Journal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical Australia, by Thomas Mitchell

Chapter III.

THE PARTY ADVANCES INTO THE UNKNOWN REGION BEYOND THE DARLING — GUIDED BY TWO ABORIGINAL NATIVES. — PLAINS AND LOW HILLS. — ARRIVE AT PONDS OR SPRINGS CALLED “CARÀWY.”— DELAYED BY THE WEAKNESS OF THE CATTLE. — REACH THE NARRAN SWAMP SOONER THAN EXPECTED. — BRIDGE MADE TO CROSS SOFT PART OF SWAMP — WHILE AWAITING THE ARRIVAL OF TIRED BULLOCKS. — SWAMP VERY EXTENSIVE TO THE EASTWARD. — NEW PLANTS. — RIDE ACROSS THE SWAMP AND RECONNOITRE THE RIVER NARRAN THIRTY MILES UPWARDS. — THE SWAMP THE LAST RECEPTACLE OF THE RIVER. — BRIDGE LAID DOWN BY MOONLIGHT. — THE WHOLE PARTY CROSSES IT, AND AFTERWARDS FORD THE NARRAN — CROSSING TO THE LEFT BANK. — ADVANCE BY VERY SHORT STAGES FROM WEAKNESS OF THE CATTLE. — RICH GRASS ON THE NARRAN. — ELEVATED STONY GROUND TO THE WESTWARD. — AGAIN RECONNOITRE THE RIVER IN ADVANCE WHILE THE CATTLE REST. — PARLEY WITH A NATIVE. — TWO NATIVES OF THE BALONNE GUIDE ME TO THAT RIVER. — APPROACH THE ASSEMBLED POPULATION OF ITS BANKS. — INTERVIEW WITH THE TRIBES. — CORDIAL RECEPTION. — CROSS THE BALONNE — AND REACH THE CULG. — CIVILITY OF THE NATIVES. — CROSS THE CULG. — TRAVEL UP ALONG THE RIGHT BANK OF THE BALONNE. — GRASSY PLAINS ALONG ITS BANKS. — THE OLD DELAY, CATTLE MISSING. — A NATIVE SCAMP. — SPLENDID REACHES OF THE RIVER. — DÉPÔT CAMP AT A NATURAL BRIDGE. — RIDE TO THE NORTHWEST. — RECEIVE DISPATCHES FROM SYDNEY. — RETURN TO THE CAMP AT ST. GEORGE’S BRIDGE.

5TH MARCH. — Early this morning the stockman brought over two natives, brothers, who were to guide us to water ten miles on towards the Narran, which was said to be thirty-five miles off. In the first two miles we passed over some soft ground. Further on, hills were visible to the left, which our native guides called Goodeingora. Fragments of conglomerate rocks appeared in the soil of the plains, pebbles and grains of quartz cemented by felspar. These plains appeared to become undulating ground as we proceeded northward, and the surface became firmer. At length the country opened into slight undulations, well clothed with grass, and good for travelling over, the soil being full of the same hard rock found on the rising grounds nearest to the Darling, in the lowest parts of that river explored formerly by me. The red earth seemed to be but the decomposed matrix of that rock, as the water-worn pebbles of quartz so thickly set therein, here covered the ground in some places so thickly as to resemble snow. Much Anthistiria and other good grasses grew on those plains. I was, indeed, most agreeably surprised at the firm undulating stony surface and open character of the country, where I had expected to see soft clay, and holes and scrubs. At six miles, other slight elevations appeared to the N. E. which the natives called Toolowly, a name well calculated to fix in white men’s memory elevations TOO LOW to be called hills. They were quite high enough, however, along a line of route for such heavy drays as those following us. There appeared much novelty in the trees on this side the Darling. The ANGOPHORA LANCEOLATA was every where; Callitris grew about the base of the hills, and some very singular acacias, a long-leaved grey kind of wattle, the ACACIA STENOPHYLLA of Cunningham. On one tree large pods hung in such profusion as to bend the branches to the ground. From this abundance I supposed it was not good to be eaten; nevertheless, I found in another place many of the same pods roasted at some fires of the natives, and learnt from our guides that they eat the pea. The pod somewhat resembled that of the Cachou nut of the Brazils — Mùnumulà is the native name. The grasses comprised a great variety, and amongst the plants a beautiful little BRUNONIA, not more than four inches high, with smaller flower-heads than those of BR. SERICEA, quite simple or scarcely at all lobed, and a hairy indusium.24 The tree, still a nondescript, although the fruit had been gathered by me in 1831, and then sent to Mr. Brown, was also here; and I saw one or two trees of a species of CAPPARIS. Mr. Stephenson found a great variety of new insects also.

24 [B. SIMPLEX (Lindl. MSS.); pumila, foliis undique scapisque longitudinaliter sericeis, villis appressis, capitulis subsimplicibus, bracteis majoribus oblongis, indusio extus piloso.]

Our guides brought us at length to some waterholes, amongst some verdant grass on a plain, where no stranger would have looked for water; and here we encamped fifteen good miles from the Barwan. The ponds were called “Caràwy,” and were vitally important to us, enabling us to pass on towards the Narran, which was still, as we had been informed, twenty-five miles off. As we approached these springs, I saw some natives running off, and I sent one of the guides after them to say we should do them no harm, and beg them to stop, but he could not overtake them. The undulations crossed by us this day seemed to extend east and west in their elongations, and were probably parallel to the general course of the main channel of drainage. The same felspathic rock seen in other parts of this great basin, seems the basis of the clay, although the fragments imbedded are very hard. The earth is reddish, and much resembles in this respect the matrix of the conglomerate. Near these springs we found a new HELICHRYSUM.25 Thermometer at sunrise, 61°; at noon, 100°; at 4 P. M., 102°; at 9, 79°; — with wet bulb, 65°.

25 [HELICHRYSUM RAMOSISSIMUM (Hook. MSS.); suffruticosum valde ramosum arachnoideo-tomentosum, foliis lineari-spathulatis subflaccidis acutis, capitulis in racemis terminalibus parvis globosis flavis, involucri squamis lineari-subulatis undulatis fimbriato-ciliatis.]

6TH MARCH. — The drays not having come up, in consequence of the excessive length of yesterday’s journey, and very hot weather —(16½ miles by latitude alone)— we were obliged to remain inactive here on a beautiful cool morning. I found near the ponds, several huts made of fresh branches of trees and the remains of fires, doubtless the deserted home of the fugitives of yesterday. At these fires I found the roasted pods of the acacia already mentioned (Mùnumulà). The water was surrounded by fresh herbage, and such was the simple fare of those aborigines, such the home whence they fled. As I looked at it in the presence of my sable guides, I could not but reflect that the white man’s cattle would soon trample these holes into a quagmire of mud, and destroy the surrounding verdure and pleasant freshness for ever. I feared that my good-natured but acute guides thought as much, and I blushed inwardly 26 for our pallid race.

26 [The author of Waverley maintains that one may LAUGH inwardly — conscience may, I suppose, make us also blush inwardly sometimes.]

All day we sat still in anxious suspense about the non-arrival of our drays — the ground having been so good. With a country so interesting before us, this delay was doubly irksome, and as the cattle could only be watered by coming forward, why they did not come was the question; and this was not solved until evening, when a messenger came forward to ask if they might come, and to inform me that they were nearly exhausted. The fatal alternative of endeavouring to make them work in the morning, after passing a night without water, had been adopted, and as, on the day before, they had been worked until dusk in expectation of reaching my camp, they could not draw on the morning after; I instantly directed them to be brought forward; but the consequence of this derangement was the death of one, and much injury to many others. This contretemps arose wholly from the guides not having been understood at the Barwan as to the real distance, and this we had calculated too surely upon. Latitude 29° 52’ 26” south. Thermometer at sunrise, 68°; at noon, 96°; at 4 P. M., 102°; at 9, 83°; — with wet bulb, 68°.

7TH MARCH, 1846. — The bullocks having been sent back after they had been watered last evening, the drays came up about 9 A. M. I left them in Mr. Kennedy’s charge, and proceeded with the light carts followed by all the bullocks yoked up. They had trodden into mud the little water that had been left at that camp, and could not live much longer without more. The guides assured us the Narran was not far off, although we had understood when at the Barwan that the distance was twenty-five miles from these springs. We passed over very good ground, and found the country to improve as we advanced. We were conducted through the most open parts of scrubs by our guides, who were made to comprehend clearly how desirable that was for our “wheelbarrows;” and after travelling about seven miles, they pointed to a line of trees as the “Narran,” beyond an extensive open country, which had a singular appearance from being higher than that we were upon. We crossed one or two slight elevations wholly composed of compact felspar in blocks — forming ridges resembling an outcrop of strata, whereof the strike always pointed N. W. and S. E. Various curious new plants and fruits appeared; amongst others a solanum, the berry of which was a very pleasant-tasted fruit. The plant was a runner and spread over several yards from one root. There was also a fruit shaped like an elongated egg; it appeared to be some Asclepiad, and was called by the natives “Doobàh.” They ate it, seeds and all, but said it was best roasted. As we approached the elevated country between us and the distant line of trees, we perceived that the vast level was covered with POLYGONUM JUNCEUM in a verdant state. The colour was dark green, such as I had never seen elsewhere in this “leafless bramble,” as Sturt called it, which looks ever quite dry and withered along the margins of the Darling. We had good reason to love and admire its verdure now, when we found amongst it pure water in great abundance, into which all our native companions immediately plunged, and rolled about like porpoises. This, they said, was the “Narran,” but to the vast swampy plain they gave the name of Keegur, a name quite useless for white men’s memories or maps. They seemed to say it was wholly an emanation from the Narran, and pointed to the nearest part of the trees beyond, saying the river Narran was there. I still endeavoured to proceed, as they wished, towards the nearest trees beyond, until a winding narrow pond of water, in very soft mud, precluded all hopes of crossing with our drays, without some sort of bridge; I therefore immediately counter-marched the party with me, now far advanced in that sea of dark green polygonum, and conducted it into a position on open stony ground to the westward of our route, with the intention to await there the arrival of the drays, and to prepare materials for a bridge to be laid across the muddy pond, as I had seen a small clump of pines (Callitris) at no great distance back. My guides did not encourage a hope I entertained, that this swamp might be turned by the westward, in which direction the open country extended to the horizon. The man who travels with bullocks must expect to be impeded by wet ground, as well as by the scarcity of water, in many situations where horses could pass without difficulty. I directed the bullocks, that had been driven forward with me, to be allowed to graze beside the water until sunset, and then to be taken slowly back by moonlight to Mr. Kennedy. Five had dropped down on the way, and had not come forward to the water. Those sent back were also ordered to be allowed to feed all the next day at Mr. Kennedy’s camp, and only to start with the drays there next evening, to come on by moonlight, thus avoiding the intense heat, so oppressive under extreme thirst. The thermometer during the day, rose to 103° in the shade. Latitude of the camp on Narran swamp, 29° 45’ 51” S. Thermometer at sunrise, 47°; at noon, 97°; at 4 P. M., 97°; at 9, 69°; ditto with wet bulb, 57°. The height of this camp above the sea, the average of five registered observations, is 442 feet.

