CROSS THE MARANOA WITH A LIGHT PARTY. — SEND BACK FOR ONE DRAY AND THE FRESHEST TEAM. — JUNCTION OF A RIVER FROM N.N.W. — FOLLOW UP THE MINOR BRANCH. — A DAY’S RAIN, AND RECONNAISSANCE TO THE N.W. — HOSTILE TRIBE. — HOW DISPERSED. — CROSS POSSESSION CREEK. — ARRIVE AT A SMALL RIVER FROM THE WEST. — CROSS IT, AND REACH ANOTHER. — AGAIN RIDE TO THE N.W. — DETERMINE TO FOLLOW THE FIRST RIVER DOWN-WARDS. — AGAIN ARRIVE ON THE MARANOA. — CROSS THE SECOND RIVER FROM THE WEST. — ASCEND A SMALL ROCKY HILL. — MOUNT OWEN AGAIN RECOGNIZED. — TRAVEL IN THAT DIRECTION. — THROUGH SCRUBS, AND OVER SANDY GROUND. — AGAIN WANT WATER. — TURN TO THE MARANOA. — FIND ITS CHANNEL DRY. — ASCEND MOUNT OWEN. — RIDE OF RECONNAISSANCE. — DISTANT MOUNTAINS. — ADVANCE WITH THE PARTY. — ASCEND MOUNT P. P. KING. — THE RIVER WARREGO DISCOVERED. — IT TURNS TO THE S.W. — THE PARTY CROSSES IT. — MOUNT FARADAY. — THE PYRAMIDS. — RIVER SALVATOR. — THE SALVATOR JOINS THE NOGOA. — COURSE OF THE NOGOA, N.E. — CROSS IT AND CUT THROUGH TEN MILES OF SCRUB, IN A N.W. DIRECTION. — THE RIVER CLAUDE DISCOVERED. — FINE OPEN DOWNS. — BALMY CREEK, AND VERY DIFFICULT COUNTRY. — TOWER ALMOND. — MOUNT MUDGE. — LINE OF RIVER SEEN TO THE NORTHWARD.
4TH JUNE. — EVERY preparation having been made, I bade Mr. Kennedy adieu, for at least four months, and crossed the Maranwith my party and light carts. It was not without very much regret that I thus left this zealous assistant, and so large a portion of my men, behind, in departing on a hazardous enter prise, as this was likely to be, where the population might be numerous. Anxiety for the safety of the party left, predominated with me, for whatever might be the danger of passing and repassing through these barbarous regions, that of a party stationary for a length of time in one place, seemed greater, as they were more likely to be assailed by assembled numbers, and more exposed to their cunning and treachery. I gave to Mr. Kennedy the best advice I could, and we parted in the hope of a happy meeting, at the period of my return — a hope, I must confess, I could not indulge in then, with any degree of pleasure, looking forward to the many difficulties we were prepared to encounter, and considering the state of my own health.
The sandy bed of the river was difficult to cross with the carts, and delayed us an hour. A different adjustment of the loads was necessary; therefore I was obliged to turn out of my intended route for this day, and go into a bight of the river for water, in making a much shorter journey. This was only of six miles from the depôt camp. Amongst the waterworn pebbles in the bed of the river, we found various portions of coal and the rocky sections in parts of the banks resembled its concomitant strata. Thermometer, at sunrise, 16°; at 9 P.M., 40°.
5TH JUNE. — The ground was sandy, and several gullies descending to the river occasioned difficulties which tried the mettle of our horses, and convinced me that we now carried too much weight for them. I accordingly sent back Edward Taylor and another man with a note to Mr. Kennedy, and with directions to pick out ten good bullocks, and bring forward one of the drays as soon as possible. We met with various dry channels of tributaries so deep and rocky, that they seemed, at first sight, like the main river. I wished to reach the bank of this, at a favourable point to encamp at, and await the arrival of the expected dray. But there gullies rendered the access difficult. Sand and callitris covered the intermediate ground, and augmented the impediments the horses had to contend with. After crossing three rather important channels, I turned to the N. E., and fortunately came upon the river, where the ground was very open, and the acclivities gentle. The bed of the river was full of water, forming a long reach covered with a red weed, the course from north to south, straight. Height above the sea, 1190 feet. This we marked XXXI., last camp being XXX. Thermometer, at sunrise, 24°; at 4 P.M., 70°; at 9, 43°.
6TH JUNE. — Taylor arrived early with a fine team and strong dray, confident in being able to keep up with the carts, and lightly loaded, of course, that he might cross heavy sand, or deep gullies. I employed the time usefully, in adapting Mr. Kennedy’s measurements to my map. I had now measured bases, besides those of latitude for my trigonometrical work, and I should not have regretted even a day longer in camp, to have had more time to protract angles, but time was too precious, as my men were voluntarily on very reduced rations. The DODONOEA HIRTELLA of Miquel was the only novelty found here. Latitude 26° 6’ 25” S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 30°; at noon, 75°; at 4 P.M., 76°; at 9, 50°.
7TH JUNE. — We set off at a better pace this morning, and kept it up, as we found the ground firmer, and less broken. Several hollows with water-courses in them, lay in our way, but presented no serious impediment. At length, I saw some of the heads of River-Head Range, and a long ridge appeared before us. On ascending it obliquely, following up the smooth clay floor of a water-course, I found myself gradually entangled in a bad scrub of brigalow and rosewood. After cutting our way through it, for a mile and a half, I sought on the other side for any hollow leading off water, and found one which brought us into an open forest flat with a fine chain of ponds. The Acacia pendula appeared on its skirts; and, at length, abundance of water, also, in the ponds. The grass was so luxuriant near one of these, that I encamped beside it, without seeking the river, to which these ponds seemed adjacent. Thermometer, at sunrise, 36°; at 4 P.M., 85°; at 9, 70° (XXXII.). Height above the sea, 1309 feet.
8TH JUNE. — The country beyond this camp in a northerly direction was very fine. The Acacia pendula, open forests, and gently undulating country intersected by chains of ponds then dry, were its characteristics. At length, we reached the river bank, and could travel along it to the west. Just there, I perceived the junction of a river (perhaps the main channel) from the N. N. W. It seemed full of water, whereas that which I was obliged to follow, being the most westerly, was nearly dry, although its banks were boldly broken, and precipitous. Its course came round even from S. W., and deep ravines and water-courses coming into it, obliged me to travel to the southward of that bearing in order to avoid them. We thus, at length, came into a fine open grassy country, tolerably level, and could resume a north-west course. In that direction, we crossed a water-course from the S. W., and came to another in a deeper valley, where we saw natives, who did not run away. There was a water-hole nearest to our side, and one from which a native was ascending when I approached. I directed the men (having encamped here) to keep the cattle from that water-hole, if possible, anxious to avoid giving any offence on this delicate point to the natives of these forests. Thermometer, at sunrise, 36°; at 4 P. M., 85°; at 9, 70°. (XXXIII.)
9TH JUNE. — The sky being overcast, and rain likely to fall, I considered that the bullocks’ necks might be galled by the yokes in wet weather; and, being in some doubt about finding water in the direction in which I wished now to travel, I set out with two men on horseback to explore the country to the N. W., leaving the party to enjoy a day’s rest. Little rain fell, and the ride was very pleasant. A perfume like that of hay, but much more fragrant, arose from the moistened vegetation, and I found a beautiful country of open forest with ACACIA PENDULA in graceful clumps. A few miles on, we were suddenly hailed from behind a few bushes, by about twenty-five natives, painted red. We halted and endeavoured to talk to them, but not a word was intelligible to Yuranigh, who was with me. In vain he inquired about rivers, or water, in his language, and in vain they bawled to us in theirs: so, after this unintelligible parley at some distance, (for they would not come close up,) we rode on. We came at length on a sandy country with much Callitris, but the whole surface was undulating, and we crossed several chains of deep ponds, all falling to our right, or eastward; some containing water. At length, I perceived on the right, a deeper valley, and found in it a little river with a rocky bed, and coming from the N. N. W. At two miles further, along my N. W. course, I found it crossed it, coming from W. S. W., and here I turned, well pleased to find an abundant supply of water, and a good country in the best direction for our interior journey. The river ran chiefly on rock, and the water was plentiful. Having returned to the camp, in the evening, after sunset we were called to by a numerous tribe of natives, assembled on the opposite steep bank of the chain of ponds, over which we had encamped. By the particular cooey, I recognised the same party we had seen in the morning. Their language was now loud and angry, and war was evidently their purpose; from experience I judged it best to nip the evil in the bud, and ordered five men under arms, who were first formed in line before the tents, and with whom, at the bugle’s sound, I advanced steadily up the opposite bank, as our only reply to all their loud jeering noise. They set up a furious yell on our approach, and advanced to the brow of the cliff, as if prepared to defend it; but as we silently ascended, they fell off, and, by the time we gained the height, they had retired to a considerable distance, still shouting vociferously. Two, however, were seen drawing round our left flank, in a little gully, followed by a female carrying spears. I discharged my rifle over their heads, upon which they hastened to their fellows. On firing another shot over the dark noisy mass before us, they became suddenly quite silent, probably persuaded that we were really in earnest. We marched through their camp, made a feint, by descending into a gully, of coming upon them unawares, and continued there, until silence and darkness secured our peaceful occupation of the ground. Thus I prevented a night of alarms and noise, which might have been kept up until morning, and until they had worked themselves into that sort of frenzy, without which I do not think they have courage to fight Europeans; and having once got their steam up, they were sure to have followed us, and gathered a savage population in our rear. Lat., 25° 54’ 17” S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 56°; at 4 P. M., 70; at 9, 50°. (XXXIII.)
