undertaken under the direction of the late Mr. Assistant Surveyor E. B. Kennedy,
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University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005
We left Sydney on the 29th of April, 1848, in the barque “Tam O’Shanter” (Captain Merionberg); in company with H.M.S. “Rattlesnake.”
Our party consisted of the following persons: Mr. E. B. Kennedy, (leader,) Mr. W. Carron, (botanist,) Mr. T. Wall, (naturalist,) Mr. C. Niblet, (storekeeper,) James Luff, Edward Taylor, and William Costigan, (carters,) Edward Carpenter, (shepherd,) William Goddard, Thomas Mitchell, John Douglas, Dennis Dunn, (labourers,) and Jackey, an aboriginal native of the Patrick’s Plains tribe.
Our supplies and equipment for the journey had been most fully considered, and were estimated by Mr. Kennedy as amply sufficient for a journey so short as that we then anticipated.
Our live stock consisted of twenty-eight horses, one hundred sheep, three kangaroo dogs, and one sheep dog. Our dry provisions comprised one ton of flour, ninety lbs. of tea, and six hundred lbs. of sugar. Besides these necessary supplies for subsistence on the road, we took with us twenty-four pack-saddles, one heavy square cart, two spring carts, with harness for nine horses, four tents, a canvas sheepfold, twenty-two pounds gunpowder, one hundred and thirty lbs. shot, a quarter cask of ammunition, twenty-eight tether ropes, each twenty-one yards long, forty hobble chains and straps, together with boxes, paper, &c., for preserving specimens, firearms, cloaks, blankets, tomahawks, and other minor requisites for such an expedition, not forgetting a supply of fish-hooks and other small articles, as presents for the natives.
After a tedious passage of twenty-two days, we arrived at Rockingham Bay on the 21st May; and even here, at the very starting point of our journey, those unforeseen difficulties began to arise, which led us subsequently to hardships so great and calamities so fatal.
On casting anchor, Mr. Kennedy, in company with Captain Merionberg, proceeded in a boat to examine the shores of the Bay, and to determine on a suitable landing place for the horses, but returned in the evening without having been able to discover one.
The attempt was renewed the next morning, and continued during the entire day; and on the morning of the 23rd of May Mr. Kennedy and Captain Merionberg returned to the ship with the intelligence that they had discovered a spot where the horses might be landed with tolerable safety, and where, too, there was plenty of grass and water. This was an important desideratum, as we had lost one horse and eleven sheep on the voyage.
The water round the shores of the bay was very shallow, in consequence of which the vessel could not approach close inland, but was compelled to cast anchor about a quarter of a mile from the shore, and this distance the horses had to swim.
In the afternoon the vessel was anchored off the landing place, and early on the following morning (May 24th) the tents, tether ropes, and sheepfold were taken ashore, with a party to take care of the horses when landed. At ten o’clock AM., slings having been prepared, we commenced hoisting the horses out of the hold, and lowering them into the water alongside a boat, to the stern of which the head of each horse was secured, as it was pulled ashore. One horse was drowned in landing, but all the others were safely taken ashore during the day. The weather this day was very cold, with occasional showers of rain.
During the time occupied by landing the horses, a number of aboriginal natives assembled on the beach; they evinced no symptom of hostility, but appeared much surprised at our horses and sheep. White men they had frequently seen before, as parties have landed on the beach from surveying vessels.
We found no difficulty in making them comprehend that we desired to be friendly with them, and they advanced towards us with green boughs in their hands, which they displayed as emblems of peace. We met them with our arms extended and our hands open, indicating that we had no implements of war with us. We made them a present of two circular tin plates, with Mr. Kennedy’s initials stamped upon them, with chains to hang them round the neck; we also gave them a few fish-hooks, and they accepted our presents with great demonstrations of pleasure. We made signs for them to sit down about 200 yards from the spot where the horses and sheep were being landed, and marking a line upon the sand we made them understand that they were not to cross it to approach us. One of our party was placed amongst them. to enforce this regulation, which he did with little difficulty, although they expressed great curiosity as to various articles brought on shore from the ship.
These natives appeared to be very fine strong men, varying much in intelligence and disposition.
I entered into such conversation with them as we were enabled to hold, and I soon found that while some were eagerly anxious to learn the names of different articles and their uses, others were perfectly indifferent about them.
We pitched our tents about two hundred yards from the beach, forming a square, with the sheepfold in the centre. Mr. Kennedy came on shore in the morning to superintend the arrangements, and after giving the necessary directions and instructions, returned to the ship. The party left ashore in charge, consisted of myself, Wall, Dunn, Carpenter, and Douglas. Our provisions were supplied from the ship, in order that no time might be lost in getting all our stores and implements in proper order for starting.
A few yards from our camp was a fresh water creek, from which, although the tide ran into it about one hundred yards, where it was stopped by a small bank, we could obtain excellent water. The grass around was very long, and mostly of very coarse descriptions, consisting chiefly of a species of uniola growing in tufts, agrostis with creeping roots and broad blades; the horses seemed to like the uniola best.
A little to the northward of our camp were very high and almost perpendicular rocks, composed mostly of micaceous schist, covered with various epiphytal ORCHIDES and ferns.
The labour of the day being ended, and most of our stores landed, the greater number of our party came ashore to pass the night; and after having tethered the horses in fresh places, we assembled at supper, the MATERIEL of which, (beef and biscuit,) was sent from the ship. We then took possession of our tents, one square tent being allotted to Mr. Kennedy; Niblet, Wall, and myself occupied a small round one; Taylor, Douglas, Carpenter, Mitchell, and Jackey, a large round tent; and Luff, Dunn, Goddard, and Costigan, the other.
Mr. Kennedy’s tent was 8 feet. long, by 6 feet, and 8 feet high, and in it were placed a compact table, constructed with joints so as to fold up, a light camp stool, his books and instruments. The two larger round tents were pyramidal in shape, seven feet in diameter at the least, and nine feet high. The small tent was six feet diameter, and eight feet high.
Every man was then supplied with one pair of blankets, one cloak, a double-barrel gun or carbine, a brace of pistols, cartridge box, small percussion cap pouch, and six rounds of ammunition.
The arrangement for preserving the safety of the camp from attack, was, that every man, with the exception of Mr. Kennedy, should take his turn to watch through the night — two hours being the duration of each man’s watch — the watch extending from 8 P.M. till 6 A.M. During the night the kangaroo dogs were kept chained up, but the sheep dog was at large.
The position of this our first encampment was near the northern extremity of Rockingham Bay, being in latitude 17° 58’ 10” south, longitude 146° 8’ east. The soil, where our cattle and sheep were feeding, was sandy and very wet, The land, from the beach to the scrub in the swamp beyond, was slightly undulating and very thickly strewed with shells, principally bivalves.
On the morning of the 25th May, a party commenced landing the remainder of our stores; and it being a fine morning, I went out to collect specimens and seeds of any new and interesting plants I might find. On leaving the camp I proceeded through a small belt of scrub to the rocks on the north; the scrub was composed of the GENERA FLAGELLARIA, KENNEDYA, BAMBUSA (bamboo), SMILAX, CISSUS, MUCUNA, and various climbing plants unknown to me: the trees consisting principally of EUGENIA, ANACARDIUM, CASTANOSPERMUM (Moreton Bay chesnut), a fine species of SARCOCEPHALUS, and a large spreading tree belonging to the natural order RUTACEAE, with ternate leaves, axillary panicles of white flowers, about the size of those of BORONIA PINNATA. At the edge of the rocks were some fine tree ferns (DICKSONIA), with the GENERA XIPHOPTERIS, and POLYPODIUM; also some beautiful epiphytal ORCHIDEAE; one beautiful specimen of DENDROBIUM, (rock lily,) with the habit of D. SPECIOSUM but of stronger growth, bearing long spikes of bright yellow flowers, the sepals spotted with rich purple. I found also, another species with smaller leaves, and move slender habit, with spikes of dull green flowers, the column and tips of the sepals purple. Also a very fine CYMBIDIUM, much larger than C. SUAVE, with brown blossoms, having a yellow column.
I proceeded along the edge of a mangrove swamp for a short distance, and entered a fresh water swamp about a mile from the beach, covered with very thick scrub, composed of large trees of the genus MELALEUCA, running for the most part from forty to fifty feet high. Here also I first found a strong growing climbing palm (CALAMUS), throwing up a number of shoots from its roots, many of them 100 feet long, and about the thickness of a man’s finger, with long pinnatified leaves, covered with sharp spines, long tendrils growing out of the stem alternately with the leaves, many of them twenty feet long, covered with strong spines slightly curved downward, by which the shoots are supported in their rambling growth. They lay hold of the surrounding bushes and branches of trees, often covering the tops of the tallest, and turning in all directions. On some of these tendrils the blossoms and seeds are produced, the seed bearing tendrils having at about two feet apart long bunches of very small white apelatous hermaphrodite flowers, closely crowded together, with six stamens, one pistil, and three cleft stigma. The seed is a small hard nut, with a thin scaly covering, and is produced in great abundance.
The leaves of this palm resemble those of the LIVISTONA, being about three feet long, of a dark green colour, and cut at regular spaces to the mid-rib. The shoots are remarkably tough, and I afterwards found were used by the natives in making their canoes. These canoes are small, and constructed of bark, with a small sapling on each side to strengthen them, the ends of which are tied together with these shoots. They are jointed, and resemble the common cane used in basket-making, and when cut they exhibit the small pores in a similar manner.
The growth of this plant forms one of the greatest obstacles to travelling in the bush in this district. It forms a dense thicket, into which it is impossible to penetrate without first cutting it away, and a person once entangled in its long tendrils has much difficulty in extricating himself, as they lay hold on everything they touch. On entering the swamp to examine plants, I was caught by them, and became so much entangled before I was aware of it, that it took me nearly an hour to get clear, although I had entered but a few yards.
No sooner did I cut one tendril, than two or three others clung around me at the first attempt to move, and where they once clasp they are very difficult to unloose. Abundance of the shoots, from fifteen to twenty feet long, free from leaves or tendrils, could be obtained, and would be useful for all the purposes to which the common cane is now applied.
At this spot also I met with a beautiful plant, belonging to the natural order AROIDEAE, climbing by its rooting stems to the tops of the trees, like the common ivy, (HEDERA HELIX). This plant has narrow pointed leaves, four inches long, and produces at the ends of the shoots a red spatha, enclosing a cylindrical spadix of yellow flowers.
In many parts the swamp was completely covered with a very strong growing species of RESTIO (rope-grass.) On the open ground, between the beach and the swamp, were a few large flooded gums, and a few Moreton Bay ash trees. Near the beach I found a strong growing species of EXOCARPUS, (B. LATIFOLIA, of Brown,) with glancescent oval leaves, about one inch long.
On the beach, too, just above high water mark, was a beautiful spreading, lactescent tree, about twenty feet high, belonging to the natural order APOCYNEAE, with alternate exstipulate, broad, lanceolate leaves, six to eight inches long, and producing terminal spikes of large, white, sweet-scented flowers, resembling those of the white nerium oleander, but much larger. I also met with a tree about twenty feet high belonging to the natural order DILLENIACEAE, with large spreading branches, producing at the axilla of the leaves from three to five large yellow flowers, with a row of red appendages surrounding the carpels.
A fine species of CALOPHYLLUM, with large dark green leaves, six to eight inches long, two and a-half to three inches broad, beautifully veined, and with axillary racemes of white, sweet-scented flowers; the seed being a large round nut with a thin rind, of a yellowish green colour when ripe. There were many other interesting plants growing about, but the afternoon turning out wet, I left their examination to stand over till finer weather.
Growing on the beach was a species of PORTULACA, a quantity of the young shoots of which I collected, and we partook of them at our supper, boiled as a vegetable.
In the evening after watering our horses, we took them to the camp and gave each of them a feed of corn, which we had brought with us for the purpose of strengthening them previous to our starting from Rockingham Bay, on our expedition; but although the grass on which they had been depasturing was coarse, they were with difficulty induced to eat the corn, many of them leaving it almost all behind them. We then tethered them and folded our sheep, one of which we killed for food. The ration per week on which the party was now put, was one hundred pounds flour, twenty-six pounds sugar, three and a-half pounds tea, with one sheep every alternate day.
This night too we commenced our nightly watch, the whole of the stores being landed and packed in the camp.
During nearly the whole of the day a tribe of natives was watching our movements, but they seemed to be quite peaceably inclined; the weather was very cold, and at night the rain set in and continued to fall almost without intermission, till morning.
The next morning (May 26th) was very wet and cold; but after securing our horses, I again went out to search for, and examine plants, although it was too rainy to collect seeds or specimens. On a CASUARINA near the swamp, I saw a beautiful LORANTHUS with rather small oval leaves, panicles of flowers, with the tube of the corolla green; segments of the limbs dark red; of a dwarf bushy habit.
This beautiful parasite covered the tree, and was very showy.
The afternoon turning out fine and warm, I collected several specimens and sorts of seeds. In the open ground grew a beautiful tree producing large terminal spikes of yellow flowers, with broad, and slightly cordate leaves, belonging to the natural order BIGNONIACEAE.
The open ground between the beach and the swamp varied in width from half a mile to three or four miles; it was principally covered with long grass, with a belt of bushy land along the edge of the beach; the bush consisting principally of EXOCARPUS, with dark green oval leaves, near an inch long; two dwarf species of FABRICIA, one with white, the other with pink flowers; a species of JASMINUM, with rather large, white, sweet-scented flowers; and a few acacia trees, with long, linear, lanceolate, phyllodia, racemose spikes of bright yellow flowers. There also grew the genera XANTHORRHEA, XEROTES, and RESTIO (rope-grass.)
There were a great many wallabies near the beach, but they were very wild. Returning to the camp in the evening, I met several natives who had been fishing. Most of the fish they had taken had been speared, but few having been caught with hooks.
I remained with them some time, and learned some of their expressions. Fresh water they call “hammoo,” salt water, “mocull;” their dogs, the same species as the native dogs found near Sydney, they call “taa-taa.”
We had not as yet seen any of their women, as they were encamped at some distance from us.
Near the beach, by the side of the salt water creek, I saw a beautiful species of RUELLIA with terminal spikes of blue flowers, and spiney-toothed leaves, and a bushy shrub eight or ten feet high, with alternate extipulate simple oval leaves, bearing a solitary, axillary, round fruit, resembling a greengage plum; the fleshy pulp covering the hard round stone has rather a bitter taste, but it is not disagreeable when ripe. It acts as a laxative if eaten in any quantity (probably MABA LAURINA).
On the following morning, May 27th, when the horses were watered and fed, I commenced digging a piece of ground, in which I sowed seeds of cabbage, turnip, leek, pumpkin, rock and water melons, pomegranate, peach stones, and apple pips. On the two following days, May 28th and 29th, I remained in the camp all day.
The next morning, May 30th, Mr. Kennedy and three others of the party rode out to examine the surrounding country, and to determine in what direction the expedition should start, the remainder staying at the camp, busily occupied with preparations for our departure into the wilderness. The flour was put into canvas bags, holding 100lbs. each, made in the shape of saddlebags, to hold 50lbs weight on each side. The sugar we put into two large tin canisters, made to fit into one of the carts, and the tea was packed in quarter-chests. The surplus stores, comprising horse shoes, clothes, specimen boxes, &c., which would not be required before our arrival at Cape York, were sent on board H. M. S. Rattlesnake, which it was arranged should meet us at Port Albany. During the day one of the party shot a wallaby on the beach, which made very good soup.
During the morning of the next day (May 31st) I was employed in procuring specimens and seeds of various plants, and in the afternoon we all resumed our preparations for starting, as we expected Mr. Kennedy back next day. He however did not arrive in the camp, and in the afternoon (of June 1st) I obtained specimens of a very pretty plant of the natural order ONAGRARIAE, with opposite oblong simple leaves, and large purple flowers.
The following day (June 2nd) Mr. Kennedy and his party returned to the camp, with the intelligence that it was impossible to proceed in a north or north-westerly direction, in consequence of the swamps. Mr. Kennedy had penetrated them in some places, where the scrub was not too thick; but could not get through them in any place, on account of the water, and the dense scrub. He informed us that he found we should be obliged to cross a river on the beach to the south-west of the camp before we could hope to make any progress.
The two following days were occupied with completing our arrangements for starting; as it wits determined on the following morning to strike our tents and proceed at once on our expedition.
As I may now consider our expedition as fairly begun, it may, for the sake of clearness and arrangement, be advisable to continue my narrative in the form of a journal; detailing from day to day, the various occurrences which took place.
It must be remembered, however, that in narrating the particulars of our journey, I am obliged to trust largely to memory, and to very imperfect memoranda; and to these difficulties must I refer, in excuse for the defects, with which I am well aware this narrative abounds.
Up to the present time, the whole of the party, and especially its unfortunate leader, had remained in good spirits, and, buoyed up with sanguine hopes of success, were eager to set out on their pilgrimage of discovery.
June 5. — We breakfasted at an early hour this morning, and proceeded at once to harness our horses to the carts, three to each cart. The carts contained about seven hundred weight each. This business having been completed, and the pack-horses saddled and laded, we started at nine o’clock A.M., and proceeded along the beach. Mr. Kennedy and Jackey rode in front, followed by the three carts. Wall, riding one horse and leading two pack-horses, next Goddard, Douglas, Mitchell, and Dunn, leading three pack-horses, Niblet in the rear, riding one and leading two horses, followed by Carpenter driving the sheep, and myself on foot, carrying Mr. Kennedy’s mountain barometer, which he had given into my charge during the journey; and I was also to take the time for that gentleman, in his observations.
After travelling in this order about two miles, we came to a large river, emptying itself into Rockingham Bay. This river was about one hundred and fifty yards wide, and although the tide ran up it about a mile, fresh water was procurable from it considerably nearer the sea.
At nearly high-water I tasted fresh water on one side of the river, and salt on the other, and about two hours after high-water, there was no difficulty in obtaining plenty of excellent water on either side of the river, in different places. There is a great deal of fresh water running into the sea here. and at the same distance from the sea as the mouth of the river, it is in some places mixed with salt water, whilst in others it is quite fresh. The banks of this river are low and sandy, and a short distance above where we joined it, it is skirted on either side by a thick mangrove swamp. for the distance of about a mile, where it joins the fresh water swamps, covered with thick scrub. On my proceeding up the river, it became narrower in its channel as it approached the swamps, from which it appeared to be principally supplied. It had a tortuous course. and when I left it, was turning to the Westward.
A boat was sent to us by Captain Stanley, of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, to assist us in carrying our stores across, which we effected with some difficulty by ten o’clock, P.M., the horses and some of the sheep swimming across. while the remainder of the latter were taken in the boat.
We pitched Mr. Kennedy’s tent on sand, at the side of the river, and it being dark. and not knowing where to obtain water on that side of the river, I and five others recrossed it, and went back about three quarters of a mile, to a small creek running parallel to the beach. We filled our kegs, and returned to the camp in time to have supper by twelve o’clock, after which we rolled ourselves in our blankets, and. wearied by the fatigues we had undergone, slept soundly till daylight.
This was a very harassing day to us, as we were all constantly in the water, loading and unloading the boat. It is but just to state, that Captain Stanley, of the Rattlesnake, both in landing our horses and stores, and in crossing this river, rendered us every assistance in his power, and seemed throughout to take a strong interest in the expedition, and its object.
While landing our things at the other side the river, the natives assembled in great numbers about our luggage. As they appeared friendly, we permitted them to come within about 150 yards of our landing place; with some few we had a little difficulty, but for the most part they would sit down quietly as soon as a sign was made for them to do so.
June 6. — Early this morning Lieutenant Simpson, of the Rattlesnake, left us, he having stayed all night at the camp, and we were now left entirely to our own resources. We loaded our carts and pack-horses, and proceeded about three miles inland, but again finding it impossible to cross the swamps, we returned to the beach, and about dusk came to another river, also emptying itself into Rockingham Bay, about two miles south-west of the first we had to cross. This river was much wider than the first, being about two hundred yards wide where we crossed it near the mouth. At the mouth of this river is a sand-bank, over which the water is about four feet deep. Inside the bank the water is about ten feet deep. The tide flows up for about a mile; there appears to be a great quantity of fresh water discharged into the sea from this river, which, I think, is principally supplied from the swamps. These swamps lie at the foot of a high mountain range, and probably the rivulets descending from the range spread over the flat ground, and form channels by which they reach the sea. Fresh water can be obtained on either side the river very near the sea. I tasted fresh water on one side, salt in the middle. and slightly brackish on the other side, as we crossed over it. Small boats only can enter this river, on account of the sand-bank at the mouth. Its course turned to the south-west about two miles up. Its banks were sandy and barren, at least close to the river; on the north side of the river there is a mangrove swamp, extending some distance up the river; on the south side the banks are higher, and are covered with CASUARINAS and ACACIAS, the soil being sandy and pretty well covered with grass, the land slightly undulating, for about one and a-half or two miles up the river. It being too late to think of crossing the river to-night, we hobbled our horses, and having pitched Mr. Kennedy’s tent, slept on the sand till morning.
June 7. — As soon as we had breakfasted this morning, we prepared to cross, to assist us in which undertaking we contrived to construct a sort of punt by taking the wheels and axletrees off one of the carts. We then placed the body of the cart on a large tarpaulin, the shafts passing through holes cut for them, the tarpaulin tightly nailed round them. The tarpaulin was then turned up all round, and nailed inside the cart; by this means it was made almost water-tight. We then fastened our water-bags, filled with air, to the sides of the cart, six on each side, and a small empty keg to each shaft. We tied our tether ropes together, and made one end fast on each side the river, by which means our punt was easily pulled from one side to the other. By this contrivance we managed to get most of our things over during the day, and at night a party slept on either side, without pitching the tents.
June 8. — One party continued employed in getting the remainder of the things across the river, whilst the others went in search of the horses, which had rambled to some distance to seek for better grass. The grass had hitherto continued plentiful in places all the way. The horses were brought up to the river by eleven A.M., and were with some difficulty got across; after which they were hobbled, and we camped for the night near the beach, in good grass.
June 9. — Mr. Kennedy, with Jackey and three others, left the camp this morning for the purpose of ascertaining the most practicable route for our carts. During the day a great number of natives came around our camp, but appeared very friendly; they are a finer race of men than those usually seen in the southern districts of the colony, but their habits and mode of life seem very similar. They left us before dark, without making any attempt at plunder.
June 10. — Mr. Kennedy returned to the camp this evening; he still found the swamps were impassable, the water and mud lying on them in many parts, from three to four feet deep; there were patches of dry land here and there covered with good but coarse grass.
We saw here large flocks of black and white ducks, making a whistling noise similar to some I have seen near Port Macquarie; Mr. Wall shot three of them, and they were very good to eat, but they were not new, belonging to the genus LEPTOTARSIS.
June 11. — We started early this morning and proceeded along the beach for three or four miles, when we came to another river, similar in its character to the one we crossed on the 8th, with low sandy banks, and dry bushy land on each side. We unloaded and hobbled our horses, and prepared our punt as before.
Near to this spot we came to a native encampment, consisting of eighteen or twenty gunyahs, (huts) of an oval form, about seven feet long, and four feet high; and at the southern end of the camp, was one large gunyah, eighteen feet long, seven feet wide, and fourteen feet high. All of them were neatly and strongly built, with small saplings stuck in the ground, arched over, and tied together at the top with small shoots of the climbing palm, (CALAMUS,) which I have already described. They were covered with the bark of the large MELALEUCAS, which grow in the swamps, fastened to the saplings with palm shoots.
A small opening is left at one end, from the ground to the top, and the floors were covered with long dried grass. The natives being absent from the camp, I entered the large gunyah, and found in it a large shield of solid wood, two feet in diameter, convex on one side, and flat on the other.
The convex side was curiously painted red, in circular rings and crosses. On the flat side was a handle, cut out of the solid wood. In the same hut I found four wooden swords, three and a half feet long, and four inches broad, sharp at both edges, and thick in the centre, with a slightly curved round handle, about six inches long. They were made of very hard wood, and were much too heavy to wield with one hand. I also found a number of fishing lines, made from grass, with hooks attached of various sizes, made from muscle shells.
