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Three Expeditions into the Interior of Eastern Australia, Vol 2 (of
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Thomas Mitchell
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Title: Three Expeditions into the Interior of Eastern Australia, Vol 2 (of 2)
Author: Thomas Mitchell
Release Date: July 27, 2004 [EBook #13033]
Language: English
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*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK EASTERN AUSTRALIA, VOL. 2 ***
Produced by Sue Asscher and Col Choat
THREE EXPEDITIONS
INTO THE INTERIOR OF
EASTERN AUSTRALIA;
WITH DESCRIPTIONS OF THE RECENTLY EXPLORED REGION OF
AUSTRALIA FELIX,
AND OF THE PRESENT COLONY OF
NEW SOUTH WALES:
BY MAJOR T.L. MITCHELL, F.G.S. & M.R.G.S.
SURVEYOR-GENERAL.
SECOND EDITION, CAREFULLY REVISED.
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IN TWO VOLUMES.
VOLUME 2.
LONDON:
T. & W. BOONE, NEW BOND STREET.
...
CONTENTS OF VOLUME 2.
EXPEDITION TO THE RIVERS DARLING AND MURRAY, IN THE YEAR 1836.
CHAPTER 3.1.
Route proposed.
Equipment.
List of the Men.
Agreement with a native guide.
Livestock.
Corrobory-dance of the natives.
Visit to the Limestone caves.
Osseous breccia.
Mount Granard, first point to be attained.
Halt on a dry creek.
Break a wheel.
Attempt to ascend Marga.
Snakes.
View from Marga.
Reach the Lachlan.
Find its channel dry.
CHAPTER 3.2.
Continue the journey.
Acacia pendula.
Ascend Mount Amyot.
Field's Plains.
Cracks in the surface.
Ascend Mount Cunningham.
Mr. Oxley's tree.
Rain.
Goobang Creek.
Large fishes.
Heavy rain.
Ascend Mount Allan.
Natives from the Bogan.
Prophecy of a Coradje.
Poisoned waterhole.
Ascend Hurd's Peak.
ads:
Snake and bird.
Ride to Mount Granard.
Scarcity of water there.
View from the summit.
Encamp there.
Ascend Bolloon, a hill beyond the Lachlan.
Natives refuse to eat emu.
Native dog.
Kalingalungaguy.
Mr. Stapylton overtakes the party.
Of the plains in general.
Character of the Goobang and Bogan.
Cudjallagong or Regent's Lake.
Nearly dry.
Dead trees in it.
Rocks near it.
Trap and tuff.
Natives there.
Women.
Men.
Their account of the country lower down.
Oolawambiloa.
Gaiety of the natives.
Colour light.
Mr. Stapylton surveys the lake.
Campbell's Lake.
Piper obtains a gin.
Ascend Goulburn range.
View from the summit.
Warranary.
A new Correa.
CHAPTER 3.3.
North arm of the Lachlan.
Quawys.
Wallangome.
Wild cattle.
Ascend Moriattu.
Leave the Lachlan to travel westward.
No water.
Natives from Warranary.
Course down the Lachlan resumed.
Extensive ride to the westward.
Night without water.
Continue westward, and south-west.
Sandhills.
Atriplex.
Deep cracks in the earth.
Search for the Lachlan.
Cross various dry channels.
Graves.
Second night without water.
Native tumulus.
Reedy swamp with dead trees.
Route of Mr. Oxley.
Dry bed of the Lachlan.
Find at length a large pool.
Food of the natives discovered.
Horses knock up.
Scenery on the Lachlan.
Character of the different kinds of trees.
Return to the party.
Dead body found in the water.
Ascend Burradorgang.
A rainy night without shelter.
A new guide.
Native dog.
Branches of the Lachlan.
A native camp.
Children.
A widow joins the party as guide.
Horse killed.
The Balyan root.
How gathered.
Reach the united channel of the Lachlan.
No water.
Natives' account of the rivers lower down.
Mr. Oxley's lowest camp on the Lachlan.
Slow growth of trees.
A tribe of natives come to us.
Mr. Oxley's bottle.
Waljeers Lake.
Trigonella suavissima.
Barney in disgrace.
A family of natives from the Murrumbidgee.
Inconvenient formality of natives meeting.
Rich tints on the surface.
Improved appearance of the river.
Inhabited tomb.
Dead trees among the reeds.
Visit some rising ground.
View northward.
Difficulties in finding either of the rivers or any water.
Search for the Murrumbidgee.
A night without water.
Heavy fall of rain.
Two men missing.
Reach the Murrumbidgee.
Natives on the opposite bank.
They swim across.
Afraid of the sheep.
Their reports about the junction of the Darling.
Search up the river for junction of Lachlan.
Course of the Murrumbidgee.
Tribe from Cudjallagong visits the camp in my absence.
Caught following my steps.
Piper questions them.
CHAPTER 3.4.
The Murrumbidgee compared with other rivers.
Heaps of stones used in cooking.
High reeds on the riverbank.
Lake Weromba.
Native encampment.
Riverbanks of difficult access.
Best horse drowned.
Cross a country subject to inundations.
Traverse a barren region at some distance from the river.
Kangaroos there.
Another horse in the river.
Lagoons preferable to the river for watering cattle.
High wind, dangerous in a camp under trees.
Serious accident; a cartwheel passes over The Widow's child.
Graves of the natives.
Choose a position for the depot.
My horse killed by the kick of a mare.
Proceed to the Darling with a portion of the party.
Reach the Murray.
Its breadth at our camp.
Meet with a tribe.
Lake Benanee.
Discover the natives to be those last seen on the Darling.
Harassing night in their presence.
Piper alarmed.
Rockets fired to scare them away.
They again advance in the morning.
Men advance towards them holding up their firearms.
They retire, and we continue our journey.
Again followed by the natives.
Danger of the party.
Long march through a scrubby country.
Dismal prospect.
Night without water or grass.
Heavy rain.
Again make the Murray.
Strange natives visit the camp at dusk.
CHAPTER 3.5.
New and remarkable shrub.
Darling tribe again.
Their dispersion by the party.
Cross a tract intersected by deep lagoons.
Huts over tombs.
Another division of the Darling tribe.
Barren sands and the Eucalyptus dumosa.
Plants which grow on the sand and bind it down.
Fish caught.
Aspect of the country to the northward.
Strange natives from beyond the Murray.
They decamp during the night.
Reach the Darling and surprise a numerous tribe of natives.
Piper and his gin explain.
Search for the junction with the Murray.
Return by night.
Followed by the natives.
Horses take fright.
Break loose and run back.
Narrow escape of some men from natives.
Failure of their intended attack.
Different modes of interment.
Reduced appearance of the Darling.
Desert character of the country.
Rainy morning.
Return of the party.
Surprise the females of the tribe.
Junction of the Darling and Murray.
Effect of alternate floods there.
CHAPTER 3.6.
Return along the bank of the Murray.
Mount Lookout.
Appearance of rain.
Chance of being cut off from the depot by the river floods.
A savage man at home.
Tributaries of the Murray.
A storm in the night.
Traverse the land of lagoons before the floods come down.
Traces of many naked feet along our old track.
Camp of 400 natives.
Narrow escape from the floods of the river.
Piper overtakes two youths fishing in Lake Benanee.
Description of the lake.
Great rise in the waters of the Murray.
Security of the depot.
Surrounded by inundations.
Cross to it in a bark canoe made by Tommy Came-last.
Search for the junction of the Murrumbidgee and Murray.
Mr. Stapylton reaches the junction of the rivers.
Reception by the natives of the left bank.
Passage of the Murray.
Heavy rains set in.
Row up the Murray to the junction of the Murrumbidgee.
Commence the journey upwards, along the left bank.
Strange animal.
Picturesque scenery on the river.
Kangaroos numerous.
Country improves as we ascend the river.
A region of reeds.
The water inaccessible from soft and muddy banks.
Habits of our native guides.
Natives very shy.
Piper speaks to natives on the river.
Good land on the Murray.
Wood and water scarce.
Junction of two branches.
Swan Hill.
CHAPTER 3.7.
Exploring through a fog.
Lakes.
Circular Lake of Boga.
Clear grassy hills.
Natives on the lake.
Scarcity of fuel on the bank of a deep river.
Different character of two rivers.
Unfortunate result of Piper's interview with the natives of the lake.
Discovery of the Jerboa in Australia.
Different habits of the savage and civilized.
A range visible in the south.
Peculiarities in the surface of the country near the river.
Water of the lakes brackish, or salt.
Natives fly at our approach.
Arrival in the dark, on the bank of a watercourse.
Dead saplings of ten years growth in the ponds.
Discovery of Mount Hope.
Enter a much better country.
Limestone.
Curious character of an original surface.
Native weirs for fish.
Their nets for catching ducks.
Remarkable character of the lakes.
Mr. Stapylton's excursion in search of the main stream.
My ride to Mount Hope.
White Anguillaria.
View from Mount Hope.
Return of Mr. Stapylton.
CHAPTER 3.8.
The Party quits the Murray.
Pyramid Hill.
Beautiful country seen from it.
Discovery of the river Yarrayne.
A bridge made across it.
Covered by a sudden rise of the river.
Then cross it in boats.
Useful assistance of Piper.
Our female guide departs.
Enter a hilly country.
Ascend Barrabungalo.
Rainy weather.
Excursion southward.
The widow returns to the party.
Natives of Tarray.
Their description of the country.
Discover the Loddon.
The woods.
Cross a range.
Kangaroos numerous.
The earth becomes soft and impassable, even on the sides of hills.
Discover a noble range of mountains.
Cross another stream.
Another.
General character of the country.
Proposed excursion to the mountains.
Richardson's creek.
Cross a fine stream flowing in three separate channels.
A ridge of poor sandy soil.
Cross another stream.
Trap-hills and good soil.
Ascend the mountain.
Clouds cover it.
A night on the summit.
No fuel.
View from it at sunrise.
Descend with difficulty.
Men taken ill.
New plants found there.
Repose in the valley.
Night's rest.
Natives at the camp during my absence.
CHAPTER 3.9.
Plains of stiff clay.
The Wimmera.
Difficult passage of its five branches.
Ascend Mount Zero.
Circular lake, brackish water.
The Wimmera in a united channel.
Lose this river.
Ascend Mount Arapiles.
Mr. Stapylton's excursion northward.
Salt lakes.
Green Hill lake.
Mitre lake.
Relinquish the pursuit of the Wimmera.
The party travels to the south-west.
Red lake.
Small lakes of fresh water.
White lake.
Basketwork of the natives.
Muddy state of the surface.
Mr. Stapylton's ride southward.
Disastrous encounter of one man with a native.
A tribe makes its appearance.
More lakes of brackish water.
Escape at last from the mud.
Encamp on a running stream.
Fine country.
Discovery of a good river.
Granitic soil.
Passage of the Glenelg.
Country well watered.
Pigeon ponds.
Soft soil again impedes the party.
Halt to repair the carts and harness.
Natives very shy.
Chetwynd rivulet.
Slow progress over the soft surface.
Excursion into the country before us.
Beautiful region discovered.
The party extricated with difficulty from the mud.
CHAPTER 3.10.
Cross various rivulets.
Enter the valley of Nangeela.
Native female and child.
Encamp on the Glenelg.
Cross the Wannon.
Rifle range.
Mount Gambier first seen from it.
Sterile moors crossed by the party.
Natives numerous but not accessible.
Again arrive on the Glenelg.
Indifferent country on its banks.
Breadth and velocity of the river.
Encamp on a tributary.
Difficult passage.
The expedition brought to a stand in soft ground.
Excursion beyond.
Reach a fine point on the river.
The carts extricated.
The whole equipment reaches the river.
The boats launched on the Glenelg.
Mr. Stapylton left with a depot at Fort O'Hare.
Character of the river.
Ornithorynchus paradoxus.
Black swans.
Water brackish.
Isle of Bags.
Arrival at the seacoast.
Discovery bay.
Mouth of the Glenelg.
Waterholes dug in the beach.
Remarkable hollow.
Limestone cavern.
One fish caught in the Glenelg.
Stormy weather.
Return to the depot.
Difference in longitude.
CHAPTER 3.11.
Leave the Glenelg and travel eastward.
Cross the Crawford.
Boggy character of its sources.
Recross the Rifle range.
Heavy timber the chief impediment.
Travelling also difficult from the softness of the ground.
Excursion southward to Portland Bay.
Mount Eckersley.
Cross the Fitzroy.
Cross the Surry.
Lady Julia Percy's Isle.
Beach of Portland Bay.
A vessel at anchor.
House and farming establishment there.
Whale fishery.
Excursion to Cape Nelson.
Mount Kincaid.
A whale chase.
Sagacity of the natives on the coast.
Mount Clay.
Return to the camp.
Still retarded by the soft soil.
Leave one of the boats, and reduce the size of the boat carriage.
Excursion to Mount Napier.
Cross some fine streams.
Natives very timid.
Crater of Mount Napier or Murroa.
View from the summit.
Return to the Camp.
Mr. Stapylton's excursion to the north-west.
The Shaw.
Conduct the carts along the highest ground.
Again ascend Murroa and partially clear the summit.
Mount Rouse.
Australian Pyrenees.
Swamps harder than the ground around them.
Again reach the good country.
Mounts Bainbrigge and Pierrepoint.
Mount Sturgeon.
Ascend Mount Abrupt.
View of the Grampians from the summit.
Victoria range and the Serra.
Mud again, and a broken axle.
Mr. Stapylton examines the country before us.
At length get through the soft region.
Cattle quite exhausted.
Determine to leave them in a depot to refresh while I proceed forward.
Specimens of natural history.
Situation of depot camp at Lake Repose.
CHAPTER 3.12.
Parting of The Widow and her child.
We at length emerge on much firmer ground.
River Hopkins.
Mount Nicholson.
Cockajemmy salt lakes.
Natives ill disposed.
Singular weapon.
Treacherous concealment of a native.
Contents of a native's basket and store.
A tribe comes forward.
Fine country for colonisation.
Hollows in the downs.
Snakes numerous.
Native females.
Cattle tracks.
Ascend Mount Cole.
Enter on a granite country.
Many rivulets.
Mammeloid hills.
Lava, the surface rock.
Snakes eaten by the natives.
Ascend Mount Byng.
Rich grass.
Expedition pass.
Excursion towards Port Phillip.
Discover and cross the river Barnard.
Emus numerous and tame.
The river Campaspe.
Effects of a storm in the woods.
Ascend Mount Macedon.
Port Phillip dimly seen from it.
Return to the camp.
Continue our homeward journey.
Waterfall of Cobaw.
Singular country on the Barnard.
Cross the Campaspe.
An English razor found.
Ascend Mount Campbell.
Native beverage.
Valley of the Deegay.
Natives exchange baskets for axes.
They linger about our camp.
Effect of fireworks, etc.
Arrival at, and passage of, the Goulburn.
Fish caught.
CHAPTER 3.13.
Continue through a level forest country.
Ascend a height near the camp, and obtain a sight of snowy summits
to the eastward.
Reach a swampy river.
A man drowned.
Pass through Futter's range.
Impeded by a swamp among reeds.
Junction of the rivers Ovens and King.
Ascend granitic ranges.
Lofty mass named Mount Aberdeen.
Reach the Murray.
The river very difficult of access.
A carriage track discovered.
Passage of the river.
Cattle.
Horses.
Party returning to meet Mr. Stapylton.
A creek terminating in a swamp.
Mount Trafalgar.
Rugged country still before us.
Provisions nearly exhausted.
Cattle tracks found.
At length reach a valley leading in the desired direction.
Cattle seen.
Obliged to kill one of our working bullocks.
By following the valley downwards, we arrive on the Murrumbidgee.
Write my despatch.
Piper meets his friends.
Native names of rivers.
CHAPTER 3.14.
Agreeable travelling.
Appearance of the country on the Murrumbidgee.
Jugion Creek.
Brunonia abundant.
Yass plains.
The Gap, an inn.
Bredalbane plains.
Lake George.
Soil and rocks.
The Wollondilly.
Goulburn plains.
A garden.
Public works.
Shoalhaven river.
Limestone caverns there.
County of St. Vincent.
Upper Shoalhaven.
Carwary.
Vast subsidence on a mountain there.
Goulburn township.
Great road.
Towrang hill.
The Wollondilly.
Wild country through which it flows.
The Nattai.
Moyengully.
Arrive at the line of great road.
Convict workmen.
Berrima bridge.
Berrima.
Trap range.
Sandstone country.
