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

Chapter VIII.


7TH AND 8TH OCTOBER. — THESE two days were devoted to the completion of my maps of the late tour, and of drawings of two of the birds seen on the Victoria. Our horses required a day or two’s rest, and I had enough to do in my tent, although the heat was intense.

9TH OCTOBER. — Once more I rode into the lower country a few miles, to take a sketch of another remarkable hill. In the afternoon I examined the sandstone caverns in the hill opposite to our camp; some very curious organic remains having been found there by one of the party during my absence. I found that these occurred on the lower side of sandstone strata, and that they had become denuded by the decomposition of sandstone underneath. We were to leave this camp next morning. The men were on very reduced rations, and I was apprehensive that we might be disappointed in our search for water in many places where we had before encamped and found it. In the afternoon, the sky became suddenly overcast, distant thunder was heard; and the southern portion of the heavens, over the country to which we were about to return, was evidently discharging some heavy rain there. At twilight, the rain commenced to fall heavily at our camp, and continued to do so during four hours. Such a supply came most opportunely for us, and, although I could not be so vain as to suppose that the thunder rolled only for our benefit alone, I felt as thankful as though it had. This day I saw on the cavernous hill the woolly ACTINOTUS HELIANTHI, one of the most singular of umbelliferous plants; and, on descending to the base, a white variety of the COMESPERMA SYLVESTRIS, with smooth branches: unlike the kind observed in September, it did not grow above one foot high. A small shrub grew on the rocks, a pretty little Calytrix, near C. MICROPHYLLA A Cunn. (from Port Essington and Melville Island); but the branches, with their leaves, are more stout, and the bracts more obtuse. Sir W. Hooker supposes it to be a new species. We here found this day a woolly-leaved plant, with long branching panicles of brilliantly blue flowers, which Professor de Vriese has ascertained to be a new genus of the natural order of Goodeniads, and which he calls LINSCHOTENIA DISCOLOR.119 Thermometer, meter, at sunrise, 60°; at noon, 94°; at 4 P. M., 76°; at 9, 64°; — with wet bulb, 64°.

119 [LINSCHOTENIA DE VRIESE. Calyx superus, limbo obsoleto. Corollae quinquefidae tubo hine fisso, lobis majoribus margine utroque auriculato-crispis, alatisve, duobus minoribus lanceolatis, interne appendice proprio cuculliformi instructis. Antherae imberbes, cohaerentes. Filamenta libera, quandoque subflexuosa. Ovarium uniovulatum; stylus inflexus; stigmatis indusium ore nudum; semen in nuce solitarium.

Genus dicatum Jano Huigenio Linschotenio, geographo, navarcho, itineratori seculi XVI., qui historiae naturalis, imprimis vero geographiae et rei nauticae progressui eximie profuit. Linschotenia Dampierae proxime habitu et plurimis cum floris, tum habitus characteribus, paracolla cuculliforme ab omnibus Goodeniacearum generibus huc usque cognitis, diversa.

L. DISCOLOR, suffruticosa, erecta, albo-lineata, foliis alternis, petiolatis, oblongis, acutis, integris, planis, superne pallide viridibus, glaberrimis, inferne densissime albo-lanatis. Inflorescentia spicata, ramosa, griseo-lanata, floribus subsessilibus, basi bracteolatis, corollis quinquelobis, lilacinis, extus griseo-barbatis; paracorollis nigrescentibus.

Legit anno 1846, Praefectus militaris nobil. T. L. Mitchell in Nova-Hollandia subtropica.

Planta elegantissima, inter Scaevolas persimilis habitu SC. REINWARDTII de Vriese in LEHM. PL. PREISS. videtur esse suffruticosa. Caulis est teres. Folia sunt alterna, fere 7 cent. longa et 1½ cent. lata, petiolata, petiolo ad insertionem quodammodo crassiore, fere ½ cent. longo, integerrima, utrinque acuta, nervo medio crassiore, subtus lanata, fere alutacea, albissima; superne viridia, opaca; bracteae lineari-lanceolatae, utraque superficie lanatae, acutae; rhachis elongata, fere 10-15 cent. longa, inferne albo-lanata, sursum griseo-lanata. Pedunculi communes 5-10 cent. longi, patentes, alterni, griseo-tomentosi. Flores alterni, sessiles, bracteolati, bracteolis suboppositis; calyces villosi, limbis obsoletis; corollae persistentis lobis marginibus inflexis, externe medio calycis instar hirsutis, interne glaberrimis: cucullis corollae badiis, convexis, uno latere hiantibus, interiori mediaeque loborum parti affixis; filamenta libera, filiformia, antherae his continuae, glabrae. Stigma capitatum, indusio imberbe. — DE VRIESE.]

10TH OCTOBER. — We commenced our retreat with cattle and horses in fine condition, and with water in every crevice of the rocks. That in the reedy swamp near the pyramids, had a sulphureous taste, and nausea and weak-stomach were complained of by some of the men. I certainly did not think the swamp a very desirable neighbour, with the thermometer sometimes above 100°, and therefore I was more desirous to retire from it. As the party returned along their former track, I went to the summit of Mount Faraday, and observed a number of useful angles for my map. Mr. Stephenson was with me, and found some new plants and insects, while I ascertained the height, by the barometer, to be 2523 feet above the sea. The plants growing there were COMMELINA UNDULATA, THYSANOTUS ELATIOR, PLECTRANTHUS PARVIFLORUS, the yellow VIGNA LANCEOLATA, with a villous form of AJUGA AUSTRALIS, and a little PILOTHECA, with narrow, closepressed leaves.120 The mountain is volcanic, the broken side of the crater being towards the N.W. Some compact basalt appeared near the summit. On reaching the Warrego in the evening, we found the party had arrived there at 3 P. M., the distance travelled comprising two former days’ journeys. They had also found water close to the camp, where none had been when they had been there before. Many beautiful shrubs were now beginning to bloom. The BURSARIA INCANA was now covered with its panicles of white flowers; the OZOTHAMNUS DIOSMOEFOLIUS, a shrub four feet high, was loaded with small bulbs of snow white flowers; a downy variety of LOTUS AUSTRALIS, with pink flowers121, was common on the open ground; the ACACIA PODALYRIOEFOLIA was now forming its fruit; in the open forest we found a beautiful little GOMPHOLOBIUM122; the HAKEA PURPUREA, a spiny-leaved, hard shrub, with numerous crimson leaves123, and the EUPHORBIA EREMOPHILA, an inconspicuous species of SPURGE.124 Mr. Stephenson and I had been so busy collecting these on our way back, that we only reached the camp at sunset. Thermometer, at sunrise, 58°; at noon, 75°; at 4 P. M., 82; at 9, 62°; — with wet bulb, 59°.