8TH MARCH. — The view northward from our present camp was most extensive. Far in the northeast a yellow slope presented the unusual appearance there, of a cultivated country. It was doubtless ripe grass, yet still the earth there had not even been imprinted with any hoof. Between that slope and our camp, lay the element, in abundance, which had been so scarce on the other side of the Darling. To the northward, at no great distance, was the river, where, as our guides informed us, we should no longer be ill off for water in pursuing our journey along its banks. I set the carpenter to cut sleepers and slabbing to enable us to bridge the muddy creek, for I had examined it early in the morning, and had crossed it with my horse; although I found several watercourses almost as soft, beyond. The natives maintained that the water in this extensive swamp came neither from the east nor west, but from the river directly before us, which came from the northward. Just behind our camp, to the southward, was a gentle elevation, almost a hill, consisting of the usual rock, felspar; and it seemed to me that this stony ground alone impeded the further progress of the water towards the Barwan. The ridge trended north-west, as most others did in this extensive basin; and this direction being nearly parallel to that of the coast ranges further northward, seemed to afford additional reason for expecting to find anticlinal and synclinal lines, and, consequently, rivers, much in the same direction. D’Urban’s group, distant 150 miles lower down the Darling, consisted of a quartzose rock, exactly similar to this, exhibiting a tendency, like it, to break into irregular polygons, some of the faces being curved. This rock is most extensively distributed in the interior of New South Wales. It was not until the evening of this day that the approach of the drays was announced, and then prematurely, the teams only having been brought forward to the water without them. So weak were the unfortunate animals, that not even by night, nor by doubling the numbers, could they be made to draw the drays forward, for the short distance of eight miles; a distance which we had been given to understand was so much greater. Forward, all was most promising, and it may be imagined how bitterly I regretted the alteration of my original plan of equipment, which had reference to horses and light carts alone. A new species of ANTHISTIRIA occurred here, perfectly distinct from the kangaroo grass of the colony, very like APLUDA MUTICA, and remarkable for the smooth shining appearance of the thin involucral leaves.27 The TRICHINIUM ALOPECUROIDEUM, in great abundance, was conspicuous, with its long silky ears of green flowers. On the stony ground occurred a very curious new woolly KOCHIA 28, also a species of CYPERUS; the TRICHINIUM LANATUM in great perfection; a grass resembling the close reed (CALAMAGROSTIS of England), and which proved to be the little-known TRIRAPHIS MOLLIS. On the margin of the morass the DACTYLOCTENIUM RADULANS, spreading over the interstices, reminded the traveller of the grasses of Egypt; and, in stony ground near the morass, we observed the JUSTICIA MEDIA of Brown. Thermometer at sunrise, 66°; at noon, 98°; at 4 P. M. 102°; at 9, 81°; ditto with wet bulb, 74°.

27 [A. MEMBRANACEA (Lindl. MSS); involucris carinatis margine membranaceis foliis vaginisque glaberrimis, floribus verticillatis pedicellatis (masculis?), glumis omnibus scabris, aristâ glaberrimâ glumâ 3plo longiore.]

28 [K. LANOSA (Lindl. MSS); ramis strictis foliisque linearibus acutis cinereis tomentosis, fructibus lanatis, calycis laciniis elongatis.]

9TH MARCH. — My native guides, tired of the delay, were anxious to return, and as the assistance they could afford me was likely to be extremely useful, and the arrival of the drays was most uncertain, I went forward this morning with one of them, two men, and Youranigh, our interpreter, all mounted. Amongst the trees, beyond the swamp, fine reaches of water appeared in a river channel, apparently continuous to the northward, but which, in the other direction, or towards the swamp, abruptly terminated like a cul-de-sac. On my asking the natives where it went to, they pointed to the various narrow water courses and the swamp as the final depositories of the water. Admirable distribution of the contents of a river in a country where water is so scarce, and the climate so hot and dry! We proceeded along the margin of the “Narran,” which led us nearly due north, until we forded it, at the desire of our guides, on a good gravelly bottom, the water reaching to our saddle-flaps. Crossing a slight elevation where the soil was gravelly, and in which grew the shrubs of the ordinary scrubs with several interesting novelties, we again came upon an angle of the Narran, and continued along its banks for about thirty miles, until near sunset, when we tethered our horses, and lay down for the night. The Narran was full of water every where, and with this abundance of water there was also plenty of most excellent grass. The PANICUM LOEVINODE of Dr. Lindley seemed to predominate, a grass whereof the seed (“Cooly”) is made by the natives into a kind of paste or bread. Dry heaps of this grass, that had been pulled expressly for the purpose of gathering the seed, lay along our path for many miles. I counted nine miles along the river, in which we rode through this grass only, reaching to our saddle-girths, and the same grass seemed to grow back from the river, at least as far as the eye could reach through a very open forest. I had never seen such rich natural pasturage in any other part of New South Wales. Still it was what supplied the bread of the natives; and these children of the soil were doing every thing in their power to assist me, whose wheel tracks would probably bring the white man’s cattle into it. We had followed well-beaten paths of natives during the whole of this day’s ride, and most anxious were my guides and I to see them; but they avoided us. Our guide was of that country, and not at all unwilling or timid; but evidently very desirous to introduce us to the inhabitants, and procure amongst them other guides to lead us further. The night was very hot, and flies and mosquitos did their utmost to prevent us from sleeping. Thermometer at sunrise, 75°; at noon, 99°; at 4 P. M., 105°; at 9, 83°; ditto with wet bulb, 75°.

10TH MARCH. — Anxious for an interview with some of the natives, I continued the pursuit of the Narran’s course about five miles higher, but with no better success. I then turned, after obtaining from our guide, through Youranigh, what information could be gathered thus, as to the river’s further course, the best bank for the passage of our drays, etc. We were still, he said, a long way from the “Culgoa.” There was no perceptible change in the aspect of the “Narran” as far as we had examined it, except that where we turned, there were flood-marks, and the dead logs and river wreck, deposited on the upper side of trees and banks, showing a current and high floods. The last of these, our guide said, had occurred about five moons before. In riding back to the camp we kept the castern bank, that the track might be available for our drays. This ride along a river where we could, when we pleased, either water our horses, or take a drink ourselves, was quite new and delightful to us, under a temperature of 105° in the shade. Our guide, aged apparently about fifty, walked frequently into the river, while in a state of perspiration; dipped quite under water, or drank a little with his lip on the level of its surface, and then walked on again. He was at last very tired, however, and pointed to the large muscles of the RECTUS FEMORIS as if they pained him. We found at the camp, on our return, five of the drays that had come up, the other three being still behind, and requiring double teams of exhausted cattle to bring them forward. In the vicinity of our camp we found the TRICHINIUM ALOPECUROIDEUM, with heads of flowers nearly five inches long; an eucalyptus near E. PULVERULENTA, but having more slender peduncles; a sort of Iron-bark. We found also a tall glaucous new HALORAGIS 29, and a curious new shaggy KOCHIA was intermingled with the grass.30 Thermometer at sunrise, 77°; at noon, 102°; at 4, 107°; at 9, 76°; — with wet bulb, 71°.

29 [H. GLAUCA (Lindl. MSS.); annua, stricta, glaberrima, glauca, foliis oppositis lineari-oblongis obtusis petiolatis grossè serratis, racemis apice aphyllis, fructu globoso tuberculato laevi.]

30 [K. VILLOSA (Lindl. MSS.); ramis erectis foliisque linearibus villosissimis, fructibus glabris.]

11TH MARCH. — All the drays came in early. I gave to the two natives, the tomahawks, tobacco, and pipes, as promised; also a note to the stockman on the Barwan, who had provided me with them, saying that they had been very useful. I this morning examined the country to the westward of the swamp, and found a narrow place at which we could pass, and so avoid much soft heavy ground. The ramifications of the watery Narran penetrated into the hollows of the stony ridge, presenting there little hollows full of rich verdure and pools of water, a sight so unwonted amongst rocks characteristic of D’Urban’s arid group. In one little hollow, to the westward of our camp, it seemed possible for two men with a pickaxe and shovel to have continued it through, and so to have opened a new channel for the passage of the waters of the Narran swamp, into the dry country between it and the Barwan. Thermometer at sunrise, 55°; at noon, 105°; at 4 P. M., 102°; at 9, 75°; — with wet bulb, 59°.

