Two expeditions into the interior of southern Australia, by Charles Sturt

Table of Contents


Volume I

Expedition down the Macquarie river, and into the western interior in 1828 and 1829

Preliminary Chapter

Purpose of this Chapter — Name of Australia — Impressions of its early Visitors — Character of the Australian rivers — Author’s first view of Port Jackson — Extent of the Colony of New South Wales — its rapid advances in prosperity — Erroneous impressions — Commercial importance of Sydney — Growth of fine wool — Mr. M’Arthur’s meritorious exertions — Whale-fishery — Other exports — Geographical features — Causes of the large proportion of bad soil — Connection between the geology and vegetation — Geological features — Character of the soil connected with the geological formation — County of Cumberland — Country westward of the Blue Mountains — Disadvantages of the remote settlers — Character of the Eastern coast — Rich tracts in the interior — Periodical droughts — The seasons apparently affected by the interior marshes — Temperature — Fruits — Emigrants: Causes of their success or failure — Moral disadvantages — System of emigration recommended — Hints to emigrants — Progress of inland discovery — Expeditions across the Blue Mountains — Discoveries of Mr. Evans, Mr. Oxley, and others — Conjectures respecting the interior.

Chapter 1

State of the Colony in 1828-29 — Objects of the Expedition — Departure from Sydney — Wellington Valley — Progress down the Macquarie — Arrival at Mount Harris — Stopped by the marshes — Encamp amidst reeds — Excursions down the river — Its termination — Appearance of the marshes — Opthalmic affection of the men — Mr. Hume’s successful journey to the northward — Journey across the plain — Second great marsh — Perplexities — Situation of the exploring party — Consequent resolutions.

Chapter 2

Prosecution of our course into the interior — Mosquito Brush — Aspect and productions of the country — Hunting party of natives — Courageous conduct of one of them — Mosquitoes — A man missing — Group of hills called New-Year’s Range — Journey down New-Year’s Creek — Tormenting attack of the kangaroo fly — Dreariness and desolation of the country — Oxley’s Table Land — D’Urban’s Group — Continue our journey down New-Year’s Creek — Extreme Disappointment on finding it salt — Fall in with a tribe of natives — Our course arrested by the want of fresh water — Extraordinary sound — Retreat towards the Macquarie.

Chapter 3

Intercourse with the natives — Their appearance and condition — Remarks on the Salt or Darling River — Appearance of the marshes on our return — Alarm for safety of the provision party — Return to Mount Harris — Miserable condition of the natives — Circumstances attending the slaughter of two Irish runaways — Bend our course towards the Castlereagh — Wallis’s Ponds — Find the famished natives feeding on gum — Channel of the Castlereagh — Character of the country in its vicinity — Another tribe of natives — Amicable intercourse with them — Morrisset’s chain of Ponds — Again reach the Darling River ninety miles higher up than where we first struck upon it.

Chapter 4

Perplexity — Trait of honesty in the natives — Excursion on horseback across the Darling — Forced to return — Desolating effects of the drought — Retreat towards the colony — Connection between the Macquarie and the Darling — Return up the banks of the Macquarie — Starving condition of the natives.

Chapter 5

General remarks — Result of the expedition — Previous anticipations — Mr. Oxley’s remarks — Character of the Rivers flowing westerly — Mr. Cunningham’s remarks — Fall of the Macquarie — Mr. Oxley’s erroneous conclusions respecting the character of the interior, naturally inferred from the state in which he found the country — The marsh of the Macquarie merely a marsh of the ordinary character — Captain King’s observations — Course of the Darling — Character of the low interior plain — The convict Barber’s report of rivers traversing the interior — Surveyor-General Mitchell’s Report of his recent expedition.

Chapter 6

Obstacles that attend travelling into the interior of Australia — Difficulty of carrying supplies — Importance of steady intelligent subordinates — Danger from the natives — Number of men requisite — and of cattle and carriages — Provisions — Other arrangements — Treatment of the natives — Dimensions of the boat used in the second expedition.

Appendix No. I.

Letter of Instructions

Appendix No. II.

List of Stores supplied for the Expedition

Appendix No. III.

Sheep-farming Returns

Appendix No. IV.

List of Geological Specimens

Appendix No. V.

Official Reports to the Colonial Government

Volume II

Expedition down the Morumbidgee and Murray rivers, in 1829, 1830 and 1831.

Chapter 1

Remarks on the results of the former Expedition — The fitting out of another determined on — Its objects — Provisions, accoutrements, and retinue — Paper furnished by Mr. Kent — Causes that have prevented the earlier appearance of the present work.

