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

Part 2 out of 7

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30░ 45' 55" S. Thermometer at sunrise, 48░; at noon, 85░; at 4 P.M., 88░;
at 9, 60░;--with wet bulb, 54░.

18TH FEBRUARY.--Two bullocks were still astray some miles behind, and the
iron axle of one of the drays having got bent, required repair. The
cattle, I was told, were so jaded, as to be unable to make a day's
journey without more rest, and I was again obliged to halt. One only of
the two lost bullocks was found, and for this one we were indebted to
little Dicky, a native only ten years of age, whom the big fool who had
lost them was at some trouble to coax to go and assist him in the search,
as Yuranigh could not be spared from the more important duty of
entertaining our less civilised guide, and preventing him from making his
escape. It must, indeed, appear strange to these people of the soil, that
the white man who brought such large animals as oxen with them into the
country, should be unable to find them without the assistance of a mere
child of their own race. Dicky had soon found both, but one of them being
young and wild, escaped again amongst the tall reeds.

In the rich soil near the river bed, we saw the yellowish flowers of the
found by Allan Cunningham near the Lachlan, and a FUGOSIA near F.
DIGITATA of Senegambia. In the scrub we found a fine new silvery ATRIPLEX
with broad rounded leaves and strings of circular toothed fruits.[*]
Thermometer at sunrise, 53░; at noon, 93░; at 4 P.M., 96░; at 9, 67░;--
with wet bulb 59░.

[* A. NUMMULARIA (Lindl. MS.); caule suffruticoso glabro ramoso, foliis
alternis ovato-subrotundis integerrimis petiolatis basi cuneatis utrinque
argenteis, floribus mono´cis, spicis longis pendulis, bracteis
subrotundis dentatis basi connatis.]

19TH FEBRUARY.--We set off early, guided by our native friend. He was a
very perfect specimen of the GENUS HOMO, and such as never is to be seen,
except in the precincts of savage life, undegraded by any scale of
graduated classes, and the countless bars these present to the free
enjoyment of existence. His motions in walking were more graceful than
can be imagined by any who have only seen those of the draped and shod
animal. The deeply set yet flexible spine; the taper form of the limbs;
the fulness yet perfect elasticity of the GLUTEI muscles. The hollowness
of the back, and symmetrical balance of the upper part of the torso,
ornamented as it was, like a piece of fine carving, with raised
scarifications most tastefully placed; such were some of the
characteristics of this perfect "piece of work." Compared with it, the
civilised animal, when considered merely in the light of a specimen in
natural history, how inferior! In vain might we look amongst thousands of
that class, for such teeth; such digestive powers; for such organs of
sight, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling; for such powers of running,
climbing, or walking; for such full enjoyment of the limpid water, and of
all that nature provides for her children of the woods. Such health and
exemption from disease; such intensity of existence, in short, must be
far beyond the enjoyments of civilised men, with all that art can do for
them; and the proof of this is to be found in the failure of all attempts
to persuade these free denizens of uncultivated earth to forsake it for
the tilled ground. They prefer the land unbroken and free from the
earliest curse pronounced against the first banished and first created
man. The only kindness we could do for them, would be to let them and
their wide range of territory alone; to act otherwise and profess good-
will is but hypocrisy. We cannot occupy the land without producing a
change, fully as great to the aborigines, as that which took place on
man's fall and expulsion from Eden. They have hitherto lived utterly
ignorant of the necessity for wearing fig leaves, or the utility of
ploughs; and in this blissful state of ignorance they would, no doubt,
prefer to remain. We bring upon them the punishments due to original sin,
even before they know the shame of nakedness. Such were the reflections
suggested to my mind by the young savage as he tripped on lightly before
me by the side of his two half-civilised brethren of our party, who,
muffled up in clothes, presented a contrast by no means in favour of our
pretensions to improve and benefit their race. Yet our faithful Yuranigh
was all that could be wished. He was assiduously making to the stranger
such explanations of our wants and purposes, as induced him to conduct us
in the direction these required. He led us, thus admonished, over those
parts of the country most favourable for the passage of wheels. The
rosewood acacia was abundant, but many parts were covered with most
luxuriant grass. We encamped on the edge of a salt-bush plain, where
there was a small pond of water left by the last rains on a clay surface.
There was certainly enough for ourselves and horses, but it appeared that
our guide had greatly underrated the capacity for water, of our hundred
bullocks. For these, however, there was superb grass to the westward, and
a little dew fell on it during the night. Thermometer at sunrise, 59░; at
noon, 102░; at 4 P. M., 104░; at 9, 77░;--with wet bulb, 65░.

20TH FEBRUARY.--From the necessity for obtaining water as soon as
possible for the bullocks, we travelled over ground which was rather
soft, otherwise our guide would have pursued a course more to the
westward, and over a firmer surface. We, at length, crossed two narrow
belts of reeds not more than twenty feet across, and had the great
satisfaction to learn from him that these were the last of the reeds. A
shallow creek appeared soon thereafter on our right, in which our guide
had expected to find water, but was disappointed; cattle having recently
drank up there, what had been a large pond when he was there formerly. He
showed us the recent prints of numerous cloven feet, and thus we were
made to feel, in common with the aborigines, those privations to which
they are exposed by the white man's access to their country. On
proceeding some miles further, our guide following down the channel, he
at length appeared at a distance making the motions of stooping to bathe,
on which Yuranigh immediately said "He has found plenty of water;" and
there, in fact, our guide had found two large ponds. They were still in
the attenuated channel of the Macquarie, here called by them Wßmmerawß,
the course of which river is continuous throughout the marshes; and
marked by some high reeds greener than the rest, even when the reeds may
have been generally burnt. These reeds are distinctly different from the
"balyan," growing on the marshy parts of the rivers Lachlan,
Murrumbidgee, and MillewÓ; the former being a cane or bamboo, the latter
a bulrush, affording, in its root, much nutritious gluten. We found good
grass for the cattle on both sides of the water-course, which was fringed
with a few tall reeds, near which the pretty little KOCHIA BREVIFOLIA
observed at Mudß on the Bogan, again occurred. The native name of the
spot was "Warranb." The soft earth had again impeded the drays; the teams
of two came in at twilight, an axle of one dray having been damaged; the
six others were brought up in the course of the evening. Thermometer at
sunrise, 60░; at 4 P. M., 103░; at 9, 78░;--with wet bulb, 68░.

21ST FEBRUARY.--The first thing done this morning was to send back cattle
to draw forward the dray with a bent axle, to the camp, that it might be
repaired. This was done so as to enable the party to continue the journey
by 1 P. M. The barometer was going down at a rate which was alarming
enough, considering what our position must have been there in a flood, or
even after a heavy fall of rain. I therefore pressed forward with the
light carts, and guided by the native. He brought us at 5 P. M. to
"Willery," the place where he had expected to find water; but here again,
he had been anticipated by cattle, which had drunk up all, and trodden
the ponds as dry as a market-place. He gave us no hopes of finding water
that night, nor until we could reach the BÓrwan, then distant, I was
quite sure, at least twenty-four miles, according to the latitude
observed (30░ 19' 54" South). We encamped here, and I sent back
directions that the drays should at once halt, taking their places beside
the leading dray, and that the cattle should be driven back in the
morning to be watered at the last camp (Warranb), and then to return and
follow in my track. Mr. Drysdale, the storekeeper, had also to go back to
serve out a week's rations to the party with the drays, and he returned
to my camp by 2 A. M., in the moonlight, bringing, on the horse of the
former messenger, rations for my party. Here we found the KERAUDRENIA
INTEGRIFOLIA. Thermometer at sunrise, 70░; at noon, 105░; at 9, 83░;--
with wet bulb, 57░.

22D FEBRUARY.--My guide was now desirous that I should cross the
Macquarie, to open plains which he represented to be much more favourable
for wheel carriages; but I endeavoured to explain to him, by drawing
lines in the clay surface, how the various rivers beyond would cross and
impede my journey to the BÓrwan. There were the Castlereagh, Morissett's
Ponds, and the Nammoy.[* If Arrowsmith's map had been correct, which it
was not, for the Nammoy joins the Darling separately, at least fifty
miles higher than the junction of the Castlereagh.]

An instance occurred here of the uselessness of new names, and the
necessity for preserving the native names of Rivers. I could refer, in
communicating with our guide, to the Nammoy only, and to the hills which
partly supplied the Castlereagh, whereof the native name was
Wallambangle. I wanted to make them understand the probability that some
flood had come down the channel of the Castlereagh, and that we might
therefore hope to find water below its junction with the Macquarie. This,
with the aid of Yuranigh, our own native, was at length made intelligible
to our BÓrwan guide, and he shaped his course accordingly. He took us
through scrubs, having in the centre those holes where water usually
lodges for some time after rain, where some substratum of clay happens to
be retentive enough to impede the common absorption. But the water in
these holes had been recently drunk, and the mud trampled into hard clay
by the hoofs of cattle. Thus it is, that the aborigines first become
sensible of the approach of the white man. These retired spots, where
nature was wont to supply enough for their own little wants, are well
known to the denizens of the bush. Each locality has a name, and such
places are frequented by helpless females with their children, or by the
most peaceably disposed natives with their families. There they can exist
apart from belligerent tribes, such as assemble on large rivers. Cattle
find these places and come from stations often many miles distant,
attracted by the rich verdure usually growing about them, and by thus
treading the water into mud, or by drinking it up, they literally destroy
the whole country for the aborigines, and thereby also banish from it the
kangaroos, emus, and other animals on which they live. I felt much more
disgusted than the poor natives, while they were thus exploring in vain
every hollow in search of water for our use, that our "cloven foot"
should appear everywhere. The day was extremely hot, which usually
happened to be the case whenever we were obliged to experience the want
of water. The thermometer under a tree stood at 110░. The store-keeper
was taken ill with vertigo. Our bull-dog perished in the heat, and the
fate of the cattle, still a day's journey behind us, and of the sheep,
which had not drunk for two days, were subjects of much anxiety to me at
that time. It may, therefore, be imagined with what pleasure I at length
saw before me large basins of water in the channel of the Macquarie, when
I next approached the banks, after a journey at a good pace for six hours
and a half. We had made it below the junction of Morissett's Ponds, and
found that a recent flood had filled its channel with water. The natives
dived into it to cure their headaches, as they said, and seemed to go
completely under water, in order to take a cool drink. We had reached the
united channel of the Macquarie and Morissett's Ponds, and were at an
easy day's journey only distant from the junction with the B└RWAN or
"Darling." The use of the aboriginal name of this river is indispensable
amongst the squatters along its banks, who do not appear to know it to be
the "Darling." It is most desirable to restore to such rivers their
proper names as early as possible after they have been ascertained, were
it only to enable strangers thereby to avail themselves of the
intelligence and assistance of the natives, in identifying the country by
means of the published maps. The river Castlereagh is known to the
natives as the Barr; Morissett's Ponds, as the WÓwill; and the lower part
of the Macquarie, as the WammerawÓ. The squatting system of occupation
requires still more that the native names of rivers should be known to
commissioners empowered to parcel out unsurveyed regions of vast extent,
whereof the western limits would be, indeed, beyond their reach or
control, but for the line of an angry savage population, which line the
squatter dares not to cross unsupported by an armed mounted police.
Thermometer at sunrise, 59░; at noon, 110░; at 4 P. M., 107░; at 9, 89░;
--with wet bulb 72░.

23RD FEBRUARY.--The drays did not come up, nor was any intelligence of
them received at our camp until late in the afternoon, when a man I had
sent back in the morning to tell the drivers to halt in good time to send
forward the cattle by daylight along my track to the water, brought me
word that he left them on the way ten miles off about eleven in the
morning. This man (Smith) also brought forward the sheep with him. They
had not drank for two nights, and ran skipping and baaing to the water,
as soon as they saw it. The heat of this day and yesterday was excessive,
a hot wind blowing hard all the time. Among the scrub on the banks of the
Macquarie, a salt plant belonging to the genus SCLEROLOENA was remarked;
it was perhaps not distinct from S. UNIFLORA. The GOODENIA GENICULATA
overran the ground, with its strawberry-like runners, and yellow flowers.
Latitude, 30░ 12' 56" S. Thermometer at sunrise, 75░; at noon, 105░; at 4
P.M., 94░; at 9, 73░;--with wet bulb, 62░.

24TH FEBRUARY.--Some of the teams came up, having been out all night. The
drivers brought me word that they had been detached at twilight to come
six miles; the night was very dark; of course they could not see my
track, and as a matter equally of course, the spare bullocks had strayed
from them. Such were the almost daily recurring causes of delay by the
bullock drivers on this journey. Here, within a day's journey (thirteen
miles) of the BÓrwan, I was compelled to halt thus several days, and
really the prospect of performing so long a journey with such drivers
seemed almost hopeless. Thermometer at sunrise, 59░; at noon, 80░; at 4
P.M., 85░; at 9, 64░;--with wet bulb, 59░.

25TH FEBRUARY.--In the evening, the carpenter brought in ten of the stray
bullocks; four were still wanting, and I dispatched Mortimer, a bullock
driver, and the carpenter to show him where he had last left the track of
the animals still astray; both were mounted. Thermometer at sunrise, 53░;
at noon, 90░; at 4 P.M., 94░; at 9, 79░;--with wet bulb, 62░.