After I had carefully examined all these things, I left them where I found them. In the centre of the camp were four large ovens, for cooking their food. These ovens were constructed by digging a hole in the ground, about three feet in diameter, and two feet deep. The hole is then filled to within six inches of the top with smooth, hard, loose stones, on which a fire is kindled, and kept burning till the stones are well heated. Their food, consisting principally of shell and other fish, is then placed on the stones and baked.
There were no vessels in the camp in which they could boil anything, and it is my opinion, from what I afterwards saw of their habits, that their cookery is confined to roasting and baking.
In the camp were several large shells, for holding water, and some calabashes, made by taking out the inside of a gourd, which grows plentifully near the camp. These calabashes would hold from one to three pints each.
June 12. — This morning Taylor endeavoured to cross the river with the rope for working our punt, but although an expert swimmer, and very strong man, he was unable to do so, from the strength of the tide which was running out. We saw several natives fishing in the river from their canoes, which are about five feet long and one and a-half feet wide, made of bark, with small saplings tied along the side, and are paddled with small pieces of bark held in either hand. We made signs to them to come to us, with which three of them complied. We made them understand that if they would take our rope across, and make it fast to a dead tree on the other side of the river, we would give them a tomahawk. They consented to undertake the task, and after great exertion succeeded in performing it, and received their reward, with which they seemed quite satisfied and highly pleased. We succeeded in getting everything across this river by ten o’clock at night, for the moon being up we would not stop till we had done. Our horses we took about a quarter of a mile up the river, and they crossed where it was narrower and not so deep. Several natives, who had not yet seen our horses, assembled on the banks of the river to see them cross, and when they came out of the water commenced shouting to frighten them, continuing their noise for about twenty minutes. Seeing at length, however, that the beasts submitted to be led quietly along the beach, they came near the camp, and we made them a present of a few fish-hooks. They returned to their camp before sunset.
The river we crossed this day was not so deep as either of the former ones. There is, apparently, a sandbank across all the rivers emptying themselves into Rockingham Bay, near the mouth, and this one formed no exception to the rule. The tide runs up very strongly, I should think from a mile and a-half to two miles.
There is a mangrove swamp running up some distance on the northern side of the river, till it joins the fresh water swamps. There is not so much fresh water running out of this river as from the last, and fresh water is only procurable from the south side of the river, near to the swamp; it being impossible to penetrate the scrub on the northern side to obtain it. At low water the river is very shallow, with a muddy bottom.
June 13. — On our mustering this morning, Carpenter was missed from the camp. It was discovered that he had absconded during the night, carrying off with him a damper, weighing about eleven pounds, two pounds of tea, and ten pounds of sugar. We had breakfast as quickly as possible, and Mr. Kennedy sent four men on horseback, to scour the country around in search of him. They returned from an unsuccessful search, but had received intelligence from the blacks that he was not far off.
June 14. — A party went out early this morning, in search of Carpenter, and caught sight of him about two miles from the river, sharing his damper with the blacks. As soon, however, as he saw the party approaching, he decamped into the bush, and was again lost sight of. On coming up to the spot where he was seen, the bags in which he had carried away the tea and sugar, were found; the sugar was nearly consumed, but the tea appeared untouched.
In the evening Carpenter returned, and on begging Mr. Kennedy’s pardon, he was forgiven. Throughout the expedition he was of very little service, being, in fact, little better than an idiot.
This evening we saw a large alligator, rising to the surface of the water, close to our camp. He seemed about twenty feet long, and appeared to be attentively watching our sheep, which were feeding by the side of the river, on the DOLICHOS and IPOMEAS which were growing on the sand.
The natives here had a great many dogs, which, towards evening, rushed our sheep and drove them among the bushes in all directions. We had great difficulty in getting them together before dark.
June 15. — We proceeded inland two or three miles. to the edge of the fresh water swamps, and camped there. Mr. Kennedy went with a party into the swamps to ascertain if it were possible to make a road for the carts to pass through. Wall and myself went out collecting specimens.
I found a beautiful species of LORANTHUS, growing on acacia trees, and producing on its long pendulous shoots, abundance of beautiful scarlet flowers; the tube of the coralla was about two inches long, very short limbs, with long lanceolate glossy leaves. This most interesting parasite, covering the acacia trees, when in flower forms a most gorgeous sight; presenting a beautiful contrast to the dull foliage of the surrounding trees. I also found a scarlet passion flower, very beautiful, with three lobed glaneous leaves; and a NYMPHAEA, (water lily,) growing in the water holes and small creeks, producing large purple flowers, and pellate leaves; besides a number of other new and interesting plants.
Mr. Wall succeeded in obtaining a specimen of a beautiful little marsupial animal, resembling an opossum in form, but not larger than the common rat, the colour pure white, with very small black spots.
Mr. Kennedy and party returned in the evening, after having been in the water up to their knees all day. He reported that it was altogether impossible to make a road.
June 16. — Mr. Kennedy and party proceeded again this morning to enter the swamps, but in a different direction, in the hope of finding some spot where a road might be made, but returned with no better success. This day we killed the best sheep we had yet slaughtered; it weighed 53lbs., those we had previously killed weighed from 40 to 48lbs.; they did not keep fat, but up to this time we were enabled to fry all the meat, which mode of cookery was more speedy and convenient for us than boiling or any other way.
June 17. — We proceeded this evening along the edge of the swamps, crossing several small creeks. In many places the wheels of the carts sank to the axle-trees in consequence of the rottenness of the ground near the creeks. We camped, after travelling about five miles.
June 18. — This day was Sunday, and at eleven o’clock Mr. Kennedy assembled the whole party under the shade of some large trees and read prayers. This was a practice always persevered in when practicable, and unless for come very pressing reason, we uniformly set apart the Sabbath as a day of rest, such an interval from our toils being in fact absolutely necessary.
June 19. — Again Mr. Kennedy started this morning, accompanied by five men, into the swamps, determined, if possible, to find a road by which we might cross them, and get to the foot of the mountain ranges on the south. He remained out during this and the two following days. The natives appear to be very numerous in the neighbourhood of Rockingham Bay. There was an old camping place with twelve or fourteen old gunyahs near our camp, but it was not visited by the natives during our stay there. They generally came to look at us every day, but always kept at a distance; on some days we saw as many as from eighty to a hundred. The women and children always kept farther from us than the men; I think more from fear of our dogs and horses than of ourselves. The weather was cool, with showers occasionally during the day, and at night steady rain set in.
June 20. — The rain continued throughout the day.
June 21 and 22. — The rain still continued. Two of our horses were found bogged in a creek near the camp, but were soon released without injury; they had strayed into the creek to eat the aquatic grass, which is plentiful in almost all the creeks between the swamps and the sea. The soil here was rather stiffer than we had found it before, being a light sandy loam, and in places clayey. There were not so many shells to be seen, and what there were, were principally bivalves.
Mr. Kennedy returned this evening, and having again found it impossible to cross the swamps we were obliged to return to the beach, where the travelling was far better than among the trees. While travelling inland a man was always obliged to walk before the carts, to cut down small trees.
At this time we had only two meals per day; breakfast at daylight, and dinner when we had completed our day’s work, and camped. The time for dinner was therefore irregular, depending on the nature of the country over which we travelled. Some days we dined at one o’clock, on others not till dark. Whenever any birds were shot, they were boiled for supper; but as yet we had killed very few.
Mr. Kennedy appeared to be admirably fitted for the leader of an expedition of this character, in every respect.
Although he had innumerable difficulties and hardships to contend with, he always appeared cheerful, and in good spirits. Travelling through such a country as we were, such a disposition was essential to the success of the expedition. He was always diverting the minds of his followers from the obstacles we daily encountered, and encouraging them to hope for better success; careful in all his observations and calculations, as to the position of his camp, and cautious not to plunge into difficulties, without personal observation of the country, to enable him to take the safest path. But having decided, he pursued his deliberate determination with steady perseverance, sharing in the labour of cutting through the scrub, and all the harassment attendant on travelling through such a wilderness, with as much or greater alacrity and zeal than any of his followers. It was often grievous to me to hear some of the party observe, after we had passed over some difficult tract, “that a better road might have been found, a little to the right or to the left.” Such observations were the most unjust and vexatious, as in all matters of difficulty and of opinion, he would invariably listen to the advice of all, and if he thought it prudent, take it. For my own part, I can safely say, that I was always ready to obey his orders, and conform to his directions, confident as I then was, of his abilities to lead us to the place of our destination as speedily as possible.
June 23. — We started early this morning, and proceeded along the beach till we came to a small river, which was narrow and shallow, but the bottom being muddy, and it being low water, we diverged towards the sea, where the sand was firmer, and there crossed it with little difficulty, without unloading the packhorses or carts. The tide runs but a short distance up this river, and as far as it does run it is fringed with a belt of mangroves. The banks are muddy, and so soft that a man sinks up to his knees in walking along them.
A little above the mangroves the river divides into several small creeks, in swampy ground, covered with small MELALEUCAS so thickly, that although they are not at all bushy below, but have straight trunks of from three to five inches in diameter, and from ten to twenty feet high, a man can scarcely walk between them.
After crossing this river we again turned inland for a short distance, and camped by the side of a small river south of the last; with steep grassy banks on the north side, overhung by trestamas and arborescent callistemons.
On the south side grew mangroves, and the large blue-flowered ruellia seen at our first camp. The tide ran up to our camp, the fresh water coming from the north-west. There were plenty of water-holes in the valley, between the river and the higher sandy ground.
The grass here consisted principally of agrostis, near the river, where the land is occasionally inundated, and of uniola, a little further back, growing in tufts. On the sandy ridges, however, there was little else than XANTHORRHEA, XEROTES, and RESTIO (rope grass).
Here we saw a great many native companions (ARDEA ANTIGONE), and swamp pheasants (CENTROPUS PHASIANELLUS).
June 24th. — Mr. Kennedy and a party of five men again proceeded to examine the swamps, but returned without finding any practicable way of crossing.
June 25. — We started early this morning, proceeding towards the beach in a southerly direction, the river turning again south by west, and camped after travelling over five or six miles of rotten and rather sandy ground.
June 26. — We proceeded along the beach till we came to a small river, most probably the same we left yesterday, which we attempted to cross in the same manner as we had done the one on the 23rd, but unfortunately the horses and carts sank so deeply into the mud that they were completely set fast. We were now obliged to unload, and carry the goods ashore. Some of the flour-bags fell into the water, but were quickly taken out and but little damaged. We had great difficulty in getting the carts out of the mud.
A number of natives had accompanied us all day, and pointed out to us the best place to cross the river. Some of them also assisted us in carrying our things across, while one or two attempted petty thefts. I caught one with two straps belonging to a saddle, and a pair of Mr. Kennedy’s spurs in his basket, which I took from him and sent him away. Many of these natives were painted all over with a sort of red earth, but none of them had visited us armed with spears for several days past. Some of them had learned to address several of our party by name, and seemed pleased when they received an answer. We frequently made them small presents, and endeavoured to impress upon them the anxiety we felt to remain on friendly terms with them.
After having crossed the river we turned inland; cutting our way though a belt of mangrove scrub, about half a mile wide; we got the carts through with comparative ease, the ground being harder than usual. We camped on a rising ground, with good grass around us, by the side of a small creek running here almost parallel with the beach, and coming from the westward. At this camp I obtained seeds of a dwarf spreading tree, with alternate exstipulate primate leaves, and axillary racemes of a round flattened fruit, similar in size and shape to the small blue fig cultivated in gardens, of a dark purple colour, and possessing a flavour similar to an Orleans plum when hardly ripe, with a hard rough stone inside.
June 27. — We proceeded about five miles in a westerly direction, passing over two small creeks running to the south-east. The country here appeared to be gradually rising, and the land to be growing drier; and we now hoped to be enabled to prosecute our journey without any great obstruction from the swamps.
June 28. — Proceeding on the same course as on the previous day, we crossed two small creeks, running rapidly to the eastward. The bottoms of these creeks were covered with granite pebbles, of various sizes.
The first creek we crossed at the entrance, and the other near the middle of a thick scrub, extending nearly three miles, and through which we had to cut a road.
The various plants of which this scrub was composed, corresponded with those described as forming the scrub near our first camp in the Bay. The greatest obstacles to our progress through these scrubs were the long shoots of the FLAGELLARIA, and climbing palm (CALAMUS).
We camped in an open patch of forest land, covered with grass, and the trees consisted principally of Moreton Bay ash, (a species of eucalyptus,) casuarina, and a rather large growing acacia, with broad, rhomboidal, sericeous phyllodia, and very broad, flat legumes.
Luff and Douglas were this day taken very ill with the ague.
June 29. — We found that some of our horses had strayed into the scrub, and we did not succeed in finding them until nearly twelve o’clock, and Luff and Douglas being no better, Mr. Kennedy with three others proceeded to examine the country in advance of us.
June 30. — This morning Luff was a little better, but Douglas was able to eat but little. In the scrub near our camp I found a species of MUSA, with leaves as large, and the plants as high, as the common banana (M. PARADISIACA), with blossoms and fruit, but the fruit was not eatable. I also found a beautiful tree belonging to the natural order MYRTACAE, producing on the trunk and large branches only abundance of white, sweet scented flowers, larger than those of the common rose apple (JAMBOSA VULGARIS), with long stamens, a very short style, slightly two-cleft stigma, five very small semi-orbicular petals, alternate with the thick fleshy segments of the calyx, broad lanceolate leaves, the fruit four to six inches in circumference, consisting of a white fleshy, slightly acid substance, with one large round seed, the foot-stalk about one inch long. This is a most beautiful and curious tree (fruit perhaps not always one-seeded). Some specimens I saw measured five feet in circumference, and were sixty feet high, the straight trunks rising twenty or thirty feet from the ground to the branches. being covered with blossoms, with which not a leaf mingled. There were ripe and unripe fruit mingled with the blossoms, the scent of the latter being delightful, spreading perfume over a great distance around; I had frequently noticed the fragrance of these blossoms while passing through the scrub, but could never make out from whence it arose. It resembles the scent of a ripe pineapple, but is much more powerful.
There are not many of the trees to be found, and those only in the scrub, in a stiff loamy soil. The small animals eat the fruit, and I ate some, but it was not so good as the rose apple; we called it the white apple.
A short distance to the south-west of our camp, is a range of round hills, of moderate height, covered with grass, and thinly timbered with box and other species of eucalyptus, resembling the iron-bark. These hills are composed of huge blocks of coarse granite, with a stiff soil, and appear to stretch a long distance to the west.
July 1. — Mr. Kennedy returned this morning, having explored the country for about forty miles, over which he thought we might travel safely. There being plenty of grass however at the camp, and the men no better, he determined to defer our advance till Monday.
July 2. — Being Sunday, prayers were read at eleven o’clock.
July 3. — Early this morning we prepared to start, but Luff and Douglas being seized with a fit of ague, we were compelled to stop. Although our horses had all the way had abundance of feed, they began to grow very thin; several of them very weak; and one getting very lame, from bad feet. The sheep also had fallen away very much, which I attributed to the wet journey they had had; being almost always wet, from crossing rivers and creeks.
July 4. — Mr. Kennedy and three others roamed this morning to some distance from the camp, when they were followed by a tribe of natives, making threatening demonstrations, and armed with spears; one spear was actually thrown, when Mr. Kennedy, fearing for the safety of his party, ordered his men to fire upon them; four of them fell, but Mr. Kennedy could not ascertain whether more than one was killed, as the other three were immediately carried off into the scrub.
July 5. — Luff and Douglas now began to get better, but being still unable to walk, we could not break up our camp.
July 6. — We started early this morning, and crossed two creeks with narrow belts of scrub on each side, running north-east. I have little doubt these creeks run into the river we crossed on the 8th of June. The banks of the second creek were pearly twenty feet high, so that we were obliged to lower down the carts into the bed of the creek with ropes and pulleys, fastened to the branches of the trees which overhung the creek. The horses were got into the creek with a great deal of difficulty, then harnessed to the carts. and we proceeded along the bed of the creek till we arrived at a spot where the banks on the opposite side of the creek were not so steep. Here, by harnessing six horses to each of the carts, we managed to get them all out of the creek without any accident. The bed of the creek was composed of granite pebbles. We encamped on the northern side of it, the soil being a strong clayey loam, well covered with grass two or three feet high, so thick that it was difficult to walk through it. The country here was hilly open forest-land, with a high range before us, running north-east. The trees were principally Moreton Bay ash, box, and another species of eucalyptus, resembling the common iron bark, but with long narrow leaves. I also found a magnificent species of GREVILLEA, with fine pinnatified silvery leaves, and beautiful racemes of orange-coloured flowers; also another tree belonging to the natural order PROTEACEAE, rivalling the GREVILLEA in the beauty of its flowers, producing an abundance of cream-coloured blossoms, on compound terminal racemes. In the scrub by the side of the creek, I found a most beautiful scitamineos plant, the foliage, root, and habit of which resembled HEDYCHIUM. The beauty of the plant consisted in its large, stiff, shining BRACTEAE, which continue to grow after the small pink blossoms have fallen. The BRACTEAE are about half an inch broad at the base, slightly curved inwards, and tapering to a point. The heads of the flowers, resembling a pineapple in shape and size, and of a beautiful crimson colour, are produced on the top of a strong flower-stem, 18 inches high, and they will retain their shape and colour a month after being cut. This plant appears to be very local in its habits, as I only caught sight of it by the side of three creeks, and always in moist, shady places. I obtained seeds, and also packed some of its fleshy, tuberous roots in a tin case.
We saw but few wallabies; and not one kangaroo or emu had as yet been seen by any of the party. The country was not open enough for them to inhabit.
July 7. — We started at daylight, proceeding over open forest ground covered with long grass, very thick and luxuriant. Travelling was rendered still more difficult by the large logs of dead wood which strewed the ground in every direction, and which much impeded the progress of the carts. We camped by the side of a creek, with a narrow belt of scrub on the south-east side, but apparently a wide extent of it on the other.
This creek had a large sandy bed; with large castanospermums, tristanias, and sarcocephali, growing on its banks, which were rather steep. It had a very tortuous course, coming from south-west and turning east a little below our camp, which was in a bend of the creek.
July 8. — We were employed nearly all this day in cutting through very thick scrub on the other side of the creek. Whilst doing so we had to cross several other smaller ones, all turning east, and in the evening we camped on a small patch of open forest land, covered with long coarse grass, and large blocks of coarse granite rock jutting out here and there.
July 9. — This being Sunday we halted for the day, and prayers were read at eleven o’clock.
July 10 and 11. — We continued throughout these days cutting through belts of scrub and crossing small creeks, running from the west and northwest, and turning east. During the latter day we were visited by a small tribe of natives, who appeared very friendly and did not stop long. I found a large quantity of castanospermum seeds in one of the creeks, apparently put there to steep by the natives, who use them for food. They informed me that they steep them in water for five days, and then cut them into thin slices and dry them in the sun; they are then pounded between two large stones, and the meal being moistened with water is baked on a flat stone, raised from the ground a few inches, with a small fire burning beneath. I afterwards saw some of the meal baked, but it was not very palatable.
July 12 and 13. — Our journey still continued through scrub, intersected by small creeks, which we had to cross, and by patches here and there of open forest ground, covered with long grass, the soil a stiff loam. We were not able to make much progress, travelling on the average from three to five miles a day. We were compelled to cut away the scrub, and the banks of some of the creeks, before we were able to cross them, and frequently obliged to run a creek up and down some distance before we could find a place where it was passable at all.
July 14. — We started very early this morning, and commenced travelling over very uneven ground, full of small hillocks, and having the appearance of being frequently inundated, the grass growing very high and luxuriantly over it. Owing to the irregularities of the surface the axletree of one of our carts gave way this day. We were forced to leave the cart and harness behind, and load the horses with the spare pack-saddles we had brought with us, covering the load of each horse over with a piece of tarpaulin. We travelled on till dusk, when we arrived at a small creek, overgrown with grass, which we imagined we should cross with little difficulty; but the carts were set fast in the mud, and some of the horses bogged. We were forced to carry the loading of our carts and saddle horses over on our shoulders, a task of no small difficulty and labour, the mud giving way up to the knee at every step. The horses were then safely taken across, and we lifted out the carts and carried them to the other side, finding that it was useless to attempt to draw them out. It was ten o’clock at night before we had got the things over, and as soon as we had partaken of our late dinner we made a large fire to dry our clothes, which had become completely saturated by the labours of the day.
Mr. Kennedy arrived at the determination this day, to leave the carts behind at this camp, as they caused so much extra labour and delay in travelling.
July 16. — Sunday, we halted, and had prayers read at eleven o’clock.
July 17. — We got up early, and prepared all the loads ready for starting, but we were obliged to leave many things behind, that would have been very essential to the successful prosecution of all the objects of the expedition; my specimen box, a cross-cut saw, pickaxes, and various other articles which it was considered were too heavy to be carried on horseback.
We however took good care that not an ounce of provisions of any description should be left behind. The sugar and tea were more compactly packed than heretofore, and the packages in which they were formerly carried left behind.
Near this camp a large swamp extended south-westward, but it was clear of scrub, containing nothing but MELALEUCAS of moderate size.
July 18. — Having loaded the horses, we started at eight o’clock this morning, in good hope and high spirits, rejoicing to have got rid of one great impediment to our progress. The blacks regarded us with curious interest as we proceeded on our way, forming a train of twenty-six horses, followed by the sheep, and Mitchell occasionally sounding a horn he had brought with him.
We all felt the inconvenience of leaving the carts behind, and I in particular. I was now obliged to make two strong bags to fit my specimen boards, and to hang them, over a horse’s back, one bag on each side, a very inconvenient method, as it rendered them liable to much damage going through the scrub. The sheep at this time had grown very thin and poor, not averaging more than thirty pounds when skinned and dressed; they had, however, become so habituated to following the horses that they cost us very little trouble in driving them.
After travelling about six miles through open forest land we camped near a creek on the skirts of a thick scrub.
July 19. — We were cutting through scrub all day, skirting numerous small creeks which we met with here, most of them running to the eastward. The soil was rather stiff, and indicated a rocky formation, blocks of granite projecting from it in various directions.
July 20, 21, and 22. — During these three days we travelled over an irregular, mountainous country, intersected by numerous creeks, running in all directions, but all of them with belts of scrub on each side. We sometimes crossed the same creeks two or three times a day, owing to the tortuous directions they took, and our clothes were kept wet all the day; some of them too had very steep banks, which presented another obstacle to the progress of our horses. Between the creeks, small patches of open forest land intervened, with large blocks of rock scattered over them; most of the creeks had a rocky bottom, and were running to the eastward.
July 23. — Sunday, we had prayers read as usual at eleven o’clock, and halted for the day.
July 24. — We resumed our journey through the same description of country, cutting through scrub, and occasionally travelling through open land, timbered principally with Moreton Bay ash, box, and flooded gum, and covered with very long grass. We crossed two creeks running to the northward, on the side of the last of which we camped. We were here compelled to shoot one of our horses, which had fallen lame. During the week we had made very little progress, being forced to turn in every direction to avoid the deep gulleys, and the scrub which invariably prevailed in the bends of the creeks. A tribe of natives visited us at this camp, and appeared very friendly; they did not stop with us long. I saw today several trees of the “white apple,” as we called it, and which I have before described.
July 25. — We entered the scrub on the side of the creek, and proceeded along its banks with difficulty, being obliged to cut our way through, but it grew less dense after we had skirted the creek a short distance.
We found the creek to be the branch of a river, which here divided-one branch running to the south-east (by which we had camped yesterday)— the other running east. It is rocky, and shallow where it divides, but grows deeper in its course towards the coast. It is about two hundred yards wide, and its banks are overhung with trees on each side. After following it about a mile up, it grew much more shallow and narrow, and had a rocky bottom.
On the opposite side were patches of open forest ground, but they did not extend to any distance. After skirting the river about three miles, we crossed it in a shallow place, the bed of it being composed of blocks of water-worn granite.
The impediment offered by these blocks rendered it very difficult for our horses to pass, although the water was only from one to three feet deep. Several of the horses fell in crossing this river; the one carrying my specimens fell three times, and my specimens and seeds received much damage, if they were not entirely spoiled.
The river here runs from the north-west. We crossed it and entered the scrub, but not being able to get through it before dark, we tied our horses to trees, and slept by them all night.
