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A Voyage to Terra Australis by Matthew Flinders

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The next visitor to Van Diemen's Land was captain JAMES COOK, with his
Majesty's ships _Resolution_ and _Discovery_. He made the South-west Cape
on Jan. 24, 1777, and steered eastward along the shore, as captain
Furneaux had done, but generally at a greater distance: on the 26th he
anchored in Adventure Bay.

Captain Cook's account of this bay agrees nearly with that of Furneaux;
but he there procured abundance of fish, and had frequent communication
with the natives: his description of them coincides, generally, with what
has been recited in Marion's voyage. The most striking differences
betwixt these people and those captain Cook had seen on the east coast of
New South Wales, were in their language, in having no canoes, and in the
different texture of the hair: in those it was "naturally long and black,
though it be universally cropped short;" whilst in Adventure Bay, "it was
as woolly, as that of any native of Guinea." * In these particulars, as in
some others, they agreed with Dampier's description of the people on the
North-west Coast, who were without canoes, and had woolly hair.

[* See Cook's _Third Voyage_, Vol. I. p. 93-117.]

The following articles, to the conclusion of PART I. of this Section, are
placed somewhat out of their chronological order, for the convenience of
classing together all the discoveries which had no connection with the
British settlement in New South Wales. Those made in vessels from that
settlement, or which may be considered as a consequence of its
establishment, will compose PART II. in uninterrupted order.

BLIGH. 1788.

Captain William Bligh put into Adventure Bay with his Majesty's ship
_Bounty_ in 1788, and with the _Providence_ and _Assistant_ in 1792; for
the purpose of obtaining wood and water. These were procured with
facility, as also plenty of fish; and many useful seeds and trees were

No discoveries being made here, beyond those of Furneaux and Cook, the
reader is referred to captain Bligh's _Voyage to the South Seas_, P. 45
to 54, for his observations on the country and inhabitants. There is,
however, one remarkable circumstance recorded of these people, which is,
that when presents wrapped up in paper were thrown to them, "they took
the articles out, and placed them on their heads;" a ceremony which is
similar to that recorded by _Witsen_, of the inhabitants on the east side
of the Gulph of Carpentaria.

COX. 1789.

The brig Mercury, commanded by JOHN HENRY COX, Esq., anchored at the
entrance of a deep bay on the south side of Van Diemen's Land, on July 3,
1789. This bay was then first discovered, and lies N. by W. ten miles
from the _Mewstone_.* The country was found to be agreeably interspersed
with hills and vallies, and some of the hills were luxuriantly clothed
with trees to their very summits. About four miles from the vessel, there
was a stream of fresh water; and close to it stood a hut, or rather
hovel, neatly constructed of branches of trees and dried leaves. "Around
it were scattered a great quantity of pearl, escalop, oyster, and other
shells, which had been lately roasted." The faeces of some large animal
were met with in every direction; but neither the animal itself nor any
of the natives could be found.

[* _Observations, etc., made during a voyage in the brig Mercury_; by
Lieut. G. Mortimer of the Marines. London, 1791.]

July 5. A heavy swell from the southward obliged Mr. Cox to get under
way; and he worked along shore to the eastward. His intention was to put
into Adventure Bay; but being set to the northward of his reckoning, on
the 8th, he discovered, and came to an anchor in OYSTER BAY, on the inner
side of Maria's Island, the shelter there being found secure, and wood
and water plentiful. This bay lies in 42 deg. 42' south, and 148 deg. 25' east,
and not more than three or four leagues to the northward of Tasman's
_Frederik Hendrik's Bay_; though Mr. Cox, following in the error of
captain Furneaux, seems to have had no idea of this proximity.

Some communication was obtained with the inhabitants of the island; but
as nothing in this, or in other respects, was found materially different
to what was observed by Mons. Marion and captain Cook in the neighbouring
bays, it is unnecessary to enter into the details.


The French rear-admiral, BRUNY D'ENTRECASTEAUX, made the coast of Van
Diemen's Land with the intention of procuring wood and water at Adventure
Bay; "but deceived by the forms of the coast, which resemble each other,
he entered Storm Bay," April 20, 1792.* This is not, however, the Storm
Bay of Tasman; but that which was taken for such by captain Furneaux.

[* _Voyage de D'Entrecasteaux, redige par M. de Rossel_: A Paris 1808.
Tome I. p. 48.]

The error was soon detected; but finding shelter and good anchoring
ground, the admiral determined to remain where he was, and to examine the
inlet. The result most amply repaid his labour, by opening to him the
most important discovery which had been made in this country from the
time of Tasman. Instead of an open bay, this inlet was found to be the
entrance into a fine navigable channel, running more than ten leagues to
the northward, and there communicating with the true Storm Bay. It
contains a series of good harbours, or is itself, rather, one continued
harbour, from beginning to end.

This new passage obtained the name of CANAL DE D'ENTRECASTEAUX; and,
after passing through it with his ships, the admiral steered across Storm
Bay, passing to the southward of the land which Furneaux and Cook had
taken for Maria's Islands. At the head of Storm Bay other openings were
seen; but the wind from the north and the pressure of time, did not allow
him to examine them at that period.


On Jan. 21, of the following year, admiral D'Entrecasteaux anchored again
in one of the ports on the west side of the entrance to his newly
discovered channel; and after completing the wood and water of his two
ships, _La Recherche_ and _L'Esperance_, pursued his former course up the
passage, sending boats to complete the surveys of the different harbours
on each side. A boat was also sent to explore the two openings in the
head of Storm Bay. The westernmost proved to be a river, up which the
boat ascended twenty miles to the northward; and so far it was navigable
for ships. It was not pursued further; so that the distance, to which
this _Riviere du Nord_ might penetrate into the country, was uncertain.
The eastern opening led northward into a wide, open bay; and this into
another large expanse of water to the eastward, but which was not
examined. It was thought, however, that this eastern bay communicated
with that of Frederik Hendrik; and on this supposition (which has not
proved correct), the land which Furneaux and Cook had erroneously thought
to be Maria's Island, was named _Ile d' Abel Tasman_.

The charts of the bays, ports, and arms of the sea at the south-east end
of Van Diemen's Land, constructed in this expedition by Mons.
BEAUTEMPS-BEAUPRE and assistants, appear to combine scientific accuracy
and minuteness of detail, with an uncommon degree of neatness in the
execution: they contain some of the finest specimens of marine surveying,
perhaps ever made in a new country.

Admiral D'Entrecasteaux gives a very favourable account of the
disposition of the native inhabitants on the shores of the channel; and
he had frequent communications with them. In person and manner of living,
they agree with those described by Marion and Cook; but the vocabulary of
their language is somewhat different; and bark canoes, which preceding
navigators had thought them not to possess, were found in the channel.
The description of the country is, generally, favourable; though somewhat
less so than that of captain Cook at Adventure Bay. The climate was
thought good, though moist; and the supplies of wood, water, and fish,
for ships, were abundant; but the preference, in these respects, was
given to Adventure Bay, even by the French admiral.

_Mons. Labillardiere_, in his previously published account of
D'Entrecasteaux's voyage, says, that he found a small vein of coal near
the South Cape; and that limestone rocks exist on the west-side of
Adventure Bay. These circumstances are omitted by M. de Rossel; as is
also the remark, that although the natives had their teeth perfect, in
general, yet in some near the bay, one, and sometimes two of the upper
front teeth were wanting. The same thing was observed by Dampier, of the
inhabitants on the north-west coast of Terra Australis; and this
coincidence, together with their similarity of person, particularly in
the woolly hair, is sufficiently remarkable to induce a belief, that
these people, placed at the two extremities of this vast country, have
yet one common origin; although the intermediate inhabitants of the East
Coast differ in some essential particulars.

HAYES. 1794.

Captain JOHN HAYES, of the Bombay marine, visited Storm Bay and
D'Entrecasteaux's Channel, with the private ships _Duke_ and _Dutchess_
from India, in 1794. He went much further up the Riviere du Nord, than
the boat from the French ships had done, and gave it the name of the
DERWENT RIVER. This name is likely to efflace the first appellation, and
with some degree of propriety; both from the superior extent of captain
Hayes' examination, and from _North River_ being an equivocal term for a
stream at the _south end_ of Van Diemen's Land.

That captain Hayes had some intimation of the French discovery is
evident, but not knowing the distinctive appellations given, he took upon
himself to impose names every where. Succeeding visitors have gone with
his _sketch_ in their hands, whilst the charts of D'Entrecasteaux were
unknown in that part of the world; from whence, and still more from those
names having now become familiar to the settlement established in the
Derwent River, it will be difficult, if not impossible in many cases, for
the original discoverer to be reinstated in his rights.

The head of the Derwent is the sole part where captain Hayes' sketch
conveys information, not to be found much more accurately delineated in
the charts of D'Entrecasteaux.





Preliminary Information.
Boat expeditions of Bass and Flinders.
Discoveries of Bass to the southward of Port Jackson;
of Flinders;
and of Flinders and Bass.
Examinations to the northward by Flinders.
Conclusive Remarks.


The year 1788 will ever be a memorable epoch in the history of Terra
Australis. On Jan. 18, Captain (now vice-admiral) ARTHUR PHILLIP arrived
in Botany Bay, with His Majesty's brig _Supply_; and was followed by the
_Syrius_, captain John Hunter, six sail of transports, and three store
ships. The purpose of this armament was to establish a colony in New
South Wales, over which extensive country Captain Phillip was appointed
_Governor_ and _Captain-general_. Botany Bay proved to be an unfavourable
situation for the new colony; it was, therefore, abandoned in favour of
PORT JACKSON, which lies three leagues to the northward, and was found to
be one of the finest harbours in the world.

A history of this establishment at the extremity of the globe, in a
country where the astonished settler sees nothing, not even the grass
under his feet, which is not different to whatever had before met his
eye, could not but present objects of great interest to the European
reader; and the public curiosity has been gratified by the perusal of
various respectable publications, wherein the proceedings of the
colonists, the country round Port Jackson, its productions, and native
inhabitants, are delineated with accuracy, and often with minuteness. The
subject to be here treated is the progress of maritime geographical
discovery, which resulted from the new establishment; and as the
different expeditions made for this purpose are in many cases
imperfectly, and in some altogether unknown, it has been judged that a
circumstantial account of them would be useful to seamen, and not without
interest to the general reader. These expeditions are, moreover,
intimately connected with the Investigator's voyage, of which they were,
in fact, the leading cause.

(Atlas, Plate VIII.)

The first advantage to maritime geography which arose from the new
settlement, was a survey of Botany and Broken Bays and Port Jackson, with
most of the rivers falling into them. Botany Bay had, indeed, been
examined by captain Cook; but of the other two harbours, the entrances
alone had been seen. This survey, including the intermediate parts of the
coast, was made by captain John Hunter, and was published soon after its
transmission to England by governor Phillip.

In the beginning Of 1795, captain (now vice-admiral) Hunter sailed a
second time for New South Wales, to succeed captain Phillip in the
government of the new colony. He took with him His Majesty's armed
vessels Reliance and Supply; and the author of this account, who was then
a midshipman and had not long before returned from a voyage to the South
Seas, was led by his passion for exploring new countries, to embrace the
opportunity of going out upon a station which, of all others, presented
the most ample field for his favourite pursuit.

On arriving at Port Jackson, in September of the same year, it appeared
that the investigation of the coast had not been greatly extended beyond
the three harbours; and even in these, some of the rivers were not
altogether explored. Jervis Bay, indicated but not named by captain Cook,
had been entered by lieutenant Richard Bowen; and to the north, Port
Stephens had lately been examined by Mr C. Grimes, land surveyor of the
colony, and by captain W. R. Broughton of H. M. ship Providence; but the
intermediate portions of coast, both to the north and south, were little
further known than from captain Cook's general chart; and none of the
more distant openings, marked but not explored by that celebrated
navigator, had been seen.

In Mr George Bass, surgeon of the Reliance, I had the happiness to find a
man whose ardour for discovery was not to be repressed by any obstacles,
nor deterred by danger; and with this friend a determination was formed
of completing the examination of the east coast of New South Wales, by
all such opportunities as the duty of the ship and procurable means could

BASS and FLINDERS. 1795.

Projects of this nature, when originating in the minds of young men, are
usually termed romantic; and so far from any good being anticipated, even
prudence and friendship join in discouraging, if not in opposing them.
Thus it was in the present case; so that a little boat of eight feet
long, called _Tom Thumb_, with a crew composed of ourselves and a boy,
was the best equipment to be procured for the first outset. In the month
following the arrival of the ships, we proceeded round in this boat, to
Botany Bay; and ascending George's River, one of two which falls into the
bay, explored its winding course about twenty miles beyond where Governor
Hunter's survey had been carried.