12TH MARCH. — I found it necessary to sit still here and refresh the jaded bullocks; thus days and months passed away, in which with horses I might have continued the journey. The very extensive country before us, which appeared to absorb these waters, was quite clear of timber, and irrigated by little canals winding amongst POLYGONUM JUNCEUM. This open country appeared to extend north-eastward about eight miles, thence to turn eastward, as if these waters found some outlet that way to the Barwan. I regretted that this swamp led too far out of our way, to admit of our tracing its limits to the eastward.

This day I received letters from Commissioner Mitchell, in which he strongly recommended to my attention the rivers Biree, Bokhara, and Narran, as waters emanating from, and leading to, the Balonne, a river which he said might supply our party with water, in this very dry season, almost to the tropic. I was able to inform him in reply, that I was already on the Narran, and that I had already availed myself of his account of the rivers formerly sent me, on which I must have been obliged to depend, even if the party had passed by Fort Bourke.

This evening, by moonlight, I conducted a dray, carrying two platforms, to the place where the narrow channel, feeding the swamp, could be passed without our meeting beyond any other impediment to the drays. The sleepers used for this purpose were made of pine (CALLITRIS PYRAMIDALIS), found half a mile back from our camp. They were fourteen feet long, two feet wide, being composed of cross-pieces, two feet long, fixed at each end between two sleepers, so that they somewhat resembled a wooden railway. These, when laid at the proper distance apart to carry both wheels, were bedded on the soft earth, and the interval between was filled to a level with them, by layers of polygonum and long grass, alternate with earth, forming together a mass of sufficient resistance to support the feet of the draught oxen. The whole formed a compact bridge or gangway. Thermometer at sunrise, 51°; at noon, 95°; at 4 P. M., 107°; at 9, 70°; — with wet bulb, 61°.

13TH MARCH. — The party once more moved onward, and the drays trundled across the swampy arm by means of our bridge, which, even in the event of an accession of water there, might have proved serviceable on our return. Three miles beyond it we had to ford the Narran, passing over a gravelly bottom to the eastern bank, and encamping there. The drays were slow in arriving at this ford and camp, as the ground was soft and hollow, but by sunset all had crossed, and our camp established on the Narran. Thermometer at sunrise, 71°; at noon, 100°; at 4 P. M., 100°; at 9, 71°; — with wet bulb, 65°. The height of this camp above the sea, according to ten registered observations, is 487 feet.

14TH MARCH. — We now had before us water and grass in abundance, to a distance as unlimited and indefinite, as our hopes of discovery. I intended to set out early each morning, and travel only four or five miles, that the jaded animals, exhausted by want of water and hard work, might have time to feed and refresh. One old cause of delay, however, again occurred to impede us — three bullocks were reported missing. Now it was nearly full moon, and two men had been on watch all night. It really seemed that delay and disappointment must attend all who depend on bullocks and bullock-drivers. The stray cattle were not brought up until 9 A. M., when we proceeded, and encamped on an angle of the Narran, after travelling about five miles. In the scrubs passed through, we found the fragrant JASMINUM LINEARE in fruit, the flowers being nearly past; a bulb which proved to be the ANTHERICUM BULBOSUM of Brown; a shrub ten feet high, in fruit, the CANTHIUM OLEIFOLIUM of Sir William Hooker; a fine new CHENOPODIUM, with long naked spikes of woolly yellow flowers 31; and a hoary variety of ACACIA LEPTOCLADA, or perhaps a distinct species, having a good deal of the aspect of A. DEALBATA, but the leaves and glands nearer those of A. LEPTOCLADA, according to Mr. Bentham. Thermometer at sunrise, 70°; at noon, 103°; at 4 P. M., 102°; at 9, 81°; — with wet bulb, 75°.

31 [C. AURICOMUM (Lindl. MSS.); totum glaucum farinosum, caule stricto, foliis petiolatis oblongis subhastatis lobisque posticis obtusis supremis lanceolatis, spicis compositis nudis aphyllis glomeratis multifloris tomentosis.]

15TH MARCH. — The sand amongst the scrubs was so soft and yielding, that the draught animals could not draw the drays through it without great difficulty; indeed, it was only possible by double-backing, as the drivers termed their practice of alternately assisting one another, a process to which all had had recourse with one exception. It was not until 1 A. M. of this morning, therefore, that the last dray was brought to the camp. Another bullock died on the way, and thus I felt, when the field of discovery lay open before me, that my means of conveyance were unsuited to the task. Overloading at Boree, unskilful driving, excessive heat, and want of water, had contributed to render the bullocks unserviceable, and I already contemplated the organization of a lighter party and fewer men, with which I might go forward at a better rate, leaving the heavy articles of equipment and tired cattle in a depôt, on some good grassy spot. The latitude of this camp was 29° 38’ 21” south. Thermometer at sunrise, 73°; at noon, 84°; at 4 P. M., 86°; at 9, 65°; — with wet bulb, 60°.

16TH MARCH. — I proceeded six miles, and chose a camp beside a bend of the Narran, full of deep water, and in the midst of most luxuriant grass. The drays arrived by 11 A. M. in such good order, that I was induced to try whether, by early starting, good feeding, and short journeys, the party could not be got forward to the Balonne, where I could leave the whole in one depôt, to rest and refresh, while I took my intended ride forward. Latitude, 29° 34’ 11” S. Thermometer at sunrise, 43°; at noon, 86°; at 4 P. M., 87°; at 9, 62°; — with wet bulb, 55°.

17TH MARCH. — I proceeded seven miles, and the drays came forward as well as they did yesterday, so that I again entertained hopes of the progress of the united party, which was very desirable, as these plains were evidently sometimes so saturated with water as to be rendered wholly impassable for wheel-carriages or even horses. Latitude, 29° 29’ 11” S. Thermometer at sunrise, 47°; at noon, 87°; at 4 P. M., 91°; at 9, 62°; — with wet bulb, 52°.

18TH MARCH. — Again we made out a short journey over rather soft ground; all the drays coming in, although slowly. I rode to a gently rising ground, a great novelty, which appeared bearing E. N. E. from our camp, at a distance of 2½ miles. I found it consisted of gravel of the usual conglomerate decomposed — of rounded fragments of about a cubic inch in bulk. The grass was good there, and I perceived that the same gravelly ridge extended back from the river in a north and south direction. Graceful groups of trees grew about this stony ground, which looked, upon the whole, better than the red sandy soil of the scrubs and callitris forest. This seemed the dividing ridge between the Narran and Barwan. From this elevation, I saw that the course of the former ran still in a good direction for us, to a great distance northward. On that stony ground I found a new PITTOSPORUM five feet high, with long narrow leaves, in the way of P. ROEANUM and ANGUSTIFOLIUM, but distinct from both in the form of its fruit.32 Latitude of camp 29° 25’ 21”. Thermometer at sunrise, 53°; at noon, 90°; at 4 P. M., 96°; at 9, 69°; — with wet bulb, 61°.

32 [P. SALICINUM (Lindl. MS.); foliis lineari-lanceolatis coriaccis acutissimis aveniis, pedunculis unifloris aggregatis axillaribus, fructibus subglobosis vix compressis.]

19TH MARCH. — Pursuing the Narran, keeping its eastern or left bank, our course this day was more to the northward. I encamped after travelling six miles, not only because the ground was soft and heavy for the drays, but because I saw that the Narran turned much to the eastward, and I contemplated the passage across it, intending to look for it again, by travelling northward. Accordingly, as soon as our ground had been marked out, I crossed to reconnoitre the country in that direction. I found a fine, open, grassy country, but no signs of the river at the end of five miles, nor even until I had ridden as far eastward. There, recrossing it, I returned to the camp through some fine open forest country. Latitude observed, 29° 21’ 51”, S. Thermometer at sunrise, 57°; at 4 P. M., 96°; at 9, 71°; — with wet bulb, 62°.

20TH MARCH. — Retracing my homeward tracks of yesterday, we proceeded in a nearly E. N. E. direction, along much firmer ground than we had recently traversed. The great eastern bend of the river was found amongst much excellent grass and amidst much fine timber. A species of Anthistiria appeared here, which seemed different from the ordinary sort, although this was no stranger to me, when exploring the waterless plains westward of the Lachlan, where it looked as if stunted for want of moisture. Here, however, this variety presented the same knotty head, where other grasses grew luxuriantly. After getting round the extreme eastern turn of the Narran we encamped. Near the spot large rocks appeared in the bed, as if the river was passing through the stock of the gravelly ridge I had visited on the 18th. The rock consisted of that found about the basin of the Darling; a quartzose conglomerate with much felspar, and having pebbles of quartz imbedded. The large fragments of the conglomerate in the river bed were angular, and not at all rounded at the edges. Here the poor natives had been very industrious, as was evident from heaps of the grass PANICUM LOEVINODE, and of the same redstalked coral-like plant, also mentioned as having been observed in similar heaps, on the banks of the Darling, during my journey of 1835 (vol. i. p. 238). I now ascertained that the seed of the latter is also collected by the natives and made into a paste. This seed was black and small, resembling fine gunpowder when shaken out. Nevertheless it was sweet and pleasant to the taste, possessing a nutty flavour.

The human inhabitants were few, and as invisible as other animals in these forests — the prints of whose feet were also plain in the soft smooth surface. As faithless as the snows of the North 33, this soil bore the impressions of all animals obliged to go to the water, and amongst them those of the naked feet of men, women, and children, with the prints likewise of other BIPEDS, such as emus and kangaroos, and also those of the native dog. Here still was our own race amongst other animals all new and strange to Europeans. The prints of the foot of man alone were familiar to us. But here he was living in common with other animals, simply on the bounty of nature; artless, and apparently as much afraid of us, and as shy, as other animals of the forest. It seemed strange, that in a climate the most resembling that of Milton’s paradise, the circumstances of man’s existence should be the most degrading. Latitude of our camp, 29° 19’ 26” S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 55°; at noon, 100°; at 4 P. M., 101°; at 9, 70°; — with wet bulb, 65°. The mean elevation above the sea of our camps thus far on the Narran, seven in number, was 477 feet; the bed of the river being about 15 feet lower.