10TH JUNE. — We advanced at an early hour, crossing Possession Creek, for so we called it (and which proved rather an impediment, until we filled a hollow with logs), and followed my horse’s tracks of yesterday. Thus we reached the little river in good time, notwithstanding much heavy sand in the way of our carts, and encamped at the furthest point I had previously visited. Thermometer, at sunrise, 30°; at 4 P.M., 75°; at 9, 39°. Height above the sea, 1240 feet. (XXXIV.)
11TH JUNE. — Keeping along the bank of the rocky river, we were obliged to turn southward, and even S.S.E., such was the direction whence the river came. I therefore encamped the party, after a journey of only 3½ miles, and proceeded to explore again, towards the N. W. I thus came upon the rocky river where the rock formed a bridge affording an easy means of crossing it, and this I valued more, as being the only passable place I had seen in it, so deep and rocky was the bed elsewhere. The strata at this bridge dipped N. N. E., a circumstance which induced me to travel westward instead of N. W., in hopes to cross thereby sooner, a synclinal line, and so arrive at the sources of some northern river. We passed through some scrub, and attained, by gradual ascent, considerable elevation. The country in general consisted of open forest, and contained grass in great abundance. At nine miles, I came upon a chain of ponds falling northward, and in which were two good ponds of water, whereupon I returned to the camp. Thermometer, at sunrise, 38°; at 9 P.M., 38°. Height above the sea, 1287 feet. (XXXV.)
12TH JUNE. — The rock about the river here was deeply impressed with ripple marks, and also dipped N.N.E. or northward. It consisted of a yellow sandstone in thin strata, covered in some parts with beds of waterworn pebbles. These consisted chiefly of quartz, felspar, and a silicious petrifaction of woody appearance. We proceeded along my horse track of yesterday. In crossing what seemed a principal ridge on which grew brigalow scrub (through which we had, in parts, to cut a way), we came upon a fine specimen of the Bottle Tree (DELABECHEA); near it grew the GEIJERA PARVIFLORA, which did not attain a greater height than 10 feet. I found by the syphon barometer that our height above the sea was here 1579 feet. By the same gauge I found that two other ridges further on were still higher (1587 feet). In the afternoon, the sky became overcast with dark, round, heavy clouds, and in the evening, slight showers fell. Thermometer, at sunrise, 20°; at noon, 74°; at 4P.M., 73°; at 9, 60°. The wind and clouds came from the west.
13TH JUNE. — The line of ponds we were upon might turn to the northward; nevertheless I was unwilling to follow them down, and again lose westing, until I had made another attempt to penetrate to the N. W. The morning was rainy, and, as in such weather travelling was likely to gall the necks of the bullocks, I halted the party, and took a ride in that direction. I encountered much soft sand and scrubs of brigalow, rosewood, and Callitris. Scrubs of the latter were most dense and continuous. I fell in with a goodly little river at five miles; its course there was from S. W. to N. E. Beyond it, I found the country still more sandy, although intersected by one or two water-courses falling to the northward. The furthest one, at fifteen miles from our camp, had in it ponds containing no water. It seemed near the source, and that we had almost reached the crest of some dividing feature. A thunder-storm then burst over us, and the time of day did not admit of going further. I therefore returned, convinced that I could not in that direction make much progress.52 Thermometer, at sunrise, 49°; at noon, 57°; at 4 P.M., 54°; at 9, 48°.
52 [This was unfortunate: it will be seen by the map, that ten miles further would have taken me to the river Warregin a direct line to the head of the river Victoria, avoiding the mountains.]
14TH JUNE. — A drizzling rain continued, and the barometer indicated a change; hence I hoped the rain would last until the water-holes were filled. The day being Sunday, I gave the party another day of rest, and took that opportunity of laying down on my map, the recently discovered rivers and water-courses. It was only after I had done so, that I began to think the water-course we were encamped upon, was worth following down. The evening was clear, and I ascertained the latitude to be 25° 47’ 28” S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 52°; at noon, 55°; at 4 P.M., 57°; at 9, 38° (XXXVI.). Height above the sea, 1528 feet.
15TH JUNE. — In following down this chain of ponds, we found its channel became a well-formed river, with abundance of water in it, a few miles below our camp. The course thus far was northward; and I saw in one part of it rocks dipping to the westward. I was in expectation that it would have continued northward, when it suddenly turned towards the S.S.W. I thereupon crossed it, and resumed my N.W. course. My path was thus again crossed by our river flowing northward: we had then travelled 12½ miles, and I encamped on its banks. The whole of the day’s journey, with little exception, had been over heavy sand, and, but for the rain that had fallen, it must have greatly distressed the horses and oxen. As it was, they got over it wondrous well. In a pond of this river, Mr. Stephenson caught a great number of the harlequin fish, a circumstance almost proving that this was a tributary to the Maran. We found this day a new narrow-leaved TRISTANIA53, thirty feet high, with bark thick, soft, and fibrous. A smooth narrow-leaved variety of ACACIA HOLOSERICEA was loaded with spikes of crooked sickle-shaped pods. Among the herbage was observed the TEUCRIUM ARGUTUM of Brown; and the XEROTES LEUCOCEPHALA grew in the light dry sand. Novelty in the plants, animals, and fishes, was now to be expected; the weather was cool and pleasant, and our travelling equipment tolerably efficient. Thermometer, at sunrise, 30°; at 4 P. M., 58°; at 9 P. M., 46° (XXXVII.). Height above the sea, 1827 feet.
53 [T. ANGUSTIFOLIA (Hook. MS.); foliis angusto-linearibus mucronatoacuminatis supra glabris subtùs subsericeis marginibus arcte revolutis, paniculis terminalibus folio brevioribus calycibusque incano-tomentosis. These specimens were in fruit. It is very distinct from every other species.]
16TH JUNE. — Proceeding nearly north-west, we met with the little river I had discovered a few miles beyond my camp of the 13th and 14th instant. The distance of this point from the camp we had left this morning was about 2½ miles. We crossed it, and turned to the westward, and even south-west, to avoid it. Over its extreme south-western bend there was a little rocky hill, which I ascended, and thence saw a mountain I had intersected from the high station east of the depôt. It now bore 12° west of north, and I directed my course towards it, as well as the country would permit. We crossed several sandy ranges on which the callitris was, as usual, the chief tree, as it was also on the soft heavy sand between them. Occasionally, the lowest parts where water would take its course, consisted of firm clay, and we took advantage of such flats, when their direction was favourable. I was at length under the necessity of encamping on one of these, where there was no water, nor any to be found in it after I had followed it down four miles. In my search for water, I found a curious new PHEBALIUM.54 Thermometer, at sunrise, 43°; at 9 P. M., 54°. Height above the sea, 1646 feet.
54 [P. GLANDULOSUM (Hook. MS.); foliis angusto-lineari-cuneatis retusis canaliculatis marginibus revolutis subtus ramulisque argenteo-lepidotis superne (praecipue) grosse glandulosis nudis, corymbis terminalibus parvis sessilibus fusco-lepidotis, calycibus subtruncatis, petalis ovatis concavis. Allied to P. SQUAMULOSUM and P. ELOEAGNOIDES, but very distinct, especially in the presence of the large semipellucid hemispherical glands, seen more or less in various parts of the plant, but very conspicuous on the upper side of the leaves.]
17TH JUNE. — Pursuing a course in the direction of the mountain already mentioned, I met with much heavy sand on which grew thick forests of callitris, frequently quite impervious to our carts except at open places amongst which we had to wind, as they permitted. The ground was undulating, and there was clay in the hollows, but the direction of these ran across my intended route, falling all to the east-ward. We at length attained what seemed the highest of these ridges, and on the summit I ascertained its elevation to be 1833 feet above the sea. Beyond it, we came to a flat of firmer surface, consisting of clay, and, as we greatly wanted water, I followed it down to the north-east. I found it soon hemmed in by sandstone rocks; but we travelled still on a broad grassy flat which fell into one still broader, through which ran a continuous but dry channel coming from the north-west. After following this downwards about a mile, we crossed towards an opening between the sandstone cliffs beyond it; this opening terminated under shelving rocks. Ascending at another place, with my horse, I found a table-land above, and an open forest country. I succeeded in getting the carts and dray up at a rocky point, and travelled thence E.S.E., anxious now to find the Maran, convinced by a deep ravine on our right, that it could not be far off. We descended by a gently inclined part of the sandstone to a dry watercourse lined with brigalow, and which soon guided us to the river. Here, however, the bed was dry and full of sand, of spacious and uniform breadth, and with grassy sloping banks. The course was towards S.W., and I followed it upwards, in hopes soon to meet with a pond. No water, however, was to be seen, when a rocky precipitous bank before us, and the sun setting in the west, obliged me to encamp the party. I hastened up the dry channel, followed by all the horses and the bullocks. We found some rain water on a level piece of rock, about two miles from the camp, which was scarcely enough for the horses, and afforded a few gallons for our kegs; nor could I find more, although I continued my search upwards until dusk; the bullocks had therefore to pass a second night without drinking. The bed and banks of this river were of very uniform extent throughout; averaging, in width about 100 feet; in height of banks from 30 to 50 feet. The course was straight, and it seemed as if a few dams might have sufficed to render it navigable, or at least to have retained a vast supply of water; for although the bed was sandy, the bottom was rocky, and the banks consisted of stiff clay. These being covered with rich grass, and consisting of good soil, water alone was wanting to make the whole both valuable and useful. Yet this was not so scarce amongst the gullies and tributaries, nor in the channel itself, lower down. I found, growing in the bed, the ALPHITONIA EXCELSA of Reissek, collected by Allan Cunningham and Frazer along the Brisbane and upper part of Hunter’s River; also a remarkable kind of Brome grass I had never seen on the Darling. Thermometer, at sunrise, 36°; at 9 P. M., 61°.
