusing, as he pointed to that swaddled, straw-bonneted object, as something curious in natural history, to which my attention, as he thought, would be rivetted: but the sight was, nevertheless, a welcome one to all the party. Soon two comfortable stations, one on each side of the river, appeared before us; and the neatly dressed mother of two chubby white children stood at the door of one of them. I had a memorandum from Mr. Kennedy to call at the other, to thank the owner for lending him a horse; and there I first entered again under a roof, and a most agreeable cover it did seem to me after living nearly a year under canvass, in houseless wilds. These were cattle stations, and both appeared to be well-laid out for the purpose, and upon a scale more substantial and worthy of it, than I had hitherto seen in squatting districts. The placing of two such stations thus near each other, is a good arrangement, not only affording better security against the depredations of natives, but also as banishing that aspect of solitude and loneliness such places in general present; and in the outset of such a life, implanting, in the still uncultivated soil, the germs of social union, on the solid basis of mutual protection.

I continued to travel some miles beyond these stations, for the sake of obtaining better grass for our cattle; and thus lengthened the journey to near twenty miles, in very warm weather, the thermometer being 104 deg. in the shade. Thermometer, at sunrise, 58 deg.; at noon, 102 deg.; at 4 P.M., 104 deg.; at 9, 75 deg.;—with wet bulb, 63 deg.. (Camp 85.) Latitude, 28 deg. 30' 51" S.

20TH NOVEMBER.—Travelling south by compass, we found a tolerably open forest, and the Mooni on our left, until we fell in with Mr. Kennedy's track on riding back. Following this (as he had been guided back by an experienced stockman), we at length crossed the Mooni, and fell into a cart-track leading southward, and at a few miles beyond where we fell into that track, we encamped on the left bank of the Mooni; a tree at this camp being marked 86. Again we saw, in the woods about this camp, the HYLOCOCCUS SERICEUS R. Br., a remarkable tree, with oblong leaves, and fruit resembling a small orange. It is a curious genus, and belongs to the poisonous order of Spurgeworts. We found here also, the HELICHRYSUM SEMIPAPPOSUM D. C.; ACACIA SPECTABILIS; a new species of BEYERIA, near B. VISCOSA, Mig.; the variety of CASSIA SOPHERA (Linn.) cultivated in some botanical gardens, under the name of C. SOPHERELLA; a beautiful tree with pinnate leaves and spreading panicles of large white flowers, called THOUINIA AUSTRALIS; the EUCALYPTUS BICOLOR A. Cunn. MS., a species closely allied to E. HOEMATOMMA Sm., but the marginal nerve is not so close to the edge of the leaf (this is the "bastard box" of the carpenters); a fine new large-flowered SIDA[*]; and it appears that the "Yarra" tree of the natives here, is a new Eucalyptus, which Sir William Hooker calls E. ACUMINATA.[**]

[* S. (ABUTILON) TUBULOSA (All. Cunn. MS.); tota velutino-pubescens, foliis cordato-ovatis (sinu profundo angusto) sublonge acuminatis dentatoserratis, stipulis subulatis flaccidis, pedunculis axillaribus solitariis unifloris folio brevioribus, calyce elongato tubuloso 5-fido laciniis acuminatis, petalis (flavis) vix duplo brevioribus.—W. J. H.]

[** E. ACUMINATA (Hook. MS.); foliis alternis petiolatis lanceolatis longe acuminatis subaristatis penninerviis glaucis reticulatis nervis lateralibus a margine remotiusculis, floribus umbellatis (4-6-floris), umbellis pedunculatis, calycis tubo hemisphaerico in pedicellum gracilem attenuato, calyptra conico-acuminato calycis tubum superante.]

Just as we sat down here, rain came on; the wind changed to S. W. and the sky looked more portentous of rainy weather than we had ever seen it on this journey. Now this was the first country in which we had any reason to dread wet weather, since we crossed the Culgoa about the beginning of April. Here rain would render the ground impassable, and inundate the country. The mercury in the barometer was falling, and so was the rain. Thermometer, at sunrise, 61 deg.; at noon, 62 deg.; at 4 P.M., 57 deg.; at 9, 53 deg.;— with wet bulb, 53 deg..

21ST NOVEMBER.—The wind had shifted from E. to S. W., and the rain had set in,—to proceed was quite impossible. The coolness of a cloudy day rendered the tent much more agreeable and convenient for finishing maps in, than one under the extremely hot sunshine which mine had been recently exposed to so long at St. George's Bridge. I had now, therefore, a good opportunity of completing the maps. The great heat which had prevailed during so many successive days there, portended some such change as this; and we were thus likely to be caught in that very region so subject to inundation, which I was formerly so careful to avoid, that I endeavoured to travel so as to be within reach of a hilly country. For that reason chiefly I had proceeded into the interior, by the circuitous route of Fort Bourke.