The Illawarra.
Lupton's inn.
The Razorback.
Ford of the Nepean.
Campbelltown.
Liverpool.
Lansdowne bridge.
Arrive at Sydney.
General remarks on the character of the settled country.
Fires in the woods.
Necessity for cutting roads.
Proportion of good and bad land.
Description of Australia Felix.
Woods.
Harbours.
The Murray.
Mr. Stapylton's report.
The aboriginal natives.
Turandurey.
My mode of communicating with Mr. Stapylton.
Survey of the Murrumbidgee.
Meteorological journal.
Arrival of the exploring party at Sydney.
Piper.
The two Tommies.
Ballandella.
Character of the natives of the interior.
Language.
Habits of those of Van Diemen's Land the same.
Temporary huts.
Mode of climbing trees.
Remarkable customs.
Charmed stones.
Females excluded from superstitious rites.
Bandage or fillet around the temples.
Striking out the tooth.
Painting with red.
Raised scars on arms and breast.
Cutting themselves in mourning.
Authority of old men.
Native dogs.
Females carrying children.
Weapons.
Spear.
Woomera.
Boomerang.
Its probable origin.
Shield or Hieleman.
Skill in approaching the kangaroo.
Modes of cooking.
Opossum.
Singeing.
Vegetable food.
The shovel.
General observations.
CHAPTER 3.15.
Geological specimens collected.
Connection between soil and rocks.
Limestone.
Granite.
Trap-rocks.
Sandstone.
Geological structure and physical outline.
Valleys of excavation.
Extent of that of the Cox.
Quantity of rock removed.
Valley of the Grose.
Wellington Valley.
Limestone caverns.
Description and view of the largest.
Of that containing osseous breccia.
First discovery of bones.
Small cavity and stalagmitic crust.
Teeth found in the floor.
A third cavern.
Breccia on the surface.
Similar caverns in other parts of the country.
At Buree.
At Molong.
Shattered state of the bones.
Important discoveries by Professor Owen.
Gigantic fossil kangaroos.
Macropus atlas.
Macropus titan.
Macropus indeterminate.
Genus Hypsiprymnus, new species, indeterminate.
Genus Phalangista.
Genus Phascolomys.
Ph. mitchellii, a new species.
New Genus Diprotodon.
Dasyurus laniarius, a new species.
General results of Professor Owen's researches.
Age of the breccia considered.
State of the caverns.
Traces of inundation.
Stalagmitic crust.
State of the bones.
Putrefaction had only commenced when first deposited.
Accompanying marks of disruption.
Earthy deposits.
These phenomena compared with other evidence of inundation.
Salt lakes in the interior.
Changes on the seacoast.
Proofs that the coast was once higher above the sea than it is at
present.
Proofs that it was once lower.
And of violent action of the sea.
At Wollongong.
Cape Solander.
Port Jackson.
Broken Bay.
Newcastle.
Tuggerah Beach.
Bass Strait.
...
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. VOLUME 2.
PLATE 22: CRATER OF MURROA, OR MOUNT NAPIER, IN AUSTRALIA FELIX
(DESCRIBED IN THE TEXT).
Major T.L. Mitchell del. A. Picken Lith. Day & Haghe Lithographers to the
Queen.
CORROBORY-DANCE OF THE NATIVES, AS DESCRIBED IN THE TEXT.
MOUNT MELVILLE (OF OXLEY), FROM MERUMBA.
MOUNT CUNNINGHAM, OR BEERY BIRREE.
NYORORONG FROM MOUNT CUNNINGHAM.
OXLEY'S TREE ON THE LACHLAN (OR KALARE) RIVER.
PLATE 23: Plyctolophus leadbeateri, COCKATOO OF THE INTERIOR.
PLATE 24: PORTRAITS OF TURANDUREY (THE FEMALE GUIDE) AND HER CHILD
BALLANDELLA, WITH THE SCENERY ON THE LACHLAN (10TH OF MAY 1836).
Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Foggo & G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer to
Her Majesty.
Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
PLAN OF AN INHABITED TOMB.
PLATE 25: PIPER WATCHING THE CART AT BENANEE.
Major T.L. Mitchell del. Waldeck Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty.
Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
A NEW SHRUB, THE Eucarya murrayana (MIHI) AND YOUNG FRUIT.
PLATE 26: THE RIVER MURRAY, AND DISPERSION OF NATIVES, 27TH MAY, 1836.
Major T.L. Mitchell del. J. Brandord & G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer
to Her Majesty.
Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
PLATE 27: Choeropus ecaudatus (OGILBY), A NEW AND SINGULAR ANIMAL.
Fore foot, natural size.
T.L.M. del.
Published by T. & W. Boone, London.
PLATE 28: BACKWATER, OR FLOOD-BRANCH OF THE MURRAY, WITH THE SCENERY
COMMON ON ITS BANK.
Acacia exudans.
Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty.
Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
PLATE 29: Dipus mitchellii (OGILBY), A NEW ANIMAL RESEMBLING THE JERBOA.
T.L.M. del. A. Picken Lith. Day & Haghe Lithographers to the Queen.
MOUNT HOPE FROM THE NORTH.
PYRAMID HILL.
PLATE 30: THE RIVER YARRAYNE, WITH THE SHEEP OF THE PARTY FIRST
APPROACHING IT.
Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty.
Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
PLAN OF TEMPORARY BRIDGE ACROSS THE YARRAYNE.
PLATE 31: MITRE ROCK AND LAKE, FROM MOUNT ARAPILES.
Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty.
Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
PLATE 32: PLAN OF HILLS BESIDE GREENHILL LAKE (INTERIOR OF AUSTRALIA,
ENGRAVED FROM A MODEL).
Bate's Patent Anaglyptograph. Freebairn.
Published by T. & W. Boone.
MOUNT ARAPILES FROM MITRE LAKE.
PLATE 33: WESTERN EXTREMITY OF MOUNT ARAPILES.
Left: Casuarinae. Right: an altered Sandstone. Right foreground: Banksia.
Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty.
Published by T. & W. Boone, London.
BARBED SPEARS OF THE NATIVES.
PLATE 34: FEMALE AND CHILD OF AUSTRALIA FELIX.
Major T.L. Mitchell del. Waldeck Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty.
Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
PLATE 35: BOAT ON THE RIVER GLENELG.
Left foreground: Banksia. Middle distance: Limestone.
Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty.
YELLOW FLOWER ABUNDANT ON THE PLAINS OF AUSTRALIA FELIX.
GENERAL VIEW OVER THE GRAMPIANS FROM THE SUMMIT OF MOUNT ABRUPT.
Left: Victoria Range. Right: Mount William distant 21 1/2 miles.
MOUNT ABRUPT FROM THE SOUTH.
Williams.
PLATE 36: Aquilla fucosa ? AUSTRALIAN EAGLE. PORTRAIT OF AN EAGLE THAT
HAD BEEN WINGED (NATURAL SIZE).
From Nature and on Stone by Major T.L. Mitchell. J. Graf Printer to Her
Majesty.
Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
MOUNT WILLIAM FROM MOUNT STAVELY.
Foreground: Forest Hills. Middle Distance: Plains.
WEAPONS OF THE NATIVES.
Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
HILLS OF LAVA, OR MAMMELOID HILLS, FROM MOUNT GREENOCK.
Horizon: Mount Byng Pass.
PORT PHILLIP, 50 MILES DISTANT, AS SEEN THROUGH A GLASS FROM MOUNT
MACEDON.
Left to right: B, River, Indented Head, A, Woody Hill.
PLATE 37: COBAW WATERFALL, WITH NATIVES FISHING.
All granite.
Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty.
Published by T. & W. Boone, London.
PLATE 38: GENERAL VIEW OF THE SANDSTONE DISTRICTS, FROM THE SUMMIT OF
JELLORE.
Left to right: Bonnum Pic, Gnowogang, Valley of Cox River, King's
Tableland, King George's Mount, Mount Hay, Tomah.
On Zinc by Major Mitchell (a Page of his Field Book). Day & Haghe
Lithographers to the Queen.
London, Published by T. & W. Boone.
PLATE 39: PORTRAIT OF MOYENGULLY, CHIEF OF NATTAI.
Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Foggo Lith.
Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
PLATE 40: MAP OF EASTERN AUSTRALIA, AND NATURAL LIMITS OF THE COLONY OF
NEW SOUTH WALES.
London, Published by T. & W. Boone. Engraved by J. Dower, Pentonville.
THE BOOMERANG, A SINGULAR MISSILE.
NARROW SHIELD, OR HIELEMAN.
PLATE 41: SCENERY AROUND THE ENTRANCE OF THE LARGEST CAVERN IN THE
LIMESTONE AT WELLINGTON VALLEY.
T.L.M. del. A. Picken Lith.
PLATE 42: GEOLOGICAL MAP OF WELLINGTON VALLEY.
From Nature and on Stone by Major T.L. Mitchell.
Published by T. & W. Boone, London.
PLATE 43: INTERIOR OF THE LARGEST CAVERN AT WELLINGTON VALLEY.
Major T.L. Mitchell. Day & Haghe Lithographers to the Queen.
London, Published by T. & W. Boone.
PLATE 44: VERTICAL SECTION AND GROUND-PLOT OF TWO CAVERNS AT WELLINGTON
VALLEY.
From Nature and on Stone by Major T.L. Mitchell.
Published by T. & W. Boone, London.
PLATE 45: INTERIOR OF THE CAVERN CONTAINING OSSEOUS BRECCIA AT WELLINGTON
VALLEY.
Major T.L. Mitchell. Day & Haghe Lithographers to the Queen.
London, Published by T. & W. Boone.
PLATE 46: ROCK OF BRECCIA FOUND ON THE SURFACE ABOVE THE LARGEST CAVERN
AT WELLINGTON VALLEY.
T.L.M. del. A. Picken Lith. Day & Haghe Lithographers to the Queen.
PLATE 47: FOSSIL REMAINS AND RECENT SPECIMENS, EACH OF THE NATURAL SIZE:
FIGURE 1, BELONGING TO Macropus atlas, AND
FIGURE 2, TO THE LARGEST RECENT SPECIMEN.
FIGURES 3, 4, AND 5, TO Macropus titan.
FIGURE 6, THE INCISOR OF A FOSSIL KANGAROO.
FIGURE 7, THE INCISOR OF THE LARGEST NOW KNOWN.
FIGURE 8, FOSSIL LUMBAR VERTEBRA.
From Nature and on Stone by Major T.L. Mitchell. J. Graf Printer to Her
Majesty.
PLATE 48:
FIGURES 1, 2, AND 3: FOSSIL REMAINS OF A NEW SPECIES OF HYPSIPRYMNUS.
FIGURES 4, 5, AND 6: OF Phascolomys mitchellii.
FIGURE 7: A SECTION OF THE TEETH OF THE SAME FOSSIL SPECIES OF WOMBAT.
From Nature and on Zinc by Major T.L. Mitchell. Day & Haghe Lithographers
to the Queen.
London, Published by T. & W. Boone.
PLATE 49:
FIGURES 1 AND 2: FOSSIL REMAINS OF THE DIPROTODON.
FIGURES 3, 4, 5, 6, AND 7: FOSSIL REMAINS OF THE Dasyurus laniarius.
PLATE 50: MARKS OF SUBSIDENCE IN AN INNER PORTION OF THE BRECCIA CAVERN.
Major T.L. Mitchell del. Scherf Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty.
Published by T. & W. Boone, London.
PLATE 51:
FIGURE 1: FOSSIL REMAINS OF THE RADIUS AND ULNA OF A KANGAROO.
FIGURE 2: OF THE FOOT OF A DASYURUS.
FIGURES 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, AND 11: VARIOUS TEETH OF ANIMALS
UNKNOWN.
ALL THESE DRAWINGS BEING OF THE NATURAL SIZE.
FIGURES 12 AND 13, REPRESENT, ON A REDUCED SCALE, THE LARGE BONE WHICH M.
CUVIER SUPPOSED TO HAVE BELONGED TO A YOUNG ELEPHANT.
ROCKS IN BASS STRAIT:
1. PYRAMID ROCK BEARING EAST DISTANT 3 MILES.
2. ROCK OF GRANITE BEARING EAST BY NORTH.
...
(APPENDIX 2.1.
VOCABULARY OF WORDS HAVING THE SAME MEANING IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF
AUSTRALIA.
APPENDIX 2.2.
METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL KEPT DURING THE JOURNEY INTO THE INTERIOR OF NEW
SOUTH WALES IN 1836.)
APPENDIX 2.3.
EXTRACT FROM THE SYDNEY HERALD OF MAY 21, 1838.
APPENDIX 2.4.
AN ACCOUNT OF THE NUMBER OF POUNDS OF WOOL IMPORTED FROM NEW SOUTH
WALES
AND FROM VAN DIEMEN'S LAND FROM 1820 TO 1837, DISTINGUISHING EACH YEAR.
APPENDIX 2.5.
AN ACCOUNT OF THE NUMBER OF SHIPS, AND THEIR TONNAGE, CLEARED OUT TO NEW
SOUTH WALES AND VAN DIEMEN'S LAND FROM 1820 TO 1837, DISTINGUISHING EACH
YEAR.
APPENDIX 2.6.
AN ACCOUNT OF THE NUMBER OF SHIPS, AND THEIR TONNAGE, REPORTED INWARDS
FROM NEW SOUTH WALES AND VAN DIEMEN'S LAND FROM 1820 TO 1837,
DISTINGUISHING EACH YEAR.
...
JOURNAL OF AN EXPEDITION TO THE RIVERS DARLING AND MURRAY, IN THE YEAR
1836.
CHAPTER 3.1.
Route proposed.
Equipment.
List of the Men.
Agreement with a native guide.
Livestock.
Corrobory-dance of the natives.
Visit to the Limestone caves.
Osseous breccia.
Mount Granard, first point to be attained.
Halt on a dry creek.
Break a wheel.
Attempt to ascend Marga.
Snakes.
View from Marga.
Reach the Lachlan.
Find its channel dry.
ROUTE PROPOSED.
Towards the end of the year 1835 I was apprised that the governor of New
South Wales was desirous of having the survey of the Darling completed
with the least possible delay. His excellency proposed that I should
return for this purpose to the extreme point on the Darling where my last
journey terminated and that, after having traced the Darling into the
Murray, I should embark on the latter river and, passing the carts and
oxen to the left bank at the first convenient opportunity, proceed
upwards by water as far as practicable and regain the colony somewhere
about Yass Plains.
EQUIPMENT.
The preparations for this journey were made, as on the former occasion,
chiefly in the lumber-yard at Parramatta, and under the superintendence
of the same officer, Mr. Simpson. Much of the equipment used for the last
expedition was available for this occasion. The boats and boat-carriage
were as serviceable as ever, with the advantage of being better seasoned;
and we could now, having had so much experience, prepare with less
difficulty for such an undertaking.
In consequence of a long-continued drought serviceable horses and
bullocks were at that time scarce, and could only be obtained at high
prices; but no expense was spared by the government in providing the
animals required.
The party having preceded me by some weeks on the road, I at length
overtook it on the 15th of March in a valley near the Canobolas which I
had fixed as the place of rendezvous, and where, from the great
elevation, I hoped still to find some grass. How we were to proceed
however without water was the question I was frequently asked; and I was
informed at Bathurst that even the Lachlan was dried up.
On the following day I organised the party, and armed the men. I
distributed to each a suit of new clothing; consisting of grey trousers
and a red woollen shirt, the latter article, when crossed by white
braces, giving the men somewhat of a military appearance.
Their names and designation were as follows:
LIST OF THE MEN.
LIST OF THE PARTY PROCEEDING TO THE DARLING IN MARCH 1836.*
(*Footnote. The men whose names are printed in uppercase had obtained
their freedom as a reward for past services in the interior. The
asterisks distinguish the names of men who had been with me on one or
both the former expeditions. Those to whose names the letter T is also
prefixed having previously obtained a ticket of leave releasing them from
a state of servitude. Each man was also furnished with a small case
containing six cartridges which he was ordered always to wear about his
waist.)
COLUMN 1: NAMES.
COLUMN 2: OCCUPATION IN THE EXPLORING PARTY.
COLUMN 3: OCCASIONAL EMPLOYMENT.
COLUMN 4: ARMS AND ACCOUTREMENTS.
Major T.L. Mitchell: Chief of the party : - : Rifle and pistols.
G.C. Stapylton, Esquire : Second in command : - : Carabine and pistol.
