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Charles Sturt

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Titel: Expedition into Central Australia

von Oliver Goldsmith, Samuel Pepys, William Dean Howells, John Burroughs, William Harmon Norton, L. Mühlbach, Franklin Knight Lane, Walter Pater, Jonathan Swift, Augusta J. Evans, Trumbull White, Kathleen Thompson Norris, Matthew Arnold, Charles W. Colby, Shakespeare, James Fenimore Cooper, D. H. Lawrence, James Joyce, Ada Cambridge, Philip E. Muskett, Catherine Helen Spence, Rolf Boldrewood, Ernest Scott, Fergus Hume, H. G. Wells, Victor [pseud.] Appleton, Roald Amundsen, Max Simon Nordau, Henry David Thoreau, E. Phillips Oppenheim, Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt, Charlotte Mary Yonge, Charles Henry Eden, Charles Babbage, T. R. Malthus, Unknown, Joseph Ernest Morris, Robert Southey, Isabella L. 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Adams, Thornton W. Burgess, Glenn D. Bradley, Eugen Neuhaus, Arthur E. Knights, Bret Harte, Maturin Murray Ballou, Jane G. Austin, Samuel Johnson, Frederick Niecks, Stephen Leacock, Suelette Dreyfus, Stéphane Mallarmé, Lyndon Orr, William Le Queux, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Jeannie Gunn, Jean François Regnard, John Ruskin, A. I. Kuprin, Pierre Louÿs, George Barr McCutcheon, John Munro, Holman Day, William Stearns Davis, John Richardson, Mary Jane Holmes, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Finley Peter Dunne, C. J. Dennis, Ethel Sybil Turner, Julius Wellhausen, Arnold Bennett, Harold Bell Wright, Guðmundur Kamban, Charles Stuart Calverley, A. E. W. Mason, Charles Rivière Dufresny, David Starr Jordan, Wallace Irwin, J. W. Wright, Thomas Hardy, United States Rubber Company, Helen Reimensnyder Martin, William Fayette Fox, Lewis Carroll, Anna Katharine Green, Shell Union Oil Corporation, Louisa May Alcott, Theocritus, of Phlossa near Smyrna Bion, Moschus, Bertrand Russell, Guy de Maupassant, Henrik Ibsen, James Whitcomb Riley, Josephine Lawrence, Pierre Loti, Harry Alverson Franck, Albert Payson Terhune, Harold MacGrath, G. A. Henty, Harriet A. Adams, John Lothrop Motley, H. E. Bird, Joseph Crosby Lincoln, Michel Baron, Gene Stratton-Porter, James Clerk Maxwell, Norman Lindsay, Edward Lasker, Margaret Penrose, S. R. Crockett, Austin Hall, Homer Eon Flint, Various, Clarence Edward Mulford, Upton Sinclair, John Andreas Widtsoe, Thomas Bulfinch, David Graham Phillips, John Kendrick Bangs, Edmond Jaloux, Emile Littré, 13th cent. de Boron Robert, Samuel Butler, James Huneker, Jessie Graham [pseud.] Flower, St. George Rathborne, Charles Wesley Emerson, Winston Churchill, Edith Bancroft, Lloyd Osbourne, Jack London, Lyman Abbott, Belle K. Abbott, Sinclair Lewis, H. W. Conn, Ludwig Thoma, Sir Walter Scott, August Strindberg, Thomas Chapais, Ernest Giles, David Wynford Carnegie

ISBN 978-3-7429-4823-6

Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

NARRATIVE OF AN EXPEDITION INTO CENTRAL AUSTRALIA PERFORMED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF HER MAJESTY'S GOVERNMENT, DURING THE YEARS 1844, 5, AND 6, TOGETHER WITH A NOTICE OF THE PROVINCE OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA IN 1847. IN 2 VOLUMES.

TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE THE EARL GREY, ETC. ETC. ETC.

MY LORD,

Although the services recorded in the following pages, which your Lordship permits me to dedicate to you, have not resulted in the discovery of any country immediately available for the purposes of colonization, I would yet venture to hope that they have not been fruitlessly undertaken, but that, as on the occasion of my voyage down the Murray River, they will be the precursors of future advantage to my country and to the Australian colonies.

Under present disappointment it must be as gratifying to those who participated in my labours, as it is to myself to know that they are not the less appreciated by your Lordship, because they were expended in a desert.

I can only assure your Lordship, that it has been my desire to give a faithful description of the country that has been explored, and of the difficulties attending the task; nor can I refuse myself the anticipation that the perusal of these volumes will excite your Lordship's interest and sympathy. I have the honour to be,

My Lord,

Your Lordship's Most obedient humble servant, CHARLES STURT.

London, November 21,1848.

NOTICE.

It might have been expected that many specimens, both of Botany and Ornithology, would have been collected during such an Expedition as that which the present narrative describes, but the contrary happened to be the case.

I am proud in having to record the name of my esteemed friend, Mr. Brown, the companion of Flinders, and the learned author of the "Prodromus Novae Hollandiae," to whose kindness I am indebted for the Botanical Remarks in the Appendix.

To my warm-hearted friend, Mr. Gould, whose splendid works are before the Public, and whose ardent pursuits in furtherance of his ambition, I have personally witnessed, I owe the more perfect form in which my ornithological notice appears.

I have likewise to acknowledge, with very sincere feelings, the assistance I have received from Mr. Arrowsmith, in the construction of my Map, to whose anxious desire to ensure correctness and professional talent I am very greatly indebted.

I hope the gentlemen whose names I have mentioned will accept my best thanks for the assistance they have afforded me in my humble labours. It is not the least of the gratifications enjoyed by those who are employed on services similar to which I have been engaged, to be brought more immediately in connection with such men.

London, November 21, 1848.

Chaining over the Sandhills to Lake Torrens

CONTENTS

VOLUME I.

CHAPTER I

CHARACTER OF THE AUSTRALIAN CONTINENT OF ITS RIVERS PECULIARITY OF THE DARLING SUDDEN FLOODS TO WHICH IT IS SUBJECT CHARACTER OF THE MURRAY ITS PERIODICAL RISE BOUNTY OF PROVIDENCE GEOLOGICAL POSITION OF THE TWO RIVERS OBSERVATIONS RESULTS SIR THOMAS MITCHELL'S JOURNEY TO THE DARLING ITS JUNCTION WITH THE MURRAY ANECDOTE OF MR. SHANNON CAPTAIN GREY'S EXPEDITION CAPTAIN STURT'S JOURNEY MR. EYRE'S SECOND EXPEDITION VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE MR. OXLEY'S OPINIONS STATE OF THE INTERIOR IN 1828 CHARACTER OF ITS PLAINS AND RIVERS JUNCTION OF THE DARLING FOSSIL BED OF THE MURRAY FORMER STATE OF THE CONTINENT THEORY OF THE INTERIOR.