26TH FEBRUARY.--Mortimer came in early, saying he had found only one of
the bullocks, that the others had gone back to the last wateringplace
twenty-two miles distant. His companion did not arrive during the day; he
said he had left him bringing on the animal they had fallen in with. I
blamed him for leaving him, and ordered him to find him forthwith on
foot. I could not afford to lose horses. Here, it seemed, we were doomed
to remain. I endeavoured to make the most of the time by carrying on the
mapping of our survey, in order to make good our longitude at crossing
the BÓrwan. Thermometer at sunrise, 60░; at noon, 94░; at 4 P.M., 101░;
at 9, 72░;--with wet bulb, 62.░

27TH FEBRUARY.--When the teams were about to be put to the drays this
morning, I was informed that five bullocks were astray. This delayed the
party until 10 A.M., and then we left one lame bullock still missing. I
reduced the men's rations by one pound per week, and declared that a
proportional reduction should be regularly made to correspond with such
unlooked-for delays in the journey. We proceeded over firmer ground,
having the river almost always in sight, until, after travelling about
six miles, our guide showed me the river, much increased in width, and
said they called that the "BÓrwan." As it was still a mere chain of
ponds, though these were large, I was sure this was not the main channel;
he also said this joined the main channel a good way lower down. I was
convinced that it was only the Castlereagh that had thus augmented the
channel of the Macquarie, which I found afterwards to be the case, the
junction taking place two miles higher. I willingly encamped on it,
however, to afford more time for the lost man, and the man sent after
him, to rejoin the party.

I this day gave "YulliyÓlly," our guide, the promised tomahawk, a pipe,
tobacco; and, in addition, a shirt; also a few lines to Mr. Kinghorne,
certifying that this native had done what he had engaged to do.
Thermometer at sunrise, 62░; at noon, 94░; at 4 P.M., 97░; at 9, 70░;--
with wet bulb, 57░.

28TH FEBRUARY.--The wheelwright and Mortimer came into the camp at 6
A.M., bringing back the horse of the former, and one of the lost
bullocks. We set out early, and after travelling about six miles I came
upon a cart-track, which I followed to the westward until overtaken by a
stockman, who informed me that the WammerawÓ, on which I had been
encamped, joined the BÓrwan, then on my right, within two miles of the
spot on which we stood; that he belonged to the cattle station of Mr.
Parnell, Jun., which was distant from my last camp about five miles, and
on the main river; also that the track I was following led to Mohanna,
Mr. Lawson's station, seventy-five miles lower down the BÓrwan. I turned
with him towards the junction of the Macquarie and BÓrwan, and encamped
thereby, right glad to reach at length, the river beyond which our
exploratory tour was to commence. The river looked well, with a good
current of muddy water in it, of considerable width, and really like a
river. I understood from my guide to this point, that there was a good
ford across the river at his station; also that Commissioner Mitchell had
been down the river a short time back, making a map to show all the
cattle stations on both banks. We had neither seen nor heard anything of
Mr. Wright, the commissioner of the Macquarie district through which we
had just passed, except that he "might visit the district when the hot
weather was over." Here we found a new species of CALOTIS.[*] Thermometer
at sunrise, 61░; at noon, 101░; at 4 P.M., 100░; at 9, with wet bulb,

[* Calotis SCAPIGERA (Hook. MSS.); stolonifera glaberrima, foliis omnibus
radicalibus lineari-spathulatis, scapo nudo monocephalo, achenii aristis
robustis subulatis retrorsum pilosis apice rectis vel uncinatis.--A very
distinct species. Habit of BRACHYSTEPHIUM SCAPIGERUM D. C.: but that
ought to have no aristae to the achenium: here the awns are very stout in
proportion to the size of the capitulum.]

1ST MARCH.--When, fifteen years before, I visited this river at a higher
point where it was called the Karaula [*], no trace of hoofs of horses or
bullocks had been previously imprinted on the clayey banks. Now, we found
it to be the last resource of numerous herds in a dry and very hot
season, and so thickly studded were the banks of this river with cattle
stations, that we felt comparatively at home. The ordinary precautionary
arrangements of my camp against surprise by savage natives seemed quite
unnecessary, and, to stockmen, almost ridiculous. We had at length
arrived at the lowest drain of that vast basin of clay absorbing many
rivers, so that they lose themselves as in the ocean. Here the final
outlet or channel of the waters of the Macquarie, was but a muddy ditch
one might step across, which the magnificent flood we had seen in the
same river above the marshes was not at all likely to reach. That flood
had gone to fill thousands of lagoons, without which supply, those vast
regions had been unfit for animal existence. Here we discover another
instance of that wonderful wisdom which becomes more and more apparent to
man, when he either looks as far as he can into space, or attentively
examines the arrangement of any matter more accessible to him. The very
slight inclination of the surface of these extensive plains seems finely
adapted to the extremely dry and warm climate over this part of the
earth. If the interior slope of the land from the eastern coastranges
were as great as that in other countries supplying rivers of sustained
current, it is obvious that no water would remain in such inclined
channels here; but the slope is so gentle that the waters spread into a
net-work of reservoirs, that serve to irrigate vast plains, and fill
lagoons with those floods that, when confined in any one continuous
channel, would at once run off into the ocean.

[* We then understood the natives very imperfectly and might have been
wrong about the name, which is the more likely, as CAR└WY, which the name
resembles, means any deep water-hole.]

In a wet season, the country through which we had traced out a route with
our wheels had been impassable. The direction I should have preferred,
and in which I had endeavoured to proceed, was along the known limits of
this basin, and formed a curved line, or an arc, to which the route
necessity had obliged us to follow was the chord; thus we had not lost
time; but had, in fact, shortened the distance to be travelled over very
considerably. A permanent route had, however, seemed to me more desirable
to any country we might discover, than one liable to be interrupted by
flooded rivers and soft impassable ground. The track of our drays, along
the western side of the Macquarie marshes opened a new and direct route
from Sydney to the banks of the river Darling, by way of Bathurst; and
afforded access to a vast extent of excellent pasturage on the Macquarie,
along the western margin of the marshes, which land would, no doubt, be
soon taken up by squatters. In so dry a climate, and where water is so
frequently scarce, it may, indeed, be found that the shortest line of
route with such advantages would be more frequented than any longer line,
possessing only the remote advantage of security from interruption by too
much water. Thermometer at sunrise, 64░; at noon, 100░; at 4 P.M., 101░;
at 9, 81░; with wet bulb, 61░.

2ND MARCH--MONDAY. I took a ride to examine the ford at WyÓbry, (Mr.
Parnell, Jun.'s station,) which I found practicable for our drays,
although, for their descent and ascent, it was necessary to cut better
approaches on each side. The Macquarie, although the channel was so
attenuated and ditch-like, was likely to prove also an obstacle without
some work of the same kind. Accordingly, on my return to the camp, I sent
some men to the last-mentioned work.

I learnt from natives whom I met at Mr. Parnell's station, that the
rivers Bolloon, Culgoa, and Biree were then flowing, some abundant rains
having fallen about their sources. Also, from the stockman, that the
Narran was thirty-five miles distant, but that a native could be found to
guide me to water only ten miles off. Water was also to be obtained at a
distance of only seven miles beyond the BÓrwan there at the "Morella
Ridges," to which the natives were in the habit of resorting at certain
seasons, by a path of their own, to gather a fruit of which they were
very fond, named by them "Moguile," and which I had previously
ascertained to be that formerly discovered by me, and named by Dr.
Lindley CAPPARIS MITCHELLII.[*] We found back from this camp the
RUTIDOSIS HELYCHRYSOIDES of De Candolle. Thermometer at sunrise, 72░; at
noon, 101░; at 4 P.M.; 100░; at 9, 78░; and with wet bulb, 62░.

[* See "Three Expeditions," etc., vol. i. page 315.]

3D MARCH.--Early this morning a party of men were sent to cut better
approaches to the ford across the BÓrwan at Mr. Parnell's station.
Ascertained the longitude of the junction of the rivers Macquarie and
Darling at our present camp to be 147░ 33' 45" E., by actual measurements
connected with my former surveys of the colony. Mr. Kennedy had chained
the whole of the route from Bellaringa, and I had connected his work with
latitudes observed at almost every encampment, and after determining at
various points the magnetic variation, which appeared to be very steady,
I made the latitude of this camp 30░ 6' 11" south. Thermometer at
sunrise, 72░; at noon, 99░; at 4 P.M., 97░; at 9, 72░; and with wet bulb,
65░. The height above the sea level of the bed of the river here, the
average result of eight observations, as calculated by Capt. King, was
415 feet.

4TH MARCH.--The party moved off towards the ford over the BÓrwan at
WyÓbry, crossing the bed of the Macquarie about half a mile above its
junction with the BÓrwan; there, although the approaches had been well
enough cut, we found the bottom too soft for our heavy vehicles, one of
which dipped its wheel to near the axle. We were obliged to pave the soft
and muddy bed with logs, and to cover these with branches, on which earth
was thrown, ere the rest could be got across. The party arrived about
noon at WyÓbry, and by 2 P.M. the whole was safely encamped on the right
bank of the BÓrwan. I had received this morning a dispatch from my son,
commissioner of this district, in which he gave me a most favourable
account of several rivers he had explored in the direction of my proposed
route. These dispatches came to me at the last camp by the hands of a
native, in forty-four hours after the superintendent of Mr. Lawson, being
then on his way down the river, had promised to send them to me, from a
station forty-five miles off, towards Fort Bourke, where it had been
supposed my party would pass. Lat. of this camp, 30░ 5' 41" S. On this
northern bank of the Darling we looked for novelty in botany, and found
some interesting plants, such as a toothed variety of SENERIO
BRACHYLOENUS D. C., a kind of groundsel; MORGANIA FLORIBUNDA, loaded with
purple blossoms, and a variety of HELICHRYSUM BRACTEATUM, somewhat
different in the leaves from the usual state of the species. Thermometer
at sunrise, 70░; at 4 P.M., 98░; at 9, 72░;--with wet bulb, 61░.

Chapter III.


5TH MARCH.--Early this morning the stockman brought over two natives,
brothers, who were to guide us to water ten miles on towards the Narran,
which was said to be thirty-five miles off. In the first two miles we
passed over some soft ground. Further on, hills were visible to the left,
which our native guides called Goodeingora. Fragments of conglomerate
rocks appeared in the soil of the plains, pebbles and grains of quartz
cemented by felspar. These plains appeared to become undulating ground as
we proceeded northward, and the surface became firmer. At length the
country opened into slight undulations, well clothed with grass, and good
for travelling over, the soil being full of the same hard rock found on
the rising grounds nearest to the Darling, in the lowest parts of that
river explored formerly by me. The red earth seemed to be but the
decomposed matrix of that rock, as the water-worn pebbles of quartz so
thickly set therein, here covered the ground in some places so thickly as
to resemble snow. Much Anthistiria and other good grasses grew on those
plains. I was, indeed, most agreeably surprised at the firm undulating
stony surface and open character of the country, where I had expected to
see soft clay, and holes and scrubs. At six miles, other slight
elevations appeared to the N. E. which the natives called Toolowly, a
name well calculated to fix in white men's memory elevations TOO LOW to
be called hills. They were quite high enough, however, along a line of
route for such heavy drays as those following us. There appeared much
novelty in the trees on this side the Darling. The ANGOPHORA LANCEOLATA
was every where; Callitris grew about the base of the hills, and some
very singular acacias, a long-leaved grey kind of wattle, the ACACIA
STENOPHYLLA of Cunningham. On one tree large pods hung in such profusion
as to bend the branches to the ground. From this abundance I supposed it
was not good to be eaten; nevertheless, I found in another place many of
the same pods roasted at some fires of the natives, and learnt from our
guides that they eat the pea. The pod somewhat resembled that of the
Cachou nut of the Brazils,--M¨numulÓ is the native name. The grasses
comprised a great variety, and amongst the plants a beautiful little
BRUNONIA, not more than four inches high, with smaller flower-heads than
those of BR. SERICEA, quite simple or scarcely at all lobed, and a hairy
indusium.[*] The tree, still a nondescript, although the fruit had been
gathered by me in 1831, and then sent to Mr. Brown, was also here; and I
saw one or two trees of a species of CAPPARIS. Mr. Stephenson found a
great variety of new insects also.

[* B. SIMPLEX (Lindl. MSS.); pumila, foliis undique scapisque
longitudinaliter sericeis, villis appressis, capitulis subsimplicibus,
bracteis majoribus oblongis, indusio extus piloso.]

Our guides brought us at length to some waterholes, amongst some verdant
grass on a plain, where no stranger would have looked for water; and here
we encamped fifteen good miles from the Barwan. The ponds were called
"CarÓwy," and were vitally important to us, enabling us to pass on
towards the Narran, which was still, as we had been informed, twenty-five
miles off. As we approached these springs, I saw some natives running
off, and I sent one of the guides after them to say we should do them no
harm, and beg them to stop, but he could not overtake them. The
undulations crossed by us this day seemed to extend east and west in
their elongations, and were probably parallel to the general course of
the main channel of drainage. The same felspathic rock seen in other
parts of this great basin, seems the basis of the clay, although the
fragments imbedded are very hard. The earth is reddish, and much
resembles in this respect the matrix of the conglomerate. Near these
springs we found a new HELICHRYSUM.[*] Thermometer at sunrise, 61░; at
noon, 100░; at 4 P. M., 102░; at 9, 79░;--with wet bulb, 65░.

[* HELICHRYSUM RAMOSISSIMUM (Hook. MSS.); suffruticosum valde ramosum
arachnoideo-tomentosum, foliis lineari-spathulatis subflaccidis acutis,
capitulis in racemis terminalibus parvis globosis flavis, involucri
squamis lineari-subulatis undulatis fimbriato-ciliatis.]

6TH MARCH.--The drays not having come up, in consequence of the excessive
length of yesterday's journey, and very hot weather--(16Ż miles by
latitude alone)--we were obliged to remain inactive here on a beautiful
cool morning. I found near the ponds, several huts made of fresh branches
of trees and the remains of fires, doubtless the deserted home of the
fugitives of yesterday. At these fires I found the roasted pods of the
acacia already mentioned (M¨numulÓ). The water was surrounded by fresh
herbage, and such was the simple fare of those aborigines, such the home
whence they fled. As I looked at it in the presence of my sable guides, I
could not but reflect that the white man's cattle would soon trample
these holes into a quagmire of mud, and destroy the surrounding verdure
and pleasant freshness for ever. I feared that my good-natured but acute
guides thought as much, and I blushed inwardly [*] for our pallid race.