**ALEXANDER BURNETT : Overseer : Storekeeper : Carabine and pistol.
**ROBERT MUIRHEAD : Bullock-driver : Soldier and lance-corporal : Musket,
bayonet and pistol.
T*Charles Hammond : Bullock-driver : - : Musket, bayonet and pistol.
T*William Thomas : Bullock-driver : Butcher : Musket, bayonet and pistol.
Richard Lane : Bullock-driver : - : Carabine and pistol.
James McLellan : Bullock-driver : - : Musket, bayonet and pistol.
Charles Webb : Bullock-driver : - : Musket, bayonet and pistol.
T*John Johnston : Blacksmith : - : Carabine.
T Walter Blanchard : Blacksmith : Measurer : Carabine and pistol.
**WILLIAM WOODS : Horse carter : Sailor : Carabine and pistol.
*Charles King : Horse carter : Measurer : Musket, bayonet and pistol.
*John Gayton : Horse carter : Cook : Carabine.
John Drysdale : Medical attendant : Barometer-carrier : Carabine.
John Roach : Collector of birds : - : Pistol (fowling-piece).
John Richardson : Collector of plants : Shepherd : Two pistols.
**JOHN PALMER : Sailor : Sailmaker : Carabine and pistol.
John Douglas : Sailor : - : Carabine.
T**Joseph Jones : Shepherd : - : Carabine.
James Taylor : Groom : Trumpeter : Carabine and pistol.
Edward Pickering : Carpenter : Barometer-carrier : Carabine.
Archibald McKean : Carpenter : Barometer-carrier : Carabine.
James Field : Shoemaker : - : Carabine.
**Anthony Brown : Cook : - : Carabine and pistol.
This was the army with which I was to traverse unexplored regions
peopled, as far as we knew, by hostile tribes. But I could depend upon a
great portion of the men, and amongst them were some who had been with me
on the two former expeditions and who, although they had obtained their
emancipation as the well merited reward of their past services in the
interior, were nevertheless willing to accompany me once more. I accepted
their services on obtaining a promise from the governor that if the
expedition was successful their conditional pardons might be converted
into absolute pardons, a boon on which even some wealthy men in the
colony would probably have set a high value.
One of the most devoted of these followers was William Woods who, having
long toiled carrying my theodolite to the summits of the highest
mountains, was at length more comfortably situated than he had ever been
in his life before as overseer of a road party. This poor fellow
relinquished his place of authority over other men and in which he
received 1 shilling per diem, again put on the grey jacket, and set a
valuable example as the most willing of my followers, wherever drudgery
or difficulty were most discouraging.
LIVESTOCK.
Our cattle were lean but I took a greater number in consequence. The
pasturage was still meagre and scarcely any water remained on the face of
the earth. It was unusually low in the holes last year, but this season
very few indeed contained any. The equinox however was at hand, and I
could not suppose that it was never to rain again, however hopeless the
aspect of the country appeared at that time.
AGREEMENT WITH A NATIVE GUIDE.
In this camp of preparation I was visited by our old friends the natives;
and one who called himself John Piper and spoke English tolerably well
agreed to accompany me as far as I should go, provided he was allowed a
horse and was clothed, fed, etc.; all which I immediately agreed to. I
had not however forgotten Mr. Brown, and I reminded Burnett of that
native's desertion; but Burnett, who seemed to be on excellent terms with
Piper, assured me that after he should be some weeks' journey in the
interior dread of the savage natives would prevent him from leaving our
party, and so it turned out.
But in breaking on our stock of provisions, we commenced with due regard
to their importance on an interior journey by so reducing the weight of
our steel-yard that a five months' stock should last nearly seven months.
This arrangement was however a secret known only to Burnett and myself.
The plan of encampment was to be the same as on the former journey, only
that a greater number of carts stood in the line parallel to the
boat-carriage.
March 17.
I put the party in movement towards Buree and rode across the country on
our right with Piper. We found the earth parched and bare but, as we
bounded over hill and dale a fine cool breeze whispered through the open
forest, and felt most refreshing after the hot winds of Sydney. Dr.
Johnson's Obidah was not more free from care on the morning of his
journey than I was on this, the first morning of mine. It was also St.
Patrick's day, and in riding through the bush I had leisure to recall
past scenes and times connected with the anniversary. I remembered that
exactly on that morning, twenty-four years before, I marched down the
glacis of Elvas to the tune of St. Patrick's Day in the Morning as the
sun rose over the beleaguered towers of Badajoz. Now, without any of the
pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war, I was proceeding on a
service not very likely to be peaceful, for the natives here assured me
that the Myalls were coming up murry coola, i.e. very angry, to meet us.
At Buree I rejoined my friend Rankin who had accompanied me from Bathurst
to the camp, and Captain Raine who occupied this place with his cattle. A
hundred sheep and five fat oxen were to be furnished by this gentlemen to
complete my commissariat supplies.
CORROBORY-DANCE OF THE NATIVES.
In the evening the blacks, having assembled in some numbers, entertained
us with a corrobory, their universal and highly original dance. (See
Plate.) Like all the rest of the habits and customs of this singular race
of wild men, the corrobory is peculiar and, from its uniformity on every
shore, a very striking feature in their character. The dance always takes
place at night, by the light of blazing boughs, and to time beaten on
stretched skins, accompanied by a song.* The dancers paint themselves
white, and in such remarkably varied ways that no two individuals are at
all alike. Darkness seems essential to the effect of the whole; and the
painted figures coming forward in mystic order from the obscurity of the
background, while the singers and beaters of time are invisible, have a
highly theatrical effect. Each dance seems most tastefully progressive;
the movement being at first slow, and introduced by two persons
displaying graceful motions both of arms and legs, others one by one join
in, each imperceptibly warming into the truly savage attitude of the
corrobory jump; the legs then stride to the utmost, the head is turned
over one shoulder, the eyes glare and are fixed with savage energy all in
one direction, the arms also are raised and inclined towards the head,
the hands usually grasping waddies, boomerangs, or other warlike weapons.
The jump now keeps time with each beat, the dancers at every movement
taking six inches to one side, all being in a connected line, led by the
first. The line however is sometimes doubled or tripled according to
space and numbers; and this gives great effect, for when the front line
jumps to the LEFT, the second jumps to the RIGHT, the third to the LEFT
again, and so on; until the action acquires due intensity, when all
simultaneously and suddenly stop. The excitement which this dance
produces in the savage is very remarkable. However listless the
individual may be, laying perhaps, as usual, half asleep; set him to this
dance, and he is fired with sudden energy, and every nerve is strung to
such a degree that he is no longer to be recognised as the same person
until he ceases to dance, and comes to you again. There can be little
doubt that the corrobory is the medium through which the delights of
poetry are enjoyed, in a limited degree, even by these primitive savages
of New Holland.
(*Footnote. To this end they stretch a skin very tight over the knees,
and thus may be said to use the tympanum in its rudest form, this being
the only instance of a musical instrument that I have seen among them.
Burder says: "By the timbrels which Miriam and the other women played
upon when dancing, we are to understand the tympanum of the ancient
Greeks and Romans, which instrument still bears in the East the name that
it is in Hebrew, namely, doff or diff, whence is derived the Spanish
adufe, the name of the Biscayan tabor. Niebuhr describes this instrument
in his Travels Part 1 page 181. It is a broad hoop, with a skin stretched
over it; on the edge there are generally thin round plates of metal,
which also make some noise when this instrument is held up in one hand
and struck with the fingers of the other hand. Probably no musical
instrument is so common in Turkey as this; for when the women dance in
the harem the time is always beat on this instrument. We find the same
instrument on all the monuments in the hands of the Bacchante. It is also
common among the negroes of the Gold Coast and Slave Coast." Oriental
Customs Volume 1.)
VISIT TO THE LIMESTONE CAVES.
March 18.
As it was necessary to grind some wheat with hand-mills to make up our
supply of flour, I was obliged to remain a day at Buree; and I therefore
determined on a visit to the limestone caves, by no means the least
remarkable feature in that country. The whole district consists of trap
and limestone, the former appearing in ridges, which belong to the lofty
mass of Canobolas. The limestone occurs chiefly in the sides of valleys
in different places, and contains probably many unexplored caves. The
orifices are small fissures in the rock, and they have escaped the
attention of the white people who have hitherto wandered there. I had
long been anxious to extend my researches for fossil bones among these
caves, having discovered during a cursory visit to them some years before
that many interesting remains of the early races of animals in Australia
were to be found in the deep crevices and caverns of the limestone rock.
How they got there was a question which had often puzzled me; but having
at length arrived at some conclusions on the subject, I was now desirous
to ascertain, by a more extensive examination of the limestone country,
whether the caves containing the osseous breccia presented here similar
characteristics to those I had observed in Wellington Valley.
OSSEOUS BRECCIA.
The first limestone we examined had no crevices sufficiently large to
admit our bodies; but on riding five miles southward to Oakey creek we
found a low ridge extending some miles on its left bank which promised
many openings. We soon found one which I considered to be of the right
sort, namely a perpendicular crevice with red tuff about the sides. Being
provided with candles and ropes we descended perpendicularly first, about
six fathoms to one stage, then obliquely, about half as far to a sort of
floor of red earth; Mr. Rankin, although a large man, always leading the
way into the smallest openings. By these means and by crawling through
narrow crevices we penetrated to several recesses, until Mr. Rankin found
some masses of osseous breccia beneath the limestone rock but so wedged
in that they could be extracted only by digging. Unlike the same red
substance at Wellington Valley where it was nearly as hard as the
limestone, the red calcareous tuff found here was so loose that the mass
of bones was easily detached from it; but none of them were perfect,
except one or two vertebrae of a very large species of kangaroo. Pursuing
this lode of osseous earth we traced it to several other recesses and in
the lower side of an indurated mass (the upper part having been the floor
of our first landing place) we found two imperfect skulls of Dasyuri, the
teeth being however very well preserved. This was, doubtless, an
unvisited cave; for the natives have an instinctive or superstitious
dread of all such places, and it is not therefore probable that man had
ever before visited that cavern. With all our ropes it cost some of us
trouble to get out of it, after passing two hours in candle-light. It may
thus be imagined what a vast field for such interesting researches
remains still unexplored in that district where limestone occurs in such
abundance.
The objects of my journey did not admit of further indulgence in the
pursuit at that time; and I was content with drawing the attention of one
of the party, a young gentleman residing in the neighbourhood, to it, in
hopes he might discover some bones of importance.*
(*Footnote. See a further account of these caves and some others in
Chapter 3.15 below.)
MOUNT GRANARD, FIRST POINT TO BE ATTAINED.
March 19.
Our stores being completed we proceeded along the course of the little
rivulet of Buree, towards the Lachlan. My first object was to gain Mount
Granard, described by Mr. Oxley as the most elevated pic of a very high
range, and laid down on his map to the westward of where the Lachlan
takes a remarkable turn from its general direction towards the low
country more to the southward. I had long thought that it might be
possible to ascertain from this hill whether any range extended westward
of sufficient magnitude to separate the basins of the Murray and the
Darling. I wished to visit it last year, but the loss of Mr. Cunningham,
the consequent delay of the party, and the adverse nature of my
instructions in regard to my own views, together prevented me. I then saw
that the hills along the line I was now about to follow were favourable
for triangulation; but the greater certainty of finding water in a large
river like the Lachlan was my chief inducement for now moving towards its
banks, as the season was of such unusual drought. On this day's journey I
took for my guidance the bearing of a line drawn on the map from Buree,
as fixed by my former survey, to the mouth of Byrne's creek, as laid down
by Mr. Oxley; and which I supposed to be the same as that which descends
from Buree.
HALT ON A DRY CREEK.
The line guided me tolerably well to where I encamped that night. This
was on a fine-looking plain, within sight of the wooded banks of the
creek; but, on examining the bed of the latter, I could find no water,
although I followed it two miles down. There I arrived at a cattle
station named Toogang, where there was water. It was nothing to the old
hands of the Darling to go only TWO miles for water. We suffered no
inconvenience from this; but it was deplorable to see the bed of what
must in some seasons be a fine little stream so completely dry and dusty.
This day we met with a new species of Psoralea.* At the camp I
ascertained the magnetic variation to be 9 degrees 10 minutes 15 seconds
East, by an observation of the star Beta Centauri.
(*Footnote. A genus chiefly inhabiting the Cape of Good Hope, India, the
Levant and North America, of which no species have before been published
from Australia. I was subsequently fortunate enough to discover two more
species of this genus; which with one as yet unpublished, found by Mr.
Allan Cunningham in 1818 in the rocky islands of Dampier's Archipelago on
the north-west coast, makes the number inhabiting Australia to be 4: all
of which are remarkable for their resemblance to the North American form
of the genus. The species we observed on this occasion was a small
spreading herbaceous plant. P. patens, Lindley manuscripts; herbacea,
pubescens, foliis pinnatim trifoliolatis, foliolis dentatis punctatis
lateralibus oblongis obtusis intermedio ovato obtuso basi cuneato, racemo
pedunculato laxo multifloro foliis multo longiore, bracteis subrotundis
striatis obscure multipunctatis, ramis divaricatis.)
March 20.
We proceeded, crossing the channel near the cattle station where I learnt
that it was joined immediately below by that which I had named King's
creek on my last journey; also that water was abundant in it below the
junction. Some natives joined us and Piper prevailed on one of them to be
our guide, as far as he knew the country. The use of such a guide in
following an unexplored watercourse is that bad places for the carts may
be avoided, and the doubles of the stream cut off by the easiest routes.
BREAK A WHEEL.
In crossing a gully which entered the creek near another station, called
Chilberengaba, we broke a wheel, and though we had travelled only about
seven miles we were obliged to encamp, and remain until the carpenter and
the smith could repair it.
ATTEMPT TO ASCEND MARGA.
In the meantime I set out with the native guide for the summit of Marga,
which proved to be one of my old fixed points. It was about seven miles
south-west of our camp; but after a most fatiguing ascent of two steep
and rocky ridges, during great heat, I was obliged to return without
reaching Marga. At the cattle station we heard of a bullock which had
been left by us in an exhausted state during our last expedition; and we
succeeded in bringing it in, and in laying the yoke on its neck for
another visit to the banks of the Darling; it was fitter than any other
of our working bullocks. I added a second species of Psoralea to that
discovered yesterday, a small graceful plant with racemes of purplish
minute flowers, elevated far above the leaves, and on slender stalks so
tough as to be broken only with some difficulty.*
(*Footnote. P. tenax, Lindley manuscripts; herbacea, depressa, perennis,
glabra, foliis glandulosis palmatim 5-foliolatis, foliolis linearibus vel
lineari-oblongis obtusis, racemis cylindraceis longissime pedunculatis
erectis, leguminibus ovatis scabris glabris.)
March 21.
According to arrangements made with Captain King and Mr. Dunlop, the
King's astronomer at the Parramatta observatory, I halted the party this
day in order to make hourly observations of the barometer, thermometer,
the sky, etc. This plan had been strongly recommended by Sir John
Herschel; and for our present purposes it was most desirable in order
that we might ascertain how far the fluctuations of the atmosphere in two
places so distant as Parramatta and Byrne's creek corresponded in these
simultaneous observations. During our last journey some discrepancies in
the heights determined by the barometer on the Darling led to a suspicion
that the fluctuations at such great distances, in situations so
dissimilar, might vary considerably; and this was now to be ascertained.
THE PARTY IMPEDED BY ROCKS.
March 22.
We continued our journey along the left bank of the creek, but with
considerable difficulty and delay occasioned by the projection of the
rocky escarpment of the above-mentioned extremities of Mount Marga; so
that we had to break away masses of rock and move the carts one by one,
all hands assisting. We at length gained a pleasant tract of land on
which the grass was green and luxuriant in consequence of some partial
rain; and on this place I encamped with the intention of next day
ascending Marga. In the creek we found ponds, deep and clear like canals;
their borders being reedy and their margins green. In these ponds the
natives speared several fishes which had however a muddy flavour. Among
them was one, apparently the eel-fish, caught during my first expedition
in the Namoi and upper Darling.* This circumstance was rather in favour
of the supposition that the streams unite; but still the fish seemed
somewhat different.
(*Footnote. Plotosus tandanus see Volume 1.)
SNAKES.