The sketch made of this river and presented to the governor, with the
favourable report of the land on its borders, induced His Excellency to
examine them himself shortly afterward; and was followed by establishing
there a new branch of the colony, under the name of _Bank's Town_.


A voyage to Norfolk Island interrupted our further proceedings, until
March 1796. Mr Bass and myself then went again in Tom Thumb, to explore a
large river, said to fall into the sea some miles to the south of Botany
Bay, and of which there was no indication in captain Cook's chart.

We sailed out of Port Jackson early in the morning of March 25, and stood
a little off to sea to be ready for the sea breeze. On coming in with the
land in the evening, instead of being near Cape Solander, we found
ourselves under the cliffs near Hat Hill, six or seven leagues to the
southward, whither the boat had been drifted by a strong current. Not
being able to land, and the sea breeze coming in early next morning from
the northward, we steered for two small islets, six or seven miles
further on, in order to get shelter; but being in want of water, and
seeing a place on the way where, though the boat could not land, a cask
might be obtained by swimming, the attempt was made, and Mr Bass went on
shore. Whilst getting off the cask, a surf arose further out than usual,
carried the boat before it to the beach, and left us there with our arms,
ammunition, clothes and provisions thoroughly drenched and partly
spoiled. The boat was emptied and launched again immediately; but it was
late in the afternoon before every thing was rafted off, and we proceeded
to the islets. It was not possible to land there; and we went on to two
larger isles lying near a projecting point of the main, which has four
hillocks upon it presenting the form of a double saddle, and proved to be
captain Cook's _Red Point_. The isles were inaccessible as the others;
and it being dark, we were constrained to pass a second night in Tom
Thumb, and dropped our stone anchor in 7 fathoms, under the lee of the

The sea breeze, on the 27th, still opposed our return; and learning from
two Indians that no water could be procured at Red Point, we accepted
their offer of piloting us to a river which, they said, lay a few miles
further southward, and where not only fresh water was abundant, but also
fish and wild ducks. These men were natives of Botany Bay, whence it was
that we understood a little of their language, whilst that of some others
was altogether unintelligible. Their river proved to be nothing more than
a small stream, which descended from a lagoon under Hat Hill, and forced
a passage for itself through the beach; so that we entered it with
difficulty even in Tom Thumb. Our two conductors then quitted the boat to
walk along the sandy shore abreast, with eight or ten strange natives in

After rowing a mile up the stream, and finding it to become more shallow,
we began to entertain doubts of securing a retreat from these people,
should they be hostilely inclined; and they had the reputation at Port
Jackson of being exceedingly ferocious, if not cannibals. Our muskets
were not yet freed from rust and sand, and there was a pressing necessity
to procure fresh water before attempting to return northward. Under these
embarrassments, we agreed upon a plan of action, and went on shore
directly to the natives. Mr Bass employed some of them to assist in
repairing an oar which had been broken in our disaster, whilst I spread
the wet powder out in the sun. This met with no opposition, for they knew
not what the powder was; but when we proceeded to clean the muskets, it
excited so much alarm that it was necessary to desist. On inquiring of
the two friendly natives for water, they pointed upwards to the lagoon;
but after many evasions our _barica_* was filled at a hole not many yards

[* A small cask, containing six or eight gallons.]

The number of people had increased to near twenty, and others were still
coming, so that it was necessary to use all possible expedition in
getting out of their reach. But a new employment arose upon our hands: we
had clipped the hair and beards of the two Botany Bay natives at Red
Point; and they were showing themselves to the others, and persuading
them to follow their example. Whilst, therefore, the powder was drying, I
began with a large pair of scissors to execute my new office upon the
eldest of four or five chins presented to me; and as great nicety was not
required, the shearing of a dozen of them did not occupy me long. Some of
the more timid were alarmed at a formidable instrument coming so near to
their noses, and would scarcely be persuaded by their shaven friends, to
allow the operation to be finished. But when their chins were held up a
second time, their fear of the instrument--the wild stare of their
eyes--and the smile which they forced, formed a compound upon the rough
savage countenance, not unworthy the pencil of a Hogarth. I was almost
tempted to try what effect a little snip would produce; but our situation
was too critical to admit of such experiments.

Everything being prepared for a retreat, the natives became vociferous
for the boat to go up to the lagoon; and it was not without stratagem
that we succeeded in getting down to the entrance of the stream, where
the depth of water placed us out of their reach.

Our examination of the country was confined, by circumstances, to a
general view. This part is called _Alowrie_, by the natives, and is very
low and sandy near the sides of the rivulet. About four miles up it, to
the north-west, is the lagoon; and behind, stands a semicircular range of
hills, of which the highest is Hat Hill. The water in the lagoon was
distinctly seen, and appeared to be several miles in circumference. The
land round it is probably fertile, and the slopes of the back hills had
certainly that appearance. The natives were in nothing, except language,
different from those at Port Jackson; but their dogs, which are of the
same species, seemed to be more numerous and familiar.

Soon after dark the sea breeze was succeeded by a calm; and at ten
o'clock we rowed out of the rivulet, repassed Red Point, and at one in
the morning came to an anchor in 5 fathoms, close to the northernmost of
the two first rocky islets.* In the afternoon of the 28th, we got on
shore under the high land to the north of Hat Hill and were able to cook
provisions and take some repose without disturbance. The sandy beach was
our bed; and after much fatigue, and passing three nights of cramp in Tom
Thumb, it was to us a bed of down.

[* These islets seem to be what are marked as rocks under water in
captain Cook's chart. In it, also, there are three islets laid down to
the south of Red Point, which must be meant for the double islet lying
directly off it, for there are no others. The cause of the point being
named _red_, escaped our notice.]

The shore in this part is mostly high and cliffy; and under the cliffs
were lying black lumps, apparently of slaty stone, rounded by attrition.
These were not particularly noticed, but Mr. Clarke, in his disastrous
journey along the coast, afterwards made fires of them; and on a
subsequent examination, Mr. Bass found a stratum of coal to run through
the whole of these cliffs.

March 29. By rowing hard we got four leagues nearer home; and at night
dropped our stone under another range of cliffs, more regular but less
high than those near Hat Hill. At ten o'clock, the wind, which had been
unsettled and driving electric clouds in all directions, burst out in a
gale at south, and obliged us to get up the anchor immediately, and run
before it. In a few minutes the waves began to break; and the extreme
danger to which this exposed our little bark, was increased by the
darkness of the night, and the uncertainty of finding any place of
shelter. The shade of the cliffs over our heads, and the noise of the
surfs breaking at their feet, were the directions by which our course was
steered parallel to the coast.

Mr Bass kept the sheet of the sail in his hand, drawing in a few inches
occasionally, when he saw a particularly heavy sea following. I was
steering with an oar, and it required the utmost exertion and care to
prevent broaching to; a single wrong movement, or a moment's inattention,
would have sent us to the bottom. The task of the boy was to bale out the
water which, in spite of every care, the sea threw in upon us.

After running near an hour in this critical manner, some high breakers
were distinguished ahead; and behind them there appeared no shade of
cliffs. It was necessary to determine, on the instant, what was to be
done, for our bark could not live ten minutes longer. On coming to what
appeared to be the extremity of the breakers, the boat's head was brought
to the wind in a favourable moment, the mast and sail taken down, and the
oars got out. Pulling then towards the reef during the intervals of the
heaviest seas, we found it to terminate in a point; and in three minutes
were in smooth water under its lee. A white appearance, further back,
kept us a short time in suspense; but a nearer approach showed it to be
the beach of a well-sheltered cove, in which we anchored for the rest of
the night. So sudden a change, from extreme danger to comparatively
perfect safety, excited reflections which kept us some time awake: we
thought Providential Cove a well-adapted name for this place; but by the
natives, as we afterwards learned, it is called _Watta-Mowlee_.

On landing next morning, March 30, water was found at the back of the
beach. The country round the cove is, in general, sandy and barren. No
natives were seen, but their traces were recent. The extremity of the
reef, which afforded us such signal shelter, bore S.E. by E. from the
centre of the beach, the north head of the cove E.N.E.; and except at the
intermediate five points of the compass, Watta-Mowlee affords shelter for
large boats, with anchorage on a fine sandy bottom.

Between three and four miles to the northward of this cove, we found the
river, or rather port, which was the original place of our destination;
and it having been a pilot named Hacking, from whom the first information
of it had been received, it was named after him: by the natives it is
called _Deeban_.

April 1st, was employed in the examination of the port. It is something
more than one mile wide in the entrance; but soon contracts to half that
space, and becomes shallow. Neither have the three arms, into which it
afterwards branches out, any deep channel into them; although, within the
second branch, there are from 3 to 8 fathoms. Finding there was no part
accessible to a ship, beyond two miles from the entrance, nor any
prospect of increasing our small stock of provisions, _Port Hacking_ was
quitted early in the morning of April 2.

The shores of the port are mostly rocky, particularly on the north side;
but there is no want of grass or wood; and without doubt there are many
culturable spots on the sides of the streams which descend, apparently
from the inland mountains, into the uppermost branch. Two natives came
down to us in a friendly manner, and seemed not to be unacquainted with
Europeans. Their language differed somewhat from the Port Jackson
dialect; but with the assistance of signs, we were able to make ourselves

After sounding the entrance of Port Hacking in going out, and finding 31/2
fathoms water, we steered N.E. by E for Cape Solander; and the same
evening Tom Thumb was secured alongside the Reliance in Port Jackson.

In this little expedition, I had no other means of ascertaining the
situations of places than by pocket-compass bearings and computed
distances; which was done as follows:

South lat. East lon.
deg. ' deg. '
Cliffy south extreme of Cape Solander, lies in 34 2.5 151 12
From thence to Port Hacking, a low curving
shore, mostly beach, lies S. W. b. W. 6 miles +3.4 -6
Situation of Port Hacking 34 5.9 151 6
From Port Hacking to Watta-Mowlee; low cliffs,
but rising gradually to the head of the cove;
S. S. W. 31/2 miles +3,2 -1,6
Situation of Watta-Mowlee 34 9,1 151 4,4
Thence to the end of steep cliffs, nearly
straight S. S. W. 41/2 miles +4,2 -2,1
To the end of coal cliffs, and commencement of
Hat-Hill beach; mostly a high shore, sometimes
cliffy, with small beaches at intervals;
S. by W. l0 miles, +9.8 -2.4
From thence to Red Point; a curving sandy beach
with small rocky points; S.3/4 E. 61/2 miles +6,4 + 1.1
Situation of Red Point 34 29.5 151 1
From Red Pt. to the entrance of Tom Thumb's
lagoon; a low, curving sandy beach; S.W. 5 miles +3.5 -4.3
Situation of the entrance to Tom Thumb's lagoon 34 33.0 151 56.7

CLARKE. 1797 (Atlas, Pl. I.)

After this expedition, the duties of the ship, and a voyage to the Cape
of Good Hope by the way of Cape Horn, suspended our projects for some
time. On the return of the Reliance to New South Wales, we found there
the supra-cargo of the Sydney Cove, a ship from India commanded by Mr. G.
A. Hamilton, which, having started a butt end, had been run on shore at
Furneaux's Islands and wrecked. Mr. Clarke had left the ship, with the
chief mate and others, in the long boat, designing for Port Jackson, in
order to procure means for transporting the officers and people, and such
part of the cargo as had been saved, to the same place; but being
overtaken by a heavy south-east gale, their boat had been thrown on shore
near Cape Howe, three-hundred miles from the colony, and stove to pieces.

There was no other prospect of safety for Mr. Clarke and his companions,
than to reach Port Jackson on foot; and they commenced their march along
the sea shore, scantily furnished with ammunition, and with less
provisions. Various tribes of natives were passed, some of whom were
friendly; but the hostility of others, and excessive fatigue, daily
lessened the number of these unfortunate people; and when the provisions
and ammunition failed, the diminution became dreadfully rapid. Their last
loss was of the chief mate and carpenter, who were killed by Dilba, and
other savages near Hat Hill;* and Mr. Clarke, with a sailor and one
lascar, alone remained when they reached Watta-Mowlee. They were so
exhausted, as to have scarcely strength enough to make themselves
observed by a boat which was fishing off the cove; but were at length
conveyed into her, and brought to Port Jackson.