[* The author of Waverley maintains that one may LAUGH inwardly--
conscience may, I suppose, make us also blush inwardly sometimes.]

All day we sat still in anxious suspense about the non-arrival of our
drays--the ground having been so good. With a country so interesting
before us, this delay was doubly irksome, and as the cattle could only be
watered by coming forward, why they did not come was the question; and
this was not solved until evening, when a messenger came forward to ask
if they might come, and to inform me that they were nearly exhausted. The
fatal alternative of endeavouring to make them work in the morning, after
passing a night without water, had been adopted, and as, on the day
before, they had been worked until dusk in expectation of reaching my
camp, they could not draw on the morning after; I instantly directed them
to be brought forward; but the consequence of this derangement was the
death of one, and much injury to many others. This contretemps arose
wholly from the guides not having been understood at the Barwan as to the
real distance, and this we had calculated too surely upon. Latitude 29░
52' 26" south. Thermometer at sunrise, 68░; at noon, 96░; at 4 P. M.,
102░; at 9, 83░;--with wet bulb, 68░.

7TH MARCH, 1846.--The bullocks having been sent back after they had been
watered last evening, the drays came up about 9 A. M. I left them in Mr.
Kennedy's charge, and proceeded with the light carts followed by all the
bullocks yoked up. They had trodden into mud the little water that had
been left at that camp, and could not live much longer without more. The
guides assured us the Narran was not far off, although we had understood
when at the Barwan that the distance was twenty-five miles from these
springs. We passed over very good ground, and found the country to
improve as we advanced. We were conducted through the most open parts of
scrubs by our guides, who were made to comprehend clearly how desirable
that was for our "wheelbarrows;" and after travelling about seven miles,
they pointed to a line of trees as the "Narran," beyond an extensive open
country, which had a singular appearance from being higher than that we
were upon. We crossed one or two slight elevations wholly composed of
compact felspar in blocks--forming ridges resembling an outcrop of
strata, whereof the strike always pointed N. W. and S. E. Various curious
new plants and fruits appeared; amongst others a solanum, the berry of
which was a very pleasant-tasted fruit. The plant was a runner and spread
over several yards from one root. There was also a fruit shaped like an
elongated egg; it appeared to be some Asclepiad, and was called by the
natives "DoobÓh." They ate it, seeds and all, but said it was best
roasted. As we approached the elevated country between us and the distant
line of trees, we perceived that the vast level was covered with
POLYGONUM JUNCEUM in a verdant state. The colour was dark green, such as
I had never seen elsewhere in this "leafless bramble," as Sturt called
it, which looks ever quite dry and withered along the margins of the
Darling. We had good reason to love and admire its verdure now, when we
found amongst it pure water in great abundance, into which all our native
companions immediately plunged, and rolled about like porpoises. This,
they said, was the "Narran," but to the vast swampy plain they gave the
name of Keegur, a name quite useless for white men's memories or maps.
They seemed to say it was wholly an emanation from the Narran, and
pointed to the nearest part of the trees beyond, saying the river Narran
was there. I still endeavoured to proceed, as they wished, towards the
nearest trees beyond, until a winding narrow pond of water, in very soft
mud, precluded all hopes of crossing with our drays, without some sort of
bridge; I therefore immediately counter-marched the party with me, now
far advanced in that sea of dark green polygonum, and conducted it into a
position on open stony ground to the westward of our route, with the
intention to await there the arrival of the drays, and to prepare
materials for a bridge to be laid across the muddy pond, as I had seen a
small clump of pines (Callitris) at no great distance back. My guides did
not encourage a hope I entertained, that this swamp might be turned by
the westward, in which direction the open country extended to the
horizon. The man who travels with bullocks must expect to be impeded by
wet ground, as well as by the scarcity of water, in many situations where
horses could pass without difficulty. I directed the bullocks, that had
been driven forward with me, to be allowed to graze beside the water
until sunset, and then to be taken slowly back by moonlight to Mr.
Kennedy. Five had dropped down on the way, and had not come forward to
the water. Those sent back were also ordered to be allowed to feed all
the next day at Mr. Kennedy's camp, and only to start with the drays
there next evening, to come on by moonlight, thus avoiding the intense
heat, so oppressive under extreme thirst. The thermometer during the day,
rose to 103░ in the shade. Latitude of the camp on Narran swamp, 29░ 45'
51" S. Thermometer at sunrise, 47░; at noon, 97░; at 4 P. M., 97░; at 9,
69░; ditto with wet bulb, 57░. The height of this camp above the sea, the
average of five registered observations, is 442 feet.

8TH MARCH.--The view northward from our present camp was most extensive.
Far in the northeast a yellow slope presented the unusual appearance
there, of a cultivated country. It was doubtless ripe grass, yet still
the earth there had not even been imprinted with any hoof. Between that
slope and our camp, lay the element, in abundance, which had been so
scarce on the other side of the Darling. To the northward, at no great
distance, was the river, where, as our guides informed us, we should no
longer be ill off for water in pursuing our journey along its banks. I
set the carpenter to cut sleepers and slabbing to enable us to bridge the
muddy creek, for I had examined it early in the morning, and had crossed
it with my horse; although I found several watercourses almost as soft,
beyond. The natives maintained that the water in this extensive swamp
came neither from the east nor west, but from the river directly before
us, which came from the northward. Just behind our camp, to the
southward, was a gentle elevation, almost a hill, consisting of the usual
rock, felspar; and it seemed to me that this stony ground alone impeded
the further progress of the water towards the Barwan. The ridge trended
north-west, as most others did in this extensive basin; and this
direction being nearly parallel to that of the coast ranges further
northward, seemed to afford additional reason for expecting to find
anticlinal and synclinal lines, and, consequently, rivers, much in the
same direction. D'Urban's group, distant 150 miles lower down the
Darling, consisted of a quartzose rock, exactly similar to this,
exhibiting a tendency, like it, to break into irregular polygons, some of
the faces being curved. This rock is most extensively distributed in the
interior of New South Wales. It was not until the evening of this day
that the approach of the drays was announced, and then prematurely, the
teams only having been brought forward to the water without them. So weak
were the unfortunate animals, that not even by night, nor by doubling the
numbers, could they be made to draw the drays forward, for the short
distance of eight miles; a distance which we had been given to understand
was so much greater. Forward, all was most promising, and it may be
imagined how bitterly I regretted the alteration of my original plan of
equipment, which had reference to horses and light carts alone. A new
species of ANTHISTIRIA occurred here, perfectly distinct from the
kangaroo grass of the colony, very like APLUDA MUTICA, and remarkable for
the smooth shining appearance of the thin involucral leaves.[*] The
TRICHINIUM ALOPECUROIDEUM, in great abundance, was conspicuous, with its
long silky ears of green flowers. On the stony ground occurred a very
curious new woolly KOCHIA [**], also a species of CYPERUS; the TRICHINIUM
LANATUM in great perfection; a grass resembling the close reed
(CALAMAGROSTIS of England), and which proved to be the little-known
TRIRAPHIS MOLLIS. On the margin of the morass the DACTYLOCTENIUM
RADULANS, spreading over the interstices, reminded the traveller of the
grasses of Egypt; and, in stony ground near the morass, we observed the
JUSTICIA MEDIA of Brown. Thermometer at sunrise, 66░; at noon, 98░; at 4
P. M. 102░; at 9, 81░; ditto with wet bulb, 74░.

[* A. MEMBRANACEA (Lindl. MSS); involucris carinatis margine membranaceis
foliis vaginisque glaberrimis, floribus verticillatis pedicellatis
(masculis?), glumis omnibus scabris, aristÔ glaberrimÔ glumÔ 3plo

[** K. LANOSA (Lindl. MSS); ramis strictis foliisque linearibus acutis
cinereis tomentosis, fructibus lanatis, calycis laciniis elongatis.]

9TH MARCH.--My native guides, tired of the delay, were anxious to return,
and as the assistance they could afford me was likely to be extremely
useful, and the arrival of the drays was most uncertain, I went forward
this morning with one of them, two men, and Youranigh, our interpreter,
all mounted. Amongst the trees, beyond the swamp, fine reaches of water
appeared in a river channel, apparently continuous to the northward, but
which, in the other direction, or towards the swamp, abruptly terminated
like a cul-de-sac. On my asking the natives where it went to, they
pointed to the various narrow water courses and the swamp as the final
depositories of the water. Admirable distribution of the contents of a
river in a country where water is so scarce, and the climate so hot and
dry! We proceeded along the margin of the "Narran," which led us nearly
due north, until we forded it, at the desire of our guides, on a good
gravelly bottom, the water reaching to our saddle-flaps. Crossing a
slight elevation where the soil was gravelly, and in which grew the
shrubs of the ordinary scrubs with several interesting novelties, we
again came upon an angle of the Narran, and continued along its banks for
about thirty miles, until near sunset, when we tethered our horses, and
lay down for the night. The Narran was full of water every where, and
with this abundance of water there was also plenty of most excellent
grass. The PANICUM LOEVINODE of Dr. Lindley seemed to predominate, a
grass whereof the seed ("Cooly") is made by the natives into a kind of
paste or bread. Dry heaps of this grass, that had been pulled expressly
for the purpose of gathering the seed, lay along our path for many miles.
I counted nine miles along the river, in which we rode through this grass
only, reaching to our saddle-girths, and the same grass seemed to grow
back from the river, at least as far as the eye could reach through a
very open forest. I had never seen such rich natural pasturage in any
other part of New South Wales. Still it was what supplied the bread of
the natives; and these children of the soil were doing every thing in
their power to assist me, whose wheel tracks would probably bring the
white man's cattle into it. We had followed well-beaten paths of natives
during the whole of this day's ride, and most anxious were my guides and
I to see them; but they avoided us. Our guide was of that country, and
not at all unwilling or timid; but evidently very desirous to introduce
us to the inhabitants, and procure amongst them other guides to lead us
further. The night was very hot, and flies and mosquitos did their utmost
to prevent us from sleeping. Thermometer at sunrise, 75░; at noon, 99░;
at 4 P. M., 105░; at 9, 83░; ditto with wet bulb, 75░.

10TH MARCH.--Anxious for an interview with some of the natives, I
continued the pursuit of the Narran's course about five miles higher, but
with no better success. I then turned, after obtaining from our guide,
through Youranigh, what information could be gathered thus, as to the
river's further course, the best bank for the passage of our drays, etc.
We were still, he said, a long way from the "Culgoa." There was no
perceptible change in the aspect of the "Narran" as far as we had
examined it, except that where we turned, there were flood-marks, and the
dead logs and river wreck, deposited on the upper side of trees and
banks, showing a current and high floods. The last of these, our guide
said, had occurred about five moons before. In riding back to the camp we
kept the castern bank, that the track might be available for our drays.
This ride along a river where we could, when we pleased, either water our
horses, or take a drink ourselves, was quite new and delightful to us,
under a temperature of 105░ in the shade. Our guide, aged apparently
about fifty, walked frequently into the river, while in a state of
perspiration; dipped quite under water, or drank a little with his lip on
the level of its surface, and then walked on again. He was at last very
tired, however, and pointed to the large muscles of the RECTUS FEMORIS as
if they pained him. We found at the camp, on our return, five of the
drays that had come up, the other three being still behind, and requiring
double teams of exhausted cattle to bring them forward. In the vicinity
of our camp we found the TRICHINIUM ALOPECUROIDEUM, with heads of flowers
nearly five inches long; an eucalyptus near E. PULVERULENTA, but having
more slender peduncles; a sort of Iron-bark. We found also a tall
glaucous new HALORAGIS [*], and a curious new shaggy KOCHIA was
intermingled with the grass.[**] Thermometer at sunrise, 77░; at noon,
102░; at 4, 107░; at 9, 76░;--with wet bulb, 71░.

[* H. GLAUCA (Lindl. MSS.); annua, stricta, glaberrima, glauca, foliis
oppositis lineari-oblongis obtusis petiolatis grossŔ serratis, racemis
apice aphyllis, fructu globoso tuberculato laevi.]

[** K. VILLOSA (Lindl. MSS.); ramis erectis foliisque linearibus
villosissimis, fructibus glabris.]

11TH MARCH.--All the drays came in early. I gave to the two natives, the
tomahawks, tobacco, and pipes, as promised; also a note to the stockman
on the Barwan, who had provided me with them, saying that they had been
very useful. I this morning examined the country to the westward of the
swamp, and found a narrow place at which we could pass, and so avoid much
soft heavy ground. The ramifications of the watery Narran penetrated into
the hollows of the stony ridge, presenting there little hollows full of
rich verdure and pools of water, a sight so unwonted amongst rocks
characteristic of D'Urban's arid group. In one little hollow, to the
westward of our camp, it seemed possible for two men with a pickaxe and
shovel to have continued it through, and so to have opened a new channel
for the passage of the waters of the Narran swamp, into the dry country
between it and the Barwan. Thermometer at sunrise, 55░; at noon, 105░; at
4 P. M., 102░; at 9, 75░;--with wet bulb, 59░.

12TH MARCH.--I found it necessary to sit still here and refresh the jaded
bullocks; thus days and months passed away, in which with horses I might
have continued the journey. The very extensive country before us, which
appeared to absorb these waters, was quite clear of timber, and irrigated
by little canals winding amongst POLYGONUM JUNCEUM. This open country
appeared to extend north-eastward about eight miles, thence to turn
eastward, as if these waters found some outlet that way to the Barwan. I
regretted that this swamp led too far out of our way, to admit of our
tracing its limits to the eastward.