July 27. — We were cutting through scrub nearly all day, and having recrossed the river, cut our way to the top of a high hill, which we could not avoid. We found a patch of open ground on the hill, with grass for our horses and sheep. The trees growing on the hill were casuarinas, and acacias, with a few box. Here we camped and tethered our horses, for fear they should fall down the steep bank of the river. At the foot of the hill, on the opposite side of this river, the rocks were of great height, and almost perpendicular. The river runs through a range of hills coming from the eastward, joining a very high range, over which our journey now lay. This range is composed of a dark coloured granite, very hard; near the water ran a vein of talc schist, running north-west and south-east. On the top of the hill we found large pebbles of quartz.
July 28. — This morning, having loosed our horses from the tether, one of them fell from the hill on to a ledge of hard rock at the edge of the river, a descent of thirty feet; he was so much injured by the fall that he died during the day. We came down the hill through the scrub towards the mountains, and camped but a short distance from where we rested the previous evening. We were now at the foot of the range.
July 29. — Mr. Kennedy proceeded to explore the range, to ascertain the best spot to cross it, it being covered with thick scrub. It runs from the southward and turns eastward. I dug up a piece of ground here near the edge of the scrub, and sowed seeds of cabbage, turnip, rock and water melons, parsley, leek, pomegranate, cotton, and apple pips.
I here found a beautiful orchideous plant, with the habit of BLETIA TANKERVILLIAE. flowering in the same manner, with flower stems about three feet high, and from twelve to twenty flowers on each stem. The sepals were much larger than those of Bletia, and of a rich purple colour; the column yellow, with a spur at the base of the flower about three-fourths of an inch long. I packed some of its thick fleshy roots in a tin case. I also here obtained specimens of a beautiful Hoyea, with long lanceolate leaves, a much finer shrub than H. CELSII. Also a species of HIBISCUS, with rough palmate leaves, large bright sulphur-coloured flowers, with a rich purple spot at the base of each petal, the stamens and stigma bright red, the blossoms when fully expanded eight inches in circumference; the plant has a very erect habit. Also another HIBISCUS. with obcordate tonentose leaves, and pink flowers; both these last were very handsome shrubs. The trees on the open ground were casuarinas and flooded gums, with a few BALFOURIAS; although we had a very difficult task before us — the ascent of the hills-our spirits did not fail us; but the horses began to look very poor and weak, although they had always had plenty of grass.
July 31. — Early this morning Mr. Kennedy, Jackey, and four others left the camp, and began clearing up the mountain. They remained out the whole of the day.
August 1. — Mr. Kennedy and his party returned to the camp, having determined on a route by which we should proceed up the mountain. Mr. Kennedy spoke very highly of Jackey, and thought him one of the best men of the party, for cutting away scrub and choosing a path; he never seemed tired, and was very careful to avoid deep gullies.
August 3. — We started early this morning, and proceeded up a spur of the range, in a north-westerly direction, but could not get so far as they had cleared. We managed to get twenty-three horses and their loads up to a flat place on the range, but, after several efforts, being unable to drive or lead the other horse up, we left him tied to a tree in the scrub. We found him all right the next morning, but as there was nothing but scrub before us, Mr. Kennedy thought it prudent to send the horses back to where there was grass and water for them, whilst some of the party cleared a path. After we had entered the scrub, we crossed a small creek, running rapidly, and which joined another running from the north-eastward, and which at their junction, form the river we had been camped at for the last few previous days.
The creeks ran over precipitous rocky falls, and it was Mr. Kennedy’s opinion, that all the creeks we have met with on this side (coast side) the range, run into the swamps, and there spread, and gathering again, form into channels and run into Rockingham Bay. There is a large tract of land opposite Rockingham Bay which is occupied by swamps, intersected by patches of open ground, and a few peaked hills. The swamps extend about forty-five miles, to about 145° 20’ east longitude. It seemed that a great deal of rain had fallen over this country, and it rained at intervals all the time we were in the vicinity of Rockingham Bay — from the 21st May to the middle of August. It was Mr. Kennedy’s opinion that the rainy season occurred very late this year. The whole peninsula seemed to fall from the east to the west.
August 4. — Mitchell, Dunn, and myself, took the horses and sheep to grass and water, and having hobbled the former, we made ourselves a small gunyah with saplings, and covered it with a small tarpaulin. We divided the night watch into three parts, being four hours each.
August 5. — We mustered the horses morning and evening, and drove the sheep close to the fire, having one of our kangaroo dogs chained up beside them, and the other one with the sheep dog loose. We were apprehensive that the natives might attack us.
August 6. — Shortly after we had mustered the cattle this morning, seven or eight natives appeared at the edge of the scrub, in the direction from which we had come.
Just as they approached, an Australian magpie perched upon a tree, and I shot it to show the effect of our fire-arms. On hearing the report of the gun they all ran into the scrub, and we saw them no more. On all occasions it was Mr. Kennedy’s order — not to fire on the blacks, without they molested us. I was anxious on this occasion not to let the natives know how few we were, and was glad to send them away in so quiet a manner. One of our sheep died this day, and as we had lost several before, and had but little to employ us, we opened it to see if we could ascertain the cause of its death. We found its entrails full of water. Our party was now divided into three bodies: Mr. Kennedy, Jackey, and four others, clearing a way up the mountain; Niblett and three others guarding the stores; whilst myself, Dunn, and Mitchell, had charge of the sheep and horses. It was necessary, therefore, for us to keep a good look-out, and two of us watched together.
August 7. — Early this morning a man came down to help us with the horses and sheep. We loaded our horses, with the exception of one, which was too weak and too much bruised from falling to travel. We turned him toward the open ground, and having packed our horses went on till dark, when we tied our horses to a tree and lay down for the night beside them, although it rained all night. We had each of us a water can which held five pints, which we filled, and our two water kegs, at the foot of the range, fearing we might not find water in the journey over.
August 8. — At daylight we were afoot and breakfasted, and started immediately after. We travelled up the hills all day, but made very little progress, owing to the great labour of clearing, and the numerous steep ascents we met with.
We fortunately found water in a low place, and with difficulty lighted a fire, everything being saturated with rain. We then laid down and endeavoured to sleep, but were unable to do so from the number of small leeches which attacked us. I was obliged to get up several times in the night, and in the morning I found myself covered with blood.
August 9. — We started at daylight, although it was raining, and continued to do so all day; about six o’clock in the evening we reached a small river, running rapidly over rocks, and deep in some places. Its course was north-easterly, but it turned north, a little below where we first came upon it. We camped by the side of it, it being too late to cross, although there was open forest ground on the other side. The open ground on the coast side the range, was considerably lower than that on the other, the highest part of our track being, according to Mr. Kennedy’s barometrical observations. upwards of two thousand feet above the level of the sea. The soil was a strong loam of a dark colour, owing to the admixture of a great deal of decomposed vegetable matter; rock projected in many places., and in those parts where the. rocks were near the surface, CALLITRIS (pine cypress) grew. In the deeper soil were large trees of the genera CASTANOSPERMUM, LOPHOSTEMON., and CEDRELA, mingled with ACHRAS AUSTRALIS, CALAMUS. (climbing palm,) SEAFORTHIA DICKSONIA OSMUNDA, large shrubs of ALYXIA, and several very interesting EPIPHYTAL ORCHIDAE were also found in this place. We also discovered a great many snails, with very large shells of a greyish colour. One I found on the bushes with an aperculum, which I gave to Wall.
August 10. — This morning we took the sheep and horses to a spot in the river where the current was not so strong, and drove them across. The sheep followed the horses like dogs. We then cut down three small straight trees, and made a bridge across a deep channel which ran between two rocks which projected out of the water, across which we carried our stores on our backs. All the things were got over before dark, after which we made a large fire to dry ourselves, having been wet to the waist all day. Niblett, who had been very unwell for three or four days, was taken much worse today. The position of our camp here was about 17° 48’ S. latitude, 145° 20’ E. longitude. We this day crossed the range, and prepared to commence our journey on the other side.
August 11. — We remained this day at the camp to give the horses a rest after their harrassing journey over the range.
August 12. — Proceeding about five miles over uneven open forest ground, with isolated blocks of rock, we camped by a chain of rocky water-holes. The trees growing here were casuarina, box, apple gum, and ironbark.
August 13 — Sunday. Prayers as usual at eleven o’clock.
August 14. — Complaint was made to Mr. Kennedy of the waste and extravagant use of the flour and sugar by Niblett, who had the charge of the stores. Mr. Kennedy immediately proceeded to examine the remainder of the stores, when he found that Niblett had been making false returns of the stores issued weekly. Up to this time Mr. Kennedy, Niblett, and Douglas, (who waited on Mr. Kennedy,) had messed together, apart from the other ten. Niblett took charge of the ration for the smaller mess, and usually cooked it himself, the ration being taken out weekly from that weighed for the whole party. Besides issuing a larger ration to his own mess, Niblett had taken a great deal from the stores for himself.
On finding this out, Mr. Kennedy requested me to take charge of the stores, and issue them to the cook for the week, and from this date we all messed together. We had at this time about seven hundred lbs. flour left. Everything was weighed in the presence of the whole party before I took charge, and I always weighed out every week’s ration in the presence of the cook and two other parties. At this camp it was found necessary to reduce our ration to the following scale per week; fifty lbs. flour, twelve lbs. sugar, two and three-quarter lbs. tea, and the sheep as before — one every second day.
After the ration was cooked, it was divided by the cook at every meal. We this day burned our sheepfold to lighten our loads a little.
August 15. — We were cutting through scrub nearly all day, and crossed several small creeks running westward. This day the horse carrying my specimens had become so poor and weak that he fell five different times, and we were obliged to relieve him of his load, which was now placed on one of Mr. Kennedy’s horses; but we soon found that even without a load he could not travel. We took off his saddle, bridle, and tether rope, and left him behind on a spot of good grass, where plenty of water was to be found.
The country here had a rugged and broken appearance; huge blocks of rock were lying on the open ground, sometimes one irregularly placed on the top of another, and of curious shapes. The hills as well as the valleys were generally covered with good grass, excepting in the scrub. On some of the hills the rocks were shivered into irregular pieces, and displayed crystals of quartz, small laminae of mica, and occasionally hornblende. This evening we camped by the side of a fine casuarina creek, coming from the north-east. Immediately over our camp its waters ran over a very hard “trap-rock” of a black colour, the soil a stiff loam.
August 16. — We travelled on for the most part of this day over irregular, barren, stony ridges, and gullies, intersected by numerous small creeks, and abounding in rocky holes, all containing plenty of water.
Two more of our horses fell several times this day; one of them being very old, and so weak that we were obliged to lift him up. We now made up our minds for the first time, to make our horses, when too weak to travel, available for food; we therefore killed him, and took meat enough from his carcass to serve our party for two days, and by this means we saved a sheep. We boiled the heart, liver, and a piece of the meat to serve us for our breakfast next day. We camped in the evening in the midst of rocky, broken hills, covered with dwarf shrubs and stunted gum trees; the soil in which they grew appearing more sandy than what we had yet passed on this side of the range. The shrubs here were DODONAEA, FABRICIA, DAVIESIA, JACKSONIA, and two or three dwarf species of ACACIA, one of which was very showy, about three feet high, with very small oblong, sericeous phyllodia, and globular heads of bright yellow flowers, produced in great abundance on axillary fascicles; also a very fine leguminous shrub, bearing the habit and appearance of CALLISTACHYS, with fine terminal spikes of purple decandrous flowers, with two small bracteae on the foot stalk of each flower, and with stipulate, oval, lanceolate leaves, tomentose beneath, legumes, small and flattened, three to six seeded, with an arile as large as the seed; these were flowering from four to twelve feet high. There was plenty of grass in the valleys of the creeks.
To the S.W. on the hills the grasses were RESTIO, XEROLES, and a spiney grass, which neither the horses nor the sheep would eat.
August 17. — This morning we commenced to prepare our breakfast of horse-flesh. I confess we did not feel much appetite for the repast, and some would not eat it at all; but our scruples soon gave way beneath the pangs of hunger, and at supper every man of the party ate heartily of it, and afterwards each one claimed his share of the mess with great avidity. The country to the north and north-west — the course we intended to proceed — looking very rugged and broken, we were discouraged from proceeding further this day, as the weak state of our horses prevented us making almost any progress. We therefore camped by the side of a small rocky creek, winding through the mountains in all directions.
August 18th. — Shortly after starting this morning we crossed a creek, running south-west, with a few arborescent callistemons growing out of the rocks here and there. The horse which Mr. Wall had been riding had grown so weak that it was unable to travel, even with nothing to carry but the saddle. As we were passing along the side of a hill, he fell and rolled down into a gully. Being quite a young horse we thought he might regain strength, and did not like to kill him. so we left him and proceeded to find a good place for camping, which we did after travelling about four miles in the north-west direction, by the side of a fine river, with steep reedy banks, lined with large casuarinas and flooded gum trees, and abundance of grass growing in the valley of the river. At this camp the feet of our horses were all carefully examined by Costigan, who was a blacksmith: it was also his duty to mark the number of each of our camps on some adjacent tree.
August 19. — Wall rode back to see if he could bring up the horse we had left behind, but on reaching the spot found him dead; one of our kangaroo dogs had also stopped behind by the horse, being unable to follow us to the camp. We had the good luck to succeed in catching several fish in the river, and what was better shot a fine wallaby, which saved us another sheep. We had all along been particularly unfortunate in getting any thing from the bush to add to our mess, not having been able either to shoot or catch any thing for some time past except a few pigeons and two or three brown hawks.
The river by which we were camped was running west by south: below our camp it was not near so wide as at the spot where we came upon it. Where it turned through the hills its banks were rocky and steep, and the bed narrow, but running rapidly. The hills here as well as the valley of the river were well covered with grass. The position of the camp was about 17° 30’ south latitude, 145° 12’ cast.
August 20, 21, and 22. — During the whole of these three days we travelled over undulating open land, wooded pretty thickly with stringy-bark, box, and apple gum, interspersed with occasional sandy flats, producing a broad leafed MELALEUCA, and a pretty species of GREVILLEA, with pinnatified silvery leaves. Neither the MELALEUCA nor the GREVILLEA grew more than twenty feet high.
On the flats we found a great number of ant-hills, remarkable for their height and size; they were of various forms, but mostly conical, some of them rose ten feet high. From the appearance of the ant hills I should take the sub-soil to be of a reddish clay.
August 23. — We camped by the side of a creek running to the westward, with rather a broad bed and steep banks of strong clay. There was no water in the creeks except in holes.
A tribe of natives, from eighteen to twenty in number, were seen coming down the creek, each carrying a large bundle of spears. Three of our party left the camp and went towards them, carrying in their hands green boughs, and making signs to the blacks to lay down their spears and come to us. After making signals to them for some minutes, three or four of them laid down their spears and approached us. I went back to the camp and fetched a few fish hooks, and a tin plate marked with Mr. Kennedy’s initials; having presented them with these they went away and appeared quite friendly. Shortly after we had camped, Goddard and Jackey went out for the purpose of shooting wallabies; they parted company at the base of a hill, intending to go round and meet on the other side, but missing each other Jackey returned to the camp without his companion. To our great alarm Goddard did not return all night, although we kept up a good fire as a beacon to show him where we were camped, and fired a pistol every five minutes during the night.
August 24. — Three of the party, accompanied by Jackey, rode to the spot where the latter had left Goddard on the previous day, intending, if possible, to track him, and succeeded in doing so for some distance to the eastward, but then coming to some stony ground, they lost the track.
They returned in about six hours, hoping to find him at the camp, but were disappointed. We now began to fear that our companion was lost, and poor Jackey displayed great uneasiness, fearing that he might be blamed for leaving him, and repeatedly saying that he did not wish Goddard to leave the camp at all, and that he had waited for him some time on the opposite side of the hill, where they were to meet. Four fresh horses were saddled, and Jackey, with Mr. Kennedy, Wall, and Mitchell, were just on the point of starting to renew the search, when to our great joy we observed him at a distance, approaching the camp. It would have been sadly discouraging to the whole party to have lost one of our companions in so. wild and desolate a spot. We made but a short stage today in a northerly direction, and camped by the side of a creek running west by south, which, with the last two creeks we had passed, we doubted not, from the appearance of the country, ran into the river we had crossed on the 20th inst. The country appeared to fall considerably to the westward. All the rivers and large creeks we had seen on this side the range (we crossed on the 10th instant) rose in or near the coast range, and appeared to run westerly across the peninsula into the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Although few of them appeared to be constantly running, yet there is an abundance of water to be found in holes and reaches of the rivers and creeks. Where there was any scrub by the side of the creeks, it was composed principally of the climbing palm, (CALAMUS,) GLYCERIA, KENNEDYA, MUCUNA, and a strong growing IPOMEA, with herbaceous-fibrous roots and palmate leaves; and in a few places bamboos were growing.
The trees were, EUGENIAS TERMINABIAS, CASTANOSPERMUMS, with two or three kinds of deciduous figs, bearing large bunches of yellowish fruit on the trunks. Although we frequently partook of these figs I found they did not agree with us; three or four of the party who frequently ate a great quantity, although advised not to do so, suffered severely from pain in the head and swelling of the eyes. The forest trees on the iron stone ridges were stringy-bark, and on the grassy hills box, Moreton Bay ash, and a tree belonging to the natural order LEGUMINOSAE, with axillary racemes of white apetalous flowers, long, broad, flat, many seeded legumes, large bipinnate leaves, leaflets oval, one inch long, and having dark fissured bark; on the flat stiff soil, grew iron-bark, apple tree, and another species of ANGOPHORA, with long lanceolate leaves, seed vessels as large as the egg of a common fowl and a smooth yellow bark.
August 27. — This day being Sunday we had prayers at eleven o’clock. We saved the blood of the sheep we had killed for today’s food, and having cut up the heart, liver, and kidneys, we mixed it all with a little flour and boiled it for breakfast. By this means we made some small saving, and it was a dish that we were very fond of. We saved all the wool that we could get from our sheep, for the purpose of stuffing our saddles, a process which was frequently required, owing to the poor condition of our horses.
August 28. — We started early this morning, but had not travelled far when one of our horses fell from weakness; we placed him on his legs four times during the day, but finding the poor animal could not walk; we shot him and took sufficient meat from him with us to last us two days.
After making but a short stage, over iron-stone ridges, covered with stringy-bark, and loamy flat, producing MELALEUCAS, and GREVILLEAS, we camped beside a small creek, in the sandy bed of which there was no water, but from which we soon obtained some by digging a hole about two feet deep. We afterwards found there was plenty of water in the creek higher up to the eastward.
August 29. — We were obliged to leave another horse behind us this morning as he was quite unable to travel.
We camped by the sandy bed of a very broad river, with water only in reaches and holes. There is, however, evidently a great deal of water running here occasionally, as the bed of the river was six or seven hundred yards wide, with two or three channels.
The flood marks on the trees were fifteen feet high; it has a north-easterly course; its bed was composed in places of large blocks of granite and trap rock, which was very difficult to walk upon, being very slippery. Fine MELALEUCAS were growing on each side, which with their long pendulous shoots and narrow silvery leaves, afforded a fine shade from the heat of the sun. There was plenty both of grass and water for the horses, but most of them continued to grow weaker.
August 30 and 31. — The country was very mountainous and so full of deep gullies, that we were frequently obliged to follow the course of a rocky creek, the turnings of which were very intricate; to add to our difficulties, many of the hills were covered with scrub so thickly that it was with much difficulty that we could pursue our course through it. We had intended to have kept along the bank of the river, thinking it might lead us to Princess Charlotte’s Bay, and although unable to do so, we did not as yet lose sight of the river altogether.
September 1. — All this day we continued travelling over very uneven country, full of precipitous rocks and gullies, until we came to a bend of the river: we now followed it in its tortuous course through the rocks, till we came to a flat country where its channels were divided by high green banks, on which were growing large drooping tea trees (MELALEUCAS); growing on these I found a beautiful species of loranthus, with large fascicles of orange coloured flowers, the leaves cordate, and clasping the stem.
On the hills I found a BRACHYCHITON, with crimson flowers; the tree had a stunted growth, and is deciduous. I collected as much of the gum as I could, and advised the others to do the same; we ate it with the roasted seeds, but were unable to find much of the gum or of the seeds.
September 2. — We travelled over uneven rocky ground, and crossed several gullies, and camped by the bed of a river, at a spot where there were fine reaches of water, full of NYMPHAEA and VILLARSIA. There was plenty of good grass in the valley of the river, which was not very wide here, but on the hills many parts had been recently burned, and the grass was just springing.
September 3. — Sunday. We had prayers at eleven o’clock, and afterwards, during the day, we shot a small emu and a kangaroo. Being camped by the side of the river, we were able to catch a few fish, which were a most acceptable change to us.
The country through which we had passed for the last two days consisted of a good stiff soil, well covered with grass, openly timbered, and well watered.
September 4 and 5. — The country continued much the same, making travelling most difficult and laborious. We were now in the vicinity of Cape Tribulation. In passing through the bed of the river, in which we were in many places obliged to travel, we passed two very high peaked hills to the westward.
September 6. — We now found the river beginning to run in all directions through the hills, over which it was impossible to travel. We were consequently forced to keep the bed of the river, our horses falling every few minutes, in consequence of the slippery surface of the rocks over which they were obliged to pass — consisting of dark granite.
The sterility of the hills here is much relieved by the bunches of beautiful large yellow flowers of the COCHLOSPERMUM JASSYPIUM, (the native cotton of Port Essington,) interspersed with the large balls of white cotton, just bursting from. the seed vessels. I collected a bag full of this cotton, wherewith to stuff our pack-saddles, as our sheep did not supply us with wool enough for that purpose. On these hills. too, I saw a beautiful calythrix, with pink flowers, and two or three very pretty dwarf acacias. As Mr. Kennedy and myself were walking first of the party, looking out for the best path for the horses to travel in, I fell with violence, and unfortunately broke Mr. Kennedy’s mountain barometer, which I carried. I also bruised one of my fingers very much, by crushing it with my gun.
September 7 and 8. — We continued following the river through its westward course, through a very mountainous country. On the hills I saw a very handsome BANHENIA, a tree about twenty feet high, with spreading branches covered with axillary fascicles of red flowers, long broad flat legumes, pinnate leaves, leaflets oval, about one inch long; an ERYTHRINA, with fine racemes of orange coloured flowers, with long narrow keel, and broad vexillum, leaves pinnate, and three to five lunate leaflets, long round painted legumes, red seeds; also a rose coloured BRACHYCHITON, with rather small flowers, a deciduous tree of stunted habit, about twenty feet high. We also passed narrow belts of low sandy loam, covered with BANKSIAS, broad leafed MELALEUCAS, and the orange coloured GREVILLEA I have before spoken of. In these flats we again met with large ant-hills, six to ten feet high, and eight feet circumference; the land at the base of a reddish colour.
September 9. — We had a fine view of the surrounding country from the top of a high hill, in the midst of a range over which we passed. To the west and round to the south the country appeared to be fine undulating forest land, intersected by numerous creeks and small rivers falling considerably to the westward, as in fact all the water had been running for some days past. Doubtless there must be plenty of water in the holes and reaches of these rivers and creeks in all seasons, but in the rainy season many of them must be deep and rapid streams. as the flood marks on the trees were from fifteen to twenty feet high.
The river along the course of which we had been so long travelling varied in width from two hundred to eight hundred yards. It has two, or, in some places, three distinct channels, and in the flat country through which it passes these are divided by large drooping MELALEUCAS.
It is singular that the country here should be so destitute of game; we had seen a few wallabies and a few ducks, but were seldom able to shoot any of them; we had riot seen more than four or five emus altogether since we started; a few brown hawks we occasionally shot, were almost the only addition we were enabled to make to our small ration. To-day we got an iguana and two ducks, which with the water in which our mutton was boiled would have made us a good pot of soup, had there been any substance in the mutton. Even thin as it was, we were very glad to get it. The rivers also seemed to contain but few fish, as we only caught a few of two different kinds, one of which without scales, resembled the cat-fish, caught near Sydney; the other was a dark thick fish with scales.