120 [P. CILIATA (Hook. MS.); ramulis pilosis, foliis erectis subimbricatis linearibus obtusis ciliatis dorso convexis glandulosis superne planis nudis, petalis ovali-ellipticis obtusis marginibus extus albopubescentibus. — Allied to P. AUSTRALIS, but different in the leaves, which are here ciliated at the margin, very glandulous on the back; and in the flowers, which are smaller, the petals more obtuse, and having a broad, white line of pubescence round the margin at the back.]

121 [L. AUSTRALIS var. PUBESCENS, ramis pedunculisque pilis mollibus patentibus vestitis. G. B.]

122 [G. FOLIOLOSUM (Benth. MS.) foliis impari-pinnatis, foliolis 15-25 obovato-truncatis obcordatisve glabris, petiolis ramulisque pilosulis, racemis terminalibus subcorymbosis laxis paucifloris. Fruticulus ramosissimus foliolis confertis vix lineam longis.]

123 [H. PURPUREA (Hook. MS.) foliis tereti-filiformibus rigidis trifidis segmentis simplicibus furcatisve mucronatis glabris, floribus purpureis pedicellisque glabris, capsulis obovatis acutis lignosis stipitatis subtuberculatis.]

124 [E. EREMOPHILA (All. Cunn. in Hook. Herb.); fruticosa, ramulis fastigiatis foliisque parvis linearibus dentato-scrratis glabris, capsulis globosotriangularibus laevibus glabris. — Collected by Allan Cunningham in Dirk Hartog’s island.]

11TH OCTOBER. — Following the chord of the arc described by our journeys of 30th June, and 1st July, on tracing down the Warregò, I made the furthest of the two camps, by a straight line of nine miles, passing through a fine open forest country. The pond, which formerly supplied us here, was now quite dry, but one much larger in a rocky bed was found a few hundred yards further up the river. Thermometer, at sunrise, 54°; at noon, 80°; at 4 P. M. 88°; at 9, 57°; — with wet bulb, 52°.

12TH OCTOBER. — This day we also turned two former days’ journeys into one, and arrived at Camp XXXVIII. by 2 P. M., the ponds at the intermediate camp (XXXIX.) being dry. Nevertheless, the recent rains had left some water in rocky hollows, at which we could water our horses on the way. By the river side this morning, we found a variety of the HELIPTERUM ANTHEMOIDES, D.C., with the leaves pubescent and the scales of the involucre paler. The silky grass, IMPERATA ARUNDINACEA, occurred in the swampy flat we crossed before we encamped. Soon after we set out in the morning, an old man was seen coming along the valley towards us, without at first seeing the party. When he did, which was not until he had come very near, he uttered a sort of scream, “OOEY!”, and ran up amongst some rocks beyond the water-course, nor would he stop, when repeatedly called to by Yuranigh. He carried a firestick, a small bag on his back, and some bomarengs under his left arm. His hair was grey but very bushy, and he looked fat. The poor fellow was dreadfully frightened, which I much regretted, for I might otherwise have obtained from him some information about the ultimate course of the Warrego, etc. We found water in one of the rocky ponds near our former encampment, but others in which some had formerly been found, were dry, and I was not without some doubt about finding water, on our way back to join Mr. Kennedy. Thermometer, at sunrise, 42°; at noon, 87°; at 4 P. M., 96°; at 9, 78°; — with wet bulb, 60°.

13TH OCTOBER. — The night was uncommonly hot, thermometer 79° here, where in June last it had been as low as 7°. The sky had been clouded, but the morning cleared up, and we enjoyed a cool breeze in passing amongst the sandstone gullies. On arriving at the foot of Mount Owen the day became very sultry, and there was a haziness in the air. On Mount Owen Mr. Stephenson found a new species of VIGNA with yellow flowers125, and the SWAINSONIA PHACOIDES, conspicuous with its pink flowers. We took up our old ground over the gullies, and I went in quest of water. The ponds formerly here, had dried up, but Yuranigh found a deep one in the solid rock, containing enough for months. It was inaccessible to horses, but with a bucket we watered both these and the bullocks. The mercurial column was low, the sky became overcast, and a slight shower raised our hopes that at length rain might fall in sufficient quantity to relieve us from the difficulty about water, in returning towards Mr. Kennedy’s camp. Thermometer, at sunrise, 63°; at noon, 79°; at 4 P. M., 76°; at 9, 64°; — with wet bulb, 59°.

125 [V. LANCEOLATA (Benth. MS.) glabra volubilis, foliolis lanceolatis reticulatis integris v. basi hastato-lobatis, pedunculis folio multo longioribus apice paucifloris, calyce glabro campanulato dentibus tubo brevioribus, carina rostrata acuta. — Flowers smaller than in V. VILLOSA, but of the same form.]

14TH OCTOBER. — During the night several smart showers fell, and at daybreak the sky seemed set for rain. When we set off it rained rather heavily. I took a new direction, and got into a gully which led to our former track of 17th June. Crossing it, I passed into the bed of the Maranòa, and followed it down with the carts, until we arrived at the large pond in solid rock, to which I had sent the bullocks on the 18th June. Here we encamped, and I marked a tree with the number 74, as it might be necessary on future occasions to refer to where a permanent supply of water may be found in that part of the country. Thermometer, at sunrise, 60°; at noon, 71°; at 4 P. M., 66°; at 9, 52°; — with wet bulb, 48°.