18TH JUNE. — Drizzling rain had fallen during the night, which greatly refreshed the grass for the cattle. Early this morning, I sent Corporal Graham and another man, up the river, in search of water; and the bullock-driver with his cattle down the river, with orders to go on until he fell in with some. Others of the party were directed to search amongst the rocky crevices nearer to our camp. I set out with Yuranigh for the summit of the mountain already mentioned, which, according to my survey, lay about seven miles off to the N.W. My ride to it was unimpeded by gullies; and, on ascending it, I obtained a most extensive view, embracing lofty ranges to the eastward and south-east. A line of volcanic cones (of which this was one) extended from these ranges in the direction of about N.E.b.N. But, besides these elevated summits, little could be seen of the adjacent country: nothing of the sandstone gullies, by which the party was then shut in. I could only imagine one bluey tint in a long line of ravines, to be over the bed of the Maran, which seemed thus to pass through the line of cones, and to come from high ranges about the 25th parallel. The country to the northward was still hidden from my sight by a portion of the old crater which was higher than that I had ascended. The western interior was visible to a great distance bounded by low ranges; some of which seemed to have precipitous sides, like cliffs, towards the west. Lines of open plains, and columns of smoke, indicated a good country, and inhabitants. I recognised, from this station, that eastward of the depôt camp, to which, from the peculiar interest then attaching to that distant spot, I now named Mount Kennedy after the officer in charge of the party there. I could now intersect many of the summits observed therefrom; thus adding extensively to the general map, and checking my longitude, by back angles into the interior. I was now at a loss for names to the principal summits of the country. No more could be gathered from the natives, and I resolved to name the features, for which names were now requisite, after such individuals of our own race as had been most distinguished or zealous in the advancement of science, and the pursuit of human knowledge; men sufficiently well-known in the world to preclude all necessity for further explanation why their names were applied to a part of the world’s geography, than that it was to do honour to Australia, as well as to them. I called this hill Mount Owen; a bald-forest hill to the N.E. of it, Mount Clift; a lofty truncated cone, to the eastward of these, the centre of a group, and one of my zero points, Mount Ogilby; a broad-topped hill far in the north-west, where I wished to continue my route, Mount Faraday; a high table land intervening, Hope’s Table Land; the loftiest part of the coast ranges, visible on all sides, Buckland’s Table Land, etc. etc. The part of Mount Owen on which I stood, consisted of basalt, which had crystallised cubically so as to form a tottering pile on the summit, not unlike the ruins of a castle, “nodding to its fall,” and almost overhanging their base. Curious bushes grew amongst these rocks, unlike those in the lower country; amongst them, a climber, resembling a worm, which wholly enveloped a tree. On returning to the camp, I learnt that the bullock-driver had found a spacious basin in a rocky part of the bed, some miles down the river; having thereat watered his cattle and returned; also, that Corporal Graham had met with a pond ten miles higher up the river than our camp: thus it was evident that many miles intervened between these two ponds in the river. The other men left at the camp had fortunately found in the crevice of a rock beyond the river-channel, enough of water for the horses and themselves. But, had this river-channel contained much more water, I could not have followed it in its upward course, and so go to the north-east, instead of the north-west; neither had this been possible from the precipitous rocks overhanging it at almost every turning. I had found, in Mount Owen, a nucleus, which was a key to these sandstone gullies radiating about it, and I had also perceived from it that towards Mount Faraday, the north-western interior was tolerably clear of mountainous obstructions; three small or very distant cones, seemed the principal features beyond it. I wished much to have explored a route for our carts in that direction; but it was necessary that I should first establish the party near water. I accordingly determined to conduct it along the range towards Mount Owen next day, as far as might be necessary, in order to turn off to the right, and encamp, overlooking some rocky gully within a convenient distance of Mount Owen; and, again to explore these recesses for water, or send for it to Corporal Graham’s pond in the main channel. Mr. Stephenson gathered near this camp two beautiful and delicate ferns, the ADIANTUM HISPIDULUM, and ADIANTUM ASSIMILE, the Australian maiden’s hair. The ACACIA IXIOPHYLLA, and ACACIA CUNNINGHAMII, on the rocky cliffs; occurred with an Exocarpus, probably a variety of E. SPARTEA, and a new Eucalyptus.55 Thermometer at sunrise, 56°; at noon, 69°; at 4 P.M., 63°; at 9, 55°. Height above the sea, 1578 feet; and above river bed 40 feet.
55 [E. POPULIFOLIA (Hook. MS.); foliis rhombeo-triangularibus obtusissimis longius petiolatis coriaceis minute punctatis (punctis pallidis) reticulatovenosis. This species is remarkable in the size and shape of its petiolated leaves. The branches bear turbinated woody excrescences (galls), each with two or more, generally three, sharp angles, and as many unequal projecting wings, altogether exactly resembling the fruit of some BEGONIÀ.]
19TH JUNE. — Another dewy night had providentially refreshed the grass for our thirsty animals. We ascended, at a very favourable point, the sandstone table-land, and travelled for some miles along my horse’s track towards Mount Owen, turning round the heads of gullies which broke abruptly in steep rocks both to our right and left. Then, turning to the right, where a branch of the high land projected eastward towards the river, we encamped on its extreme eastern point, overlooking a grassy valley, hemmed in by precipitous cliffs, yet easily accessible to our horses and cattle, from the point on which we had encamped. I had already found a deep hole in a rock on the right, containing water sufficient for the men and horses for several days, and, on riding down the valley while they pitched the tents, I found a large pond only a mile from the camp. The valley contained many still larger, but all, save this one, were dry. Grass grew there in great abundance, and of excellent quality. Pigeons were numerous of that species (GEOPHAPS SCRIPTA) which is so great a luxury; the most delicate food, perhaps, of all the feathered race. The highest of the sandy tableland crossed this day appeared (by Captain King’s subsequent calculations) to be 1863 feet. That of the camp over the cliffs, 1840 feet above the sea, the height of these cliffs above the bed of the river being thus about 300 feet. Thermometer, at sunrise, 50°; at 4 P.M., 65°; at 9, 61°.
20TH JUNE. — I set out (with two men and Yuranigh) to explore the country beyond Mount Owen. From its base I observed some open forest land, and a less broken country, in a direction much further to the westward than the course I had previously selected, which was N.N.W. I now proceeded W.N.W. towards that open forest land. We found the country open for some miles, then, entering a flat or valley, I descended gradually between sandstone rocks, to a valley in which a chain of deep ponds led to the north-west. On following this down, I found it turned more and more to the westward, and at length to the south-west, whereupon I quitted its bed and cliffy banks, and, following up a ravine from the other side, again endeavoured to pursue my intended course. We crossed, at the head of the ravine, a sandstone range, and descended by another valley which led first northward, but terminated in joining a spacious grassy flat with dry ponds in it. I endeavoured to trace this downwards for several miles in a rainy evening, and found at last, to my disappointment, that this also turned to the S.W. This flat was broad and hemmed in by low rocky points of ground, of very uniform shape. Many marks of natives appeared on the trees, and, in good seasons, it must be one of their favourite spots. I left it, however, when darkness and heavy rain obliged me to look for shelter in a gloomy forest to the westward. By the time we arrived at this, we could see no grassy spot for our horses, nor any sort of cover for ourselves. Douglas found, at length, a fallen tree, and under this, covered with a few boughs, we lay down on the wet earth for the night, being ourselves as wet, yet wanting withal, water for ourselves and horses. Thermometer, at sunrise, 54°; at noon, 69°; at 4 P.M., 67°; at 9, 57°.
21ST JUNE. — The rain had abated to my great disappointment, for we should have been amply compensated for wet jackets, by the sight of well filled ponds of water, the want of which was the great impediment to this journey. The sky was still overcast, and the wet bushes were unavoidable. On I travelled north-west, until we approached some fine open forest hills, the bare tops of which, just visible from the foot of Mount Owen, had first drawn me in that direction. One tempting peak induced me to approach it, and to think of an ascent. In a rugged little water-course in its bosom, we found water enough for our horses, the product of last night’s rain. The view from the summit, made up for the deviation from my route. A group of the most picturesque hills imaginable lay to the northward, and were connected with this, the whole being branches from the Table Land of Hope. Some appeared of a deep blue colour, where their clothing was evergreen bush. Others were partly of a golden hue, from the rich ripe grass upon them. The sun broke through the heavy clouds and poured rays over them, which perfected the beauty of the landscape. I recognised, from this apex, my station on Mount Owen, and several hills I had intersected from it. Amongst others, the three remarkable cones to the westward of Mount Faraday, apparently a continuation of the line of summits I have already mentioned. This hill consisted of amygdaloidal trap in nodules, the crevices being filled with crystals of sulphate of lime, and there were many round balls of ironstone, like marbles or round shot, strewed about. A red ferruginous crust projected from the highest part, and, on this summit, the magnetic needle was greatly affected by local attraction, and quite useless. Fortunately, I had also my pocket sextant, and with it took some valuable angles. On descending, I heartily enjoyed a breakfast, and named the hill which gave us the water, Mount Aquarius. Returning towards Mount Owen, by a more direct route, I arrived at the head of a gully which led tolerably direct until we found our track, in the creek I had run down on the preceding day. But night was approaching, and we had water enough in a rocky hollow, and also a cavern before which a large fire gave such warmth, that, in passing the night there in my cloak, I was quite insensible to a frost without, which, at the camp, at 4 P. M., had lowered the mercury in Fahrenheit’s thermometer to 22°, or 10° below the freezing point.