33 [“And hungry Maukin’s ta’en her way
To kailyards green,
While faithless
snaws ilk step betray
Whar she has been.”
BURNS.]

21ST MARCH. — Proceeded as usual through fine grass, the river coming favourably round towards the north. At about two miles I found some traces of horses, and I looked at the river bank for Commissioner Mitchell’s initials, supposing this might be “Congo,” where he had forded the Narran. But we had not reached the latitude of Congo according to his map. Nevertheless we found here such an excellent dry ford, with gently sloping banks to a stony bottom, that the two circumstances induced me to cross the Narran with the party. I travelled west-ward, until meeting with a dense scrub, I turned towards the friendly Narran, where we encamped in latitude 29° 15’ 31” S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 56°; at noon, 97°; at 4 P. M., 101°; at 9, 72°; ditto with wet bulb, 66°.

22D MARCH. — Gave the party a day’s rest, prayers being read by the surgeon, as was usual whenever circumstances admitted of our halting on Sunday. The bed of the Narran presented in several places the denuded rock, which seems the basis of all the soil and gravel of the country. At one place irregular concretions of milk-white quartz, cemented by a ferruginous basis, was predominant; at another, the rough surface of compact felspar weathering white presented merely the cavities in which large rounded pebbles had been imbedded, until the partial decomposition of the felspar, under the river floods, had exposed them once more to the action of water. The force of those waters, however, had not been sufficient to cut a channel through very soft rocks extending right across their course — a circumstance rather characteristic, perhaps, of a river like the Narran, watering a nearly level country, and terminating in a swamp. Thermometer at sunrise, 53°; at noon, 95°; at 4 P. M., 98°; at 9, 72°; — with wet bulb, 66°. Height above the sea, 515 feet, from eight observations.

23RD MARCH. — All hands were bent on an early start this morning, and, soon after seven, the party moved off. We crossed much grassy land, almost approaching to the character of scrub as to bushes; but we pursued a tolerably straight course to the N.W., until we again made the Narran at 8½ miles. Various new plants attracted my attention this day, especially a beautiful Loranthus on the rosewood Acacia, and a small bush bearing a green pod resembling a small capsicum in shape. Among the sedges by the river we found the KYLLINGA MONOCEPHALA; and, on the rich black clayed soil near it, a species of bindweed out of flower, with large sagittate leaves: in the scrubs back from the river, grew a small bush, about four feet high, which has been considered either a variety of Brown’s SANTALUM OBLONGATUM, or a new species distinguished by its narrow sharp-pointed leaves. The LORANTHUS LINEARI. FOLIUS was growing on the rosewood Acacia, and the branches of Eucalypti were inhabited by the parasitical ORANGE LORANTH.34 Lat., 29°1 0’ 6” S. Therm. at sunrise, 51°; at noon, 95°; at 4 P. M., 99°; at 9, 70°; — wet bulb, 63°.

34 [L. AURANTIACUS (All. Cunn. MS.); ramis elongatis laxis gracilibus, foliis oppositis longe petiolatis oblongis obtusis lanceolatisve acuminatis glabris 3-5-nerviis tenui-marginatis, paniculis folio brevioribus ditrichotomis, floribus erectis, calycibus subcylindraceis superne latioribus truncatis, petalis linearibus 6, stylo infra apicem geniculato, stigmate dilatato truncato. — W. J. H.]

24TH MARCH. — We set off still earlier this morning. I hoped to reach the Bokhara, on the West, a river shown on the map sent me by the Commissioner of the district, but after travelling about seven miles to the northward, I saw rising ground before me, which induced me to turn towards our own friendly river the Narran; but it proved to be very far from us, while in my search for it, to my surprise, I found it necessary to descend several considerable declivities, covered with waterworn pebbles. At length a slight opening in the dense scrubs through which we had forced our way, afforded a view towards the south-east of the low range we were upon, which trended very continuously to the north-west, covered thickly with the “Malga” tree of the natives; to the traveller the most formidable of scrubs. After several other descents, we reached the Narran, but only at half-past three in the afternoon, when we had travelled nearly twenty miles. How the teams were to accomplish this, it was painful to consider. I sent back a messenger to desire that the cattle should be detached and brought forward to the water; content to lose one day, if that indeed would suffice to recover the jaded animals. Casuarinae now grew amongst the river trees, and reminded me of the banks of the Karaula in 1831. We had also noticed another novelty in the woods we passed through this day; a small clump of trees of iron-bark with a different kind of leaf from that of the tree known by that name in the colony. On the higher stony land, a bush was common, and proved to be a broad-leaved variety of EREMOPHILA MITCHELLII, if not a distinct species. We there met with a new species of the rare and little-known genus, GEIJERA; forming a strong-scented shrub, about ten feet high, and having long, narrow, drooping leaves. Its fruit had a weak, peppery taste.35 The rare ENCHYLOENA TOMENTOSA formed a shrub a foot high, loaded with yellow berries: all the specimens were digynous, in which it differed from the description of Brown. The CAPPARIS LASIANTHA was observed amongst the climbing shrubs still in fruit; and a beautiful new LORANTH, with red flowers tipped with green, was parasitical on trees.36 On the bank of the Narran we found the AMARANTHUS UNDULATUS of Brown.

35 [G. PARVIFLORA (Lindl. MS.); ramis erectis, foliis longis linearibus pendulis in petiolum sensim angustatis 4 unc. longis.]

36 [Loranthus LINEARIFOLIUS (Hook. MS.); foliis lineari-filiformibus acutis carnosis glabris teretibus, pedunculis axillaribus brevibus bifloris, calycibus cylindraceis truncatis contractis, petalis 6 linearibus supra basin coalitis.]

The cattle arrived in the dark, and were watered in the muddy-banked Narran, by the light of burning boughs; then set to feed. Lat. 29° 6’ 33” S.; therm. at sunrise, 48°; at 4 P. M., 101°; at 9, 74°; ditto with wet bulb, 62°.

25TH MARCH. — The cattle had now to return to bring forward the drays. Meanwhile I took a ride up the river, in order to ensure a moderate journey for these exhausted animals. Proceeding along the right bank, I found gravelly slopes almost closing upon the river. The direction of its course for four miles, was nearly southward. Then I saw gravelly ridges on the left, and a line of wood before me, while the river evidently came from the East round the margin of an extensive plain. I continued northward; found a rosewood scrub: then saw the Malga tree; passed through scrubs thereof; found myself on stony ridges, whence descending in a N. E. direction, again passed through rosewood scrubs, and only reached the river after riding 2½ miles in that direction. I saw a continuous ridge, bare and distant, beyond what I considered the river bed, and a similar ridge to the westward. I crossed a native camp where the newly deserted fires still smoked. We saw one man at a distance, who did not mind us much; I could not have obtained any information from him, and therefore did not seek a parley. Crossing the Narran there, by a beaten track, beside a native fishing fence, I returned to the camp, on the bearing of S. S. W., and found a grassy plain the whole way back, until within sight of the tents, and a good rocky ford for the passage of the party next day. On the stony ridge I found a remarkable shrub, a species of Sida (ABUTILON), allied to S. GRAVEOLENS, Roxb., but distinct. The teams brought the drays in, about 5 P. M.; one animal of all being missing. Therm. at sunrise, 72°; at noon, 89°; at 4 P. M., 91°; at 9, 60°; — with wet bulb, 53°.

26TH MARCH. — Early this morning, William Baldock was sent back in search of the stray bullock, while the party crossed the Narran, and proceeded along my horse’s track of yesterday. Baldock over took the party, having found the bullock on the river, four miles below our late encampment. The natives seen yesterday had disappeared, having previously set fire to the grass. We proceeded two miles beyond their fires, and encamped on the river bank in lat. 29° 1’ 57” S.

A small path along the river margin; marks on trees, where hollow portions of bark had been taken off; some ancient, some recent, huts of withered boughs and dry grass; freshwater muscle shells, beside the ashes of small fires; and, in some places, a small heap of pulled grass (PANICUM LOEVINODE), or of the coral plant; such were the slight but constant indications of the existence of man on the Narran. Such was the only home of our fellow-beings in these parts, and from it they retired on our approach. Ducks, which were rather numerous, and emus (coming to drink), probably constituted their chief food, as nets to ensnare both these kinds of birds, were found about their huts. Youranigh brought me one of their chisels, a small bit of iron fastened to a stick with gum, and tied with a piece of striped shirting. I directed him to place it carefully where he had found it. Thermometer at sunrise, 47°; at noon, 90°; at 4 P. M., 95°; at 9, 69°; — with wet bulb, 60°. The mean height above the sea of the camps of 23d, 24th, and 26th March, was 461 feet.

27TH MARCH. — Pursuing, as well as we could, the course of the Narran, which came more from the northward, we again encamped on its banks after a journey of seven miles, without recognising any indication of the vicinity of the larger stream, which, according to our latitude, we ought by this to have reached. The current here had evidently been more decided, and dry trunks and other FLUVIATILE DEBRIS lay more in masses against whatever had lain in the water’s way. Excellent grass clothed the plains over which we had passed during the two last days, and grew abundantly also about the banks of the river; but, in general, a belt of the POLYGONUM JUNCEUM, about 400 or 500 yards wide, grew between the immediate margin and the grassy plains. This shrub was found an infallible guide to the vicinity of the river, when, as sometimes happened, other lines of trees, resembling those on its banks, had led me to a distance from it. The day was cool and rather cloudy, a great novelty to us; for every day had been clear and unclouded, since long before we crossed the Barwan. Abundance of the stones of the quandang fruit (FUSANUS ACUMINATUS) lay at an old fire of the natives, and showed that we were not far from the northern limit of the great clay basin, as the quandang bush grows only upon the lowest slopes of hilly land. Lat. 28° 55’ 13” S. Thermometer at sunrise, 70°; at noon, 90°; at 4 P. M., 89; at 9, 70°; — with wet bulb, 61°.