This day I received letters from Commissioner Mitchell, in which he
strongly recommended to my attention the rivers Biree, Bokhara, and
Narran, as waters emanating from, and leading to, the Balonne, a river
which he said might supply our party with water, in this very dry season,
almost to the tropic. I was able to inform him in reply, that I was
already on the Narran, and that I had already availed myself of his
account of the rivers formerly sent me, on which I must have been obliged
to depend, even if the party had passed by Fort Bourke.

This evening, by moonlight, I conducted a dray, carrying two platforms,
to the place where the narrow channel, feeding the swamp, could be passed
without our meeting beyond any other impediment to the drays. The
sleepers used for this purpose were made of pine (CALLITRIS PYRAMIDALIS),
found half a mile back from our camp. They were fourteen feet long, two
feet wide, being composed of cross-pieces, two feet long, fixed at each
end between two sleepers, so that they somewhat resembled a wooden
railway. These, when laid at the proper distance apart to carry both
wheels, were bedded on the soft earth, and the interval between was
filled to a level with them, by layers of polygonum and long grass,
alternate with earth, forming together a mass of sufficient resistance to
support the feet of the draught oxen. The whole formed a compact bridge
or gangway. Thermometer at sunrise, 51░; at noon, 95░; at 4 P. M., 107░;
at 9, 70░;--with wet bulb, 61░.

13TH MARCH.--The party once more moved onward, and the drays trundled
across the swampy arm by means of our bridge, which, even in the event of
an accession of water there, might have proved serviceable on our return.
Three miles beyond it we had to ford the Narran, passing over a gravelly
bottom to the eastern bank, and encamping there. The drays were slow in
arriving at this ford and camp, as the ground was soft and hollow, but by
sunset all had crossed, and our camp established on the Narran.
Thermometer at sunrise, 71░; at noon, 100░; at 4 P. M., 100░; at 9,
71░;--with wet bulb, 65░. The height of this camp above the sea,
according to ten registered observations, is 487 feet.

14TH MARCH.--We now had before us water and grass in abundance, to a
distance as unlimited and indefinite, as our hopes of discovery. I
intended to set out early each morning, and travel only four or five
miles, that the jaded animals, exhausted by want of water and hard work,
might have time to feed and refresh. One old cause of delay, however,
again occurred to impede us,--three bullocks were reported missing. Now
it was nearly full moon, and two men had been on watch all night. It
really seemed that delay and disappointment must attend all who depend on
bullocks and bullock-drivers. The stray cattle were not brought up until
9 A. M., when we proceeded, and encamped on an angle of the Narran, after
travelling about five miles. In the scrubs passed through, we found the
fragrant JASMINUM LINEARE in fruit, the flowers being nearly past; a bulb
which proved to be the ANTHERICUM BULBOSUM of Brown; a shrub ten feet
high, in fruit, the CANTHIUM OLEIFOLIUM of Sir William Hooker; a fine new
CHENOPODIUM, with long naked spikes of woolly yellow flowers [*]; and a
hoary variety of ACACIA LEPTOCLADA, or perhaps a distinct species, having
a good deal of the aspect of A. DEALBATA, but the leaves and glands
nearer those of A. LEPTOCLADA, according to Mr. Bentham. Thermometer at
sunrise, 70░; at noon, 103░; at 4 P. M., 102░; at 9, 81░;--with wet bulb,

[* C. AURICOMUM (Lindl. MSS.); totum glaucum farinosum, caule stricto,
foliis petiolatis oblongis subhastatis lobisque posticis obtusis supremis
lanceolatis, spicis compositis nudis aphyllis glomeratis multifloris

15TH MARCH.--The sand amongst the scrubs was so soft and yielding, that
the draught animals could not draw the drays through it without great
difficulty; indeed, it was only possible by double-backing, as the
drivers termed their practice of alternately assisting one another, a
process to which all had had recourse with one exception. It was not
until 1 A. M. of this morning, therefore, that the last dray was brought
to the camp. Another bullock died on the way, and thus I felt, when the
field of discovery lay open before me, that my means of conveyance were
unsuited to the task. Overloading at Boree, unskilful driving, excessive
heat, and want of water, had contributed to render the bullocks
unserviceable, and I already contemplated the organization of a lighter
party and fewer men, with which I might go forward at a better rate,
leaving the heavy articles of equipment and tired cattle in a dep˘t, on
some good grassy spot. The latitude of this camp was 29░ 38' 21" south.
Thermometer at sunrise, 73░; at noon, 84░; at 4 P. M., 86░; at 9, 65░;--
with wet bulb, 60░.

16TH MARCH.--I proceeded six miles, and chose a camp beside a bend of the
Narran, full of deep water, and in the midst of most luxuriant grass. The
drays arrived by 11 A. M. in such good order, that I was induced to try
whether, by early starting, good feeding, and short journeys, the party
could not be got forward to the Balonne, where I could leave the whole in
one dep˘t, to rest and refresh, while I took my intended ride forward.
Latitude, 29░ 34' 11" S. Thermometer at sunrise, 43░; at noon, 86░; at 4
P. M., 87░; at 9, 62░;--with wet bulb, 55░.

17TH MARCH.--I proceeded seven miles, and the drays came forward as well
as they did yesterday, so that I again entertained hopes of the progress
of the united party, which was very desirable, as these plains were
evidently sometimes so saturated with water as to be rendered wholly
impassable for wheel-carriages or even horses. Latitude, 29░ 29' 11" S.
Thermometer at sunrise, 47░; at noon, 87░; at 4 P. M., 91░; at 9, 62░;--
with wet bulb, 52░.

18TH MARCH.--Again we made out a short journey over rather soft ground;
all the drays coming in, although slowly. I rode to a gently rising
ground, a great novelty, which appeared bearing E. N. E. from our camp,
at a distance of 2Ż miles. I found it consisted of gravel of the usual
conglomerate decomposed--of rounded fragments of about a cubic inch in
bulk. The grass was good there, and I perceived that the same gravelly
ridge extended back from the river in a north and south direction.
Graceful groups of trees grew about this stony ground, which looked, upon
the whole, better than the red sandy soil of the scrubs and callitris
forest. This seemed the dividing ridge between the Narran and Barwan.
From this elevation, I saw that the course of the former ran still in a
good direction for us, to a great distance northward. On that stony
ground I found a new PITTOSPORUM five feet high, with long narrow leaves,
in the way of P. ROEANUM and ANGUSTIFOLIUM, but distinct from both in the
form of its fruit.[*] Latitude of camp 29░ 25' 21". Thermometer at
sunrise, 53░; at noon, 90░; at 4 P. M., 96░; at 9, 69░;--with wet bulb,

[* P. SALICINUM (Lindl. MS.); foliis lineari-lanceolatis coriaccis
acutissimis aveniis, pedunculis unifloris aggregatis axillaribus,
fructibus subglobosis vix compressis.]

19TH MARCH.--Pursuing the Narran, keeping its eastern or left bank, our
course this day was more to the northward. I encamped after travelling
six miles, not only because the ground was soft and heavy for the drays,
but because I saw that the Narran turned much to the eastward, and I
contemplated the passage across it, intending to look for it again, by
travelling northward. Accordingly, as soon as our ground had been marked
out, I crossed to reconnoitre the country in that direction. I found a
fine, open, grassy country, but no signs of the river at the end of five
miles, nor even until I had ridden as far eastward. There, recrossing it,
I returned to the camp through some fine open forest country. Latitude
observed, 29░ 21' 51", S. Thermometer at sunrise, 57░; at 4 P. M., 96░;
at 9, 71░;--with wet bulb, 62░.

20TH MARCH.--Retracing my homeward tracks of yesterday, we proceeded in a
nearly E. N. E. direction, along much firmer ground than we had recently
traversed. The great eastern bend of the river was found amongst much
excellent grass and amidst much fine timber. A species of Anthistiria
appeared here, which seemed different from the ordinary sort, although
this was no stranger to me, when exploring the waterless plains westward
of the Lachlan, where it looked as if stunted for want of moisture. Here,
however, this variety presented the same knotty head, where other grasses
grew luxuriantly. After getting round the extreme eastern turn of the
Narran we encamped. Near the spot large rocks appeared in the bed, as if
the river was passing through the stock of the gravelly ridge I had
visited on the 18th. The rock consisted of that found about the basin of
the Darling; a quartzose conglomerate with much felspar, and having
pebbles of quartz imbedded. The large fragments of the conglomerate in
the river bed were angular, and not at all rounded at the edges. Here the
poor natives had been very industrious, as was evident from heaps of the
grass PANICUM LOEVINODE, and of the same redstalked coral-like plant,
also mentioned as having been observed in similar heaps, on the banks of
the Darling, during my journey of 1835 (vol. i. p. 238). I now
ascertained that the seed of the latter is also collected by the natives
and made into a paste. This seed was black and small, resembling fine
gunpowder when shaken out. Nevertheless it was sweet and pleasant to the
taste, possessing a nutty flavour.

The human inhabitants were few, and as invisible as other animals in
these forests--the prints of whose feet were also plain in the soft
smooth surface. As faithless as the snows of the North [*], this soil
bore the impressions of all animals obliged to go to the water, and
amongst them those of the naked feet of men, women, and children, with
the prints likewise of other BIPEDS, such as emus and kangaroos, and also
those of the native dog. Here still was our own race amongst other
animals all new and strange to Europeans. The prints of the foot of man
alone were familiar to us. But here he was living in common with other
animals, simply on the bounty of nature; artless, and apparently as much
afraid of us, and as shy, as other animals of the forest. It seemed
strange, that in a climate the most resembling that of Milton's paradise,
the circumstances of man's existence should be the most degrading.
Latitude of our camp, 29░ 19' 26" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 55░; at
noon, 100░; at 4 P. M., 101░; at 9, 70░;--with wet bulb, 65░. The mean
elevation above the sea of our camps thus far on the Narran, seven in
number, was 477 feet; the bed of the river being about 15 feet lower.

[* "And hungry Maukin's ta'en her way To kailyards green, While faithless
snaws ilk step betray Whar she has been." BURNS.]

21ST MARCH.--Proceeded as usual through fine grass, the river coming
favourably round towards the north. At about two miles I found some
traces of horses, and I looked at the river bank for Commissioner
Mitchell's initials, supposing this might be "Congo," where he had forded
the Narran. But we had not reached the latitude of Congo according to his
map. Nevertheless we found here such an excellent dry ford, with gently
sloping banks to a stony bottom, that the two circumstances induced me to
cross the Narran with the party. I travelled west-ward, until meeting
with a dense scrub, I turned towards the friendly Narran, where we
encamped in latitude 29░ 15' 31" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 56░; at
noon, 97░; at 4 P. M., 101░; at 9, 72░; ditto with wet bulb, 66░.

22D MARCH.--Gave the party a day's rest, prayers being read by the
surgeon, as was usual whenever circumstances admitted of our halting on
Sunday. The bed of the Narran presented in several places the denuded
rock, which seems the basis of all the soil and gravel of the country. At
one place irregular concretions of milk-white quartz, cemented by a
ferruginous basis, was predominant; at another, the rough surface of
compact felspar weathering white presented merely the cavities in which
large rounded pebbles had been imbedded, until the partial decomposition
of the felspar, under the river floods, had exposed them once more to the
action of water. The force of those waters, however, had not been
sufficient to cut a channel through very soft rocks extending right
across their course--a circumstance rather characteristic, perhaps, of a
river like the Narran, watering a nearly level country, and terminating
in a swamp. Thermometer at sunrise, 53░; at noon, 95░; at 4 P. M., 98░;
at 9, 72░;--with wet bulb, 66░. Height above the sea, 515 feet, from
eight observations.

23RD MARCH.--All hands were bent on an early start this morning, and,
soon after seven, the party moved off. We crossed much grassy land,
almost approaching to the character of scrub as to bushes; but we pursued
a tolerably straight course to the N.W., until we again made the Narran
at 8Ż miles. Various new plants attracted my attention this day,
especially a beautiful Loranthus on the rosewood Acacia, and a small bush
bearing a green pod resembling a small capsicum in shape. Among the
sedges by the river we found the KYLLINGA MONOCEPHALA; and, on the rich
black clayed soil near it, a species of bindweed out of flower, with
large sagittate leaves: in the scrubs back from the river, grew a small
bush, about four feet high, which has been considered either a variety of
Brown's SANTALUM OBLONGATUM, or a new species distinguished by its narrow
sharp-pointed leaves. The LORANTHUS LINEARI. FOLIUS was growing on the
rosewood Acacia, and the branches of Eucalypti were inhabited by the
parasitical ORANGE LORANTH.[*] Lat., 29░1 0' 6" S. Therm. at sunrise,
51░; at noon, 95░; at 4 P. M., 99░; at 9, 70░;--wet bulb, 63░.

[* L. AURANTIACUS (All. Cunn. MS.); ramis elongatis laxis gracilibus,
foliis oppositis longe petiolatis oblongis obtusis lanceolatisve
acuminatis glabris 3-5-nerviis tenui-marginatis, paniculis folio
brevioribus ditrichotomis, floribus erectis, calycibus subcylindraceis
superne latioribus truncatis, petalis linearibus 6, stylo infra apicem
geniculato, stigmate dilatato truncato.--W. J. H.]