22D JUNE. — Our provisions being out, I hastened back to the camp, determined to explore in a more northerly direction, according to my original intention. Water was only to be found in so dry a season, in the neighbourhood of mountains, or in rocky gullies likely to retain a passing shower. In our way back, I ascended the north-western shoulder of Mount Owen, and was much more inclined to take a northerly route, from the appearance of the mountains on that side. The view from that summit to the northward, was very grand; I saw more plainly the line of the Maranfrom its upper sources. Two mighty masses of table-land seemed the highest of all. One I had already seen and named Buckland’s Table Land. I could here distinguish the apex of Mount Aquarius, and fix it in my map. I perceived a hollow part of the range immediately to the northward, and a sort of hiatus amongst the peaks in the broken country beyond, through which I hoped to find a way. I hastened to the camp to prepare for a “raid” of a whole week, if necessary, in that direction. Thermometer, at sunrise, 27°; at noon, 52°; at 4 P. M., 55°; at 9, 59°.
23D JUNE. — Returning early by the foot of Mount Owen, I travelled nearly northward through a fine open forest, in which we saw a large kangaroo entirely black. Rocky gullies next came in my way, and, in avoiding those on the left, others falling to the right, or to the Maran, showed me that this was a dividing feature. I knew it was continuous to Mount Clift from my former observations, and therefore followed it by keeping between the heads of gullies breaking to each side, until I found one favourable for a descent to the left. Below, we found a broad, grassy, valley, extending about W.N.W., and in it, deep ponds, which sometimes evidently held much water, although they were then dry. This soon, however, turned to the south-west, evidently to join the channel I had before explored. Quitting it, therefore, much disappointed, I ascended sandstone cliffs and pushed through scrubs, determined to proceed directly north-ward, until I met with valleys falling north-west. We thus passed just under the most easterly part of Hope’s Table Land, and came, about sunset, to a hollow containing ponds, in two of which we found water. Here we gladly bivouacked for the night. ZAMIAS grew here, and were numerous higher up the valley. Thermometer, at sunrise, 26°; at noon, 54°; at 4 P. M., 50°; at 9, 40°.
24TH JUNE. — The hoar-frost had stiffened the grass, and the water was frozen so that the horses cared not to drink. I proceeded N. N. W., in which direction a beautiful cone rose to a great height, and sharp apex. Stony hills of trap appearing also in that line, I turned northward, and, after crossing a level tract of high ground, much like a dividing feature, (especially as seen from Mount Owen,) I entered a valley descending to the northwest. It fell rapidly, contained large water holes, and in two of these, at length, an abundant supply of water. The course, throughout all its windings, was towards the north-west, and this I, at the time, thought, might be a northern water. I therefore returned, anxious to bring the party thus far, at all events, and resolved to follow this little river down. We arrived, on our way back, in the evening of the same day, in the valley I had quitted in the morning, having followed down a water-course from the end of Hope’s Table Land, under which I had passed, in search of a good way for the carts. Although we had seen promising ponds of water in this little channel, we could find none in the lower part, having in the expectation of finding some, rode on until darkness prevented me from going further. We were thus obliged to pass the night (a very cold one) without water, and almost without fuel. I missed the comfortable cavern where I had slept a few nights before, especially when I arose here in the night to mend the fire, and found we had no more wood at hand. I learnt afterwards that at the camp, the thermometer at 4 P. M. had been as low as 17° of Fahrenheit.56 Thermometer, at sunrise, 21°; at noon, 51°; at 4 P. M. 49°; at 9, 29°.
56 [This was 15° degrees below the freezing point, and shows how much more easily cold may be endured in a dry atmosphere than where there is moisture, as instanced in the following extract from a despatch of Captain James C. Ross (in command of the Antarctic Expedition), dated 7th April, 1841, and published in the Tasmanian Journal.
“With a temperature of 20° below the freezing point, we found the ice to form so rapidly on the surface, that any further examination of the barrier in so extremely severe a period of the season being impracticable, we stood away to the westward, for the purpose of making another attempt to approach the magnetic pole, and reached its latitude (76° S.) on the 15th February.”]
25TH JUNE. — Continuing our ride as soon as day-light permitted, ten minutes brought us to a pond containing plenty of water under a shelving rock, and here we alighted to breakfast, which was pleasant enough, but not so gratifying as the position of this pond, which would enable me to bring the carts through these valleys, to this convenient intermediate stage in the way to the Northern river. The next question was, whether the route to the eastward, descending into these valleys near Mount Clift, or that by my first route, when I discovered this rocky country, should be preferred; and I returned towards our camp this morning by the eastern gullies, in hopes to find an easy descent nearer to Mount Clift than at the point where I before came down. But I found them much more acclivitous and rocky. We at length, with difficulty, got our horses up a rocky point, on which grew a thick scrub of “blackwood,” as Yuranigh called it, an acacia having many tough stems growing thickly together from one root, and obstructing the passage, and covering the ground with its half-fallen and fallen timber. Our passage along the range thence towards Mount Owen, having been too much to the eastward, brought us upon the bend of a gully falling to the Maran; a wild and impracticable looking dell as ever was seen. On regaining our track near Mount Owen, and returning along it to the camp, I found that another pond had been discovered in the valley, by Felix Maguire, who on two occasions, had dreamt of water, risen, and walked directly to where he found it! However that might have been, this man had a happy knack in finding water. In the neighbourhood of this camp some interesting plants were collected; viz. NOTHOCHLOENA DISTANS, GRAMMITIS RUTOEFOLIA, CHEILANTHES TENUIFOLIA, ADIANTUM HISPIDULUM and ASSIMILE, all ferns, together with HOVEA LANCEOLATA, the weedy SPHOERANTHUS HIRTUS, GREVILLEA FLORIBUNDA, a low shrub, occupying the ravines. Besides these we observed a small species of SIDA in the sandy soil of forests, the DOODIA CAUDATA Br., a verdant fern, and the SOLANUM FURFURACEUM with lilac flowers, and small red berries. A shrub loaded with succulent drupes, seated in reddish cups, appeared to be a new species of VITEX, but its genus was uncertain, there being no flowers. What is here called GREVILLEA FLORIBUNDA may have been an allied species, for the leaves were more downy, almost tomentose above. In addition to this a new species of the common genus DODONOEA, frequently met with afterwards, was now producing its flowers.57 Thermometer, at sunrise, 12°; at noon, 50°; at 4 P. M. 51°; at 9, 22°.
57 [D. MOLLIS (Lindl. MS.); molliter pubescens, ramulis subteretibus, foliis obovatis acutis truncatis rotundatis retusis tridentatisque, capsulis tetragonis trigonisque pubescentibus apteris.]
26TH JUNE. The party moved forward, at length, with the certainty of finding water for at least three days’ journey, and of a hopeful water-course being before us. Passing by the foot of Mount Owen, I observed the barometer which gave an elevation of 2083 feet: the summit might be 700 feet higher. My plan of route was, to enter the little river that turned to the south-west (as I had found it did, on the 20th,) and to travel along its valley upwards, until I reached the pond near which I had bivouacked on the 25th. This we accomplished most successfully before sunset, encamping beside the large pond already mentioned, near which were two others. The earth by the margin was so soft that neither the horses nor bullocks could approach the water; they could only be watered out of buckets; but the water was excellent, and water of any quality, in abundance too, was to us rather uncommon good fortune, and quite cheering, even when surrounded by soft mud. Thermometer, at sunrise, 14°; at noon, 48°; at 4 P. M. 47°; at 9, 37°.
27TH JUNE. We had next to trace up a grassy valley which seemed to come directly from the vicinity of that in which I had found water and bivouacked on the 24th. It formed an excellent line, and we found it possible to keep this fine firm level surface, until we had approached to within two miles of that spot. Leaving a little hill of trap to the left, and some brigalow scrub on the right, we reached the old ground and encamped. The small ponds had evaporated, but, in the frosty night, the cattle were not likely to require water, as they had been watered on the way, about 3 P. M., at a rocky well in the valley. We had now traced with our wheels, a good way through a country much broken and shut up by sandstone gullies; but which contained also many rich valleys, and extensive hilly tracts of trap rock, on which the grass was very luxuriant, apparently available for either sheep or cattle. Immediately to the westward of this camp (marked XXXVIII.) an extensive valley was bounded by the fine trap range of Hope’s Table Land; which range was open along the summit, and contained springs, in various ravines along its sides. In these ravines, we first saw the arborescent Zamia, and various remarkable shrubs; the MYOPORUM CUNNINGHAMII of Swan River, forming a shrub six feet high, with white fragrant flowers. Thermometer, at sunrise, 20°; at 9 P. M., 29°. Height above the sea, 2064 feet.