September 10. — Finding that the river continued running to the westward, and not as we had hoped towards Princess Charlotte’s Bay. we left it and turned in a northerly direction, travelling over very rocky ridges covered with cochlospermums and acacias, interspersed with occasional patches of open forest land, and strewed with isolated blocks of course granite containing crystals of quartz and laminae of white mica.
We had not seen natives for several days, but this night, whilst one of the party was keeping watch. a short distance from the fire, about eleven o’clock, he heard the chattering of the blacks. Three spears were almost immediately thrown into the camp and fell near the fire. but fortunately without injuring any of the party. We fired a few shots in the direction from which the spears came; the night being so dark that we could not see them. We entertained fears that some of our horses might be speared, as they were at some distance from the camp, but fortunately the blacks gave us no further molestation.
Prayers as usual at eleven o’clock.
September 11 and 12. — We pursued our northern course, the ground becoming very rotten; by the sides of small creeks in sandy flats were belts of broad leafed MELALEUCAS and GREVILLEAS. We met with scrubs of SEPTOSPERMUM, FABRICIA, and DODONAEA. By the creeks. when the ground was sandy, we saw ABRUS PRECATORIUS, and a small tree about fifteen feet high, with bi-pinnate leaves, the leaflets very small, with long flat legumes containing ten or twelve black and red seeds, like those of ABRUS PRECATORIUS, but rather larger.
September 13 and 14. — Most part of these days we travelled over a country of stiff soil, covered with iron-bark, and divided at intervals by belts of sandy ground, on which grew BANKSIAS, CALLITRIS, and a very pretty LOPHOSTEMON, about twenty feet high, with long narrow lanceolate leaves, and very round bushy top.
By the side of the small streams running through the flat ground, I saw a curious herbaceous plant, with large pitchers at the end of the leaves, like those of the common pitcher plant (NEPENTHES DISTILLATORIA). It was too late in the season to find flowers, but the flower stems were about eighteen inches high, and the pitchers would hold about a wine-glass full of water. This interesting and singular plant very much attracted the attention of all our party.
We here fell in with a camp of natives. Immediately they saw us they ran away from their camps, leaving behind them some half cooked food, consisting of the meal of some seeds, (most likely Moreton Bay Chesnuts,) which had been moistened, and laid in small irregular pieces on a flat stone with a small fire beneath it. We took a part of this baked meal, leaving behind some fish hooks as payment. In the camp we also found a considerable quantity of Pandanus fruit, which grows very plentifully here. Although however it is sweet and pleasant to the taste, I found that the natives did not eat largely of it, as it possessed very relaxing qualities, and caused violent headache, with swelling beneath the eyes.
Some narrow belts of land we passed here betrayed indications of having been frequently inundated by fresh water. The ground was very uneven, full of small hillocks which were hidden by long grass, which caused our weak horses to fall very frequently.
September 15. — This day we had better travelling, the soil becoming a strong greyish loam; the forest land open and free from scrub, the trees principally consisting of iron bark, box, and the leguminous tree, with bi-pinnate leaves, and dark fissured bark I have before alluded to. We saw here a great many pigeons of various kinds; Mr. Wall shot one pair of GEOPHAPS PLUMIFERA, which he preserved; also a pair of small pigeons of a greyish colour, with red round the eyes, which he considered new.
I also saw a large tree and obtained specimens of it, belonging to the natural order BIGNONIACEAE, with terminal spikes of yellow flowers, and rough cordate leaves; and a proteaceous plant with long compound racemes of white flowers, and deeply cut leaves, resembling a tree with true pinnate leaves. The large seeded ANGOPHORA mentioned by me before, also grew in this district.
About ten o’clock we came upon the banks of a very fine river, with very broad bed, and steep banks on both sides. No doubt this was the river we had seen to the eastward from our camp on the 9th instant. Mr. Kennedy considered this river to rise somewhere near Cape Tribulation, and after running northward about thirty miles, to turn to the south-west, the way it was running when we came upon it. In this place it appeared a fine deep river, and we followed it in its southwest course, at a short distance from its banks, for six or seven miles. The south-east bank was, for the last three or four miles we traced it, covered with a narrow belt of scrub, composed of FLAGELLARIA, JASMINIUM, PHYLLANTHUS, and a rambling plant, belonging to the natural order VERBENACEAE, with terminal spikes of white, sweet-scented flowers.
The trees were principally CASTANOSPERMUM, MELIA, RULINGIA, and SARCOCEPHALUS, and a beautiful tree, belonging to the natural order BOMBACEAE, probably to the genus ERIODENDRON, with large spreading branches, which, as well as the trunk, were covered with spines. These trees are from thirty to fifty feet in height, and produce large crimson camponulate flowers, composed of five large stiff petals, about two inches long; stamens numerous, all joining at the base, and divided again into five parcels; the fillaments are the same length as the petals; five cleft stigma; large five-celled capsule, many seeded cells, the seeds being wrapped in a white silky cotton. This tree was deciduous, the leaves being palmate, and grew on stiff soil: its large crimson flowers attracted universal admiration. We crossed the river at a spot where its banks were not so steep, and where there was but from one to three feet of water; in some places the bottom was sandy and in others rocky, but we could only see rock in the bed of the river. We camped on the side of the river, on some recently burned grass; five of the party went fishing a short distance up the river, and caught a few fish. The country here to the west and the south-west was open undulating forest land, which had been burned some short time before, and the grass just growing again, formed beautiful feed for our horses and sheep. Towards evening about six or eight natives made their appearance, on the same side of the river as our camp; when about two hundred yards from us they shipped their spears, and with other warlike gestures gradually drew near to us, making a great noise, doubtless thinking to frighten us.
There being a wide deep gully between the natives and our camp, we drew up along the edge of it, with our firearms all ready to give them a warm reception, should they endeavour to approach to closer hostilities.
We endeavoured to make them understand that our intentions were friendly, and that we wished them to be peaceable; but they seemed to construe our signals to make them comprehend this, into indications of fear on our part; this increased their courage, and strengthened their determination to drive us away if possible, although they would not come within reach of our guns. We however fired at them, and although none were hurt, they appeared much frightened at the report of the fire arms. They left us and went in the direction taken by the five of our party who had gone fishing, and for the safety of whom we began to be alarmed; our fears were, increased, by hearing the report of a gun a few minutes afterwards. It seemed they had seen our party fishing by the side of the river, and instantly ran at them, to attack them; but one of the party placed on the bank as a look-out, fired at them as they came up, just as they were preparing to throw their spears, on which they turned their backs, and took to flight as fast as they could.
September 16. — This morning after breakfast, myself and Mitchell took two horses and re-crossed the river. We went about two miles back to a spot where I had seen some PORTULACAE, intending to bring some of it back to the camp to boil as a vegetable, it being the only description of food of the kind that we had been able to obtain throughout our journey. We filled a bag with it and returned to the camp, when I found half a damper, one meal’s bread had been stolen from the stores during my absence. This was not the first theft of the kind that had been committed and it was found necessary to watch the provisions night and day. Mr. Kennedy was anxious to discover the thief in this instance, as it was stolen in open daylight while Mr. Kennedy himself was keeping a look-out in his tent, not twenty yards from where the provisions were stolen; every man’s load was searched, but in vain, and Mr. Kennedy, knowing that a party left the camp for the purpose of fishing a short distance up the river, and another party a few yards down the river to wash some clothes — took Jackey with him, who, by detecting some crumbs on the ground, discovered that the damper had been eaten at the place where the clothes were washed.
So careless were some of the party of the fatal consequences of our provisions being consumed before we arrived at Cape York, that as soon as we camped and the horses were unpacked, it was necessary that all the provisions should be deposited together on a tarpaulin, and that I should be near them by day and by night, so that I could not leave the camp at all, unless Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Wall undertook to watch the stores. I was obliged to watch the food whilst cooking; it was taken out of the boiler in the presence of myself and two or three others, and placed in the stores till morning.
It was seldom that I could go to bed before nine or ten o’clock at night, and I had to be up at four in the morning to see our tea made and sweetened, and our breakfast served out by daylight. The meals we cut up in thirteen parts, as nearly equal as possible, and one person touched each part in succession; whilst another person, with his back turned, called out the names of the party, the person named taking the part touched. The scrupulous exactness we were obliged to practice with respect to our provisions was increased by our misfortune in getting next to nothing to assist our scanty ration; while the extreme labour to which we were subjected increased our appetites. Two of the party always went out at daylight to fetch the horses in, and it was necessary we should start at early morning on account of the great heat in the middle of the day. We always endeavoured to make a fair stage by ten o’clock, and then, if in a convenient place, to halt: sometimes we were obliged to halt at nine o’clock, but we started again generally about three or four o’clock p.m., and travelled on till six.
Twelve or fourteen natives made their appearance at the camp this evening, in the same direction as on the previous day. Each one was armed with a large bundle of spears, and with boomerangs. Their bodies were painted with a yellowish earth, which with their warlike gestures made them look very ferocious. The grass in the position they had taken up was very long and very dry, quite up to the edge of the gully; they set it on fire in three or four places, and the wind blowing from them to us, it burned very rapidly. Thinking we should be frightened at this display they followed the fire with their spears shipped, making a most hideous noise, and with the most savage gestures. Knowing the fire could not reach us, as there was nothing to burn on our side the gully, we drew up towards them with our firearms prepared. They approached near enough to throw three spears into our camp, one of which went quite through one of our tents. No one was hurt, but a few of our party fired at them; we could not tell whether any were wounded, as they disappeared almost immediately. We kept three on watch this night for fear of the natives.
September 17 to 21. — Leaving the river, we turned northwest, and had occasionally fair travelling over stiff soil, intersected by many creeks, most of them dry, but were everywhere able to find water at intervals of a few miles. We passed over some ironstone ridges, and rocky hills, covered with CALLITRIS, COCHLOSPERMUM, and STERCALIAS. On the stiff soil the trees were ironbark, box, apple, gum, and some large acacias, with long lanceolate phyllodia, and large spikes of golden coloured flowers. The grass here in the valleys between the hills had been burned, and was grown again about eight or ten inches high.
September 22. — We crossed a creek running eastward, overhung by MELALEUCAS and arborescent callistemons, with plenty of grass on both sides; the soil appeared to grow more sandy than that over which we had hitherto passed.
September 23. — We proceeded in our course, travelling over sandy ridges covered with EUGENIA, EXOCARPUS, and a very pretty EUCALYPTUS, with rose-coloured flowers and obcordate leaves, and yellow soft bark, also a dwarfish tree with dark green leaves, and axillary racemes of round monospermons, fruit of a purple colour, with a thin rind of a bitter flavour; also a great many trees of moderate size, from fifteen to twenty feet high, of rather pendulous habit, oval lanceolate exstipulate leaves, loaded with an oblong yellow fruit, having a rough stone inside; the part covering the stem has, when ripe, a mealy appearance, and very good flavour. I considered from its appearance it was the fruit which Leichhardt called the nonda, which we always afterwards called it; we all ate plentifully of it.
The weather for the last few days had been very hot, the thermometer ranging in the shade from 95° to 100° at noon; still there was generally a breeze in the morning from the eastward, and in the evening from the west. We camped by the same creek as on the previous day, but in our present position it was running S.W., with several lagoons in the valley, full of NYMPHEA and VILLARSIA; our latitude here was 15° 33’ south.
September 24. — We crossed the creek and proceeded northward, till we camped by a dry creek, from the bed of which we obtained water by digging. During the day’s journey, we passed over some flats of rotten honeycomb ground, on which nothing was growing but a few stunted shrubs, and a blue herbaceous plant belonging to the order BORAGINEAE. We also passed over other sandy flats covered with broad-leafed MELALEUCAS and Grevillias, and a few Banksias. On these flats ant hills occurred, and in their vicinity there was seldom much grass. The grasses generally growing there were annual grasses. It was Mr. Kennedy’s opinion that the creek we crossed this morning joined the river we left on the 16th, and formed the Mitchell, although the country hereabouts did not resemble the banks of the Mitchell, as described by Leichhardt; but the appearance of the country varies so much every few miles, particularly to the westward, that it is impossible to support an opposite opinion on this ground.
September 25. — As three of the horses could not be found this morning, four men were left behind to search for them while the rest of the party travelled on. They had not come up with us at about four o’clock, and being anxious to find water before dark, we proceeded along a narrow open valley covered with long grass, and large pandanus, skirted on each side by rather scrubby forest land. At dark we reached a large water hole. One of the men left behind shortly arrived, and stated that the rest had halted for the night. Mr. Kennedy being anxious to bring all the horses to water, and to have the party together, sent me back to conduct them to the camp, which I very soon did, even though it was dark, the track being very plain. We collected a great many nondas today and baked some of them with our bread, which was the only way we could eat them cooked; they were much better fresh from the trees, but we found them rather astringent. Spring, our best kangaroo dog, was unable to come up to the camp this day, being overpowered by the heat of the sun, a circumstance we all regretted, as he was a most excellent watch dog.
September 26. — We travelled a good stage this morning before we found water in a sandy creek, where the country seemed to fall slightly to the north-east. We still hoped to find a river running into Princess Charlotte’s Bay.
September 27. — We proceeded N.E. over alternating sandy ridges and marshy flats; the latter, though dry where we passed over them, presented the appearance of being generally inundated. We camped by the side of a rocky creek, containing very little water.
September 28. — Just as we were about to start this morning, two natives, carrying a bundle of reeds and a basket, passed within a short distance of our camp, and seemed to take no notice of us. Our sheep were not to be found, having rambled to a distance: although without a sheepfold, this was the first instance in which the sheep had strayed; generally remaining by the fire, towards which they were driven at night, till morning.
We had never seen a wild native dog during the journey. Our dog that we had left behind came into the camp to night, very much exhausted, having travelled about thirty miles; he must have subsisted on nondas, as it was impossible he could have caught anything, and we had seen him cat them before. He died the following morning.
September 30. — After travelling a short distance we crossed a small river running eastward: for some distance down it, the water was brackish, and at spring tide the salt water came up to our camp; but we obtained good water from a small lagoon near the camp. We proceeded over a large plain well covered with good grass, the soil stiff clay. We proceeded about five or six miles on a plain, turning westward towards a lagoon surrounded by stravadiums and a few very large palms. We hoped to find water in it, but it was dry, and fearing we should not be able to find water before dark if we proceeded in this direction, we thought it better to return to our camp.
October 1. — We had prayers this day as usual on Sundays, at eleven o’clock. We saw native fires at a distance to the north-east of our camp, but the natives did not come near us. I went up what we fancied was the river by which we had camped, but found it only a creek; but it had plenty of water in it at this season. There were several small lagoons near it. There were large drooping tea trees (melaleucas) growing on its banks, and large palm trees, of the same kind as those I had seen in the plain the day before, and which were by far the finest palms I had ever seen; the trunks were not very high, varying from fifteen to thirty feet, but very large in bulk, varying from six to eight feet in circumference: they had large fan-shaped leaves, with slightly curved spines on the footstalk. It is a diaecious palm, the female plants bearing an immense quantity of round fruit, about the size of a green-gage plum, of a purple colour, and rather disagreeable flavour; the pulp covering the seed was very oily, and not a leaf to be seen on any of the fruit-bearing plants; the whole top consists of branches full of ripe and unripe seeds. Bushels of seeds were lying beneath some of the trees, it seeming that but few were eaten by birds or small animals. One of our party suffered severely from eating too freely of them as they brought on diarrhoea. I measured two or three of the leaves of the male plants, and those not of the largest size, and found them to measure six feet in the widest part, and four feet and half in the narrowest. These leaves were split by the wind into segments of various widths. The grass growing to the westward of our camp was not so high as that to the eastward, and appeared to consist of a larger proportion of annual grasses, the perennial grass growing only in tufts; near the river it was covered with an annual IPOMEA, of very strong growth; the leaves and blossoms were withered, but I obtained seeds. We shot three ducks today, and Wall shot a wallaby of a light grey colour, long soft fur, and rather bushy tail; he thought it new, and preserved the skin. I also obtained specimens of a beautiful plant, a shrub about two feet high, with white sweet scented blossoms, belonging to the natural order “Rubiaceae,” and several other interesting plants. Lately however my specimens had been very much spoiled, being torn from the horse’s back so frequently, and I grew disheartened to see all the efforts I had made, made in vain, although I still took every method to preserve them from injury.
October 2. — This morning we proceeded across the plain, and when we had advanced about two miles upon it, we discovered that the natives had set the grass on fire behind us and the wind blowing from the eastward, and the grass growing thick and high, it rapidly gained upon us; we made all possible haste to some burned ground which we had seen on Saturday, and only reached it a few minutes before the fire. We were enveloped in smoke and ashes, but fortunately no one was burned. The natives did not come near us, although no doubt they watched us, and saw us proceeding to the part of the plain that was burned. The plain extended a great distance to the westward, and crossing it one of our horses knocked up and could travel no longer; Mr. Kennedy ordered him to be bled, and we not liking to lose the blood, boiled it as a blood-pudding with a little flour, and in the situation we were, enjoyed it very much.
October 3. — We killed the horse this morning as he was not able to stand, and dried the meat to carry with us; we made a small stage of saplings on which to dry the meat; the meat was cut off to the bone as clean as possible, and then cut in thin slices, and laid on the stage in the sun to dry, and the sun being very hot, it dried well; the heart, liver, and kidneys were parboiled, and cut up fine, and mixed with the blood of the horse and about three pounds of flour; they made four puddings, with which, after they had boiled about four hours, we satisfied our appetites better than we had been able to o for some time: it was served up in the same manner as our usual rations, in equal parts, and each man had a right to reserve a portion of his mess till the next day, but very little was saved; Mr. Kennedy found that it was even necessary to have the horse flesh watched whilst drying, finding that two or three of the party had secreted small quantities amongst their clothes; such precautions were quite necessary as well in justice to the whole of the party, as to keep up the strength of all, which seemed to be very fast declining. At night we made a fire to smoke the meat, and to destroy the maggots, which wore very numerous in it; we packed the meat in empty flour bags.
October 4. — We proceeded northward over small sandy plains, covered with annual grass, which was now very much withered, and through belts of dwarf bushy MELALEUCAS and Banksias. We were not far from Princess Charlotte’s Bay, Jane’s Table Land being in sight. We came to the side of a salt lagoon, very nearly dry; we found it covered with salt, of which we took about 20lbs., which was as much as we could carry, but even this was a very seasonable help; we rubbed about two pounds of it in our meat. We encamped by a small creek, but the water was brackish, and not being able to find any other we were obliged to make use of it. One of our horses was slightly hurt by a stump of a mangrove tree. All we got from the horse we last killed was sixty-five pounds of meat.
October 5 and 6. — We travelled over sandy soil, but with little grass, meeting frequently with salt lagoons, surrounded by various salsolaceous plants. Near the edge of a salt water creek we found a native camp, composed of about seven or eight gunyahs, curiously and neatly built of a conical form; all very nearly of the same size, about five and a half feet diameter at the base, and six and a half feet high. They were made by placing saplings in the ground in a slanting position, which were tied together at the top and woven inside like wicker work, with strips of small bamboo canes. The whole was then covered with palm leaves, over which was a coating of tea tree-bark, very neatly fastened by strips of cane. They were substantially built, and would no doubt keep out the wet effectually. They seemed to be occupied by the natives only in the rainy season, as, from their appearance, they had not been inhabited for some time. I entered one of them through a small arched opening of about twenty inches or two feet high, and found three or four nets, made with thin strips of cane, about five feet long, with an opening of about eight inches in diameter at one end, getting gradually smaller for about four feet, where there was a small opening into a large round sort of basket. These nets were laid by the natives in narrow channels to catch fish, as well as in the tracks of small animals, such as rats and bandicoots, for the purpose of catching them. There were also some pieces of glass bottle in the gunyah, carefully wrapped in bark and placed in a very neat basket, made in the shape of a lady’s reticule. The glass is used by the natives in marking themselves: all of them being marked on the arms and breast, while some were marked on the cheeks and forehead.
In the camp we thus discovered were small stone ovens, similar to those we had found in the camp at Rockingham Bay, as well as one with a large flat stone raised six or eight inches from the ground, and a fire place of loose stones beneath. Near to one of the tents was a large stone hollowed out in the middle, and two or three round pebbles for pounding dried seeds, &c.
October 7 and 8. — Flat sandy ground, with occasional patches of scrub, composed of bushy MELALEUCAS, HIBISCUS, BANKSIA, and several rambling plants, with a few large palms scattered in places; there was not much grass, except at intervals.
October 9. — This morning we came to a river, running into Princess Charlotte’s Bay, in lat. 14° 30’ S., long. 143° 56’. It was deep, and about 100 yards wide, the water salt, and the tide was flowing. up fast, and the banks were high. A few scattered mangroves, and a leguminous tree, with rough cordate leaves, and large one or two seeded legumes, were growing on the banks. We were obliged to turn southerly for a short distance, and found what we had fancied to be a river only a small creek. We crossed it about twelve or fourteen miles from the sea, but the water was brackish. The trees on the sandy ground were broad leafed MELALEUCAS, GREVILLEAS, nondas, and by the water holes which we occasionally saw were stravadiums and drooping MELALEUCAS. I also saw a species of stravadium with racemes of white flowers, much longer than the others, with leaves ten inches long by four inches broad, and the trees thirty feet high. Keeping at a distance from the sea-coast to avoid the salt water creeks, and to obtain good grass for our horses, we halted in the middle of the day, and were visited by a great many natives, coming in all directions, and making a great noise. They appeared to have been collecting nondas, as a great many of their women were carrying large (dillis) baskets full away. After the women were out of sight they made signs to us to go away. We got our horses together, and endeavoured to make them friendly, but our entreaties were disregarded, and the presents we offered them were treated with contempt. When we found they would not allow us to come near them we packed our horses and prepared to start. They followed us at some distance, continually throwing spears after us for some time; one was thrown into the thigh of a horse, but fortunately not being barbed it was taken out, and the horse was not much injured. We then rode after them in two or three directions and fired at them, and they left us, and we saw no more of them.
October 11. — To-day when halting in a place where there was no water, but good grass, a tribe of natives made their appearance, and appeared disposed to be friendly. We carefully collected our horses, and shortly after the natives drew near to us. We made them presents of a few fish-hooks and tin plates, and made signs to them that we wanted water. several of them ran off, and in a few minutes returned with water in a vessel (if it may be so called,) composed of pieces of bark tied together at each end, and they continued going backwards and forwards until they had brought enough to fill our cans, besides what we drank. They left us quite quietly.
October 12. — We proceeded along the creek by which we had encamped the night before; the water was brackish. We attempted to go through some mangroves to the beach, but did not succeed.
October 13. — Jackey, Taylor, and myself took three horses, and tried to get to the beach more to the northward than yesterday. We passed through a belt of mangroves, where the ground was pretty firm, the tide coming up only occasionally; we then proceeded along a sandy ridge to the northward, when we found it ended by a salt water lagoon, surrounded by salsolaceous plants and mangroves, which it was impossible to get through. We returned to our camp, and here Mr. Kennedy abandoned the thought of going to the beach, as he felt sure H.M.S. Bramble (which was to have met us at the beginning of August) would have gone; our journey having occupied so much longer time than we could have possibly anticipated. This consideration, combined with the great difficulty which seemed likely to ensue in obtaining water and feed for our horses, determined him to take a different direction.
October 15. — We had prayers as usual this day, being Sunday, at 11 o’clock; this day we finished the consumption of all our sugar, except a very small quantity, which was reserved for any particular case of sickness.
October 16. — This morning a horse fell into a rocky water hole, and finding it impossible to get him out alive, we killed him, and cured the flesh as before, drying it in the sun on a stage; the blood, heart, and liver furnished us with a good day’s food. Our meat being well dried by five o’clock in the afternoon, we sprinkled some salt upon it, and put it in bags for the convenience of carrying. We left one of our round tents, and such other things as we could possibly spare behind us at the camp, as our horses were now so weak they could not carry their loads.
October 17 and 18. — Our travelling was very uneven, our horses giving us continual trouble from their frequent falls; we had a few narrow belts of scrub to cut through, but they were not very thick.
October 19. — Several of our horses were now quite unable to carry anything but the saddle; we passed through open forest land, with a light soil, sub-soil clay, with isolated blocks of granite rock scattered about.