28TH MARCH. — At 2 A. M., loud thunder was heard in the south-west, where a dark cloud arose and passed round to the northward; a few drops of rain fell. The morning was otherwise clear, with a cooling breeze from S. W. Thermometer at sunrise, 56°. We proceeded, travelling chiefly amongst very luxuriant grass. The river now disappeared as far to the westward of my northerly course on this left bank, as it had left me when on the other bank by unexpected turns to the eastward. I came upon its banks after travelling about eight miles. At the spot where I wished to place the camp I perceived a native, and with Youranigh’s assistance, managed to prevent him from running away. He spoke only “Jerwoolleroy,” a dialect which my native did not understand at all well. He told us, however, that this was still the Narran, and pointed N. W. to the Balonne. Upon the whole we gathered from him that neither that river nor the Bokhara was far from us. I endeavoured to convince him, by Youranigh’s assurances, and our own civility to him, that we meant no harm to any natives, and were only passing through the country. He did not seem afraid, although he had never, until then, seen white men. We encamped near him. The river channel was very narrow, and contained but little water here-abouts. I understood from the native (through Youranigh) that the river here spread into various channels, and that “BARRO” was the name of a river beyond the Culg, which falls into it from the northward; “TOORINGORRA,” the lagoon on which we encamped after meeting natives on the 31st March. Near this camp we found a PHYLLANTHUS, scarcely different from P. SIMPLEX; a SESBANIA near S. ACULEATA, but with smaller flowers; and the CHENOPODIUM AURICOMUM, formed a white-leaved shrub, three or four feet high. Thermometer at sunrise, 56°; at noon, 78°; at 4 P. M., 82°; at 9, 61°; — with wet bulb, 56°.

29TH MARCH. — After prayers (the day being Sunday) I sent Mr. Kennedy forward to explore the course of the river, in order to ensure a more direct line for tomorrow’s route. Mr. Kennedy was accompanied by one of the men armed, and also by Youranigh, all being mounted. He returned in about four hours, having found the river coming from the northward, and he also reported favourably of the ground. Thermometer at sunrise, 48°; at 4 P. M., 81°; at 9, 51°; — with wet bulb, 47°.

30TH MARCH. — The night had been cool and pleasant, Thermometer at sunrise only 42°. The cattle were yoked up early, and we travelled on over fine grassy plains, and with open gravelly ridges on our right. At length, about the sixth mile, these ridges closed on the river, where there was one hill almost clear of trees or bushes. I ascended it, but could only see plains to the westward, and a dense line of river-trees running north. We at length encamped on what appeared to be still the Narran, after a journey of about eight miles.

We this day passed a small group of trees of the yellow gum, a species of eucalyptus growing only on the poor sandy soil near Botany Bay, and other parts of the sea-coast near Sydney. Thermometer at sunrise, 42°; at 4 P. M., 83°; at 9, 61°; — with wet bulb, 57°. Mean height of the camps of the 27th, 28th, and 30th, above the level of the sea, 509 feet.

31ST MARCH. — The various lines of trees were now so much dispersed across the country, that to follow the line of the Narran, it was necessary to see its ponds and channel as frequently as possible. The course, if not of the river, at least of its ana-branches; and there were besides those, branches of another kind, namely, true branches coming from the main channel, as branches leave the stem of a tree, never to unite with it again. Some of those of this description, so closely resembled in every respect the Narran, that the difference was only to be distinguished by observing the marks of flood on trees, and ascertaining the direction of the current. We had crossed several such, and were rather in a “fix” with some lagoons, when I perceived several native children in one of them. I wished here to intercept some natives who might tell us where was the ford of “Congo,” where white men had crossed the Balonne, or where was the river Balonne. The children fled, but two manly voices were heard immediately, and two natives came confidently up to Youranigh and then to me. The eldest seemed about fifty-five years of age; the other was a lad of about twenty. They spoke of “Congo,” and the Balonne (BALONGO) as quite at hand, and undertook to conduct us to both. It was quite evident from their pronunciation, that “Baloon” was not the proper native name, but Bal, the termination they gave it of “GO,” being an article they very often use, Bal-go being equivalent to THE Balonne; as in speaking of the Barwan, they say “Barwàngo.” I had nearly completed the usual short journey when we fell in with these natives, but I was unwilling to lose the advantage of their assistance, and so travelled on under their guidance, full five miles further, before I fixed on a spot for the camp. This was by a splendid piece of water, named by them Tooningora, nearly on a level with the adjacent plains, and covered with ducks. We had passed other fine sheets of water guided by our native friends, and over a rich grassy country remarkably level and free from scrub. It was evidently changed by the vicinity of the larger river. I continued to follow our new friends beyond where I had directed the party to encamp, in expectation of seeing the marked tree at Congo, and the river Balonne. After going forward thus about four miles, we saw five gins running off at a great distance across some open plains, apparently near the river. The eldest of our guides ran after them, and I requested him to assure them that the white men would do no harm, and to tell them not to run away. At length he overtook them. Two appeared to carry unseemly loads across their backs, dangling under large opossum-skin cloaks, and it was evident that these were mummied bodies. I had heard of such a custom, but had not before seen it. I had then but a distant view of these females, as they resumed their flight, and continued it until they reached woods bounding the plain on the westward. The line of Yarra trees of the great Balonne river ran parallel to our march westward, and there also, according to my guides, was “Congo,” the ford marked out by my son, and which spot I most anxiously desired to see and identify by his initials. Still my guides led westward towards the woods, and as we approached them, the shout or scream of little Dicky, a native child of the Bogan, follower of my camp, first drew my attention to a black phalanx within the forest, of natives presenting a front like a battalion. Youranigh my interpreter halted and remonstrated: our elder guide ran forward, and on his reaching that body, the sound of gruff voices that arose from it strongly reminded me of Milton’s description of Satan’s army:

“Their rising all at once was as the sound Of thunder heard remote.”

Youranigh would not advance another step, although much pressed by the other native remaining with us to do so, but declared that “those fellows were murry coola,” (very angry). We therefore retraced our footsteps to the camp, without having seen either the Balongo or Congo. Our guide soon overtook us, accompanied by fourteen of the strange natives, who, all curiosity, passed the night at our camp, and they brought with them a lad named “Jemmy,” who spoke a little English, and had visited many of our cattle-stations. He was very intelligible to Youranigh, who but very imperfectly understood the language of the rest. They seemed upon the whole a frank and inoffensive race. Their food consisted of the fish of the river, ducks, and the small indigenous melon, CUCUMIS PUBESCENS, which grew in such abundance, that the whole country seemed strewed with the fruit, then ripe, and of which the natives eat great quantities, and were very fond. It is about the size of a plum only, and in the journal of my first interior journey (in 1831), is mentioned as a cucumber we were afraid to eat. (Vol. I. p. 88.) Latitude of camp, 28° 38’ 47” S. Thermometer at sunrise, 42°; at 4 P. M., 83°; at 9, 61°; — with wet bulb, 57°.

1ST APRIL. — The whole party moved off about the usual hour, 7 A. M., still under the guidance of our new acquaintance, towards the Balonne. On our way the natives were very careful to point out how muddy hollows could best be avoided by our drays. I saw seated at a distance, in due form, the tribe to which they belonged; and having directed the party to halt, went up to them. They were seated in three groups; old men on the right, painted red; old women in the centre, painted white; and other women and children on the left. The few strong men who appeared, formed a circle around me, and told me their names as they came up to me. I desired Youranigh to tell them that we were passing that way across the Balonne to a very far-off country, and did not wish to disturb them, etc. When all was said that could be said, and I was about to return, one of the chiefs, “Yarree,” said “good night,” words which he must have learnt at some cattle station. Although it was only morning, I returned the compliment with all possible gravity, and took my leave. Soon after, we arrived on the bank of the Balonne, as fine a looking river as I have seen in the colony, excepting only the Murray. There was a slight current, and the waters lay in broad reaches, under banks less elevated above the bed than those of the Darling. In breadth the channel surpassed that of the last named river in any part, I believe, of its course.

We encamped near a shallow place, which the natives at first said was “Congo,” but where we found no marks on the trees. The curiosity of the natives having been gratified, they disappeared; but I must mention that, having missed the elder of the two men who had guided us here since the first evening, I learnt, on inquiring what had become of him, that he had gone back to his little boys, whom he had left at the water-holes where he first met us, six miles back, and for whom he had apparently gathered his little net of melons. Nothing could have been finer than this man’s conduct. He had at once come on with us to guide us where we wanted to go; took great pains to make us known to his own tribe, and, I believe, to other assembled tribes at some risk to himself; and then, without claiming my promised gifts, he had returned to his little family, left at such a distance, only that he might do that which was civil, to us strangers. Yet we call these men savages! I fear such disinterested acts of civility on the part of the civilised portion of mankind are rather rare. He had rendered to us, at all events, a very great service; for the danger of sudden collision with the natives was at an end, after our introduction by him to the tribes. In the afternoon, Slater, one of the bullock-drivers, found a good fording-place; and I sent a few men to cut the banks, and fill up a soft part of the river bed with logs, branches, and earth, for the better passage of the drays; a work they completed before night. I rode about five miles beyond the river to the north-west, and met, first with a very broad lagoon full of water, nearly on a level with the plains, and apparently permanent; secondly, I found beyond this, a river or chain of ponds somewhat like the Narran. This I ascertained was called the Càwan by the natives, and that it meandered very much. The country was rather fine. These waters were bordered by well-grown trees, and the plains were covered with good grass. Lat. of our camp, on the Balonne, 28° 25’ 38” S. Thermometer at sunrise, 44°; at noon, 75°; at 4 P.M., 79°; at 9, 60; — with wet bulb, 54°. Height of the bed of the Balonne above the level of the sea, 494 feet; an average of three observations.