[* This Dilba was one of the two Botany-Bay natives, who had been most
strenuous for Tom Thumb to go up into the lagoon, which lies under the

Mr. Clarke gave the first information of the coal cliffs, near Hat Hill;
and from him it was ascertained, that, besides the known bays, many small
streams and inlets had interrupted his march along the shore, from Cape
Howe to Watta-Mowlee; but that there were none which he had not been able
to pass, either at the sea side, or by going a few miles round, into the
country. A journal of his route was published in the Calcutta newspapers,
some time in 1798.

The colonial schooner Francis had made one voyage to Furneaux's Islands,
and brought from thence captain Hamilton, and part of his people and
cargo. The same vessel was about to proceed thither a second time, and I
was anxious to embrace that opportunity of exploring those extensive and
little known lands; but the great repairs required by the Reliance would
not allow of my absence. My friend Bass, less confined by his duty, made
several excursions, principally into the interior parts behind Port
Jackson; with a view to pass over the back mountains, and ascertain the
nature of the country beyond them. His success was not commensurate to
the perseverance and labour employed: the mountains were impassable; but
the course of the river Grose, laid down in Plate VIII, resulted from one
of these excursions.

SHORTLAND. 1797. (Atlas, Pl. VIII.)

In September, a small colonial vessel having been carried off by
convicts, lieutenant JOHN SHORTLAND, first of the Reliance,* went after
them to the northward, in an armed boat. The expedition was fruitless, as
to the proposed object; but in returning along the shore from Port
Stephens, Mr. Shortland discovered a port in latitude 33 deg., capable of
receiving small ships; and what materially added to the importance of the
discovery, was a _stratum of coal_, found to run through the south head
of the port, and also pervaded a cliffy island in the entrance. These
coals were not only accessible to shipping, but of a superior quality to
those in the cliffs near Hat Hill. The port was named after His
Excellency governor HUNTER; and a settlement, called _New Castle_, has
lately been there established. The entrance is narrow, and the deepest
water (about three fathoms) close to the north-west side of the Coal
Island; but no vessel of more than three hundred tons should attempt it.

[* Afterwards captain of the _Junon_. He was mortally wounded, whilst
bravely defending his Majesty's frigate against a vastly superior force;
and died at _Guadaloupe_.]

BASS. 1797.

In December, Mr. GEORGE BASS obtained leave to make an expedition to the
southward; and he was furnished with a fine whale boat and six weeks
provisions by the governor, and a crew of six seamen from the ships. He
sailed Dec. 3., in the evening; but foul and strong winds forced him into
_Port Hacking_ and _Watta-Mowlee_. On the 5th, in latitude 34 deg. 38', he
was obliged to stop in a small bight of the coast, a little south of
_Alowrie_. The points of land there are basaltic; and on looking round
amongst the burnt rocks scattered over a hollowed circular space behind
the shore, Mr. Bass found a hole of twenty-five or thirty feet in
diameter; into which the sea washed up by a subterraneous passage.

Dec. 6., he passed a long sloping projection which I have called _Point
Bass_, lying about three leagues south of Alowrie. Beyond this point, the
coast forms a sandy bay of four or five leagues in length, containing two
small inlets; and the southernmost being accessible to the boat, Mr. Bass
went in and stopped three days. This little place was found to deserve no
better name than _Shoals Haven_. The entrance is mostly choaked up by
sand, and the inner part with banks of sand and mud; there is, however, a
small channel sufficiently deep for boats. The latitude was made to be
34 deg. 52' south; the sloping Point Bass, to the northward, bore N. 12 deg. E.,
and a steep head at the southern extremity of the bay, S. 35 deg. E. The tide
was found to rise seven or eight feet, and the time of high water to be
about _eight hours and a half after_ the moon passed over the meridian.

The great chain of high land, called the Blue Mountains, by which the
colony at Port Jackson is prevented from extending itself to the west,
appeared to Mr. Bass to terminate here, near the sea coast. The base of
this southern extremity of the chain, he judged to extend twenty-five or
thirty miles, in a south-western direction from Point Bass; after which
it turns north-westward. In the direction of west from Shoals Haven, and
in all the space to the south of that line, was an extensive, flat
country, where a party desirous of penetrating into the interior might
reasonably hope to avoid those impediments which, at the back of Port
Jackson., have constantly proved insurmountable.

In an excursion from the boat towards the southern end of the mountains,
Mr. Bass fell in with a considerable stream, which he traced down to the
shore, about three miles north of Shoals' Haven: this is the first inlet
of the long bay, which had been observed from the sea, with a bar running
across the entrance. The soil on the southern bank of this stream he
compared, for richness, to the banks of the Hawkesbury; and attributes
this unusual fertility to the same cause: repeated inundations. In fact,
the stream has since been found to descend from the mountains at twelve
or fifteen miles from the coast, and to run along their southern
extremity to the sea; so that it performs the same office here that the
Hawkesbury does further north--that of being a channel for the waters
which descend from the high back land; but as, in the heavy rains, it is
also unequal to the task, the banks are overflowed, and the low country
to the south and west is inundated and fertilized. There are, however, at
the back of Shoals Haven, many thousand acres of open ground, whose soil
is a rich vegetable mould, and now beyond the reach of the floods.

Dec. 10. The boat left Shoals Haven and entered _Jervis Bay_, a large
open place of very unpromising appearance. On the north side of the
entrance, between Point Perpendicular and Long Nose, there is a small
cove, where a ship's boat might lie at half tide; and with a hose fill
water from the back of the beach, at two pits which appeared to be always
full. The best anchorage for ships seemed to be on the east side of the
bay, between Long Nose and the northern beach, though they would not,
even there, be entirely land-locked. _Bowen's Island_ lies a quarter of a
mile from the south side of the entrance, but the passage between does
not admit any thing larger than boats. There is a small beach at the back
of the island, off which ships might anchor in 8 fathoms sandy bottom,
and be sheltered as far round as south-east; but with the wind nearer to
east they would be exposed.

The east shore of Jervis Bay runs, for twelve or fifteen miles, so near
to north from the entrance, that it is not, at the head, more than four
hundred yards across to the shore of the long outer bay. The piece of
land, which is thus made a narrow peninsula, is rather high, with a face
of steep cliffs toward the sea. The rocks on the inner side bear strong
marks of volcanic fire; and being disposed in parallel layers, their
inclination to the west is very evident: quantities of pumice stone were
scattered along the shores.

The country round the bay is mostly barren. On the eastern side it is
rocky, with heath and brush-wood; the west is low, swampy, and sandy,
with some partial exceptions; but on the south side there are grassy
spaces amongst the brush-wood which might afford pasturage for cattle.

Jervis Bay was quitted Dec. 13., and at noon the Pigeon House bore W. by
N. In the evening Mr. Bass stopped in a cove, which Point Upright
shelters from northern winds; and he employed the next day in looking
round the country. The vallies and slopes of the hills were found to be
generally fertile; but there being nothing of particular interest in this
place, it was quitted on the 15th. Some small islands lying close under
the shore (in Bateman Bay), bore west at noon; and the night was passed
at anchor under a point, in latitude 36 deg. 00', where, the wind being foul
on the 16th, Mr. Bass laid the boat on shore, and proceeded to examine
the surrounding country.

At eight or nine miles from the coast is a ridge of hummocky hills,
extending to the southward; but the space between these hills and the sea
is low and in great part occupied by salt swamps. The sea was found to
have an entrance at the back of the point, and to form a considerable
lagoon, which communicated with the swamps by means of several branching
arms. The soil, as may be supposed, was generally bad, the sloping sides
of some of the hills being alone capable of any utility. In a round of
twelve or fourteen miles Mr. Bass could not find a drop of fresh water,
or see a native. There were, however, many huts, and he traced the paths
from them down to holes dug in the lowest grounds; but these were then
all dried up, and the country in general seemed to be suffering from

Dec. 17. The wind having veered to N. N. W., the boat was launched, and
proceeded to the southward. Mount Dromedary was passed at eleven; and an
island of about two miles in circuit was seen lying off it, a few miles
to the eastward: the latitude at noon was 36 deg. 23'. At four, the fair
breeze died away, and a strong wind, which burst forth from the south,
obliged Mr. Bass to run for a gap in the land, which had just before been
noticed. Here, on a little beach at the mouth of an inlet, across which
the sea was breaking, the boat was hauled up for the night. Next morning,
the inlet being free of breakers, he entered the prettiest little model
of a harbour he had ever seen. Unfortunately it is but a model; for
although the shelter within be complete for small craft, yet the depth
over the bar is too small, even for boats, except at high water, when
there is eight or nine feet. This little place was named _Barmouth
Creek_, and lies, according to Mr. Bass' computation, in 36 deg. 47' south.
The country round, so far as was examined, is rocky and barren near the
sea; and towards the head of the creek, it is low and penetrated by the
salt swamps.

(Atlas, Pl. VI.)

Dec. 19. At day light Mr. Bass continued his course to the southward.,
with a fair breeze. At seven he discovered TWO-FOLD BAY; but unwilling to
lose a fair wind, reserved the examination of it for his return. At five
in the evening the wind came at S. S. W.; and he anchored under the lee
of a point, but could not land. A sea breeze from E. N. E. next day,
enabled him to continue onward; and at eleven, he bore away west, round
_Cape Howe_, whose latitude was observed to be 37 deg. 30'. In the evening he
landed at the entrance of a lagoon, one mile north of the _Ram Head_, in
order to take in as much fresh water as possible; for it was to be feared
that a want of this necessary article might oblige him to discontinue his
pursuit, at a time when, from the coast being unexplored, it would become
more than ever interesting.

Dec. 21. A gale set in at W. S. W., and continued for nine days without
intermission. This time was employed in examining the country, which,
though hilly in external appearance, was found to be mostly low, sandy,
and wet. The hills have a slight covering of green upon them, but consist
of little else than sand; and from what could be seen of the back
country, the soil there is scarcely better. The vallies are overgrown
with long grass, ferns, brush-wood, and climbing plants, so as to be
almost impenetrable; yet even there the soil is good for nothing.

At every landing place, from Jervis Bay to Barmouth Creek, the fresh
water had been observed to diminish both in quantity and quality; and
upon this coast of sand the difficulty of procuring it was expected to be
very great. It was, on the contrary, plentiful; there being many little
runs which drained out from the sand hills, and either trickled over the
rocky spots at their feet, or sank through the beaches into the sea.

The western gale being at length succeeded by a breeze at E. N. E., Mr.
Bass left the Ram Head early on the 31st. His course was W. by S., close
to a low, sandy coast; the beach being interrupted by small, rocky
points, not oftener than once in ten or fifteen miles. The back land
consisted of short ridges of irregular hills, lying at no great distance
from the sea. At noon, the latitude was 37 deg. 42'; and the distance run
from the Ram Head, by computation, was thirty or thirty-five miles.

The furthest land seen by captain Cook, is marked at fifteen leagues from
the Ram Head, and called _Point Hicks_; but at dusk Mr. Bass had run much
more than that distance close along the shore, and could perceive no
point or projection which would be distinguishable from a ship: the coast
continued to be straight, low, and sandy, similar to what had been passed
in the morning. There arose many large smokes from behind the beach;
probably from the sides of lagoons, with which, there was reason to
think, the back country abounded.


The breeze continuing to be fresh and favourable, Mr. Bass ventured to
steer onward in the night, and kept the shore close a-bord. At two in the
morning, the increased hollowness of the waves made him suspect the water
was becoming shallow; and he hauled off for an hour, until there was
sufficient daylight to distinguish the land. It was still low, level, and
sandy, and trended S. W. by W., nearly as the boat was steering. At seven
o'clock, high land appeared at a considerable distance in the south-west;
and the beach then trended in the same direction. It, however, changed
soon afterward, to run nearly west; and Mr. Bass quitted it to keep on
his course for the high land. The latitude at noon was 38 deg. 41'; and the
difference made from the noon before, upon the average course of S. W. by
W, makes the distance run 107 miles; which, added to the preceding thirty
or thirty-five, gives the length of the beach from the Ram Head, to be
about 140 miles.*

[* But the latitude observed appears to be 8' or 10' too little; and if
so, the length of the beach would be something more than 150 miles. It is
no matter of surprise if observations taken from an open boat, in a high
sea, should differ ten miles from the truth; but I judge that Mr. Bass'
quadrant must have received some injury during the night of the 31st, for
a similar error appears to pervade all the future observations, even
those taken under favourable circumstances.]

The high land extended from the bearing of S. W. by S. to W. N. W., and
was distant in the latter direction two or three leagues. North of it
there was a deep bight; and further eastward, two or three places in the
Long Beach which had the appearance of inlets. To the south there were
several rocky islets; and great numbers of petrels, and other sea-birds,
were flying about the boat.