21ST NOVEMBER TO 7TH DECEMBER.—The sky resembled that in Poussin's picture of the Deluge; and to one who had contended a whole year with scarcity of water, in regions where this coming supply had so long been due, the reflection would often occur, that this rain, if it had fallen a year sooner, might have expedited that journey very much indeed; whereas it was now very likely to retard the return of the party. This was the only spot where such a rain could have seriously impeded our progress; the waters of the great rivers were sure to come down, and we had still to traverse extensive low tracts, where, in 1831, I had seen the marks of floods on trees, which had left an impression still remaining on my mind, that I thought it very desirable then, to get my party safe out of these flats as soon as possible.

On the 28th November, or eight days after the rains set in, the Mooni waters came down, at first slowly, but gradually filling up the channel, until they rose to such a height, as to oblige me to move three of the drays. During the night, the rising inundation began to spread over the lower parts of the surface back from the river; while the current came down with such rapidity, and, judging from marks of former inundations on the trunks of box-trees ("GOBORRA"), it appeared probable the water might reach our camp. I therefore determined to move it by daylight to a sand- hill, about a quarter of a mile back from the river. This was effected in good time, and only in time. Between the camp beside the Mooni, and that we afterwards established on the sand-hill, there was a hollow by which the rising floods would pass to an extensive tract of low ground almost surrounding our camp on the sand-hill, and which would, probably, render our passage out of that position difficult, even after the waters had subsided. I therefore employed the men in throwing up a dam across this hollow, between our hill-camp and the river, so as to prevent the inundation from passing that way. We had no better material than sand to oppose to this water; yet, by throwing up enough, we succeeded in arresting the waters there, although they rose to the height of two feet four inches on the upper side of our dam, and gave, to the country above it, the appearance of a vast lake, covering our old encampment; so that the figures 86 cut on a tree, were the only traces of it that remained above water. Our camp on the sand-hill was elevated above the sea 641 feet, or about 80 feet higher than the river. The waters continued to rise until the 2d of December, when they became stationary; and next day they began slowly to subside. By the evening of the 5th, they had receded from the dam; and the sky, which had been lowering until the 1st, began to present clouds of less ominous form. Still the return of clear weather was slow, and accompanied by thunder-showers. Plants put forth their blossoms as soon as the sun re-appeared; amongst others, the DIDISCUS PILOSUS Benth.; a pretty little umbelliferous plant. BOERHAAVIA was again seen here; CARISSA OVATA, a shrub three feet high, with spiny branches, and very sweet white flowers; the NEPTUNIA GRACILIS also, with the appearance of a sensitive plant, was seen in the open flats. It was only on the 7th that a crust had been formed on the earth, sufficiently firm for the cattle to travel upon; and we embraced the earliest opportunity of quitting that camp, where the superabundance of water had detained us seventeen days. Musquitoes now tormented us exceedingly, and had obliged us to tether the horses at night, to prevent them from straying. We this day passed over the soil without finding the wheels to sink much, until we arrived at Johnston's station, five miles from our camp, and where I had been told the ground was firm. There, on the contrary, we encountered the only two swamps at all difficult. Even the drays got through them, however, and I gladly quitted the banks of the Mooni, taking a straight direction towards the Barwan, and encamped ten miles from the former. That central ground between the Mooni and the Barwan, had brigalow growing upon it, was firm, and in some hollows we found water. A heavy thunder-shower fell at sunset, but we were on such firm soil, that I was under no apprehension that it would have the effect of retarding our journey.

8TH DECEMBER.—Thermometer, at 6 A.M., 69 deg.. Height above the sea, 782 feet. Having determined our position on the map, I now chose such a direction for our homeward route, as would form the most eligible general line of communication between Sydney and the Maranoa. It seemed desirable that this should cross the Barwan (the Karaula of my journey of 1831), some miles above the point where I had formerly reached that river; and thus avoid the soft low ground upon the Nammoy, falling into my old track about Snodgrass lagoon, or when in sight of Mount Riddell. With this view, our latitude being 28 deg. 57' 20" S., longitude 149 deg. 11' E., I chose the bearing of S.S.E. (or rather 231/2 deg. E. of S.), for my homeward guidance; and this morning I travelled, over a good firm surface, for sixteen miles in that direction, when we arrived at the bank of the Barwan and there encamped. We had passed through some open scrub, chiefly of the rosewood kind, and crossed several small grassy plains; saw one or two patches of brigalow, but very little callitris. An improvement was visible in the quality of the grass, when we came within the distance of about two miles from the river; and open forests or plains of richer soil, its usual concomitants, plainly enough indicated the presence of the Barwan (or "Darling"). In the country we traversed, we saw no cart tracks; but the deep impressions of a few stray cattle, apparently pursued by natives, were visible throughout the scrubs. There was still a considerable flood in the river, although the water had been recently much higher, as was obvious from the state of the banks. Latitude, 28 deg. 37' 20" S. Height above the sea, 590 feet.