CHAPTER II

PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE ARRIVAL AT MOORUNDI NATIVE GUIDES NAMES OF THE PARTY SIR JOHN BARROW'S MINUTE REPORTS OF LAIDLEY'S PONDS CLIMATE OF THE MURRAY PROGRESS UP THE RIVER ARRIVAL AT LAKE BONNEY GRASSY PLAINS CAMBOLI'S HOME TRAGICAL EVENTS IN THAT NEIGHBOURHOOD PULCANTI ARRIVAL AT THE RUFUS VISIT TO THE NATIVE FAMILIES RETURN OF MR. EYRE TO MOORUNDI DEPARTURE OF MR. BROWNE TO THE EASTWARD.

CHAPTER III

MR. BROWNE'S RETURN HIS ACCOUNT OF THE COUNTRY CHANGE OF SCENE CONTINUED RAIN TOONDA JOINS THE PARTY STORY OF THE MASSACRE LEAVE LAKE VICTORIA ACCIDENT TO FLOOD TURN NORTHWARDS CROSS TO THE DARLING MEET NATIVES TOONDA'S HAUGHTY MANNER NADBUCK'S CUNNING ABUNDANCE OF FEED SUDDEN FLOODS BAD COUNTRY ARRIVAL AT WILLIORARA CONSEQUENT DISAPPOINTMENT PERPLEXITY MR. POOLE GOES TO THE RANGES MR. BROWNE'S RETURN FOOD OF THE NATIVES POSITION OF WILLIORARA.

CHAPTER IV

TOONDA'S TRIBE DISPOSITION OF THE NATIVES ARRIVAL OF CAMBOLI HIS ENERGY OF CHARACTER MR. POOLE'S RETURN LEAVE THE DARLING REMARKS ON THAT RIVER CAWNDILLA THE OLD BOOCOLO LEAVE THE CAMP FOR THE HILLS REACH A CREEK WELLS TOPAR'S MISCONDUCT ASCEND THE RANGES RETURN HOMEWARDS EAVE CAWNDILLA WITH A PARTY REACH PARNARI MOVE TO THE HILLS JOURNEY TO N. WEST HEAVY RAINS RETURN TO CAMP MR. POOLE LEAVES LEAVE THE RANGES DESCENT TO THE PLAINS MR. POOLE'S RETURN HIS REPORT FLOOD'S CREEK AQUATIC BIRDS RANGES DIMINISH IN HEIGHT.

CHAPTER V

NATIVE WOMEN SUDDEN SQUALL JOURNEY TO THE EASTWARD VIEW FROM MOUNT LYELL INCREASED TEMPERATURE MR. POOLE'S RETURN HIS REPORT LEAVE FLOOD'S CREEK ENTANGLED IN THE PINE FOREST DRIVE THE CATTLE TO WATER EXTRICATE THE PARTY STATE OF THE MEN MR. POOLE AND MR. BROWNE LEAVE THE CAMP PROCEED NORTHWARDS CAPT. STURT LEAVES FOR THE NORTH RAPID DISAPPEARANCE OF WATER MUDDY CREEK GEOLOGICAL FORMATION GYPSUM PUSH ON TO THE RANGES RETURN TO THE CREEK AGAIN ASCEND THE RANGES FIND WATER BEYOND THEM PROCEED TO THE W.N.W. RETURN TO THE RANGES ANTS AND FLIES TURN TO THE EASTWARD NO WATER RETURN TO THE CAMP MR. POOLE FINDS WATER MACK'S ADVENTURE WITH THE NATIVES MOVE THE CAMP.

CHAPTER VI

THE DEPOT FURTHER PROGRESS CHECKED CHARACTER OF THE RANGES JOURNEY TO THE NORTH-EAST RETURN JOURNEY TO THE WEST RETURN AGAIN PROCEED TO THE NORTH INTERVIEW WITH NATIVES ARRIVE AT THE FARTHEST WATER THE PARTY SEPARATES PROGRESS NORTHWARDS CONTINUE TO ADVANCE SUFFERINGS OF THE HORSE CROSS THE 28TH PARALLEL REJOIN MR. STUART JOURNEY TO THE WESTWARD CHARACTER OF THE COUNTRY FIND TWO PONDS OF WATER THE GRASSY PARK RETURN TO THE RANGE EXCESSIVE HEAT A SINGULAR GEOLOGICAL FEATURE REGAIN THE DEPOT.

CHAPTER VII

MIGRATION OF THE BIRDS JOURNEY TO THE EASTWARD FLOODED PLAINS NATIVE FAMILY PROCEED SOUTH, BUT FIND NO WATER AGAIN TURN EASTWARD STERILE COUNTRY SALT LAGOON DISTANT HILLS TO THE EAST RETURN TO THE CAMP INTENSE HEAT OFFICERS ATTACKED BY SCURVY JOURNEY TO THE WEST NO WATER FORCED TO RETURN ILLNESS OF MR. POOLE VISITED BY A NATIVE SECOND JOURNEY TO THE EASTWARD STORY OF THE NATIVE KITES AND CROWS ERECT A PYRAMID ON MOUNT POOLE PREPARATIONS FOR A MOVE INDICATIONS OF RAIN INTENSE ANXIETY HEAVY RAIN MR. POOLE LEAVES WITH THE HOME RETURNING PARTY BREAK UP THE DEPOT MR. POOLE'S SUDDEN DEATH HIS FUNERAL PROGRESS WESTWARD THE JERBOA ESTABLISHMENT OF SECOND DEPOT NATIVE GLUTTONY DISTANT MOUNTAINS SEEN REACH LAKE TORRENS EXAMINATION OF THE COUNTRY N.W. OF IT RETURN TO THE DEPOT VISITED BY NATIVES PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE AGAIN INTO THE NORTH-WEST INTERIOR.

CHAPTER VIII

LEAVE THE DEPOT FOR THE NORTH-WEST SCARCITY OF WATER FOSSIL LIMESTONE ARRIVE AT THE FIRST CREEK EXTENSIVE PLAINS SUCCESSION OF CREEKS FLOODED CHARACTER OF THE COUNTRY POND WITH FISH STERILE COUNTRY GRASSY PLAINS INTREPID NATIVE COUNTRY APPARENTLY IMPROVES DISAPPOINTMENTS WATER FOUND APPEARANCE OF THE STONY DESERT NIGHT THEREON THE EARTHY PLAIN HILLS RAISED BY REFRACTION RECOMMENCEMENT OF THE SAND RIDGES THEIR UNDEVIATING REGULARITY CONJECTURES AS TO THE DESERT RELATIVE POSITION OF LAKE TORRENS CONCLUDING REMARKS.