28TH JUNE. — Severe frost whenever the sky was clear, seemed the ordinary weather of that country, at that season; showing, as the barometer also indicated, that we were at a great height above the sea. I sent the party forward, guided by Yuranigh, along my former track, to the ponds in the newly discovered channel, falling north-west; and I proceeded myself, accompanied by Mr. Stephenson, to the summit of the fine cone already mentioned. From this, I beheld a splendid and extensive view of the mountains further northward. Most of the summits I had previously intersected, and many others, very remarkable, just appeared over an intermediate woody range, through which I was at a loss to discover where our supposed northern river would pass. Far in the north-west, I could just distinguish the tops of curiously broken hills arising from a much lower country; and therein I hoped to find, whatever might be the final course of our river, a passage to the north-west, and water. The most important feature in that scene seemed to me to be a grey misty tint, as if it marked a valley descending from the highest eastern mountains, towards the curiously broken summits in the northwest. Bare crests of similar hills, appeared to arise throughout the whole extent of that valley. Under those lofty mountains, at such elevation, in such a clime, with these romantic hills, that valley must be a paradise if watered well, as I hope it is. So flowed the “spring” of hope at least, as it was fed by the scene then before me. The cone we had ascended consisted of trap rock, much resembling that of Mount Aquarius; but, at its base, and on its sides, I found in large masses, the very compact felspathic rock which characterises the valley of the Darling. This has been considered a very fine-grained sandstone; but it is evidently an altered rock. Here, in contact with trap, it possessed the same tendency to break into irregular polygons, some of the faces of which were curved; and I observed one mass which had been so tossed up, that its lower side lay uppermost, inclined at an angle of about 60°. That this is a hypogene rock, sometimes in contact with granite as well as with trap, is evident at Oxley’s Table Land, and other places. I was glad to find it here, as affording a prospect of meeting with better soil than the loose sand we had seen so much of. We here found the grey, prickly SOLANUM ELLIPTICUM. I named this cone Mount P. P. King; and, I have since ascertained, by that officer’s register and calculations, the height of this summit above the sea, to be 2646 feet; and the height of this camp, 2159 feet. Thermometer, at sunrise, 25°; at 4 P. M., 55°; at 9, 25°. (XXXIX)
29TH JUNE. — Crossing a small tributary which was full of water (coming from Hope’s Table Land), we continued to travel along the left bank of the newly found river. Rocky precipices overhanging it, obliged me to make some détours, and to pass through some scrubs; but still we regained the banks of the river, although our progress was not considerable. Its general course was still north-west, to the spot selected for my second camp on its banks. The channel was now broad; the banks high, rounded, and grassy; in some places, rocky. Water in the channel was rarely to be seen, but at the junction of tributaries, where recent temporary showers seemed to have fallen. By careful observation, I ascertained the variation of the needle to be 8° 4’ E. here. Thermometer, at sunrise, 25°; at 4 P. M., 68°; at 9, 53°. Height above the sea, 1914 feet. (XL.)
30TH JUNE. — The course of the river was now found to turn to the southward of west; and, even in that direction, rugged cliffs covered with scrub greatly impeded our progress. I endeavoured to conduct the carts along the bed of the river, soft and sandy as it was; but we did not proceed far in it, before rocks, fallen trees, and driftwood, obliged us to abandon that course as speedily as we could. Then, ascending a projecting eminence, we plunged into the scrubs; but, even in a southwest direction, we came upon the river. Pursuing its course along the bank, southward, I arrived near the base of a fine open forest hill; and, directing the party to encamp, I hastened to its summit. I there obtained a view of most of the mountains of the eastern range formerly observed, and enough of the fixed points, to enable me to determine the position of this. In the south-west, a line of open forest, and a vast column of smoke seemed too plainly to mark the further course of our river; but, towards the north-west, I saw much to reconcile me to this disappointment. Summits of broken and uncommon aspect, beyond an intervening woody range, there indicated a much lower and different kind of country, as if that was, indeed, the basin of a system of northern waters; the woody intervening range appearing to be the division between them. As our last explored river again turned southward, it seemed reasonable to expect, beyond that very continuous range, rivers pursuing a different course. This range was plainly traceable from the high mountains more to the eastward, and was continuous westward to three remarkable conical hills, beyond which, the view did not extend. On the same range, a fine tableshaped mountain appeared nearly north. This I had already intersected from other stations, and named Mount Faraday. The hill on which I stood consisted of trap-rock, and seemed to be almost the western extremity of Hope’s Table Land. A copious spring was afterwards found by Mr. Stephenson, in a valley to the eastward of this summit. That ravine was extensive; and in it grew various remarkable trees. The bottle-tree (Delabechea) grew more gregariously than we had ever seen it, in the stony banks of the channel of the torrent from the hills. One thorny tree or shrub (first seen at the base of Mount P. P. King) again appeared here; it was, generally, in a withered state; had a leaf somewhat like the human hand, and a pod containing two peas of a bright scarlet colour, about the shape and size of a French bean. This, sometimes grew to a tree as much as a foot in diameter; and the natives, who, like Nature herself, may be said to do nothing in vain, had cut one down, and carried off the whole of the trunk. The wood was of a leaden colour. This proved to be a new species of ERYTHRINA, or coral tree.58 By our last day’s journey, we had lost two miles of northing, and had thus recrossed the 25th parallel of south latitude. I therefore determined to cross our friendly little river, and look for another beyond the range to the northward. Thermometer, at sunrise, 44°; at noon, 68°; at 4 P. M., 65°; at 9, 38°. Height above the sea, 1732 feet. (XLI.)
58 [E. VESPERTILIO (Benth. MS.); glaberrima, caule fruticoso aculeato, foliorum petiolo elongato, foliolis trilobis lobo medio recto acutiusculo lateralibus multo majoribus falcato-divaricatis obtusissimis. — Although no flowers were seen, the genus of this shrub is well indicated by the pod and the general habit. The leaflets are often above four inches broad and not two inches long, not unlike the form of a bat with its wings extended.]
1ST JULY. — With that view, I rode towards Mount Faraday, anxious to look into the valley beyond it. After a two hours’ ride, I passed under its western summit, and still pressed forward, in hopes of seeing at length into the valleys beyond. I thus entered a very thick scrub, so impervious that I was obliged to turn westward, until I came upon sandstone gullies into one of which I descended. Following this downwards, I found it fell to the westward, and in a hollow part of its rocky bed I came to some clear water. But this was inaccessible, even to my horse, nor could I take him further down that wildly broken gully; therefore we backed out, and ascended as we could. Then riding southward in search of one more accessible, I at length, descended into a grassy valley, which ran northwest, and gave promise of something still better. I could not follow it then without provisions, having none with me, and I therefore hastened back to the camp, resolved to take with me men and provisions sufficient to enable me to explore this further. In the scrub I passed through on my way back, I found various very remarkable shrubs new and strange to me. One grew on a large stalk, from which leaves radiated without other or any branches. These leaves, hanging gracefully around the stem, gave to this shrub the resemblance of the plume of a staff-officer. The outer side of each leaf was dark and shining, the inner white and woolly. Rarely these tall stems separated into two. Other branches there were none. Some very beautiful new acacias also grew there. One, in particular, with leaves exactly similar to those of the silver-leaved ironbark, was very remarkable, a broad rough-leaved FICUS, with opposite leaves not unlike those of the New Holland Upas. The white-flowered lead-wort (PLUMBAGO ZEYLANICA) and the TRIODIA PUNGENS were abundant among the grasses. A downy Dodonaea, with triangular leaves, was producing its small flowers59, and a scrubby bush with hard narrow leaves and globular fruit the size of a rifle-ball, proved to be a new CAPPARIS.60 Thermometer, at daybreak, 35°; at 9 P.M., 38°.
59 [D. TRIANGULARIS (Lindl. MS.); molliter pubescens, foliis obtriangularibus tridentatis, pedunculis masculis axillaribus subsolitariis.]
60 [C. LORANTHIFOLIA (Lindl. MS.) ramosa, inermis, ramulis tomentosis, foliis lineari-oblongis obtusis coriaceis glabris sesqui-pollicaribus aveniis, pedunculis solitariis axillaribus tomentosis foliis brevioribus, stipite duplo longiore, fructu sphaerico tuberculato glabro.]
2D JULY. — Returning with two men and Yuranigh to the valley where I had been yesterday, I followed it downwards, and soon found that it widened very much, and contained large dry ponds, with the traces of a deep current of water at some seasons. At length, the rocky precipices seemed to recede, and formed occasionally bold headlands of most picturesque outline. Two, that towered above the woods before us, resembled pyramids, and I saw an open country beyond them, from which other summits of extraordinary form seemed to emerge. Yet we had found no moisture in the ponds, and lamented that a country, in every other respect so fine, should be without water. Further on, I perceived reeds in the hollow of the valley, and Yuranigh said there must be a spring, upon which he walked in amongst them, but still found the earth dry. The reeds at length covered an extensive flat, and looked, at the lower part of the flat, so green, that I sent Corporal Graham to examine that point. He emerged from the reeds with a face that, at a distance, made Douglas, my other man, say, “He has found water.” He had found A RUNNING STREAM, to which he had been guided by its own music, and taking a tin pot, he brought me some of it. The water was clear and sparkling, tasting strongly of sulphur, and Yuranigh said that this was the head of a river that NEVER DRIED UP. In this land of picturesque beauty and pastoral abundance, within eighty miles of the tropics, we had discovered the first running stream seen on this journey. I returned, determined to bring the party thus far, and with the intention of passing that night where we had found water in a rock about six miles back, that we might sooner reach the camp next day. At that spot we had also the benefit of a cavern, before which, a good fire being made, we defied the frost of a very cold night, the thermometer having been registered at the camp, at 3 A.M., as low as 7°. In the scrubs we had passed through in the morning, a variety of the ACACIA PODALYRIIFOLIA, with grey velvety leaves, was scarcely in flower; and I observed a beautiful new species of STENOCHILUS with large tubular flowers.61 The ACACIA FALCATA appeared also on the sandstone ground above the gullies, and a broad-leaved form of the EREMOPHILA MITCHELLII. The moon shone brightly, and the rock being full of silver mica, the splendour of the scene imparted to my eye and mind then a degree of gratification far beyond any associations of the richest furniture of a palace. We found it impossible to get our horses to the water; but we hit upon an expedient which answered even better than a bucket — my Mackintosh cloak.
61 [S. CURVIPES (Benth. MS.) glaber, foliis lanceolatis integerrimis basi in petiolum angustatis pedicellis recurvis, calycis foliolis latis acuminatis, corollae glabrae ventricosae laciniis acutis inferiore ultra medium solutâ. — Flowers large and thick on recurved pedicels 4 to 6 lines long. Calycine leaves broader than in all the other species.]
3D JULY. — In returning, we looked for a good line of approach, and found an easy way for the carts to descend into the valley. On arriving at the camp, I learnt that a large pond had been discovered in a rocky part of the river, about a mile below our camp. Thermometer, at sunrise, 14°; at noon, 60; at 4 P.M., 61°; at 9, 26°. Height of camp above the sea, 1800 feet. (XLII.)