On this day's journey we saw several large snakes; one, large and black,
was shot while swimming in a pond in the creek; the others were of that
kind named, from the beautifully variegated skin, the carpet snake. The
natives considered the latter very fierce and dangerous, saying it never
ran away but always faced or pursued them. It had in fact the flat broad
head and narrow neck which in general characterise the most venomous
snakes, also large fangs hooked inwards, which the natives particularly
pointed out. It had also, near the tail, two articulations with something
like a toe and joint on each, such as I had not observed before in any
other kind of snake. A smaller one of the same kind attacked one of the
party, and also a native, but the former shook it from his clothes, it
then fixed its teeth in the skin of the native who detached it with
difficulty; but as no blood came from the bite he seemed to care little
about it. The native name of this place was Cuenbla.
VIEW FROM MARGA.
March 23.
I set off, accompanied by my black guide mounted, for the top of Marga,
and we reached it this time by a route in which the native displayed the
usual skill of his race. Certainly I never ascended a hill of more
perplexing features, all these heights being also of extremely difficult
access, very steep and extending in the direction of 10 and 12 degrees
East of North. They consist of the sharp edges of inclined strata of hard
purple-coloured clay-slate. I was however rewarded for the fatigues this
hill had cost me, on two different days, not with a fine view, for the
summit was too woody for that, but with a sight of some important points
determined during my late journey; and others which I had then observed
only from the Canobolas but which I was now enabled to fix by angles
observed from this station. The most important point visible besides the
Canobolas was Mount Lachlan, by means of which I determined the true
situation of Marga and the neighbouring hill Nangar; which is rather
higher but more wooded, and 2 1/2 miles distant towards the south-east.
These two form the summits of an isolated mountain mass on the left bank
of Byrne's creek, the top of Marga being about 1000 feet above our camp
on its banks. I drew outlines (according to my usual custom) of all the
hills on the horizon before us, and took angles on them with the
theodolite. Descending by a shorter route I reached the camp in time to
protract my angles, whereby I ascertained to my great satisfaction that
both Marga and Nangar had been truly fixed from the Canobolas, as well as
other points observed in my former journey, the accuracy of which, by a
good angle with Mount Lachlan, I was thus enabled to prove without going
out of my way, besides establishing there a good base for extending the
survey southward.
March 24.
Our guide was now joined by some older natives, and one of them had been
examining the country ahead, being anxious about the safe passage of our
carts. His reconnaissance had not been made in vain, for he led us to an
easy, open pass through a range of which we had heard much from stockmen
as likely to trouble us because, as they said, its rocky extremities
overhung the creek. We crossed it with ease however, guided by the
native. It consisted of granite and evidently belonged geologically to
the ridge traversed by us on the second day after leaving Buree during
our last journey. On the range, green pine trees (callitris) and a
luxuriant crop of grass covering the adjacent country, multitudes of fat
cattle were to be seen on all sides. I had heard that, after crossing the
burnt up surface of the colony, I should see green pastures here, beyond
its limits.
CROSS BYRNE'S CREEK.
We crossed Byrne's creek, near a cattle station called Lagoura, and after
keeping its banks for four miles further (having for that distance
granitic hills on our right) we finally quitted it, and passed over a
grassy plain of the same kind of soil and character as those extensive
level tracts seen during our last journey but having, what seemed
singular to our unaccustomed sight, a coating of green herbage upon it.
NEW PLANTS.
In our progress I found no fewer than three new species of the pretty
genus Trichinium;* a small species of Sida before undiscovered, with
minute yellow flowers,** and also a fine-looking acacia with falcate
leaves, singularly white or rather silvery, and with drooping graceful
branches.***
(*Footnote.
1. Tr. alopecuroideum, Lindley manuscripts; caule ramoso glabro, foliis
lanceolatis glabris subtus scabriusculis, spicis cylindraceis elongatis,
bracteis rotundatis, calycibus herbaceis sursum calvis acutis, rachi
pilosa, cyatho staminum dentato.
2. Tr. parviflorum, Lindley manuscripts; foliis ovatis acutis petiolatis
subtus et caule furfuraceo-tomentosis, spicis gracilibus elongatis,
bracteis acuminatis scariosis, calycibus lanatis, rachi lanata,
staminibus inaequalibus distinctis.
3. Tr. sessilifolium, Lindley manuscripts; foliis oblongis obtusis
sessilibus et caule furfuraceo-tomentosis, spicis oblongis, bracteis
rotundatis lanatis, calycibus longe tubulosis lanatis sursum pilosis,
rachi tomentosa, staminibus inaequalibus distinctis.)
(**Footnote. S. corrugata, Lindley manuscripts; incana, prostrata,
pusilla, foliis subrotundis angulatis cordatis palminerviis serratis,
pedunculis 2-3 filiformibus petiolis longioribus, fructu disciformi
corrugato, coccis monospermis commissuris muricatis.)
(***Footnote. This proved to be a very distinct, undescribed species. A.
leucophylla, Lindley manuscripts; gracilis, ramulis filiformibus
angulatis albido-sericeis, phyllodiis lineari-lanceolatis falcatis apice
uncinatis obscure 2-nerviis appresse et densissime sericeis: margine
superiore basi subglanduloso, racemis umbellatis axillaribus phyllodio
multo brevioribus.)
REACH THE LACHLAN.
Travelling four miles more across level forest land, we reached the banks
of the Lachlan at Waagan,* a cattle station a mile and a half below the
junction of Byrne's creek of Oxley, which we had just traced in its
course from Buree.
(*Footnote. Waagan means a crow in the native language.)
FIND ITS CHANNEL DRY.
I beheld in the Lachlan all the features of the Darling, but on a
somewhat smaller scale. The same sort of large gumtrees, similar steep,
soft, muddy banks; and, even in this place, a margin with an outer bank.
But its waters were gone, except in a few small ponds in the very deepest
parts of its bed. Such was now the state of that river down which my
predecessor's boats had floated. I had during the last winter drawn my
whaleboats 1600 miles overland without finding a river where I could use
them; whereas Mr. Oxley had twice retired by nearly the same routes, and
in the same season of the year, from supposed inland seas!
CHAPTER 3.2.
Continue the journey.
Acacia pendula.
Ascend Mount Amyot.
Field's Plains.
Cracks in the surface.
Ascend Mount Cunningham.
Mr. Oxley's tree.
Rain.
Goobang Creek.
Large fishes.
Heavy rain.
Ascend Mount Allan.
Natives from the Bogan.
Prophecy of a Coradje.
Poisoned waterhole.
Ascend Hurd's Peak.
Snake and bird.
Ride to Mount Granard.
Scarcity of water there.
View from the summit.
Encamp there.
Ascend Bolloon, a hill beyond the Lachlan.
Natives refuse to eat emu.
Native dog.
Kalingalungaguy.
Mr. Stapylton overtakes the party.
Of the plains in general.
Character of the Goobang and Bogan.
Cudjallagong or Regent's Lake.
Nearly dry.
Dead trees in it.
Rocks near it.
Trap and tuff.
Natives there.
Women.
Men.
Their account of the country lower down.
Oolawambiloa.
Gaiety of the natives.
Colour light.
Mr. Stapylton surveys the lake.
Campbell's Lake.
Piper obtains a gin.
Ascend Goulburn range.
View from the summit.
Warranary.
A new Correa.
CONTINUE THE JOURNEY.
March 25.
Following the direction of the general course of the Lachlan as laid down
by Mr. Oxley we crossed a fine tract of open forest land, and at the
distance of five miles arrived at a dry reach. Soon after we passed
Billabugan, a cattle station on the river where the dry branch joined it;
and at three miles further we traversed the southern skirts of a plain,
and finally made a bend of the Lachlan on which we encamped in latitude
33 degrees 24 minutes 28 seconds South. In the course of this day's
journey we discovered a bush resembling the European dwarf elder but with
yellow flowers, and fruit with scarcely any pulp.*
(*Footnote. This proves to be a new genus of Caprifoliaceae, paragraph
mark Sambuceae. Tripetelus australasicus, Lindley manuscripts (tripetelos
having 3 leaves; the calyx has 3 sepals, the corolla 3 petals, the
stamens are 3, and the carpels are also 3). Calyx superus tridentatus.
Corolla rotata, tripartita, lutea, laciniis concavis conniventibus.
Antherae tres, fauce sessiles. Ovarium 3-loculare; ovulis solitariis
pendulis; stigmata 3, sessilia. Fructus subexsuccus, 3-queter, 3-pyrenus,
putamine chartaceo. Caulis herbaceus. Folia opposita, glabra, pinnata,
2-juga cum impari, laciniis lanceolatis acuminatis serratis; glandulis 2
verruciformibus loco stipularum. Flores laxe paniculati.)
Acacia pendula.
March 26.
This day at five miles further we ascended some undulating ground on
which the acacias of the interior grew. We found the same ridged and wavy
surface with the Acacia pendula and the pigeons which usually abound
about such parts of the country. Here we found also a singular species of
Jasmine, forming an upright bush not unlike a Vitex, with short axillary
panicles of white flowers. It proved to be J. lineare, R. Br. We soon
after came upon the borders of the great plain of Gullerong, which
extends about eight miles from east to west, and three northward from a
branch of the river, then quite dry. These I believe were the
Solway-flats of Mr. Oxley. We turned from them late in the afternoon, at
the suggestion of a native wearing a brass-plate like a bottle label, and
on which was engraven Billy Hawthorne. We succeeded in reaching a bend of
the river containing water only after travelling 18 1/4 miles; and in
latitude 33 degrees 23 minutes 21 seconds South.
March 27.
This day being Sunday I halted; especially as the cattle had made an
unusually long journey the day before. I wished to take sights for the
purpose of ascertaining the rate of my chronometer, and to lay down my
surveys. I found that Mr. Oxley's points on this river were much too far
to the westward; a circumstance to be expected as his survey could not,
at that early age of the colony, be connected with Parramatta by actual
measurement; as mine was. Our latitudes however agreed very exactly.
ASCEND MOUNT AMYOT.
March 28.
Continued our journey and, at only a mile and a half from our camp, I was
surprised to find myself at the foot of Mount Amyot, better known to
stockmen by its native name of Camerberdang. I gave the party a bearing
or distant object to advance upon; and I lost no time in ascending the
hill, followed by Woods with my theodolite. From its crest, low as it
was, I still recognised the Canobolas and ascertained from my drawings
formerly made there that even on this hill (Mount Amyot) I had taken an
angle from their summit last season. It was valuable now, enabling me to
determine the true place of the hill from which I was to extend my angles
further westward. I easily recognised Marga and Nangar, and a very useful
and remarkable point of my former survey to the northward of those hills,
also several still more conspicuous ones in the country beyond the
Lachlan.
FIELD'S PLAINS.
To the westward I beheld the view etched in Mr. Oxley's book as Field's
Plains; and what was of much more importance to me then, Mounts
Cunningham, Melville, Allan, etc. etc. on all which, as far as I could, I
took angles, and then descending, rejoined the party about six miles on.
I met at the foot of this hill a colonist, a native of the country.* He
said he had been seventy miles down the river in search of a run for his
cattle; but had found none; and he assured me that, without the aid of
the blacks who were with him on horseback, he could not have obtained
water.
(*Footnote. Mr. James Collits of Mount York.)
Mount Amyot had the appearance of granite from the plains, but I found
that it consisted of the ferruginous sandstone. It is the southern
extremity of a long ridge elevated not more than 200 feet above the
plains at its base. We encamped at a bend of the river, on the border of
a small plain named Merumba in latitude 33 degrees 19 minutes 16 seconds
South. Variation 8 degrees 54 minutes 15 seconds East.
We were here disturbed by herds of cattle running towards our spare
bullocks and mixing with them and the horses. In no district have I seen
cattle so numerous as all along the Lachlan; and notwithstanding the very
dry season, they were nearly all in good condition. We found this day,
near the river bed, a new herbaceous indigo with white flowers and pods
like those of the prickly liquorice (Glycyrrhiza echinata).*
(*Footnote. I. acantho carpa, Lindley manuscripts; caule herbaceo erecto
ramisque angulatis scabriusculis, foliis pinnatis 5-jugis
viscido-pubescentibus; foliolis lineari-lanceolatis mucronulatis margine
scabris, racemis folio aequalibus, leguminibus subrotundo-ovalibus
compressis mucronatis echinatis monospermis.)
March 29.
Our next point was Mount Cunningham (Beery birree of the natives) and we
travelled towards it along the margin of Field's Plains as the angles of
the river allowed.
CRACKS IN THE SURFACE.
This was our straightest course, but we had to keep along the riverbank
for another reason. The plains were full of deep cracks and holes so that
the cart wheels more than once sunk into them, and thus detained us for
nearly an hour. A sagacious black advised us to keep near the riverbank,
and we found the ground better. We encamped at half-past two o'clock,
after a journey of ten miles; and I immediately set out, accompanied by a
native and a man carrying my theodolite, both on horseback, for the
highest or northern point of Mount Cunningham (a). The distance was full
five miles; yet we could not proceed direct on horseback, the scorched
plains being full of deep, wide cracks; and we were therefore compelled
to take a circuitous route nearer the river.
ASCEND MOUNT CUNNINGHAM.
There our guide called up three savage-looking natives with spears, whom
he described to be the natives of the hill, and they accompanied us to
the top. With some difficulty we led our horses near the crest, our new
friends always keeping the vantage ground of us, apparently from
apprehension. At length I planted my theodolite on the highest part of
the summit which commanded a fine view of the western horizon; and from
the mouths of my sable guides I obtained the native names, in all their
purity, of the various hills in sight. The most distant, named Bolloon,
were said to be near the great lake Cudjallagong--no doubt Regent's Lake
of Oxley--and a peak they called Tolga I took to be Hurd's Peak of the
same traveller.
NYORORONG.
Still I saw nothing on the horizon in the direction of his Mount Granard,
and in no other any hill of magnitude, except in the quarter whence I
came, where I still discerned my old friends Marga and Nangar, with
Nyororong and Berabidjal, high hills more to the southward.
Mount Cunningham consists of ferruginous sandstone. The sun had reached
the horizon before I left the summit, which I did not until I had
obtained an angle on every visible point. We arrived at the camp soon
after seven o'clock. Latitude by an observation of Cor Leonis 33 degrees
15 minutes 27 seconds South.
MR. OXLEY'S TREE.
March 30.
I ascertained accidentally this morning that we were abreast of the spot
where Mr. Oxley left the Lachlan and proceeded southward. This I learnt
from a marked tree which a native pointed out to me distant about 250
yards south from our camp, on the opposite side of a branch of the river.
On this tree were still legible the names of Mr. Oxley and Mr. Evans; and
although the inscription had been there nineteen years the tree seemed
still in full vigour; nor could its girth have altered much, judging from
the letters which were still as sharp as when first cut, only the bark
having overgrown part of them had been recently cleared away a little as
if to render the letters more legible. I endeavoured to preserve still
longer an inscription which had withstood the fires of the bush and the
tomahawks of the natives for such a length of time by making a drawing of
it as it then appeared.
By Mr. Oxley's journal we learn that where the river formed two branches
he, on the 17th of May, 1817, hauled up his boats, and on the following
day commenced his intended journey towards the south-east. But our
latitudes also assisted us in verifying the spot. Mr. Oxley made the
latitude of his camp (doubtless near the tree) 33 degrees 15 minutes 34
seconds South which gives a difference of seven seconds for the 250 yards
between the tree and my camp. The variation of the needle Mr. Oxley found
to be here, in 1817, 7 degrees 0 minutes 8 seconds East and I had made it
at the last camp (Merimbah) 8 degrees 54 minutes 15 seconds East, or
nearly two degrees more, in a lapse of 19 years. The longitude of this
point as now ascertained by trigonometrical measurement from Parramatta
was 147 degrees 33 minutes 50 seconds East, or 17 minutes 50 seconds
(equal on this parallel to 17 1/4 miles) nearer to Sydney than it is laid
down by Mr. Oxley.
We proceeded from this camp towards the southern extremity of Mount
Cunningham, under which a small branch of the Lachlan passes so close
that the party was occupied an hour and a half in removing rocks to open
a passage for the carts. We then got into an open country in which we
soon saw the same dry branch of the Lachlan before us; but we turned more
to the north-west until we reached a slightly undulated surface. No
branch of the river extends to the northward of Mount Cunningham as shown
on Mr. Oxley's map; but a small tributary watercourse, then dry, skirts
the eastern side of the hill, and enters that branch of the Lachlan which
we were upon.