9TH DECEMBER.—All hands were busy this morning in making preparations for crossing the Barwan. The boats were soon put together, and on reconnoitring the river in one of them, I soon found a favourable place for swimming the cattle and horses at, and which was effected without accident. The unloaded drays were next drawn through the river at the same place; which was about three hundred yards lower down the river than that at which we had encamped, and which was marked by the number 87, cut on a tree. My former camp on this river in 1831, for want of such a mark, could not be recognised. According to my surveys, it should have been found seventeen miles lower down the river. All our stores and equipment were carried across in the boats. These looked well in the water; their trim appearance and utility, then renewed my regret that I had not reached the navigable portion of the Victoria, and that its channel had been so empty. Perhaps more efficient portable boats never were constructed, or carried so far inland undamaged. They were creditable to the maker, Mr. Struth of Sydney. By their means, the whole party was comfortably encamped this afternoon, on the left bank of the Barwan, just before a heavy thunder-shower came down. The river had fallen several feet during the day. Thermometer, at 6 P.M., 82 deg..

10TH DECEMBER.—At 6 A.M. thermometer 68 deg.. The mosquitoes were most tormenting; as was well expressed by one of the men outside my tent, who remarked to his companion, "That the more you punishes 'em, the more they brings you to the scratch:" a tolerable pun for one of "the fancy," of which class we had rather too many in the party. The horses, although tethered and close spancelled, could not be secured, even thus. Some had broken away and strayed during the night. It was ascertained by Yuranigh, that four other strange horses were with ours, having come amongst them and led them astray. These had broken loose from a neigh- bouring station, whence a native came to the men I had left to await the horses at the Barwan, and took back the strange horses. I had gone forward with the party, still pursuing the same bearing, and came thus upon the "Maael," a channel not usually deep, but, at the time, so full of water, with a very slight current in it, that here again we were obliged to employ the boats. This channel was distant 51/2 miles from where we had crossed the Barwan. The bullocks were made to swim across in the yokes, drawing the empty drays through, which they accomplished very well; "RARI NANTES IN GURGITE VASTO." The loads were carried in the boats, and the horses taken across, as before. The camp was established at an early hour on the left bank of the "Maal," which camp I caused to be marked 88, in figures cut on an iron bark tree. Latitude, 29 deg. 1' 20" S. This seemed to be the same channel crossed by me on 5th February, 1832, at a similar distance from the main river.

11TH DECEMBER.—Thermometer, at 7 A.M., 70 deg.. We continued to travel homewards on the same bearing; thus tracing with our wheels, a direct line of road from Sydney to the northern interior and coast. The plains were gay with the blue flowers of a new CYCLOGYNE[*]; a new CANTHIUM, was in fruit[**]; and we found also a species of Malva, which Sir William Hooker has determined to be MALVA OVATA (Cav.), or scarcely differing from that species, except in the rather soft and short hairs to the calyx (not long and rigid): the two ends of the curved carpels are equal or blunt; but in M. OVATA the upper one is longer and attenuated into a short beak. The same plant was found by Frazer along the Brisbane. The THYSANOTUS ELATIOR was again found here; and a shrubby CRUCIFEROUS plant, quite woody at the base, with very narrow linear setaceous pinnatifid leaves,[***] and linear curved torulose silicules. A new HAKEA with stout needle like leaves, was also found this day in the scrub. We met with no impediment for eighteen miles, when I encamped, although without reaching water enough for our cattle. I knew we could not expect to meet with any watercourse between the Barwan and the Gwydir; which latter river I wished to cross as soon as possible, in hopes then to meet with roads and inhabitants. Even cattle-tracks had again become rare in this intermediate ground, although the grass was in its best state, and most exuberant abundance. We crossed much open plain, and passed through several shady forests of casuarina. A curious provision of nature for the distribution of the seeds of a parasitical plant was observed here, each seed being enclosed within a sort of pulp, like bird-lime, insoluble in water; the whole resembling a very thin-skinned berry. On this being broken, probably by birds, the bird-lime is apt to attach the seed to trees or branches, and so the parasitical growth commences. On the plains, the blue flowers of a large variety of MORGANIA GLABRA caught the eye: the rare and little known HETERODENDRON OLOEFOLIUM of Desfontaines, a genus referred to Soapworts by Mr. Planchon. We found also this day, a new POLYMERIA with erect stems, silky leaves, and pink flowers.[****] Height above the sea, 554 feet.

[* C. SWAINSONIOIDES (Benth. MS.); foliolis 8-11 anguste oblongis, racemis laxis dissitifloris, carina spiraliter contorta.—Habit of a SWAINSONIA or LESSERTIA. Flowers blue, as in the original Swan river species (C. CANESCENS). That has not a spirally-twisted keel, but the structure is indicated both by the circinnate apex of the style, and by a slight curl at the summit of the keel.]

[** C. OLEIFOLIUM (Hook. MS.); foliis obovato-oblongis obtusis glaucis basi in petiolum gracilem attenuatis, stipulis parvis acutis, fructibus didymis.]

[*** H. LONGICUSPIS (Hook. MS.); rigida glaberrima, ramis junioribus subpubescentibus, foliis bi-triuncialibus tereti-filiformibus rigidis strictis longe mucronatis, perianthiis glabris, capsulis suboblique ovatis lignosis glabris brevi-acuminatis.]

[**** P. LONGIFOLIA (Lindl. MS.); erecta, foliis sericeo-nitentibus linearilanceolatis auriculatis, pedunculis unifloris foliis multo brevioribus.]