CHAPTER IX

FLOOD'S QUICK SIGHT FOREST FULL OF BIRDS NATIVE WELL BIRDS COLLECT TO DRINK DANGEROUS PLAIN FLOOD'S HORSE LOST SCARCITY OF WATER TURN NORTHWARD DISCOVER A LARGE CREEK BRIGHT PROSPECTS SUDDEN DISAPPOINTMENT SALT LAGOON SCARCITY OF WATER SALT WATER CREEK CHARACTER OF THE INTERIOR FORCED TO TURN BACK RISK OF ADVANCING THE FURTHEST NORTH RETURN TO AND EXAMINATION OF THE CREEK PROCEED TO THE WESTWARD DREADFUL COUNTRY JOURNEY TO THE NORTH AGAIN FORCED TO RETURN NATIVES STATION ON THE CREEK CONCLUDING REMARKS.

PLATES TO VOLUME I.

Chaining over the Sandhills to Lake Torrens

Sketch of the Sturt's tracks and discoveries

Sunset on the Murray

Colonel Gawler's Camp on the Murray

Ana-branch of the Darling

Mus Conditor

Parnari

Lower part of the Rocky Glen

Geological formation of the Ranges

Part of the Northern Range

General appearance of the Northern Ranges at their termination

Native Village in the northern interior

The Depot Glen

Milvus Affinis

Water Hole

Red Hill, or Mount Poole

Mr. Poole's Grave

Lake Torrens

Pond with Fish

Native Well

Near the camp at Cawndilla

Mr. Arrowsmith, has prepared a large Map of Captain Sturt's routes into the centre of Australia, from the original protractions and other official documents, now in his hands.

On this Map are delineated the whole of the details resulting from his numerous route,--the dates marking his daily progress--the description of the country--its dip-the depressed Stony Desert, which is probably the great northern prolongation of the Torrens Basin of Mr. Eyre,--etc. etc. etc.

This Map in two sheets may be had in a cover, price 7 shillings.

VOLUME II.

CHAPTER II/I

REFLECTIONS ON OUR DIFFICULTIES COMMENCE THE RETREAT EYRE'S CREEK PASS THE NATIVE WELL RECROSS THE STONY DESERT FIND ANOTHER WELL WITHOUT WATER NATIVES SUCCESSFUL FISHING VALUE OF SHEEP DECIDE ON A RETREAT PROPOSE THAT MR. BROWNE SHOULD LEAVE HIS REFUSAL TO DESERT THE PARTY MR. BROWNE'S DECISION PREPARE TO LEAVE THE CAMP REMARKS ON THE CLIMATE AGAIN LEAVE THE DEPOT SINGULAR EXPLOSION DISCOVER A LARGE CREEK PROCEED TO THE NORTH RECURRENCE OF SAND RIDGES SALT WATER LAKE AGAIN STRIKE THE STONY DESERT ATTEMPT TO CROSS IT.

CHAPTER II/II

THE HORSES ASCEND THE HILLS IRRESOLUTION AND RETREAT HORSES REDUCED TO GREAT WANT UNEXPECTED RELIEF TRY THE DESERT TO THE N.E. FIND WATER IN OUR LAST WELL REACH THE CREEK PROCEED TO THE EASTWARD PLAGUE OF FLIES AND ANTS SURPRISE AN OLD MAN SEA-GULLS AND PELICANS FISH POOL OF BRINE MEET NATIVES TURN TO THE N.E. COOPER'S CREEK TRIBE, THEIR KINDNESS AND APPEARANCE ATTEMPT TO CROSS THE PLAINS TURN BACK PROCEED TO THE NORTHWARD EFFECTS OF REFRACTION FIND NATIVES AT OUR OLD CAMP AND THE STORES UNTOUCHED COOPER'S CREEK, ITS GEOGRAPHICAL POSITION.

CHAPTER II/III

CONTINUED DROUGHT TERRIFIC EFFECT OF HOT WIND THERMOMETER BURSTS DEATH OF POOR BAWLEY FIND THE STOCKADE DESERTED LEAVE FORT GREY FOR THE DEPOT DIFFERENCE OF SEASONS MIGRATION OF BIRDS HOT WINDS EMBARRASSING POSITION MR. BROWNE STARTS FOR FLOOD'S CREEK THREE BULLOCKS SHOT COMMENCEMENT OF THE RETREAT ARRIVAL AT FLOOD'S CREEK STATE OF VEGETATION EFFECTS OF SCURVY ARRIVE AT ROCKY GLEN COMPARISON OF NATIVE TRIBES HALT AT CARNAPAGA ARRIVAL AT CAWNDILLA REMOVAL TO THE DARLING LEAVE THE DARLING STATE OF THE RIVER OPPRESSIVE HEAT VISITED BY NADBUCK ARRIVAL AT MOORUNDI.

CHAPTER II/IV

REMARKS ON THE SEASON DRY STATE OF THE ATMOSPHERE THERMOMETRICAL OBSERVATIONS WINDS IN THE INTERIOR DIRECTION OF THE RANGES GEOLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS NON-EXISTENCE OF ANY CENTRAL CHAIN PROBABLE COURSE OF THE STONY DESERT WHETHER CONNECTED WITH LAKE TORRENS OPINIONS OF CAPTAIN FLINDERS NO INFORMATION DERIVED FROM THE NATIVES THE NATIVES THEIR PERSONAL APPEARANCE DISPROPORTION BETWEEN THE SEXES THE WOMEN CUSTOMS OF THE NATIVES THEIR HABITATIONS FOOD LANGUAGE CONCLUSION.

AN ACCOUNT OF THE SEA COAST AND INTERIOR OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA; WITH OBSERVATIONS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS CONNECTED WITH ITS INTERESTS.

CHAPTER III/I

DUTIES OF AN EXPLORER GEOGRAPHICAL POSITION OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA DESCRIPTION OF ITS COAST LINE SEA MOUTH OF THE MURRAY ENTERED BY MR. PULLEN RISK OF THE ATTEMPT BEACHING ROSETTA HARBOUR VICTOR HARBOUR NEPEAN BAY KANGAROO ISLAND KINGSCOTE CAPT. LEE'S INSTRUCTIONS FOR PORT ADELAIDE PORT ADELAIDE REMOVAL TO THE NORTH ARM HARBOUR MASTER'S REPORT YORKE'S PENINSULA PORT LINCOLN CAPT. LEE'S INSTRUCTIONS BOSTON ISLAND BOSTON BAY COFFIN'S BAY MR. CAMERON SENT ALONG THE COAST HIS REPORT POSITION OF PORT ADELAIDE.