15TH OCTOBER. — Last evening the wind blew keenly, and the night was cold, the temperature very different from that experienced of late. The morning presented a thick haze and drizzling rain, this kind of weather being rather favourable for crossing the loose sandy surface, which the men dreaded, remembering how it had before affected their eyes. I at first endeavoured to travel this day along the river bank, but I found its course so tortuous, and the country on its banks so hilly and rocky, that I left it, and proceeded in a direction that would intersect the former track. We thus passed through a fine open forest, fell in with our old track at a convenient point, and found water still in the pond at the camp of 15th June, where we therefore again set up our tents. The sky had cleared up, and the air was pleasantly cool, with a fine breeze blowing from S.E. On the river bank, we observed this day the native bramble, or Australian form of RUBUS PARVIFOLIUS, L. A small nondescript animal ran before Mr. Stephenson and myself this morning. It started from a little bush at the foot of a tree, had large ears, a short black tail, ran like a hare, and left a similar track. It was about the size of a small rabbit. The death of our dogs on the Bogan, under the intense heat and drought, had been a very serious loss to us, as we found on many occasions like this; and where kangaroos, of apparently rare species, escaped from us from our having no dogs. We were, also, from want of such dogs, much more exposed to attacks of the natives. Evening again cloudy. Thermometer, at sunrise, 45°; at noon, 64°; at 4 P.M., 67°; at 9, 57°; — with wet bulb, 50°.

16TH OCTOBER. — A clear cool morning, with a fine refreshing breeze from east, succeeded the cloudy weather of yesterday. I crossed the little river, and travelled straight towards Camp XXXVII. On the higher ground grew a heath-like bush, (ERIOSTEMON RHOMBEUM,) three or four feet high. At a distance of only nine miles, we came upon the little river beside that camp, and fell into the old track a mile on beyond it; and, early in the day, we arrived at a chain of ponds, half-way to the next camp at Possession Creek. The ponds where I went to encamp were dry; but, on following the water-course downwards, I came to its junction with the Maranòa, at half a mile from the camp, and found a large basin of water at that point. Here, the NOTELOEA PUNCTATA was no longer a low trailing bush, but a shrub ten or twelve feet high, with the appearance of a European PHILLYREA. On the wet ground at the river bank, grew an entire-leaved variety (?) of PLANTAGO VARIA. The wild carrot, DAUCUS BRACHIATUS, with an annual wiry root, was also seen in the rich ground near the river. Yuranigh found more of the native tobacco, which the men eagerly asked for some of. This was a variety of the southern NICOTIANA SUAVEOLENS, with white flowers, and smoother leaves. Thermometer, at sunrise, 37°; at noon, 70°; at 4 P.M., 76°; at 9, 51°; — with wet bulb, 42°. Height above the sea, 1315 feet. (Camp 75.)

17TH OCTOBER. — The thermometer stood as low as the freezing point this morning, and the day was cooled by a wind from the N. E. In crossing Possession Creck, we saw nothing of the formerly belligerent natives. From Camp XXXIII, I took a direct course to Camp XXXII, where we arrived early. No water remaining in the adjacent ponds, I followed the dry channel down to its junction, and found the Maranòa full of water; this point being three quarters of a mile from our camp. We had this day passed over a fine open forest country, in which were also groves of the ACACIA PENDULA. The vegetation, in general, seemed drooping, from the want of rain; but the whole was available for grazing purposes. We saw, this day, plants of PYCNOSORUS GLOBOSUS, in the dry forest land; and the purple-flowered RUELLIA AUSTRALIS. The ACACIA SPECTABILIS formed a spreading bush, about eight feet high. The HOVEA LEIOCARPA, and CONVOLVULUS ERUBESCENS, were also found; with a new MYRIOGYNE126, and a small shrub, three feet high, with narrow, blunt, glaueous leaves, tasting like rum. A small fruit, with the fragrance of an orange, proved to be a new species of TRIPHASIA.127

126 [M. RACEMOSA (Hook. MS.) radice perenni fusiformi superne multicipiti, caulibus decumbentibus, foliis lineari-cuneatis grosse serratis punctatis, capitulis in racemis subnudis terminalibus. — Very different from any described MYRIOGYNE, in the terminal racemed capitula.]

127 [T. GLAUCA (Lindl. MS.); spinosa, foliis coriaceis integerrimis crenatisque linearibus glaucis obtusis retusisque, floribus trimeris dodecandris 2-3nis brevi-pedicellatis.]

It is much to be regretted, that the specimens gathered here of the brigalow, should have been so imperfect that they could not be described. If an Acacia, Mr. Bentham says, it is different from any he knows.

The vicinity of the river here affords security for a supply of water, in seasons like the present, when any contained in the smaller channels may be dried up. In the afternoon we lost a horse, which fell from a precipitous part of the bank, at the junction of the creek with the river. One man was leading four, when one horse kicked another, which, falling perpendicularly, from a height of about forty feet, was so much hurt as to be unable to rise. The folly, or rather obstinacy of the man, leading so many together, on the verge of a precipice, was contrary to particular orders previously given, and which ought to have been enforced by Graham, who was in charge. Thermometer, at sunrise, 32°; at noon, 78°; at 4 P.M., 79°; at 9, 60°; — with wet bulb, 45°.