Yesterday and this day had been so excessively hot (82 degrees in the
shade) that I confidently anticipated rain, especially when the sky
became cloudy to the westward, while the wind blew steadily from the
opposite quarter. A dense body of vapour in the shape of stratus, or fall
cloud of the meteorologist, was at the same time stretching eastward
along the distant horizon on both sides of us. After crossing some sound,
open plains of stiff clay, guided by the natives, we gained an extensive
pond of muddy water and encamped on a hill of red sand on its northern
bank, and under shelter of a grove of callitris trees.
RAIN.
The wind now began to blow and the sky, to my great delight, being at
length overcast, promised rain enough to fill the streams and waterholes:
at twilight it began to come down. In the woods we passed through this
day we found a curious willow-like acacia with the leaves slightly
covered with bloom, and sprinkled on the underside with numerous reddish
minute drops of resin.* The Pittosporum angustifolium we also recognised
here, loaded with its singular orange-coloured bivalved fruit.
(*Footnote. This is allied in some respects to A. verniciflua and
exudans, but is a very distinct and well-marked species. A. salicina,
Lindley manuscripts; glaucescens, ramulis angulatis, phyllodiis
divaricatis lineari et oblongo-lanceolatis utrinque angustatis
obtusissimis uninerviis venulis pinnatis: ipso apice glandulosis subtus
resinoso-punctatis, capitulis 3-5 racemosis phyllodiis triplo
brevioribus.)
March 31.
It rained during the night and this morning the sky seemed as if it would
continue; the mercury in the barometer also falling, we halted. On a dry
sandhill, with wood and water at hand, we were well prepared to await the
results of a flood; some good grass also was found for the cattle on firm
ground at the distance of about two miles.
GOOBANG CREEK.
Mount Allan (Wollar of the natives) lay north-east by north, at a
distance of 3 3/4 miles. It was not a conspicuous or commanding hill, but
between it and our camp we this day discovered a feature of considerable
importance. This was the Goobang creek of our former journey, to all
appearance here as great a river as the Bogan and indeed its channel,
where we formerly saw it, contained deep ponds of clear water at a season
when the muddy holes of the Bogan had nearly failed us. Here the Goobang
much resembled that river in the depth of its bed and the character of
its banks: and its sources and tributaries must be also similar to those
of the Bogan. Hervey's range gives birth to the one, Croker's range to
the other and, their respective courses being along the opposite sides of
the higher land extending westward between the Lachlan and Macquarie, all
their tributaries must fall from the same ridge. Of these Mr. Oxley
crossed several in his route from the Lachlan to the Macquarie;
Emmeline's Valley creek belonging to the basin of the Goobang;
Coysgaine's ponds and Allan's water to that of the Bogan. It was rather
unfortunate, considering how much has been said about the Lachlan
receiving no tributaries in its long course, that Mr. Oxley left
unexplored that part where a tributary of such importance as the Goobang
joins it; especially as the floods of this stream lay the country below
Mount Cunningham under water, and are the sole cause of that swampy
appearance which Mr. Oxley observed from the hill on looking westward. It
would appear that this traveller's route northward was nearly parallel to
the general course of the Goobang. The name this stream receives from the
natives here is Billibang, Goobang being considered but one of its
tributaries. Its course completes the analogy between the rivers and
plains on each side, and the supposed disappearance of the channel of the
Lachlan seemed consequently as doubtful as the mysterious termination of
the Macquarie.
April 1.
The rain continuing, the party remained encamped. The barometer had
fallen since we came here from 29.442, at which it stood last night at
ten, to 29.180, which I noted this morning at six: the thermometer
continuing about 60 degrees of Fahrenheit.
LARGE FISHES.
On dragging our net through the muddy pond we captured two fishes, but of
monstrous size, one weighing 17 pounds, the other about 12 pounds.
Although very different in shape, I recognised in them the fish of the
perch kind with large scales* and the eel-fish** formerly caught by us in
the Namoi. But the former when taken in that river was coarse and tasted
of mud, whereas this ruffe, although so large was not coarse, but rich,
and of excellent flavour--and so fat that the flakes fell into crumbs
when fried. This day a bird of a new species was shot by Roach. It was of
a swallow kind, about the size of a snipe, of a leaden colour, with dark
head and wings.
(*Footnote. Cernua bidyana.)
(**Footnote. Plotosus tandanus.)
HEAVY RAIN.
April 2.
The rain continued through the night and this morning it fell rather
heavily, so that enough of water could be gathered from the surface of
the plains near our camp to preclude the necessity for our having
recourse to the muddy pool. The barometer began to rise slowly from seven
in the morning, when it had reached its minimum; but the weather
continued hazy, with drizzling rain (from the south-west) until four
o'clock, when the clouds slowly drew up. The plains were not yet at all
saturated, although become too soft for our carts. The evening was
cloudy, but by ten o'clock the state of the barometer was such as to
leave little doubt about the return of fair weather. We this day found in
the woods to the northward a most beautiful species of Trichinium, with
spiky feathered pale yellow flowers, sometimes as much as six inches
long.*
(*Footnote. Tr. nobile, Lindley manuscripts; foliis caulinis obovatis
cuspidatis subundulatis ramisque corymbosis angulatis glabris, spica
cylindracea: rachi lanata, calycis laciniis 3 acutis 2 retusis, bracteis
puberulis. Differs from Tr. densum, Cunningham in the bracts not being
villous at the base, and from T. macrocephalum, R. Br. in having much
larger flowers, which are yellow not lilac, and in three of the segments
of the calyx being acute.)
ASCEND MOUNT ALLAN.
April 3.
Thick fog in the morning. The day being Sunday the party remained in the
camp; but I do not think we could have left it from the soft state of the
plains, however desirable it might have been to proceed. After twelve I
rode to Wollar (Mount Allan) with the theodolite, and from its summit I
intersected most of the hills seen from Mounts Amyot and Cunningham. A
small wart on the eastern horizon, very distant yet conspicuous, I found
to be Mount Juson, the hill on which I had stood with the brother of the
botanist whose name had been given to this hill by Mr. Oxley.
The sameness in the surface of this country is apparently owing to the
simplicity of its geological composition. All the hills I ascended below
the junction of Byrne's creek consist of ferruginous sandstone, similar
to that which constitutes all the hills I saw on, and even beyond, the
Darling.
On passing to and from Mount Allan we crossed, at three-quarters of a
mile from the camp, Goobang creek, the bed of which exactly resembles
that of the Bogan. The remains of drifted weeds on the trees and the
uniformity of its channel showed that it is a considerable tributary of
the Lachlan. At length the stars appeared in the evening, and I could
once more see my unerring guides, the faithful Little Dog, and the mighty
Hercules,* whereby our latitude seemed to be 33 degrees 8 minutes 55
seconds South.
(*Footnote. Procyon, in Canis Minor and Regulus in Leo. The latter being
also called Hercules and Cor Leonis.)
NATIVES FROM THE BOGAN.
At the camp we recognised among the natives seated at our fire two of our
friends from the Bogan. Their little shovel of hard wood (not used on the
Lachlan) and one of the tomahawks formerly distributed by us left no room
to doubt whether we were right about their features.
PROPHECY OF A CORADJE.
One was an old man and a Coradje, the other was a boy. They disappeared
in the evening, but the Coradje was so far civil as to tell the men that,
having heard The Major was praying for rain, he had caused the late fall.
This priest had also prophesied a little for our information, telling the
men that a day was at hand when two of them would go out to watch the
bullocks and would never return.
April 4.
The surface being sufficiently dry to enable us to travel we accordingly
continued our journey and, crossing the Goobang at 5 1/4 miles, we kept
the right bank of it during the day. The surface on that side was dry and
firm; and it may be remarked that if ever it becomes desirable to open a
line of communication from Sydney towards the country on the lower part
of the Murray, the right bank of the Goobang will probably be found the
best direction as the adjacent valley affords both grass and water for
the passage of cattle, and the doubtful plains of the Lachlan may be thus
avoided.
POISONED WATERHOLE.
We finally encamped on the Lachlan at the junction of the Goobang, in
latitude 33 degrees 5 minutes 20 seconds; longitude East 147 degrees 13
minutes 10 seconds. There the river contained some deep pools and we
expected to catch fish; but Piper told us that the holes had been
recently poisoned, a process adopted by the natives in dry seasons, when
the river no longer flows, for bringing the fish to the surface of deep
ponds and thus killing the whole; I need not add that none of us got a
bite. All these holes were full of recently cut boughs of the eucalyptus,
so that the water was tinged black.
ASCEND HURD'S PEAK.
April 5.
As soon as the party had started I gave the overseer the bearings and
distances to be pursued; while I proceeded to the cone named Hurd's peak
by Oxley, but by the natives Tolga. It was distant about four miles from
our line of route. A low ridge of quartz rock extends from the Goobang to
this peak the base of which consists of chlorite slate, and its summit of
squarish pebbles of quartz, with the angles rounded, associated with
fragments of chlorite slate. There was just convenient room on it for the
theodolite and, as it afforded a most satisfactory and commanding view,
well suited for the purpose of surveying, it seemed to have been aptly
named after a distinguished geographer. Many points of a distant range
now appeared on the north-western horizon in the direction of Oxley's
Mount Granard, and the ridge of Bolloon (towards the great lake
Cudjallagong) seemed not very distant. I took angles on all the points
and then hastened to overtake the party, which I did after they had
travelled about nine miles. At fourteen miles we made the banks of the
Lachlan, and encamped by the side of it on the edge of a plain in
latitude 33 degrees 4 minutes 38 seconds South, longitude 147 degrees
East. Judging by the relative position of Hurd's peak etc., I supposed it
might have been about this place that Oxley's party crossed to the right
bank of the river on his return towards Wellington valley. No traces
however were discovered by us here of the first explorers of the Lachlan.
April 6.
The night had been mild and clear and the sun rose in a cloudless sky. We
traversed plains of firmer surface than those crossed on the previous
day. So early even as nine o'clock the heat was oppressive.
SNAKE AND BIRD.
On one of these plains I witnessed an instance of the peculiar
fascination attributed to the serpent race. A large snake, lying at full
length, attracted our attention and I wished to take it alive, but as
Roach, the collector, was at a distance, some time elapsed before
preparations were made for that purpose. The ground was soft and full of
holes, into one of which it would doubtless have disappeared as soon as
it was alarmed. The rest of the party came up yet, unlike snakes in
general, who glide rapidly off, this creature lay apparently regardless
of noise, or even of the approach of the man, who went slowly behind it
and seized its head. At that moment a little bird fluttered from beside a
small tuft within a few feet of the snake and, it seemed, as the men
believed, scarcely able to make its escape.
When we were near the spot on which we intended to encamp a native
pointed out to me a small hill beyond the river where, as he informed me,
Mr. Oxley and his party had encamped before he crossed the Lachlan. It
was called by this native Gobberguyn. We pitched our tents a little
higher than that hill where a favourable bend of the river met my line of
route. The cattle were much fatigued with the day's work although the
distance did not exceed eleven miles. It was in my power however to give
them rest for a day or two as the grass was tolerably good on that part
of the riverbank, and I was within reach of Mount Granard, a height which
I had long been anxious to examine, as well as the country to be seen
from it. Among the usual grasses we found one which I had not previously
seen and which proved to be a new species of Danthonia.*
(*Footnote. Danthonia pectinata, Lindley manuscripts; spica simplici
secunda pleiostachya pectinata foliis multo longiore, palea inferiore
villosissima; laciniis lateralibus membranaceis aristae aequalibus.)
RIDE TO MOUNT GRANARD.
April 7.
I set off early for Mount Granard, followed by six men on horseback and a
native named Barney who was also mounted. We rode at a smart pace on a
bearing of 280 degrees across thirty miles of soft red sand in which the
horses sank up to their fetlocks, and we reached the foot of the hill a
little before sunset.
SCARCITY OF WATER THERE.
Throughout that extent we neither saw a single watercourse nor discovered
the least indication of water having lodged there during any season. At
eleven miles from the camp we crossed a low ridge of granite (named
Tarratta) a hopeful circumstance to us as promising a primitive range of
hills between the Darling and Lachlan, and because in a crevice of this
granite our aboriginal guide found some water. The desert tract we
crossed was in other respects unvaried except that, in one place, we
passed through four miles of a kind of scrub which presented difficulties
of a new character. The whole of it consisted of bushes of a dwarf
species of eucalyptus, doubtless E. dumosa (A. Cunningham) which grew in
a manner that rendered it impossible to proceed, except in a very sinuous
direction, and then with difficulty by pushing our horses between stiffly
grown branches. Where no bushes grew the earth was naked, except where
some tufts of a coarse matted weed resembling Spinifex impeded the
horses, but seemed to be intended by Providence to bind down these desert
sands. We saw blue ranges on our right, and I hoped that before we
ascended Mount Granard we should cross some watercourse coming from them;
but nothing of the kind appeared and, after traversing a dry sandy flat,
we began to ascend. Finding myself separated from the summit, after we
had climbed some way, by a deep rocky ravine, and being in doubt about
obtaining water, I sent the people with the horses to encamp in the
valley to which that ravine opened, with directions to look for water
while daylight lasted.
VIEW FROM THE SUMMIT.
Meanwhile I proceeded to the summit with one of the men and the native. I
arrived there and, just before the sun went down, obtained an
uninterrupted view of the western horizon; but the scene was inconclusive
as to the existence of such a dividing range as I hoped to see. Ridges
and summits appeared abundantly enough, but they were not of a bold or
connected character, and I did not obtain upon the whole a better idea
than I previously had respecting the extension of that singular group of
hills to the westward. I stood upon the best height however for carrying
on my angles in that direction. To the eastward I saw Hurd's Peak and
Bolloon, also Goulburn's and Macquarie's ranges, Mount Torrens, and Mount
Aiton of Oxley. The last hill appeared alone on the horizon, in a
south-south-east direction as shown in his map. But the most commanding
point was Yerrarar, the highest apex of Goulburn range, forming with
Bolloon and this station an almost equilateral triangle of about 30 miles
a side.
The features before us terminated rather abruptly towards the south like
cliffs of tableland, and seemed to mark out the basin of the Lachlan; but
beyond those parts overlooking Mr. Oxley's route I could obtain no view,
although I perceived that I might from Yerrarar.
ENCAMP THERE.
Having completed my work as the sun was setting I hastened to the valley,
and learnt that the party had discovered neither water nor grass. Barney
the native had nevertheless obtained both when with me at the top of the
mountain; and therefore, although it was dark and we were all fatigued,
yet up that rocky mountain we were compelled to go with the horses, and
encamp near the summit beside a little pool of water which had been
well-known to Barney at other times. On this elevated crest the air was
surprisingly mild during the night for, although I slept in my clothes
and on the ground, I enjoyed its freshness as a great relief from the
oppressive heat of the day. Our singular bivouac on the summit, which I
had so long wished to visit, was adorned with a strange-looking tree,
probably Casuarina glauca.
April 8.
Next morning I had an opportunity of surveying the hills around me more
at leisure, and I noted down their various names from the lips of Barney
for that desolate region, where neither a kangaroo nor a bird was to be
seen or heard, was poor Barney's country, that lonely mountain his home!
I learned that the only water in these deserts was to be found in the
crevices of rocks on such hills as this; and I thus understood the cause
of the smoke I observed last year arising from so many summits when I
looked over the same region from a hill on its northern limits. Perhaps
within thirty miles around there was no other water, and the bare top of
a mountain was certainly one of the last situations where I should have
thought of seeking for it.
We descended after I had completed my survey from a hill which perhaps no
white man will again ascend; I may however add, for the information of
those who may be disposed to do so, that the well is on the crest of a
ridge extending north-west from the principal summit, and distant
therefrom about 200 yards. I had brought provisions for another day as I
originally intended to examine the course of the Lachlan above Mount
Torrens; but having seen enough from this hill to satisfy me on that
point we retraced our steps to the camp.
April 9.
This day I halted as well to rest the horses as for the purpose of
observing equal altitudes of the sun and protracting my survey.
ASCEND BOLLOON, A HILL BEYOND THE LACHLAN.
April 10.
Leaving the party encamped I crossed the Lachlan and rode eight miles due
south to Bolloon which proved to be the highest cone of a low ridge
situated within the great bend of this river. I found it a valuable
station for continuing my chain of triangles downwards, as from it Mounts
Cunningham and Allan, Hurd's Peak, Peel's and Goulburn ranges, Mount
Granard, etc. are all visible. We passed some lower hills belonging to
the same chain, and of which the basis seemed to be the prevailing
ferruginous sandstone. In my return to the camp I found the dogs had
killed an emu.
NATIVES REFUSE TO EAT EMU.