2D APRIL. — All the drays and the party crossed the river this morning in good order, and without any accident or much delay, by the little bridge we had made in its bed. While they were crossing, the place seemed to me so favorable for a ford that it might still be possible to find some of the marked trees said to be at “Congo.” I again questioned the natives on this point, and one youth undertook to point out some marks made by white men. Mr. Kennedy ran with him on foot up the left bank of the river, and was shown two trees marked, the one with “J. Towns,” the other with “Bagot, 1845.” Being thus convinced that this ford was really at or near the place called “Congo,” where Commissioner Mitchell had crossed, and found the Culgoa, at a distance of only seven miles north-west, I determined to go forward, in the same direction, to that river, taking my track of yesterday, which enabled me to avoid the broad lagoon.

On arriving at the “Cawan” we saw two natives fishing in a pond with hoop nets, and Yuranigh went to ask them about the “Culgoa.” He returned accompanied by a tall athletic man; the other was this man’s gin, who had been fishing with him. There he had left her to take care of his nets, and, without once looking at me or the party, proceeded to conduct us to the Culgoa. I never saw a Spanish or Portuguese guide go with a detachment half so willingly. Yuranigh and he scarcely understood a word of what each other said, and yet the former had the address to overcome the usual difficulties to intercourse between strange natives, and their shyness to white men, and to induce this native thus to become our guide. He took us to the Culgoa, which we made at about seven miles from the Balonne, and I was so much pleased with the willing service and true civility of this native, that I presented him with an iron tomahawk, and I heard him twice ask Yuranigh if it really was meant for him to keep. He then hastened back to his gin, whom he had left five miles off. This river presented as deep a section as, but a narrower bed than, the one we had just left. It had all the characteristics, however, of a principal river, and really looked more important than the Barwan, except that its waters were not then fluent. Gigantic blue gum trees overhang the banks, and the Mimosa grew near the bed of the current. I should say that these and much sand were the chief characteristics of the Culgoa. There were no recent marks of natives’ fires, and I was informed that they did not much frequent that part of the river. The grass along the banks was very luxuriant. Latitude 28° 31’ 19” south. Thermometer at sunrise, 39°; at noon, 75°; at 4 P.M., 76°; at 9, 50°; — with wet bulb, 46°. The height of this camp above the level of the sea, being forty feet above the bed of the river, 543 feet; from the mean of four observations.

3RD APRIL. — The section of this river being forty feet deep, and the banks in general steep, the work necessary to render it passable to our heavy drays could not be accomplished yesterday afternoon. This day, however, our camp was established on the right bank of the Culgoa. Thermometer at sunrise, 35°; at noon, 80°.; at 4 P.M., 77°; at 9, 49°; and with wet bulb, 46°.

4TH APRIL. — We were now to proceed along the right bank of the Culgoa upwards to the United Balonne, and thence to continue ascending along the right bank of that river also, as far as the direction was favourable to our progress northward. This remained to be ascertained in exploring that river upwards. In gaining the right bank of the Culgoa, we had crossed the vast basin of clay extending from the Bogan on the south, to this river on the north, and westward to New Year’s Range and Fort Bourke. That country was liable to be rendered quite impassable, had the rains set in. But even in such seasons we could still travel over the dry, firm ground bounding this basin of clay on the northward, as the left bank of the Bogan was also passable, however rainy the season, indeed more conveniently then than during a dry one. Rain, if it had fallen at this time, had greatly facilitated our exploration of the northern interior; but these rivers we had reached would supply us with water for some degrees to the northward, as I had been informed by the Commissioner of the district, and in our progress so far, I hoped we should arrive at a better watered country.

Taking a northerly course, we traversed fine grassy land, on which grew luxuriantly the ACACIA PENDULA and other shrubs, that reminded us of the banks of the Bogan, to which country we found here the exact counterpart, only that this was better watered. The course of the Culgoa was more easterly than I had calculated on, for, after going six miles northward, I had to travel at least as many eastward before I again found the river. We encamped on the acute north-western angle of an anabranch biting into the firm soil, and it was evident that we had reached the Balonne Major, or that part above the separation of the Culgoa from the Minor Balonne, both of which we had already crossed, and which ran thus, as from our camp the lines of trees along each of the minor channels were distinctly visible.

Separation of the Balonne into the Culgoa, Narran, etc.

The character of these rivers had been described to me by Commissioner Mitchell, the discoverer thereof. It was late before the drays came in, and Mr. Kennedy was led into the camp quite blind, having been suddenly attacked with purulent ophthalmia, when engaged in the survey of our route, about four miles from the camp. The heat had somewhat abated, but still this complaint, which we had attributed to it, had lately affected many of the party suddenly, as in the case of Mr. Kennedy. Latitude, 28° 27’ 11” S. Thermometer at sunrise, 33°; at noon, 83°; at 4 P.M., 88°; at 9, 53°; with wet bulb, 47°.

5TH APRIL. — The party halted, and I took a ride to explore the course of the river, proceeding first northward. In that direction I came upon an angle of the Balonne, at about three miles from the camp. Beyond, after passing through much ACACIA PENDULA, I crossed a small plain, bounded by a Casuarina scrub. Partly to ascertain its extent and character, and partly in the hope of falling in with the river beyond, I entered it. I found this scrub full of holes, that obliged me to pursue a very tortuous course, impeded as I was too by the rugged stems and branches. I got through it, only after contending with these impediments for three miles. The country beyond it looked not at all like that back from the river, and I turned to the N.E., pursuing that course some miles; then eastward two miles, and next two miles to the S.E., still without finding any river; but, on the contrary, scrub in every direction. The sun was declining, and I turned at last to the S.W., and in that direction reached an extensive open forest, beyond which I saw at length the river line of trees. I continued to ride S.S.W., and finally south, until I saw our cattle grazing, and the tents, without having regained first, as I wished, my outward track. On the bank of the Balonne we found an apparently new species of ANDROPOGON with loose thin panicles of purplish flowers, and in the scrub I passed through, in my ride, I found a CASUARINA, indeterminable in the absence of flowers or fruit. It produces a gall as large as a hazel nut. Thermometer at sunrise, 37°; at noon, 90°; at 4 P.M., 94°; at 9, 57°; — with wet bulb, 53°.

6TH APRIL. — Mr. Kennedy’s eyes being still very bad, I could not proceed, as the survey of our route was very important, in order to keep our account of longitude correctly. The necks of the cattle were much galled, and I therefore the more willingly halted another day. It was not without some impatience, however, that I did so, as we were approaching a point whence I could set out with horses to the north-west, and leave the cattle to refresh in a depôt on this fine river, which afforded an excellent base for our exploratory operations, in the wholly unknown regions immediately beyond it. This line of exploration I had anxiously wished to pursue in 1831, when obliged to return from the Karaula or Upper Barwan; and whatever had since been ascertained about that part of the interior, confirmed me the more in my first opinion as to the eligibility of that direction. It had occurred to me, on crossing the Culgoa, that by marking deeply on a tree, at each camp, a number of reference, our survey might be more practically useful and available to the colonists, as connecting so many particular localities therewith. I therefore marked that No. I. in Roman numerals; this II., and I shall add in this journal, at the end of the narrative of each day’s proceedings, whatever number or mark may be made to distinguish the place of encampment described.

In the scrub near this, we observed an Acacia, apparently new, a broadleaved, white-looking wattle. There was also a branching Composite, which Sir W. Hooker has determined to be a very distinct and undoubted species of FLAVERIA of which all the other species are natives of the New World.37 The CAPPARIS LASIANTHA was also found here growing on EXOCARPUS APHYLLA of Brown; it was found by Allan Cunningham and Frazer on Liverpool Plains, also, at Swan River. Thermometer, at sunrise, 44°; at noon, 95°; at 4 P.M., 96°; at 9, 63°; — with wet bulb, 57°. Height above the sea, 497 feet.

37 [FLAVERIA AUSTRALASICA (Hook. MSS.) foliis lineari-lanceolatis integerrimis basi dilatatis, capitulis densissime globoso-fasciculatis, fasciculis subinvolucratis, bracteis exterioribus praecipue fasciculos superantibus omnibus late amplexantibus.]

The River Balonne, 7th April

7TH APRIL. — When all were preparing to set off early this morning, I was informed that two bullocks were missing, and a third fast in the mud on the river bank. The two stray animals were soon found; but it was impossible to bring on the other in the mud, for he was blown, from having drunk too much water, after over-eating himself with grass. Our journey was continued round one angle of the river in my horse’s track. Afterwards turning to the N. E., we crossed two miles of open forest land, where the grass was good, and having the river in sight. At length, even on an easterly course we could not keep it longer in view, but got involved in a scrub on soft red sand. Emerging from this on a course of E. S. E., we again got upon open ground, and soon saw the majestic trees of the river in a line circling round to the northward. Coming upon it at an angle where scrubs of rosewood and ACACIA PENDULA crowned the slopes, we encamped on a beautiful spot. The river was magnificent, presenting a body of water of such breadth, as I had only seen in one other river of Australia, and the banks were grassy to the water’s edge.