CHAPTER III/II

PLAINS OF ADELAIDE BRIDGES OVER THE TORRENS SITE OF ADELAIDE GOVERNMENT HOUSE BUILDINGS AND CHURCHES SCHOOLS POLICE ROADS THE GAWLER BAROSSA RANGE THE MURRAY BELT MOORUNDI NATIVES ON THE MURRAY DISTANT STOCK STATIONS MOUNT GAMBIER DISTRICT ITS RICHNESS ASCENT TO MOUNT LOFTY MOUNT BARKER DISTRICT SCENE IN HINDMARSH VALLEY PROPORTION OF SOIL IN THE PROVINCE PASTORAL AND AGRICULTURAL PORT LINCOLN CLIMATE OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA RANGE OF THE THERMOMETER SALUBRITY.

CHAPTER III/III

SEASONS CAUSE WHY SOUTH AUSTRALIA HAS FINE GRAIN EXTENT OF CULTIVATION AMOUNT OF STOCK THE BURRA-BURRA MINE ITS MAGNITUDE ABUNDANCE OF MINERALS ABSENCE OF COAL SMELTING ORE IMMENSE PROFITS OF THE BURRA-BURRA EFFECT OF THE MINES ON THE LABOUR MARKET RELUCTANCE OF THE LOWER ORDERS TO EMIGRATE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CANADA AND AUSTRALIA THE AUSTRALIAN COLONIES STATE OF SOCIETY THE MIDDLE CLASSES THE SQUATTERS THE GERMANS THE NATIVES AUTHOR'S INTERVIEWS WITH THEM INSTANCES OF JUST FEELING THEIR BAD QUALITIES PERSONAL APPEARANCE YOUNG SETTLERS ON THE MURRAY CONCLUSION.

MR. KENNEDY'S SURVEY OF THE RIVER VICTORIA

APPENDIX

ANIMALS BIRDS NO. I. LIST OF SPECIMENS, AND THE NAMES OF THE VARIOUS ROCKS, COLLECTED DURING THE EXPEDITION NO. II. LOCALITIES OF THE DIFFERENT GEOLOGICAL SPECIMENS, COLLECTED BY THE CENTRAL AUSTRALIAN EXPDITION BOTANICAL APPENDIX, BY R. BROWN, ESQ., D.C.L., F.R.S., F.L.S, etc.

PLATES TO VOLUME II.

View from Stanley's Range

Native Grave

Cooper's Creek

Geophaps plumifera; Peristera histrionica

Strzelecki's Creek

Mr. Eyre's House at Moorundi

Piesse's Knob

King William Street, Adelaide

Port Adelaide

Mount Bryan

Murray River

Cinclosoma Cinnamoneus

Building, Adelaide

Gaol, Adelaide

ERRATA

Errata have been corrected. Original text has been placed in the eBook between braces{}.

Sketch of the Sturt's tracks and discoveries

VOLUME I

PREFACE.

The prominent part I have taken in the furtherance of Geographical Discovery on the Australian continent, and the attention, it will naturally be supposed, I have paid to the subject generally, will lead the reader perhaps to expect that I should, at the commencement of a work such as this, put him in possession of all the facts, with which I myself am acquainted, as to the character of those portions of it, which had been explored, before I commenced my recent labours. This may reasonably be expected from me by my readers, not only to enable them to follow me into the heartless desert from which, it may still be said, I have so lately returned, with that distinctness which can alone secure interest to my narrative; but, also, to judge whether the conclusions at which I arrived, and upon which I acted, were such as past experience ought to have led me to adopt.

It has struck me forcibly that such information would undoubtedly be desirable, not only to render my own details clearer, but to explain my views, since I should exceedingly regret that any imputation of rashness or inconsistency were laid to my charge; or if it was thought, I had volunteered hazardous and important undertakings, for the love of adventure alone.

The field of Ambition, professionally speaking, is closed upon the soldier during the period of his service in New South Wales. Had it been otherwise, however, no more honourable a one could have been open to me, when I landed on its shores in 1826, than the field of Discovery. I sought and entered upon it, not without a feeling of ambition I am ready to admit, for that feeling should ever pervade the breast of a soldier, but also with an earnest desire to promote the public good, and certainly without the hope of any other reward than the credit due to successful enterprise. I pretend not to science, but I am a lover of it; and to my own exertions, during past years of military repose, I owe the little knowledge I possess of those branches of it, which have since been so useful to me.

It will not be deemed presumptuous in me, I trust, to express a belief that the majority of my readers will find much to interest them in the perusal of this work; which I publish for several reasons--firstly, in the hope, that a knowledge of the extremities to which I was driven, and of the unusual expedients to which I was obliged to resort, in order to save myself and my companions from perishing, may benefit those who shall hereafter follow my example; secondly, that as I published an account of my former services, my failing to do so in the present instance might be taken as evidence that I lacked the moral firmness which enables men to meet both success and defeat with equal self-possession; and thirdly, because, I think the public has a right to demand information from those, who, like myself, have been employed in the advancement of geographical knowledge. I propose, therefore, to devote my preliminary chapter to a short review of previous Expeditions of Discovery on the Australian continent, and so to lay down its internal features, that my friends shall not lose their way.

I propose, also, to give an account of the state of South Australia when I left it in May last, for, as the expedition whose proceedings form the subject matter of these volumes, departed from and returned to that Province, such an account appears to me a fitting sequel to my narrative.

TRAVELS IN AUSTRALIA

CHAPTER I.

CHARACTER OF THE AUSTRALIAN CONTINENT OF ITS RIVERS PECULIARITY OF THE DARLING SUDDEN FLOODS TO WHICH IT IS SUBJECT CHARACTER OF THE MURRAY ITS PERIODICAL RISE BOUNTY OF PROVIDENCE GEOLOGICAL POSITION OF THE TWO RIVERS OBSERVATIONS RESULTS SIR THOMAS MITCHELL'S JOURNEY TO THE DARLING ITS JUNCTION WITH THE MURRAY ANECDOTE OF MR. SHANNON CAPTAIN GREY'S EXPEDITION CAPTAIN STURT'S JOURNEY MR. EYRE'S SECOND EXPEDITION VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE MR. OXLEY'S OPINIONS STATE OF THE INTERIOR IN 1828 CHARACTER OF ITS PLAINS AND RIVERS JUNCTION OF THE DARLING FOSSIL BED OF THE MURRAY FORMER STATE OF THE CONTINENT THEORY OF THE INTERIOR.

The Australian continent is not distinguished, as are many other continents of equal and even of less extent, by any prominent geographical feature. Its mountains seldom exceed four thousand feet in elevation, nor do any of its rivers, whether falling internally or externally, not even the Murray, bear any proportion to the size of the continent itself. There is no reason, however, why rivers of greater magnitude, than any which have hitherto been discovered in it, should not emanate from mountains of such limited altitude, as the known mountains of that immense and sea-girt territory. But, it appears to me, it is not in the height and character of its hilly regions, that we are to look for the causes why so few living streams issue from them. The true cause, I apprehend, lies in its climate, in its seldom experiencing other than partial rains, and in its being subject to severe and long continued droughts. Its streams descend rapidly into a country of uniform equality of surface, and into a region of intense heat, and are subject, even at a great distance from their sources, to sudden and terrific floods, which subside, as the cause which gave rise to them ceases to operate; the consequence is, that their springs become gradually weaker and weaker, all back impulse is lost, and whilst the rivers still continue to support a feeble current in the hills, they cease to flow in their lower branches, assume the character of a chain of ponds, in a few short weeks their deepest pools are exhausted by the joint effects of evaporation and absorption, and the traveller may run down their beds for miles, without finding a drop of water with which to slake his thirst.