12TH DECEMBER.—Thermometer, at 6 A.M., 67 deg.. Passing over a similar sort of country for some miles (and through a scrub, on first leaving the camp), we at length came upon a more open country, where the ground seemed to fall southward. Cattle-tracks were again numerous, and cow-dung abundant, an article in much request with us just then, its smoke being a valuable specific for keeping off the mosquitoes, when a little of it was burnt before a tent. We next came upon more spacious plains than any we had seen southward of the Balonne; and I recognised, with great pleasure and satisfaction, the blue peak of Mount Riddell, distant 61 miles. This seemed to peep through the obscurity of fifteen laborious years, that had intervened since I had given a name to that summit. It now proved the accuracy of my recent survey, appearing exactly in the direction, where, according to my maps, I pointed my glass to look for it. Like the face of an old friend, which, as the Persian proverb says, "brighteneth the eyes," so this required clear eyes to be seen at all; even Yuranigh, could not at first be persuaded that it was not a cloud. This fine peak must always be a good landmark on these vast plains, and may yet brighten the eye of the traveller from India, when emerging from the level regions upon the Barwan. We next perceived at a distance, a cloud of dust raised by a numerous herd of cattle, and came upon a water-course, or branch of the Gwydir, called, I believe, the "Meei." As I wanted to cross the Gwydir, I crossed this and continued; met with another deep ditch or channel, four miles beyond the Meei; and, at three miles beyond that, another: none of these resembling the Gwydir I had formerly seen. I had ridden twenty-five miles, and hastened back to meet the carts, and encamped them just beyond the first-mentioned of these two water-courses. The heavy drays were, of course, far behind. Latitude, 29 deg. 34' 41" S. Height above the sea, 553 feet.

13TH DECEMBER.—Thermometer, at 10 A.M., 70 deg.. The drays joined us early, having performed an immense distance yesterday. This being Sunday, rest for the remainder of the day was both proper and necessary. I found we were within a less distance of Snodgrass Lagoon, than we were from the camp we had left the previous day. I expected to fall in with some road, when we reached the country to which I had formerly led the way. At sunset the sky seemed charged with rain, and the barometer had fallen 21/2 millimetres; much thunder, and but a slight shower followed, after which the sky cleared up. Heavy rain there, must have caused much difficulty and delay to the party, as we were upon low levels subject to inundation. Height above the sea, 499 feet. Thermometer, at 6 P.M., 88 deg..

14TH DECEMBER.—Thermometer, at 6 A.M., 76 deg.. During the night, and at day-break, heavy rain pattered on my tent, but a streak of the blue sky appeared in the N.W., which increased; and before 7 A.M. the sun shone on the ground, and dried it so that we could proceed. We crossed a channel of the river, at three miles, which is called the "Moomings;" and still I doubted whether we had not yet to cross the main channel of the Gwydir, having seen no current in any of those channels I had crossed. I had however already crossed the latitude of the river I had formerly seen; and, coming soon to rising ground, and seeing before me the wide-spread plains of my former journey, I was convinced that the late rains had not extended to the Gwydir, and that this river had been crossed by us in these several channels. At length, I arrived at the lagoon I had named, in former times, after Colonel Snodgrass; thus terminating this journey, having travelled in a direct line the last seventy-three miles of it, to meet at this point the line from Sydney, traced by me thus far in the year 1831. Height above the level of the sea, 545 feet. Thermometer, at 7 P.M., 87 deg.. The temporary occupation of the country by squatters, imprints but few traces of colonization. Cattle-tracks were visible, certainly, but nothing else. No track remained along the line which I had so many years before laboured to mark out. Having ordered some of the men to look out for a stockman, one was at length caught, and persuaded to come to my tent, but not without some apprehension that the people he had come amongst so suddenly were robbers. He was a youth, evidently of the Anglo- Saxon race, in a state of transition to the condition of an Australian stockman. His fair locks strayed wildly from under a light straw hat about the ears of an honest English face, and the large stock whip in his hand explained what he was about,—"in search of some stray cattle." He had evidently never heard of exploring expeditions, past or present; nor of such a name as "Snodgrass Lagoon." Mount Riddell was called "Cow hill," according to him. Knew there was a road to Maitland, but of Sydney he seemed to require some minutes to recal the recollection. He had come from the station of Mr.——, where he was employed as stockman. Came out from England about six years ago with a brother. When asked if his brother was with him, he said "No." To my next question, as to the rest of his relatives, a tear was the only reply, and I pushed my inquiries no further.