4TH JULY. — The clouds had gathered, and it rained heavily this morning. Nevertheless, the party moved off, crossing the river where the banks had been cut to facilitate the passage. With Yuranigh’s assistance we hit upon an excellent line of route, availing ourselves of a grassy valley descending from Mount Faraday, just so far as to avoid the rocky crooked part, and then crossing and cutting through a piece of scrub directly to the point of easy ascent, we thus made a good road into the valley, and arrived in good time, notwithstanding the rain, at the rock of my bivouac. The night-sky cleared up, and I found our latitude (by Arcturus) to be 24° 54’ 12” S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 43°; at 4 P.M., 49°; at 9, 38°. Height above the sea, 1437 feet. (XLIII.)
5TH JULY. — Another frosty night succeeded the day of rain, and froze our tents into boards, not easily to be packed up this morning. We proceeded along our horses’ track, and the beautiful headland which appeared quite isolated, and just such as painters place in middle distance, I named Mount Salvator. We encamped on a slight elevation of the right bank of the reedy rivulet, near the pyramids. Our prospects had suddenly brightened, when instead of following chains of dry ponds, we had before us a running stream, carrying life and nourishment towards the country we were about to explore. The whole aspect of the country seemed new to us. The barometer showed we were rapidly descending, and I expected that our living stream would soon join that greater stream, the basin of which I thought I could trace in the line of mist seen from Mount P. P. King on the 28th June. The course of this river, unlike the others, curved round from N.W. towards north, and having its origin in mountains equidistant between Cape York and Wilson’s Promontory, it was reasonable to suppose that we had at length crossed the division between northern and southern waters. That between eastern and western waters was still to be discovered, and in a country so intricate, and where water was so scarce then, the course of rivers afforded the readiest means of determining where that division was. If the general course of this river was found to be to the eastward of north, we might safely conclude that the dividing ground was on the west or to the left of our route; if to the westward of north, it might be to the eastward, or on the right of our route, and this seemed the more probable from the line of a river flowing north-westward, which I had seen the valley of, from Mount P. P. King. Latitude 24° 50’ 2”. S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 16°; at noon, 50°; at 4 P. M., 49°; at 9, 38°. Height above the sea, according to sixteen observations, 1421 feet. (XLIV.)
6TH JULY. — A number of small bushes of CRYPTANDRA PROPINQUA appeared amongst the rocks; back from the valley, and in the woods below, we found an acacia, apparently, but distinct from, A. DECORA (Reichb.) VAR. MACROPHYLLA; it approached A. AMOENA, but the stem was less angular, and the phyllodia bore but one gland. A large tree with long hoary leaves, and flat round capsules, proved to be a fine new BURSARIA, at a later season found in flower. See October 10th.62 A Loranthus also was found here, which Sir William Hooker has since described.63 Travelling along the bank of this stream, we found it flowing, and full of sparkling water to the margin. The reeds had disappeared, and we could only account for the supply of such a current, in such a country, at such a season, by the support of many springs. We made sure of water now for the rest of our journey; and that we might say of the river “Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis aevum.” The hills overhanging it surpassed any I had ever seen in picturesque outline. Some resembled gothic cathedrals in ruins; others forts; other masses were perforated, and being mixed and contrasted with the flowing outlines of evergreen woods, and having a fine stream in the foreground, gave a charming appearance to the whole country. It was a discovery worthy of the toils of a pilgrimage. Those beautiful recesses of unpeopled earth, could no longer remain unknown. The better to mark them out on my map, I gave to the valley the name of Salvator Rosa.64 The rocks stood out sharply, and sublimely, from the thick woods, just as John Martin’s fertile imagination would dash them out in his beautiful sepia landscapes. I never saw anything in nature come so near these creations of genius and imagination. Where we encamped, the river was very deep, the banks steep and muddy, so that the use of a bucket was necessary in watering the cattle. Notwithstanding every precaution, one animal walked into the river, and could not be got out without great difficulty. The only fish we caught in this river were two enormous eels, beautifully spotted. Large shells of the UNIO genus lay abundantly on the banks, about the old fires of the natives. These were larger than either those found on the Darling, or those of the Maran; and although such freshwater mussles seem to have but one shape, a peculiarity in these was pointed out to me by Yuranigh, who said they much resembled the impressions left by a black-fellow’s foot, (which is much broader at the toes than at the heel). We here met with a new species of BORONIA, resembling B. ANETHIFOLIA, of which many varieties afterwards occurred. It grows about two feet high, and had solitary pale purple flowers.65 A new species of ACACIA with straight, oblong, shining leaves, also grew here.66 In the valley we found ERECHTITES ARGUTA, a weed resembling European groundsel; on the rocks, a small slender shrub with white flowers; and in the sandy scrub, the LEUCOPOGON CUSPIDATUS formed a small shrub. Thermometer, at sunrise, 16°; at noon, 50°; at 4 P.M., 49°; at 9, 38°. (XLV.) Height above the sea, 1270 feet.
62 [B. INCANA (Lindl. MS.); arborea, inermis, foliis oblongo-linearibus supra glabris subtus incanis, paniculâ terminali tomentosâ, floribus distantibus.]
63 [L. SUBFALCATUS (Hook. MS.); ramis dichotomis patentibus, foliis oppositis linearibus lineari-lanceolatisve obtusis subfalcatis glabris trinerviis, floribus axillaribus binis arcte pendentibus brevissime pedicellatis, calycis contracti cylindracei ore dilatato, petalis 6 linearibus glaberrimis supra medium coalitis.]
64 [“His soul naturally delighted in scenes of savage magnificence and ruined grandeur; his spirit loved to stray in lonely glens, and gaze on mouldering castles.”— ALLAN CUNNINGHAM (THE POET).]
65 [B. BIPINNATA (Lindl. MS.) glabra vel pilosa, foliis bipinnatis pinnatisque, foliolis linearibus subteretibus obtusis, floribus subsolitariis axillaribus foliis brevioribus 8-andris.]
66 [A. EXCELSA (Benth. MS.) glabra, ramulis subangulatis, phyllodiis falcato-oblongis obtusiusculis mucronulatisve basi angustatis subcoriaceis nitidis multinervibus venulosis eglandulosis, pedunculis solitariis geminisve capitulo dense multifloro brevioribus vel brevissimis. Very near A. VENULOSA, Cunn.; but smooth, the phyllodia shining, 2 to 3 inches long, 6-9 lines broad, the flower heads usually almost sessile.]
7TH JULY. — Continuing along the eastern margin of the reeds, we soon found that the river expanded into a lake covered with them, and that in one or two spots there also grew the “Balyan” of the Lachlan, (a bulrush mentioned in my former journals). We listened, and still heard the current of water amongst these reeds. From the margin of this lake the hills, rocks, and woods, on the opposite shore, presented a most charming morceau of picturesque scenery. Our route was through an open forest which skirted the reedy margin, over very firm ground, and in a general direction about north-west. At length we approached the northern limits of the reedy lake, no river being visible flowing out of it, as we had reason to expect. We found there, however, only a dry channel, which bore the marks of a considerable stream at some seasons. Following this dry channel down, I found its course turned to the northward, and even to the north-east. When we were disposed to encamp, I could find no water in the bed, nor were we better off when we had encamped, until Corporal Graham dug between two rocks therein, and, fortunately, found a spring. Thus, in one day vanished the pleasing prospect we had enjoyed in the morning, of a stream flowing in the direction of our intended route. This might be, I then thought, the tributary to a larger river, which I still hoped would be found to flow westward from the coast ranges, and, finally, take the desired north-west direction. Thermometer, at sunrise, 23°; at 4 P.M., 58°; at 9, 25°. (XLVI.) Height above the sea, 1191 feet.
8TH JULY. — Entertaining this opinion, I still should have followed this river down, had I not been impeded by gullies as deep as itself falling into it, and which obliged me to cross to the left bank. There a thick brigalow scrub grew to the very margin, and this was seared by rugged gullies. A deep and continuous channel, entering from the westward, induced me to turn in that direction so far, that I at length determined to penetrate at once, if possible, to the north-west, expecting that there I might intercept our river, if it should turn in that direction, or, if not, cross some range into a more open country. The whole day was lost, however, in toiling through a brigalow scrub. Various water-courses crossed our route, but all descending towards the river we had left. The scrub was so thick that we could only pass where accidental openings admitted us, and by this sort of progress, until within an hour of sunset, I found we had travelled about nine miles, and had gained only half a minute of latitude. Having penetrated, on foot, and with difficulty, about two miles ahead of the party, in pursuing the course of a small watercourse, I found that even this turned south-east, evidently to fall into the reedy basin we had previously explored; therefore, I determined on an immediate retreat out of that labyrinth of scrub, back to our friendly river. It was comparatively easy to return through the opening we had made by cutting down much of the brush as we advanced, so that by twilight we reached a good grassy spot about half way to the river, and near it, found some good ponds of water. A pigeon, flying almost in my face, first drew my attention to the hollow where we afterwards found the water. It was in soft mud, however, in which one of the bullocks got bogged, and could only be taken out by the whole strength of the party dragging him with ropes. Thermometer, at sunrise, 18°; at 4 P.M., 54°; at 9, 25°. Height above the sea, 1241 feet.
9TH JULY. — The cattle were so much exhausted by drawing through the scrub, and I had so much to do at my map, that I gave to the cattle and the party, a day’s rest. Latitude, 24° 34’ 12” S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 14°; (in my tent, 18°;) at 9 P.M., 48°.