18TH OCTOBER. — The horse, still unable to get on his legs, and apparently dying, was shot, and buried in the sand of the bed of the creek. This loss, when we were so near our depôt camp, was much to be regretted, as we should have otherwise taken back every bullock and horse, after an absence, from that camp, of four months and fifteen days. We saw not a single native about the woods or the river, and were, therefore, the more anxious to know how Mr. Kennedy and the natives had agreed at the depôt camp, now within a day’s ride of us. We continued to follow our former track to Camp XXXI, and it may be remarked, to their credit, that the aborigines had not attempted to deface any of these marked trees. It might have occurred, even to them, that such marks were preparatory to the advent of more white men into their country. The fine, deep reaches in the river, looked still full and unfailing; and a short journey tomorrow would take us to the camp of the rest of the party. We this day found a little jasmine in flower, of which Mr. Stephenson had formerly collected the seeds. It was white, not more than a foot high, with solitary white flowers, emitting a delightful fragrance, and it grew in the light sandy forest land.128 A tree loaded with pods, which the natives eat, has been determined by Sir William Hooker to be the BRACHYCHITON POPULNEUM, Br., or STERCULIA HETEROPHYLLA of Cunn. Here was picked up a singular little annual plant, belonging to the genus PIMELEA, with hairy, loose spikes of minute green flowers129; and by the river we found the CALANDRINIA BALONENSIS.

128 [J. SUAVISSIMUM (Lindl. MS.); herbaceum, ramis angulatis, foliis sessilibus simplicibus alternis oppositisque lineari-lanceolatis, pedunculis solitariis unifloris supra medium bibracteatis foliis longioribus, sepalis subulatis, corollae laciniis 5-7 acutissimis.]

129 [P. TRICHOSTACHYA (Lindl. MS.); annua, foliis alternis linearibus pilis paucis adpressis, spicis laxis terminalibus villosissimis.]

The morrow was looked forward to with impatience. Four months and a half had the main body of the party been stationary; and that was a long time to look back upon, with the expectation that it had remained undisturbed, although isolated in a country still claimed and possessed by savages. Thermometer, at sunrise, 38°; at noon, 83°; at 4 P.M., 86°; at 9, 64°; — with wet bulb, 48°.

19TH OCTOBER. — The party was early in motion along the old track. Leaving the intermediate camp to the left, we struck across the country so as to hit the track again within a few miles of the depôt camp. Old tracks of cattle, when the earth had been soft, and the print of A SHOE, were the first traces of the white man’s existence we met with; nor did we see any thing more conclusive, until the tents on the cliffs overhanging the river were visible through the trees. We saw men, also, and even recognised some of them, before our party was observed; nor did they see us advancing, with a flag on the cart, until Brown sounded the bugle. Immediately all were in motion, Mr. Kennedy coming forward to the cliffs, while the whole party received us with cheers, to which my men heartily responded. Mr. Kennedy ran down the cliffs to meet me, and was the first to give me the gratifying intelligence that the whole party were well; that the cattle and sheep were safe and fat; and, that the aborigines had never molested them. A good stock-yard had been set up; a storehouse had also been built; a garden had been fenced in, and contained lettuce, radishes, melons, cucumbers. Indeed, the whole establishment evinced the good effects of order and discipline. Drysdale, the storekeeper, had collected many birds and plants, and had also been careful of the stores. The orphan from the Bogan, little Dicky, had grown very much, and seemed a very intelligent boy; and the little intercourse Mr. Kennedy had had with the aborigines, limited as it was, by my instructions to him, was curiously characteristic of the tact and originality of this singular race. On one occasion, when on being informed that natives were near, he had hastened to meet them, taking little Dicky with him, he found remaining only a female and her mother, a remarkably old woman, who had before concealed herself among the reeds. The daughter on his approach sung a beautiful song, rapidly running through the whole gammut. Then bowing her head, she presented the back of it to him, and placing her stone-tomahawk in his hand, she bade him strike. Mr. Kennedy threw the tomahawk on the ground; and seeing the grey head amongst the reeds, he prevailed on the mother to come out. She was hideous in person, which was much more AFFREUX from the excessive rage with which she seemed to denounce the white men; — her fiend-like eyes flashing fire, as if prophetic of the advent of another race, and the certain failure of her own.

Old native female

The daughter seemed, at first, to treat lightly the ire of her aged parent, playfully patting with her finger her mother’s fearfully protruding lip. Mr. Kennedy endeavoured to ascertain, through Dicky, the downward course of the river, and she seemed to express, and to point also, that the river passed southerly into the Balonne, which river she named, and even the Culgòa: she seemed to say the name of that locality was “Mundì.” Neither of these females had any covering, but the younger wore, by way of ornament, a page of last year’s Nautical Almanac, suspended by a cord from her neck. The mother continuing implacable, the daughter, with a graceful expression of respect for her, and courtesy to the stranger, waved her arm for him to retire, which gesture Mr. Kennedy and Dicky immediately obeyed. At another interview, a scheme to decoy Dicky away was tried, as related thus in Mr. Kennedy’s journal:—“Sunday, 26th July. Prayers were read at 11 A.M., after which, having been told by Drysdale that the natives were still near the camp, and that there was a native amongst them who could make himself more intelligible to Dicky than the rest, I had started down the river to see them to collect what information I could, and then induce them to go farther from the camp. I had not gone far before the cooys from the tents made me aware that the natives were by this time in sight. I therefore returned, and the first object that caught my eye was the bait — a gin, dancing before some admiring spectators; and behind her was a fine, lusty native advancing by great strides, as he considered the graceful movements of his gin were gaining as fast upon the hearts of the white men. On going up to him Dicky put the usual questions as to the name of the river, and its general course. His reply to the first was not very satisfactory, but our impression was that he called it Bàlun. With respect to its course, he plainly said that it joined the Balonne; repeatedly pointing in the direction of that river and then following with his hand, the various windings of this branch; repeating the while some word implying ‘walk, walk,’ and ending with ‘Balonne.’ He knew the names of the mountains Bindàngo and Bindyègo. After this conversation he took some fat, which he appeared to have brought for the purpose, and anointed Dicky by chewing it, and then spitting upon his head and face. He next whispered to him, and (as Dicky says) invited him to join them. I then motioned to the men, who were looking on at a short distance, to go to the camp; and as they obeyed, I made the same signs to the native to move in the opposite direction, which he at length did with evident reluctance and disappointment, throwing away his green bough, and continually looking back as he retired. I desired Dicky to tell him never to come near our tents, and that no white man should go to his camp.”