From the latitude of the high land, Mr. Bass considered it to be that
seen by captain Furneaux (or supposed to have been seen), in 39 deg.; and
consequently, that he had traced the unknown space between Point Hicks
and _Furneaux's Land_. His course was now steered to pass round this
land; but on coming abreast of the rocky islets, a hummock appeared above
the horizon in the S. E. by S., and presently, a larger one at S. 1/2 W.;
and being unable to fetch the first, he steered for the latter, which
proved to be an island; and at six in the evening, he anchored under its
lee. Vast numbers of gulls and other birds were roosting upon it, and on
the rocks were many seals; but the surf would not admit of landing. This
island was judged to be thirty miles, S. by W., from the situation at

Jan. 2. The wind was strong at E. N. E.; and Mr. Bass being apprehensive
that the boat could not fetch the high main land, determined to steer
southward for the islands, in the hope of procuring some rice from the
wreck of the ship Sydney Cove, to eke out his provisions. The wind,
however, became unfavourable to him, veering to E. S. E; so that with the
sea which drove the boat to leeward, the course to noon was scarcely so
good as S. S. W. The latitude observed was then 39 deg. 51'; and no land
being in sight, the prospect of reaching Furneaux's Islands became very
faint. At four o'clock an accident caused it to be totally given up:
water was observed to rush in fast through the boat's side, and made it
absolutely necessary to go upon the other tack. The latitude to which Mr.
Bass supposed himself arrived, was something to the south of 40 deg.; and the
weather was clear enough for land of moderate height to have been seen
five leagues further, had there been any within that distance.

The boat was then kept north-eastward, towards Furneaux's Land. At nine
in the evening, the wind blew hard at S. E. by E., accompanied by a
hollow, irregular sea, which put our enterprising discoverer and his
boat's crew into the greatest danger; but the good qualities of his
little bark, with careful steerage, carried him through this perilous
night. On the 3rd, at six o'clock the land was seen; and in the
afternoon, whilst standing in to look for a place of shelter, a smoke and
several people were observed upon a small island not far from the main
coast. On rowing up, they proved to be, not natives, to Mr. Bass' great
surprise, but Europeans. They were convicts who, with others, had run
away with a boat from Port Jackson, in the intention of plundering the
wreck of the Sydney Cove; and not being able to find it, their
companions, thinking their number too great, had treacherously left them
upon this island, whilst asleep. These people were seven in number; and
during the five weeks they had been on this desert spot, had subsisted on
petrels, to which a seal was occasionally added. Mr. Bass promised to
call at the island, on his return; and in the mean time, proceeded to the
west side of the high main land, where he anchored, but could not get on

Jan. 4. The wind being at north-east, he continued his course onward,
steering W. N. W. round an open bay; and afterwards N. W. by W., as the
coast generally trended. The shore consisted of long, shallow bights, in
which the land was low and sandy; but the intermediate rocky points were
generally steep, with a ridge of hills extending from them, into the
interior, as far as could be distinguished. In the evening an inlet was
discovered, with many shoals at the entrance; and the deep channel being
not found till a strong tide made it unattainable, Mr. Bass waited for
high water; he then entered a spacious harbour which, from its relative
position to the hitherto known parts of the coast, was named WESTERN
PORT. It lies, according to the boat's run, about sixty miles N. W. by W.
1/2 W. from Furneauxs Land; and its latitude is somewhere about 38 deg. 25'
south.* The time of high water is near _half an hour_ after the moon's
passage over the meridian, and the rise of tide from ten to fourteen

[* The true latitude of the east entrance into Western Port, is about 38 deg.
33' south.]

The examination of this new and important discovery, the repairs of the
boat, and the continuance of strong winds, kept Mr. Bass thirteen days in
Western Port. His sketch of it has since been superseded by the more
regular examination of ensign Barralier, copied into the chart, where its
form, situation, and extent will be best seen. The land upon its borders
is, generally, low and level; but the hills rise as they recede into the
country, and afford an agreeable prospect from the port. Wherever Mr.
Bass landed, he found the soil to be a light, brown mould, which becomes
peaty in the lowest grounds. Grass and ferns grow luxuriantly, and yet
the country is but thinly timbered. Patches of brush wood are frequent,
particularly on the eastern shore, where they are some miles in extent;
and there the soil is a rich, vegetable mould. The island (since called
_Phillip Island_) which shelters the port, is mostly barren, but is
covered with shrubs and some diminutive trees.

Mr. Bass had great difficulty in procuring good water, arising, as he
judged, from unusual dryness in the season; and the head of the winding
creek on the east side of the port, was the sole place where it had not a
brackish taste. The mud banks at the entrance of the creek may be passed
at half tide by the largest boats; and within it, there is at all times a
sufficient depth of water.

No more than four natives were seen, and their shyness prevented
communication; the borders of the port, however, bore marks of having
been much frequented, but the want of water seemed to have occasioned a
migration to the higher lands. Kangaroos did not appear to be numerous;
but black swans went by hundreds in a flight, and ducks, a small, but
excellent kind, by thousands; and the usual wild fowl were in abundance.

The seventh week of absence from Port Jackson had expired, by the time
Mr. Bass was ready to sail from Western Port; and the reduced state of
his provisions forced him, very reluctantly, to turn the boat's head

Jan. 18. At daylight, he sailed with a fresh wind at west, which
increased to a gale in the afternoon, with a heavy swell from the
south-west; and he sought shelter behind a cape since named _Cape
Liptrap_. Next morning, he ran over to the islands on the west side of
Furneaux's Land; but was obliged to return to his former place of
shelter, where a succession of gales kept him until the 26th. A quantity
of petrels had been taken on the islands, and this week of detention was
mostly employed in salting them for the homeward bound voyage.

At length, Mr. Bass was able to execute the project he had formed for the
seven convicts. It was impossible to take them all into the boat;
therefore to five, whom he set upon the main land, he gave a musket, half
his ammunition, some hooks and lines, a light cooking kettle, and
directions how to proceed in their course toward Port Jackson. The
remaining two, one of whom was old and the other diseased, he took into
the boat with the consent of the crew, who readily agreed to divide the
daily bannock into nine with them. He then bore away, with a fresh wind
at west, round Furneaux's Land.*

[* I have continued to make use of the term Furneaux's Land conformably
to Mr. Bass' journal; but the position of this land is so different from
that supposed to have been seen by captain Furneaux, that it cannot be
the same, as Mr. Bass was afterwards convinced. At our recommendation
governor Hunter called it WILSON'S PROMONTORY, in compliment to my friend
Thomas Wilson, Esq. of London.]

From Jan.26 to Feb. 1, Mr. Bass was detained by eastern gales from
proceeding on his return. The boat lay in _Sealers Cove_, whilst he
occupied the time in examining Wilson's Promontory. The height of this
vast cape, though not such as would be considered extraordinary by
seamen, is yet strikingly so from being contrasted with the low, sandy
land behind it; and the firmness and durability of its structure make it
worthy of being, what there was reason to believe it, the boundary point
of a large strait, and a corner stone to the new continent. It is a lofty
mass of hard granite, of about twenty miles long, by from six to fourteen
in breadth. The soil upon it is shallow and barren; though the brush
wood, dwarf gum trees, and some smaller vegetation, which mostly cover
the rocks, give it a deceitful appearance to the eye of a distant

Looking from the top of the promontory to the northward, there is seen a
single ridge of mountains, which comes down, out of the interior country,
in a southern direction for the promontory; but sloping off gradually to
a termination, it leaves a space of twelve or sixteen miles of low, sandy
land between them. This low land is nearly intersected by a considerable
lagoon on the west, and a large shoal bay, named _Corner Inlet_, on the
east side; and it seemed probable, that this insulated mass of granite
has been entirely surrounded by the sea at no very distant period of

There were no inhabitants on Wilson's Promontory; but, upon the sandy
neck, some were seen near the borders of the inlets. The few birds were
thought to have a sweeter note than those of Port Jackson.

Four small, barren islands lie seven or eight miles to the northeast,
from Sealers Cove. The northernmost of them was visited, and found to be
about one mile and a half in circuit, ascending gradually from the shore,
to a hill of moderate elevation in the centre. There was neither tree nor
shrub upon it; but the surface was mostly covered with tufts of coarse
grass, amongst which the seals had every where made paths and the petrels
their burrows. Mr. Bass was of opinion, that upon these islands, and
those lying scattered round the promontory, which are all more or less
frequented by seals, a commercial speculation on a small scale might be
made with advantage. The place of shelter for the vessel would be Sealers
Cove, on the main land; which, though small, and apparently exposed to
east winds, would be found convenient and tolerably secure: fresh water
is there abundant, and a sufficiency of wood at hand to boil down any
quantity of blubber likely to be procured.

The observed latitude of the cove was 38 deg. 50';* and the rise of tide
found to be ten or eleven feet, _ten hours and a quarter after_ the moon
passed over the meridian. The flood, after sweeping south-westward along
the great eastern beach, strikes off for the Seal Islands and the
promontory, and then runs westward, past it, at the rate of two or three
miles an hour: the ebb tide sets to the eastward. "Whenever it shall be
decided," says Mr. Bass in his journal, "that the opening between this
and Van Diemen's Land is a strait, this rapidity of tide, and the long
south-west swell that seems to be continually rolling in upon the coast
to the westward, will then be accounted for."

[* This appears to be from 10' to 15' too little: an error which probably
arose from the same cause as others before noticed.]

Feb. 2., Mr. Bass sailed to Corner Inlet; and next day fell in with the
five convicts, whom he put across to the long beach.* but was himself
unable to proceed until the 9th, in consequence of foul winds. Corner
Inlet is little else than a large flat, the greater part of it being dry
at low water. There is a long shoal on the outside of the entrance, which
is to be avoided by keeping close to the shore of the promontory; but
when the tide is out the depth, except in holes, no where exceeds 21/2
fathoms. A vessel drawing twelve or thirteen feet may lie safely under
the high land, from which there are some large runs of most excellent
water. The tide rises a foot less here than in Sealers Cove, and flows an
hour later; arising, probably, from the flood leaving it in an eddy, by
setting past, and not into the inlet.

[* Nothing more had been beard of these five men., so late as 1803.]

Feb. 9, Corner Inlet was quitted with a strong south-west wind, and Mr.
Bass steered E. by N. along the shore. At the distance of five miles, he
passed the mouth of a shallow opening in the low sandy beach, from which
a half-moon shoal stretches three miles to the south-eastward. Four or
five miles further, a lesser opening of the same kind was passed; and by
noon, when the latitude was 38 deg. 34' (probably 38 deg. 46'), he had arrived at
the point of the long beach, which in going out, had been quitted to
steer for the promontory. His general course from thence was N. E. by E.
along the shore, until nine o'clock, when judging the coast must begin to
trend more eastwardly, he again steered E. b. N.; the wind blowing a
fresh gale at W. S. W., with a following sea. At daylight, Feb. 10, the
beach was distant two miles, and trending parallel to the boat's course.

The western gale died away in the morning, and was succeeded by one from
the eastward. The boat was in no condition to struggle against a foul
wind; and Mr. Bass, being unwilling to return to Corner Inlet, ventured
through a heavy surf and took refuge upon the beach; having first
observed the latitude to be 37 deg. 47' south.

The country at the back of the beach consisted of dried-up swamps and
barren sand hills. Some natives came down with very little hesitation,
and conducted themselves amicably: they appeared never to have seen or
heard of white people before.

(Atlas, Plate VIII.)

Feb. 11. the foul wind had ceased to blow, and the clouds threatened
another gale from the south-west. So soon as there was sufficient
daylight, the boat was launched, and at four the same afternoon anchored
under the Rain Head. Mr. Bass was kept there till the 14th in the
evening; when a strong breeze sprung up suddenly at south-west, and he
sailed immediately, passing Cape Howe at ten o'clock. By noon of the
15th, he had reached Two-fold Bay, where the latitude was observed to be
36 deg. 53' south;* and having ascertained that _Snug Cove_, on its
north-west side, afforded shelter for shipping, he steered northward, and
passed Mount Dromedary soon after midnight. At noon, Feb. 16, Mr. Bass
landed upon a small island lying under the shore to the south-east of the
Pigeon House, to examine a pole which he had before observed, and
supposed might have been set up as a signal by shipwrecked people; but it
proved to be nothing more than the dead stump of a tree, much taller and
more straight than the others. He sailed next morning; but the wind hung
so much in the north and east quarters that he was forced successively
into Jervis Bay, Shoals Haven, and Port Hacking; and it was not until the
24th at night, that our adventurous discoverer terminated his dangerous
and fatiguing voyage, by entering within the heads of Port Jackson.