16TH DECEMBER.—I left the camp, accompanied by Mr. Kennedy, and, in looking for my old route, we soon arrived at cattle stations. The lagoon was full, and the first station we saw was on the opposite bank; but having crossed some miles higher, we arrived at one, where the master and some men were busy in the stockyard, and there we were hospitably received. It was then about 2 P.M., and tea mixed with milk was set before us, with a quart pot full of fine salt, and some hard-boiled eggs. Having put into my tea a table-spoonful of the salt, mistaking it for sugar, and there being no sugar, I had two strong reasons for not taking much tea. Fortunately for me, however, I did eat one of the hard-boiled eggs, for from that hour I was doomed to fast two days. There I bade Mr. Kennedy farewell, leaving him in charge of the party, and proceeded along a cart-track homewards, followed by John Douglas, and a led horse. Before we could arrive at the station where I intended to halt, night overtook us on a plain, with very heavy rain, and total darkness. The cart-track was no longer visible, and, after groping on some way without it, we were obliged to alight and sit in the mud, without the shelter of even a tree, until day-break. Daylight exhibited the station not above two miles off, but that did not avail us much; for, on awaking the inmates, and asking them for some breakfast, the hut-keeper shook his head, and said he had no provisions to spare. Once more I struck away from these "abodes of civilized men," to look for my old track, which had been traced along the base of the Nundawar Range, where the bold outlines of Mounts Lindesay and Forbes hung dimly, like shadows of the past, amongst clouds lighted by beams from the rising sun. After having been long in unknown regions, time and distance seem of little consequence when we return to those previously known; and thus the whole day soon passed in looking for my former track. But I sought it in vain; and was glad at night to turn towards the banks of the Nammoy, in search of a cattle-station. Since I had first explored that country to which my wheel-tracks marked and led the way, station after station had been taken up by squatters, not by following any line of route, but rather according to the course of the river, for the sake of water; and in such cases, the beaten track from station to station, no matter how crooked, becomes the road. Thus it is, in the fortuitous occupation of Australia, that order and arrangement may precede, and be followed only by "CHAOS come again." I arrived about sunset, at Mr. Cyrus Doyle's station near the Nammoy, where I was hospitably entertained by a man in charge of it, who rode eight miles in twenty minutes only, to borrow some tea and sugar for me, and who lived on very friendly terms with some old natives who remembered me, and my first advance into that country.

18TH DECEMBER.—At 6 A.M., Thermometer 75 deg.. Height above the sea 750 feet. Guided by one of these natives, I reached the "great road," saw many wool drays upon it, before I arrived at Maule's creek; and I endeavoured, for a considerable time, to pass two gentlemen in a gig, and wearing veils, who were driving a lot of mares before them, and who seemed to derive amusement from making their mares keep pace with my entire horse.

The road this day traversed the luxuriant flats of the Nammoy, one of the richest districts in the colony, as the fat cattle on the banks of the river sufficiently attested. The mountains behind, afforded equally eligible runs for sheep. Nothing could surpass the beauty of the scenery, amid abundance of water, umbrageous trees, cattle, verdure, and distant mountains. I was most comfortably lodged that night at Mr. Wentworth's station on the Nammoy, elevated above the sea 1055 feet, and next day I reached the dwelling of a resident squatter, and saw a lady in a comfortable house near the very spot, where, fifteen years before, I had taken a lonely walk by the then unknown Nammoy, the first white man permitted there to discover a "flowery desert."[*] I was most kindly welcomed by this family; but I asked in vain, even there, to be favoured with the perusal of a newspaper. When I expressed anxiety about my numerous family, and spoke of my long absence of a year, I observed a tear in the lady's eye, which I then thought the product of mere sensibility; but I learnt subsequently, that she was aware the newspapers she possessed, and out of sympathy withheld, would have apprised me of the death of a son, which sad tidings were only communicated to me some days after.[**]

[* Three Expeditions, etc., vol. i. p. 54.]

[** He died on the 16th July, at the age of eighteen, from the want of medical aid, when surveying, in winter, the Australian Alps. His grave, trodden by cattle hoofs, is in a desolate unconsecrated spot. He had served the public, gratis, upwards of two years, as a draughtsman and surveyor.]

Chapter X.


The party which I had left in charge of Mr. Kennedy near Snodgrass Lagoon arrived in the neighbourhood of Sydney on the 20th of January, and the new Governor, Sir Charles Fitzroy, kindly granted such gratuities to the most deserving of my men as I had recommended, and also sent the names to England of such prisoners as His Excellency thought deserving of Her Majesty's gracious pardon.

The sale of the cattle and equipment produced about 500L.; and as Mr. Kennedy volunteered his services, when the proper season should arrive (March), to trace down the course of the river Victoria with a light party on horseback, I submitted a plan to Sir Charles Fitzroy, and obtained His Excellency's permission to send this officer to survey the river, and to apply the above-mentioned proceeds of sale in providing the equipment of his party. Mr. Kennedy finally left Sydney about the middle of March, with a party of eight men, all well mounted and leading spare horses, with two light carts carrying a stock of provisions for fourteen months. The following copy of his instructions will show what Mr. Kennedy was required to do.

* * *

Surveyor-General's Office, Sydney, 22d February, 1847.


"His Excellency the Governor having been pleased to sanction my proposal for the further exploration of the river Victoria with a small party to be sent under your command; I have now the honour to enclose to you a copy of instructions by which I was guided in conducting the late expedition into the northern interior, and I have to request that you will conform thereto, as much as the following particular instructions for your especial guidance may permit.

"You will as early as possible return by the road across Liverpool Plains so as to fall into the return route of the late expedition before you leave the settled districts, and in this manner you will recross the Balonne at St. George's Bridge, take the route back to Camp (83), and thence by the route along the Maranoa to Camp (XXIX), beyond which you will proceed as hereinafter detailed, with reference to the accompanying tracing of my survey.