Aboriginal dance

It seems that one family only inhabits these parts, as only three huts at most were to be seen in any part of the country, either up or down the river; a very fortunate circumstance for our party, obliged to remain so long at one spot, after such a formal notice had been given to quit it, as our visitors of the 30th of May gave during my absence. Mr. Drysdale, the store-keeper, had collected an herbarium during the long sojourn of the party at that camp, which included many new plants. In August, plants had begun to blossom; and in September various novelties had been found in flower. In August, he gathered EURYBIA SUBSPICATA, Hook. EURYBIOPSIS MACRORHIZA; or a species allied to it. ACACIA DECORA; GOODENIA CORONOPIFOLIA R. Br.; CONVOLVULUS ERUBESCENS; a hairy variety of BORONIA BIPINNATA, with smaller flowers than usual, and most of the leaves simply pinnate. A cruciferous plant, probably new; two new species of EURYBIA and CALOTIS, SENECIO CARNOSULUS? D. C. An ASPERULA? with the habit of Galium. MYOPORUM DULCE; VERONICA PLEBEIA; an acerose LEUCOPOGON; a species of violet, with small, densely-spiked flowers (was covered with wild bees in search of its honey). A species of BRUNONIA, apparently the same as the B. SIMPLEX of the north bank of the Darling, but taller and less hairy. A NYSSANTHES, apparently undescribed; SWAINSONA CORONILLOEFOLIA; a small variety of SALSOLA AUSTRALIS; XEROTES DECOMPOSITA, a hard-leaved, sedgy plant; a fine LEUCOPOGON, with unilateral flowers; and another species with yellowish blossoms, both perhaps new. A pretty little grass belonging to the genus PAPPOPHORUM, with a blackish green colour.130 A magnificent new ACACIA, with leaves nearly a foot long.131 A minute annual CALANDRINIA.132 An ERODIUM, closely resembling the European E. LITTOREUM, Arn. and Benth., from Isle of St. Lucie; it was also found by A. Cunningham in the swamps of the Lachlan. A new PROSTANTHERA, with indented glandular viscid leaves.133 A beautiful ever-lasting plant belonging to the genus HELIPTERES.134 A new LEPTOCYAMUS, with slender, trailing, hairy stems.135 SIDA VIRGATA (Hook. MS.)136 SIDA FILIFORMIS (A. Cunn.).137 A new DODONOEA in the way of the D. CUNEATA of the colony, with long, slender flower stalks.138

130 [P. VIRENS (Lindl. MS.); pumilum, caespitosum, aristis 9 plumosis rigidis apice nudis, spicâ compositâ laxâ tenui villosâ, glumis pilosis, paleis sericeo-pilosis, foliis tactu scabris vaginis pilosis juxta ligulam villosis.]

131 [A. MACRADENIA (Benth. MS.); glabra, ramulis angulatis, phyllodiis elongatis subfalcatis acutiusculis basi longe angustatis marginatis crassiusculis uninervibus penniveniis nitidis glandula magna prope basin, racemis brevibus polycephalis flexuosis subpaniculatis, capitulis multifloris, calyce breviter dentato apice corollaque aureo-hispidulis, ovario tomentoso. — Near A. FALCIFORMIS D. C. Phyllodia eight to ten inches, or near a foot long, from six to ten lines broad.]

132 [C. PUSILLA (Lindl. MS.); foliis equitantibus subacinaciformibus radicalibus, caulibus simplicibus racemosis v. unifloris, floribus longè pedunculatis infimis divaricatis, floribus minutis 8-andris.]

133 [P. EUPHRASIOIDES (Benth. MS.) tota viscoso-villosa, foliis linearioblongis pinnatifido-dentatis ad axillas subfasciculatis, floribus paucisaxillaribus breviter pedicellatis, calycis labiis integris, antherarum calcare longiore loculum superante. — The foliage and flowers look at first sight very much like those of some of the AUSTRALIAN EUPHRASIOE. The leaves are about three lines long.]

134 [H. GLUTINOSA (Hook. MS.); piloso-glandulosa, viscosa, foliis angustolinearibus cuspidato-acuminatissimis, capitulis solitariis. — Young buds rich rose-colour: full blown capitula pure white, the involucre having a slight tinge of purple.]

135 [L. LATIFOLIUS (Benth. MS.); molliter villosus, foliolis membranaceis oblique obovatis ovalibusque utrinque adpresse pubescentibus villosisve, calycibus subsessilibus villosis.]

136 [S. FILIFORMIS (All. Cunn. MS.); tota stellato-tomentosa, ramis patentissimis elongatis, foliis brevissime petiolatis cordato-ovatis crenato-serratis, pedunculis axillaribus unifloris gracillimis folio triplo longioribus, calyce 5-fido petalis duplo breviore.]

137 [S. VIRGATA (Hook. MS.); ramis elongatis virgatis stellato-tomentosis, foliis brevissime petiolatis lineari-oblongis serratis supra pubescentivelutinis subtus calyceque 5-fido stellato-pannosis fulvescentibus, stipulis acicularibus rigidis spinescentibus, pedunculis axillaribus unifloris folio brevioribus, petalis (flavis) calyce duplo longioribus.]

138 [D. PEDUNCULARIS (Lindl. MS.); viscosa, glabra, foliis rigidis elongatis spathulatis acutis tridentatis integrisque lobo medio majore, pedicellis 1-3-filiformibus, capsulis tetrapteris viscosis alis coriaceis rotundatis.]