It is singular that none of the natives would eat of this bird; and the
reasons they gave were that they were young men, and that none but older
men who had gins were allowed to eat it; adding that it would make young
men all over boils or eruptions. This rule of abstinence was also rigidly
observed by our interpreter Piper.
NATIVE DOG.
Late in the night I was awoke by one of the watch firing a pistol at a
native dog which had got close to the sheepfold. At the same moment a
sheep leaped out and, having been at the first alarm pursued by our dogs,
it was worried in the bed of the river. The native dog having howled as
it escaped was supposed to have been wounded. To prevent such occurrences
in future and as this arose from a neglect of my original plan, the two
fires of the men's tents were ordered to be again placed in such
positions as threw light around the sheepfold, which was of canvas
fastened to portable stakes and pegs. (See plan of camp, Volume 1.)
KALINGALUNGAGUY.
April 11.
We left this camp (named Camarba) and continued our journey around the
great bend of the Lachlan at which point (4 1/2 miles from our camp) the
low ridge of Kalingalungaguy closed on the river. This ridge is a
remarkable feature, extending north and south, and I expected to see some
tributary from the north entering the river here; but we crossed on the
east side of the ridge only a wide, dry and grassy hollow, which was
however evidently the channel of a considerable body of water in times of
flood, as appeared by marks on the trees which grew along the banks. All
were of the dwarf box kind, named goborro by the natives, a sort of
eucalyptus which usually grows by itself on the lower margins of the
Darling and Lachlan, and other parts subject to inundation, and on which
the occasional rise of the waters is marked by the dark colour remaining
on the lower part of the trunk. In the bed of the Lachlan at the junction
of the channel near Kalingalungaguy I found quartz rock.
MR. STAPYLTON OVERTAKES THE PARTY.
We had not proceeded far beyond that ridge when Mr. Stapylton overtook
the party, having travelled in great haste from Sydney to join us as
second in command, in compliance with my letter of instructions sent from
Buree. Mr. Stapylton was accompanied by two stockmen, having left his own
light equipments at Cordowe, a station above Mount Cunningham. On the
plains which we crossed this day grew in great abundance that beautiful
species of lily found in the expedition of 1831, and already mentioned
under the name of Calostemma candidum,* also the Calostemma luteum of Ker
with yellow flowers.
(*Footnote. Volume 1. C. candidum; floribus centralibus subsessilibus,
articulo infra medium in pedicellis longioribus, corona integerrima.)
At nine miles we crossed some granite rocks, evidently a part of the
ridge of Tarratta, thus exhibiting a uniformity in the granite with the
general direction of other ridges, which is about north-north-east. The
strike is between north and north-east; the dip in some places being to
the west, and in others to the east, at great inclinations. The ridge of
Kalingalungaguy consists of quartz, clay-slate, and the ferruginous
sandstone, but I observed in the bed of the river a trap-dyke extending
to the Bolloon ridge. Of the few low hills about the Lachlan it may be
observed that they generally range in lines crossing the bed of that
river. Mount Amyot is a ridge of this sort, being connected to the
southward with Mount Stewart and Nyororong; and to the northward with the
high ground separating the Bogan from the Goobang; the latter creek also
forcing its way through the same chain on its course westward. Mounts
Cunningham, Melville, and the small hills about them on each bank belong
to another system of ridges of similar character, but more broken up; and
the range of Kalingalungaguy with that of Bolloon form a third, also
intersected by the river.
OF THE PLAINS IN GENERAL.
The plains appear to be divided into several stages by these cross
ridges, which may have shut up the water of high floods in extensive
lakes during the existence of which the deposits formed the surface of
the present plains. Loose red sand also constantly forms low hills on the
borders of these plains; and it seems to have been derived from the
decomposition of the sandstone, and may be a diluvial or lacustrine
deposit. Blue clay appears in the lowest parts of the basin, and forms
the level parts of the plain, with concretions of marl in thin layers.
This has every appearance of a mud deposit; but its depth is greater than
the lowest part visible in the channel of the river. The parallel course
of small tributaries joining rivers, which seem to be the middle drain of
extensive plains, may have been marked out during the deposition of the
sedimentary matter as tributaries, on entering the channel of greater
streams, immediately become a portion of them; hence it is, the general
inclination being common to both, that such tributaries do not cross
these sediments of floods now termed plains in order to join the main
channel or river now remaining.
CHARACTER OF THE GOOBANG AND BOGAN.
Thus the Goobang, on entering the valley of the Lachlan, pursues a
parallel course until the ridge from Hurd's peak confines the plain on
the west and turns the Goobang into the main channel. The Bogan, on the
opposite side of the high land, may be said to belong to the basin of the
Macquarie, although it never joins that river, but merely skirts the
plains which, below Cambelego, may be all supposed to belong to the
original bed of the Macquarie. Throughout its whole course of 250 miles
the left bank of the Bogan is close to low hills, while the right adjoins
the plains of the Macquarie. The basin of the Macquarie, as shown by its
course near Mount Harris and Morrisset's ponds, falls northward, but that
of the Darling to the south-west. It is not at all surprising therefore
that the course of a tributary so much opposed, as the Macquarie is, to
that of the main stream, should spread into marshes: still less that, on
being at length choked with the deposit filling up these marshes, it
should work out for itself a channel less opposed to the course of the
main stream. Duck creek appears to be now the channel by which the floods
of the Macquarie join the Darling, and in a course much more direct than
that through the marshes. Hence the Bogan also, being still less opposed
to that of the Darling, finally enters that river without presenting the
anomaly of an invisible channel. In like manner, at a much lower point on
the Darling, the course of the little stream named Shamrock ponds, so
remarkable in this respect, may be understood. This forms a chain of
ponds, or a flowing stream, according to the seasons, between the plains
on the left bank of the Darling, and the rising grounds further to the
eastward: but instead of crossing the plains to join the main channel
this supposed tributary, after approaching within one or two miles of the
Darling where its plains were narrow, again receded from it as they
widened, and finally disappeared to the left where the plains were broad,
so that its junction with the Darling has not even yet been discovered.
On this principle the channel of the Lachlan, as soon as it enters the
plains belonging to the basin of the Murrumbidgee, may be sought for on
the northern skirts of these plains, although its floods may have been
found to spread in different channels more directly towards the main
stream.
At 12 1/4 miles we crossed a dry and shallow branch of the river, and at
14 1/2 miles we at length reached the main channel, and encamped where a
considerable pond of water remained in it, surrounded by abundance of
good grass. In this hole we caught some cod-perch (Gristes peelii).
April 12.
I sent back three men with two horses to bring on the light cart of Mr.
Stapylton, intending to await its arrival (which I expected would be in
five days) at the end of this day's journey. It was my object to encamp
as near as possible to Regent's Lake without diverging from the route
which I wished to follow with the carts, along the bank of the Lachlan.
WANT OF WATER IN THE RIVER.
For this purpose it was desirable to gain a bend of that river at least
as far west as the most western portion of the lake, according to Mr.
Oxley's survey. This distance we accomplished and more; for we were
obliged to proceed several miles further than I intended, and along the
bank of the river, because no water remained in its bed, until Mr.
Stapylton found a good pond where we encamped after a journey of 16 1/4
miles. Notwithstanding such an alarming want of water in the river, we
saw during this day's journey abundance in hollows on the surface of the
plains; a circumstance clearly evincing that this river, as Mr. Oxley has
truly stated, is not at all dependent for its supply on the rains falling
here. The deep cracks on the plains, so abundant as to impede the
traveller, seemed capable of absorbing not only the water which falls
upon them, but also any which may descend from the low hills around.
During our day's journey I found grey porphyry, the base consisting
apparently of granular felspar with embedded crystals of common felspar
and grains of hornblende.
April 13.
The night had been unusually warm, so much so that the thermometer stood
during the whole of it at 76 degrees (the usual noonday heat) and so
parching was the air that no one could sleep. A hot wind blew from the
north-east in the morning, and the barometer fell 4/10 of an inch; there
were also slight showers.
CUDJALLAGONG OR REGENT'S LAKE.
Leaving Mr. Stapylton in charge of the camp I went with a small mounted
party to Cudjallagong (Regent's lake) which I found to be nine miles to
the east-south-east of our tents. We passed by the place where
Cudjallagong creek first leaves the river and by which this lake is
supplied.
NEARLY DRY.
The uniformity of breadth and width in this streamlet and its tortuous
course were curious, especially as it must lead the floods of the Lachlan
almost directly back from the general direction of their current to
supply a lake. Thus the fluviatile process seemed to be reversed here,
the tendency of this river being not to carry surface waters off, but
rather to spread over land where none could otherwise be found, those
brought from a great distance. The particular position of this portion of
depressed surface being so far distant from the general course of the
river and the communication between it and the river by a backwater so
shallow and small, the lake can only receive a small share of the river
deposits and this only from the waters of its highest floods. We found
the "noble lake" (as it appeared when discovered by Mr. Oxley) now for
the most part a plain covered with luxuriant grass; some water, it is
true, lodged on the most eastern extremity, but nowhere to a greater
depth than a foot. Innumerable ducks took refuge there and also a great
number of black swans and pelicans, the last standing high upon their
legs above the remains of Regent's lake. We found the water perfectly
sweet even in this shallow state. It abounds with the large freshwater
mussel which was the chief food of the natives at the time we visited it.
DEAD TREES IN IT.
On its northern margin and a good way within the former boundary of the
lake stood dead trees of a full-grown size which had been apparently
killed by too much water, plainly showing, like the trees similarly
situated in Lake George and Lake Bathurst, to what long periods the
extremes of drought and moisture have extended, and may again extend, in
this singular country.
ROCKS NEAR IT.
That the lake is sometimes a splendid sheet of water was obvious in its
line of shores. These were overhung on the south-western side by rocky
eminences which in some parts consisted of a red calcareous tuff
containing fragments of schist; in others, of trap-rock or basalt which
was very hard and black. The opposite shore was lower, with water-worn
cliffs of reddish clay. By these cliffs and the beaches of drifted sand
under them, we perceived that the prevailing winds in all times of high
flood came from the south-west; the north-east side being very different
from the opposite, which was free from sand and bore no such marks of
chaffing waves.
TRAP AND TUFF.
At two places the banks are so low that in high floods the water must
flow over them to the westward and supply, as I supposed, Campbell's
lake, called Goorongully, and that to the north-east of Regent's lake.
Upon the whole it appeared that the trap which originally elevated the
western shore had either partially subsided, or that it was connected
with a crater or cavity of which the only vestige is this lake. The
calcareous conglomerate was unlike any rock I had seen elsewhere,
consisting in part of a tuff resembling the matrix of the fossil bones
found in limestone fissures. It is also worthy of notice that it appears
in some low undulations which extend from the lake to the river, and that
the channel conveying the waters to the lake lies in a hollow between
them.
NATIVES THERE.
On first approaching the lake we saw the natives in the midst of the
water, gathering the mussels (unio). I sent Piper forward to tell them
who we were, and thus, if possible, prevent any alarm at our appearance.
It began to rain heavily as we rode round; and although detached parties
of gins on the south shore had taken fright, left their huts and run to
the main camp, I was glad to find, when we rode up, that they remained
quietly there, under cover from the heavy rain. These huts or gunyas
consisted of a few green boughs which had just been put up for shelter
from the rain then falling. The tribe consisted of about a hundred.
WOMEN.
The females and children were in huts at some distance from those of the
men. A great number sat huddled together and cowered down under each
gunya, their skinny limbs being so folded before their bodies that the
head rested upon the knees. Among the faces were some which, being
hideously painted white (the usual badge of mourning) grinned horribly;
and the whole was so characteristic a specimen of life among the
aborigines that the heavy rain did not prevent me from making a sketch.
While I was thus employed the natives very hospitably made a fire in a
vacant gunya, evidently for the purpose of warming poor Barney, our
guide, who seemed miserably cold, having no covering except a jacket,
thoroughly wet.
MEN.
The men were in general strong, healthy, and muscular, and among them was
one who measured six feet four inches, as we afterwards ascertained at
our camp. My chief object in visiting the lake was to cultivate a good
understanding with these natives in the hopes that one of them might be
induced to accompany me down the Lachlan. The facility with which Piper,
then at a distance of 200 miles from his native place, Bathurst,
conversed with these people showed that their dialects are not so varied
as is commonly believed; and I had little doubt that he would be
understood, even on the banks of the Darling.
THEIR ACCOUNT OF THE COUNTRY LOWER DOWN. OOLAWAMBILOA.
He ascertained from one of these natives of Regent's lake that after
eight of our daily journeys, according to his comprehension, the bed of
the Lachlan would contain no water, and that we must go to the right
across "the middle," as Piper understood, reaching in four days more a
lagoon called Burrabidgin or Burrabadimba: that there I must leave the
carts and go with the native on horseback; and that in two days'
travelling at the rate we could then proceed, we should reach
Oolawambiloa, a very great water. They also said that water could be
found in the bush at the end of each of those four days' journey by one
of their tribe who would go with us and who had twice been at the great
water. All this news made me impatient to go on; but we had to remain a
day or two for the light cart. It rained heavily during the whole
afternoon; nevertheless a body of these natives accompanied us back,
keeping pace with our horses.
GAIETY OF THE NATIVES.
Each carried a burning torch of the resinous bark of the callitris, with
the blaze of which these natives seemed to keep their dripping bodies
warm, laughing heartily and passing their jokes upon us, our horses and
particularly upon our two guides of their own race, Piper and Barney, who
seemed anything but at home on horseback with wet clothes dripping about
them.
COLOUR LIGHT.
These natives were of a bright copper colour, so different from black
that one had painted his thighs with black chequered lines which made his
skin very much resemble the dress of a harlequin.
MR. STAPYLTON SURVEYS THE LAKE.
Mr. Stapylton proceeded with a party to make a survey of Cudjallagong
lake and creek, an operation which could be accomplished with less
inconvenience as that gentleman's equipment could not come up to us until
the 16th.
CAMPBELL'S LAKE.
He extended his survey to the small lake to the north-east, the first
discovered by Mr. Oxley and named by him Campbell's lake. Mr. Stapylton
found only a grassy plain without a drop of water. By an opening from
Cudjallagong lake he proceeded to another likewise seen by Mr. Oxley. It
had also become a verdant plain, nevertheless I thought it was necessary
to distinguish it on my map by its native name of Goorongully, as Mr.
Oxley had not supplied any to it.
April 15.
The sky had continued overcast although no rain fell after the evening of
the 13th. This day however the wind changed from north-west to west and
the sky became clear.
PIPER OBTAINS A GIN.
The surveying party returned from the lake by midday; and with it came
also Piper, my aboriginal interpreter, who had gone there chiefly with
the view of obtaining a gin, a speculation which I thought rather
hazardous on his part; yet, strange to say, a good strong woman marched
behind him into our camp, loaded with a new opossum-skin cloak, and
various presents, that had been given to Piper with her. How he contrived
to settle this important matter with a tribe to whom he was an utter
stranger could not be ascertained; for he left our party on the lake by
night, going quite alone to the natives, and returned from their camp in
the morning followed by his gin. To obtain a gin at Cudjallagong was the
great ambition of most of the natives we had left behind, among whom were
two, friends of Piper, whom I compelled to return, and who were most
anxious to accompany us that they might obtain wives at this place.
ASCEND GOULBURN RANGE.
April 16.
The morning was beautifully clear and I set out for the summit of
Goulburn range, named Yerrarar, fourteen miles distant from the camp. The
country we rode over was so thinly wooded that the hill was visible
nearly the whole way. The soil was good and firmer than the common
surface of the plains, the basis being evidently different, consisting
rather of trap than of the sandstone so prevalent elsewhere. At exactly
halfway we passed a hill of trap-rock, connected with a low range
extending towards still higher ground nearer Regent's lake, on the
eastern side. This was the first trap-rock I had seen besides that of the
lake during our whole journey down the Lachlan.
VIEW FROM THE SUMMIT.
On the summit I found hornstone and granular felspar. The whole of
Goulburn range consisted also of the same rock. It was rather
light-coloured, partially decomposed, and lay in rounded nodules and
boulders which formed however ridges across the slopes of the ground,
tending in general 12 or 14 degrees East of North. The hills were
everywhere rocky, so that the ascent cost us nearly an hour, and we were
forced to lead our horses; but it was well worth the pains for the summit
afforded a very extensive prospect. The most interesting feature in the
country was Regent's lake which, although fifteen miles distant, seemed
at our feet, reflecting like a mirror the trees on its margin; and on the
other side we looked into the unknown west, where the horizon seemed as
level as the ocean. In vain I examined it with a powerful telescope, in
search of some remote pic; only a level and thinly wooded country
extended beyond the reach even of telescopic vision.