10TH JULY. — Returning, still along our old track, towards a slight eminence, three miles from our camp, I there set the party to work, to cut a way across the gully, which had first obliged me to turn westward. While the men were so employed, I rode about five miles northward, but met with no opening or water-course admitting of a passage in that direction. On the contrary, I returned, on intercepting one running S. E. towards our river. The party had taken all things across when I rejoined them, and we travelled along the left bank of the gully, chiefly through open forest land, until we approached the river. Scrub, and muddy gullies, obliged us to cross the river soon after we reached its banks. Water appeared more abundant in its bed here, and we encamped on the border of a small plain, hemmed in by brigalow scrub, in latitude 24° 33’ 25” S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 23°; at noon, 58°; at 4 P.M., 62°; at 9, 29°. Height (XLVII.) above the sea, 1192 feet.
11TH JULY. — We travelled along the right bank of the river, through a fine open forest, until our route, in a N. E. by N. direction, was again impeded by the river. We had now descended from the upper sources of this river, at least 1000 feet according to the barometer. We had seen, in a large pond, a fish called mullet, which abounds in the rivers falling to the eastern coast, but which I had never seen in those falling westward. It was also obvious that there was no coast range between us and the coast, and consequently that a very decided break, at least, occurred in it, about the latitude of 25° S. This was more apparent to me on crossing the river, and sending Yuranigh up a tree, about three miles beyond. He could see no mountains to the northward or north-east, but only the high table land already seen to the eastward, in which direction he could trace the course of the river. I hastened back to the party, directed them to encamp, and proceeded with two men and Yuranigh in a N. W. direction, carrying provisions for a long ride. We plunged into the sea of Brigalow —
“—— And we did buffet it, With lusty sinews throwing it aside, And stemming it with JACKETS ALL IN TATTERS.”
After working out our way thus, for about ten miles, our toils were rewarded with a scene of surpassing beauty, that gradually opened to us. That long-lost tree, the graceful Acacia pendula, received us in the foreground, and open plains, blended with waving lines of wood, extended far into bluey distance, beyond which an azure coronet of mountains of romantic forms, terminated the charming landscape.
“Far in the west, the long, long vale withdrawn,”
included columns of smoke, marking out the line of a river, which, with its dark and luxuriant woods, pervaded the whole scene; perhaps the finest I ever had the good fortune to discover. I beheld it from a perfectly clear and grassy hill of rich black soil, on which we had emerged, through a fringe of Acacia pendula. I could not advance beyond that spot, until I had taken bearings and angles on the peaks and summits before me. To the north-west, an apparent opening, seen between these masses, seemed to indicate the bed of another river. On completing my observations we rode forward across the plain, towards the woody vale, the sun being then near setting. A solitary emu ran towards us, from a great distance, apparently encouraged by the mere appearance of quadrupeds, which, although new to it, seemed to have no terrors for it. I could not allow the men to fire at it, partly, I believe, from a sense of shame that we should thereby appear to take unfair advantage, and prove ourselves more brutal than the quadrupeds, whom nature had indulgently destined to carry us on their backs. The open down we traversed, consisted of rich black mould, in which there was fossil wood in great abundance, presenting silicified fragments so curiously wooden as to be only distinguishable from wood, by their detached and broken character. Such fossils are not uncommon in Australia, on plains of rich black earth, which is a constant concomitant. Their geological history may be simple, and would probably be very interesting, if philosophy could but find it out. We found, further on, a channel full of water, with reeds about the bed of it. There had been a current in it a short time previously, and, indeed, we had seen the remains of recent rain, in some hollows in the Brigalow scrub. The river came from the westward, and thus might have afforded the means of travelling in that direction, had other directions been found impracticable. We made our fire in a hollow near the water, not wishing either to alarm or attract the natives; and thus we passed the night pleasantly enough, with a large fire before us. Thermometer, at sunrise, 18°; at 4 P.M., 65°; at 9, 30°.
12TH JULY. — Returning to the camp, I sought and found, with the assistance of Yuranigh, a more open way through the scrub for our carts, than that by which we had penetrated to the good country. I had directed Mr. Stephenson to examine, during my absence, the western shore of the reedy lake of Salvator, in order to ascertain whether it had any outlet in that direction; but he returned without having reached the base of the remarkable rocky range to the westward; thus leaving it still uncertain, although the direction of the river since discovered, left little reason for supposing that any waters from the valley of the Salvator, could escape to the westward. Thermometer, at sunrise, 11°; in my tent, 15°; at noon, 67° at 4 P.M., 65°; at 9, 35°. Height above the sea, 1107 feet.
13TH JULY. — After marking this camp XLVIII., we quitted the river Salvator, and travelled along our track of yesterday, or nearly N. W., but deviating from this track occasionally, where broken ground or thick scrub was to be avoided. The highest part of the scrubby land we crossed, was 1310 feet above the sea. We arrived in good time at the river, where I had previously slept, and there encamped. On the plains adjacent, the ACACIA PENDULA grew, as on those near the Bogan; and we saw also various new and curious grasses, and some very singular shrubs in the scrub. The banks of the river were steep, and consisted of soft clay. I employed the party to make a bridge across it, and this was well completed before sunset. Thermometer, at sunrise, 23°; at noon, 65°; at 4 P.M. 68°; at 9, 40°. Height above the sea, 951 feet. (XLIX.)
14TH JULY. — Crossing the river, (which I called the Claude), we travelled, first, through an open forest, and then across one of the richest plains I had ever seen, and on which the ANTHISTIRIA AUSTRALIS, and PANICUM LOEVINODE, the two best Australian grasses, grew most abundantly. The soil was black; the surface quite level. There might have been about a thousand acres in the first plain we crossed, ere we arrived at another small river, or water-course, which also contained water. We soon reached the borders of other very extensive plains and open downs, apparently extending far to the eastward. On our left, there was a scrub of Acacia pendula. The undulating parts of the clear land, were not so thickly covered with grass as the plains, not because the soil was bad, but because it was so loose, rich, and black, that a sward did not so easily take root and spread upon it, from its great tendency to crack, after imbibing moisture, on its subsequent evaporation. All this rich land was thickly strewed with small fragments of fossil wood, in silex, agate, and chalcedony. Many of the stones, as already observed, most strikingly resembled decayed wood, and in one place the remains of an entire trunk lay together like a heap of ruins, the DILAPIDATED remains of a tree! I obtained even a portion of petrified bark; but specimens of this were rare. The elevation of the highest part of these downs, was 1512 feet above the sea.
Crossing an open forest hill, which had hitherto bounded our view to the westward, I perceived a deep grassy valley on our right, sloping towards a much lower country, but I still travelled westward, in hopes to find an open country, beyond a low woody range on which we had at length arrived. I soon, however, perceived rocky gullies before me, and having halted the party to examine them, I found they were quite impassable. Such an unexpected obstacle, on the horizon of the fine open country, yet UNDER that smooth horizon, was certainly as singular as it was unexpected, and I returned to descend into the deep grassy valley I had seen on our right, which seemed open and inviting. We therein also found some large ponds of water, and encamped. While the men were pitching the tents I rode down the valley about two miles, and found that the direction of the water-course was about north-east. Such a direction was not very favourable for us, and I resolved to look at the country beyond the limits of this valley to the westward, before we followed it further. Latitude, 24° 17’ 42” S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 19°; at 4 P. M., 66°; at 9, 49°. (L.) 1279 feet above the sea.
15TH JULY. — Following up a flat which came from the N. W., I proceeded about five miles amid overhanging precipices, until, at length, mighty rocks rendered it quite impossible to push my horse further. Leaving him in a hollow, I ascended a rocky point, which was barely accessible with Yuranigh’s assistance, and, on reaching an elevated summit, I saw still worse gullies before us, amongst which I could perceive no feature affording any cue to their final outlet, nor any characteristic of the structure of these labyrinths. I looked in vain for the rugged summits I had seen peeping over the plains when first discovered, and could not then be convinced (as I found long afterwards, on completing my map), that they were then under my feet. The highest parts seemed to extend south-westward. To cross such a region with our carts, was quite impossible, and I could only return, and, however reluctantly, follow down the valley in which we had encamped, until it should afford access to a more open country. The banks of the watercourse were steep, the bottom was sandy. The course was very tortuous, alternately closing on rocky precipices, at each side of the valley. Thus we were obliged to cross at every turning, and the steep banks rendered each crossing a difficult operation, occasioning so much delay, that after crossing ten times, evening obliged us to encamp, although our direct distance from the last camp did not exceed five miles. We had, at each crossing, cut the banks, filled up hollows with logs, etc. The general direction, I ascertained to be N.E. Water was found providentially near the spot, where the approach of night had obliged us to encamp; this having been the first water we had seen during that day’s laborious journey. Thermometer, at sunrise, 21°; at 4 P.M., 65°; at 9, 44°.
16TH JULY. — After some examination of the valley before us, I considered it best, upon the whole, to travel in the bed of the river itself, and thus avoid the frequent necessity for crossing with so much labour and delay: the sandy bed was heavy for the wheels, and therefore distressing to the animals, and one or two rocky masses obliged us to work out of it, to get round them. The whole day was consumed in proceeding thus about 5½ miles, and in an easterly direction. The closing in of the valley lower down, seemed to shut us from further progress even so, and I encamped, rather at a loss how to proceed. Just then Mr. Stephenson came to inform me that he had seen, from a rocky point on the left, an opening to the north-west, and level ground beyond it. I therefore determined to accompany him next day, and to reconnoitre the country in that direction. By digging in the bed of the creek, water was again obtained by Corporal Graham. Some extremely fragrant shrubs were discovered in these rocky recesses, especially one, which filled the air with perfume to a great distance around. It seemed to be a EUCALYPTUS without flowers or fruit, but with a powerful odour of balm, and formed a bush five feet high, growing on sandstone rocks, having a narrow leaf, and rather thorny stalk. The lower leaves were also rough.67 There was another bush, with leaves of the same shape, and glossy, but having a perfume equally strong of the lime.68 We regretted much, that neither the seed, flower, nor fruit of these interesting shrubs could be obtained at that season. In that valley, we saw also the DAUCUS BRACHIATUS, an inconspicuous weed, and MYOPORUM CUNNINGHAMII. The soft leaved ACACIA PODALYRIOEFOLIA began to indicate its flowering season, and we found a magnificent new crimson CALLISTEMON with its young flowers and leaves wrapped in wool.69 A new DODONOEA with wingless, 3-cornered, 3-celled fruit70; a new species of AOTUS, with narrow hoary leaves71, and one of the forest trees was a splendid new GEIGERA, with broad lance-shaped leaves.72 The PLATYZOMA MICROPHYLLUM, a very singular and little known fern, with narrow leaves and small orbicular leaflets, was also there, with the ACACIA FALCATA, ACACIA EXCELSA, and a shaggy-leaved variety of the AJUGA AUSTRALIS, the Australian bugle. The BRUNONIA SERICEA, with its scabious-like heads of flowers, was common; and the blue flowered HARDENBERGIA MONOPHYLLA was observed among the grass. Thermometer, at sunrise, 25°; at 9 P.M., 41°.