In illustration of the above, I would observe that during the progress of the recent expedition up the banks of the Darling, and at a distance of more than 300 miles from its sources, that river rose from a state of complete exhaustion, until in four days it overflowed its banks. It was converted in a single night, from an almost dry channel, into a foaming and impetuous stream, rolling along its irresistible and turbid waters, to add to those of the Murray.

There can be no doubt, but, that this sudden rise in the river, was caused by heavy rains on the mountains, in which its tributaries are to be found, for the Darling does not receive any accession to its waters below their respective junctions, of sufficient magnitude to account for such an occurrence. [Note 1. below]

[Note 1. The principal tributaries of the Darling, are the Kindur, the Keraula, the Namoy, and the Gwydir. They are beautiful mountain streams, and rise in the hilly country, behind Moreton Bay, in lat. 27 degrees, and in longitude 152 degrees E.]

When, on the return of the expedition homewards the following year, some two months later in the season than that of which I have just been speaking, Oct. 1844, there had been no recurrence of the flood of the previous year, but the Darling was at a still lower ebb than before, and every lagoon, and creek in its vicinity had long been exhausted and waterless. [Note 2. below] Now, it is evident, as far as I can judge, that if the rains of Australia were as regular as in other countries, its rivers would also be more regular in their flow, and would not present the anomaly they now do, of being in a state of rapid motion at one time, and motionless at another.

[Note 2. It may be necessary to warn my readers that a creek in the Australian colonies, is not always an arm of the sea. The same term is used to designate a watercourse, whether large or small, in which the winter torrents may or may not have left a chain of ponds. Such a watercourse could hardly be called a river, since it only flows during heavy rains, after which it entirely depends on the character of the soil, through which it runs, whether any water remains in it or not.]

A lagoon is a shallow lake, it generally constitutes the back water of some river, and is speedily dried up. In Australia, there is no surface water, properly so called, of a permanent description.]

But, although I am making these general observations on the rivers, and to a certain extent of climate of Australia, I would not be understood to mean more than that its seasons are uncertain, and that its summers are of comparatively long duration.

In reference to its rivers also, the Murray is an exception to the other known rivers of this extensive continent. The basins of that fine stream are in the deepest recesses of the Australian Alps--which rise to an elevation of 7000 feet above the sea. The heads of its immediate tributaries, extend from the 36th to the 32nd parallel of latitude, and over two degrees of longitude, that is to say, from the 146 degrees to the 148 degrees meridian, but, independently of these, it receives the whole westerly drainage of the interior, from the Darling downwards. Supplied by the melting snows from the remote and cloud-capped chain in which its tributaries rise, the Murray supports a rapid current to the sea. Taking its windings into account, its length cannot be less than from 1300 to 1500 miles. Thus, then, this noble stream preserves its character throughout its whole line. Uninfluenced by the sudden floods to which the other rivers of which we have been speaking are subject, its rise and fall are equally gradual. Instead of stopping short in its course as they do, its never-failing fountains have given it strength to cleave a channel through the desert interior, and so it happened, that, instead of finding it terminate in a stagnant marsh, or gradually exhausting itself over extensive plains as the more northern streams do, I was successfully borne on its broad and transparent waters, during the progress of a former expedition, to the centre of the land in which I have since erected my dwelling.

Sunset on the Murray

As I have had occasion to remark, the rise and fall of the Murray are both gradual. It receives the first addition to its waters from the eastward, in the month of July, and rises at the rate of an inch a day until December, in which month it attains a height of about seventeen feet above its lowest or winter level. As it rises it fills in succession all its lateral creeks and lagoons, and it ultimately lays many of its flats under water.

The natives look to this periodical overflow of their river, with as much anxiety as did ever or now do the Egyptians, to the overflowing of the Nile. To both they are the bountiful dispensation of a beneficent Creator, for as the sacred stream rewards the husbandman with a double harvest, so does the Murray replenish the exhausted reservoirs of the poor children of the desert, with numberless fish, and resuscitates myriads of crayfish that had laid dormant underground; without which supply of food, and the flocks of wild fowl that at the same time cover the creeks and lagoons, it is more than probable, the first navigators of the Murray would not have heard a human voice along its banks; but so it is, that in the wide field of nature, we see the hand of an over-ruling Providence, evidences of care and protection from some unseen quarter, which strike the mind with overwhelming conviction, that whether in the palace or in the cottage, in the garden, or in the desert, there is an eye upon us. Not to myself do I accord any credit in that I returned from my wanderings to my home. Assuredly, if it had not been for other guidance than the exercise of my own prudence, I should have perished: and I feel satisfied the reader of these humble pages, will think as I do when he shall have perused them.

An inspection of the accompanying chart, will shew that the course of the Murray, as far as the 138 degrees meridian is to the W.N.W., but that, at that point, it turns suddenly to the south, and discharges itself into Lake Victoria, which again communicates with the ocean, in the bight of Encounter Bay. This outlet is called the "Sea mouth of the Murray," and immediately to the eastward of it, is the Sand Hill, now called Barker's Knoll--under which the excellent and amiable officer after whom it is named fell by the hands of the natives, in the cause of geographical research.

Running parallel with its course from the southerly bend, or great N.W. angle of the Murray, there is a line of hills, terminating southwards, at Cape Jarvis; but, extending northwards beyond the head of Spencer's Gulf. These hills contain the mineral wealth of South Australia, and immediately to the westward of them is the fair city of Adelaide.

On gaining the level interior, the Murray passes through a desert country to the 140 degrees meridian, when it enters the great fossil formation, of which I shall have to speak hereafter. In lat. 34 degrees, and in long. 142 degrees, the Darling forms a junction with it; consequently, as that river rises in latitude 27 degrees, and in long. 152 degrees, its direct course will be about S.W. There is a distance of nine degrees of latitude, therefore, between their respective sources, and, as the Darling forms a considerable angle with the Murray at this junction, it necessarily follows, as I have had occasion to remark, that the two rivers must receive all the drainage from the eastward, falling into that angle. If I have been sufficiently clear in explaining the geographical position and character of these two rivers, which in truth almost make an island of the S.E. angle of the Australian continent, it will only remain for me to add in this place, that neither the Murray nor the Darling receive any tributary stream from the westward or northward, and at the time at which I commenced my last enterprise, the Darling was the boundary of inland discovery, if I except the journey of my gallant friend Eyre, to Lake Torrens, and the discovery by him of the country round Mount Serle. Sir Thomas Mitchell had traced the Darling, from the point at which I had been obliged from the want of good water to abandon it, in 1828, to lat. 32 degrees 26 minutes, and had marked down some hills to the westward of it. Still I do not think that I detract from his merit, and I am sure I do not wish to do so, when I say that his having so marked them can hardly be said to have given us any certain knowledge of the Cis-Darling interior.