With the spirit-level of my theodolite I found that the most depressed
part extended about due west by compass, a circumstance which first made
me imagine the Lachlan might have some channel in that direction.
WARRANARY.
Of the Mount Granard range I could see and intersect only that remarkable
cape-like point which was also the high land visible to the westward from
Mount Granard itself, being named Warranary by Barney. Closer to the
summit on which I stood were various ranges besides that of which it was
the highest point, but even this was not, strictly speaking, a range, for
it consisted on the southward of different masses, separated by portions
of low, level country.
A NEW CORREA.
I recognised many of my stations, such as Mount Cunningham, Bolloon,
Hurd's Pic, Mount Granard, etc. and having taken all the angles I could
with the theodolite, and gathered some specimens of a curious new
correa,* and a few bulbs of a pink-coloured amaryllis which grew on the
summit,** we descended and, just as it became quite dark, reached the
camp where I found that the men had arrived with Mr. Stapylton's light
cart, although his own horse, having strayed at Cordowe, did not
accompany it.
(*Footnote. Resembling C. rupicola of Cunningham, but with larger and
shorter flowers, and differently shaped leaves. Young shoots were covered
with a white down which easily rubbed off. C. leucoclada, Lindley
manuscripts; ramulis albo-tomentosis gracilibus, foliis ovato-oblongis
obtusissimis petiolatis supra glabris scabriusculis subtus tomentosis,
floribus subsessilibus, corolla campanulata quadrifida, calyce cupulari
truncato.)
(**Footnote. Calostemma carneum, Lindley manuscripts; foliis...tubo
perianthii limbo subaequali, corona truncata dentibus sterilibus nullis,
umbellis densis, pedicellis articulatis exterioribus longioribus. Flowers
pink.)
CHAPTER 3.3.
North arm of the Lachlan.
Quawys.
Wallangome.
Wild cattle.
Ascend Moriattu.
Leave the Lachlan to travel westward.
No water.
Natives from Warranary.
Course down the Lachlan resumed.
Extensive ride to the westward.
Night without water.
Continue westward, and south-west.
Sandhills.
Atriplex.
Deep cracks in the earth.
Search for the Lachlan.
Cross various dry channels.
Graves.
Second night without water.
Native tumulus.
Reedy swamp with dead trees.
Route of Mr. Oxley.
Dry bed of the Lachlan.
Find at length a large pool.
Food of the natives discovered.
Horses knock up.
Scenery on the Lachlan.
Character of the different kinds of trees.
Return to the party.
Dead body found in the water.
Ascend Burradorgang.
A rainy night without shelter.
A new guide.
Native dog.
Branches of the Lachlan.
A native camp.
Children.
A widow joins the party as guide.
Horse killed.
The Balyan root.
How gathered.
Reach the united channel of the Lachlan.
No water.
Natives' account of the rivers lower down.
Mr. Oxley's lowest camp on the Lachlan.
Slow growth of trees.
A tribe of natives come to us.
Mr. Oxley's bottle.
Waljeers Lake.
Trigonella suavissima.
Barney in disgrace.
A family of natives from the Murrumbidgee.
Inconvenient formality of natives meeting.
Rich tints on the surface.
Improved appearance of the river.
Inhabited tomb.
Dead trees among the reeds.
Visit some rising ground.
View northward.
Difficulties in finding either of the rivers or any water.
Search for the Murrumbidgee.
A night without water.
Heavy fall of rain.
Two men missing.
Reach the Murrumbidgee.
Natives on the opposite bank.
They swim across.
Afraid of the sheep.
Their reports about the junction of the Darling.
Search up the river for junction of Lachlan.
Course of the Murrumbidgee.
Tribe from Cudjallagong visits the camp in my absence.
Caught following my steps.
Piper questions them.
NORTH ARM OF THE LACHLAN.
April 17.
We proceeded along the right bank of the Lachlan, crossing at five miles
a small arm or ana-branch* which had been seen higher up diverging from
the river, and flowing towards the north-west by Mr. Oxley. The local
name of it is Yamorrima. Beyond this watercourse Cannil plains extend and
were more grassy than plains in general. I observed a small ridge of
trap-rock near the river. We crossed soon after the base of Mount
Torrens, also a hill of trap; and a continuation on this bank of the
Lachlan of the Goulburn range. Mount Torrens is however only an elongated
hill. The trap-rock reappears in some lower hills further northward, of
which Mount Davison is the highest and most eastern.
(*Footnote. See Footnote below.)
QUAWYS.
Beyond Mount Torrens we entered the region which lies to the westward of
the Macquarie range, and found several new plants, especially a very
pretty Xerotes, with sweetly perfumed flowers, being a good deal like X.
leucocephala, but with the leaves filamentous at the edges, and the male
spikes interrupted.* We encamped on a deep pond at a bend of the Lachlan
named Gonniguldury. I learnt from the old native guide who accompanied us
from Regent's lake that they call those ponds of a river which never dry
up quawy, a word which proved to be of use to us in descending the
Lachlan. At this camp I found, by a careful observation of alpha and beta
Centauri, that the magnetic variation was 8 degrees 56 minutes 15 seconds
East.
(*Footnote. X. typhina, Lindley manuscripts; acaulis, foliis longissimis
angusto-linearibus margine laevibus filamentosis basi laceris, capitulis
omnibus cylindraceis lanatis foemincis simplicibus masculis interruptis.)
WALLANGOME.
April 18.
We continued along the riverbank passing quawys of various names as they
were pointed out by our guide. We crossed the skirt of an extensive plain
(Eeoappa) which brought in view just ahead of us a low ridge named
Wallangome. At 8 1/2 miles we found the river close under the southern
extremity of this hill, and its rocks so obstructed our passage that we
were delayed an hour in clearing a way. I ascended that point nearest the
river and determined its position by taking angles on various heights
already laid down in my map such as Granard, Yarrarar, Mount Torrens,
etc. The hill itself consisted chiefly of quartz rock, but at its base
were water-worn blocks of quartzose sandstone containing pebbles of
quartz, and they seemed to be the principal rock in the bed of the
Lachlan.
As we proceeded a low rocky ridge or extremity from Wallangome extended
upwards of a mile along the river. Soon after we had passed a bend called
Taralago we crossed the southern limits of a plain of which the local
name is Nyaindurry, being bounded on the north-west by an isolated hill
named Moriattu. After passing successively two similar points of the
river we reached that of Gooda, where we encamped, the latitude observed
being 33 degrees 23 minutes 3 seconds South.
WILD CATTLE.
Mr. Stapylton, with overseer Burnett and the natives, had gone forward
early in the morning towards the hills near this place in pursuit of wild
cattle, which were said to abound near it. The tracks we perceived were
old, and although the other party had found many that were newer they
returned without having seen any of these wild animals. It appeared that
a herd of such cattle had got together about Macquarie's range, then only
a short way ahead of us, and I saw no objections to the overseer's
killing one or two, as he wished to do, in order that we might feed our
native guides without drawing so largely as we were otherwise compelled
to do on our own stock of provisions. This was a fortunate day for us in
regard to plants. Besides several curious kinds of grass,* a splendid
blue Brunonia was found on Wallangome. Its colour surpassed any azure I
had ever seen in flowers, the tinge being rather deeper than that of the
turquoise. We also obtained the seed so that I hoped this plant, which
seemed hardy enough, might become a pleasing addition to our
horticultural treasures.
The flowers are nature's jewels.**
(*Footnote. Lappago racemosa, W. and Aristida ramosa, R. Br.)
(**Footnote. Croly's Gems.)
The pink lily* was also found, as on Yerrarar, amongst rocks, but growing
in rich red soil. We gathered a number of the bulbs, being very desirous
to propagate this plant, which differs from the common white amaryllis
and others belonging to the plains not only in colour, but also in the
absence from their corona of intermediate teeth. We again found here the
new Xerotes, having the flower in five or six round tufts on the blade.
The flowered blades drooped around, radiating from the centre, while
those without flowers stood upright, giving to the whole an uncommon
appearance; the flower had a very pleasant perfume.
ASCEND MORIATTU.
April 19.
Mr. Stapylton conducted the party forward while I went to the summit of
Moriattu with the theodolite. Thence I saw Mount Granard, Yerrarar, and
Mount Torrens, also the various points which I had intersected from
Wallangome. A level plain appeared to extend southward in the midst of
the groups of ridges composing Macquarie and Peel's ranges. Coccaparra, a
range very abrupt on the eastern side, appeared to be Macquarie's range
of Oxley, and an elevated extremity of it, near the river, I took to be
Mount Porteous, and of which the local name is Willin.* To the northward
the most remarkable feature was a line of plains similar to those beside
the main channel of the river, and they appeared to border a branch from
it, which extended in a western direction under the base of a small hill
named Murrangong, and far beyond it. The hill on which I stood was the
most perfectly isolated that I had ever seen, low level ground
surrounding it on every side. It consisted of a variety of the same
quartz rock as Wallangome, but contained pebbles of laminated compact
felspar. This hill was abrupt and rocky on the west and north-west sides,
the best ascent being from the south-east.
(*Footnote. Willi, an opossum)
We overtook the party after it had crossed some extensive plains, where
we observed a species of solanum, the berries of which our native guides
gathered and ate.* Overseer Burnett made another search this day on
Coccaparra range for the wild bullocks; the party fell in with a herd but
it kept at a great distance and got off into scrubs. Their bedding places
and paths were numerous, and it thus appeared that the number of these
animals was considerable. We gathered on Coccaparra and Mount Porteous
several bulbous plants of a species quite new to me, the root being very
large. There also we found a remarkable acacia, having long upright
needle-like leaves among which a few small tufts of yellow flowers were
sparingly scattered.** We encamped on a pond of the river named
Burrabadimba, after travelling fifteen miles.
(*Footnote. S. esuriale, Lindley manuscripts; caule humili suffruticoso,
aculcis subulatis tenuibus in apice ramulorum et costa, foliis
lineari-oblongis obtusis subrepandis utrinque cinereis stellato-pilosis,
pedunculis subtrifloris, calycibus campanulatis pentagonis 5-dentatis
stellato-pilosis corollis tomentosis multo brevioribus.)
(**Footnote. This proved to be the rare A. quadrilateralis of De
Candolle.)
LEAVE THE LACHLAN TO TRAVEL WESTWARD.
April 20.
After proceeding some miles on this day's journey our Cudjallagong guide
pointed in a west-north-west direction as the way to Oolawambiloa.
Leaving therefore the Kalare or Lachlan, near a great bend in its general
course which below this (according to Mr. Oxley's map) was south-west, we
followed the route proposed by my native friend as it was precisely in
the direction by which I wished to approach the Darling. The universal
scarcity of water had however deprived me of every hope that any could be
found in that country, at a season when we often sought it in vain, even
in the bed of one of the large rivers of the country. Our guide however
knew the nature of our wants, and also that of the country, and I eagerly
followed him towards a hill, the most distant and most westerly on the
northern horizon.
NO WATER.
At sunset we halted full twenty miles short of that hill, beside the bed
of a small river, resembling in capacity and the nature of its banks that
of the Bogan; but to the manifest consternation of our guide we could
find no water in it, although some ponds had been only recently dried up.
This watercourse, he informed me, was the same which I had seen passing
by Murrangong, but he said it did not return its waters to the Lachlan, a
circumstance which I could not understand. Booraran was the name he gave
it. He went with some of our people in the dark and found a few quarts of
water two miles beyond it, but our cattle were obliged to pass the night
without any. The barometer had been falling for several days and the wind
arising suddenly at 9 P.M. brought a misty mass of cloud which began most
providentially to drop upon us, to the great relief of our thirsty
cattle. This day we found on the plains a new species of Sida with small
yellow flowers, very fragrant, and on a long stalk.* In the woods I
observed a eucalyptus of a graceful drooping character, apparently
related to E. pilularis and amygdalina.
(*Footnote. S. fibulifera, Lindley manuscripts; incano-tomentosa,
pusilla, diffusa, foliis ovato-oblongis obtusis dentatis basi cordatis,
stipulis longissimis setaceis, pedunculis axillaribus aggregatis
filiformibus petiolis longioribus, calycibus lanatis corolla parum
brevioribus, fructu disciformi convexo tomentoso, coccis monospermis.)
NATIVES FROM WARRANARY.
April 21.
A rainy morning. Some strange natives approached from the woods while I
was looking at the country beyond the dry channel, in the direction in
which our guide still wished us to proceed (about west-north-west). They
were grave and important-looking old men, and each carried a light. They
called out to me in a serious tone "Weeri kally," words which I too well
understood, meaning simply no water. I took my guide to them, but he
still seemed in doubt about the scarcity.
COURSE DOWN THE LACHLAN RESUMED.
It was necessary not to depend on uncertainties on such a point, and I
therefore lost no time in shaping our course again towards the nearest
bend of the Lachlan, which we reached after travelling nine miles in the
rain, and we encamped beside a pond or quawy named Buree. I considered
this day's journey to be the first deviation from the most direct line of
route towards that part of the Darling where my last journey terminated.
It was evident that in common seasons the country I wished to traverse
was not without water, our guide having suggested it as the way to
Oolawambiloa (a name always referring to a great abundance of water). I
considered it necessary now to ascertain, if possible, and before the
heavy part of our equipment moved further, whether the Lachlan actually
joined the Murrumbidgee near the point where Mr. Oxley saw its waters
covering the country; or whether it pursued a course so much more to the
westward as to have been taken for the Darling by Captain Sturt. Near the
Lachlan at this place the Anthericum bulbosum occurred in abundance, and
the cattle seemed to eat it with avidity.
On the bank of the river a new species of rosella appeared amongst the
birds, and several were shot and preserved as specimens.
EXTENSIVE RIDE TO THE WESTWARD.
April 22.
I proceeded westward accompanied by five men and an aboriginal guide, all
mounted on horseback. My object was to obtain, if possible, some
knowledge of the final course of the Lachlan; and secondly to ascertain
how far the hills to the north-west of our camp ranged beyond that very
remarkable feature, resembling a cape or promontory and named Warranary,
which marked the extent of our sight and knowledge at that time. This
point was in a direct line between the camp we then occupied on the
Lachlan and the lowest part of the Darling attained during the former
journey, and we had just fallen back from want of water; a circumstance
likely to compel me to follow the Lachlan downwards, at least if it could
be ascertained thus early that this river could not possibly be the
supposed Darling of Sturt. In case it proved otherwise I thought it not
improbable that, at the end of two days' journey westward, I might fall
in with the Lachlan, and if I could find water in it at such a point
under any circumstances, I considered that a position so much advanced
would be equally favourable, either for reaching the junction of the
Murray or the upper Darling. Should I succeed in reaching the Lachlan at
about sixty miles west of my camp I might be satisfied that it was this
river which Captain Sturt took for the Darling, and then I might seek
that river by crossing the range on the north. Whereas, should I find
sufficient reason to believe that the Darling would join the Murray, I
might continue my journey down the Lachlan until I reduced the distance
across to the Darling as much as the scarcity of water might render
necessary.
We traversed fine plains of greater extent than I had ever seen before,
and in general of more tenacious surface. They were in many parts covered
with salsolaceous plants, but I found also a kind of grass which I had
not previously noticed; and a curious woolly plant with two-spined fruit,
belonging to the genus Sclerolaena of Brown.* I looked in vain however
for the continuation of the range to the northward. The cape
before-mentioned first rose to a considerable height over the horizon,
but as we proceeded it sunk so as to be just visible behind us, bearing
at the point where we lay down for the night 31 degrees East of North.
The continuation of the range, as we now saw, receded to the north-west;
so that the horizon of these plains continued unbroken save by the
cape-like point of Warranary.
(*Footnote. S. bicornis, Lindley manuscripts; caule lanato ramoso, foliis
linearibus succulentis glabris, calycibus solitariis bispinosis lana alba
involutis.)
A flight of the cockatoo of the interior, with scarlet and yellow
top-knot, passed over our heads from the north-west.
The intense interest of this day's ride into a region quite unknown urged
me forward at a good pace, having a horizon like that of the sea before
and around us, and being in constant expectation of seeing either some
distant summit or line of lofty river-trees; all the results of the
journey depending on whether it should be the one or the other. Neither
however, as already stated, appeared, and the sun went down on the
unbroken horizon; nor could the native discern from the top of the
highest tree any other objects besides the lofty yarra trees of the
Lachlan, at a vast distance to the south-west by south. During the ride
many a tree and bush rose on the horizon before us and sunk on that we
left behind. We saw five emus together which did not run so far from us
as usual but stood at a little distance to gaze on our advancing party.