This day, “Jemmy,” a young native whom we had seen on the Minor Balonne, came to our camp with another youth, and the voices of a tribe were heard in the woods. As Jemmy had not kept his word formerly, having left us suddenly, and was evidently a scamp, I peremptorily ordered him away. I had heard of his having brought gins to my camp at night on the former occasion, and he was very likely to be the cause of mischief, and could not, or at least, would not, render us any service. We desired no further intercourse, at that time, with the natives, as those with us did not understand their language. The misfortunes of Mr. Finch arose through that sort of intercourse with his men, and had arrested my journey fifteen years ago, when I had advanced to within forty miles of this camp, intent on those discoveries I hoped at length to make even now. I had good reason, therefore, to keep the natives at a distance here, at a time, too, when the bodies of six white men were said to be still uninterred in this neighbourhood. A species of CYPERUS with panicled globular heads of flowers was found here in the sloping bank. Thermometer, at sunrise, 47°; at noon, 97°; at 4 P. M. 97°; at 9, 69°; — with wet bulb 57°. Height above the sea 634 feet. Latitude 28° 23’ 59” S. (Camp III.)

8TH APRIL. — We continued our journey nearly northward, keeping the river woods in sight, as much as the country permitted. An arm or anabranch, at first containing much water, and coming from the north, was on our right for some miles. In following it, our natives found the tracks of three horses, one only having had shoes on, and two foals, as if proceeding first towards our camp, then returning. The branch from the river became dry and sandy, but still we followed its course. We saw about a mile to the eastward, beyond this dry channel, a splendid sheet of water on a level with the general surface, and having extensive tracts of emerald green vegetation about it. The dry channel obliged me to make a longer journey than I had intended. At length, on finding the requisite water in its bed, I encamped. This was near a pond, on whose sandy margin we saw still the tracks of the three horses that had been there to drink. The scrubs came close to the river with intervals of grassy plain. The ACACIA PENDULA, and its concomitant shrubs, the SANTALUM OBLONGATUM, and others, gave beauty to the scenery, and with abundance of water about, all hands considered this a very fine country. At sunset, thunder-clouds gathered in the S. W., and at about 7 P. M. the storm reached our camp, accompanied by a sudden, very strong gale from the S. E. The lightning was very vivid, and for half an hour it rained heavily. By 8 P. M. it was over, and the serene sky admitted of an observation of Regulus, by which the latitude was found to be 28° 17’ 8” S. (No. IV.) Thermometer at sunrise, 61°; at noon, 91°; at 4 P. M. 94°; at 9, 66°; — with wet bulb 63°.

9TH APRIL. — The branches of the river, and flats of Polygonum, obliged me to follow a N. W. course. I did so most willingly, as we had already got further to the eastward than I wished. The arm of the river spread into a broad swamp, in which two of the drays sank, the drivers having taken no notice of a tree I had laid across the track, to show where the carts had been backed out. I made them unload the drays and carry the loads to firm ground. Keeping afterwards along the margin of this swamp for many miles, I perceived abundance of water in it, and passed the burning fires of natives, where their water kids and net gear hung on trees about. At length, upon turning to the eastward, I came upon the main river, where it formed a noble reach, fully 120 yards wide, and sweeping round majestically from N. E. to S. E. We here encamped, after a long journey. The banks were grassy to the water’s edge. We saw large fishes in it; ducks swam on it, and, at some distance, a pair of black swans. This surpassed even the reach at camp III., and I must add, that such an enormous body of permanent water could be seen nowhere else in New South Wales save in the river Murray during its floods. The Anthistiria grew abundantly where we encamped, which was in latitude, 28° 13’ 34” S. and marked V. Thermometer, at sunrise, 63°; at noon, 94°; at 4 P. M., 97°; at 9, 63°; — with wet bulb, 62°.

10TH APRIL. — Pursuing a N. W. course, we crossed small grassy plains, fringed with rosewood and other acacias; but, in order to keep near the river, I was soon obliged to turn more towards the east, as Callitris scrubs were before me. In avoiding these, I again came upon the more open and firm ground adjacent to the river, and saw its course in the line of large Yarra trees, which always point out its banks with their white and gnarled arms. I may here state that the scrubs generally consist of a soft red sandy soil; the land near the river, of clay, which last is by far the best of the two soils for crossing with wheel carriages; the soft red sand being almost as formidable an impediment in some situations as mud. At length, in travelling N. eastward, we came upon a spacious lagoon, extending westward, and covered with ducks. Perceiving, by drift marks, that it came from the West, I kept along its margin, following it as it trended round to N. E., where we arrived at the main channel, about that part whence the waters of the lagoon emanate during high floods. That lagoon presented an excellent place for a cattle-station. Water could never fail, as the main stream was at hand, if even the lagoon dried up, which seemed not at all likely. PSORALEA ERIANTHA was abundant in the bed of the river, along with INDIGOFERA HIRSUTA, and CROTALARIA MITCHELLII.38 Thermometer, at sunrise, 44°; at noon, 99°; at 4 P. M., 97° at 9, 66°; — with wet bulb, 58°.

38 [C. MITCHELLII (Benth. MS.) erecta, ramulis flavescenti-tomentosis, stipulis parvis subulatis, foliis ovali-ellipticis obtusis retusisve basi angustatis supra glabris subtus calycibusque subsericeo-pubescentitomentosis, bracteolis in pedicello brevissimo minutis setaceis, legumine sessili glabro. Allied to C. RETUSA and SERICEA, but flowers much smaller, in short dense spikes. It agrees in most respects with the short character of C. NOVOE HOLLANDIOE, etc., but the leaf is not articulated on the footstalk, and the stipules exist.]

11TH APRIL. — Proceeding due north we had the river close on our right hand, when two miles on. After making a slight detour to avoid a gully falling into it, we continued the same course over open forest land, and, at length, saw an immense sheet of water before us, with islands in it. This was also a lagoon supplied by floods in the Balonne. It was covered with ducks, pelicans, etc. I called it Lake Parachute, no natives being near to give me their name for it. I must here add that the true aboriginal name is not Baloon, however, but Balonne, and this I the more readily adopt to avoid the introduction of a name so inappropriate amongst rivers. I was obliged to turn this lagoon, by moving some way about to my right, for it sent forth a deep arm to the S. W. which lay across my intended route. Continuing to travel northward, we arrived upon the banks of a lagoon, where they resembled those of the main channel, having trees of the same kind and fully as large. The breadth was very uniform, and as great as that of the river, so that it seemed this had once been the bed of the Balonne. We crossed it at a dry part of the swamp, the waters extending and increasing in it to the eastward. In the opposite direction it was equally uniform and continuous, but apparently dry. On crossing this old channel, I turned sharply to the N. E., aware that it is usually at acute angles in a river’s course that such overflowings break out. I found it necessary in the present case to turn eastward, and even to the southward of east before I could find the river again. At length we came upon the channel divided amongst ridges of sand, where the waters took a sharp turn and broke thus into separate currents. I was now very desirous to select a camp where the cattle might remain to rest and refresh while I proceeded with a small party to the N. W. This place did not please me, having been too scrubby, the water not well tasted, and the grass dry, therefore liable to be set on fire by the natives, or by accident. A bulbous species of CYPERUS grew on the bank of the Balonne, and in the river we found the common European reed, ARUNDO PHRAGMITES: a Loranthus allied to L. LINEARIFOLIUS, but with broader leaves, grew on some of the trees, and we saw a fine new species of ADRIANIA.39 (No. VII.) Thermometer, at sunrise, 47°; at noon, 102°; at 4 P. M., 104°; at 9, 69°; with wet bulb, 62°. Average height above the sea, of camps V. VI. and VII., 559 feet.

39 [A. HETEROPHYLLA (Hooker MSS.) foliis ovato-acuminatis grosse sinuatoserratis integris cordatisve trifidis, utrinque bracteisque glaberrimis.]

12TH APRIL. — I accordingly put the party in motion at an early hour, and soon came upon the river, where it formed a noble reach of water and came from the westward, a new direction, which, with the sand that had for some days appeared in shallow parts of its bed, raised my hopes that this river might be found to come from the north-west, a direction it maintained for five miles. The breadth was uniform, and the vast body of water was a most cheering sight. The banks were 120 yards apart, the course in general very straight, contributing much to the perspective of the scenery upon it. At one turn, denuded rocks appeared in its bed, consisting of ironstone in a whitish cement or matrix, which might have been decomposed felspar. I at length arrived at a natural bridge of the same sort of rock, affording easy and permanent access to the opposite bank, and at once selected the spot for a dépôt camp, which we established on a fine position commanding long vistas both up and down the river. It was, in fact, a tête-de-pont overlooking the rocky passage which connected the grass on both sides. This was No. VIII., and in latitude 28° 1’ 37’’. Thermometer, at sunrise, 68°; at noon, 104°; at 4 P. M., 101°; at 9, 74°; — with wet bulb, 64°.

13TH APRIL. — Here I could leave the jaded cattle to refresh, while, with a small party on horse-back, I could ascertain the farther course of the river, and explore the country to the north-west where centred all my hopes of discovery. I set on foot various preparations, such as the stuffing of saddles, shoeing of horses, drying of mutton, and, first of all in importance, though last likely to be accomplished, the making a pair of new wheels for a cart to carry water. Thermometer, at sunrise, 47°; at noon, 100°; at 4 P. M., 101°; at 9, 67°; — with wet bulb, 62°.

15TH APRIL. — This day I sent Mr. Kennedy to examine the country in the direction of 331½°, my intended route, and he returned about 10 P. M., having seen what he considered indications of the river on his right when about twelve miles from the camp, and plains to the left. Upon the whole, I resolved, from what he said of the scrubs he had met with, to travel north-west, that direction being perpendicular to the general course of this river, and therefore the most likely to lead the soonest to higher ground. Thermometer, at sunrise, 68°; at noon, 104°; at 4 P. M., 103°; at 9, 72°; — with wet bulb, 67°.