Chapter 2

Commencement of the expedition in November, 1829. — Joined by Mr. George M’Leay — Appearance of the party — Breadalbane Plains — Hospitality of Mr. O’Brien — Yass Plains — Hill of Pouni — Path of a hurricane — Character of the country between Underaliga and the Morumbidgee — Appearance of that river — Junction of the Dumot with it — Crossing and recrossing — Geological character and general aspect of the country — Plain of Pondebadgery — Few natives seen.

Chapter 3

Character of the Morumbidgee where it issues from the hilly country — Appearance of approach to swamps — Hamilton Plains — Intercourse with the natives — Their appearance, customs, &c. — Change in the character of the river — Mirage — Dreariness of the country — Ride towards the Lachlan river — Two boats built and launched on the Morumbidgee; and the drays, with part of the men sent back to Goulburn Plains.

Chapter 4

Embarkation of the party in the boats, and voyage down the Morumbidgee — The skiff swamped by striking on a sunken tree — Recovery of boat and its loading — Region of reeds — Dangers of the navigation — Contraction of the channel — Reach the junction of a large river — Intercourse with the natives on its banks — Character of the country below the junction of the rivers — Descent of a dangerous rapid — Warlike demonstrations of a tribe of natives — Unexpected deliverance from a conflict with them — Junction of another river — Give the name of the “Murray” to the principal stream.

Chapter 5

Character of the country — Damage of provisions — Adroitness of the natives in catching fish — The skiff broken up — Stream from the North-East supposed to be the Darling — Change of country in descending the river — Intercourse with the natives — Prevalence of loathsome diseases among them — Apparent populousness of the country — Junction of several small streams — The Rufus, the Lindesay, &c. — Rainy and tempestuous weather — Curious appearance of the banks — Troublesomeness of the natives — Inhospitable and desolate aspect of the country — Condition of the men — Change in the geological character of the country — The river passes through a valley among hills.

Chapter 6

Improvement in the aspect of the country — Increase of the river — Strong westerly gales — Chronometer broken — A healthier tribe of natives — Termination of the Murray in a large lake — Its extent and environs — Passage across it — Hostile appearance of the natives — Beautiful scenery — Channel from the lake to the sea at Encounter Bay — Reach the beach — Large flocks of water fowl — Curious refraction — State of provisions — Embarrassing situation — Inspection of the channel to the ocean — Weak condition of the men — Difficulties of the return.

Chapter 7

Valley of the Murray — Its character and capabilities — Laborious progress up the river — Accident to the boat — Perilous collision with the natives — Turbid current of the Rufus — Passage of the Rapids — Assisted by the natives — Dangerous intercourse with them — Re-enter the Morumbidgee — Verdant condition of its banks — Nocturnal encounter with the natives — Interesting manifestation of feeling in one family — Reach the spot where the party had embarked on the river — Men begin to fail entirely — Determine to send two men forward for relief — Their return — Excursion on horseback — Reach Pondebadgery Plain, and meet the supplies from the colony — Cannibalism of the natives — Return to Sydney — Concluding remarks.

Chapter 8

Environs of the lake Alexandrina — Appointment of Capt. Barker to make a further survey of the coast near Encounter Bay — Narrative of his proceedings — Mount Lofty, Mount Barker, and beautiful country adjacent — Australian salmon — Survey of the coast — Outlet of lake to the sea — Circumstances that led to the slaughter of Capt. Barker by the natives — His character — Features of this part of the country and capabilities of its coasts — Its adaptation for colonization — Suggestions for the furtherance of future Expeditions.

Appendix No. I.

Geological Specimens found to the south-west of Port Jackson

Appendix No. II.

Official Report to the Colonial Government

Illustrations to the First Volume

  1. Native Burial Place near Budda
  2. Cataract of the Macquarie
  3. The Rose Cockatoo
  4. The Crested Pigeon of the Marshes
  5. A Selenite Chrystallized Sulphate of Lime

Illustrations to the Second Volume

  1. The Opossum Hunt
  2. View on the Morumbidgee River
  3. Junction of the supposed Darling with the Murray
  4. Palaeornis Melanura, or Black Tailed Paroquet
  5. 1. Pomatorhinus Temporalis. 2. Pomatorhinus Superciliosus
  6. Chart of Cape Jervis, and Encounter Bay
  7. 1 & 2. Chrystallized Selenite. 3 Selenite.
  8. 1. Mass of Fossils of the Tertiary Formation. 2. Bulla 3. Conus 4. Genus Unknown
  9. Single Fossils of the Tertiary Formation

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