In a strip of scrub consisting of Acacia longifolia and lanceolata and
some other graceful shrubs I found a new species of correa, remarkable
for its small, green, bell-shaped flowers, and the almost total absence
of hairiness from its leaves.*
(*Footnote. C. glabra, Lindley manuscripts; ramulis incanis, foliis
ovalibus obtusis in petiolum angustatis glabris subtus punctatis, corolla
brevi campanulata tomentosa 4-dentata calyce truncato cupulari triplo
longiore.)
NIGHT WITHOUT WATER.
Near this scrub we saw also many pigeons and parrots; which strengthened
our hopes of finding water, which hopes however were disappointed, and we
at length tied our horses' heads to the trees in a bit of scrub, and I
lay down on a few boughs for the night under the cover of a gunya or
bower which, on such occasions, was set up by Woods in a very short time.
(See Volume 1.)
April 23.
Dew had providentially fallen during the night and it proved in some
measure a substitute for the want of water to our horses. It was also
highly favourable to the object of our tour in affording a refraction
when the sun rose, so that Coccaparra (Macquarie's range) appeared above
the horizon and enabled me to determine our distance from it to be sixty
miles. Still even this refractive state of the air brought no hills in
view to the north or north-west, a circumstance which surprised me and
afforded additional reason for supposing that the Lachlan might not unite
so soon as had been imagined with the Murrumbidgee.
CONTINUE WESTWARD, AND SOUTH-WEST.
This may require explanation. The course of rivers is in general
conformable to the direction of ranges or the position of those hills
which bound the valley or basin, however extensive, in which they flow.
As this range fell off to the north-west, opposite to where the course of
the Murrumbidgee had continued south-west, it was less probable that the
Lachlan would unite with the main stream there than if the range had
approached, or had even continued parallel to it.
I was disappointed in not finding sufficient water for our use remaining
on the surface after the late rain; and although the country appeared
declining to the westward, and we saw more pigeons and recent marks of
natives, I was reluctantly obliged at length to bend my steps
south-westward and afterwards south. The country we traversed was one
level plain whose extent westward we neither knew nor could discover, and
for some hours during this day's ride scarcely a bush was visible.
SAND HILLS.
Clumps of trees of the flooded box, or marura of the natives, appeared
occasionally in and about the many hollows in the surface; and, on the
isolated eminences of red sand, callitris trees grew, always hopeless
objects to persons in want of water. These patches of sand however were
not numerous, and never rose more than a few feet above the common
surface, which in general consisted of clay more or less tenacious. Parts
of it were quite naked; but others bore a crop of grass about three years
old which probably sprang up after the last thorough drenching of the
surface.
DEEP CRACKS IN THE EARTH.
So parched however was the ground now, especially in those parts which
bore no vegetation, that it yawned in cracks too deep to be fathomed by
the length of my sabre and arm together.
ATRIPLEX.
The best ground for travelling was of a reddish colour, glossy and firm
with tufts of a species of atriplex upon it; a dwarf grass with large
seeds not seen elsewhere by me was springing up, apparently in
consequence of the late rains. This new vegetation did not grow near the
old grass, and was too thin and low to tinge the surface.* The dreary
look of the old grass in other parts, decayed and of the colour of lead,
could not be exceeded; roots and stalks being all dead and decayed like
rotten timber.
(*Footnote. Panicum flavidum of Retz.)
SOUTH-WEST WINDS.
Every blade drooped towards the north-east and showed plainly how
prevalent the south-west winds were on these open wastes. In a gloomy day
a wanderer lost upon them might have known his course merely by the
uniform drooping of those blades of grass towards the north-east.
SEARCH FOR THE LACHLAN.
After travelling ten miles south-west without perceiving any indication
of the river I directed our course southward and, after proceeding seven
miles in that direction, we came upon a hollow of Polygonum junceum so
full of wide and deep cracks that our horses were got across with
difficulty. It extended in a south-west direction towards some flooded
box-trees. The country beyond was better wooded, and at eleven miles we
at length approached a creek, and the large trees which enveloped it
looked like those of the river itself; but we saw none of the yarra or
white-trunked trees which always accompanied such waters and, although we
certainly found the channel of a considerable current, it was shallow,
quite dry, and full of Polygonum junceum.
I could hardly consider this a lateral branch of the river as I thought
that I had seen its head in some hollows which I crossed on the plains
the day before. After passing this channel however we descried a long
dark line of river-trees which, as our horses were getting tired, we were
now somewhat anxious to see and, the native perceiving smoke arising from
the woods there, I, at his request, altered my course to that direction
which was 30 degrees East of South.
THIRST OF BARNEY.
None of the party suffered so much apparently from the want of water as
Barney, our native friend. He rode foremost of the men with a tin pot in
his hand, his eyes fixed on remote distance and his mouth open, with the
lower lip projecting, as if to catch rain from the heavens. When we were
within two miles of those trees we found enough of rainwater in a shallow
hole to refresh our horses, but it was surrounded with such tempting
grass that the animals preferred the verdure to it. Barney drank as much
as he wished, and I advised the men to fill their horns, but the horses
soon trod the water into mud, and all expected to find plenty near the
smoke; a hope in which I was by no means sanguine.
CROSS VARIOUS DRY CHANNELS.
The first line of trees we crossed enclosed only a shallow channel,
overgrown with polygonum; and we in vain sought the natives although we
saw where portions of fire had been recently dropped.
Three miles further we perceived a more promising line of trees and smoke
arising from them also. There we found the yarra trees growing on a flat
with a reedy channel meandering amongst them. The fire arose from some
burning trees and grass; and there were huts of natives but no
inhabitants.
GRAVES.
Green bushes grew luxuriantly, and amongst them, in a romantic looking
spot, three separate graves had been recently erected. Still we could
perceive neither signs of water nor any of the natives who might have
told us where to find it. Crossing another small plain of firm ground we
came upon what seemed to be the main channel of the Lachlan, pursuing a
course to the west-north-west. It had not however above one-third of the
capacity of the bed above, but in every other respect it was similar.
Having in vain looked for a waterhole we hastened towards another line of
trees which we reached by sunset. It consisted of the yarra kind also,
but overhung what was only a hollow in the midst of a plain, although
evidently subject to inundation.
SECOND NIGHT WITHOUT WATER.
To find water there seemed quite out of the question; but we were
nevertheless obliged to halt, for the sun had set. Late in the night, as
we lay burning with thirst and dreaming of water, a species of duck flew
over our heads which, from its peculiar note, I knew I had previously
heard on the Darling. It was flying towards the south-west.
April 24.
We proceeded on the bearing of 80 degrees east of south, towards the
nearest bend of a line of yarra river-trees. There we found, after riding
two miles, another diminutive Lachlan, precisely similar to the former,
but rather less: it was very sinuous in its course and full of holes, but
surrounded by green bushes with chirping birds; but it was too obvious
that these holes had been long, long dry. Thence I pursued a course 24
degrees North of East over naked ground, evidently subject at times to
inundation, towards other large trees; being anxious to cross all the
arms of the Lachlan before taking up its general course to guide us back
to our camp which lay then, by my calculation, 43 miles in direct
distance, higher up the river.
NATIVE TUMULUS.
On this flat we passed a newly-raised tumulus, a remarkable circumstance
considering the situation; for I had observed that the natives of the
Darling always selected the higher ground for burying in; and it might be
presumed that, on this part of the Lachlan, the tribe (whose marks were
numerous on the trees) could find no heights within their territory.
REEDY SWAMP WITH DEAD TREES.
We found that this belt of river-trees enclosed a dry swamp only, covered
with dead reeds, amongst which stood a forest of dead yarra trees,
bearing well-defined marks of water in dark stained rings at the height
of about four feet on their barkless trunks. The soil was soft and rich
and, where no roots of reeds bound it together, it opened in yawning
cracks which were very deep. This dried up swamp was nearly a mile broad,
and beyond it we found firm open and good ground; some very large
eucalypti or yarra growing between it and the edge of the reeds.
ROUTE OF MR. OXLEY.
I was now satisfied that we had crossed the whole bed of the Lachlan; and
I thought Mr. Oxley's line of route might have passed near the spot where
I then stood; and that in a time of flood all the channels, save the one
next the firm ground, might easily have escaped his notice. Here our
horses began to be quite knocked up, chiefly from want of water; we
therefore dismounted and dragged them on, for I hoped by taking the
direction of Mr. Oxley's line of route, as shown on his map, that the
branches would soon concentrate in one united channel.
DRY BED OF THE LACHLAN.
At the end of four miles we found that junction had taken place, and the
bed of the river as broad and deep as usual, but it was everywhere dry. I
made the people lead the exhausted horses from point to point, while I
examined all the bends, for the course was very sinuous; still I saw no
appearance of water, nor even of any having recently dried up.
FIND AT LENGTH A LARGE POOL.
After proceeding thus about two miles, the chirping of birds and a tree
full of chattering parrots raised my hopes that water was near; and at a
very sharp turn of the channel, to the great delight of all, I at length
saw a large and deep pool. Our horses stood drinking a full quarter of an
hour; and during the time a duck dropped into the pond amongst them. The
poor bird appeared to have been as much overcome by thirst as ourselves
for, on the inconsiderate native throwing his boomerang, it was scarcely
able to fly to the top of the opposite bank. As the grass was good I
halted during the remainder of the day for the sake of our horses;
although the delay subjected us to another night in the bush. I made the
men sit down out of sight of the pond for a reason which I did not choose
to tell them; but it was that we might not, by our presence, deprive many
other starving creatures of a benefit which Providence had so bountifully
afforded to us.
On a large tree overlooking the pond, and which had already been deprived
by the natives of a considerable patch of bark, I chalked the letter M,
which the men cut out of the solid wood with their tomahawks. This being
the lowest permanent pond above the separation of the river into so many
arms, I thought that by such a mark of a white man the natives would be
more ready to point out the spot to any future traveller when required. I
found about the fires of the natives a number of small balls of dry fibre
resembling hemp, and I at first supposed it to be a preparation for
making nets, having seen such on the Darling.
FOOD OF THE NATIVES DISCOVERED.
Barney the native however soon set me right by taking up the root of a
large reed or bulrush which grew in a dry lagoon hard by, and by showing
me how the natives extracted from the rhizoma a quantity of gluten; and
this was what they eat, obtaining it by chewing the fibre. They take up
the root of the bulrush in lengths of about eight or ten inches, peel off
the outer rind and lay it a little before the fire; then they twist and
loosen the fibres, when a quantity of gluten, exactly resembling wheaten
flour, may be shaken out, affording at all times a ready and wholesome
food. It struck me that this gluten, which they call Balyan, must be the
staff of life to the tribes inhabiting these morasses, where tumuli and
other traces of human beings were more abundant than at any part of the
Lachlan that I had visited.
HORSES KNOCK UP.
April 25.
We continued our route upwards along the right bank of the Lachlan on a
bearing of 36 degrees East of North taken from Mr. Oxley's map: and
coming to the river at nine miles we again watered our horses, and rested
them for they were very weak. After travelling fifteen miles one of them
rode by Woods, who carried the theodolite, knocked up when we were far
from the Lachlan. With some difficulty we however got it on until we
reached the river and, finding water, we halted for the day after a ride
of twenty-one miles.
SCENERY ON THE LACHLAN.
The scenery was highly picturesque at that part of the banks of the
Lachlan notwithstanding the dreary level of the naked plains back from
them.
CHARACTER OF THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF TREES.
The yarra grew here, as on the Darling, to a gigantic size, the height
sometimes exceeding 100 feet; and its huge gnarled trunks, wild
romantic-formed branches often twisting in coils, shining white or light
red bark, and dark masses of foliage, with consequent streaks of shadow
below, frequently produced effects fully equal to the wildest forest
scenery of Ruysdael or Waterloo. Often as I hurried along did I take my
last look with reluctance of scenes forming the most captivating studies.
The yarra is certainly a pleasing object in various respects; its shining
bark and lofty height inform the traveller of a distant probability of
water, or at least of the bed of a river or lake; and being visible over
all other trees it usually marks the course of rivers so well that, in
travelling along the Darling and Lachlan, I could with ease trace the
general course of the river without approaching its banks until I wished
to encamp. The nature and character of several other species of the genus
eucalyptus were nevertheless very different and peculiar. The small kind,
covered with a rough bark and never exceeding the size of fruit trees in
an orchard and called, I believe, by Mr. Oxley, the dwarf-box, but by the
natives goborro, grows only on plains subject to inundation, and it
usually bears on the lower part of the trunk the mark of the water by
which it is at times surrounded. Between the goborro and the yarra there
seems this difference: the yarra grows only on the banks of rivers,
lakes, or ponds, from the water of which the roots derive nourishment;
but when the trunk itself has been too long immersed the tree dies; as
appeared on various lakes and in reedy swamps on the Lachlan. The goborro
on the contrary seldom grows on the banks of a running stream, but seems
to thrive in inundations, however long their duration. Mr. Oxley remarked
during his wet journey that there was always water where these trees
grew. We found them in most cases during a dry season, a sure indication
that none was to be discovered near them. It may be observed however that
all permanent waters are invariably surrounded by the yarra. These
peculiarities we ascertained only after examining many a hopeless hollow
where grew the goborro by itself; nor until I had found my sable guides
eagerly scanning the yarra from afar when in search of water, and
condemning any distant view of goborro trees as hopeless during that dry
season. In describing the trees which ornamented the river scenery I must
not omit to mention a long-leaved acacia whose dark stems and sombre
foliage, drooping over the bank, presented a striking and pleasing
contrast to the yarra trunks, and the light soil of the water-worn banks.
The bimbel (or spear-wood) which grows on dry forest land, the pine-like
Callitris pyramidalis on red sandhills, and a variety of acacias in the
scrubs, generally present groups of the most picturesque description.
RETURN TO THE PARTY.
April 26.
We continued towards the camp which I reached at about nine miles and
found that nothing extraordinary had occurred during my absence. The
overseer had been again to Coccoparra to hunt the wild cattle (by my
orders) yet, although he found a herd and put two bullets through one
animal, all escaped. The party thought to hem them in by driving them to
the foot of the range; but as soon as the cattle found themselves beset
they climbed, apparently without much difficulty, the abrupt rocky face
of the hills, throwing down on their ascent the large fragments and loose
stones that lay in their way and which, rolling down the declivities,
checked their pursuers until the bullocks, wounded and all, escaped.
DEAD BODY FOUND IN THE WATER.
The working cattle had little good grass at the camp, and another reason
I had for quitting it was the state of the waterhole. Even at first it
was small and the water had a slightly putrid taste, the cause of which
having been discovered, the water had become still less palatable. Piper,
our native interpreter, in diving for fish on the previous day had, to
his horror, brought up on his spear, instead of a fish, the putrid leg of
a man! Our guide (to the Booraran) had left the camp during my absence;
and it was said that he was aware of the circumstance of the body of a
native having been thrown into the hole; for he had abstained from
drinking any of the water.
I had still however a desire to reconnoitre the country to the southward
in hopes that I might see enough of its features to enable me to arrive
at some conclusion as to the final course of the Lachlan, and to arrange
our further journey accordingly.
ASCEND BURRADORGANG.
April 27.
I rode to Burradorgang, a saddle-backed hill bearing 117 degrees from our
camp and distant 19 miles. This hill I found to be the most western and
the last between the Murrumbidgee and the Lachlan. I only reached its
base with tired horses an hour before dusk. Just as I dismounted and
began to climb the rocks a drizzling rain came on from the north-west,
and it unfortunately first obscured that portion of the horizon which I
was most anxious to see.
VIEW FROM BURRADORGANG.
To the northward, eastward, and southward however it continued clear, and
the points visible in those directions fully occupied my attention until
the western horizon became distinct. I was at once enabled to identify
this hill with an angle observed when on the top of Yerrarar. Granard and
the principal summits of Peel's and Macquarie's ranges were visible and,
as the sky cleared I could see Warranary, that south-western extremity of
the Mount Granard range already mentioned, and which I was enabled by my
observations here to connect with the trigonometrical survey. But even
from this summit nothing could be observed beyond besides the
continuation of the range towards the north-west at an immense distance.
The object next in importance was the country between me and the
Murrumbidgee in a south-west direction. I