[* The true latitude of the mouth of Two-fold Bay is 37 deg. 5', showing an
error of 12' to the north, nearly similar to what has been specified in
the observations near Wilson's Promontory.]

It should be remembered, that Mr. Bass sailed with only six weeks
provisions; but with the assistance of occasional supplies of petrels,
fish, seal's flesh, and a few geese and black swans, and by abstinence,
he had been enabled to prolong his voyage beyond _eleven_ weeks. His
ardour and perseverance were crowned, in despite of the foul winds which
so much opposed him, with a degree of success not to have been
anticipated from such feeble means. In three hundred miles of coast, from
Port Jackson to the Ram Head, he added a number of particulars which had
escaped captain Cook; and will always escape any navigator in a first
discovery, unless he have the time and means of joining a close
examination by boats, to what may be seen from the ship.

Our previous knowledge of the coast scarcely extended beyond the Ram
Head; and there began the harvest in which Mr. Bass was ambitious to
place the first reaping hook. The new coast was traced three hundred
miles; and instead of trending southward to join itself to Van Diemen's
Land, as captain Furneaux had supposed, he found it, beyond a certain
point, to take a direction nearly opposite, and to assume the appearance
of being exposed to the buffetings of an open sea. Mr. Bass, himself,
entertained no doubt of the existence of a wide strait, separating Van
Diemen's Land from New South Wales; and he yielded with the greatest
reluctance to the necessity of returning, before it was so fully
ascertained as to admit of no doubt in the minds of others. But he had
the satisfaction of placing at the end of his new coast, an extensive and
useful harbour, surrounded with a country superior to any other known in
the southern parts of New South Wales.

A voyage _expressly_ undertaken for discovery in an open boat, and in
which six hundred miles of coast, mostly in a boisterous climate, was
explored, has not, perhaps, its equal in the annals of maritime history.
The public will award to its high spirited and able conductor, alas! now
no more, an honourable place in the list of those whose ardour stands
most conspicuous for the promotion of useful knowledge.


During the time that Mr. Bass was absent on his expedition in the whale
boat, the _Francis_ schooner was again sent with captain Hamilton to the
wreck of his ship the Sydney Cove; to bring up what remained of the cargo
at Preservation Island, and the few people who were left in charge. On
this occasion I was happy enough to obtain governor Hunter's permission
to embark in the schooner; in order to make such observations serviceable
to geography and navigation, as circumstances might afford; and Mr. Reed,
the master, was directed to forward these views as far as was consistent
with the main objects of his voyage.

(Atlas. Plate VIII.)

Feb. 1, we sailed out of Port Jackson with a fair wind; and on the
following noon, the observed latitude was 35 deg. 42', being 14' south of
account. I prevailed on Mr. Reed to stand in for the land, which was then
visible through the haze; and at sunset, we reached into Bateman Bay.*
When the two rocky islets in the middle of the bay bore S. by W. 1/4 W., a
short mile, we had 8 fathoms water, and 6 fathoms a mile further in. The
north head is steep with a rock lying off it; but Bateman Bay falls back
too little from the line of the coast to afford shelter against winds
from the eastward. The margin of the bay is mostly a beach, behind which
lie sandy, rocky hills of moderate elevation.

[* The bearings in the following account are corrected, as usual, for the
variation; but I am sorry to say that the steering compasses of the
schooner proved to be bad, and there was no azimuth compass on board.]

In the morning of the 3rd, we steered S. by W. along the shore; and saw,
in latitude about 35* 58', and eight or nine miles from the south point
of Bateman Bay, a small opening like a river running south-westward. It
was here that Mr. Bass found a lagoon, with extensive salt swamps behind
it, and observed the latitude 36 deg. 00'. At noon, the east point of the
opening bore N. 1/4 W. seven miles, and the top of Mount Dromedary was
visible above the haze; but no observation could be taken for the

Soon after noon, land was in sight to the S. S. E., supposed to be the
Point Dromedary of captain Cook's chart; but, to my surprise, it proved
to be an island not laid down, though lying near two leagues from the
coast. The whole length of this island is about one mile and a quarter,
north and south; the two ends are a little elevated, and produce small
trees; but the sea appeared to break occasionally over the middle part.
It is probably frequented by seals, since many were seen in the water
whilst passing at the distance of two miles. This little island, I was
afterwards informed, had been seen in the ship Surprise, and honoured
with the name of _Montague_.

When captain Cook passed this part of the coast his distance from it was
five leagues, and too great for its form to be accurately distinguished.
There is little doubt that Montague Island was then seen, and mistaken
for a point running out from under Mount Dromedary; for its distance from
the mount, and bearing of about N. 75 deg. E., will place it in 36 deg. 17', or
within one minute of the latitude assigned to the point in captain Cook's

(Atlas Pl. VI.)

At six in the evening, Mount Dromedary was set at N. 40 deg. W. five leagues.
We steered S. S. W. until two in the morning, when the land was so near
as made it necessary to alter the course; and at daybreak of the 4th, the
shore was not more than three miles distant; it was moderately high and
rocky, and at the back were many hummocky hills. Having been much upon
deck in the night, I then retired to rest; and in the mean time, the
schooner passed Mr. Bass's _Two-fold Bay_ without its being noticed. At
nine we came abreast of a smooth, sloping point which, from its
appearance, and being unnoticed in captain Cook's chart, I named GREEN
CAPE. The shore, for about seven miles to the northward, lies N. 16 deg. W.,
and is rocky and nearly straight, and well covered with wood: the Cape
itself is grassy. On the south side, the coast trends west, three or four
miles, into a sandy bight, and then southward to Cape Howe.

The latitude at noon was 37 deg. 25', giving a current of twenty miles to the
south, in two days; Green Cape bore N. by E. four leagues, and Cape Howe
S. by W. five or six miles. Captain Cook lays down the last in 37 deg. 26',
in his chart; but the above observation places it in 37 deg. 301/2', which I
afterwards found to agree with an observation of Mr. Bass, taken on the
west side of the cape. The shore abreast of the schooner was between one
and two miles distant; it was mostly beach, lying at the feet of sandy
hillocks which extend from behind Green Cape to the pitch of Cape Howe.
There were several fires upon the shore; and near one of them, upon an
eminence, stood seven natives, silently contemplating the schooner as she

On coming abreast of Cape Howe, the wind chopped round to the south-west,
and the dark clouds which settled over the land concealed it from our
view; we observed, however, that it trended to the west, but sought in
vain for the small island mentioned by captain Cook as lying close off
the Cape.*

[* Hawkesworth, Vol. III. p. 80. Mr. Bass sailed close round the cape in
his whale boat, but did not ace any island lying there.]

Our latitude was 38 deg. 30' next day, or 38' south of account, although the
wind had been. and was still from that direction. Mr. Reed then steered
W. by N., to get in again with the coast; and on the following noon, we
were in 38 deg. 16' and, by account, 22' of longitude to the west of Point
Hicks. The schooner was kept more northward in the afternoon; at four
o'clock a moderately high, sloping hill was visible in the N. by W., and
at seven a small rocky point on the beach bore N. 50 deg. W. three or four
leagues. The shore extended E. N. E. and W. S. W., and was low and sandy
in front; but at some miles distance inland, there was a range of hills
with wood upon them, though scarcely sufficient to hide their sandy

At five in the morning of the 7th, the rocky point bore N. E. 1/2 N. six or
seven miles, and the furthest visible part of the beach W. 1/2 S. The
southern wind had died away in the night; and a breeze springing up at N.
E. by E., we steered before it along the same low, sandy shore as seen in
the evening. The hills which arose at three or four leagues behind the
beach, appeared to retire further back as we advanced westward; they
would, however, be visible to a ship in fine weather, long before the
front land could be seen.

The observed latitude at noon was 38 deg. 17' south, and by two sets of
distances of the sun east of the moon, reduced up from the morning, the
longitude was 147 deg. 37' east.* The beach was six or seven miles distant,
but after obtaining the noon's observation, we closed more in; and at two
or three miles off, found a sandy bottom with 11 fathoms fathoms of line.
Our course along the shore from two to four o'clock, was S. W. 3/4 S., with
a current in our favour. The beach then trended more to the west; but the
breeze having veered to E. by N. and become strong, with much sea, it was
considered too dangerous to follow it any longer. At five, the western
and most considerable of two shallow-looking openings bore north-west,
seven or eight miles; and at sunset, some high and remarkable land was
perceived bearing S. W. by W., which proved to be the same discovered by
Mr. Bass, and now bearing the name of _Wilson's Promontory_. It appeared,
from a partial view given by a break in the clouds, as if cut in two, and
the parts had been removed to some distance from each other: the gap was
probably Sealers Cove.

[* It was 147 deg. 10'; but as I afterwards found that observations of the
sun to the east gave 27' less, by this small five inch sextant, and those
to the west 27' greater than the mean of both, that correction is here
applied; but not any which might be required from errors in the solar or
lunar tables.]

The state of the weather, and the land to leeward, made it necessary to
haul up south-eastward, close upon a wind. At day-break of the 8th,
neither Wilson's Promontory nor any other land to the northward could be
seen; but between the bearings of N. 84 deg. and S. 63 deg. E., six or eight
miles distant, there was land rather high and irregular, with a cliffy
shore; and a separate cluster of rocky islets bore south to S. 16 deg. W.,
from three to five miles. We passed close to these last, at six o'clock,
and perceived that the tide, which before had set to leeward, was then
turned to the east: the moon had just before passed the meridian.

This small cluster consists of a steep island, near one mile in length,
of two smaller round islets, and two or three rocks; one of which
obtained the name of _Judgment Rock_, from its resemblance to an elevated
seat. The higher and more considerable land to the eastward was seen, as
we advanced, to divide itself also into several parts. This group is
principally composed of three islands; and between the largest on the
east and two others on the west, there appeared to be a deep channel. The
other parts are rocks, which lie scattered mostly off the north-western
island. These two clusters were called KENT'S GROUPS, in honour of my
friend captain William Kent, then commander of the Supply.

Our latitude at noon was 39 deg. 38'; the steep island of the small group
bore N. 50 deg. W., and the passage through the larger islands N. 12 deg. E.,
six or eight miles. This observation places the centre of the passage and
of the large group, in about 39 deg. 29' south; and from the lunar
observations of the preceding day, brought on by log, (for unfortunately
I had no time keeper,) it should lie in longitude 147 deg. 25' east. It is,
however, to be observed, that a fortuitous compensation of errors can
alone render a dead reckoning correct in the way of such tides as we had
experienced during the last twenty-four hours.*

[* The longitude of the large group, as given by my time keepers in a
future voyage, is 147 deg. 17'.]

By keeping the wind to the southward, we came up with a pyramidal-shaped
rock through which there is a chasm: it bore W. 8 deg. S. one mile, at four
o'clock, when the eastern island of Kents large group was set at N. 17 deg.
E, five or six leagues. At six, the pyramid bore N. 38 deg. W. five miles,
and high land came in sight to the eastward: one piece extended from N.
75 deg. to S. 87 deg. E., apparently about five leagues distant, and the bluff,
southern end of another range of hills bore S. 51 deg. E., something further.
Captain Hamilton supposed these to be parts of the land he had seen to
the north-west of Preservation Island, where the wreck of his ship was
lying; but whether they might belong to Furneaux's Islands or to the
main, was unknown to him. He had always gone to, and returned from his
island by the east side of this land; and the wind having veered
northward, the schooner was kept as much to the north-east as possible,
in order to pursue the same track.

We came up with a low point or island at eleven at night, when the wind
died away. At six in the morning of Feb. 9., the northern land extended
from N. 49 deg. E. three leagues, to S. 47 deg. E. four or five miles; the
southern land bore S. 24 deg. to 2 deg. E. five or six leagues, and seemed to
form a hilly, separate island; although, as low land was seen between
them, the two may probably be connected: there was also a cliffy island
bearing north, seven or eight miles. On a breeze springing up from
south-west, our course was steered to pass close round the northern land;
but finding much rippling water between it and two islands called the
_Sisters_ by captain Furneaux, we passed round them also, and then hauled
to the southward along the eastern shore.