We encamped by a rocky creek, with water in holes only; it ran westerly, and had fresh green feed on each side, the grass having been burned shortly before, and was now growing again.
October 20. — We passed over a piece of stiff ground about two miles in extent, which appeared to have been the scene of a devastating hurricane. It was covered with fallen timber, which rendered it very difficult to cross. The wind must have swept from the south-west to the north-east, and from the appearance of the saplings which were growing from the stumps of some of the trees which had been broken, this terrific storm appeared to have taken place about two years ago. Not a tree had been left standing in the part where we crossed, nor could we tell how far the devastation had extended to the south-west; but the ground to the north and east being swampy, and covered only with small MELALEUCAS and Banksias, the wind had not taken much effect. Many of the trees in the middle of the fallen timber measured two feet in diameter. Some were torn up by the roots, and the trunks of others were snapped at various heights from the ground. The latitude of our camp here was 13° 35’.
October 21. — We killed another of our horses today, as he was too weak to stand.
October 22. — We got our meat well dried today, and having smoked it a little, packed it as before. Our stock of flour was now reduced to two hundred pounds weight, and many of the men growing very weak, we were obliged to increase our weekly ration a little. Three of the party, Douglass, Taylor, and Costigan, were suffering from diarrhoea, in consequence of having eaten too freely of the pandanus fruit. Their spirits began to fail them, and they frequently complained despairingly to Mr. Kennedy that they should never be able to reach Cape York. Although our horses were so very weak, these men were obliged to ride, being quite unable to walk far at a time.
The country before us was very mountainous, but between the hills we found plenty of grass and water: to the south the whole country appeared to be on fire.
October 23 to 25. — We travelled during these days over a rocky mountainous country, interspersed with deep gullies and creeks, fringed with belts of scrub. In these scrubs I saw the white apple and the crimson scitamineous plant seen near Rockingham Bay; scattered over the country were a few cedar trees and Moreton Bay chestnuts, and some very fine timber trees belonging to the natural order MYRTACEAE, upwards of sixty feet high, and three to four feet in diameter, with fine straight trunks.
October 26 to 28. — We travelled over stony hills, the tops of which were occasionally composed of white flint, with rusty veins running through it. On the rides of the hills were broken rocks containing mica, hornblende, and crystals of quartz. The grass on these hills had all been newly burned.
October 29. — Sunday; prayers at eleven o’clock. We this day shot three small wallabies, which were a great treat to us.
October 30. — This day Luff was taken very lame, being seized with severe pain and stiffness in the right leg; he was quite unable to walk, so we burned the other two round tents to enable him to ride.
November 1 and 2. — We again had to kill a horse which was too weak to walk, and disposed of it as we had our former ones.
November 3. — We were cutting through scrub all day, intersected by deep gullies and rocky hills; we crossed a small river, with very uneven rocky bottom, about three feet deep; where we crossed it, it was running southerly, and as there had been a heavy storm a few days previously, the current was rapid; five of our horses fell in crossing it — the one carrying my specimens in a very bad place; we were obliged to cut the girths, and before I could secure his load two bags of seeds were washed away; we tied our horses to trees, and encamped in a thick bamboo scrub by the side of the river.
November 4. — This morning Jackey went to examine a scrub through which we wanted to pass, and while out, shot a fine cassowary; it was very dark and heavy, not so long on the leg as the common emu, and had a larger body, shorter neck, with a large red, stiff, horny comb on its head; Mr. Wall skinned it, but from the many difficulties with which he had to contend, the skin was spoiled before it could be properly. preserved.
November 5. — We travelled a short distance to the top of a hill, from which Jackey had seen grass from a tree. We were obliged to kill another horse today, and cured the flesh as usual.
November 6. — We were compelled to shoot two other horses to day, and as we had no other means of taking the meat with us, we skinned one of them, and made the skin into bags, in which we each carried a few pounds of meat on our backs.
November 7 and 8. — We were travelling these two days over very rough rocky ground, intersected with gullies and belts of scrub.
November 9. — We were obliged this morning to start without our breakfast, having no bread baked, and being unable to find water. We followed the course of a creek at the foot of a low range of hills running northward, the range being to the westward. In the evening we found water in the creek.
November 10. — We proceeded along the valley of the creek, which was very uneven, and full of small hillocks. Near the spot where we camped a great number of Pandanus were growing. On each side of the creek there were a few trees growing, and a thick scrub to the westward. The soil was stiff, with plenty of grass in the valley.
Mr. Kennedy, here, finding from the weak state of some of the men, that it would be impossible for us to reach Cape York before our provisions were exhausted, resolved to form an advance party, consisting of himself, Jackey, Costigan, Luff, and Dunn.
We had but nine horses left, of which number it was proposed that they should take seven, and proceed to Cape York as quickly as possible, to obtain provisions for the rest of the party from the vessel waiting with supplies for our homeward journey.
November 11. — We proceeded along the valley a short distance, with the view of forming our depot as near to Weymouth Bay as possible. We crossed the creek where it turned eastward, on a kind of bank, which intercepted its course, up to which, from the east, the tide came sometimes, so that on that side the creek the water was brackish, but very good water was obtainable on the other side the bank.
After we had camped, we killed our last sheep, and Mr. Kennedy proceeded to the top of a high hill to view the country over which he would have to pass. Shortly after his return to the camp several natives made their appearance, to whom we made a present of a tin plate and a few fish-hooks, which made them quite friendly. While they were looking at us, a great many brown hawks came hovering over the camp. Wall and Jackey shot fourteen or fifteen of them, in the presence of the natives, who retired to the edge of the scrub, and seemed very much surprised to see the hawks fall as soon as they heard the report of the guns. They went into the scrub at dark, but a good watch was kept all night; though the natives did not again make their appearance.
One of our dogs killed a young dog belonging to the natives during the night, which I afterwards ascertained was eaten by Dunn, Luff, Costigan, and Goddard.
November 12. — Sunday: prayers at eleven; Jackey and I went to the beach to see if we could find any salt, as our’s was getting very low, but we could not succeed in getting any.
November 13. — This morning everything was prepared for the departure of Mr. Kennedy and his party, and the last of our mutton was served out equally to each of the party.
Mr. Kennedy gave me written instructions how to act during our stay at Weymouth Bay, it being his intention to send for us by water, if possible, as he expected to meet H.M.S. Bramble at Port Albany. He calculated that he should be from ten to fifteen days before he reached that place, and directed me to keep a sharp look-out from the hill for a vessel; and should I see one, to hoist a flag on the hill. If the natives were friendly I was to put a ball beneath the flag, and above it should they be hostile. In the evening I was to fire three rockets, at intervals of about twenty minutes.
The party left at the depot under my charge were eight in number. The provisions consisted of two horses and twenty-eight pounds of flour, the former being very poor and weak.
Not knowing whether he could send for us by water or not, Mr. Kennedy directed me to make my provisions last at least six weeks, but that it was possible I might get relief fourteen days after his departure, and to keep a very sharp look-out after that time.
I packed up all the dried meat we had left (75 lbs.) and 18 lbs. of flour for Mr. Kennedy to take with him, and about one pound of tea was divided between the two parties. These, with their firearms, and a few necessaries of a light description, were all the party took with them. Mr. Kennedy requested me to register the height of the thermometer during my stay at the Bay. The whole of the party left at the camp were very weak, Luff being the weakest man that proceeded with the party to Cape York.
Before leaving Mr. Kennedy told me that he expected to meet with some difficulties for the first few days, from the nature of the country he had seen from the hill. I did not mention this to the rest of the party, for fear it might still further tend to depress their spirits, as three or four of them. even now seemed to despair of ever reaching our destination. I did all in my power to keep them in good heart, but they were saddened and depressed from long suffering.
We removed our camp back across the creek to the side of the high bare hill on which I was to hoist a flag, and from which I could look out for a vessel. It also afforded us a security from the natives, as we could see them at a greater distance. The latitude of this camp was 12° 35’ S.
And thus we settled down in the spot which was to be the burial place of so many of our party — which was fated to be the scene of so much intense suffering, and of such heart-sickening hope deferred. Wearied out by long endurance of trials that would have tried the courage and shaken the fortitude of the strongest, a sort of sluggish indifference prevailed, that prevented the development of those active energies which were so necessary to support us in our critical position. The duties of our camp were performed as if by habit, and knowing how utterly useless complaint must be, the men seldom repined aloud.
November 14. — We killed the smallest horse early this morning, and had all the meat cut up and on the stage to dry by nine o’clock. I made the blood, heart, liver, kidneys, and tripe last us three days, as they would not keep longer, and we mixed our allowance of flour with them We had no salt to season them with, as all our salt was required to put in the blood to. prevent it turning sour. The heat during this day was very great, the thermometer at noon in the shade standing at 110°. Douglas was very weak. The natives came this afternoon, but did not stay long.
November 16. — The natives this day brought us a few small pieces of fish, but it was old, and hardly eatable. I would not allow them to come near the camp, but made signs to them to sit down at a distance, and when they had done so I went to them and gave them a few fish hooks. Douglas died this morning, and we buried him at dusk when the natives were gone, and I read the funeral service over him.
He was the first of our party we had lost, and his death, the sad precursor of so many more, cast an additional gloom over us.
November 18. — The natives came and brought some of their gins (wives) with them. They would only allow one of us at a time to go near them. The women wore very neatly fringed girdles hanging loose about their loins, and shaded themselves with large fan-palm leaves. The girdles were made of the leaves of the CORDYLINE. Both men and women were very stout, strong, well-made people — some of the men standing six feet high. They brought us some fish, which they called “Mingii,” but it was such as they would not even eat themselves; also a kind of paste, made of different kinds of leaves and roots, mixed with the inside of the roasted mangrove seeds, all pounded up together, then heated over a fire in a large shell. This paste they call “Dakiaa.” Although we did not much like the taste of the paste, and it was very full of sand. we eat some of it as a vegetable.
November 19. — This morning about fifty or sixty natives, all strongly armed with spears, made their appearance, and by their gestures and manner it was quite evident they intended to attack us if opportunity offered. As we always kept our fire-arms in readiness, we stood out in a line, with our guns in our hands. I made signs to them to keep back, but they pretended not to understand us, holding up pieces of fish, crying out mingii, mingii, (fish, fish,) to induce us to come for them, but their designs upon us were too transparent for that. They kept us standing a good while, for I was anxious to refrain from firing on them if possible, and at length they left us without any actually hostile demonstration. Being Sunday, I read prayers today.
November 20. — Taylor died this morning, and we buried him in the evening, by the side of Douglas, and I read the funeral service over him.
November 21. — About sixty natives came to the camp this morning, well armed with spears, and pieces of fish, which they held up to us, to entice us to come to them. We took no notice, however, of their invitations, but preparing our fire-arms, we turned out.
They were now closing round us in all directions, many of them with their spears in their womeras, ready for throwing; pointing them to their own necks and sides, and showing us by their postures how we should writhe with pain when they struck us.
Then they would change their tactics and again endeavour to persuade us that they meant us no harm, but they would not lay down their spears. Some of them seemed inclined to go away, but others appeared determined to attack us. After keeping us standing about an hour, eleven spears were thrown at us. Three of my party then fired, slightly wounding one of them, when they all immediately ran away as fast as they could. Some of them, however, remained hovering in sight for some time after.
Three of the spears that were thrown fell short of us, the rest passing very close, but fortunately no one was hurt; the three spears which passed us were barbed with bone, and were very heavy.
Sunday, 26. — Carpenter died this morning; the poor fellow did not suffer acutely on the approach of death, but the animal energies were destroyed, and they withered away one after another, without pain or struggle. At eleven o’clock, being Sunday, I read prayers, and in the evening we buried our late companion, in the bed of the creek, and I read the funeral service over him. The natives came again this morning, leaving their spears at a distance, and brought us a few small fish; but remembering their former treachery, we took but little notice of them and showed them they could only expect kind treatment from us, so long as they themselves continued peaceable. During the last few days we shot a few pigeons and parrots; also a small blue crane.
November 27. — We killed another horse this morning, and had the meat all cut up and on the stage by nine o’clock, with all the appearance of a fine day to dry it. But about eleven o’clock a heavy thunder storm came on, and it rained all day. I kept a fire burning near the stage all night.
November 28. — We were very uneasy at the continued wet weather, as it threatened to destroy the scanty remains of our provision, the flesh already beginning to smell very bad.
November 29. — It was raining heavily all day, and our meat became almost putrid.
November 30. — This day a fresh breeze blew, and there was no rain; I cut up all the meat that would hold together into thin slices, but a great deal of it was quite rotten. The blood puddings, tripe, feet, and bones, lasted us till this day. I saved the hide of this horse for ourselves, the other I had fed our dogs on; Mr. Kennedy having requested me to keep them alive if possible, so that we had to spare a little from our scanty meals for them.
December 1. — The wind was blowing strong from the south-east this morning. On going up the hill in the afternoon I saw a schooner from the northward beating to the southward. I supposed her to be the Bramble, as it was about the time Mr. Kennedy had given me expectation of being relieved by water, and I afterwards found I was right in this supposition.
I naturally concluded she had come for us; and full of hope and joy I immediately hoisted a flag on a staff we had previously erected, on a part of the hill where it could be seen from any part of the bay. We placed a ball above the flag to put the crew on their guard against the natives. We then collected a quantity of wood, and at dusk lighted a fire, and kept it burning till about half-past seven or eight o’clock. I then fired off three rockets one after the other, at intervals of about twenty minutes. I also took a large pistol up the hill, and stood for some time firing it as quickly as I could load it, thinking they might perhaps see the flash of that, if they had not seen the rockets.
December 2. — Early this morning I was up, straining my eyes to catch a view of the bay, and at length saw the schooner standing in to the shore; and during the forenoon a boat was lowered. I now made quite certain they were coming for us, and thinking they might come up the creek in the boat for some distance, I hastened down the hill, and began to pack up a few things, determined to keep them waiting for our luggage to longer than I could help. I looked anxiously for them all the afternoon, wondering much at their delay in coming, until at last I went up the hill, just in time to see the schooner passing the bay. I cannot describe the feeling of despair and desolation which I in common with the rest of our party experienced as we gazed on the vessel as she fast faded from our view. On the very brink of starvation and death — death in the lone wilderness, peopled only with the savage denizens of the forest, who even then were thirsting for our blood — hope, sure and certain hope, had for one brief moment gladdened our hearts with the consoling assurance, that after our many many trials, and protracted sufferings, we were again about to find comfort and safety. The bright expectancy faded; and although we strove to persuade ourselves that the vessel was not the Bramble, our hearts sank within us in deep despondency.
December 4. — We yesterday finished our scanty remnant of flour; and our little store of meat, which we had been able to dry, could have but very little nourishment in it.
Goddard and I went to the beach and got a bag of shellfish, but found it very difficult to get back to the camp through the mangroves, we were in so weak a state.
December 7. — This day I took Mitchell with me to the beach, and procured another bag of shell-fish. During the last few days we shot a very small wallaby and three or four Torres’ Straits pigeons. These afforded us some relief, as our horse-flesh was so very bitter, that nothing but unendurable hunger could have induced us to eat it.
A number of small brown beetles were generated from it, which eat it, and we were also much annoyed by flies. We all suffered more or less from bad eyes.
December 9. — The natives visited us this morning, and brought with them a few pieces of turtles’ entrails and a few nondas. I gave them an old shirt and a knife, the latter of which was highly prized by them. They call turtle “mallii,” and the sun “youmboll.”
Goddard had a fit of ague today, followed by fever.
December 10. — We all of us had fits of ague this morning and we could none of us get up till afternoon, when, being Sunday, I read prayers.
December 11. — The natives came this morning, and brought us a little vegetable paste, and some pieces of turtle’s entrails, with some shark’s liver. The latter was fresh, but one could not eat it, as it all melted into a yellowish oil, when boiled for a few minutes. I gave them a few fish-hooks, but found it very difficult to get them to leave the camp.
December 13. — This morning Mitchell was found dead by the side of the creek, with his feet in the water. He must have gone down at night to get water, but too much exhausted to perform his task, had sat down and died there. None of us being strong enough to dig a grave for him, we sewed the body in a blanket, with a few stones to sink it, and then put it into the brackish water.
December 15. — The thermometer fell this morning and was broken. It was raining heavily all day, and two bags of my seeds, and several other little things, were washed out of the tent by the water which ran down the hill. We were all very ill and weak.
December 16. — It was raining this morning, and we remained in the tent. Hearing one of our dogs barking, however, I went out and saw several natives with pieces of fish and turtle, which when I had taken from them they left us.
The natives brought us some roasted nymphea roots, which they call Dillii. During the last few days we shot seven pigeons. Wall and Goddard used to go into the scrub and sit beneath a tree, to which they used to come for berries to feed their young, and watching their opportunity, shoot them.
December 21. — Our kangaroo dog being very weak, and unable to catch anything, we killed, and lived on him for two days. There was very little flesh on his bones, but our dried meat was so bad, that we very much enjoyed the remains of our old companion, and drank the water in which we boiled him.
December 24. — The natives took a tin case from Wall whilst he was talking to them, he not being able to resist them. My legs had swelled very much, and I was able to walk but a very short distance.
December 26. — The natives brought us a few pieces of fish and. turtle, but it was almost rotten; they also gave us a blue-tongued lizard, which I opened and took out eleven young ones, which we roasted and ate. There was nothing but scales on the old one, except in its tail.
We always equally divided whatever we got from the natives, be it what it might; but they brought us very little that was eatable. I could easily perceive that their pretended good feeling towards us was assumed for the sake of fulfilling their own designs upon us. Although they tried to make us believe they were doing all in their power to benefit us, their object was to obtain an opportunity of coming upon us by surprise and destroying us.
They had at many times seen the fatal effects of our fire-arms, and I believe that it was only the dread of these, that prevented them from falling upon us at once, and murdering us. They were a much finer race of men than the natives we had seen at Rockingham Bay, most of the men being from five feet ten to six feet high. The general characteristics of the race were different from those of the other aborigines I had ever seen, and I imagined that they might be an admixture of the Australian tribes and the Malays, or Murray Islanders. Some of them had large bushy whiskers, with no hair on their chins or upper lips, having the appearance of being regularly shaved.
It would be almost impossible for any class of men to excel these fellows, in the seeming and versatile cunning with which they strove to disguise their schemes of treachery.
In fine weather I always had our fire-arms standing out for them to see, and once or twice every night I fired off a pistol, to let them know we were on the look-out by night as well as by day.
December 28. — Niblett and Wall both died this morning; Niblett was quite dead when I got up, and Wall, though alive, was unable to speak; they were neither of them up the day previous. I had been talking with them both, endeavouring to encourage them to hope on, to the last, but sickness, privation, and fatigue had overcome them, and they abandoned themselves to a calm and listless despair. We had got two pigeons the day before, which in the evening were boiled and divided between us, as well as the water they were boiled in. Niblett had eaten his pigeon, and drank the water, but Wall had only drank the water and eaten part of his half pigeon. About eleven o’clock, about fifty natives, armed with spears, and many of them painted with a yellowish earth, made their appearance in the vicinity of our camp. There were natives of several strange tribes amongst them. They were well aware that neither Niblett nor Wall was able to resist them, if they did not know they were dead. They also knew that we were very weak, although I always endeavoured as much as possible to keep that fact from them. This morning when I made signs to them to lay down their spears they all paid no attention, with the exception of two, who had been in the habit of coming very frequently to the camp. These two came running up quite close to us, without their spears, and endeavoured to persuade one of us to go across a small dry creek, for a fish which another of the rascals was holding up to tempt us. They tried various methods to draw our attention from the rest, who were drawing their spears along the ground, with their feet, closing gradually round us, and running from tree to tree, to hide their spears behind them. Others lay on their backs on the long grass, and were working their way towards us, unnoticed, as they supposed.
Goddard and myself stood with our guns in readiness and our pistols by our sides for about two hours, when I fell from excessive weakness. When I got up we thought it best to send them away at once, or stand our chance of being speared in the attempt, both of us being unable to stand any longer. We presented our guns at the two by our side, making signs to them to send the others away, or we would shoot them immediately. This they did, and they ran off in all directions without a spear being thrown or a shot fired.
We had many times tried to catch fish in the creek during our stay at Weymouth Bay, with our fishing lines, but never could get as much as a bite at the bait.
As the evening came on, there came with it the painful task of removing the bodies of our unfortunate companions who had died in the morning. We had riot strength to make the smallest hole in the ground as a grave; but after great exertion we succeeded in removing the bodies to a small patch of phyllanthus scrub, about four feet high, and eighty yards from the tent. We then laid them side by side, and covered them with a few small branches. and this was all the burial we were enabled to give them.
December 29. — Goddard went into the scrub, and shot three pigeons. We ate one of them at night, and the others we reserved till next day. Our bowels were greatly relaxed, which was partly stayed by eating a few nondas, which we got occasionally.
The six weeks having expired, which Mr. Kennedy had led me to expect would be the longest period we should have to wait, I now began to fear the rainy season had set in, and filled the creeks to the northward, so that his party had been unable to cross them, or that some untoward accident had happened, which prevented us being relieved.
I did not quite despair, but I knew that we could not live long. Our shot was almost consumed, not having more than eight or ten charges left, and although we had plenty of ball, we were too weak to attempt to form any plan to make shot. Our sole remaining companion, the sheep dog, I intended to kill in a day or two, but he would not last long, as he was nothing but skin and bone.
December 30. — Early this morning we ate the two pigeons left yesterday, and boiled each a quart of tea, from the leaves we had left; but we had not had any fresh tea to put into the pot for some time. Goddard then went into the bush, to try to get another pigeon or two, and if the natives made their appearance, I was to fire a pistol to recall him to the camp. After he had been gone, I saw natives coming toward the camp, and I immediately fired a pistol; but before Goddard could come back they were into the camp, and handed me a piece of paper, very much dirtied and torn. I was sure, from the first, by their manner, that there was a vessel in the Bay. The paper was a note to me from Captain Dobson, of the schooner Ariel, but it was so dirtied and torn that I could only read part of it.
For a minute or two I was almost senseless with the joy which the hope of our deliverance inspired. I made the natives a few presents, and gave them a note to Captain Dobson, which I made them easily understand I wanted them to take to that gentleman. I was in hopes they would then have gone, but I soon found they had other intentions. A great many natives were coming from all quarters well armed with spears. I had given a shirt to the one who had brought the note, and put it on him; but I saw him throw down the note and pull off the shirt, and picking up his spears lie joined the rest, who were preparing to attack us. We were expecting every moment to be attacked and murdered by these savages, our newly awakened hope already beginning to fail, when we saw Captain Dobson and Dr. Vallack, accompanied by Jackey and a man named Barrett, who had been wounded a few days before in the arm by a barbed spear, approaching towards us, across the creek. I and my companion, who was preserved with me, must ever be grateful for the prompt courage with which these persons, at the risk of their own lives, came to our assistance, through, the scrub and mangroves, a distance of about three miles, surrounded as they were all the way by a large number of armed natives.
I was reduced almost to a skeleton. The elbow bone of my right arm was through the skin, as also the bone of my right hip. My legs also were swollen to an enormous size. Goddard walked to the boat, but I could not do so without the assistance of Captain Dobson and Dr. Vallack, and I had to be carried altogether a part of the distance. The others, Jackey and Barrett, kept a look out for the blacks. We were unable to bring many things from the camp. The principal were, the fire-arms and one parcel of my seeds, which I had managed to keep dry, containing eighty-seven species. All my specimens were left behind, which I regretted very much: for, though much injured, they contained specimens of very beautiful trees, shrubs, and ORCHIDEAE. I could also only secure an abstract of my journal, except that portion of it from 13th November to 30th December, which I have in full. My original journal, with a botanical work which had been kindly lent me by a friend in Sydney for the expedition, was left behind. We got safely on board the Ariel; and after a very long passage, arrived in Sydney.
I am confident that no man could have done more for the safety of the party than was done by Mr. Kennedy, nor could any man have exerted himself more than he, in the most distressing circumstances of our perilous journey. He walked by far the greater part of the distance, giving his own horses for the use of the weak men, and the general service of the expedition. I never rode but two hours all through the journey, and that was on two successive days when we were in the vicinity of Cape Sidmouth, and I was suffering from bad feet.