In September, were gathered in water-holes on the ranges, RANUNCULUS SESSILIFLORUS, Br. in De Cand.; and near the camp the hard-leaved XEROTES LAXA; JUSTICIA MEDIA; EVOLVULUS LINIFOLIUS; GOODENIA FLAGELLIFERA De Vr.; CHLOANTHES STOECHADIS; the beautiful ACACIA SPECTABILIS, loaded with yellow flowers, on the banks of the river S. W. of the camp. A broader haired variet of ACACIAPENNIFOLIA; BOERHAAVIA MUTABILIS, Br.? TECOMA OXLEYI; ACACIA CUNNINGHAMII; CARISSA OVATA Br.? a spiny, zigzag, shrub with shining leaves and white flowers; CASSIA ZYGOPHYLLA. A variety of SIDA PISIFORMIS, A. Cunn., with closer leaves and a browner pubescence; SIDA (Abutilon) FRAZERI Hook. var. PUMILA. KERAUDRENIA INTEGRIFOLIA; LEPTOCYAMUS LATIFOLIUS; POMAX HIRTA? D. C., or a variety. EREMOPHILA MITCHELLII var.? LATIFOLIA (Benth. MS.). DODONOEA ACEROSA, A. HELICHRYSUM? near H. ODORUM D. C., but with the leaves downy on both sides. PIMELEA COLORANS, a plant found by A. Cunningham along the river Macquarie. STACKHOUSIA MURICATA, Lindl., which is, perhaps, not distinct from S. SPATULATA, Sieb. A PODOLEPIS, resembling P. RUGATA Labill. PODOLEPIS LONGIPEDATA, D. C. SOLANUM BIFLORUM, a grey-leaved, dwarf, herbaceous plant. RANUNCULUS PLEBEIUS, very like an English buttercup. A PLEURANDRA, near P. ERICIFOLIA, probably a variety. RUELLIA AUSTRALIS; PITTOSPORUM SALICINUM. One of the Dodder laurels (CASSYTHA PUBESCENS, R. Br.), a species also found near Port Jackson. VIGNA LANCEOLATA; XEROTES LONGIFOLIA, a very common, hard-leaved plant. ANTHERICUM BULBOSUM, R. Br. GERANIUM PARVIFLORUM? or one nearly allied to it: exactly the same species is found in Van Diemen’s Land. HELIPTERUM ANTHEMOIDES? D. C., but smaller in all its parts. NEPTUNIA GRACILIS; BRUNONIA SERICEA; SIDA, apparently new. A new and fine species of MENTHA.139 A new, round-leaved species of PROSTANTHERA.140 A new species of SWAINSONA141; PLEURANDRA CISTOIDEA (Hook. MS.).142 A new TRICHINIUM, with conical flower-heads.143 A species of HIBISCUS, with purple flowers.144 A new species of DAVIESIA, with spiny, shaggy leaves.145 Thermometer, at sunrise, 46°; at noon, 81°; at 4 P.M., 75°; at 9, 50°; — with wet bulb, 47°.

139 [M. GRANDIFLORA (Benth. MS.); molliter pubescens, caulibus erectis, foliis petiolatis ovatis acutiusculis dentatis planis verticillatis laxis sexfloris, calycis dentibus lanceolato-subulatis intus vix pilosis, corolla calyce subduplo longiore, staminibus exsertis. — Near M. AUSTRALIS Br., but the leaves broader and flowers larger.]

140 [P. RINGENS (Benth. MS.); ramulis puberulis, foliis petiolatis rhombeoorbiculatis integerrimis utrinque opacis glandulosis, calycis glandulosi glabri labiis integris, corollae labio superiore subgaleato, antherarum calcaribus loculo brevioribus. — Foliage nearly that of P. RHOMBEA. Flowers much larger.]

141 [S. PHACOIDES (Benth. MS.); decumbens molliter pubescens, foliolis 13 — 15-linearibus cuneatisve, pedunculis folio longioribus apice paucifloris, legumine brevissime stipitato villoso. — A low plant with much the habit of several PHACAS or ASTRAGALI. Flower yellow, smaller than in S. CORONILLOEFOLIA.]

142 [P. CISTOIDEA (Hook. MS.); pilis stellatis brevibus rigidis asperis, foliis angusto-linearibus obtusis marginibus revolutis, floribus in ramos breves solitariis, staminibus sub-12 unilateralibus, filamentis infra medium inaequaliter connexis antheras longitudine aequantibus, ovario parvo globoso lanato.]

143 [T. CONICUM (Lindl. MS.); hirto-pubescens, caule basi diviso, ramis ascendentibus subsimplicibus, foliis lineari-lanceolatis acutis, spicâ conicâ, bracteis unincrviis mucronatis glabris, rachi tomentosâ.]

144 [H. STURTII (Hook. MS.); suffruticosus ubique subtus praecipue dense stellatim tomentosus, foliis petiolatis oblongo-ovatis ellipticisve obtusis grosse crenato-serratis, pedunculis axillaribus unifloris solitariis folio brevioribus, involucro monophyllo . . . . . turbinato 6-8-fido calycem 5-fidum aequante, capsulis hispidissimis. — This species was also found by Capt. Sturt in the south interior. The flowers are purple, sometimes yellowish in drying. The involucre is very remarkable, monophyllous, broad at top and 6 or 8-cleft, almost wholly concealing the calyx. — W. J. H.]

145 [D. FILIPES (Benth. MS.); ramis hirsutis inermibus, foliis ovalioblongis sublanceolatisve apice spinoso-mucronatis planis pubescentibus, pedicellis filiformibus folio demum longioribus in pedunculo brevissimo solitariis geminisve.]

20TH OCTOBER. — It was necessary to halt here a day or two, that the blacksmith might have time to repair the light carts, and shoe the horses. I took a ride this day with Mr. Kennedy to a hill some miles eastward of the camp, in which he had found some remarkable fossils. The hill consisted of a red ferruguinous sandstone, in parts of which were imbedded univalve and bivalve shells, pieces of water-worn or burnt wood, and what seemed fragments of bone. To some of the portions of wood, young shells adhered, but others bore, evidently, marks of fire; showing the black scarified parts, and those left untouched or unscarified, very plainly. Other portions of woods had their ends waterworn, and were full of long cracks, such as appear in wood long exposed to the sun. These specimens were, in general, silicified: but the outer parts came off in soft flakes resembling rotten bark, being equally pliant, although they felt gritty, like sand, between the teeth. This hill was rather isolated, but portions of tabular masses, forming the range of St. George’s Pass, and in contact with the volcanic hill of Mount Kennedy which forms a nucleus to these cliffy ranges, being about 9 miles N. E. of this hill, to which, from its contents, I gave the name of Mount Sowerby. The weeping GEIJERA PENDULA again occurred in abundance near Mount Sowerby; the CAPPARIS LASIANTHA was climbing up the rocks there, and amongst the grasses we observed a species of the genus LAPPAGO, perhaps not distinct from the Indian L. BIFLORA. Thermometer, at sunrise, 39°; at noon, 56°; 4 P.M., 87°; at 9, 67°; with wet bulb, 52°.