"You will cross the Maranoa at Camp (XXIX), and continue along my return route until you reach Camp (75). I beg you will be particular so far in looking for the track of my party returning, as you will perceive by the map that many very circuitous detours may be thus avoided. But beyond Camp (75), about seven miles, you will have to leave my return track on your right, and not cross a little river there at all, but go along my old advance track to Camp (XXXIV). Thence you will proceed by Camps (XXXV) and (XXXVI), in order to approach the bed of the Warrego in the direction of my ride of 14th June, in a general N. W. direction. It is very desirable that you should keep my horse tracks there; but this I can scarcely expect, and I can only therefore request that you will proceed as closely in that direction as you can. The bed of the Warrego may be looked for at a distance further on, equal to that of my ride of 14th June.

"You will next pursue the course of the Warrego upwards towards Mount Playfair, which the accompanying map will be sufficient to guide you to. You will follow up the Cunno Creek, leaving Mount Playfair on your right or to the eastward, and you will thus fall into the line of my horse- track about the spot where I spoke to an old native female. I wish you would then take some pains to travel in the direction of my track from the head of Cunno through the Brigalow, which is comparatively open, in the direction of my bivouac of 11th September.

"Keeping the direction of my track of next day, you will arrive at a low, but stony, ridge (A) (across which you must be careful how you pass your carts, but it is of no breadth), and you will descend into a flat, from which you will ascend another stony ridge (B), of no greater height but more asperity than the first, and covered with fallen timber. You will have about a mile of that sort of difficulty to deal with on the higher part, but by turning then to the right, you will fall into a well watered valley, which will lead you to the Nive. In the whole of your route thus far, you can meet with no difficulty in tracing it, guided by the map, and following these instructions; but if Douglas should be with you, he will no doubt recognize the country through which he passed with me. It is very important that you should keep that route, as leading to the Victoria in a very straight direction from Sydney, and a direction in which, should your return be delayed beyond the time for which your party is to be provisioned, it is probable, that any party sent after you to your aid or assistance would proceed to look for you. After you shall have reached the Nive and Camp (77), you cannot have any difficulty in finding Camp (72) near the Gap, and from that valley you have only to follow down the watercourse to be certain that you are on my track to the Victoria, and, as you have been instructed to take an expert native with you, you ought to find still my horse's track across the downs, cutting off large bends of the river. But beyond Camps 16th September or 1st October, you must keep by the river along my route back, and not follow the circuitous track which I took through Brigalow to the westward. After about four miles by the river, you will see, by the map, that my return track again crossed the outward track over the downs, so that you may fall into the route westward of the great northern bend of the Victoria. I fear you must depend on the latitude, pace measurement, and bearings, for ascertaining the situations of my camps of 29th September and 28th September. You will see by the map how generally straight my journeys were between these points, and how important it would be for you to know the situation of the camp of 28th September, that you may thence set out westward in the direction of my return route, instead of following the main channel throughout the very circuitous turn it then takes to the northward. Beyond the lowest point attained by me, or the point (wherever that may be) to which you will be able to identify the accompanying map with my track, of course it will be your duty to pursue the river, and determine the course thereof as accurately as your light equipment and consequent rapid progress, may permit. You may, however, employ the same means by which I have mapped that river so far; and, for your guidance, I shall add the particulars of my method of measuring the relative distances. If you count the strokes of either of your horse's fore feet, either walking or trotting, you will find them to be upon an average, about 950 to a mile. In a field-book, as you note each change of bearing, you have only to note down also the number of paces (which soon becomes a habit); and to keep count of these, it is only necessary to carry about thirty-five or forty small pieces of wood, like dice (beans or peas would do), in one waistcoat pocket, and, at the end of every 100 paces, remove one to the empty pocket on the opposite side. At each change of bearing, you count these, adding the odd numbers to the number of hundreds, ascertained by the dice, to be counted and returned at each change of bearing to the other pocket. You should have a higher pocket for your watch, and keep the two lower waisctoat pockets for this important purpose.

"Now, to plot such a survey, you have only to take the half-inch scale of equal parts (on the 6-inch scale in every case of instruments), and allowing TEN for a hundred, the half-inch will represent 1000 paces. You may thus lay down any broken number of paces to a true scale, and so obtain a tolerably accurate map of each day's journey. The latitude will, after all, determine finally the scale of paces; and you can, at leisure, adjust each day's journey by its general bearing between different latitudes; and, subsequently, introduce the details. You will soon find the results sufficiently accurate to afford some criterion of even the variation of the needle, when the course happens to be nearly east or west, and when, of course, it behoves you to be very well acquainted with the rate of your horse's paces, as determined by differences of latitude. You will be careful to intersect the prominent points of any range that may appear on the horizon; and the nature of the rock also should be ascertained in the country examined: small specimens, with letters of reference, will be sufficient for this. Specimens of the grasses, and of the flower or seed of new trees, should be also preserved, with dates, in a small herbarium. But the principal object of the journey being the determination of the course of the Victoria, and the discovery of a convenient route to the head of the Gulph of Carpentaria, the accomplishment of these great objects must be steadily kept in view, without regard to minor considerations. Should the channel finally spread into an extensive bed, whether dry or swampy, you will adhere, as a general rule, to the eastern side or shore, as, in the event of any scarcity of water, the high land known to be there will thus be more speedily accessible to you; and I am also strongly of opinion, that you would cross in such a route more tributaries from the east than from the west. On arriving at or near the Gulph of Carpentaria, I have particularly to caution you against remaining longer than may be unavoidable there, or, indeed, in any one place, in any part of your route, where natives may be numerous.