24TH MARCH.--We set off still earlier this morning. I hoped to reach the
Bokhara, on the West, a river shown on the map sent me by the
Commissioner of the district, but after travelling about seven miles to
the northward, I saw rising ground before me, which induced me to turn
towards our own friendly river the Narran; but it proved to be very far
from us, while in my search for it, to my surprise, I found it necessary
to descend several considerable declivities, covered with waterworn
pebbles. At length a slight opening in the dense scrubs through which we
had forced our way, afforded a view towards the south-east of the low
range we were upon, which trended very continuously to the north-west,
covered thickly with the "Malga" tree of the natives; to the traveller
the most formidable of scrubs. After several other descents, we reached
the Narran, but only at half-past three in the afternoon, when we had
travelled nearly twenty miles. How the teams were to accomplish this, it
was painful to consider. I sent back a messenger to desire that the
cattle should be detached and brought forward to the water; content to
lose one day, if that indeed would suffice to recover the jaded animals.
Casuarinae now grew amongst the river trees, and reminded me of the banks
of the Karaula in 1831. We had also noticed another novelty in the woods
we passed through this day; a small clump of trees of iron-bark with a
different kind of leaf from that of the tree known by that name in the
colony. On the higher stony land, a bush was common, and proved to be a
broad-leaved variety of EREMOPHILA MITCHELLII, if not a distinct species.
We there met with a new species of the rare and little-known genus,
GEIJERA; forming a strong-scented shrub, about ten feet high, and having
long, narrow, drooping leaves. Its fruit had a weak, peppery taste.[*]
The rare ENCHYLOENA TOMENTOSA formed a shrub a foot high, loaded with
yellow berries: all the specimens were digynous, in which it differed
from the description of Brown. The CAPPARIS LASIANTHA was observed
amongst the climbing shrubs still in fruit; and a beautiful new LORANTH,
with red flowers tipped with green, was parasitical on trees.[**] On the
bank of the Narran we found the AMARANTHUS UNDULATUS of Brown.

[* G. PARVIFLORA (Lindl. MS.); ramis erectis, foliis longis linearibus
pendulis in petiolum sensim angustatis 4 unc. longis.]

[** Loranthus LINEARIFOLIUS (Hook. MS.); foliis lineari-filiformibus
acutis carnosis glabris teretibus, pedunculis axillaribus brevibus
bifloris, calycibus cylindraceis truncatis contractis, petalis 6
linearibus supra basin coalitis.]

The cattle arrived in the dark, and were watered in the muddy-banked
Narran, by the light of burning boughs; then set to feed. Lat. 29░ 6' 33"
S.; therm. at sunrise, 48░; at 4 P. M., 101░; at 9, 74░; ditto with wet
bulb, 62░.

25TH MARCH.--The cattle had now to return to bring forward the drays.
Meanwhile I took a ride up the river, in order to ensure a moderate
journey for these exhausted animals. Proceeding along the right bank, I
found gravelly slopes almost closing upon the river. The direction of its
course for four miles, was nearly southward. Then I saw gravelly ridges
on the left, and a line of wood before me, while the river evidently came
from the East round the margin of an extensive plain. I continued
northward; found a rosewood scrub: then saw the Malga tree; passed
through scrubs thereof; found myself on stony ridges, whence descending
in a N. E. direction, again passed through rosewood scrubs, and only
reached the river after riding 2Ż miles in that direction. I saw a
continuous ridge, bare and distant, beyond what I considered the river
bed, and a similar ridge to the westward. I crossed a native camp where
the newly deserted fires still smoked. We saw one man at a distance, who
did not mind us much; I could not have obtained any information from him,
and therefore did not seek a parley. Crossing the Narran there, by a
beaten track, beside a native fishing fence, I returned to the camp, on
the bearing of S. S. W., and found a grassy plain the whole way back,
until within sight of the tents, and a good rocky ford for the passage of
the party next day. On the stony ridge I found a remarkable shrub, a
species of Sida (ABUTILON), allied to S. GRAVEOLENS, Roxb., but distinct.
The teams brought the drays in, about 5 P. M.; one animal of all being
missing. Therm. at sunrise, 72░; at noon, 89░; at 4 P. M., 91░; at 9,
60░;--with wet bulb, 53░.

26TH MARCH.--Early this morning, William Baldock was sent back in search
of the stray bullock, while the party crossed the Narran, and proceeded
along my horse's track of yesterday. Baldock over took the party, having
found the bullock on the river, four miles below our late encampment. The
natives seen yesterday had disappeared, having previously set fire to the
grass. We proceeded two miles beyond their fires, and encamped on the
river bank in lat. 29░ 1' 57" S.

A small path along the river margin; marks on trees, where hollow
portions of bark had been taken off; some ancient, some recent, huts of
withered boughs and dry grass; freshwater muscle shells, beside the ashes
of small fires; and, in some places, a small heap of pulled grass
(PANICUM LOEVINODE), or of the coral plant; such were the slight but
constant indications of the existence of man on the Narran. Such was the
only home of our fellow-beings in these parts, and from it they retired
on our approach. Ducks, which were rather numerous, and emus (coming to
drink), probably constituted their chief food, as nets to ensnare both
these kinds of birds, were found about their huts. Youranigh brought me
one of their chisels, a small bit of iron fastened to a stick with gum,
and tied with a piece of striped shirting. I directed him to place it
carefully where he had found it. Thermometer at sunrise, 47░; at noon,
90░; at 4 P. M., 95░; at 9, 69░;--with wet bulb, 60░. The mean height
above the sea of the camps of 23d, 24th, and 26th March, was 461 feet.

27TH MARCH.--Pursuing, as well as we could, the course of the Narran,
which came more from the northward, we again encamped on its banks after
a journey of seven miles, without recognising any indication of the
vicinity of the larger stream, which, according to our latitude, we ought
by this to have reached. The current here had evidently been more
decided, and dry trunks and other FLUVIATILE DEBRIS lay more in masses
against whatever had lain in the water's way. Excellent grass clothed the
plains over which we had passed during the two last days, and grew
abundantly also about the banks of the river; but, in general, a belt of
the POLYGONUM JUNCEUM, about 400 or 500 yards wide, grew between the
immediate margin and the grassy plains. This shrub was found an
infallible guide to the vicinity of the river, when, as sometimes
happened, other lines of trees, resembling those on its banks, had led me
to a distance from it. The day was cool and rather cloudy, a great
novelty to us; for every day had been clear and unclouded, since long
before we crossed the Barwan. Abundance of the stones of the quandang
fruit (FUSANUS ACUMINATUS) lay at an old fire of the natives, and showed
that we were not far from the northern limit of the great clay basin, as
the quandang bush grows only upon the lowest slopes of hilly land. Lat.
28░ 55' 13" S. Thermometer at sunrise, 70░; at noon, 90░; at 4 P. M., 89;
at 9, 70░;--with wet bulb, 61░.

28TH MARCH.--At 2 A. M., loud thunder was heard in the south-west, where
a dark cloud arose and passed round to the northward; a few drops of rain
fell. The morning was otherwise clear, with a cooling breeze from S. W.
Thermometer at sunrise, 56░. We proceeded, travelling chiefly amongst
very luxuriant grass. The river now disappeared as far to the westward of
my northerly course on this left bank, as it had left me when on the
other bank by unexpected turns to the eastward. I came upon its banks
after travelling about eight miles. At the spot where I wished to place
the camp I perceived a native, and with Youranigh's assistance, managed
to prevent him from running away. He spoke only "Jerwoolleroy," a dialect
which my native did not understand at all well. He told us, however, that
this was still the Narran, and pointed N. W. to the Balonne. Upon the
whole we gathered from him that neither that river nor the Bokhara was
far from us. I endeavoured to convince him, by Youranigh's assurances,
and our own civility to him, that we meant no harm to any natives, and
were only passing through the country. He did not seem afraid, although
he had never, until then, seen white men. We encamped near him. The river
channel was very narrow, and contained but little water here-abouts. I
understood from the native (through Youranigh) that the river here spread
into various channels, and that "BARRO" was the name of a river beyond
the Culg, which falls into it from the northward; "TOORINGORRA," the
lagoon on which we encamped after meeting natives on the 31st March. Near
this camp we found a PHYLLANTHUS, scarcely different from P. SIMPLEX; a
SESBANIA near S. ACULEATA, but with smaller flowers; and the CHENOPODIUM
AURICOMUM, formed a white-leaved shrub, three or four feet high.
Thermometer at sunrise, 56░; at noon, 78░; at 4 P. M., 82░; at 9, 61░;--
with wet bulb, 56░.

29TH MARCH.--After prayers (the day being Sunday) I sent Mr. Kennedy
forward to explore the course of the river, in order to ensure a more
direct line for to-morrow's route. Mr. Kennedy was accompanied by one of
the men armed, and also by Youranigh, all being mounted. He returned in
about four hours, having found the river coming from the northward, and
he also reported favourably of the ground. Thermometer at sunrise, 48░;
at 4 P. M., 81░; at 9, 51░;--with wet bulb, 47░.

30TH MARCH.--The night had been cool and pleasant, Thermometer at sunrise
only 42░. The cattle were yoked up early, and we travelled on over fine
grassy plains, and with open gravelly ridges on our right. At length,
about the sixth mile, these ridges closed on the river, where there was
one hill almost clear of trees or bushes. I ascended it, but could only
see plains to the westward, and a dense line of river-trees running
north. We at length encamped on what appeared to be still the Narran,
after a journey of about eight miles.

We this day passed a small group of trees of the yellow gum, a species of
eucalyptus growing only on the poor sandy soil near Botany Bay, and other
parts of the sea-coast near Sydney. Thermometer at sunrise, 42░; at 4 P.
M., 83░; at 9, 61░;--with wet bulb, 57░. Mean height of the camps of the
27th, 28th, and 30th, above the level of the sea, 509 feet.

31ST MARCH.--The various lines of trees were now so much dispersed across
the country, that to follow the line of the Narran, it was necessary to
see its ponds and channel as frequently as possible. The course, if not
of the river, at least of its ana-branches; and there were besides those,
branches of another kind, namely, true branches coming from the main
channel, as branches leave the stem of a tree, never to unite with it
again. Some of those of this description, so closely resembled in every
respect the Narran, that the difference was only to be distinguished by
observing the marks of flood on trees, and ascertaining the direction of
the current. We had crossed several such, and were rather in a "fix" with
some lagoons, when I perceived several native children in one of them. I
wished here to intercept some natives who might tell us where was the
ford of "Congo," where white men had crossed the Balonne, or where was
the river Balonne. The children fled, but two manly voices were heard
immediately, and two natives came confidently up to Youranigh and then to
me. The eldest seemed about fifty-five years of age; the other was a lad
of about twenty. They spoke of "Congo," and the Balonne (BALONGO) as
quite at hand, and undertook to conduct us to both. It was quite evident
from their pronunciation, that "Baloon" was not the proper native name,
but Bal, the termination they gave it of "GO," being an article they very
often use, Bal-go being equivalent to THE Balonne; as in speaking of the
Barwan, they say "BarwÓngo." I had nearly completed the usual short
journey when we fell in with these natives, but I was unwilling to lose
the advantage of their assistance, and so travelled on under their
guidance, full five miles further, before I fixed on a spot for the camp.
This was by a splendid piece of water, named by them Tooningora, nearly
on a level with the adjacent plains, and covered with ducks. We had
passed other fine sheets of water guided by our native friends, and over
a rich grassy country remarkably level and free from scrub. It was
evidently changed by the vicinity of the larger river. I continued to
follow our new friends beyond where I had directed the party to encamp,
in expectation of seeing the marked tree at Congo, and the river Balonne.
After going forward thus about four miles, we saw five gins running off
at a great distance across some open plains, apparently near the river.
The eldest of our guides ran after them, and I requested him to assure
them that the white men would do no harm, and to tell them not to run
away. At length he overtook them. Two appeared to carry unseemly loads
across their backs, dangling under large opossum-skin cloaks, and it was
evident that these were mummied bodies. I had heard of such a custom, but
had not before seen it. I had then but a distant view of these females,
as they resumed their flight, and continued it until they reached woods
bounding the plain on the westward. The line of Yarra trees of the great
Balonne river ran parallel to our march westward, and there also,
according to my guides, was "Congo," the ford marked out by my son, and
which spot I most anxiously desired to see and identify by his initials.
Still my guides led westward towards the woods, and as we approached
them, the shout or scream of little Dicky, a native child of the Bogan,
follower of my camp, first drew my attention to a black phalanx within
the forest, of natives presenting a front like a battalion. Youranigh my
interpreter halted and remonstrated: our elder guide ran forward, and on
his reaching that body, the sound of gruff voices that arose from it
strongly reminded me of Milton's description of Satan's army:

"Their rising all at once was as the sound Of thunder heard remote."

Youranigh would not advance another step, although much pressed by the
other native remaining with us to do so, but declared that "those fellows
were murry coola," (very angry). We therefore retraced our footsteps to
the camp, without having seen either the Balongo or Congo. Our guide soon
overtook us, accompanied by fourteen of the strange natives, who, all
curiosity, passed the night at our camp, and they brought with them a lad
named "Jemmy," who spoke a little English, and had visited many of our
cattle-stations. He was very intelligible to Youranigh, who but very
imperfectly understood the language of the rest. They seemed upon the
whole a frank and inoffensive race. Their food consisted of the fish of
the river, ducks, and the small indigenous melon, CUCUMIS PUBESCENS,
which grew in such abundance, that the whole country seemed strewed with
the fruit, then ripe, and of which the natives eat great quantities, and
were very fond. It is about the size of a plum only, and in the journal
of my first interior journey (in 1831), is mentioned as a cucumber we
were afraid to eat. (Vol. I. p. 88.) Latitude of camp, 28░ 38' 47" S.
Thermometer at sunrise, 42░; at 4 P. M., 83░; at 9, 61░;--with wet bulb,

1ST APRIL.--The whole party moved off about the usual hour, 7 A. M.,
still under the guidance of our new acquaintance, towards the Balonne. On
our way the natives were very careful to point out how muddy hollows
could best be avoided by our drays. I saw seated at a distance, in due
form, the tribe to which they belonged; and having directed the party to
halt, went up to them. They were seated in three groups; old men on the
right, painted red; old women in the centre, painted white; and other
women and children on the left. The few strong men who appeared, formed a
circle around me, and told me their names as they came up to me. I
desired Youranigh to tell them that we were passing that way across the
Balonne to a very far-off country, and did not wish to disturb them, etc.
When all was said that could be said, and I was about to return, one of
the chiefs, "Yarree," said "good night," words which he must have learnt
at some cattle station. Although it was only morning, I returned the
compliment with all possible gravity, and took my leave. Soon after, we
arrived on the bank of the Balonne, as fine a looking river as I have
seen in the colony, excepting only the Murray. There was a slight
current, and the waters lay in broad reaches, under banks less elevated
above the bed than those of the Darling. In breadth the channel surpassed
that of the last named river in any part, I believe, of its course.