This northern land, or island as it proved to be, has some ridges of
sandy-looking hills extending north and south between the two shores; and
they are sufficiently high to be visible ten leagues from a ship's deck
in clear weather. On the west side of the north point, the hills come
nearly down to the water; but on the east side, there is two or three
miles of flat land between their feet and the shore. The small trees and
brush wood which partly covered the hills, seemed to shoot out from sand
and rock; and if the vallies and low land within be not better than what
appeared from the sea, the northern part of this great island is sterile
indeed. The Sisters are not so high as some of the hills on the great
island, and are less sandy: the small, cliffy island, which lies eight or
nine miles, nearly west, from the inner Sister, had no appearance of

Whilst passing round the north end of Furneaux's Islands, I experienced
how little dependence was to be put in compass bearings, in such, at
least, as were taken with my best instrument, the steering compass of the
schooner. The south extreme of the inner Sister shut on with the
north-west point of the great island at E. 3/4 S., magnetic bearing; but
after passing round, they shut, on the other side, at W. by N. 1/4 N.; so
that, to produce an agreement, it was necessary to allow half a point
more east variation on the first, when the schooner's head was N. by W.,
than on the last, when it was S. S. E. In a second instance, the north
end of the outer Sister opened from the inner one at N. E. 1/2 N.; but they
came on again at S. W. 1/2 W., making a difference of a whole point, when
the head was N. by W. and E. S. E. These bearings were probably not
correct within two or three degrees; but they showed that a change in the
course steered produced an alteration in the compass.

The observed latitude at noon was 39 deg. 50 1/3', the centre of the outer
Sister bore N. 34 deg. W., nearly five leagues, and our distance from the
sandy, eastern shore of the great island was about six miles. At two,
o'clock, we came up with an island of three miles in length, and nearly
the same space distant from a sandy projection of the great island. The
passage between them is much contracted by shoal spits of sand which run
out from each side; and it seemed doubtful, whether the water were deep
enough in any part of the channel to admit a ship. The form of the land
here is somewhat remarkable: upon the low projection of the great island
there are three pyramidal hills, which obtained the name of the
_Patriarchs_, and stand apart from the more western high land; and upon
the south-west end of the island opposite there is also a pyramid, which,
with other hills near it, presents some resemblance to the Lion's Head
and Rump at the Cape of Good Hope. This island and two rocky islets lying
off its south-east end were afterwards called the _Babel Isles_. The
largest is covered with tufted grass and brush wood; and the whole
appeared to be much frequented by shags, sooty petrels, and other sea

We had scarcely passed the Babel Isles, when the wind, which had been at
W. by S., chopped round to the southward, with squally weather, and drove
the schooner off to the north-east. In the night, it became less
unfavourable; and at noon of the 10th, our latitude was 40 deg. 31/2'; the
isles bore N. 78 deg. W., three or four leagues, and the high land of _Cape
Barren_ S. 13 deg. to 34 deg. W. Having a fair wind in the afternoon, we passed
along the outskirts of the Bay of Shoals, without perceiving any
breakers; but in the space between the great island and the land of Cape
Barren there were many rocks, and a low island of three or four miles
long, with a hill in the middle, lay at the entrance of the opening.

The high part of Cape-Barren Island, but particularly the peak, may be
seen eleven, and perhaps more leagues from a ship's deck. The extremity
of the cape is a low point, which runs out two miles east from the high
land; and off this point lies a flat, rocky islet and a peaked rock. The
shore is sandy on each side of the Cape point: it trends N. 40 deg. W., for
about five miles, on one side, and S. 49 deg. W., past two sandy bights on
the other, to a rocky projection on which are two whitish _cones_, shaped
like rhinoceros' horns.

We steered south-westward, in the evening, round the Cape point, and were
sufficiently close to hear the bellowing of the seals upon the islet.
Arrived off _Cone Point_, the schooner was hauled offshore; and the wind
becoming strong and unfavourable in the night, it was not until the
evening of the 12th, that we got to anchor in _Hamilton's Road_, at the
east end of Preservation Island. This road is sheltered from all winds,
except between south and S. S. E.; and these do not throw in much sea:
the bottom is good-holding sand, in from 4 to 3 fathoms, at a quarter of
a mile from the beach.

The ship Sydney Cove had been run on shore between Preservation and Rum
Islands, and part of her hull was still lying there; but the sea thrown
in by western gales had, in great measure, broken her up, and scattered
the beams, timbers, and parts of the cargo, upon all the neighbouring

My purpose of making an expedition amongst the islands was delayed by the
schooner's boat being out of repair; but in the mean time, a base line
was measured round the sandy north-east end of Preservation Island, and
angles taken from all the conspicuous points.

Feb. 16. The boat was fitted, and I made an excursion of five days,
through the channel which separates the land of Cape Barren from the more
southern islands. It is called ARMSTRONG'S CHANNEL, from the master of
the Supply, who had gone to afford assistance in saving the cargo of the
Sydney Cove, and was the first to pass through it on his return towards
Port Jackson; but he never arrived there, having, in all probability,
perished at sea with his sloop and crew. The stations whence angles were
taken for a survey of the channel and surrounding lands, were--1st.
_Point Womat_, a rocky projection of Cape-Barren Island, where a number
of the new animals, called _womat_, were seen, and some killed. 2nd.
_Battery Island_; so named from four rocks upon it, resembling mounted
guns; sooty petrels, and large hair seals were found there. 3rd. The
sandy north-east point of Clarke's Island; which, with the opposite
_Sloping Point_, forms the narrowest part of the channel. Its width was
found to be three-quarters of a mile, but is somewhat contracted by rocks
lying on the south side. These rocks were also frequented by hair seals,
and some of them (the old males) were of an enormous size, and of
extraordinary power. I levelled my gun at one, which was sitting on the
top of a rock with his nose extended up towards the sun, and struck him
with three musket balls. He rolled over, and plunged into the water; but
in less than half an hour had taken his former station and attitude. On
firing again, a stream of blood spouted forth from his breast to some
yards distance, and he fell back, senseless. On examination, the six
balls were found lodged in his breast; and one, which occasioned his
death, had pierced the heart: his weight was equal to that of a common

The 4th station was on Sloping Point, where an aculeated ant-eater was
caught, and some quartz crystals were picked up from the shore. 5th, At
the east side of _Kent's Bay_, under the peak of Cape Barren. This peak I
wished to ascend, in order to obtain a view of the surrounding lands,
particularly of an extensive piece to the southward, which, from the
smokes continually seen there, was supposed to be a part of Van Diemen's
Land; but the almost impenetrable brush wood, with which the sides of the
peak and surrounding hills were covered, defeated my purpose.

The 6th station was at _Passage Point_. The 7th, on Cone Point, where the
number of seals exceeded every thing we had, any of us, before witnessed;
and they were smaller, and of a different species from those which
frequented Armstrong's Channel. Instead of the bull-dog nose, and
thinly-set, sandy hair, these had sharp-pointed noses, and the general
colour of the hair approached to a black; but the tips were of a silver
grey, and underneath was a fine, whitish, thick fur. The commotion
excited by our presence, in this assemblage of several thousand timid
animals, was very interesting to me, who knew little of their manners.
The young cubs huddled together in the holes of the rocks, and moaned
piteously; those more advanced scampered and rolled down to the water,
with their mothers; whilst some of the old males stood up in defence of
their families, until the terror of the sailors bludgeons became too
strong to be resisted. Those who have seen a farm yard, well stocked with
pigs, calves, sheep, oxen, and with two or three litters of puppies, with
their mothers, in it, and have heard them all in tumult together, may
form a good idea of the confused noise of the seals at Cone Point. The
sailors killed as many of these harmless, and not unamiable creatures, as
they were able to skin during the time necessary for me to take the
requisite angles; and we then left the poor affrighted multitude to
recover from the effect of our inauspicious visit.

My 8th station was taken, in returning to the schooner, upon the south
end of the eastern _Passage Isle_; 9th, the south-west end of the western
Passage Isle; and 10th, the south-east point of Clarke's Island. The 11th
and last station was at _Look-out Head_, the bearings from which included
some parts of the southern land, between the extremes of S. 20 deg. 20' E.
and S. 59 deg. 35' W. At these different stations, the needle of the
theodolite was sometimes found to vary one or two degrees from itself, as
it had done at Preservation Island; an effect which I attribute to the
attraction of the rocks, having since experienced the same, and even
greater, differences in most places where the rocks, as here, are

In the wider parts of Armstrong's Channel there are many shoals of sand
on each side, but a passage of sufficient width and depth is swept out by
the tides, for ships to go through in safety. The bottom is either rocky
or sandy: rocky in the deep and narrow parts, where the tides run three
or four miles in an hour; and sandy in the bights and shoaler places. The
sand of the beaches is mostly granitic, but it sometimes consists of
black metallic particles, such as are found in the stone of the islands.

It was not until Feb. 25 that the remains of the Sydney-Cove's cargo were
all on board, and that a favourable change in the wind permitted us to
sail for Port Jackson. These four days of detention enabled me to
continue the survey along the south side of Preservation Island, and as
far as the _Bay of Rocks_ upon that of Cape Barren. A meridian altitude
from the south horizon, observed under more favourable circumstances than
two others before taken, gave 40 deg. 28' for the latitude of Hamilton's
Road. The longitude is 19' 20" west of Cape Barren; and therefore should
be 148 deg. 6' east of Greenwich. It is high water in the road, according to
Mr. Hamilton's report, _half an hour before_ the moon passes over the
meridian; but from what I observed, without paying particular attention
to it, the tide did not appear to flow so late by an hour: the medium
rise was about seven feet, as at Port Jackson.

Well tasted fresh water is collected, at certain seasons, in small pools
near the east end of Preservation Island; but that which drains from the
rocks was first used by the Sydney-Cove's crew, until several of them
died. Small runs or pools of water are to be found almost every where
under the high parts of Cape-Barren Island, and it is probable there may
be some upon Clarke's Island; but at the Passage Isles we found it
difficult to obtain wherewithal to satisfy our thirst.

The stone of which the southern, and probably the whole of Furneaux's
Islands are composed, is mostly a whitish granite, but sometimes
inclining to red; and is full of small, black specks. Quartz seems to
have a more than usual share in its composition, and we occasionally
found crystals of that substance upon the shores. The black specks were
thought to be grains of tin, and to have communicated a deleterious
quality to the water used by the shipwrecked people. The exceptions to
the general prevalence of granite were few: they consisted of some black,
and some grey slate, in thin _strata_, placed nearly perpendicular to the
horizon; but even here, the granite had pervaded the fissures of the
_strata_; and, in two instances, a substance which, from its appearance,
I supposed to be a toad stone, had insinuated itself.

Some of the trees on Preservation Island had partly undergone a peculiar
transformation. The largest of them were not thicker than a man's leg,
and the whole were decayed; but whilst the upper branches continued to be
of wood, the roots at the surface, and the trunks up to a certain height,
were of a stony substance resembling chalk. On breaking these chalky
trunks, which was easily done, rings of the brown wood sometimes appeared
in them, as if imperfectly converted; but in the greater number, nothing
more than circular traces remained. The situation in which these trees
were principally found, is a sandy valley near the middle of the island,
which was likewise remarkable for the quantity of bones of birds and
small quadrupeds, with which it was strewed. The petrefactions were
afterwards more particularly examined by Mr. Bass, who adopted the
opinion that they had been caused by water.

Upon Cape-Barren Island the hills rise to a considerable height, that of
the peak, which does not much exceed some others, being near twelve
hundred feet; but on the smaller islands there is no elevation of
importance. The upper parts of all are generally crowned with huge lumps
of granite; and upon many of these, particularly on Rum Island, is a
smaller, unconnected, round lump, which rests in a hollow at the top, as
a cup in its saucer; and I observed with a glass, that there was a stone
of this kind at the summit of the peak of Cape Barren. The lower parts of
the islands are commonly sandy; and, in several places under the hills,
swamps and pools are formed. The water in these is generally tinged red;
and in one, situate between Passage and Cone Points, it had so much the
appearance of blood, that I went to taste it; but, except being a little
brackish, found nothing remarkable. Whether the water become thus tinged,
in its course down the hills, by earthy or metallic substances, or
acquire its colour from the roots and leaves of vegetables, I am unable
to decide; but think the former most probable.

All the islands are over-run with brush wood, amongst which, in the more
sheltered and less barren parts, are mixed a few stunted trees, which
seem to shed their bark annually, and to be of the heavy kind called gum
tree at Port Jackson. The brush wood overspreads even the rocks where it
can get the least hold; it is commonly impenetrable, and on the south and
west sides of the islands assumes a depressed, creeping form, strongly
indicative of the strength and generality of the winds from those
quarters. Many of the sandy parts are covered with the hassocks of wiry
grass, which constitute the favourite retreat of the sooty petrel; and at
the back of the shores, there is frequently some extent of ground where
the creeping, salt plants grow, and to which the penguins principally
resort. To this general account of the scanty vegetable productions of
Furneaux's Islands, may be added several low shrubs, and a grass which
grows on the moist grounds near the borders of the pools and fresh
swamps, and which, though coarse, might serve as food for cattle.