21ST OCTOBER. — I took a ride with Mr. Kennedy to the summit to which I had attached his name, having occasion to take a back angle from it on Mount Owen, and one or two other points. I could there show him many of the distant summits to the northward of the country, I was about to lay down on my map. We rode over a fine tract of forest land, extending from the camp to the foot of the mountain, a distance of about twelve miles. On the high range grew a profusion of a beautiful little PTEROSTYLIS, quite new, but in the way of P. RUFA146, a single specimen of a new KENNEDYA was gathered there.147 On the plains we found a curious new form of the genus DANTHONIA, much resembling wheat in ear148, and a new JASMINE, with a rich perfume, resembling I. LINEARE, but with short axillary corymbs of flowers. This species has been named by Dr. Lindley after myself.149 We found also the SOLANUM VIOLACEUM with its violet flowers and orange spines. A fine wiry herbage was formed by the LAXMANNIA GRACILIS, now in flower, ERYTHROEA AUSTIALIS D. C., a smallflowered species of CENTAURY, the DIANELLA RARA, R. Br. and SALVIA PLEBEIA. Thermometer, at sunrise, 48°; at noon, 85°; at 4, P.M., 84°; at 9, 65° with wet bulb, 52°.

146 [P. MITCHELLII (Lindl. MS.); foliis omnibus radicalibus stellatis, vaginis scapi multiflori 3 remotis, scpalis setaceo-acuminatis, labelli laminâ ovato-lineari obtusâ canaliculatâ supra pilis (luteis) articulatis crinitâ.]

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

148 [D. TRITICOIDES (Lindl. MS.); culmo ramoso stricto, foliis glabris margine spinoso-scabris basi planis apice involutis, spicâ cylindraceâ distichâ secundâ, spiculis subtrifloris flore summo mutico abortiente, paleae inferioris dorso lanatae aristâ rectâ glumâ mucronatâ multinervi longiore.]

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

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

23RD OCTOBER. — We were obliged to halt, and await the arrival of the drays, which only took place at ½ past 11, A.M. The cattle were found to be so fat and fresh, that the drivers could not get them along faster. Mr. Stephenson obtained a specimen of the dove observed by me on the Victoria. (GEOPALIA CUNEATA). I had heard the note in the woods, and directed his attention to it. The SWANSONIA CORONILLOEFOLIA adorned the rich flats with its crimson pear-shaped blossoms, and the CROTALARIA DISSITIFLORA, was also in flower, but smaller than usual; more rigid, with a denser silky pubescence, and smaller, shorter leaflets. The SIDA (Abutilon) FRAZERI (Hook. M S.)150 and also the CLEMATIS STENOPHYLLA151, were found on this part of the river. Thermometer, at sunrise, 48°; at noon, 91°; at 4 P. M., 93°; at 9, 65°; — with wet bulb, 53°.

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

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

24TH OCTOBER. — Soon after leaving the camp this morning, we entered upon an open country, the downs extending before us from the right bank of the river, the course of which was somewhat to the eastward of south. The cattle came on faster this day, and we encamped on the skirts of the plain, near a fine reach of water in the river. We were now upwards of twenty miles to the westward of Bindango, with abundance of water; whereas I had always looked back to much difficulty in returning by that route, as the ponds near it were likely to be dried up. I had seen the higher parts of these downs from the summit of Bindango, but did not then suspect that a large river was in the midst of them, whose course was so favourable for a traveller proceeding northward. The discovery of these extensive downs was an important incident in this journey, watered as they were by a fine river; especially as the country to the N. W. was open or thinly wooded, and likely to be found so as far as the central downs and plains on the banks of the river Victoria. A new and very remarkable Ventilago was found this day.152 I now again numbered the camps, continuing the series backwards, by a different character; this was numbered 77; the last, 76. The utility of these numbers along our surveyed line will be admitted, when the country is taken up, as they will not only serve to identify localities with the map, but may also enable the land-surveyors to connect local surveys with the general map of the country. The sky was overcast with thunder-clouds in the afternoon, and the mercurial column was low; but no rain fell, and a clear starry sky, at 9 P. M., admitted of our observations as usual. Thermometer, at sunrise, 53°; at noon, 85°; at 4 P. M., 83°; at 9, 58°; — with wet bulb, 47°. Height above the sea, 1295 feet. (Camp 77.)

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

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

26TH OCTOBER. — A river coming into the Maranòa, about a mile from our camp, was apparently the river Amby; but without having traced its course throughout, I could not feel certain of this, after all I had seen of these rivers: I think this was the same, however. We kept the Maranòa on our left during the whole of this day’s journey, and were thus able to pursue a tolerably straight line in the direction of about 20° E. of S. At length, arriving at the junction of an important tributary from the N. W., full of water, and seeing another also join from the east, I crossed the main channel and encamped on the left bank, in sight of a reach of broad blue water below the junction, of an extent which reminded us of the Balonne itself. The valley of the river seemed bounded by continuous ranges of high land, which looked in the back-ground like table-land. Recently, much grass and bushes had been burnt, along the banks of the river, by the natives; and we this day passed over a tract where the grass was still in a blaze on both sides of us. Crows and hawks hovered over the flames, apparently intent on depriving the devouring clement of whatever prey more properly belonged to them. In a dry part of the bed of the river, I met with many instances of a singular habit of the eelfish (JEWFISH) PLOTOSUS TANDANUS.153 I had previously observed, elsewhere, in the aquatic weeds growing in extensive reaches, clear circular openings, showing white parts of the bottom, over which one or two fishes continually swam round in circles. I now found in the dry bed, that such circles consisted of a raised edge of sand, and were filled with stones, some as large as a man’s closed fist. Yuranigh told me that this was the nest of a pair of these fish, and that they carried the stones there, and made it. The general bed of the river where I saw these nests, consisted wholly of deep firm sand; and that the fish had some way of carrying or moving stones to such spots, seemed evident, but for what purpose I could not discover. Thermometer, at sunrise, 56°; at noon, 83°; at 4 P. M., 93°; at 9, 75°; — with wet bulb, 59°.