The unfortunate death of our brave and generous leader, deeply and extensively as I know it to have been lamented, can have no more sincere mourner than myself.
The tale of his sufferings and those of his party has already been read and sympathised over by hundreds, and it would ill become me to add anything to the artless narrative of the faithful and truehearted Jackey, who having tended his last moments, and closed his eyes, was the first, perhaps the most disinterested, bewailer of his unhappy fate.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- MONTH. | THERMOMETER-SHADE. | WIND. | REMARKS. | Sunrise. Noon. Sunset.| Morning. Evening.| --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Nov. 14 82 110 84 N.E. S.E. 15 86 98 90 S.E. 16 79 98 84 S.W. Light shower in the evening, with thunder and lightning 17 82 96 84 S.E. 18 84 105 94 S.E. 19 88 102 92 S.E. Thunder and lightning. 20 86 98 85 S.W. 21 88 96 82 S.E. 22 82 91 85 S.W. 23 81 94 88 S.E. 24 81 98 88 S.E. S.W. [the evening. 25 79 98 86 S E. W. Heavy thunder-storm in 26 81 96 86 S.W. Ditto ditto morning. 27 78 85 79 S.W. Heavy rain from 11 A.M. till 7 P.M. 28 80 86 81 S.W. Heavy rain all day. 29 78 84 79 S. Ditto ditto. 30 88 90 90 W. S.W. Dec. 1. 85 95 83 S.E. Strong breeze. 2 84 95 83 S.E. Ditto ditto. 3 83 96 87 S.E. Ditto ditto. 4 82 100 88 S.E. Ditto ditto. 5 80 93 85 S.E. W. Strong gale at evening. 6 80 97 84 S.E. 7 84 102 90 S.E. N.E. 8 78 99 86 S.E. Thunder at evening. 9 82 107 86 N. N.E. Light wind. 10 84 92 87 N.E. S.E. 11 89 98 89 S.E. Heavy shower at 10 A.M. 12 82 93 82 S.W. Heavy rain all day. 13 80 89 81 S.W. S.E. 14 80 91 82 S.W. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
I started with Mr. Kennedy from Weymouth Bay for Cape York, on the 13th November, 1848, accompanied by Costigan, Dunn, and Luff, leaving eight men at the camp, at Weymouth Bay. We went on till we came to a river which empties itself into Weymouth Bay. A little further north we crossed the river; next morning a lot of natives camped on the other side of the river. Mr. Kennedy and the rest of us went on a very high hill and came to a flat on the other side and camped there; I went on a good way next day; a horse fell down a creek; the flour me took with us lasted three days; we had much trouble in getting the horse out of the creek; we went on, and came out, and camped on the ridges; we had no water: next morning went on and Luff was taken ill with a very bad knee; we left him behind, and Dunn went back again and brought him on; Luff was riding a horse named Fiddler; then we went on and camped at a little creek; the flour being out on this day we commenced eating horse-flesh, which Carron gave us when we left Weymouth Bay; as we went on we came on a small river, and saw no blacks there; as we proceeded we gathered nondas, and lived upon them and the meat; we stopped at a little creek and it came on raining, and Costigan shot himself; in putting his saddle under the tarpaulin, a string caught the trigger and the ball went in under the right arm and came out at his back under the shoulder; we went on this morning all of us, and stopped at another creek in the evening, and the next morning we killed a horse named Browney, smoked him that night and went on next day, taking as much of the horse as we could with us, and went on about a mile and then turned back again to where we killed the horse, because Costigan was very bad and in much pain; we went back again because there was water there; then Mr. Kennedy and I had dinner there, and went on in the afternoon leaving Dunn, Costigan, and Luff at the creek. This was at Pudding-pan Hill, near Shelbourne Bay. Mr. Kennedy called it Pudding-pan Hill. We left some horsemeat with the three men at Pudding-pan Hill, and carried some with us on a pack horse. Mr. Kennedy wanted to make great haste when he left this place, to get the doctor to go down to the men that were ill. This was about three weeks after leaving Weymouth Bay. One horse was left with the three men at Pudding-pan Hill, and we (Kennedy and myself) took with us three horses. The three men were to remain there until Mr. Kennedy and myself had gone to and returned from Cape York for them. Mr. Kennedy told Luff and Dunn when he left them that if Costigan died to come along the beach till they saw the ship, and then to fire a gun; he told them he would not be long away, so it was not likely they would move from there for some time. They stopped to take care of the man that was shot, we (me and Mr. Kennedy) killed a horse for them before we came away; having left these three men, we camped that night where there was no water; next morning Mr. Kennedy and me went on with the four horses, two pack horses and two saddle horses; one horse got bogged in a swamp. We tried to get him out all day, but could not, we left him there, and camped at another creek. The next day Mr. Kennedy and I went on again, and passed up a ridge very scrubby, and had to turn back again, and went along gulleys to get clear of the creek and scrub. Now it rained, and we camped; there were plenty of blacks here, but we did not see them, but plenty of fresh tracks, and camps, and smoke. Next morning we went on and camped at another creek, and on the following morning we continued going on, and camped in the evening close to a scrub; it rained in the night. Next day we went on in the scrub, but could not get through, I cut and cleared away, and it was near sundown before we got through the scrub — there we camped. It was heavy rain next morning, and we went on in the rain, then I changed horses and rode a black colt, to spell the other, and rode him all day, and in the afternoon we got on clear ground, and the horse fell down, me and all; the horse lay upon my right hip. Here Mr. Kennedy got off his horse and moved my horse from my thigh; we stopped there that night, and could not get the horse up; we looked to him in the morning and he was dead; we left him there; we had some horse meat left to eat, and went on that day and crossed a little river and camped. The next day we went a good way; Mr. Kennedy told me to go up a tree to see a sandy hill somewhere; I went up a tree and saw a sandy hill a little way down from Port Albany. That day we camped near a swamp; it was a very rainy day. The next morning we went on, and Mr. Kennedy told me we should get round to Port Albany in a day; we travelled on all day till twelve o’clock (noon), and then we saw Port Albany; then he said “there is Port Albany, Jackey — a ship is there — you see that island there,” pointing to Albany Island; this was when we were at the mouth of Escape River; we stopped there a little while; all the meat was gone; I tried to get some fish but could not; we went on in the afternoon half a mile along the river side, and met a good lot of blacks, and we camped; the blacks all cried out “powad, powad,” and rubbed their bellies; and we thought they were friendly, and Mr. Kennedy gave them fish-hooks all round; every one asked me if I had any thing to give away, and I said no; and Mr. Kennedy said, give them your knife, Jackey; this fellow on board was the man I gave the knife to; I am sure of it; I know him well; the black that was shot in the canoe was the most active in urging all the others on to spear Mr. Kennedy; I gave the man on board my knife; we went on this day, and I looked behind, and they were getting up their spears, and ran all round the camp which we had left; I told Mr. Kennedy that very likely those blackfellows would follow us, and he said, “No, Jackey, those blacks are very friendly;” I said to him “I know those blackfellows well, they too much speak;” we went on some two or three miles and camped; I and Mr. Kennedy watched them that night, taking it in turns every hour all night; by-and-by I saw the blackfellows; it was a moonlight night; and I walked up to Mr. Kennedy, and said to him there is plenty of blackfellows now; this was in the middle of the night; Mr. Kennedy told me to get my gun ready; the blacks did not know where we slept, as we did not make a fire; we both sat up all night; after this, daylight came, and I fetched the horses and saddled them; then we went on a good way up the river, and then we sat down a little while, and we saw three blackfellows coming along our track, and they saw us, and one fellow ran back as hard as he could run, and fetched up plenty more, like a flock of sheep almost; I told Mr. Kennedy to put the saddles on the two horses and go on, and the blacks came up, and they followed us all the day; all along. it was raining, and I now told him to leave the horses and come on without them, that the horses made too much track. Mr. Kennedy was too weak, and would not leave the horses. We went on this day till towards evening, raining hard, and the blacks followed us all the day, some behind, some planted before; in fact, blacks all around following us. Now we went into a little bit of a scrub, and I told Mr. Kennedy to look behind always; sometimes he would do so, and sometimes he would not look behind to look out for the blacks. Then a good many blackfellows came behind in the scrub, and threw plenty of spears, and hit Mr. Kennedy in the back first. Mr. Kennedy said to me, “Oh! Jackey, Jackey! shoot ’em, shoot ’em.” Then I pulled out my gun and fired, and hit one fellow all over the face with buck shot; he tumbled down, and got up again and again and wheeled right round, and two blackfellows picked ‘him up and carried him away. They went away then a little way, and came back again, throwing spears all around, more than they did before; very large spears. I pulled out the spear at once from Mr. Kennedy’s back, and cut out the jag with Mr. Kennedy’s knife; then Mr. Kennedy got his gun and snapped, but the gun would not go off. The blacks sneaked all along by the trees, and speared Mr. Kennedy again in the right leg, above the knee a little, and I got speared over the eye, and the blacks were now throwing their spears all ways, never giving over, and shortly again speared Mr. Kennedy in the right side; there were large jags to the spears, and I cut them out and put them into my pocket. At the same time we got speared, the horses got speared too, and jumped and bucked all about, and got into the swamp. I now told Mr. Kennedy to sit down, while I looked after the saddlebags, which I did; and when I came back again, I saw blacks along with Mr. Kennedy; I then asked him if he saw the blacks with him, he was stupid with the spear wounds, and said “No;” then I asked him where was his watch? I saw the blacks taking away watch and hat as I was returning to Mr. Kennedy; then I carried Mr. Kennedy into the scrub, he said, “Don’t carry me a good way;” then Mr. Kennedy looked this way, very bad (Jackey rolling his eyes). I said to him, “Don’t look far away,” as I thought he would be frightened; I asked him often, “Are you well now?” and he said, “I don’t care for the spear wound in my leg, Jackey, but for the other two spear wounds in my side and back,” and said, “I am bad inside, Jackey.” I told him blackfellow always die when he got spear in there (the back); he said, “I am out of wind, Jackey;” I asked him, “Mr. Kennedy; are you going to leave me?” and he said, “Yes, my boy, I am going to leave you;” he said, “I am very bad, Jackey; you take the books, Jackey, to the captain, but not the big ones, the Governor will give anything for them;” I then tied up the papers; he then said, “Jackey, give me paper and I will write;” I gave him paper and pencil, and he tried to write, and he then fell back and died, and I caught him as he fell back and held him, and I then turned round myself and cried: I was crying a good while until I got well; that was about an hour, and then I buried him; I digged up the ground with a tomahawk, and covered him over with logs, then grass, and my shirt and trowsers; that night I left him near dark; I would go through the scrub, and the blacks threw spears at me, a good many, and I went back again into the scrub; then I went down the creek which runs into Escape River, and I walked along the water in the creek very easy, with my head only above water, to avoid the blacks, and get out of their way; in this way I went half a mile; then I got out of the creek, and got clear of them, and walked on all night nearly, and slept in the bush without a fire; I went on next morning, and felt very bad, and I spelled for two days; I lived upon nothing but salt water; next day I went on and camped one mile away from where I left, and ate one of the pandanus; on next morning I went on two miles, and sat down there, and I wanted to spell a little there, and go on; but when I tried to get up, I could not, but fell down again very tired and cramped, and I spelled here two days; then I went on again one mile, and got nothing to eat but one nonda; and I went on that day and camped, and on again next morning, about half a mile, and sat down where there was good water, and remained all day. On the following morning, I went a good way, went round a great swamp and mangroves, and got a good way by sundown; the next morning I went and saw a very large track of black-fellows; I went clear of the track and of swamp or sandy ground; then I came to a very large river, and a large lagoon; plenty of alligators in the lagoon, about ten miles from Port Albany. I now got into the ridges by sundown, and went up a tree and saw Albany Island; then next morning at four o’clock, I went on as hard as I could go all the way down, over fine clear ground, fine iron bark timber, and plenty of good grass; I went on round the point (this was towards Cape York, north of Albany Island) and went on and followed a creek down, and went on top of the hill and saw Cape York; I knew it was Cape York, because the sand did not go on further; I sat down then a good while; I said to myself, this is Fort Albany, I believe, inside somewhere; Mr. Kennedy also told me that the ship was inside, close up to the main land; I went on a little way, and saw the ship and boat; I met close up here two black gins and a good many piccanninies; one said to me “powad, powad;” then I asked her for eggs, she gave me turtles’ eggs, and I gave her a burning glass; she pointed to the ship which I had seen before; I was very frightened of seeing the black men all along here; and when I was on the rock cooeying, and murry murry glad when the boat came for me.
Proceeded on the 2nd October last to Port Albany, to meet Mr. Kennedy’s exploring party, and to supply it with provisions. We arrived at Port Albany on the 27th October, and remained there till the 23rd December, when, in consequence of a signal, I went on shore, and learnt from Jackey Jackey the death of Mr. Kennedy, and the unfortunate fate of the expedition; and in consequence of this information we made preparations, and the next day we weighed anchor and sailed to Shelbourne Bay. Jackey informed us that Pudding-pan Hill, between Albany Point and Shelbourne Bay, was where Mr. Kennedy had left the three sick men; on proceeding there Jackey said it was not there, but on a hill like it further down; on arriving at Shelbourne Bay Jackey recognised the hill; we landed early in the morning, and fell in with the natives, and went inland, but could not get through the scrub; we came back to the beach and found a canoe, with the cloak produced in it; on the afternoon previous I thought I saw two natives on the beach, with cloaks or blue shirts on; we then pulled further on, and landed again, and went about six miles inland, but Jackey could not cross the track Mr. Kennedy had taken; he recognised the hill where the camp was, and said we might reach it tomorrow. At starting, Jackey said it would not take us long, and we, took no food with us. After a consultation, we agreed to return to the vessel, believing, from the cloaks on the natives, that the men must have perished. We then pursued our way to Weymouth Bay, and rescued Mr. Carron and Goddard. We brought with us what instruments we could from the camp — they were not many — as Mr. Carron was hardly in a state to tell me what was there. We then consulted and determined to come on at once to Sydney, as from what Jackey told us it was thought useless to return to look for the men at Shelbourne Bay. I should have returned to the camp at Weymouth Bay to save everything, but for the hostility of the natives, who surrounded us in great numbers, and as soon as we had left the camp rifled it.
A full account of proceedings taken by the Ariel, from the time of Jackey’s arrival at Cape York, on the 23rd December, 1848, up to the time of her departure from Weymouth Bay, on the 31st December, 1848, being a copy from my journal.
Saturday, 23rd December, 1848. — About eight o’clock A.M., Captain Dobson called down to me, saying that he thought Mr. Kennedy was arrived, as there was a black on shore with a shirt on and trousers. On going upon deck, the captain had left in the dingy for the main land, where the black was standing, I observed with the glass and the naked eye, the black first standing, then walking very lame, then sitting down on a rock on the main land. The dingy made there, and took him on board. It turned out to be Jackey, of Mr. Kennedy’s party, who looked very haggard and told a woeful tale. After being on board I wished to take down depositions, fearing anything might happen to him from over-excitement. Depositions were taken, before which he became faint, and a glass of wine revived him, which lie told us afterwards, made him “budgeree”, (that is well again.) I consulted with the captain as to what should be done, and it was immediately determined upon to leave Port Albany with all possible speed, to save the surviving parties at Pudding-pan Hill and Weymouth Bay, three men at the former place, and the rest at the latter. It being necessary to take the sheep with us, they were all but three shipped in the evening, and prompt orders given for the vessel to be got ready for a start in the morning the first thing. In the mean time I went on shore with the captain to get the bullock in to kill, Barrett, as well, on horseback, and we found it was impossible to get him in he was so wild, he was therefore shot at the far and south end of the island, with the intention of bringing as much as possible of the carcass away. It getting late in the evening, however, none was taken away, nor is there time now to do so, and to do also an act of duty and humanity to the yet living human beings.
Sunday, 24th December. — Before ten A.M., a dead calm; at turn of tide or rather before, weighed anchor, but the tide took us towards Cape York a mile; the tide now turned, and a gentle breeze took us through the strait. The breeze continued, and at sundown we anchored five miles south of Cape Shadwell, Mount Adolphus bearing N.N.W., seven leagues; employed during the day conversing with Jackey, taking down in pencil what he had to say, changing the subject now and then by speaking of his comrades at Jerry’s Plains. I did so as he told me what kept him awake all last night was thinking about Mr. Kennedy. Saw three native fires on our voyage here, one on this south end of Albany Island, one between it and here, and one on shore abreast of us.
December 25th, Monday. — At daylight in the morning a dead calm, and the hottest day we have had, the sun was so glaring that the altitude could not be taken. At about a quarter before ten A.M. a light breeze came on and we left our anchorage, the breeze increased a little, before eleven; saw what appeared to be an island at first; on nearing, found it to be a canoe, about fifteen feet long, with seven or eight natives in it, shearing about, sometimes in one direction, some. times in another. After a little we heard them calling out, “paoud,” “whappee,” “chauca,” some of them standing up. I named to the captain that I thought they must be from Cape York, from their words, and that it would be at least desirable to glean information from them, if possible, concerning Mr. Kennedy. The captain said, “We will not call out ‘pound,’” (which means peace) but occasionally the words “chauca,” “biskey,” were called out from the ship. They from this drew close to the vessel, very wary, however, in doing so. Jackey was placed in the fore-top, and word came that Jackey knew all those fellows, that they were the party who speared Mr. Kennedy. One black was allowed to come on board, and whilst he was partly in the ship, word came to me b y Parker (a seaman), that Jackey wanted to speak to me. On going to Jackey, he said, “‘That fellow,” pointing to the one named, “is the fellow that speared Mr. Kennedy; I gave him a knife, keep him, bale let him go. All those fellows threw spears at Mr. K.” This native was immediately secured. He struggled hard, and it was as much as three men could do to secure him. The other blacks in the canoe now jumped overboard, and observing now that the native secured had a part of a bridle round his arm, and a piece of sinew, or tendon of a horse, and Jackey being so positive as to identity, it was determined to examine the canoe, and an order was given to fire over their heads, whilst they (the blacks) were endeavouring to recover the canoe. The ship’s long-boat was sent after the canoe, but in the meantime the blacks had recovered it, and a hard chase took place, the blacks paddling away towards the shore. The boat overhauled them, when a shot was fired from the boat, and as the boat closed upon them I saw the blacks jump overboard again, and afterwards the ship’s boat bring back the canoe. During this time several shots were fired over them, and near them, from the ship. The boat returned in about twenty minutes from the time of leaving, with the canoe. Barrett said to me when alongside that he was speared, and that he had shot the black who had speared him, and who was now in the canoe nearly dead. It appears that one black had stuck to his canoe, and on the ship’s boat nearing it, had thrown a spear into Barret’s arm, and was on the eve of throwing another at him, when Barrett shot him. I went into the canoe, and examined the black, and found the ball had gone through his body, entering on the one side and coming out on the other side. The ball must have gone through the stomach, from its direction. He was now dying — nearly dead. The canoe was chopped up, and, with the black, disappeared a short time afterwards. I dressed Barrett’s wounds, three of them, of a triangular shape, in the lower and fleshy part of the fore arm. From the canoe was brought the leg part of a pair of trowsers, three spears, a piece of iron of a saddle, hooks and lines, &c.; and a piece of moleskin was taken off the native’s leg, which Jackey says was part of his trowsers, which he tied round Mr. Kennedy’s head when he buried him, Jackey being sure that they had dug up Mr. K. I observed at the time that the native was nearly on board, the moment he and they saw Jackey, they looked at each other as if every thing was not right. Previously to their jumping overboard, when Jackey showed the native the spear wound over his eye, he would quickly turn away and not look him in the face. Whilst the native was being secured, after being removed to the fore part of the vessel, a mutton bone with meat was offered him which he grappled at and ate voraciously, saying, “paoud, paoud.” The wind increased and was fair, and Jackey pointed out a hill ahead of us which he said was like Pudding-pan Hill, near which the three men were left. This Hill was Pudding-pan Hill, according to the Chart. As we neared Pudding-pan Hill, Jackey said, that is not the place, that he had been mistaken, and, on continually looking at it, he became the more confirmed and positive, and said it was no use whatever to land there, but that we must go further on; we passed the hill; in the meantime, the captain and I consulted as to what should be done, knowing this was the only Pudding-pan Hill on the chart; but Jackey, who had been placed on the fore-top, became more and more positive, saying at length, “Do you think I am stupid? — Mr. Kennedy sent me from the camp to look out the coast, so that I might know it again when I came back in the ship, and I will tell you when we come to it, the ship must go on that way further,” pointing to the south. Proceeding on, towards evening, off Hannibal Bay, saw numerous native fires, and in one spot I observed about forty natives. Before sun-down a canoe was making off to us, but after sun-set we gradually lost sight of it, and some time after this we anchored.
Tuesday, 26th December, 1848. — At twenty minutes to six A.M., got under weigh with a light breeze; in the centre of Hannibal Bay, Risk Point ahead. In about ten minutes we struck on a coral reef, and soon got off again; we anchored this day in Shelbourne Bay, opposite where Jackey wished us to proceed to recover the three men; he was sure this was the place, seeing the mountain which Mr. Kennedy called Pudding-pan Hill, and other mountains there, which were wanting at the Pudding-pan Hill of the chart; he was perfectly confident as to this being the right place (it may be here stated that this hill is the very fac-simile of the Pudding-pan Hill of the chart.) In sailing in the bay we found the water getting very shallow, from three to four, and lastly, when we anchored, two and a-half fathoms, and this unfortunately, was a long way off from. the land, say three or four miles; after consultation with the captain and Jackey, our main guide, we determined on going on shore at the place pointed out by Jackey before daylight on the following morning; during this afternoon several fires, about five, were in sight along the coast in the bay, and not many natives seen; I saw five; after a time it had been determined who should be the party to go to recover the three men. The captain, Jackey, Barrett, Thomas (the sailor), and myself, formed the party. The evening was employed in getting our guns in good order for the morrow. The captain thought he observed on shore natives with wearing apparel on.
Wednesday, 27th December, 1848. — At three o’clock AM., the captain called me, and such had been the preparation last night that in a quarter of an hour we were in the longboat, steering for the shore, and just as daylight was peeping we were near the shore in shallow water, and a fire sprung up nearly in front of us a little way in from the beach. The boat struck on the ground, and we waded through the water for about a hundred yards or more knee deep. Jackey took the lead, the captain and I following, Barrett and Tom behind, and mounted the low scrubby cliff about two hundred yards from where we saw the fire. On we trudged through dense scrub inland for about an hour, When Jackey said we must go further up that way, pointing more in the south part of the bay; that is where I want to go, said he, and that we had better cross there in the boat and recommence the trip. We hailed the boat on reaching the coast, which was anchored off a little, and waded off to it. Having seen a great smoke last evening and apparently one this morning, some distance beyond where Jackey wished us to land, he was asked if we should go first to this native fire and camp, and see if they have anything there belonging to the three men, and Jackey said, yes. We proceeded there, a distance of about four miles to the southernmost part of the bay, and landed, but could discover only the remains of a bush fire and no camp; we now left this part and proceeded to exactly where Jackey pointed out on the beach, more in the central part of the bay, some three miles across, and landed, telling the men in the boat to anchor a little higher up to the north, where Jackey said we should come out at by-and-bye. We left word with the men in the boat that we may be away for three hours or more, and that we should fire a gun on our return, which was to be answered by them.