Of the animal productions of the islands, the list is somewhat more
extensive. Those for which they are indebted to the sea, are seals of two
kinds, sooty petrels, and penguins. The hair seal appears to frequent the
sheltered beaches, points, and rocks; whilst the rocks and rocky points
exposed to the buffettings of the waves are preferred by the handsomer
and superior species, which never condescends to the effeminacy of a
beach. A point or island will not be greatly resorted to by these
animals, unless it slope gradually to the water, and the shore be, as we
term it, steep to. This is the case with the islet lying off Cape Barren,
and with Cone Point; with parts of the Passage Isles, and the south end
of Clarke's Island; and at these places only, did I see fur seals in any

The sooty petrel, better known at sea under the name of _sheerwater_,
frequents the tufted, grassy parts of all the islands in astonishing
numbers. It is known that these birds make burrows in the ground, like
rabbits; that they lay one or two enormous eggs in these holes, and bring
up their young there. In the evening, they come in from sea, having their
stomachs filled with a gelatinous substance gathered from the waves; and
this they eject into the throats of their offspring, or retain for their
own nourishment, according to circumstances. A little after sunset, the
air at Preservation Island used to be darkened with their numbers; and it
was generally an hour before their squabblings ceased, and every one had
found its own retreat. The people of the Sydney Cove had a strong example
of perseverance in these birds. The tents were pitched close to a piece
of ground full of their burrows, many of which were necessarily filled up
from walking constantly over them; yet, notwithstanding this
interruption, and the thousands of birds destroyed, for they constituted
a great part of their food during more than six months, the returning
flights continued to be as numerous as before; and there was scarcely a
burrow less, except in the spaces actually covered by the tents. These
birds are about the size of a pigeon, and when skinned and dried in smoke
we thought them passable food. Any quantity could be procured, by sending
people on shore in the evening. The sole process was to thrust in the arm
up to the shoulder, and seize them briskly; but there was some danger of
grasping a snake at the bottom of the burrow, instead of a petrel.

The penguin of these islands is of the kind denominated _little_; the
back and upper parts are of a lead-coloured blue; the fore and under
parts, white. They were generally found sitting on the rocks, in the day
time, or in caverns near the water side. They burrow in the same manner
as the sooty petrel; but, except in the time of rearing their young, do
not seem, like it, to return to their holes every night. The places
preferred for breeding are those at the back of the shore, where the sand
is overspread with salt plants; and they were never found intermixed with
the petrels, nor far from the salt water. Their flesh is so strong and
fishy, that had not the skins served to make caps, rather handsome, and
impenetrable to rain, the penguins would have escaped molestation.

No other quadrupeds than the kangaroo, womat, and duck-billed aculeated
ant-eater were found upon the islands. The kangaroo, is of a reddish
brown, and resembles the smaller species which frequents the brush woods
at Port Jackson: when full grown, it weighs from forty to fifty pounds.
There were no traces of it upon the Passage Isles; but, upon Cape-Barren
and Clarke's Islands, the kangaroo, was tolerably abundant, though
difficult to be procured, owing to the thickness of its retreats. There
were also numbers on Preservation Island, when the Sydney Cove was first
run on shore; but having been much harassed and destroyed, a few only
were shot during the time of our stay.

Clarke's Island afforded the first specimen of the new animal, called
_womat_; but I found it more numerous upon that of Cape Barren:
Preservation and the Passage Isles do not possess it. This little
bear-like quadruped is known in New South Wales, and called by the
natives _womat_, _wombat_, or _womback_, according to the different
dialects, or perhaps to the different rendering of the wood rangers who
brought the information. It burrows like the badger, and on the Continent
does not quit its retreat till dark; but it feeds at all times on the
uninhabited islands, and was commonly seen foraging amongst the sea
refuse on the shore, though the coarse grass seemed to be its usual
nourishment. It is easily caught when at a distance from its burrow; its
flesh resembles lean mutton in taste, and to us was acceptable food.
Another species of this animal has been discovered in New South Wales,
which lives in the tops of the trees and, in manners, bears much
resemblance to the sloth.

The aculeated ant-eater was not found on any other of the islands than
that of Cape Barren: it is exceedingly fat, the flesh has a somewhat
aromatic taste, and was thought delicious.

Of the birds which frequent Furneaux's Islands, the most valuable are the
goose and black swan; but this last is rarely seen here, even in the
freshwater pools, and except to breed, seems never to go on shore. The
goose approaches nearest to the description of the species called
_bernacle_; it feeds upon grass, and seldom takes to the water. I found
this bird in considerable numbers on the smaller isles, but principally
upon Preservation Island; its usual weight was from seven to ten pounds,
and it formed our best repasts, but had become shy. Gannets, shags,
gulls, and red-bills were occasionally seen; as also crows, hawks,
paroquets, and a few smaller birds. Fish were not plentiful, but some
were taken with hook and line from the rocks.

Speckled yellow snakes, of three or four feet in length, were found upon
Preservation Island, and exist, no doubt, upon the larger isles. They
sometimes get into the burrows of the sooty petrel, and probably destroy
the young. I saw one dragged out by a sailor who expected to have taken a
bird; but, being quick in his movements, he was not bitten. These snakes
possess the venomous fangs; but no person experienced the degree of
virulence in their poison.

The schooner was ready to sail on Feb. 25; and the wind from the westward
being fresh and favourable, we left Hamilton's Road to return to Port
Jackson. It was still a matter of doubt whether the land to the south of
the islands were, or were not, a part of Van Diemen's Land; and I
therefore requested of Mr. Reed to make a stretch that way. At noon our
latitude was 40 deg. 44 2/3', and the peak of Cape Barren bore N. 13 deg. E.; an
island which had been visited by the Sydney-Cove's people, and was
represented to be a breeding place for swans, bore from N. 68 deg. W. to
west, five or six miles, and there were some smaller islets behind it.
The land lying two or three miles more to the south is sandy and low in
front, but ascends in gently rising hills as it retreats into the
country. Its general appearance was very different from that of
Furneaux's Islands, the lower hills being covered with green grass,
interspersed with clumps of wood, and the back land well clothed with
timber trees.

We stretched on until the land was seen beyond 40 deg. 50'; and then veered
to the northward. In this latitude, captain Furneaux says, "the land
trenches away to the westward;" * and as he traced the coast from the
south end of the country to this part, there could no longer be a doubt
that it was joined to the land discovered by Tasman in 1642. The smokes
which had constantly been seen rising from it showed that there were
inhabitants; and this, combined with the circumstance of there being none
upon the islands, seemed to argue a junction of Van Diemen's Land with
New South Wales; for it was difficult to suppose, that men should have
reached the more distant land, and not have attained the islands
intermediately situated; nor was it admissible that, having reached them,
they had perished for want of food. On the other hand, the great strength
of the tides setting westward, past the islands, could only be caused by
some exceedingly deep inlet, or by a passage through to the southern
Indian Ocean. These contradictory circumstances were very embarrassing;
and the schooner not being placed at my disposal, I was obliged, to my
great regret, to leave this important geographical question undecided.

[* _Cook's Second Voyage_, Vol. I. page 114.]

At the time we veered to the northward, the coast of Van Diemen's Land
was about three miles distant, and the furthest extreme, a low point,
bore S. 15 deg. E. two or three leagues. On repassing Cape-Barren Point at
four o'clock. I obtained two sets of distances of the sun west of the
moon, to pair with others of the sun on the east side, taken on the 10th,
also within sight of the Cape. The mean result, freed from the errors of
the tables, gave its longitude 148 deg. 20' E; being 14' more than is
assigned to it by captain Furneaux, but 51/2' less than what appears to be
its real situation.

Nothing worthy of notice occurred in our passage back to Port Jackson: we
made Hat Hill on March 7, and on the 9th, anchored in Sydney Cove.

Mr. Bass had been returned a fortnight from his expedition in the whale
boat; and he communicated all his notes and observations to be added to
my chart. There seemed to want no other proof of the existence of a
passage between New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, than that of
sailing positively through it; but however anxious I was to obtain this
proof, the gratification of my desire was required to be suspended by a
voyage to Norfolk Island in the Reliance.

FLINDERS and BASS. 1798.

In September following, His Excellency Governor Hunter had the goodness
to give me the _Norfolk_, a colonial sloop of twenty-five tons, with
authority to penetrate behind Furneaux's Islands; and should a strait be
found, to pass through it and return by the south end of Van Diemen's
Land; making such examinations and surveys on the way as circumstances
might permit. Twelve weeks were allowed for the performance of this
service, and provisions for that time were put on board; the rest of the
equipment was completed by the friendly care of Captain Waterhouse of the

I had the happiness to associate my friend Bass in this new expedition,
and to form an excellent crew of eight volunteers from the king's ships;
but a time keeper, that essential instrument to accuracy in nautical
surveys, it was still impossible to obtain.

My report of the seals at Furneaux's Islands had induced Messrs. Bishop
and Simpson, the commander and supracargo of the snow Nautilus, to
prepare their vessel for a sealing speculation to that quarter; and on
Oct. 7, we sailed out of Port Jackson together.*

[* Mr. Bass' Journal of observations upon the lands, etc. discovered or
seen in this voyage, has been published by colonel Collins, in his
_Account of the English Colony in New South Wales_, Vol. II. page 143 _et
seq._; his observations will, therefore, be generally omitted in this

(Atlas, Pl. VIII.)

The wind being fair, we passed Hat Hill at four in the afternoon, and
next morning, made Mount Dromedary. I took this opportunity of passing
between Montague Isle and the main; but the depth of water being
uncertain, the Nautilus was desired by signal not to follow. There was no
bottom with 13, and afterwards with 20 fathoms, at a mile distance from
the island; and the passage seemed perfectly free from danger, and is
five or six miles wide. Mount Dromedary, from which the island lies E by
N 1/2 N., is the highest land upon this part of the coast; its elevation
being, I think, not less than 3000 feet. The top is about three miles
long, and the south end is somewhat the most elevated part; it is covered
with wood, even there, but still more so down the sides; the shore under
it is mostly a white, sandy beach.

(Atlas, Pl. VI.)

At noon the centre of the mountain bore N.N.W. four leagues; but the
haziness of the weather prevented an observation being taken for the
latitude, as it had before done when passing in the Francis*. We then
hauled further off the coast, with the Nautilus in company, and being
near the latitude of Cape Howe, at ten o'clock, lay to until daylight,
for the purpose of obtaining a good departure; but on the 9th, the wind
had veered to south-west, and the weather having a bad appearance, we
bore up for Two-fold Bay. The course after passing Green Cape, was N. 16 deg.
W. seven miles to _Haycock Point_, and N. 44 deg. W. three or four miles from
thence to the south point of entrance to the bay; the shore being all
along bold, and for the most part rocky. From the south point, which may
be known by its reddish appearance and having a steep rock lying off it,
we steered for _Snug Cove_, on the north-west side of the bay; and there
anchored in 31/2 fathoms, sandy bottom, at something more than a cable's
length from the small beach, and the same distance from the two points
which bound the cove. In this situation, the outer red point was hidden
by Snug-cove Head; and further out, in 5 fathoms, where the Nautilus
anchored, the head and point were in a line.

[* The highest part of Mount Dromedary appears to lie in 36 deg. 19' south,
and longitude 150 deg. 11' east; or about 2' south and 11' east of its
position in captain Cook's chart.]

In order to make some profit of this foul wind, Mr Bass landed early next
morning to examine the country, whilst I went with Mr Simpson to commence
a survey of Two-fold Bay. In the way from Snug Cove, through the wood, to
the long northern beach, where I proposed to measure a base line, our
attention was suddenly called by the screams of three women, who took up
their children and ran off in great consternation. Soon afterward a man
made his appearance. He was of a middle age, unarmed, except with a
_whaddie_, or wooden scimitar, and came up to us seemingly with careless
confidence. We made much of him, and gave him some biscuit; and he in
return presented us with a piece of gristly fat, probably of whale. This
I tasted; but watching an opportunity to spit it out when he should not
be looking, I perceived him doing precisely the same thing with our
biscuit, whose taste was probably no more agreeable to him, than his
whale was to me. Walking onward with us to the long beach, our new
acquaintance picked up from the grass a long wooden spear, pointed with
bone; but this he hid a little further on, making signs that he should
take it on his return. The commencement of our trigonometrical operations
was seen by him with indifference, if not contempt; and he quitted us,
apparently satisfied that, from people who could thus occupy themselves
seriously, there was nothing to be apprehended.