16TH APRIL. — In order better to contend with the difficulty of wanting water, and be better prepared for it, I formed my party rather of infantry than cavalry, taking only two horses, drawing a cart loaded chiefly with water, and six trusty men, almost all old soldiers. We were thus prepared to pass several nights without requiring other water than that we carried with us. I hoped thus to be enabled to penetrate the scrubs, and reach, and perhaps cross, the higher land bounding this great basin. Our first day’s progress, being rather experimental, did not extend above ten miles. I had been obliged to send back the shaft horse, and exchange him for a better, as our load of water was heavy. The day was very sultry. Thermometer 105° Fahrenheit, in the shade. We had passed over ground more open than I expected, but by no means clear of scrubs. Thermometer, at sunrise, 64°; at 4 P. M., 105°; at 9, 71°; — with wet bulb, 67°.

17TH APRIL. — The messenger returned early with two horses, one being my own second charger, which I put as leader to the cart. We then got forward on foot as fast as the men could walk, or rather as fast as they could clear a way for the cart. We passed through much scrub, but none was of the very worst sort. The natives’ marks on trees were numerous, and the ground seemed at first to fall westward as to some water-course; and, after travelling about five miles, there appeared a similar indication of water to the eastward of our route. At one place even the white-barked gum trees appeared; but, although they had the character of river trees, we found they grew on an elevated piece of clay soil. After completing about ten miles, I halted for two hours to rest the horses, where there was a patch of good grass, and we gave them some water from our stock. The mercurial column afforded no indication that we were at all higher than our camp overlooking the river, and it seemed, therefore, not improbable that we might meet with some other channel or branch of that prolific river. After resting two hours we continued, passing through woods partly of open forest trees, and partly composed of scrub. Towards the end of our day’s journey, we crossed land covered with good grass, and having only large trees on it, so thinly strewed as to be of the character of the most open kind of forest land. Saw thereon some very large kangaroos, and throughout the day we had found their tracks numerous. We finally set up our bivouac a little before sunset, on a grassy spot surrounded by scrub. In this scrub I found the CLEOME FLAVA of Banks, and the strong-smelling AMBRINA CARINATA. A very remarkable whiteness appeared on the leaves of the EUCALYPTUS POPULIFOLIUS, which, on very close examination, appeared to be the work of an insect.40 On the plains the SALSOLA AUSTRALIS formed a round bush, which, when loose from its very slight root, was liable to be blown about. Thermometer at sunrise, 71°; at 9 P. M, 68°; — with wet bulb, 64°.

40 [The following letter from Mr. Westwood to Dr. Lindley relates to specimens of this brought to England:—

“I am sorry that the state of the specimens from Sir Thomas Mitchell (or rather, I should say, the time when they were gathered) does not allow me to say much about the insect by which they are formed. It is an extremely beautiful production, quite unlike any thing I have yet seen, and is, I have no doubt, the scale of a coccus. It is of a very peculiar form, resembling a very delicate, broad, and flattened valve of a bi-valve shell, such as the genus Iridina, the part where the hinge is being a little produced and raised, and forming the cover of the coccus which secretes the beautiful material just in the same unexplained way as the scale insects form the slender attenuated scales beneath which they are born. I could not discover any insect beneath the specimens of Sir Thomas Mitchell’s production in a state sufficient to determine what it really is, as I only found one or two exceedingly minute atoms of shrivelled up insects. It is extremely brittle, and looks more like dried, white, frothed sugar than any thing else.”]

18TH APRIL. — A pigeon had flown last evening over our camp in a N. N. E. direction, and as the ground sloped that way, and the men believed that water was there, I rode this morning in that direction, leaving the other horses to feed in the meantime. At two miles from our bivouac I found some hollows in a scrub where the surface consisted of clay, and which evidently at some seasons contained water, although they were then dry. Polygonum grew around them, and I doubt not that after a fall of rain water would remain there some time. On riding two miles beyond, in the same direction, I found open forest land only. The country was well covered with good grass, very open, yet finely wooded. We again proceeded north-west over some fine forest land. The soil was, however, only soft red sand, and made it very heavy work for our horses drawing the watercart.

On passing through a Casuarina scrub, we entered upon a different kind of country as to wood and grass, the soil being much the same, or still more loose and sandy. The surface bore a sterile heathy appearance, and the trees consisted chiefly of a stunted box, growing but thinly. Instead of grass, black, half-burnt roots of a wiry plant appeared, which I afterwards found in flower (SEE INFRÀ), and one small, shrubby, brown bush, very much resembling heath; apparently a Chenopod with heathlike leaves, and globular hairy heads of flowers. The roots of the firstmentioned plant presented much obstruction to our cart-wheels in passing over the soft sand. As I stood awaiting the cart’s arrival, some birds drew my attention, as I perceived I had attracted theirs. They descended to the lowest branches of the tree in whose shade I stood, and seemed to regard my horse with curiosity. On my imitating their chirp one fluttered down, and attempted to alight on my horse’s ears. On my whistling to them, one whistled some beautifully varied notes, as soft as those of an octave flute, although their common chirp was harsh and dissonant. The male and female seemed to have very different plumage, especially about the head; that on the one having the varying tint of the Rifle bird, the head of the other more resembling in colour, that of the DACELO GIGANTEUS. They were about the size of a thrush, and seemed the sole residents of that particular spot, and I had not seen them elsewhere. The carts came slowly forward, the horses being much distressed. I continued to ride some miles ahead, and passed through a scrub in a clay hollow, to which succeeded another open forest country with more of the soft red sand. The people with the cart could not overtake me, and I returned. Meeting them at a rather bad place, I determined to encamp at some patches of grassy ground somewhat out of our line, in latitude, 27° 43’ S. It is remarkable that, according to the barometer, we had not ascended higher than our depôt camp on the river, at a distance of nearly forty miles from it. I had just quitted my horse’s back, and had resolved to return, when two horsemen were seen approaching along our track. They were two of our party come from the depôt to bring me a despatch, which had been forwarded by Commissioner Wright, communicating the news of Dr. Leichardt’s return from Port Essington, and enclosing the Gazette with his own account of his journey. Thus it became known to us that we could no longer hope to be the first to reach the shores of the Indian Ocean by land. Thermometer, at sunrise, 62°; at 4 P. M., 93°; at 9, 71°; — with wet bulb, 64°.

19TH APRIL — I left the men with the cart, to follow while I rode forward along its track, and sat down to peruse the newspapers sent me, until the cart overtook me in the evening, the horses being quite exhausted by the heat and the heavy sand. Thermometer, at sunrise, 61°; at noon, 86°; at 9, 63°; — with wet bulb, 59°.

20TH APRIL. — The men who brought the despatches yesterday having been ordered to bring fresh horses this day from the depôt, I sent our tired animals on thither at once, as we could give them but a limited quantity of water. I rode forward also to the camp, and met the fresh horses about half-way. I immediately ordered the repair of the wheels of another light cart, determined to lose no time in exploring a passage towards the head of Carpentaria. Thermometer, at sunrise, 48°; at noon, 95; at 4 P. M., 93°; at 9, 63°; — with wet bulb, 58°.

21ST APRIL. — The cart came in about 9 A. M. The morning was cloudy, for the first time this month, and a slight shower fell. Had three or four days’ rain fallen at that time, it would have enabled me to have explored by much less circuitous routes, than along the bank of this great river, the country to the north-west. In this case, the tour from which I had just returned might have been continued, as I wished and intended, had it been possible to find water, to the mountains or higher ground, whatever it might be that formed the limits to this basin on that side. Thermometer, at sunrise, 65°; at noon, 76°; at 4 P. M., 77°; at 9, 60°; — with wet bulb, 53°.

22D APRIL. — The clouds continued to lower, and a great change in the temperature accompanied this visible change in the sky, but the mercurial column remained uncommonly steady. Arrangements for a concentrated party engrossed my attention so fully this day, with the insertion also of our late work on the general map, that even the newspapers from the colony lay unread. Mr. Kennedy took a ride across the river in a S. S. E. direction, and found a fine grazing country with open forest, as far as he went, which was about twelve miles. On the banks of the Balonne, during my absence, they had found, besides a small bearded CYPERUS, a new creeping PSORALEA 41, and a new species of Acacia, which Mr. Bentham has named A. VARIANS.42 Thermometer, at sunrise, 41°; at noon, 76°; at 4 P. M., 77°; at 9, 61°; — with wet bulb, 56°. Mean elevation of this camp above the level of the sea, being 50 feet above the river, 623 feet.

41 [P. ERIANTHA (Benth. MS.) prostrata, canescenti-pubescens, foliis pinnatim trifoliolatis, foliolis ovatis oblongisve dentatis, pedunculis elongatis multifloris, floribus inferioribus remotis superioribus approximatis, calycibus pube molli albida dense tomentosis, legumine molliter villoso.]

42 [A. VARIANS (Benth. MS.) glabra, pallida v. glauca, ramulis subangulatis, phyllodiis oblongo-lanceolatis v. inferioribus late obovatis summisve linearibus, omnibus basi longe angustatis apice obtusis v. oblique mucronatis subimmarginatis vix obscure glanduliferis uninervibus tenuiter reticulato-penniveniis, capitulis sub 20-floris solitariis subracemosis v. in racemos foliatos dispositis, calycibus truncatis, legumine glabro crasso sublignoso. Very near A. SALICINA, and possibly a mere variety; but the phyllodia are generally considerably broader, and the inflorescence different.]

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/mitchell/thomas/tropical/chapter3.html

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 23:09