More than sixteen years had elapsed from the period when I undertook the exploration of the Murray River, to that at which I commenced my preparations for an attempt to penetrate Central Australia. Desolate, however, as the country for the most part had been, through which I passed, my voyage down that river had been the forerunner of events I could neither have anticipated or foreseen. I returned indeed to Sydney, disheartened and dissatisfied at the result of my investigations. To all who were employed in that laborious undertaking, it had proved one of the severest trial and of the greatest privation; to myself individually it had been one of ceaseless anxiety. We had not, as it seemed, made any discovery to gild our enterprise, had found no approximate country likely to be of present or remote advantage to the Government by which we had been sent forth; the noble river on whose buoyant waters we were hurried along, seemed to have been misplaced, through such an extent of desert did it pass, as if it was destined thus never to be of service to civilized man, and for a short time the honour of a successful undertaking, as far as human exertion could ensure it, was all that remained to us after its fatigues and its dangers had terminated, as the reader will conclude from the tenour of the above passage; for, although at the termination of the Murray, we came upon a country, the aspect of which indicated more than usual richness and fertility, we were unable, from exhausted strength, to examine it as we could have wished, and thus the fruits of our labours appeared to have been taken from us, just as we were about to gather them. But if, amidst difficulties and disappointments of no common description, I was led to doubt the wisdom of Providence, I was wrong. The course of events has abundantly shewn how presumptuous it is in man to question the arrangements of that Allwise Power whose operations and purposes are equally hidden from us, for in six short years from the time when I crossed the Lake Victoria, and landed on its shores, that country formed another link in the chain of settlements round the Australian continent, and in its occupation was found to realize the most sanguine expectations I had formed of it. Its rich and lovely valleys, which in a state of nature were seldom trodden by the foot of the savage, became the happy retreats of an industrious peasantry; its plains were studded over with cottages and corn-fields; the very river which had appeared to me to have been so misplaced, was made the high road to connect the eastern and southern shores of a mighty continent; the superfluous stock of an old colony was poured down its banks into the new settlement to save it from the trials and vicissitudes to which colonies, less favourably situated, have been exposed; and England, throughout her wide domains, possessed not, for its extent, a fairer or a more promising dependency than the province of South Australia. Such, there can be no doubt, have been the results of an expedition from which human foresight could have anticipated no practical good.

During my progress down the Murray River I had passed the junction of a very considerable stream with it [Note 3. The Darling], in lat. 34 degrees 8 minutes and long. 142 degrees. Circumstances, however, prevented my examining it to any distance above its point of union with the main river. Yet, coming as it did, direct from the north, and similar as it was to the Darling in its upper branches, neither had I, nor any of the men then with me, and who had accompanied me when I discovered the Darling in 1828, the slightest doubt as to its identity. Still, the fact might reasonably be disputed by others, more especially as there was abundant space for the formation of another river, between the point where I first struck the Darling and this junction.

It was at all events a matter of curious speculation to the world at large, and was a point well worthy of further investigation. Such evidently was the opinion of her Majesty's Government at the time, for in accordance with it, in the year 1835, Sir Thomas Mitchell, the Surveyor-General of the colony of New South Wales, was directed to lead an expedition into the interior, to solve the question, by tracing the further course of the Darling. This officer left Sydney in May, 1835, and pushing to the N.W. gradually descended to the low country on which the Macquarie river all but terminates its short course. In due time he gained the Bogan river (the New Year's Creek of my first expedition, and so called by my friend, Mr. Hamilton Hume, who accompanied me as my assistant, because he crossed it on that day), and tracing it downwards to the N. W., Sir Thomas Mitchell ultimately gained the banks of the Darling, where I had before been upon it, in latitude 30 degrees. He then traced it downwards to the W.S.W {S.S.W. in published text} to latitude 32 degrees 26 seconds. At this point he determined to abandon all further pursuit of the river, and he accordingly returned to Sydney, in consequence, as he informs us, of his having ascertained that just below his camp a small stream joined the Darling from the westward. The Surveyor-General had noticed distant hills also to the west; and it is therefore to be presumed that he here gave up every hope of the Darling changing its course for the interior, and of proving that I was wrong and that he was right. The consequence, however, was, that he left the matter as much in doubt as before, and gained but little additional knowledge of the country to the westward of the river.

In the course of the following year Sir Thomas Mitchell was again sent into the interior to complete the survey of the Darling. On this occasion, instead of proceeding to the point at which he had abandoned it, the Surveyor-General followed the course of the Lachlan downwards, and crossing from that river to the Murrumbidgee, from it gained the banks of the Murray. In due time he came to the disputed junction, which he tells us he recognised from its resemblance to a drawing of it in my first work. As I have since been on the spot, I am sorry to say that it is not at all like the place, because it obliges me to reject the only praise Sir Thomas Mitchell ever gave me; but I mention the circumstance because it gives me the opportunity to relate an anecdote, connected with the drawing, in which my worthy and amiable friend, Mr. Shannon, a clergyman of Edinburgh, and a very popular preacher there, but who is now no more, took a chief part. I had lost the original drawing of the junction of the Murray, and having very imperfect vision at the time I was publishing, I was unable to sketch another. It so happened that Mr. Shannon, who sketched exceedingly well with the pen, came to pay me a visit, when I asked him to try and repair my loss, by drawing the junction of the Darling with the Murray from my description. This he did, and this is the view Sir Thomas Mitchell so much approved. I take no credit to myself for faithfulness of description, for the features of the scene are so broad, that I could not but view them on my memory; but I give great credit to my poor friend, who delineated the spot, so as that it was so easily recognised. It only shews how exceedingly useful such things are in books, for if Sir Thomas Mitchell had not so recognised the view, he might have doubted whether that was really the junction of the Darling or not, for he had well nigh fallen into the mistake of thinking that he had discovered another river, when he came upon the Darling the year before, and had as much difficulty in finding a marked tree of Mr. Hume's upon its banks, as if it had been a needle in a bundle of straw. Fortunately, however, the Surveyor-General was enabled to satisfy himself as to this locality, and he accordingly left the Murray, and traced the junction upwards to the north for more than eight miles, when he was suddenly illuminated. A ray of light fell upon him, and he became convinced, as I had been, of the identity of this stream with the Darling, and suddenly turning his back upon it, left the question as much in the dark as before. Neither did he therefore on this occasion, throw any light on the nature and character of the distantinterior.