We measured 116 chains along the north beach, and having taken the
necessary angles, returned to Snug Cove for the purpose of observing the
latitude; but the thick squalls, which were continually passing over from
the south-west, prevented a sight of the sun. The survey was continued in
the afternoon; and on the following morning, 11 October, the wind being
still unfavourable, the west side of the bay was nearly completed.

I was preparing the artificial horizon for observing the latitude, when a
party of seven or eight natives broke out in exclamation upon the bank
above us, holding up their open hands to show they were unarmed. We were
three in number, and, besides a pocket pistol, had two muskets. These
they made no objection to our bringing, and we sat down in the midst of
the party. It consisted entirely of young men, who were better made, and
cleaner in their persons than the natives of Port Jackson usually are;
and their countenances bespoke both good will and curiosity, though mixed
with some degree of apprehension. Their curiosity was mostly directed to
our persons and dress, and constantly drew off their attention from our
little presents, which seemed to give but a momentary pleasure. The
approach of the sun to the meridian calling me down to the beach, our
visitors returned into the woods, seemingly well satisfied with what they
had seen. We could perceive no arms of any kind amongst them; but I knew
these people too well not to be assured that their spears were lying
ready, and that it was prudent to keep a good lookout upon the woods, to
prevent surprise whilst taking the observation.

Oct. 12. We sailed in the afternoon, with a breeze from the eastward; but
a return of the wind to south-west, with threatening weather, induced me
to bear up again in the evening; and we anchored on the south side of the
bay. This part is not so well sheltered as Snug Cove, for the Nautilus
was not quite land-locked in 3 fathoms water. The weather became very bad
in the night; and, being no better on the 13th, the two vessels were
completed with wood, and the country further explored; a few more
bearings were also added to our materials for laying down a plan of the
bay, and thus terminated our examination.

The latitude of Snug Cove on the north-west side of Two-fold Bay, and by
much the best anchorage in it, is 37 deg. 4' south. The longitude, from two
sets of distances of the sun west of the moon, deducting 161/2' for the
errors of the tables, was 150 deg. 3' east of Greenwich. The variation of the
azimuth compass observed on the beach, was 9 deg. 29' and of the surveying
theodolite 11 deg. 81/2' east. My haste to complete the survey did not allow of
much attention being paid to the tides; but it was high water _about
nipte??? hours after_ the moon passed over the meridian, and the general
rise from six to eight feet.

Two-fold Bay is not, of itself, worthy of particular interest; but as
nothing larger than boats can find shelter in any other part of this
coast, from Jervis Bay, in latitude 35 deg. 6', round to Corner Inlet, or to
Furneaux's Isles in 401/2 deg., it thereby becomes of importance to whalers,
and to other ships passing along the coast.

Besides its latitude, Two-fold Bay may be known by Mount Dromedary, which
will be seen, in moderately fine weather, at the distance of fifteen or
sixteen leagues to the northward; and also by the land behind the bay
lying more in hummocks than elsewhere. One of these hummocks is round,
and much higher than the rest; and when it bears S. 60 deg. W. (S. W. 1/2 W.
nearly, by compass,) a course for it will bring a ship to the middle of
the bay. On approaching near, she should look for two rocks, rather
pointed, of which one lies off the outer north, and the other off the
outer south point. Snug Cove is difficult to be distinguished by a
stranger; but on coming near the rocky head, at the south-west end of the
long northern beach, it will be seen on the south side of that head; and
the anchor must be then ready to be let go. If the wind be from the
southward, it should be dropped a little before the head shuts on with
the south point of the bay, in 5 or 6 fathoms water; and in veering away,
the lead should be kept out astern of the vessel. There is room for two
or three small ships in Snug Cove, but not for more.

Wood, in abundance, can be procured on every side of the bay; but there
are only two places where fresh water was found, and that not very good.
One of these was a swampy pond upon the low neck behind Snug Cove, where
casks might be filled without much difficulty; the other is near the
inferior anchorage on the south side of the bay; and both are indicated
in the particular plan.

The ponds and lagoons, which are to be found at the back of most of the
beaches, are frequented by ducks, teal, herons, red-bills, and some small
flights of the curlew and plover. The bay seemed to be well stocked with
fish; and our success with hook and line made us regret having no seine,
for the hauling of which many of the beaches are particularly well
adapted. It is not improbable that Two-fold Bay, like some of the open
bays on the east coast of Africa, may be frequented by whales at certain
seasons: of this I have no decisive proof; but the reef of rocks, called
_Whale Spit_, received its name from the remains of one found there. The
natives had taken their share; and the dogs, crows, and gulls were
carrying away the rest.

Oct. 14. In the morning, we left Two-fold Bay with a breeze at
north-east; and at sun-set, having run eleven leagues from the south
point, our departure was taken from Cape Howe. I then steered S. W. by
S., judging it to be the course best calculated to bring us within sight
of the land supposed, by captain Furneaux, to lie in 39 deg. south. On the
15th, at noon, our latitude was 38 deg. 34'; the weather was fine., but no
land visible to the southward. In the opposite direction there was a
range of hills whose centre bore N. by W. 1/2 W.; at sunset it was seen as
far as N. 37 deg. W., from the sloop's deck, and from the mast head of the
Nautilus, the land was distinguished, or thought to be so, as far as N.
60 deg. W. These bearings, but particularly the last, seemed to show a strong
current to the westward, for neither Mr. Bass nor myself could believe,
that the hills at the back of the Long Beach were sufficiently elevated
to be seen beyond fifteen leagues; I therefore took four sets of
distances, of stars east and west of the moon, which placed us, an hour
and a half after sunset, in longitude 149 deg. 13' east, agreeing nearly with
the dead reckoning. The land, if it really were such, was consequently
twenty-five or more leagues off; and if the bearing of N. 60 deg. W. were not
a mistake, it must have been thirty leagues distant in that direction.
This supposed land was visible all the afternoon; but it might possibly
have been the dense clouds hanging over the hills at the back of the Long
Beach, and not the land itself.

Our course to the south-westward was continued all night; but the wind
having veered to W. S. W. at daybreak of the 16th, the sloop was then put
on the northern tack. No land was visible in any direction; nor was there
any at noon, when the observed latitude was 38 deg. 42'. The wind veered
round by the south until it fixed itself at east; and when the day broke,
on the 17th, the signal was made to the Nautilus, and we bore away S.W.
by W. until noon. The latitude was then 39 deg. 11' south, and we judged
ourselves to be nearly in the meridian of the Sisters; the weather was
tolerably fine, and had been so all the morning, yet no land was any
where to be seen; and I therefore concluded, that none could lie in or
near the meridian of these islands, and be in the latitude of 39 deg..

The course steered at noon was west; but in half an hour it was altered
for high irregular land which came in sight to the south-westward, and
proved to be the largest of the two clusters which I had discovered when
in the Francis, and named _Kent's Groups_. We sounded in 30 fathoms, but
lost the lead, the _sole_ deep-sea line with which we had been furnished,
proving to be totally rotten. After running twenty miles, assisted by a
flood tide, we came up with the group at four o'clock, and steered
through the channel by which the principal islands are separated. It is
about three miles long, and a full mile in width; is free from danger,
and so deep, that our hand line could not reach the bottom. There are two
sandy coves on the east, and one on the west side of the channel, where
small vessels might find shelter, if there were any inducement to visit
these steep, barren, granitic masses of rock. Above the cliffs we could
occasionally perceive a brown-looking vegetation of brush wood, and here
and there a few starved gum trees; but there was neither bird nor
quadruped to enliven the dreary scene.* The principal island of the
small, western group, opened at S. 68 deg. W., on clearing the channel; and
we then hauled the wind to the southward, for Furneaux's Islands, that
the Nautilus might no longer be detained from her sealing business.

[* Kent's large group is not, however, so barren and deserted as
appearances bespoke. It has since been ascertained that, in the central
parts of the larger islands, there are vallies in which trees of a fair
growth make part of a tolerably vigorous vegetation, and where kangaroos
of a small kind were rather numerous; some seals, also, were found upon
the rocks, and fresh water was not difficult to be procured in certain

The wind blew fresh from the eastward all night, with hazy weather. At
daylight, Oct. 18, a large piece of hilly land bore N. 48 deg. to 64 deg. E.,
four leagues; and soon afterward, _Mount Chappell_, a smooth round hill
which had been seen from Preservation Island, was set at S. 78 deg. E.,
distant seven or eight leagues, and was as conspicuous on this side as
when seen from the eastward. Our latitude at noon was 40 deg. 22', and Mount
Chappell bore N. 71 deg. E. seven or eight miles, which would place it to the
north of its position before determined. Between us and the mount were
two small, low islands, and to the northward the hilly land first seen
was visible under the sun.

Finding the wind hang obstinately in the eastern quarter, we had tacked
to the north in order to keep under the lee of the islands. This course
brought us, in the evening, within two miles of the hilly northern land,
the same which had been discovered in the Francis, and of whose
connection with the great island of Furneaux I was doubtful; nor could it
yet be determined. The shores of the south-western part are rocky; and
the land rises, by a steep ascent, to hills of an elevation equal to that
of Mount Chappell. These hills are slightly covered with grass and small
brush wood, but the general appearance was that of great sterility.

About four miles to the south of this land we had passed a rocky islet,
and observed a circular reef which seemed to connect the two together.
The stormy appearance of the night induced me to stretch in, under this
reef; and finding there was shelter from the east winds, we came to an
anchor in 5 fathoms, coarse sand: the Nautilus followed; but not liking
the place, captain Bishop preferred keeping the sea. On sounding round
the sloop, I found the bottom every where foul, and that there were no
means of escape in case of a shift of wind; therefore, after killing a
few seals upon the granitic rocks, we weighed the anchor, ran two leagues
to the southward, and then hauled the wind under storm sails for the

Oct. 19, the wind was at north-east; and we bore away to pass between
Mount Chappell and the low islands lying to the westward. The passage is
about two miles wide, and the water much discoloured; but 10 fathoms of
line did not reach the bottom. A similar appearance in the water had been
observed several leagues to the westward of the low islands, where there
was 23 to 25 fathoms, on a bottom of sand and broken shells.

This small group, to which the name of _Chappell Isles_ is affixed in the
chart, consists of three, or perhaps four islands, for the mount seemed
to stand detached from the land on the east side of the passage. The
basis of the whole is probably of granite, and they seemed nothing
superior in fertility to the worst of Furneaux's Islands; but in a
distant view, a slight covering of small herbage upon their sloping, even
surfaces, gave them a prepossessing appearance. Mount Chappell is five or
six hundred feet above the water, a very conspicuous object until, by the
clearing away of the haze the high mountains of the great island behind
it became visible: their white, towering peaks, bathed in the late
showers, reflected the gleaming sunshine with great splendour, and
presented a spectacle so magnificent, that the circular, gently sloping
Mount Chappell no longer attracted attention.

We joined the Nautilus off the south side of the islands and, after
passing several rocks in our course eastward, anchored at the east end of
Preservation Island about noon. Mr Hamilton had left his house standing,
with some fowls and pigeons in it, when we had quitted the island nine
months before. The house remained in nearly the same state but its
tenants were not to be found, having probably fallen a prey to the hawks.

Oct 20, the wind was at north-west, and blew a gale, accompanied with
rain, which continued for several days. This weather very much impeded
our progress with the Nautilus in Armstrong's Channel, but Captain Bishop
at length moored in Kent's Bay, the most secure place to be found within
reach of the sealing points. The greater part of Kent's Bay is occupied
by shoals; but along the shore of Sloping Point there is a deep channel
running northward, which leads into the western head of the bay; and
there, behind a reef of dry rocks, several ships may lie in 4 or 5
fathoms, sheltered from all winds. The Nautilus's tents were pitched upon
the borders of a run of fresh water, about one mile north of the
anchorage; and a garden, which Captain Bishop made there, produced some
tolerable vegetables.

We had no prospect of advancing along the north coast of Van Diemen's
Land whilst the strong western winds continued to blow; and therefore,
whilst Mr Bass explored some of the islands, I occupied myself in
sounding different parts of Armstrong's Channel, and in making some other
additions to my former survey. At length, on Oct. 31., the gale moderated
to a light breeze, and we stretched over, with the flood tide, towards
the Swan Isles. At noon, our situation was as under.

deg. '
Latitude observed, 40 39 S.
Peak of Cape Barren, N. 16 E.
Van Diemens Land, eastern extr. about S. by E.
Largest Swan Isle, the centre, S. 53 W.

Soon after three o'clock, we anchored in a small sandy bay, at the

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