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

27TH OCTOBER. — We now travelled along the left bank of the river, and found the country tolerably open. The ADRIANIA ACERIFOLIA grew on an islet in the river.154 This still pursued a remarkably straight course, and contained abundance of water. After passing over a place where the bush was on fire, we saw a female in the act of climbing a tree. When she had ascended about eight feet, she remained stationary, looking at us without any appearance of dismay. I continued to pursue a straight-forward course, but told Yuranigh to inquire, EN PASSANT, what was the name of the river; to which question she replied, in his own language, “The name of that water is Maranòa:” thus confirming the name we had already understood, however indirectly, to be that of the river. It proved the accuracy of my servant Brown’s ear, for it was first communicated to him, during my absence, by the old chief at Bindango. The gin appeared to be climbing in search of honey. To state that this female wore no sort of clothing, were superfluous to any reader of this journal who may have been in such interior parts of Australia. After travelling about fourteen miles, we came upon a fine reach of the river, and encamped beside it. Thermometer, at sunrise, 59°; at noon, 68°; at 4 P. M., 95°; at 9, 77°; — wet bulb, 65°. Height above the sea, 832 feet. (Camp 80.)

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

View on the River Maranòa

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

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


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

29TH OCTOBER. — A clear cool morning. We travelled this day with so much ease, that we got over twenty miles without apparent fatigue, to bullocks or horses. The necessity for travelling so far arose from the utter want of water in the river bed. The course was very direct; the country was open, and clothed with rich verdure on which our cattle could have reposed, doubtless with great satisfaction, both to themselves and drivers, had water also been at hand; but after travelling over, and measuring twenty miles, we were obliged to encamp without any. As this seemed only a branch of the river. I sent Corporal Graham to ascertain what was beyond, while I, with Yuranigh, examined this channel backwards. We found no water in either direction, but Corporal Graham discovered the main channel at a mile and a half westward from our camp, and traced it to near the junction with the ana-branch on which we were encamped. We discovered this day a club and shield, such as the natives use on the Belyando, carefully put away upon a sort of scaffold of bark, and covered with bark. The shield was made of very light wood, the face being rounded, and having been covered with a dark varnish like japan; for which the surface had been made rough by crossed lines, resembling those made on the first coat of plaster. It was evident, from the marks on this shield, that the clubs were frequently used as missiles.155 Each man of the tribe that visited my camp on the Belyando, carried three or four of these, but no shields; a plain indication that they were not then armed for war against other aborigines. Thermometer, at sunrise, 36°; at noon, 68°; at 4 P.M., 73°; at 9, 49°; — with wet bulb, 40°.

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

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

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

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

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

3D NOVEMBER. — The river accompanied us but a short way this day, as I had determined to follow a straight line towards the junction with the Balonne, aware that the course of the river, for ten or twelve miles above that point, turned very much to the westward. We passed through much open forest, and over much sandy ground, on which the callitris always appeared to predominate. Little scrub lay in our way. At length, plains again appeared before us through the trees; and, beyond them, after travelling twenty-two miles, we saw before us the river line, running north-east. We crossed it, and still continued to travel on towards the main river; but night overtook us when not far distant from it, so that we were obliged to encamp within the distance of a mile and a half, after a journey, with carts, of 26½ miles. Here occurred the only Epiphyte observed during the expedition. It was growing in the dead parts of trees in the forest, and proved to be the CYMBIDIUM CANALICULATUM of Brown. One of the specimens had a raceme of flowers above a foot long. The fragrant JASMINUM MITCHELLII occurred, with narrower leaves than usual, at the foot of the forest trees. JUSTICIA ADSCENDENS, an inconspicuous weed, covered the plains in large tufts. The MELALEUCA TRICHOSTACHYA was there; and on the plains, and in open forests, grew a woolly. ANDROPOGON, which appeared not to be distinct from the A. BOMBYCINUS. In the open forest grew, here and there, the delicate COESIA OCCIDENTALIS, and on the plains a small species of HEDYOTIS; a new CALOCEPHALUS in bunches156, and a creeping plant, with yellow flowers, since found to be a new species of GOODENIA.157 Thermometer, at sunrise, 51°; at noon, 85°; at 4 P.M., 86°; at 9, 66°; — with wet bulb, 54°. Height above the sea, 819 feet.

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

157 [G. FLAGELLIFERA (de Vriese MS.); herbacea, glabra, foliis radicalibus longe petiolatis, spathulatis, flagellis elongatis: floribus radicalibus, axillaribus, longissime pedunculatis; calyce supero, quinquefido, laciniis lineari-lanceolatis, bibracteolato; corolla bilabiata flava, labio superiore fisso; fllamentis et antheris liberis; stigmatis indusio ciliato; flagellis folii-et floriferis valde elongatis capsula prismatica, biloculari; seminibus marginatis compressis; flagellis floriferis; floribus in axilla folii ovatorotundati, auriculati, subamplexicaulis, contentis, brevius pedunculatis. — Folia radicalia, 8-10 cent. longa, 1½-2 cent. lata, apice rotundata, subrepandula, deorsum attenuata, subdecurrentia, utrinque glaberrima, subtus pallidiora; folia flagellorum bracteiformia, ovata, subrotunda, uno vel utroque latere auriculata, alterutra auricula multo minore, floribus vero in bractearum illarum axillis, reliquis multo minoribus neque ad normam perfectis, brevius pedunculatis. Affinis species G. HEDERACEOE. — DE VR.]

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

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

St. George's Bridge

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