We encamped near a shallow place, which the natives at first said was
"Congo," but where we found no marks on the trees. The curiosity of the
natives having been gratified, they disappeared; but I must mention that,
having missed the elder of the two men who had guided us here since the
first evening, I learnt, on inquiring what had become of him, that he had
gone back to his little boys, whom he had left at the water-holes where
he first met us, six miles back, and for whom he had apparently gathered
his little net of melons. Nothing could have been finer than this man's
conduct. He had at once come on with us to guide us where we wanted to
go; took great pains to make us known to his own tribe, and, I believe,
to other assembled tribes at some risk to himself; and then, without
claiming my promised gifts, he had returned to his little family, left at
such a distance, only that he might do that which was civil, to us
strangers. Yet we call these men savages! I fear such disinterested acts
of civility on the part of the civilised portion of mankind are rather
rare. He had rendered to us, at all events, a very great service; for the
danger of sudden collision with the natives was at an end, after our
introduction by him to the tribes. In the afternoon, Slater, one of the
bullock-drivers, found a good fording-place; and I sent a few men to cut
the banks, and fill up a soft part of the river bed with logs, branches,
and earth, for the better passage of the drays; a work they completed
before night. I rode about five miles beyond the river to the north-west,
and met, first with a very broad lagoon full of water, nearly on a level
with the plains, and apparently permanent; secondly, I found beyond this,
a river or chain of ponds somewhat like the Narran. This I ascertained
was called the CÓwan by the natives, and that it meandered very much. The
country was rather fine. These waters were bordered by well-grown trees,
and the plains were covered with good grass. Lat. of our camp, on the
Balonne, 28░ 25' 38" S. Thermometer at sunrise, 44░; at noon, 75░; at 4
P.M., 79░; at 9, 60;--with wet bulb, 54░. Height of the bed of the
Balonne above the level of the sea, 494 feet; an average of three

2D APRIL.--All the drays and the party crossed the river this morning in
good order, and without any accident or much delay, by the little bridge
we had made in its bed. While they were crossing, the place seemed to me
so favorable for a ford that it might still be possible to find some of
the marked trees said to be at "Congo." I again questioned the natives on
this point, and one youth undertook to point out some marks made by white
men. Mr. Kennedy ran with him on foot up the left bank of the river, and
was shown two trees marked, the one with "J. Towns," the other with
"Bagot, 1845." Being thus convinced that this ford was really at or near
the place called "Congo," where Commissioner Mitchell had crossed, and
found the Culgoa, at a distance of only seven miles north-west, I
determined to go forward, in the same direction, to that river, taking my
track of yesterday, which enabled me to avoid the broad lagoon.

On arriving at the "Cawan" we saw two natives fishing in a pond with hoop
nets, and Yuranigh went to ask them about the "Culgoa." He returned
accompanied by a tall athletic man; the other was this man's gin, who had
been fishing with him. There he had left her to take care of his nets,
and, without once looking at me or the party, proceeded to conduct us to
the Culgoa. I never saw a Spanish or Portuguese guide go with a
detachment half so willingly. Yuranigh and he scarcely understood a word
of what each other said, and yet the former had the address to overcome
the usual difficulties to intercourse between strange natives, and their
shyness to white men, and to induce this native thus to become our guide.
He took us to the Culgoa, which we made at about seven miles from the
Balonne, and I was so much pleased with the willing service and true
civility of this native, that I presented him with an iron tomahawk, and
I heard him twice ask Yuranigh if it really was meant for him to keep. He
then hastened back to his gin, whom he had left five miles off. This
river presented as deep a section as, but a narrower bed than, the one we
had just left. It had all the characteristics, however, of a principal
river, and really looked more important than the Barwan, except that its
waters were not then fluent. Gigantic blue gum trees overhang the banks,
and the Mimosa grew near the bed of the current. I should say that these
and much sand were the chief characteristics of the Culgoa. There were no
recent marks of natives' fires, and I was informed that they did not much
frequent that part of the river. The grass along the banks was very
luxuriant. Latitude 28░ 31' 19" south. Thermometer at sunrise, 39░; at
noon, 75░; at 4 P.M., 76░; at 9, 50░;--with wet bulb, 46░. The height of
this camp above the level of the sea, being forty feet above the bed of
the river, 543 feet; from the mean of four observations.

3RD APRIL.--The section of this river being forty feet deep, and the
banks in general steep, the work necessary to render it passable to our
heavy drays could not be accomplished yesterday afternoon. This day,
however, our camp was established on the right bank of the Culgoa.
Thermometer at sunrise, 35░; at noon, 80░.; at 4 P.M., 77░; at 9, 49░;
and with wet bulb, 46░.

4TH APRIL.--We were now to proceed along the right bank of the Culgoa
upwards to the United Balonne, and thence to continue ascending along the
right bank of that river also, as far as the direction was favourable to
our progress northward. This remained to be ascertained in exploring that
river upwards. In gaining the right bank of the Culgoa, we had crossed
the vast basin of clay extending from the Bogan on the south, to this
river on the north, and westward to New Year's Range and Fort Bourke.
That country was liable to be rendered quite impassable, had the rains
set in. But even in such seasons we could still travel over the dry, firm
ground bounding this basin of clay on the northward, as the left bank of
the Bogan was also passable, however rainy the season, indeed more
conveniently then than during a dry one. Rain, if it had fallen at this
time, had greatly facilitated our exploration of the northern interior;
but these rivers we had reached would supply us with water for some
degrees to the northward, as I had been informed by the Commissioner of
the district, and in our progress so far, I hoped we should arrive at a
better watered country.

Taking a northerly course, we traversed fine grassy land, on which grew
luxuriantly the ACACIA PENDULA and other shrubs, that reminded us of the
banks of the Bogan, to which country we found here the exact counterpart,
only that this was better watered. The course of the Culgoa was more
easterly than I had calculated on, for, after going six miles northward,
I had to travel at least as many eastward before I again found the river.
We encamped on the acute north-western angle of an anabranch biting into
the firm soil, and it was evident that we had reached the Balonne Major,
or that part above the separation of the Culgoa from the Minor Balonne,
both of which we had already crossed, and which ran thus, as from our
camp the lines of trees along each of the minor channels were distinctly

The character of these rivers had been described to me by Commissioner
Mitchell, the discoverer thereof. It was late before the drays came in,
and Mr. Kennedy was led into the camp quite blind, having been suddenly
attacked with purulent ophthalmia, when engaged in the survey of our
route, about four miles from the camp. The heat had somewhat abated, but
still this complaint, which we had attributed to it, had lately affected
many of the party suddenly, as in the case of Mr. Kennedy. Latitude, 28░
27' 11" S. Thermometer at sunrise, 33░; at noon, 83░; at 4 P.M., 88░; at
9, 53░; with wet bulb, 47░.

5TH APRIL.--The party halted, and I took a ride to explore the course of
the river, proceeding first northward. In that direction I came upon an
angle of the Balonne, at about three miles from the camp. Beyond, after
passing through much ACACIA PENDULA, I crossed a small plain, bounded by
a Casuarina scrub. Partly to ascertain its extent and character, and
partly in the hope of falling in with the river beyond, I entered it. I
found this scrub full of holes, that obliged me to pursue a very tortuous
course, impeded as I was too by the rugged stems and branches. I got
through it, only after contending with these impediments for three miles.
The country beyond it looked not at all like that back from the river,
and I turned to the N.E., pursuing that course some miles; then eastward
two miles, and next two miles to the S.E., still without finding any
river; but, on the contrary, scrub in every direction. The sun was
declining, and I turned at last to the S.W., and in that direction
reached an extensive open forest, beyond which I saw at length the river
line of trees. I continued to ride S.S.W., and finally south, until I saw
our cattle grazing, and the tents, without having regained first, as I
wished, my outward track. On the bank of the Balonne we found an
apparently new species of ANDROPOGON with loose thin panicles of purplish
flowers, and in the scrub I passed through, in my ride, I found a
CASUARINA, indeterminable in the absence of flowers or fruit. It produces
a gall as large as a hazel nut. Thermometer at sunrise, 37░; at noon,
90░; at 4 P.M., 94░; at 9, 57░;--with wet bulb, 53░.

6TH APRIL.--Mr. Kennedy's eyes being still very bad, I could not proceed,
as the survey of our route was very important, in order to keep our
account of longitude correctly. The necks of the cattle were much galled,
and I therefore the more willingly halted another day. It was not without
some impatience, however, that I did so, as we were approaching a point
whence I could set out with horses to the north-west, and leave the
cattle to refresh in a dep˘t on this fine river, which afforded an
excellent base for our exploratory operations, in the wholly unknown
regions immediately beyond it. This line of exploration I had anxiously
wished to pursue in 1831, when obliged to return from the Karaula or
Upper Barwan; and whatever had since been ascertained about that part of
the interior, confirmed me the more in my first opinion as to the
eligibility of that direction. It had occurred to me, on crossing the
Culgoa, that by marking deeply on a tree, at each camp, a number of
reference, our survey might be more practically useful and available to
the colonists, as connecting so many particular localities therewith. I
therefore marked that No. I. in Roman numerals; this II., and I shall add
in this journal, at the end of the narrative of each day's proceedings,
whatever number or mark may be made to distinguish the place of
encampment described.

In the scrub near this, we observed an Acacia, apparently new, a
broadleaved, white-looking wattle. There was also a branching Composite,
which Sir W. Hooker has determined to be a very distinct and undoubted
species of FLAVERIA of which all the other species are natives of the New
World.[*] The CAPPARIS LASIANTHA was also found here growing on EXOCARPUS
APHYLLA of Brown; it was found by Allan Cunningham and Frazer on
Liverpool Plains, also, at Swan River. Thermometer, at sunrise, 44░; at
noon, 95░; at 4 P.M., 96░; at 9, 63░;--with wet bulb, 57░. Height above
the sea, 497 feet.

[* FLAVERIA AUSTRALASICA (Hook. MSS.) foliis lineari-lanceolatis
integerrimis basi dilatatis, capitulis densissime globoso-fasciculatis,
fasciculis subinvolucratis, bracteis exterioribus praecipue fasciculos
superantibus omnibus late amplexantibus.]

7TH APRIL.--When all were preparing to set off early this morning, I was
informed that two bullocks were missing, and a third fast in the mud on
the river bank. The two stray animals were soon found; but it was
impossible to bring on the other in the mud, for he was blown, from
having drunk too much water, after over-eating himself with grass. Our
journey was continued round one angle of the river in my horse's track.
Afterwards turning to the N. E., we crossed two miles of open forest
land, where the grass was good, and having the river in sight. At length,
even on an easterly course we could not keep it longer in view, but got
involved in a scrub on soft red sand. Emerging from this on a course of
E. S. E., we again got upon open ground, and soon saw the majestic trees
of the river in a line circling round to the northward. Coming upon it at
an angle where scrubs of rosewood and ACACIA PENDULA crowned the slopes,
we encamped on a beautiful spot. The river was magnificent, presenting a
body of water of such breadth, as I had only seen in one other river of
Australia, and the banks were grassy to the water's edge.

This day, "Jemmy," a young native whom we had seen on the Minor Balonne,
came to our camp with another youth, and the voices of a tribe were heard
in the woods. As Jemmy had not kept his word formerly, having left us
suddenly, and was evidently a scamp, I peremptorily ordered him away. I
had heard of his having brought gins to my camp at night on the former
occasion, and he was very likely to be the cause of mischief, and could
not, or at least, would not, render us any service. We desired no further
intercourse, at that time, with the natives, as those with us did not
understand their language. The misfortunes of Mr. Finch arose through
that sort of intercourse with his men, and had arrested my journey
fifteen years ago, when I had advanced to within forty miles of this
camp, intent on those discoveries I hoped at length to make even now. I
had good reason, therefore, to keep the natives at a distance here, at a
time, too, when the bodies of six white men were said to be still
uninterred in this neighbourhood. A species of CYPERUS with panicled
globular heads of flowers was found here in the sloping bank.
Thermometer, at sunrise, 47░; at noon, 97░; at 4 P. M. 97░; at 9, 69░;--
with wet bulb 57░. Height above the sea 634 feet. Latitude 28░ 23' 59" S.
(Camp III.)