"Having completed (at least roughly) the map of your general route, it will be in your power in returning, to take out detours, and cut off angles, by previously ascertaining the proper bearings for doing so; and when so returning, it would be convenient to number your camps, that the route and the country may be better described by you, and recognised afterwards by others. These numbers may be cut in common figures on trees; and if, as I hope, you should reach the Gulph, you can commence them there: you may prefix C to each number commencing with 1, thus avoiding any confusion with the numbers of my numbered camps on the Victoria.

"On returning to the colony, you will report to me, or to the officer in charge of the Survey Department, the progress and results of your journey.

"I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant,


"E. B. C. Kennedy, Esq. J. P. Assistant Surveyor, Sydney."


There is no subject connected with New South Wales, or Australia, less understood in England than the character and condition of the aboriginal natives. They have been described as the lowest in the scale of humanity, yet I found those who accompanied me superior in penetration and judgment to the white men composing my party. Their means of subsistence and their habits, are both extremely simple; but they are adjusted with admirable fitness to the few resources afforded by such a country, in its wild state. What these resources are, and how they are economised by the natives, can only be learnt by an extensive acquaintance with the interior; and the knowledge of a few simple facts, bearing on this subject, may not be wholly devoid of interest. Fire, grass, kangaroos, and human inhabitants, seem all dependent on each other for existence in Australia; for any one of these being wanting, the others could no longer continue. Fire is necessary to burn the grass, and form those open forests, in which we find the large forest-kangaroo; the native applies that fire to the grass at certain seasons, in order that a young green crop may subsequently spring up, and so attract and enable him to kill or take the kangaroo with nets. In summer, the burning of long grass also discloses vermin, birds' nests, etc., on which the females and children, who chiefly burn the grass, feed. But for this simple process, the Australian woods had probably contained as thick a jungle as those of New Zealand or America, instead of the open forests in which the white men now find grass for their cattle, to the exclusion of the kangaroo, which is well-known to forsake all those parts of the colony where cattle run. The intrusion therefore of cattle is by itself sufficient to produce the extirpation of the native race, by limiting their means of existence; and this must work such extensive changes in Australia as never entered into the contemplation of the local authorities. The squatters, it is true, have also been obliged to burn the old grass occasionally on their runs; but so little has this been understood by the Imperial Government that an order against the burning of the grass was once sent out, on the representations of a traveller in the south. The omission of the annual periodical burning by natives, of the grass and young saplings, has already produced in the open forest lands nearest to Sydney, thick forests of young trees, where, formerly, a man might gallop without impediment, and see whole miles before him. Kangaroos are no longer to be seen there; the grass is choked by underwood; neither are there natives to burn the grass, nor is fire longer desirable there amongst the fences of the settler. The occupation of the territory by the white race seems thus to involve, as an inevitable result, the extirpation of the aborigines; and it may well be pleaded, in extenuation of any adverse feelings these may show towards the white men, that these consequences, although so little considered by the intruders, must be obvious to the natives, with their usual acuteness, as soon as cattle enter on their territory. The foregoing journal affords instances of the habits of the natives in these respects. Silently, but surely, that extirpation of aborigines is going forward in grazing districts, even where protectors of aborigines have been most active; and in Van Diemen's Land, the race has been extirpated, even before that of the kangaroos, under an agency still more destructive.

It would be but natural, even admitting these aboriginal inhabitants to be, as men, "only a little lower than the angels," that they should feel disposed, when urged by hunger, to help themselves to some of the cattle or sheep that had fattened on the green pastures kept clear for kangaroos from time immemorial by the fires of the natives and their forefathers; but such cases have been, nevertheless, of rare occurrence, partly because much human life has been sacrificed to the manes of sheep or cattle. No orders of the local government can prevent the perpetration of these atrocities. Government Orders have been put forth in formal obedience to injunctions from home, and the policy of the local authorities has not been influenced by less humane motives.