Jackey now was head and leading man in every sense of the word, and away we went in a westerly direction, for about, say, five or six miles; Jackey telling us to look out behind and all about for the blacks. After proceeding some four miles of the distance, we came to a creek where we stopped for a few minutes; Jackey was evidently tired, not recovered, and couldn’t walk fast, and although we went off at first at a good pace, Jackey was getting lame, and had been obliged to sit down three times on the journey. About two miles beyond this creek Jackey got up into a tree, and returned saying he could see the mountain near which the camp was, but that it was a long way off, that we could not get there to night, but that we must camp in the bush, and get there tomorrow. It here became necessary to pause. The ship was left with two hands only in her, anchored in shallow water, and the Captain said promptly that he could not proceed farther without great risk of losing the ship, either from its coming on to blow, or that natives may attack her in their canoes; (here I may say what has been omitted, viz., that in the early part of the morning we saw and examined a canoe close to where we first landed, and found part of a cloak in it, which Jackey immediately pronounced as belonging to the white men at the camp) and it was determined, well considering all circumstances, to return to the ship, which we did, coming out on the beach under mangroves, at the very spot we told Jackey to come out at on our leaving. We arrived at the ship at twelve minutes before four P.M. During our absence the men in the boat had seen on the beach from fifty to one hundred natives. We saw none. The day has been very hot, and we are in a fix, surrounded by reefs, and some little anxiety is existing as to how we shall get out again. We have determined to proceed to Weymouth Bay, and in so doing I have taken everything into consideration. We have eight men to attend to at Weymouth Bay. In all probability the three men here are dead, for when Jackey left them, Costigan was nearly dead, and Luff was very ill. The cloak taken from the canoe shows that the blacks have found their camp, and had we gone on there, which would have taken a day or two at least more, we should only have found, I verily believe, as Jackey says, “bones belonging to white fellows.” After getting on board, Jackey went to sleep, thoroughly done up. He fell asleep also in coming off in the boat.
Thursday, December 28. — This has been a day of anxiety. We left a little after daylight, not without feelings of disappointment and dissatisfaction at not having been successful in rescuing the men, whom it was possible might be yet alive. We were surrounded by reefs, a light breeze, and fair depth of water-called out by the leadsman, 2, 2½, 2, 3 fathoms, until after some time we got into deeper water, and passed out of the Bay in safety. Not a fire had been seen on the shore all night, nor was there a native to be seen this morning from the vessel. We passed numerous islands, until the Piper Islands came in sight. We calculated upon making them for an anchorage, but a squall came on, and the wind shifted, and we were compelled to anchor at half-past seven P.M., in fifteen fathoms water, near a reef, Some native fires were seen on the coast today. I find the native on board understands and speaks the same language as the Port Albany blacks, and repeats all their names to me. He eats and drinks heartily, and lends apparently a most willing hand towards securing himself with the leather straps.
Friday, 29th December. — Left our anchorage at daylight, in the morning passed between the Piper Islands and Bald Head. When off Fair Cape saw a smoke on the shore, and three natives, who immediately disappeared in the scrub and were seen no more. On rounding the Cape it became a dead calm, and it was intensely hot; we saw a smoke and a large fire ahead of us. Jackey recognised the land and said the smoke was at the mouth of a river which Mr. K. and he had crossed after leaving the camp. The land where the camp and eight men were Jackey pointed out ahead of us, opposite to Weymouth Bay; a heavy squall and thunder storm with rain came on very suddenly, and beyond the mouth of the river, with the camping hill ahead of us, we came to an anchor, between two and three o’clock P.M.; could not see any flag-staff on the hill pointed out by Jackey, and which hill is very conspicuous and bald, nor could we see any symptom of living beings along the coast in the bay. It was too great a distance to land to-night, and the captain said if it came on to blow the boat could not be got back again. Employed the other part of the day in looking through the glass and with the naked eye to see the flag-staff and flag, or any other sign, (Jackey having informed us they would have a flag on the top of the hill,) but none was to be seen, not a native, and I have reason to believe every one of the eight have been sacrificed; it looks suspicious not seeing a native, for Jackey says they used to bring fish to the camp, and there were plenty of them. The captain is to take the ship in as near as possible to the hill, and it is determined to go on shore with the same party who assisted us at Shelbourne Bay, and go up to the camp to morrow well armed. All has this evening. a solemn, silent, inexpressible gloom; no rockets, no gun, no fire, tomorrow will tell a tale.
Saturday, 30th December, 1848. — At daylight this morning the ship was got under weigh, and sailed nearer in towards the hill which Jackey had pointed out as being the hill where “camp sit down,” and anchored in about two fathoms of water about half a mile off the land. Five canoes were now seen creeping off towards us from under the mangroves, with from five to ten natives in each, (there was yet no flag or any token of white people on the hill); the canoes gradually neared in a string, and one came cautiously alongside, making signs and saying “ferraman,” “ferraman,” “white man,” “white man,” and pointing towards Jackey’s mountain. We were at first doubtful whether they were disposed to be friendly or not, and afterwards seeing some children with them and one or two females, we concluded they were friendly disposed, and that they knew the parties at the camp. A few lines were written to the party at the camp, stating a vessel was in the bay, and the beaver, one of the natives, would take them to it. This was given to one of the natives in the first canoe, and Jackey, whom the natives recognised, beckoned and motioned to them to take the note to the camp. In the meantime the captain and I had determined as soon as the boat could be got ready, to proceed according to Jackey’s instructions to the camp. The boat left with our party, and Jackey directed us some distance off in the wake of the canoes, there being nothing but a mangrove swamp on the shore near us. We landed beside of a creek knee deep in water, among some mangroves. Here we got out of the boat, Jackey, the captain, Barrett, and myself, Tom, the sailor, who had accompanied us before, saying he could not go, that he had a bad leg. We were a little disappointed here, but said nothing, and proceeded, Jackey leading, myself, the captain, and Barrett following, through a mangrove swamp, for some considerable distance, all well armed. Getting out of the swamp we came upon a beautiful flat, and followed up a creek which Jackey said would lead up to the camp. After getting on (keeping a good look-out) for about two miles, Jackey doubled his pace, and all at once said with great emphasis, “I see camp.” “Well done, Jackey,” I think was exclaimed by all of us at the same moment. Jackey, still going on at a sharp pace, stopped for, a moment and said, “I not sure, I believe it is hole through tree,” and suddenly, with greater excitement than before, he exclaimed, “See two white fellows sit down, and camp.” We were now on one side of the creek: down the creek we went, and up on the other side in double quick time, and a scene presented itself. On the side of the hill, not two hundred yards from us, were two men sitting down, looking towards us, the tent and fire immediately behind them; and on coming up to them, two of the most pitiable creatures imaginable were sitting down. One had sufficient strength to get up; the other appeared to me like a man in the very last stage of consumption. Alas! alas! they were the only two left of the eight, the remainder having died from starvation. Whilst here we were considering what was best to be done, when natives in great numbers were descried watching our movements. Jackey said, “Doctor,” calling me aside, “now I tell you exactly what to do, you see those black fellows over there,” (and in pointing to them I saw a great number, some eight hundred yards away, peeping from behind trees,) “you leave him tent, everything, altogether there, and get the two white fellows down to the boat quick.” Jackey was exceedingly energetic, and grave as well. Getaway as quick as possible, was resounded by all, but what was to be done — two men almost dead to walk two or three miles. We looked over the tent, asked Carron for what important things there were, and each laid hold of what appeared to be of most value, the captain taking two sextants, other parties fire-arms, &c., &c. “Come along,” again and again Jackey called out, and the captain too, whilst they were half way down towards the creek, and Barrett and I loading ourselves. I took a case of seeds, some papers of Carron’s, a double gun, and pistol, which, together with my own double gun and brace of pistols, thermometer, and my pockets full of powder and shot, was as much as I could manage. Seeing Carron could not get along, I told him to put his hands on my shoulders, and in this way he managed to walk down, as far as nearly through the mangrove swamp, towards the water’s edge, when he could not in that way possibly get any further, and Barrett, with his disabled arm, carried him down to the edge of the water. Goddard, the other survivor, was just able to walk down, spoke, and looked exceedingly feeble. They were brought on board at noon, and attended to according to my instructions. Carron’s legs were dreadfully swollen, about three times their natural size, from adema. In the afternoon both reviving and thanking God for their deliverance. I was for some time afraid of Carron. At ten P.M. — they are both doing well, and, I trust, will be enabled to tell their own tale, which renders it unnecessary for me to write it down here. I told the captain to proceed direct on to Sydney. Jackey, Carron, and Goddard, and the captain, stating it would be running too great a risk to go to recover anything from the tent, moreover, with so small a party as the captain, Jackey, and myself, (Barrett really being unfit to go), and the sailors all refusing to go. I consider the captain deserves considerable credit for his actions throughout in exerting himself to rescue the survivors.
Sunday, December 31. — At daylight got under weigh and took our departure from Weymouth Bay for Sydney. Carron and Goddard were some considerable time in getting better; the former being subject to daily fits of ague, &c., &c.
Thursday, January 11, 1849. — The black native had made his escape during the night, whilst it was raining and blowing hard; we were at this time anchored about one and a-half or two miles from Turtle Reef, and a distance of eight miles from Cape Bedford, the nearest of the mainland; search was made on the reef, but no marks of him; a strong current was making towards Cape Bedford, and he might have taken that direction. Two large sharks were seen about the ship this morning; it is our impression the man can never have reached the land; the black was seen by Parker, on deck, at two A.M., whilst it was thundering, lightning, and raining, but was never seen afterwards.
Thursday, February 13, 1849. — Extracted part of a spear, an inch long, from Barrett’s arm.
Sunday, April 15, 1849. — At half past one P.M., the Harbinger in company, blowing strong with hard squalls and heavy rain, the appearance of the weather threatening, considered it advisable to anchor under the lee of the North Percy Island, then in sight; at two, bore away for that purpose; at half-past two, rounded the north end of the Island, stretched over towards two small islets, made a short board in, and anchored in thirteen fathoms, about one and a half miles from the shore; the largest islet of the two bearing S. W. by S., Pine Peak just open with the north end of Percy Island.
Shortly after rounding the end of the Island, Jackey and his companions pointed out two men on the island who were waving and making signals for us to land; Jackey firmly asserted they were “white fellow,” he knew them by their walk. After the vessel had anchored, and I had leisure to examine them through the glass, I perceived, whether black or white, they had clothes on; manned the boat and went alongside the Harbinger, when Captain Sampson joined me. As we approached the shore we found Jackey was right, they were Europeans; they represented themselves to be shipwrecked seamen who had been cast away in a schooner named the Bona Vista, from Port Nicholson, bound to Torres Straits for the purpose of obtaining beche-le-mere: we then asked if there were any more men on the island, one of them (Clarke) at first said no, and subsequently stated that another of their companions had left an hour or two ago for the purpose of getting a kettle of water; when last seen he was in a very weak state, and he thought he must be dead; I immediately sent the boat’s crew in different directions to find him, he was found about one hundred yards from where we landed, in a dying state, quite insensible, his eyes fixed and glassy; a little weak brandy and water was given him, which appeared to revive him; sent the boat on board to get restoratives, on her return gave him some arrow-root and port wine; our aid came too late, he was too much exhausted to resuscitate; he died at sunset. We returned on board, taking the two men with us to the Freak.
The conflicting statements given by these men, and the fact of their having at first concealed from us the fact that there was a third man on the island, created suspicion in my mind. I consulted with Captain Sampson, and we decided to remain the next day and examine the place more minutely. Towards midnight hard squalls with heavy rain.
Monday, April 16. — During the night blowing strong from the southeast, with thick rainy weather. In the morning it was reported to me that one of the men (Clarke) that we had taken off the island was tearing up papers and throwing them overboard. I immediately had some of the fragments picked up, I having no doubt their story was a fabrication, and that there was evidently something in these papers they wished to conceal; upon examining the scraps picked up, I found that of an envelope addressed to Matthew Clarke, on board the Marion, Woolwich; on other scraps I found allusions to the unfortunate situation of the individual addressed, with hopes, &c., that at some future period he might return to his family, with remarks about good conduct, which left no doubt on my mind that the man Clarke was a runaway prisoner of the Crown.
At ten A.M. went on shore, and examined the cave in which these men had been living, and made strict search. found a water-breaker, painted stone colour, a small piece of light canvass, apparently part of the fore-and-aft sail of a boat, with a brass thimble in it, a small piece of tarpaulin, with a few strands of fine Manila rope.
The remains of the unfortunate man who died last evening were sewed up, and taken round to the sandy beach opposite the two small islets, and buried on the north end, the funeral service having been read over him. We afterwards landed on other parts of the island, but found nothing that gave any further clue respecting the men found.
This island, from what little I saw of it, appears to be composed of a reddish indurated claystone, very hard, portions of it having evidently been under the action of fire; near the water-side were strong indication of iron, some of the small boulders near the beach had large quantities of iron in their composition. On no part of the island where I landed was there coral formation, not even a small fringe reef; at the bottom of some of the small bays, in deep water, I observed only a little coral formation. I landed on one of the small islets to the westward of the main island; I found the body of it composed of trap, scoriae, &c., evident signs of its volcanic origin. On the sea beach I found masses of conglomerate formation, and in the trap occasional lamina of felspar.
The botanical productions of these islands were few, there being but little soil. The most conspicuous were a few stunted amicacia (pine), some small casuarina, and MELALEUCA. Saw no quadrupeds, and but few land birds-some rooks, and some small birds resembling tile swallow.
Many fruitless attempts were made to catch fish. At three, P.M., returned on board.
The following are the voluntary statements of the two men taken off the North Percy Island.
“I left Port Nicholson about the middle of last February, in the schooner Bona Vista, about 30 tons burden, Dadds, master, and a crew of six men, bound on a beche-le-mere voyage to Torres’ Straits. I shipped by the month. After leaving Port Nicholson, we saw no land until we made the land about Wide Bay. After being, out three or four weeks, at about eight o’clock one evening struck on a reef, which we supposed to be the Great Barrier Reef; made several attempts to get the schooner off, got the bower anchors out astern, but in spite of all our efforts the vessel forged further on the reef, and bilged. The only boat we had was a very small one, not large enough to carry all hands. We made a raft of the vessel’s spars, and secured it under the boat’s bottom. At daylight we abandoned the wreck, in the small boat, supported by the raft, and steered for land (two peaks) then in sight to the westward. On the following morning we landed on an island, the one we had seen, where we remained about eight or ten days. The only provisions saved from the wreck were a piece of beef and about half a hundred of damaged biscuit, also a small quantity of tea. We then agreed to make for the main land: we all left, and steered for a small island to the westward. On this island three of our men were left. The remainder proceeded to another island still further to the westward. Here we found natives. Left that island, and made for another, where natives were also seen; from their manner they appeared to be hostile. We then returned to the island where we left the three men. It was then agreed to go over to a large island then in sight about six miles to the southward of us, as we thought from its size it was more likely to afford us better means of sustenance, and greater facilities of making our boat larger.
“Myself and three others proceeded to this island, where we landed. One man took the boat back for the remainder. I have not seen them since. It is now about three weeks since we landed; have had nothing to eat during that time but small oysters and winkles.
“The schooner belonged to Port Nicholson, had no cargo on board, nothing but ballast; had a few metal dishes on board, which I supposed were to be used for curing the beche-le-mere. The schooner was not coppered, and had no square topsail. I do not know to whom she belongs. The man who died on the island was named Thomas Birch, or Beach; he was a native of Ireland.”
“I left Port Nicholson, New Zealand, about the middle of February last, as seaman, on board a schooner about 80 tons burden; I do not recollect her name. She was a topsail schooner; was sure she was coppered. She was bound for Singapore, in ballast, had no cargo on board. I got £2 10s. per month. There was nothing said about beche-le-mere in the articles. The captain’s name was Thomas Dadds. There were seven men on board besides the captain. About five weeks after leaving Port Nicholson the schooner struck on a reef, about two o’clock in the morning. I was at the helm at the time. We then got the boat out, a very small one, and carried an anchor out astern, to haul the vessel off, but did not succeed. When the tide fell, the vessel bilged. We then got breakers and spars lashed under the boat’s bottom. At low water the schooner was high and dry. When the tide flowed, we all got into the boat, and pulled to the westward. We left the wreck about an hour after the schooner struck.
“At daylight saw an island, which we pulled for; landed on it the next morning; here we remained about three weeks living on shellfish; tried to get plank for the purpose of lengthening our boat; did not succeed for want of tools, nails, &c.
“We then all agreed to make for the main land, making short stages from island to island; three first went and landed on an island a few miles to the westward; the boat returned and took the remainder over. The master with four hands left next morning, and went on some islands nearer the main land; they returned at night and said they had had ‘a sideout with the natives.’ It was then agreed to land on the island we were taken off. The master, myself, and two companions landed about three weeks since; the master returned to bring the remainder of the crew. I have not seen them, since; they never returned. We have had nothing to eat but small oysters and winkles; we have had no fire. I could not have held out much longer. The man who died was named Perch. I came out to Port Nicholson in a ship called the Vanguard, about eighteen months ago; I came out free. I have been working as a journeyman baker at Port Nicholson, for a man named Kemp. I was also working at sailmaking for a man named Baker. I was in Port Nicholson in October and November last; there was no earthquake there when I was there, I must have known if there had been one.”
On this man was found a certificate of freedom, dated Hobart Town, the 4th day of November, 1846, No. 1009, for one Ryan Larkin, tried in Sydney Supreme Court, 1839, transported for seven years; the description of the individual was nearly obliterated. The man Davis, first claimed it as his own, and subsequently, stated it belonged to the man who died on the island, and was taken from him after we landed.
Tuesday, April 17. — In the night the wind became light and the weather fine; at daylight weighed and made sail to a light breeze from the eastward, the Harbinger in company; steered for Pine Peak, as I intend sending a boat on shore for the purpose of ascertaining whether the remaining part of the schooner’s crew had left the island, and to get if possible a portion of the spars which the man Clarke said had been left there; at eight A.M., sent the second officer away in the boat to land on the island with the man Clarke; at half-past nine A.M., the boat returned. she brought off a part of the vessel’s mast, it was very small, and, apparently belonging to a boat of about eight tons; they brought also the head of a breaker similar to the one we got previously, painted stone colour, with the Government mark and the letters E.D. marked thus E^D. Clarke said the men had returned to the island and probably gone in the boat to the northward in hopes of falling in with a vessel. Made sail and shaped a course for island K; found a strong tide setting to the eastward.
As regards the two men taken off the North Percy Island, I feel assured they are not what they represent themselves to be, from the inconsistency of their respective statements, and the prevaricating manner in which they were given, and from the fact of the vessel’s mast (Clarke admitted it to be the mast)— part of the hounds were still attached to it — being so very much smaller than the size required for a vessel of the burden they reported her to be, one said thirty, and the other eighty tons — and the fact of the Government mark being found on the breakers, and the absurdity of going on a beche-le-mere voyage with only one boat, a small dingy, for there was nothing more; and from various other circumstances, I have no doubt they are both runaway prisoners of the Crown, who have cut out some small craft from one of the penal settlements, probably from Hobart Town or Launceston.
From the comparative robust state in which we found the two men, I can hardly credit their having been living for three weeks only on small oysters and winkles. There also appears a mystery connected with the unfortunate man who died on the island: the statements of the two men do not agree as to the time when he was last seen by them, and the state he was in, and from the fact of their having at first denied his being on the island, and when they found search was about to be made, reluctantly admitted there was another man who, most likely, they said was dead; and also from the fact of there being a purple mark on the deceased’s throat, I have reason to fear there has been some foul work going on.
In looking over the Chart I find these men must have struck on one of the numerous reefs about thirty miles to the eastward of the Pine Peak in about latitude 21½° S.; afterwards they got on the Peak, and from thence to No. 5. The islands where the natives were seen, were most likely some of the Beverly Group. It is not unlikely in our progress to the northward we may fall in with the remainder of the crew. During the 18th, 19th, and 20th, we had light winds from the N. and N.W.
At five P.M., on the 20th, a light breeze sprung up from the eastward. At noon on the 21st, we were of the north end of the Cumberland Group.
At sun-set on the 22nd, we were close to the Palm Islands. On the 23rd, calm, abreast of Dunk Island, off Rockingham Bay.
On the 24th anchored under the lee of Fitz Roy Island.
On the 25th, anchored off Snapper Island.
On the 26th, anchored abreast of Cape Bedford.
On the 27th, anchored in Ninian Bay, a very bad anchorage. On the 28th and 29th, blowing hard from the eastward, and squally, did not weigh.
On the 30th weighed, it still blowing hard from the S.S.E. At 10.30 A.M. abreast of Cape Flattery; at sunset anchored under the lee of No. 1 Claremont Group.
May 1. — Weighed and stood to the northward; at sunset anchored under the lee of Sherrard’s Isles.
Wednesday, May 2. — In the night fresh breezes from N.E. with rain; at daylight weighed and made sail, the Harbinger in company; shaped a course to pass between Cape Direction and the low sandy island which lies off it; passed close to the latter; I observed the reef extending from the N.E. end further than laid down on the chart; after passing it, and giving Cape Direction a good berth, shaped a course for Restoration Island. At 9 A.M. dense masses of rain clouds to the east and north-east. The weather became thick and rainy, shortened sail to the topsails. At 10.30 A.M., the weather clearing a little, saw Restoration and Cape Weymouth; when close to the former we had heavy squalls with rain, which prevented our seeing the land; hove-to with the vessel’s head to the N.E.; shortly after the weather clearing a little so as to enable us to see the land, bore up and stood in for Weymouth Bay. The rain now descended in torrents, lowered topsails on the cap, feeling our way cautiously with the lead; finding the water shoaling, anchored in twelve fathoms; at 0.30 P.M., the weather clearing a little, saw Restoration, bearing S.S.E. ½ E., and a small island distant about a mile west.
At 3.30 P.M. fine, and finding we were a long distance out, weighed and ran in under the jib, the Harbinger following our example; as we approached the bottom of the bay the water shoaled gradually, and when the haze lifted Jackey pointed out the hill at the foot of which was the camp where Mr. Kennedy had left eight of the party, and from whence Carron and Goddard had been rescued. We stood into five fathoms, and at 5 P.M. anchored about 11 miles from the shore; the Harbinger brought up close to us. Made up my mind to visit the camp in the morning, and endeavour to find if there were any papers which might have been left and not destroyed. Midnight, moderate breeze, and passing showers.
Thursday, May 3. — During the night moderate breeze from the south with light showers. At five A.M., Captain Sampson came alongside, he wishing to join our party, and visit the camp. Having well manned and armed the large whaleboat, pulled on shore, and landed at the entrance of a small river, on a little sand patch, the place having been pointed out by Jackey; it was the only clear landing-place I saw. A dense mangrove swamp extended some distance beyond high water mark. We had no sooner landed than the rain fell in torrents, and continued for three hours, so much so that we could not load our guns.
It was about high water when we landed, and in the mangrove scrub through which we had to go, the water was nearly up to our waists. We had, therefore, no alternative but to remain patiently until the tide fell, and the rain ceased.
On searching the place where we landed, part of a blanket was found, marked B^O, a part of a tarpaulin, a piece of canvas, apparently a portion of a tent, and a small tin dish, with a name scratched on its back. These articles were evidently part of the pillage from the camp.
A little way up the creek we found three canoes, very rudely made, with outriggers on both sides. We searched and found some small pieces of iron, which we took, being also pillage from the exploring party. At ten A.M., less rain, got some of our pieces blown off with difficulty, they being drenched with rain.
Near the spot where we landed, I found the bones of a very extraordinary animal, or rather animals, for there were two, one much larger than the other. They appeared to have died on the spot, as the bones were all together. From the vertebra of the largest, it must have been as large as an ox. I took the sculls of both. I judged from their teeth that they were gramniverous; the molars were not unlike those of the horse. They had two very long incisors, one of which I found. [These bones were subsequently found, upon examination, to be those of the Dugong.]
At eleven A.M., having some of our guns in a state to be trusted, we landed our boats and pulled a short distance up the creek in order to avoid in some measure the crossing of the mangrove swamp. We started, Jackey taking the lead, leaving a party to look after the boats. We walked for a short distance in a mangrove swamp, and came out on an open spot where we found a native camp, which from appearances had been but recently abandoned, the ashes of the fires being still warm: we made a strict search, but found nothing; we proceeded, passed through a small belt of mangroves, and came on an open plain; here Jackey and Tommy being the leading men, saw five natives, about fifty yards from us, planted behind trees, each had a bundle of spears, they were evidently watching us, Jackey levelled his gun at the nearest, and off they ran and disappeared immediately; Jackey seemed very desirous to shoot them, but I told him not to fire, as I wished to speak to them.