8TH APRIL.--We continued our journey nearly northward, keeping the river
woods in sight, as much as the country permitted. An arm or anabranch, at
first containing much water, and coming from the north, was on our right
for some miles. In following it, our natives found the tracks of three
horses, one only having had shoes on, and two foals, as if proceeding
first towards our camp, then returning. The branch from the river became
dry and sandy, but still we followed its course. We saw about a mile to
the eastward, beyond this dry channel, a splendid sheet of water on a
level with the general surface, and having extensive tracts of emerald
green vegetation about it. The dry channel obliged me to make a longer
journey than I had intended. At length, on finding the requisite water in
its bed, I encamped. This was near a pond, on whose sandy margin we saw
still the tracks of the three horses that had been there to drink. The
scrubs came close to the river with intervals of grassy plain. The ACACIA
PENDULA, and its concomitant shrubs, the SANTALUM OBLONGATUM, and others,
gave beauty to the scenery, and with abundance of water about, all hands
considered this a very fine country. At sunset, thunder-clouds gathered
in the S. W., and at about 7 P. M. the storm reached our camp,
accompanied by a sudden, very strong gale from the S. E. The lightning
was very vivid, and for half an hour it rained heavily. By 8 P. M. it was
over, and the serene sky admitted of an observation of Regulus, by which
the latitude was found to be 28░ 17' 8" S. (No. IV.) Thermometer at
sunrise, 61░; at noon, 91░; at 4 P. M. 94░; at 9, 66░;--with wet bulb

9TH APRIL.--The branches of the river, and flats of Polygonum, obliged me
to follow a N. W. course. I did so most willingly, as we had already got
further to the eastward than I wished. The arm of the river spread into a
broad swamp, in which two of the drays sank, the drivers having taken no
notice of a tree I had laid across the track, to show where the carts had
been backed out. I made them unload the drays and carry the loads to firm
ground. Keeping afterwards along the margin of this swamp for many miles,
I perceived abundance of water in it, and passed the burning fires of
natives, where their water kids and net gear hung on trees about. At
length, upon turning to the eastward, I came upon the main river, where
it formed a noble reach, fully 120 yards wide, and sweeping round
majestically from N. E. to S. E. We here encamped, after a long journey.
The banks were grassy to the water's edge. We saw large fishes in it;
ducks swam on it, and, at some distance, a pair of black swans. This
surpassed even the reach at camp III., and I must add, that such an
enormous body of permanent water could be seen nowhere else in New South
Wales save in the river Murray during its floods. The Anthistiria grew
abundantly where we encamped, which was in latitude, 28░ 13' 34" S. and
marked V. Thermometer, at sunrise, 63░; at noon, 94░; at 4 P. M., 97░; at
9, 63░;--with wet bulb, 62░.

10TH APRIL.--Pursuing a N. W. course, we crossed small grassy plains,
fringed with rosewood and other acacias; but, in order to keep near the
river, I was soon obliged to turn more towards the east, as Callitris
scrubs were before me. In avoiding these, I again came upon the more open
and firm ground adjacent to the river, and saw its course in the line of
large Yarra trees, which always point out its banks with their white and
gnarled arms. I may here state that the scrubs generally consist of a
soft red sandy soil; the land near the river, of clay, which last is by
far the best of the two soils for crossing with wheel carriages; the soft
red sand being almost as formidable an impediment in some situations as
mud. At length, in travelling N. eastward, we came upon a spacious
lagoon, extending westward, and covered with ducks. Perceiving, by drift
marks, that it came from the West, I kept along its margin, following it
as it trended round to N. E., where we arrived at the main channel, about
that part whence the waters of the lagoon emanate during high floods.
That lagoon presented an excellent place for a cattle-station. Water
could never fail, as the main stream was at hand, if even the lagoon
dried up, which seemed not at all likely. PSORALEA ERIANTHA was abundant
in the bed of the river, along with INDIGOFERA HIRSUTA, and CROTALARIA
MITCHELLII.[*] Thermometer, at sunrise, 44░; at noon, 99░; at 4 P. M.,
97░ at 9, 66░;--with wet bulb, 58░.

[* C. MITCHELLII (Benth. MS.) erecta, ramulis flavescenti-tomentosis,
stipulis parvis subulatis, foliis ovali-ellipticis obtusis retusisve basi
angustatis supra glabris subtus calycibusque subsericeo-
pubescentitomentosis, bracteolis in pedicello brevissimo minutis
setaceis, legumine sessili glabro. Allied to C. RETUSA and SERICEA, but
flowers much smaller, in short dense spikes. It agrees in most respects
with the short character of C. NOVOE HOLLANDIOE, etc., but the leaf is
not articulated on the footstalk, and the stipules exist.]

11TH APRIL.--Proceeding due north we had the river close on our right
hand, when two miles on. After making a slight detour to avoid a gully
falling into it, we continued the same course over open forest land, and,
at length, saw an immense sheet of water before us, with islands in it.
This was also a lagoon supplied by floods in the Balonne. It was covered
with ducks, pelicans, etc. I called it Lake Parachute, no natives being
near to give me their name for it. I must here add that the true
aboriginal name is not Baloon, however, but Balonne, and this I the more
readily adopt to avoid the introduction of a name so inappropriate
amongst rivers. I was obliged to turn this lagoon, by moving some way
about to my right, for it sent forth a deep arm to the S. W. which lay
across my intended route. Continuing to travel northward, we arrived upon
the banks of a lagoon, where they resembled those of the main channel,
having trees of the same kind and fully as large. The breadth was very
uniform, and as great as that of the river, so that it seemed this had
once been the bed of the Balonne. We crossed it at a dry part of the
swamp, the waters extending and increasing in it to the eastward. In the
opposite direction it was equally uniform and continuous, but apparently
dry. On crossing this old channel, I turned sharply to the N. E., aware
that it is usually at acute angles in a river's course that such
overflowings break out. I found it necessary in the present case to turn
eastward, and even to the southward of east before I could find the river
again. At length we came upon the channel divided amongst ridges of sand,
where the waters took a sharp turn and broke thus into separate currents.
I was now very desirous to select a camp where the cattle might remain to
rest and refresh while I proceeded with a small party to the N. W. This
place did not please me, having been too scrubby, the water not well
tasted, and the grass dry, therefore liable to be set on fire by the
natives, or by accident. A bulbous species of CYPERUS grew on the bank of
the Balonne, and in the river we found the common European reed, ARUNDO
PHRAGMITES: a Loranthus allied to L. LINEARIFOLIUS, but with broader
leaves, grew on some of the trees, and we saw a fine new species of
ADRIANIA.[*] (No. VII.) Thermometer, at sunrise, 47░; at noon, 102░; at 4
P. M., 104░; at 9, 69░; with wet bulb, 62░. Average height above the sea,
of camps V. VI. and VII., 559 feet.

[* A. HETEROPHYLLA (Hooker MSS.) foliis ovato-acuminatis grosse
sinuatoserratis integris cordatisve trifidis, utrinque bracteisque

12TH APRIL.--I accordingly put the party in motion at an early hour, and
soon came upon the river, where it formed a noble reach of water and came
from the westward, a new direction, which, with the sand that had for
some days appeared in shallow parts of its bed, raised my hopes that this
river might be found to come from the north-west, a direction it
maintained for five miles. The breadth was uniform, and the vast body of
water was a most cheering sight. The banks were 120 yards apart, the
course in general very straight, contributing much to the perspective of
the scenery upon it. At one turn, denuded rocks appeared in its bed,
consisting of ironstone in a whitish cement or matrix, which might have
been decomposed felspar. I at length arrived at a natural bridge of the
same sort of rock, affording easy and permanent access to the opposite
bank, and at once selected the spot for a dÚp˘t camp, which we
established on a fine position commanding long vistas both up and down
the river. It was, in fact, a tŕte-de-pont overlooking the rocky passage
which connected the grass on both sides. This was No. VIII., and in
latitude 28░ 1' 37''. Thermometer, at sunrise, 68░; at noon, 104░; at 4
P. M., 101░; at 9, 74░;--with wet bulb, 64░.

13TH APRIL.--Here I could leave the jaded cattle to refresh, while, with
a small party on horse-back, I could ascertain the farther course of the
river, and explore the country to the north-west where centred all my
hopes of discovery. I set on foot various preparations, such as the
stuffing of saddles, shoeing of horses, drying of mutton, and, first of
all in importance, though last likely to be accomplished, the making a
pair of new wheels for a cart to carry water. Thermometer, at sunrise,
47░; at noon, 100░; at 4 P. M., 101░; at 9, 67░;--with wet bulb, 62░.

15TH APRIL.--This day I sent Mr. Kennedy to examine the country in the
direction of 331Ż░, my intended route, and he returned about 10 P. M.,
having seen what he considered indications of the river on his right when
about twelve miles from the camp, and plains to the left. Upon the whole,
I resolved, from what he said of the scrubs he had met with, to travel
north-west, that direction being perpendicular to the general course of
this river, and therefore the most likely to lead the soonest to higher
ground. Thermometer, at sunrise, 68░; at noon, 104░; at 4 P. M., 103░; at
9, 72░;--with wet bulb, 67░.

16TH APRIL.--In order better to contend with the difficulty of wanting
water, and be better prepared for it, I formed my party rather of
infantry than cavalry, taking only two horses, drawing a cart loaded
chiefly with water, and six trusty men, almost all old soldiers. We were
thus prepared to pass several nights without requiring other water than
that we carried with us. I hoped thus to be enabled to penetrate the
scrubs, and reach, and perhaps cross, the higher land bounding this great
basin. Our first day's progress, being rather experimental, did not
extend above ten miles. I had been obliged to send back the shaft horse,
and exchange him for a better, as our load of water was heavy. The day
was very sultry. Thermometer 105░ Fahrenheit, in the shade. We had passed
over ground more open than I expected, but by no means clear of scrubs.
Thermometer, at sunrise, 64░; at 4 P. M., 105░; at 9, 71░;--with wet
bulb, 67░.

17TH APRIL.--The messenger returned early with two horses, one being my
own second charger, which I put as leader to the cart. We then got
forward on foot as fast as the men could walk, or rather as fast as they
could clear a way for the cart. We passed through much scrub, but none
was of the very worst sort. The natives' marks on trees were numerous,
and the ground seemed at first to fall westward as to some water-course;
and, after travelling about five miles, there appeared a similar
indication of water to the eastward of our route. At one place even the
white-barked gum trees appeared; but, although they had the character of
river trees, we found they grew on an elevated piece of clay soil. After
completing about ten miles, I halted for two hours to rest the horses,
where there was a patch of good grass, and we gave them some water from
our stock. The mercurial column afforded no indication that we were at
all higher than our camp overlooking the river, and it seemed, therefore,
not improbable that we might meet with some other channel or branch of
that prolific river. After resting two hours we continued, passing
through woods partly of open forest trees, and partly composed of scrub.
Towards the end of our day's journey, we crossed land covered with good
grass, and having only large trees on it, so thinly strewed as to be of
the character of the most open kind of forest land. Saw thereon some very
large kangaroos, and throughout the day we had found their tracks
numerous. We finally set up our bivouac a little before sunset, on a
grassy spot surrounded by scrub. In this scrub I found the CLEOME FLAVA
of Banks, and the strong-smelling AMBRINA CARINATA. A very remarkable
whiteness appeared on the leaves of the EUCALYPTUS POPULIFOLIUS, which,
on very close examination, appeared to be the work of an insect.[*] On
the plains the SALSOLA AUSTRALIS formed a round bush, which, when loose
from its very slight root, was liable to be blown about. Thermometer at
sunrise, 71░; at 9 P. M, 68░;--with wet bulb, 64░.

[* The following letter from Mr. Westwood to Dr. Lindley relates to
specimens of this brought to England:--

"I am sorry that the state of the specimens from Sir Thomas Mitchell (or
rather, I should say, the time when they were gathered) does not allow me
to say much about the insect by which they are formed. It is an extremely
beautiful production, quite unlike any thing I have yet seen, and is, I
have no doubt, the scale of a coccus. It is of a very peculiar form,
resembling a very delicate, broad, and flattened valve of a bi-valve
shell, such as the genus Iridina, the part where the hinge is being a
little produced and raised, and forming the cover of the coccus which
secretes the beautiful material just in the same unexplained way as the
scale insects form the slender attenuated scales beneath which they are
born. I could not discover any insect beneath the specimens of Sir Thomas
Mitchell's production in a state sufficient to determine what it really
is, as I only found one or two exceedingly minute atoms of shrivelled up
insects. It is extremely brittle, and looks more like dried, white,
frothed sugar than any thing else."]

18TH APRIL.--A pigeon had flown last evening over our camp in a N. N. E.
direction, and as the ground sloped that way, and the men believed that
water was there, I rode this morning in that direction, leaving the other
horses to feed in the meantime. At two miles from our bivouac I found
some hollows in a scrub where the surface consisted of clay, and which
evidently at some seasons contained water, although they were then dry.
Polygonum grew around them, and I doubt not that after a fall of rain
water would remain there some time. On riding two miles beyond, in the
same direction, I found open forest land only. The country was well
covered with good grass, very open, yet finely wooded. We again proceeded
north-west over some fine forest land. The soil was, however, only soft
red sand, and made it very heavy work for our horses drawing the

On passing through a Casuarina scrub, we entered upon a different kind of
country as to wood and grass, the soil being much the same, or still more
loose and sandy. The surface bore a sterile heathy appearance, and the
trees consisted chiefly of a stunted box, growing but thinly. Instead of
grass, black, half-burnt roots of a wiry plant appeared, which I
afterwards found in flower (SEE INFR└), and one small, shrubby, brown
bush, very much resembling heath; apparently a Chenopod with heathlike
leaves, and globular hairy heads of flowers. The roots of the
firstmentioned plant presented much obstruction to our cart-wheels in
passing over the soft sand. As I stood awaiting the cart's arrival, some
birds drew my attention, as I perceived I had attracted theirs. They
descended to the lowest branches of the tree in whose shade I stood, and
seemed to regard my horse with curiosity. On my imitating their chirp one
fluttered down, and attempted to alight on my horse's ears. On my
whistling to them, one whistled some beautifully varied notes, as soft as
those of an octave flute, although their common chirp was harsh and
dissonant. The male and female seemed to have very different plumage,
especially about the head; that on the one having the varying tint of the
Rifle bird, the head of the other more resembling in colour, that of the
DACELO GIGANTEUS. They were about the size of a thrush, and seemed the
sole residents of that particular spot, and I had not seen them
elsewhere. The carts came slowly forward, the horses being much
distressed. I continued to ride some miles ahead, and passed through a
scrub in a clay hollow, to which succeeded another open forest country
with more of the soft red sand. The people with the cart could not
overtake me, and I returned. Meeting them at a rather bad place, I
determined to encamp at some patches of grassy ground somewhat out of our
line, in latitude, 27░ 43' S. It is remarkable that, according to the
barometer, we had not ascended higher than our dep˘t camp on the river,
at a distance of nearly forty miles from it. I had just quitted my
horse's back, and had resolved to return, when two horsemen were seen
approaching along our track. They were two of our party come from the
dep˘t to bring me a despatch, which had been forwarded by Commissioner
Wright, communicating the news of Dr. Leichardt's return from Port
Essington, and enclosing the Gazette with his own account of his journey.
Thus it became known to us that we could no longer hope to be the first
to reach the shores of the Indian Ocean by land. Thermometer, at sunrise,
62░; at 4 P. M., 93░; at 9, 71░;--with wet bulb, 64░.