It would ill become me to disparage the character of the aborigines, for one of that unfortunate race has been my "guide, companion, councillor, and friend," on the most eventful occasions during this last Journey of Discovery. Yuranigh was small and slender in person, but (as the youth Dicky said, and I believed,) he was of most determined courage and resolution. His intelligence and his judgment rendered him so necessary to me, that he was ever at my elbow, whether on foot or horseback. Confidence in him was never misplaced. He well knew the character of all the white men of the party. Nothing escaped his penetrating eye and quick ear. His brief but oracular sentences were found to be SAGE, though uttered by one deemed a SAVAGE; and his affection and kindness towards the little native Dicky seemed quite paternal. The younger was the willing servant of the elder; who obliged him to wash and clean himself before he allowed him to sleep near him. Yuranigh was particularly clean in his person, frequently washing, and his glossy shining black hair, always well-combed, gave him an uncommonly clean and decent appearance. He had promised himself and Dicky a great reception on returning to Sydney, and was perhaps disappointed. Dicky had never before seen houses, and Yuranigh took much delight in showing him the theatre, and whatever else was likely to gratify his curiosity. The boy was all questions and observation. I was at a loss how to make these natives comfortable; or suitably reward their services. The new Governor kindly granted the small gratuity asked for Yuranigh, and Dicky became a favourite in my family. Both these natives loathed the idea of returning to the woods, as savages; and, as if captivated with the scenes of activity around them, both expressed a desire "to work and live like white men." This shows that, when treated on a footing of equality, as these had been in my party, the Australian native MIGHT be induced to take part in the labours of white men; but at the first annoyance, the old freedom of the bush seems to overmaster their resolutions, and attracts them back to it. Yuranigh was engaged (for wages, and under regular agreement,) as stockman to a gentleman who had cattle in the north, and he took an affecting leave of my family. I carried Dicky to my house in the country, with the intention of having him educated there with my children, provided A TUTOR COULD BE FOUND, which seemed doubtful when I left the colony. It has been long a favourite project with me, to educate an aboriginal native, as a husband for Ballandella, and that their children should form, at least, one civilized family of the native race, upon which the influence of education and religious principles might be fairly tried.

This has never yet been done, although the experiment is one of much interest. It seems scarcely practicable, except by withdrawing the married couple to another country, where the children might be educated, and kept clear of all predilections for a life in the woods. I thought of sending such a pair to some congenial climate, such as the South of Europe, where they should be taught the whole art of cultivating the grape, fig, and olive, as well as the management of other productions of similar latitudes in that hemisphere. They might return to Australia with their family in ten or twelve years; when, in speaking a different language from those about them, they would be less open to the influences that interpose between the employers and the employed in that colony; while the utility of their employment might be of some benefit to it. Were this experiment to succeed, the decent and comfortable condition afforded by industry might raise the aborigines in their own estimation, and inspire them with hope to attain to a state of equality with the white men, which, without having some such examples set before them, must seem to them unattainable. The half-clad native finds himself in a degraded position in the presence of the white population: a mere outcast, obliged to beg a little bread. In his native woods, the "noble savage" knows no such degrading necessity.—All there participate in, and have a share of, Nature's gifts. These, scanty though they be, are open to all. Experience here has proved, and the history of the aborigines of other countries has shown, the absurdity of expecting that any men, "as free as Nature first made man," will condescend to leave their woods, and come under all the restraints imposed by civilisation, purely from choice, unless they can do so on terms of the most perfect equality. Surely it behoves the nation so active in the suppression of slavery to consider betimes, in taking up new countries, how the aboriginal races can be preserved; and how the evil effects of spirituous liquors, of gunpowder, and of diseases more inimical to them than even slavery, may be counteracted.


The prisoners who had hitherto formed the bulk of all the exploring parties previously led by me into the interior of New South Wales, were chosen chiefly from amongst men employed on the roads, who had acquired good recommendations from their immediate overseers; but, on this last occasion, the men forming the party were for the most part chosen from amongst those still remaining in Cockatoo Island, the worst and most irreclaimable of their class.

The concentration of convicts in that island was intended, I believe, to follow out the Norfolk Island system, keeping the men under rigorous surveillance, and making them work at their respective trades, or as labourers. Even there, so near to Sydney, that labour, so available to lay the foundations of a colony, might have been employed with great advantage, in constructing a naval arsenal and hospital for our seamen on the Indian station, with a dry dock attached to it for the repair of war- steamers. Such a dock has been long a desideratum at Sydney, and private enterprize might, ere this time, have embarked in a work so essential to an important harbour, had not the Government always possessed the means of cheaply constructing such a work by convict labour, and been thus able at any time to have entered into such competition as might have been very injurious to a private speculator. At Cockatoo Island, blacksmiths, shoemakers, wheelwrights, were at work in their various avocations; all the shoes, for both the men and horses of the expedition, were made there; also one half of the carts, which proved equally good as the other portion, although that was made by the best maker in the colony, a celebrated man.

The eagerness evinced by all these men, so confined in irons on Cockatoo Island, to be employed in an exploring expedition, was such that even the most reckless endeavoured to smooth their rugged fronts, and seemed to wish they had better deserved the recommendation of the superintendent. The prospect of achieving their freedom, by one year of good behaviour in the interior, was cheering to the most depressed soul amongst these prisoners. All pressed eagerly forward with their claims and pretensions, which, unfortunately for the knowing ones, were strictly investigated by Mr. Ormsby the superintendent, and Captain Innes, the visiting magistrate. The selection of such as seemed most eligible was at length made, after careful examination of the phrenological developments and police history of each; and it was not easy to find one without a catalogue of offences, filling a whole page of police-office annals. Still there were redeeming circumstances, corroborated by physical developments, sufficient to guide me in the selection of a party from amongst these prisoners. With them, I mixed one or two faithful Irishmen, on whom I knew I could depend, and two or three of my old followers on former journeys, who had become free.

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