In the year 1837 the Royal Geographical Society, assisted by Her Majesty's Government, despatched an expedition under the command of Lieuts. afterwards Captains Grey and Lushington--the former of whom has since been Governor of South Australia, and is at the present moment Governor in Chief of New Zealand--to penetrate into the interior of the Australian continent from some point on the north-west or west coast; but those gentlemen were unable to effect such object. The difficulties of the country were very great, and their means of transport extremely limited; and in consequence of successive untoward events they were ultimately obliged to abandon the enterprise, without any satisfactory result. But I should be doing injustice to those officers, more particularly to Captain Grey, if I did not state that he shewed a degree of enthusiasm and courage that deserve the highest praise.

As, however, both Sir Thomas Mitchell and Capt. Grey [Note 4. Journals of Expeditions of Discovery in North-West and Western Australia, during the years 1837-8-9, by Captain George Grey.] have published accounts of their respective expeditions, it may not be necessary for me to notice them, beyond that which may be required to connect my narrative and to keep unbroken the chain of geographical research upon the continent.

In the year 1838, I myself determined on leading a party overland from New South Wales to South Australia, along the banks of the Murray; a journey that had already been successfully performed by several of my friends, and among the rest by Mr. Eyre. They had, however, avoided the upper branches of the Murray, and particularly the Hume, by which name the Murray itself is known above the junction of the Murrumbidgee with it. Wishing therefore to combine geographical research with my private undertaking, I commenced my journey at the ford where the road crosses the Hume to Port Phillip, and in so doing connected the whole of the waters of the south-east angle of the Australian continent.

In this instance, however, as in those to which I have already alluded, no progress was made in advancing our knowledge of the more central parts of the continent.

In the year 1839 Mr. Eyre, now Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand, fitted out an expedition, and under the influence of the most praiseworthy ambition, tried to penetrate into the interior from Mount Arden; but, having descended into the basin of Lake Torrens, he was baffled at every point. Turning, therefore, from that inhospitable region, he went to Port Lincoln, from whence he proceeded along the line of the south coast to Fowler's Bay, the western limit of the province of South Australia.

He then determined on one of those bold movements, which characterise all his enterprises, and leaving the coast, struck away to the N.E. for Mount Arden along the Gawler Range; but the view from the summit of that rugged line of hills, threw darkness only on the view he obtained of the distant interior, and he returned to Adelaide without having penetrated further north than 29 degrees 30 minutes, notwithstanding the unconquerable perseverance and energy he had displayed.

In the following year, the colonists of South Australia, with the assistance of the local government, raised funds to equip another expedition to penetrate to the centre of the continent, the command of which was entrusted to the same dauntless officer. On the morning on which he was to take his departure, from the fair city of Adelaide, Colonel Gawler, the Governor, gave a breakfast, to which he invited most of the public officers and a number of the colonists, that they might have the opportunity of thus collectively bidding adieu to one who had already exerted himself so much for the public good.

Few, who were present at that breakfast will ever forget it, and few who were there present, will refuse to Colonel Gawler the mead of praise due to him, for the display on that occasion of the most liberal and generous feelings. It was an occasion on which the best and noblest sympathies of the heart were roused into play, and a scene during which many a bright eye was dim through tears.

Some young ladies of the colony, amongst whom were Miss Hindmarsh and Miss Lepson, the one the daughter of the first Governor of the province, the other of the Harbour-master, had worked a silken union to present to Mr. Eyre, to be unfurled by him in the centre of the continent, if Providence should so far prosper his undertaking, and it fell to my lot, at the head of that fair company, to deliver it to him.

When that ceremony was ended, prayers were read by the Colonial Chaplain, after which Mr. Eyre mounted his horse, and escorted by a number of his friends, himself commenced a journey of almost unparalleled difficulty and privation [Note 5. Journals of Expeditions of Discovery into Central Australia, and Overland from Adelaide to King George's Sound, in the years 1840 and 41, by E. J. Eyre, Esq.]--a journey, which, although not successful in its primary objects, yet established the startling fact, that there is not a single watercourse to be found on the South coast of Australia, from Port Lincoln to King George's Sound, a distance of more than 1500 miles. To what point then, let me ask, does the drainage of the interior set? It is a question of deep interest to all--a question bearing strongly on my recent investigations, and one that, in connection with established facts, will, I think, enable the reader to draw a reasonable conclusion, as to the probable character of the country, which is hid from our view by the adamantine wall which encircles the great Australian bight.

On this long and remarkable journey, Mr. Eyre again found it impossible to penetrate to the north, but steadily advancing to the westward, he ultimately reached the confines of Western Australia, with one native boy, and one horse only. Neither, however, did this tremendous undertaking throw any light on the distant interior, and thus it almost appeared that its recesses were never to be entered by civilized man.

From this time neither the government of South Australia, or that of New South Wales, made any further effort to push geographical inquiry, and all interest in it appeared to have past away.

It remains for me to observe, however, that, whilst these attempts were being made to prosecute inland discovery, Her Majesty's naval service was actively employed upon the coast. Captain Wickham, in command of the Beagle, was carrying on a minute survey of the intertropical shores of the continent, which led to the discovery of two considerable rivers, the Victoria and the Albert, the one situated in lat. 14 degrees 26 minutes S. and long. 129 {139 in published text} degrees 22 minutes E., the other in lat. 17 degrees 35 minutes and long. 139 degrees 54 minutes; but in tracing these up to lat. 15 degrees 30 minutes and 17 degrees 58 minutes, and long. 130 degrees 50 minutes and 139 degrees 28 minutes respectively, no elevated mountains were seen, nor was any opening discovered into the interior. Captain Wickham having retired, the command of the Beagle devolved on Lieut. now Captain Stokes, to whose searching eye the whole of the coast was more or less subjected, and who approached nearer to the centre than any one had ever done before [Note 6. below], but still no light was thrown on that hidden region; and the efforts which had been made both on land and by water, were, strictly speaking, unsuccessful, to push to any conclusive distance from the settled districts on the one hand, or from the coast into the interior on the other. Reasoning was lost in conjecture, and men, even those most interested in it, ceased to talk on the subject.

[Note 6. Discoveries in Australia, and Expeditions into the Interior, surveyed during the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, between the years 1837 and 43, by Captain J. Lort Stokes.]

It may not be of any moment to the public to be made acquainted with the cause which led me, after a repose of more than fourteen years, to seek the field of discovery once more. It will be readily admitted, that from the part, as I have observed in my preface, which I had ever taken in the progress of Geographical Discovery on the Australian continent, I must have been deeply interested in its further developement.