19TH APRIL,--I left the men with the cart, to follow while I rode forward
along its track, and sat down to peruse the newspapers sent me, until the
cart overtook me in the evening, the horses being quite exhausted by the
heat and the heavy sand. Thermometer, at sunrise, 61░; at noon, 86░; at
9, 63░;--with wet bulb, 59░.

20TH APRIL.--The men who brought the despatches yesterday having been
ordered to bring fresh horses this day from the dep˘t, I sent our tired
animals on thither at once, as we could give them but a limited quantity
of water. I rode forward also to the camp, and met the fresh horses about
half-way. I immediately ordered the repair of the wheels of another light
cart, determined to lose no time in exploring a passage towards the head
of Carpentaria. Thermometer, at sunrise, 48░; at noon, 95; at 4 P. M.,
93░; at 9, 63░;--with wet bulb, 58░.

21ST APRIL.--The cart came in about 9 A. M. The morning was cloudy, for
the first time this month, and a slight shower fell. Had three or four
days' rain fallen at that time, it would have enabled me to have explored
by much less circuitous routes, than along the bank of this great river,
the country to the north-west. In this case, the tour from which I had
just returned might have been continued, as I wished and intended, had it
been possible to find water, to the mountains or higher ground, whatever
it might be that formed the limits to this basin on that side.
Thermometer, at sunrise, 65░; at noon, 76░; at 4 P. M., 77░; at 9, 60░;
--with wet bulb, 53░.

22D APRIL.--The clouds continued to lower, and a great change in the
temperature accompanied this visible change in the sky, but the mercurial
column remained uncommonly steady. Arrangements for a concentrated party
engrossed my attention so fully this day, with the insertion also of our
late work on the general map, that even the newspapers from the colony
lay unread. Mr. Kennedy took a ride across the river in a S. S. E.
direction, and found a fine grazing country with open forest, as far as
he went, which was about twelve miles. On the banks of the Balonne,
during my absence, they had found, besides a small bearded CYPERUS, a new
creeping PSORALEA [*], and a new species of Acacia, which Mr. Bentham has
named A. VARIANS.[*] Thermometer, at sunrise, 41░; at noon, 76░; at 4 P.
M., 77░; at 9, 61░;--with wet bulb, 56░. Mean elevation of this camp
above the level of the sea, being 50 feet above the river, 623 feet.

[* P. ERIANTHA (Benth. MS.) prostrata, canescenti-pubescens, foliis
pinnatim trifoliolatis, foliolis ovatis oblongisve dentatis, pedunculis
elongatis multifloris, floribus inferioribus remotis superioribus
approximatis, calycibus pube molli albida dense tomentosis, legumine
molliter villoso.]

[* A. VARIANS (Benth. MS.) glabra, pallida v. glauca, ramulis
subangulatis, phyllodiis oblongo-lanceolatis v. inferioribus late
obovatis summisve linearibus, omnibus basi longe angustatis apice obtusis
v. oblique mucronatis subimmarginatis vix obscure glanduliferis
uninervibus tenuiter reticulato-penniveniis, capitulis sub 20-floris
solitariis subracemosis v. in racemos foliatos dispositis, calycibus
truncatis, legumine glabro crasso sublignoso. Very near A. SALICINA, and
possibly a mere variety; but the phyllodia are generally considerably
broader, and the inflorescence different.]

Chapter IV.


23RD APRIL.--Our little party started at noon. I took with me eight men,
two native boys, twelve horses, besides my own two, and three light carts
with provisions for ten weeks--determined, if possible, to penetrate
northward, into the interior country, and ascertain where the division of
the waters was likely to be found. I intended, with this view, to trace
upwards the course of the Balonne, until I found mountains to the north-
westward of it; then, to endeavour to turn them by the west, and thus
acquire some knowledge on that most interesting point, the watershed
towards the Gulf. I left instructions with Mr. Kennedy to follow my track
with the drays and main body of the party, and to set out on Monday, the
4th of May, when the cattle would have had three weeks' rest.

The first few miles of this day's journey were along a clayey flat or
hollow, which enabled me to avoid scrubby and sandy ground on each side.
I believed its direction (N. E.), to be about parallel to the river.
Leaving it at length to make the river, I met with rather a thick scrub;
but came upon the river where the banks were very rocky and picturesque.
Its course seemed to be from N. E.; but, following another flat of firm
clay, I got again into scrub so thick that I turned eastward towards the
river, and travelled along its bank until I encamped in lat. 27░ 56' 12"
S. There was but little water in the bed of the river there; but long
islands of sand, water-worn banks, with sloping grassy bergs behind. The
bed, in most places, consisted of rock, the same ferruginous
conglomerate, or clay ironstone, seen in the same river lower down. Grass
was excellent and abundant on the bergs and near the river, but thick
scrub crowned these bergs on our side. It was too late to admit of my
examining the other. On our way through the scrub this day, we saw the
ENOCARPUS SPARTEA of Brown, a leaf-like wing-branched shrub; and the
beautiful parasite, LORANTHUS AURANTIACUS, occupied the branches of
Eucalyptus. Thermometer, at sunrise, 49░; at 9 P. M., 47░;--with wet
bulb, 41░. [* The dates on the map show my camps; the Roman numerals
those afterwards taken up by Mr. Kennedy, in following my track with the
main body.]

24TH APRIL.--Set off early, travelling along the bank. The direction was
N. N. W. and N. W. For the first few miles, the scenery was wild and very
fine. Masses of rock, lofty trees, shining sands and patches of water, in
wild confusion, afforded evidence of the powerful current that sometimes
moved there and overwhelmed all. At this time, the outlines were wild,
the tints sublimely beautiful. Mighty trees of Casuarinae, still inclined
as they had been made to bend before the waters, contrasted finely with
erect Mimosae, with prostrate masses of driftwood, and with perpendicular
rocks. Then the hues of the Anthistiria grass, of a redbrown, contrasted
most harmoniously with the light green bushes, grey driftwood, blue
water, and verdure by its margin; all these again--grass, verdure,
driftwood, and water--were so opposed to the dark hues of the Casuarinae,
Mimosae, and rifted rocks, that a Ruysdael, or a Gains-borough, might
there have found an inexhaustible stock of subjects for their pencil. It
was, indeed, one continuous Ruysdael.

"That artist lov'd the sternly savage air, And scarce a human image
plac'd he there."

May the object of our journey be successful, thought I then; and we may
also hope that these beauties of nature may no longer "waste their
sweetness in the desert air;" and that more of her graces may thus be
brought within the reach of art. Noble reaches next extended in fine
perspective before us; each for several miles, presenting open grassy
margins along which we could travel on firm ground unimpeded by scrub. At
length I perceived before me a junction of rivers, and could see along
each of them nearly a mile. I had no alternative but to follow up that
nearest to me, and found upon its bank many recent encampments of
natives; at one of which the fires were still burning. The country was
grassy, and so open, as almost to deserve the colonial name of "plain."
This channel took me a long way northward, and to the N. N. E.; but
finally turned west, and at last south. Its bed was full of sand; and at
length we found it quite dry, so that, when I would have encamped, I
could find no water. Yet it bore all the character of a large river;
marks of high floods, Mimosae, sand, and river driftwood, like the other.
It might, and probably did, finally come out of the main channel; but
this seemed too remote a contingency for our wants then, and I crossed
it, to look for the other. In riding eastward, I found a wide plain
bounded by trees that looked like those along the river. No time could be
spared for further reconnoissance: I took the party across, and made for
the nearest part. My course was first N. E., then East, finally South, in
following the various slopes; and it was only after travelling fifteen
miles beyond the point where I met with this river, that I reached the
bank of the other, at a spot distant only FOUR miles from where I had
quitted it. This was only accomplished at forty minutes after 4 P. M.,
when we had travelled twenty-six miles. As our circuitous route was
likely, if followed by Mr. Kennedy with the heavy drays, to cause delay
and inconvenience, I resolved to halt next day, and write to him on the
subject, explaining how he could most readily fall into my track by
crossing the other channel, quitting first the other track, at a spot to
be marked by Graham, who took the letter. Nevertheless, it had been
imperative on me to follow it up as I had done; because, whether as a
separate tributary or an ana-branch only, the right bank was likely to
suit us best, provided only that water could have been found in its bed.
Near the new river, the INDIGOFERA HIRSUTA of Linnaeus, with its spikes
of reflexed hairy pods, was common; and also the MOSCHOSMA POLYSTACHYUM.
Lat. 27░ 47' 57'' S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 38░; at 9 P. M., 59░;--with
wet bulb, 56░.


"The dawn is overcast, the morning lowers, And heavily in clouds brings
on the day."

A grateful change in the weather promised rain; but suggested to me a
contingency for which I had not provided in my letter to Mr. Kennedy, and
Graham was gone. A flood coming down, might fill the channel of the
other, and prevent Mr. Kennedy's party from crossing to fall into my
track; or, if that should finally prove only an ana-branch, shut me up in
an island. On this point I again, therefore, wrote to Mr. Kennedy, and
buried my letter at the spot marked by Graham, and according to marks on
trees, as I had previously arranged with him. I then instructed him to
examine the dry channel far enough upwards (halting his party for the
day) to ascertain whether it was a separate river, or an ana-branch; and,
in the latter case, to keep along its banks, and so avoid the possible
difficulty of crossing it during rainy weather. Thermometer, at sunrise,
65░; at noon, 70░; at 4 P. M., 66░; at 9, 64░;--with wet bulb, 63░. Mean
height above the sea, 586 feet.

26TH APRIL.--Sunday. Corporal Graham returned from the dep˘t camp at 1 P.
M. The sky continued cloudy, and the barometer low. High wind from the
west arose about 3 P. M. Thermometer, at sunrise, 63░; at noon, 78░; at 4
P. M., 78░; at 9, 56░;--with wet bulb, 53░.

27TH APRIL.--The party set off early. We found that a river from the
north joined the channel we were about to follow up in its course from
the east. The northern river contained water in abundance; and I
determined to follow it up so long as the course was favourable, and
water remained in it. The general course was much the same as that of the
first (about 39 E. of N.). The bed and ponds increased; and after
following it up about eleven miles, I encamped the party, and rode
northward to ascertain if it was likely to change its course. In ten
minutes, I came upon a splendid reach, extending north-west as far as I
could see it. Lat. of our camp, 27░ 42' 42" S. Thermometer, at sunrise,
37░; at noon, 69░; at 4 P. M., 72░; at 9, 57░;--with wet bulb, 55░.

28TH APRIL.--Masses of a ferruginous rock extended across the river bed
like a dyke, in a N. W. and S. E. direction; and as the river here broke
through these rocks, changing, at a sharp angle, its course to the S. W.,
it seemed probable that the general course from above might be parallel
to these rocks. Continuing along the bank, we found the reaches large,
full of water; the country clear of scrub and covered with luxuriant
grass. One singular flat sweeping round to the W. S. W. was covered with
the rich grass PANICUM LOEVINODE. The tropical PEROTIS RARA, a delicate
grass, producing long purple tufts of reflexed bristles, was also here
observed. The general direction of the river was towards the N. W., and
whenever it took any turn towards the east, I continued to travel
northward, and thus, on three occasions, came upon its bank again,
cutting off detours I must otherwise have described in following its
course. We encamped on a beautiful spot, the sight of which would have
rejoiced the heart of a stockholder. A fresh westerly breeze blew during
the day, and we were as free from the annoyance of heat, as if we had
been in England during the same month. Latitude 27░ 32' 37" S. The
direction of the river's course was uncommonly straight, and its long
sweeping reaches, full of water, seemed capable of being rendered
available for the purpose of forming water communications. The surface of
the adjacent country presented a thin deposit of sand, near the river,
attesting the great height to which its waters sometimes rise; and minor
features of ground near, showed, in their water-worn sections, that they
had been wholly deposited by the river. Thermometer, at sunrise, 39░; at
4 P. M., 69░; at 9, 48░;--with wet bulb, 46░.

29TH APRIL.--The tendency of the soft earth of the banks to break into
gullies, branching back into impervious scrubs, was such as to prevent me
from either seeing much of the river during this day's journey, or
pursuing a straight course. At one place I could only follow the grassy
margin of the river, by passing between its channel and the berg, all
seared as it was with water-worn gullies, and crowned with scrub; but I
was soon locked up under these where a bad hole impeded our progress
along the river, and I was obliged to back the carts out, the best way I
could. While travelling along the margin I perceived a slight current in
a gravelly part of the bed. I had previously observed a whitish tinge
like that of a fresh in the river water, this day and yesterday,
doubtless the product of the late rain, and probably from these clay
gullies. After a circuitous journey, we came out on a clear grassy brow
over-looking much open country. There I still met with heads of gullies,
but could easily avoid them, and after traversing a fine grassy plain, we
encamped as near the river as the gullies would allow, in latitude 27░
28' 27". One of the party, John Douglas, from the top of a tree,
discovered vast plains in the N. E. extending to the horizon, a river
line pursuing a northerly course, and in the N. W. a mass of cloud hung
over what he supposed to be mountains. Thermometer, at sunrise, 36░; at 4
P. M., 63░; at 9, 47░; with wet bulb, 44░.

30TH APRIL.--Obliged to keep at some distance from the river, I came upon
open forest land, where gentle undulations took the place of the rugged

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