From the recent heavy rain the plain was very nearly knee-deep with water, nearly the whole distance we travelled the water was over our ankles, making walking very fatiguing. After crossing the plain we came to a band of trees and bushes, among them I was surprised to find some very fine banana plants; I observed also a fine specimen of the red cedar, the only tree I had hitherto seen was the Melaleuca; here we crossed a small creek, and came on fine forest land. After proceeding some distance, Jackey pointed out the place where the party first camped, and where Mr. Kennedy left the eight men; they subsequently removed to the opposite side of the creek; near this place on a tree was carved in large letters “K. LXXX.,” which I suppose meant the eightieth station. On coming to the creek found it running too strong for us to ford it; went along by its side a short distance, and were fortunate to find a tree extending across it, upon which we got over; found the grass as high as our shoulders, crossed a small gully and ascended a slight acclivity, which brought us to the site of the camp; a bare spot of ground, indicated the exact locality; this spot was strewed with portions of books, all of a religious or scientific description; found no manuscripts; parts of harness-leather belts, pieces of cedar boxes in leather covers were also found; one or two tins for carrying water, a camp stool, and part of a table, and piece of a tent pole, the bones, sculls, and part of the feathers of birds, &c.; specimens of natural history, all destroyed. I observed the bones of a horse, and the scull of a dog; a piece of torn calico with a portion of a chart adhering to it was picked up; I thought I could make out the words “River Mitchell” on it.
I was some time before I could find the remains of Wall and Niblet, who were the last men that died, and had not been buried, the survivors being too weak. I placed myself at the camp, and looked about for the likeliest place to which a corpse would be taken under the circumstances. I went down into a small gully, about sixty yards from the camp; under some small bushes, in about two feet of water, I found their bones, two sculls and some of the larger bones, the smaller ones having most probably been washed away by the flood; the bones were all carefully collected and taken on board. From the position in which these bones were found, agreeing with the description given me by Mr. Carron, I feel confident they are the remains of Wall and Niblet.
I was rather surprised to find some cabbage-palm trees (Livistania) growing in the vicinity of the camp; the tops are very nutritious, and would be very desirable for men in a starving state, had they been aware of it. I picked up part of a key belonging to a chronometer. After having a good look round, we returned to the boats, all tired, from our drenching and wading through so much mud and water, and we unfortunately had no provisions of any kind, and had eaten nothing all day. When we pulled to the entrance of the river it was low water, and there was a bank dry outside of us for upwards of half a mile; we had no alternative but to wait until the tide flowed. At half past three P.M., got on board, hoisted the boat in, and prepared to start in the morning.
I found among the pieces of books, a portion of Leichhardt’s journey overland.
Friday, May 4. — At daylight, weighed, with a light breeze from the southward; steered to give Fair Cape a berth. I observed the entrance of a large river at the north end of Weymouth Bay. At half-past ten A.M., passed Piper’s Island, and steered for Young’s Island; could not make it out for some time, when we did see it, found it only a small reef above water, not worthy the name of an island; such a misnomer is likely to mislead; hauled up for the reef M. At noon, abreast of Huggerstone Island, steered to give Sir Everard Home’s Isles a berth; saw natives on Cape Grenville; hauled in for Sunday Island; the wind light from the eastward; passed Thorpe Point, and hauled in for Round Point. At five P.M., anchored in six fathoms, mud. Bearings at anchor, North Sand Hill, D, (conical hill), S. E. ½ E.; South Wind Hillock, (a. saddle hill), S. ¾ E.; the remarkable sand patch, S. W. ½ W.; Jackey’s Pudding-pan Hill, W. ¼ N. Got the whaleboat and crew ready to start at daylight for Shelbourne Bay.
On consulting Jackey about going to the camp where the three men were left, he said it was no use going there; the distance was great, and the country scrubby, and that he was sure if any of the men were alive, they would be on the seacoast. Dunn, one of the men, told him, if Costigan died, he should come down to the beach directly. I therefore considered all that we could do would be to thoroughly examine the coast with the whaleboat, close in shore, and the brig as near as she prudently could approach.
Captain Sampson, of the Harbinger, came on board to take leave; he having decided to part company in the morning. Midnight, light breeze and fine.
Saturday, May 5. — During the night a light breeze off the land, S.W.
At daylight despatched the whaleboat, in charge of the second officer, with four seamen, Jackey, and his two companions, with particular orders to keep close to the beach, and to land occasionally, to examine all the native camping places and canoes; to make strict search for anything that might tend to point out the fate of the unfortunate men. At 6.30 A. m. weighed, with a light breeze from the southward, and steered to pass between the Bird and Macarthur Islands; at noon abreast of the latter; P.M., after passing Hannibal Isles, hauled in for the shore, for the purpose of picking up the whaleboat. At 5.30 P.M., having shoaled our water rather suddenly to 3½ fathoms, hard bottom, anchored about a mile off shore. Saw a canoe and a few natives on the beach. Bearings at anchor — Risk Point, S. ½ E.; the centre of the Hannibal Isles, S.E. by E. ½ E. At eight P.M. the boat returned. The second officer made the following Report:—
“I kept close along the beach all day, landed three times; first, near the creek where the Ariel’s boat landed, saw no indication there of Europeans. I landed again some distance further on, where I saw a native camp and a canoe. In the latter I found a leathern pistol holster, marked 34, which Jackey recognised as belonging to the party. Three natives were seen by Jackey, who, on perceiving the boat, ran into the bush.
“At the third place I landed I saw no indication of men. I was close to the beach all along, and occasionally fired a musket.”
Jackey appears confident that the men left have been killed by the blacks. He said he had hopes of finding Dunn, he being a man that knew “blackfellow” well. and used to go along “blackfellow.”
Midnight, light breeze off shore.
Sunday, May 6th, 1849. — At daylight sent the boat on shore, manned as before, with instructions to land at the place where I saw natives last night.
At 6.30 A.M., weighed and set the topsails to a light breeze from the southward, steered N. by E. ½ E., hauling out a little from the land.
At seven heard a rumbling noise, looked over the vessel’s side and saw we were in shoal water, the vessel gradually losing her way, but still continued forging ahead a little; lowered the boat and sounded round, found more water ahead, thirteen and fourteen feet; in shore, about half a cable’s length found five and six fathoms; to seaward, eleven and eleven and a half feet. Set the foresail: having a flowing tide the vessel went ahead and deepened our water; after going ahead about two or three ship’s lengths touched again slightly, and immediately after got into five and six fathoms. The sea being smooth at the time, and the after part of the keel being the only part of the vessel that touched, she cannot have received any material damage This shoal appeared to be of small extent, composed of sand and coral; it is not laid down in the chart, but is very dangerous, not being visible from the mast head. I went aloft after crossing it, and could perceive no indication of shoal water. The bearings I got when on the shoal were, the outer or larger Hannibal Island, S. E. ½ E., the inner one, only a solitary tree visible, S. by E. ½ E.
At eight saw two vessels in the offing coming from the southward, one a full-rigged ship, the other a barque; at eleven A.M. passed Cairncross Island, running under easy sail and keeping as near the shore as prudent to keep the boat in sight. I have given instructions to the officers in charge to make a signal if anything was discovered. At half-past three P.M. exchanged numbers with the Blenheim, from Sydney, bound to Calcutta with horses; the barque I suppose to be the Walter Morris; at half-past four hauled in for Fern Island; at five anchored under the lee in three fathoms, mud; bearings, the highest part of Fern Island S. by E., the entrance to Escape River, N.W. by W. ½ W., hoisted the recall for the boat; saw a small schooner at anchor about eight miles to the northward; the ship and barque anchored under X reef.
“I ran along close to the shore all day. I landed a little to the southward of Orfordness. I met about thirty natives on the beach, they came up to us without hesitation, and appeared very friendly; they shook hands with all of us, and brought us water. Jackey at first thought he recognised the native who escaped from the Ariel among them; he got a little excited, and wanted to shoot him, when he approached nearer he was satisfied he was not the same individual. At another place where I landed I found part of the lower mast of a vessel about 400 tons, and pieces of wreck; saw no natives or indication of them on the beach.”
Midnight, moderate breeze and fine.
Monday, May 7, 1849. — In the night light winds S.S.E. and fine weather; at daylight the Blenheim and the barque proceeded to the northward; the schooner remaining at anchor, and from the fact of her doing so, I came to the conclusion it could be no other vessel than the Coquette; seeing her so far from her station, I imagined there was something wrong, or that she had heard the unfortunate termination of the expedition, and was preparing to leave; I determined to communicate with her before proceeding up Escape River; at half-past eight A.M., saw four natives on the beach.
At nine A.M., I left in the whaleboat for the schooner — the small boat employed watering. At half past eleven I boarded the Coquette; Captain Elliott had heard by the Sea Nymph, from Hobart Town, the fate of the expedition, and was about leaving for Sydney. She reported the ship Lord Auckland, from Hobart Town, with horses, having been aground on the X reef for several days; she subsequently got off, and had proceeded on her voyage, not having sustained any very material damage; she had lost four anchors, and the Coquette was going to try to pick them up.
At two P.M. the tide commenced ebbing, the schooner got under weigh and worked down towards the Freak. At half-past six P.M., the tide being down, the schooner anchored about one mile to the northward of us, when I returned on board.
Having explained to Captain Elliott my intention of proceeding up the Escape River in the morning, he volunteered to accompany me, and to supply two hands, which enabled me to man my two boats, thus making a most formidable party.
After sunset fresh breeze from the S.E., and cloudy.
Tuesday, May 8, 1849. — During the night blowing strong from the S.E., and squally with rain. At daylight made preparations for starting. I took the five-oared whaleboat, and the second officer, accompanied by Captain Elliott, went in the small boat, both well armed and manned.
At half-past six A.M. we left and ran before a strong breeze from the S.E., and stood in for the entrance of Escape River. At half-past seven hauled in round the south head (Point Shadwell) in crossing the bar, least water three fathoms, the tide being about first quarter spring flood.
After entering the river perceived a bay, with small sandy beaches, one of which Jackey pointed out as the place where Mr. Kennedy first met the hostile natives; from this place we observed some of them launching a canoe for the purpose of speaking us, but as we could not afford to lose either the time or the tide I deferred communicating with them until our return. After steering west about five or six miles, the river began gradually to wind to the northward, and afterwards S.S.E.; the river six or seven miles from the entrance was upwards of a mile in width, both banks were covered by a dense impenetrable mangrove swamp; after the river trended to the southward we had to lower our sail and pull; after pulling some four or five miles the river became gradually narrower. I observed several branches of it trending to the northward and westward; we remained on the southernmost branch, the principal one; as we proceeded on the left hand side of the river we came to a clear place free of mangroves, the only one we had seen; here we landed, and Jackey pointed it out as the place where Mr. Kennedy had come down on the morning of the day when he was killed; it was here Jackey advised him to abandon the horses and swim the river, about thirty yards wide. Jackey pointed out the tree where he made the horses fast whilst they went down to the river and searched in vain for oysters, they having had nothing to eat all that day.
We again proceeded, the river becoming gradually narrower as we advanced, and the water perfectly fresh. After going about two or three miles, the river became so narrow that our oars could not be used. We were compelled to haul the boats along, against a strong stream, by the overhanging branches of the trees, frequently coming across fallen trees, over which we had to launch our boats, running the risk of staving them; and again obliged to force them under others. A better spot could not have been selected by the natives for cutting us off, had they been so disposed — a narrow creek, and a dense scrub on either side. We still proceeded till the boats could get no further. We had traced the Escape River to its source — a small fresh water creek. As we advanced the belt of mangroves became thinner. We landed on a clear place, on the right of the creek. We went a short distance inland; saw an extensive plain, with numerous large ant-hills on it, which Jackey knew as the place he had crossed the day Mr. Kennedy was killed. Jackey went a short distance further to reconnoitre, and presently returned, having perfectly satisfied himself as to our locality.
After making a hasty meal we proceeded, leaving four hands in charge of the boats; we walked some distance across a swamp, still following the course of the creek. In the swamp I saw a great many of the Nepenthes distillatoria, or pitcher plants; they were not exactly of the same description I have seen on the Pellew Islands, and other places; nearly all of them wanted the graceful turn in the stem, for which those elegant plants are so justly celebrated. We traced the creek for nearly a mile, looking out for a crossing place, when Jackey pointed out on the other side the creek the place he had secreted the saddle-bags. At length we came to a tree which had fallen and formed a kind of bridge, over which we passed with difficulty, and returned to the place where Jackey raid the saddle-bags were planted. Jackey then showed us the place where “horse tumble down creek” after being speared. Some horse-dung was found on the top of the bank close to this place, which confirmed Jackey’s statement; he then took us a few yards into the scrub to look for the saddle-bags, and told us to look about for a broken twig, growing over a thick bush; the place was found, but the saddle bags were gone; on searching under the bush among the leaves, the horizon glass of a sextant was found, a strong proof that Jackey had found the right place.
Jackey then took us through a dense scrub for some distance, when we came on open swampy ground about half a mile wide; on the opposite side there was more scrub, close to which there were three large ant hills; Jackey took us to the centre one, five yards from which poor Kennedy fell, against this ant-hill Jackey placed him when he went after the saddle bags. Jackey told us to look about for broken spears; some pieces were found; he then took us to a place about sixty yards from the ant-hill, where he put Mr. Kennedy, who then told him not to carry him far. About a quarter of a mile from this place, towards the creek, Jackey pointed out a clear space of ground, near an angle of a very small running stream of fresh water, close to three young pandanus trees, as the place where the unfortunate gentleman died. Jackey had taken him here to wash his wounds and stop the blood. It was here, when poor Kennedy found he was dying, that he gave Jackey instructions about the papers, when Jackey said, “Why do you talk so: you are not going to leave me?”
Jackey then led the way to a dense tea-tree scrub, distant about three or four hundred yards, where he had carried the body and buried it. When we came to the edge of the scrub, Jackey was at a loss where to enter, as he said when he was carrying the corpse he did not look behind — all the objects in front being nearly alike he did not get a good mark. Into the midst of this scrub we went, divided ourselves and searched in every direction, but could not find the place: Jackey had not made the spot too conspicuous, fearing the blacks might find it, he had only bent down two twigs across each other; the scrub was not very extensive but exceedingly thick.
Jackey led the way to a creek, and pointed out the place where he had crossed. Jackey said “I threw him down one fellow compass somewhere here.” It was immediately found, it was one of Kater’s prismatic compasses, the name “Chislett, London,” engraved on the back. Jackey then went to a place where he “plant him sextant,” but the flood had been over the place and washed it away. When returning I found the trough for an artificial horizon washed upon the banks of the creek, this had been left with the sextant. Jackey crossed the creek, and found a small wooden bottle of quicksilver in the same place he had left it.
We returned to the scrub where Mr. Kennedy was buried, when we came to it I placed the party (eleven in number) five yards asunder, and traversed it this way in all directions, but without success. I then took Jackey to the plain where the poor gentleman died, and told him to go towards the scrub in the same manner he did when he was carrying the corpse, and not to look back, which he did, telling me the manner in which he carried it, and where he shifted it from one shoulder to the other. In this manner he entered the scrub, and I have no doubt he took us very near the exact place where the body was buried; we sounded the ground all round with our ramrods, but without success. After taking another good look we reluctantly gave up the search, as the night was rapidly approaching, and returned to the boats.
My opinion is, that the remains of the unfortunate gentleman have not been exhumed; if they had, we should have seen some indication of them; the natives would not have taken the trouble to fill the grave, or take away the bones. The soil where he was buried was of a light sandy nature, and the small mound Jackey rose over the grave had been washed down by the heavy rains. The only clue that gave rise to the supposition that the natives had found the body, was the fact that part of Mr. K.‘s trowsers were found in the canoe taken by the schooner Ariel. Jackey said there were other trowsers in the saddlebag, exactly like those he had on at the time of his death. The saddlebags, there is not the slightest doubt, have been found by the natives. Poor Jackey was very quiet, but felt, and felt deeply, during the day. When pointing out the spot where Mr. K. died, I saw tears in his eyes, and no one could be more indefatigable in searching for the remains. His feelings against the natives were bitter, and had any of them made their appearance at the time, I could hardly have prevented him from shooting them.
When we got back to the boats, we immediately proceeded down the creek, being anxious to get clear of the intricate navigation before dark. We succeeded in getting into the open river with difficulty, the numerous snags and branches of trees in the creek, together with the strong current, required great precaution to prevent our boats being stove.
A few yards above the place pointed out by Jackey in the morning, where Mr. Kennedy came down to the river for the purpose of crossing, we found the water very shallow, not ankle deep, right across, and had they waited until low water might have crossed without difficulty; as we pulled down the river we found numerous shoals, our boat constantly grounding. in fact Escape River is not a river, but an estuary, terminating in swamps.
At eleven we arrived at the entrance of the river, where I camped for the night, on a sandy beach not far from Point Shadwell, having determined to examine the native camp at daybreak. Set a watch, but made no fire, as I wanted to take the natives by surprise.
Midnight, blowing hard from S.E., and squally, felt anxious for the vessel, the anchorage not being good.
Wednesday, May 9th, 1849. — Blowing very hard all night from S. E; passed a miserable night — the mosquitoes devouring us.
At break of day launched our boats and pulled towards the camp where we had seen natives the day before. Some of the party went along the beach. On arriving at the camp found it had very recently been abandoned; one of Jackey’s companions saw one native, who ran into the bush and was seen no more.
I went with Jackey some distance into the bush, he showed me the place where a native threw a spear at him the day before Mr. Kennedy’s death; Jackey fired, but missed him.
I forgot to mention that the master of the Coquette had seen a native at Port Albany, who had, apparently, been wounded in the face with large shot, and as he answered the exact description given by Jackey, there is little doubt that he was the same individual mentioned in his statement as shot by him.
We searched the camp, found a small piece of red cloth, which Jackey recognised as part of the lining of Mr. K.‘s cloak, also a piece of painted canvas; a canoe on the beach we destroyed. Finding nothing more could be done, we pulled out of the river, and got on board about ten A.M., after a very hard pull against both a head wind and tide.
Found the brig riding very uneasy in consequence of the heavy sea, and as Jackey said the other papers, called by him the small ones, and which I conceive to be the most important, as he was particularly instructed to take them to the Governor, were secreted at the head of another river, about eight miles further to the northward, and finding the vessel could not ride any longer here with safety, I determined, when the tide eased, to weigh and seek some more secure anchorage.
At half-past twelve P.M. weighed, the Coquette in company, and stood to the northward. At half-past four hard squalls and heavy rain; rounded the Tree Island Reef and anchored in five fathoms about one and a-half miles from the north end of Albany Island.
I do not intend going into Port Albany, as the tides run very strong there; outside is quite as safe at this season. In the evening went on shore on Albany Island. Saw four or five natives, who knew Captain Elliott; they were very anxious to get biscuit and tobacco.. They seem to be the same class of men as those at Port Essington, but the language is, I think, different.
Towards midnight, blowing hard from S.E., with heavy squalls and rain.
Thursday, May 10. — All night blowing hard, and squally. At daylight same weather; no chance of the boat getting to the southward today. At ten went on shore, for the purpose of selecting a spot to inter the remains of Messrs. Wall and Niblet. Saw the horse left by the Ariel; he seemed in good condition, but rather shy; no chance, I fear, of catching him. Took some corn and meal in a bucket for him.
At three P.M., the weather rather more moderate. Both vessels got under weigh, and worked close in shore. At 4.30 anchored in three-quarters fathom, mud: Tree Island N.E. by E. half E.; Pile Island W. half S.; north extreme of Albany Island S. by E. half E.; within a short half mile of the shore.
Got all ready for a start in the morning, should the weather be moderate. Should the weather continue bad, I proposed to Jackey to try the overland route. He said the distance was too great, and the country very bad to travel through; that it would take several days.
Friday, May 11th, 1849. — All night fresh breeze and squally, at daylight rather more moderate, at half-past six despatched the whale boat, fully manned and armed and provisioned for two days, and Jackey and his two companions. I gave charge of the boat to Macnate, my chief officer. I did not think there was any necessity to go myself as Jackey said they were not likely to fall in with any natives. Captain Elliot volunteered his services and accompanied the party.
Employed watering ship, found water very abundant all over Albany Island.
Saturday, May 12th, 1849. — Fresh breeze all night and fine.
At half-past one P.M. the whaleboat returned, having got the papers, &c., secreted by Jackey in a hollow tree. A rat or some animal had pulled them out of the tree, and they were saturated with water, and I fear nearly destroyed; they consisted of a roll of charts and some memorandum books. The charts with care may be deciphered.
“May 11. — At eight A.M. we rounded Fly Point, set sail and steered S. by W., the boat going about five knots, just laying along the shore.
“At ten A.M. crossed a bank with only nine feet water on it, passed a reef about three miles from Fly Point, and half a mile from the shore; from former shoal had three and four fathoms to the entrance of the river.
“At half-past eleven A.M. entered the mouth of a river, near the centre of Newcastle Bay; here we lost sight of Albany Island, making the distance from it about fourteen miles; the entrance of this river is about one mile and a half wide; on the northern half of the entrance the water is deep, three fathoms; on the southern side there is a sand bank, nearly dry at low water.
“From the entrance we went S.S.W. five miles, when the river narrowed to about the third of a mile, we had from six to two and a half fathoms all the way in. From here we went into the branch of the river that ran about south, the main river going west. The entrance to the branch is about two cables’ lengths wide, we went in a southerly direction about six miles, when the river narrowed to forty feet; here we landed at half-past three P.M., leaving two hands in charge of the boat, walked about two and a half miles, where Jackey found the papers, they had been pulled out of the hollow trunk where he had placed them, they were much damaged, being saturated with water. We then went half a mile to where Jackey had camped, to look for a pair of compasses he had left; could not find them, but found a note book that Jackey had been drawing sketches in; from here we went to another camp to look for the compasses, but did not find them.
“At half-past five came back to the boat and camped for the night, none of us could sleep on account of the mosquitoes and flies, &c.
“At six A.M. started down the river; at eight calm, got into the main river, had breakfast.
“At half-past eight, a light breeze from the eastward. At.eleven passed within half a mile of two native canoes with seven men in each, stood towards them, they immediately paddled away. At one rounded Fly Point, and at half-past one got alongside the brig.”
P.M., Fresh breeze from S.E. and clear weather.
Sunday, May 13, 1849. — Fresh breeze from S.E. and fine all day. At eight A.M. both vessels hoisted the ensign half mast. At three P.M. having put the remains of Messrs. Wall and Niblet in a coffin, left the ship in the two boats with nearly all the ship’s crew cleaned, and pulled to the southern end of Albany Island, landed and went up to the highest hill on that part of the island, and on the top, a clear open place, we dug a grave and interred the remains of the unfortunate individuals Thomas Wall and Charles Niblet, read the funeral service over them; about ten or twelve of the natives were present, and we fully explained to them what we were doing, they conducted themselves with propriety when the funeral service was being read.
Poor Jackey was much affected, and could not refrain from tears.
The spot I selected is the most conspicuous on the island, and would be an excellent site to erect a monument to the memory of the unfortunate men who perished on the late ill-fated expedition.
At each end of the grave I placed two large bushes, and on the top were placed several large stones.
I got the following bearings on the spot, viz.:-
The A rock just open with the side of a hill; the northward of Albany Island bearing S. 147° W.; the North Brother N. 58° E.; Fly Point (main land) S. 1° E.; Tree Island, just visible over the top of the hill, S. 146° W. A bottle was placed over the grave, with a paper in it, stating who was interred, with the date, &c.
At sunset returned on board.
Monday, May 14. — Fresh breeze, from S.E., and fine. Employed transhipping stores, sheep, &c., from the Coquette. I purpose to sail tomorrow morning, for Booby Island.
I cannot close my extracts without mentioning the exemplary conduct of Jackey Jackey. Since he came on board I have always found him quiet, obliging, and very respectful; when on shore he was very attentive, nothing could abstract him from his object; the sagacity and knowledge he displayed in travelling the trackless wilderness was astonishing; when he found the places he went in search of he was never flushed with success, but invariably maintained his quiet, unobtrusive behaviour; he was much concerned at not being able to find the remains of his late unfortunate master, to whom he was sincerely attached; his two companions also conducted themselves well, and were very useful on shore.
May 14. — P.M., sent a party on shore to endeavour to catch the horse, caught him after a long chase, tethered to a tree for the night.
May 15. — Got the horse safely on board; blowing with heavy rain; cannot weigh today.
(Signed) T. B. SIMPSON, Master of the Freak.
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