I had adopted an impression, that this immense tract of land had formerly been an archipelago of islands, and that the apparently boundless plains into which I had descended on my former expeditions, were, or rather had been, the sea-beds of the channels, which at that time separated one island from the other; it was impossible, indeed, to traverse them as I had done, and not feel convinced that they had at one period or the other been covered by the waters of the sea. It naturally struck me, that if I was correct in this conjecture, the difficulty or facility with which the interior might be penetrated, would entirely depend on the breadth and extent of these once submarine plains, which in such case would now separate the available parts of the continent from each another, as when covered with water they formerly separated the islands. This hypothesis, if I may so call it, was based on observations which, however erroneous they may appear to be, were made with an earnest desire on my part to throw some light on the apparently anomalous structure of the Australian interior. No one could have watched the changes of the country through which he passed, with more attention than did I--not only from a natural curiosity, but from an anxious desire to acquit myself to the satisfaction of the Government by which I was employed.

When Mr. Oxley, the first Surveyor-General of New South Wales, a man of acknowledged ability and merit, pushed his investigations into the interior of that country, by tracing down the rivers Lachlan and Macquarie, he was checked in his progress westward by marshes of great extent, beyond which he could not see any land. He was therefore led to infer that the interior, to a certain extent, was occupied by a shoal sea, of which the marshes were the borders, and into which the rivers he had been tracing discharged themselves.

My friend, Mr. Allan Cunningham, who was for several years resident in New South Wales, and who made frequent journeys into the interior of the continent as botanist to his late Majesty King George IV. and who also accompanied Captain P. P. King, during his survey of its intertropical regions, if he did not accompany Mr. Oxley also on one of his expeditions, strongly advocated the hypothesis of that last-mentioned officer; but as Mr. Cunningham kept on high ground on his subsequent excursions, he could not on such occasions form a correct opinion as to the nature of the country below him. His impressions were however much influenced by the observations made by Captain King in Cambridge Gulf, the water of which was so much discoloured, as to lead that intelligent and careful officer to conclude, that it might prove to be the outlet of the waters of the interior, and hence a strong opinion obtained, that the dip of the continent was in the direction of that great inlet, or to the W. N. W. I therefore commenced my investigations, under an impression that I should be led to that point, in tracing down any river I might discover, and that sooner or later I should be stopped by a large body of inland waters. I descended rapidly from the Blue Mountains, into a level and depressed interior, so level indeed, that an altitude of the sun, taken on the horizon, on several occasions, approximated very nearly to the truth. The circumference of that horizon was unbroken, save where an isolated hill rose above it, and looked like an island in the ocean.

When I reached the point at which Mr. Oxley had been checked, I found the Macquarie, not "running bank high," as he describes it, but almost dry; and although ten years had passed since his visit to this distant spot, the grass had not yet grown over the foot-path, leading from his camp to the river; nor had a horse-shoe that was found by one of the men lost its polish. In this locality there are two hills, to which Mr. Oxley gave the names of Mount Harris and Mount Foster, distant from each other about five miles, on a bearing of 45 degrees to the west of south. Of these two hills Mount Foster is the highest and the nearest, and as the Macquarie runs between them to the westward, it must also be closer than Mount Harris to the marshes. I therefore naturally looked for any discovery that was to be made from Mount Foster, and I according ascended that hill just as the sun was setting. I looked in vain however for the region of reeds and of water, which Mr. Oxley had seen to the westward; so different in character were the seasons, and the state of the country at the different periods in which the Surveyor-General and I visited it. From the highest point I could gain I watched the sun descend; but I looked in vain for the glittering of a sea beneath him, nor did the sky assume that glare from reflected light which would have accompanied his setting behind a mass of waters. I could discover nothing to intercept me in my course. I saw, it is true, a depressed and dark region in the line of the direction in which I was about to go. The terrestrial line met the horizon with a sharp and even edge, but I saw nothing to stay my progress, or to damp my hopes. As I had observed the country from Mount Foster, so I found it to be when I advanced into it. I experienced little difficulty therefore in passing the marshes of the Macquarie, and in pursuing my course to the N. W. traversed plains of great extent, until at length I gained the banks of the Darling, in lat. 30 degrees. S. and in long. 146 degrees. E. This river, instead of flowing to the N. W. led me to the S. W.; but I was ultimately obliged to abandon it in consequence of the saltness of its waters. I could not, however, fail to observe that the plains over which I had wandered were wholly deficient in timber of any magnitude or apparently of any age, excepting the trees which grew along the line of the rivers; that the soil of the plains was sandy, and the productions almost exclusively salsolaceous. Their extreme depression, indeed their general level, since they were not more than 250 or 300 feet above the level of the sea, together with their general aspect, instinctively, as it were, led the mind to the conviction that they had, at a comparatively recent period, been covered by the ocean. On my return to the Blue Mountains, and on a closer examination of the streams falling from them into the interior, I observed that at a certain point, and that too nearly on the same meridian, they lost their character as rivers, and soon after gaining the level interior, terminated in marshes of greater or less extent; and I further remarked that at certain points, and that too where the channels of the rivers seemed to change, certain trees, as the swamp oak, casuarina, and others ceased, or were sparingly to be found on the lower country--a fact that may not be of any great importance in itself, but which it is still as well to record. The field, however, over which I wandered on this occasion was too limited to enable me to draw any conclusions applicable to so large a tract of land as the Australian continent. On this, my first expedition, I struck the Darling River twice, 1st, as I have stated in latitude 30 degrees S. and in long. 146 degrees; and seconndly, in lat. 30 degrees 10 minutes 0 seconds S., and in long. 147 degrees 30 minutes E. From neither of these points was any elevation visible to the westward of that river, but plains similar to those by which I had approached it continued beyond the range of vision or telescope from the highest trees we could ascend; beyond the Darling, therefore, all was conjecture.

At the close of the year 1829, I was again sent into the interior to trace its streams and to ascertain the further course of the Darling. I proceeded on this occasion to the south of Sydney, and intersecting the Murrumbidgee, a river at that time but little known, but which Mr. Hume had crossed, in lat. 35 degrees 10 minutes, and long. 147 degrees 28 minutes 30 seconds E., on his journey to the south coast, at a very early period of discovery, and which thereabouts is a clear, rapid and beautiful stream. I traced it downwards to the west to lat. 34 degrees 44 minutes, and to long. 143 degrees 5 minutes 0 seconds E. or thereabouts, having taken to my boats a few miles above the junction of the Lachlan with it, in lat. 34 degrees 25 minutes 0 seconds and in long. 144 degrees 3 minutes E.; having at that point left all high lands 200 miles behind me, and being then in a low and depressed country, precisely similar to that over which I had crossed the previous year. As on the first expedition, so on the present one, I descended rapidly into a country of general equality of surface; reeds grew in extensive patches along the line of the river, but beyond them sandy plains extended, covered with salsolae of various kinds. From the Murrumbidgee, I passed into the Murray, the largest known river in Australia, unless one of greater magnitude has recently been discovered by Sir Thomas Mitchell to the north.