67 [E. MELISSIODORA (Lindl. MS.); ramis ferrugineo-tomentosis scabris, foliis utrinque papillis rubiginosis scabris ovato-oblongis obtusis supra basim peltatis (floribus fructibusque ignotis).]
68 [E. CITRIODORA (Hook. MS.); ramis angulatis fuscis minute tuberculatis, foliis lato-lanceolatis petiolatis pinnulatis patenti-parallelo-venosis viridibus (non glaucis). Sir Wm. Hooker has ventured to name this EUCALYPTUS, though without flower or fruit, from the deliciously fragrant lemon-like odour, which exists in the dry as well as the recent state of the plant.]
69 [C. NERVOSUM (Lindl. MS.); ramis pallidis, foliis ovato-lanceolatis quinque-nerviis mucronatis junioribus tomentosis, rachi calycibusque lanatis.]
70 [D. TRIGONA (Lindl. MS.); ramulis subpilosis, foliis obovato-lanceolatis parum pilosis integerrimis vel utrinque unidentatis, capsulis 3-locularibus trigonis apteris.]
71 [A. MOLLIS (Benth. MS.); undique molliter tomentoso-villosus, ramis crectis-rigidis, foliis sparsis anguste oblongis margine revolutis, calycis vix bilabiati dentibus subaequalibus, ovario breviter stipitato villosissimo. — Near A. PASSERINOÏDES Meisn., but differing in the narrow and longer leaves, the calyx and ovary.]
72 [G. LATIFOLIA (Lindl. MS.); foliis ovato-lanceolatis longe petiolatis subtus obscure pubescentibus junioribus convolutis. — This appears to differ from G. SALICIFOLIA in its long-stalked leaves.]
17TH JULY. — Our ride this morning soon led amongst different scenes. By merely turning to the left we came upon a flat, in which another water-course, similar to that we had been tracing (Balmy Creek), came from the west, apparently out of that inaccessible country, across which I had previously looked in vain for a passage. Several other gullies joined this water-course, and seared the flat, which consisted of a deep clay deposit, in almost every direction. After crossing these, we found a fine broad opening between rocky precipices of most picturesque forms. This gap I called Stephenson’s Pass; it led into a spacious glen surrounded on all sides but the N.W. by mountains such as I have described, recalling to my memory the most imaginative efforts of Mr. Martin’s saepia drawing, and showing how far the painter’s fancy may anticipate nature. But, at the gorge of this valley, there stood a sort of watch-tower, as if to guard the entrance, so like a work of art, that even here, where men and kangaroos were equally wild and artless, I was obliged to look very attentively, to be quite convinced that the tower was the work of nature only. A turret with a pointed roof, of a colour corresponding, first appeared through the trees, as if it had been built on the summit of a round hill. On a nearer approach the fine tints of the yellowish grey rocks, and the small pines climbing the sides of a hill abruptly rising out of a forest of common trees, presented still a very remarkable object. I named the valley “Glen Turret,” and this feature “Tower Almond,” after an ancient castle, the scene of many early associations, and now quite as uninhabited as this. Passing through Glen Turret, we ascended the nearest summit on the right, and from it beheld a prospect most cheering, after our toils amid rocky ravines. On the westward, the rocky range seemed to terminate abruptly towards the north, in an elevated point, which seemed to command an extensive view over the unknown W. and N.W. Out of that region two isolated mountain masses arose from an open country, and were clothed with open forests to their summits. Further eastward, masses of mountain in the extreme distance appeared covered, also, with open forests, and presented finely rounded outlines, not likely to impede our passage, in any direction. But towards the N.W. our view was not so extensive; like the uncertain future, it still lay hid. The retrospect was very extensive, including Mount Faraday in the extreme distance, and which thus afforded me a valuable back angle for the correction of our longitude from any errors of detailed survey. The lofty mass of Buckland’s Table Land still overlooked all from the E., and I could here again intersect its three principal points. The view back to the Pass was very fine, for the rocks and wood were so blended on the bold summits, as to present sublime studies for the artist. Far to the westward, an interior line of cliffy range resembled a sea beach, presenting a crescent, concave on that side, apparently the limit to the basin of the Nogoa, and the dividing range between eastern and western waters. Our Pass seemed to be the only outlet through the labyrinths behind us. Even the open plains beyond them were visible in a yellow streak above the precipices. Far beyond these plains, Mount Faraday was distinctly visible, on the horizon of the landscape. Thermometer, at sunrise, 29°; at 9 P.M., 43°. (LI.) 1234 feet above the sea.
18TH JULY. — By retracing our horses’ footsteps, the carts were soon brought to the base of the same hill; deep gullies in the clay having obliged us to pass close under it, and, indeed, to cross two of its elevated extremities. We found the country beyond, in a N.W. direction, tolerably open, and we encamped in a valley containing abundance of grass, and near to our camp, water was found in a chain of ponds descending to the eastward. A new SUAEDA, with short leaves, and the habit of a dwarf Tamarisk, was found this day.73 Latitude, 24° 6’ 47” S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 31°; at noon, 65°; at 4 P.M., 69°; at 9, 44°. (LII.)
73 [S. TAMARISCINA (Lindl. MS.); fruticosa, ramosissima, foliis brevibus cylindraceis imbricatis obtusissimis, axillis lanatis, floribus solitariis sessilibus.]
19TH JULY. — With the intention to lose no opportunity of getting further to the westward, I travelled on towards the base of the most northern summit of the range in the west; but I was, at length, so shut up by gullies and scrubby extremities near its base and all radiating from it, and becoming very deep, that I took the party aside into a grassy ravine near, where I directed the men to encamp, and hastened myself to the summit. From it, the view westward was not so extensive as I expected. Something like precipitous slopes to some channel or water-course, apparently falling either S. W. or N. E., formed the most promising feature; but, although my object was to have travelled in that direction, the scrub seemed too thick to admit of a passage. Open forest land appeared to the N. E., and there, the gently undulating features, although much lower than the range on whose northern extremity I then stood, seemed nevertheless to form a connection between it and some higher ranges of open forest land, that appeared between me and the coast. Through one wide opening in these, about east, I saw some broken hills, at a very great distance, say seventy or eighty miles. The ridgy-connected undulations formed the heads of some valleys sloping to the south-east, whereof the waters would evidently join those of the Balmy Creek, while others, rising on the north-west side, seemed to belong to a separate basin, and to form a river falling to the north-west. This river was indicated only by slopes meeting and interlacing in a valley. To the left or westward of that supposed river channel, a mighty isolated mountain mass shut out any view of the further course of the water of the valley formed between it and these slopes; but, as the very lowest point of the whole horizon, as indicated by the spirit-level of the theodolite, lay in that direction, I determined to pursue that bearing, (10° W. of N.) through the open forest country that intervened. I found that the mountain commanding this view, was elevated 2247 feet above the sea, according to the Syphon barometer, and in using this instrument, I could not forget Colonel Mudge, who had kindly taught me its use; I therefore named that summit Mount Mudge. In the gravel at the base of the hill, were water-worn pebbles of trap and basalt. The rock of which the range itself consisted, seemed to be a calcareous grit, with vegetable impressions, apparently of GLOSSOPTERIS BROWNII. On descending to the camp, I was informed that the cattle-watering party came suddenly upon two natives, one of whom was a placid old man, the other middle-aged. Corporal Graham did all he could to allay their fears, and convince them that they were in no danger from such strangers. The elder at length handed his little bundle to the younger and sat down, on seeing the Corporal’s green bough; meanwhile the other walked on. When Graham took the old man’s hand, and shook it, also patting him on the back, and expressing a friendly disposition only, the poor helpless man of the woods burst into tears, finding himself incapable of either words or deeds suitable for a meeting so uncommon. They could not relieve him from this state of alarm, so readily as by leaving him sitting, and moving on, which they did. In the scrubs near this camp, Mr. Stephenson discovered a very remarkable tree, apparently a casuarina, having long drooping leaves, hanging like long hair from its upper boughs74; and in the stony gullies a DODONAEA allied to D. SALSOLIFOLIA A. CUNN., from Van Diemen’s Land, but the leaves slenderer, and three or four times longer75. Although we were approaching the tropics, the weather was most cool and pleasant. A delicious breeze played amongst the woods, and welcomed us to the Torrid Zone. Until now, during every clear night the air had been frosty. Latitude, 24° 6’ 50” S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 34°; at noon, 68°; at 4 P.M., 61°; at 9, 47°.
74 [See page 285.]
75 [D. FILIFOLIA (Hook. MS.); foliis sparsis ramis binis ternisve lineariangustissimis elongatis subrugosis viscosis glabris utrinque canaliculatis falcatis, fructibus trialatis.]
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:11