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

Part 3 out of 7

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fell to that side. There were ponds in some hollows, and we made the
river itself at various parts of our route. At length, where it bit on a
high scrubby bank, I again proceeded northward and came upon a large
lagoon, sweeping round to S. W. and S. S. W., further than we could see.
It had on its surface numerous ducks, and a large encampment of native
huts appeared at one end. We encamped by this lagoon, in latitude 27 deg. 20'
S. Again vast plains and downs to the N. E. were seen by Dicky, our
youngest native, from a tree. Thermometer, at sunrise, 27 deg.; at 4 P. M.,
65 deg.; at 9, 43 deg..

1ST MAY.--On leaving the lagoon, passing between its head and the river,
we were soon enveloped in a thick scrub of Casuarinae, on ground broken
into gullies falling to the river. I tried to pass by the lower margin of
this, but gullies in the way obliged me to ascend and seek a passage
elsewhere. Forcing our way, therefore, through the scrub and out of it,
we found outside of it, in an open forest, the box and Angophora, and
could go forward without impediment, first to the N. W., afterwards
northward, and N. E. At length the woods opened into fine grassy plains,
bounded on the east by trees belonging to the river berg. There I saw
still the trees we had so gladly got away from, the Casuarina; also the
cheering white arms of the Yarra, or blue gum. The prospect before us
improved greatly; fine plains presented a clear way to the northward,
with the river apparently coming thence, and even round from the N. W.
From a tree, Yuranigh descried hills in the N. E. and the plains
extending before us. I also perceived, from the wide plain, a distant low
rise to the N. W. We crossed two hollows on these grassy plains, each
containing deep ponds, and descended towards what seemed a branch of the
river; we encamped near it, in latitude 27 deg. 15' 4" S. As we approached
this spot, natives were seen first looking at us, and then running off--
Yuranigh said he recognized one of them as a countryman of his own. I
endeavoured to make him cooey to them, or call them, but they made off,
setting fire to the grass. Any information from natives of these parts
might have been very useful to us then, and I hoped they would at length
come to us. Thermometer, at sunrise, 26 deg.; at 4 P. M., 67 deg.; at 9, P. M.,
48 deg.;--with wet bulb, 46 deg..

2D MAY.--There was a decided difference between the river we were now
upon, as well as the country along its banks, and the large river by
which we had travelled so far. This was undoubtedly but a small
tributary, as its direction seen this day showed, being from the
westward, while its waters, meandering in various narrow channels amongst
plains, reminded us of some of the finest parts of the south. Which was
the principal channel, and which to cross, which to travel by, was rather
difficult to determine. The country was very fine. These water courses
lay between finely rounded grassy slopes, with a few trees about the
water's edge, marking their various courses at a distance. A considerable
breadth of open grassy plain, intervened between this river and the woods
back from it. At length, sloping stony bergs came near the river's bed,
but there the smooth naked water-worn clay was the best ground we could
have for wheels, and we thus hugged each bend of the river, passing close
to the channel. I hoped thus to find plains on the next change of the
river's course. And so it turned out for some way, but the receding bergs
guided me, even when only seen at a considerable distance, in shaping my
course. Keeping my eye on their yellow slopes, I travelled far along a
grassy flat which brought me to a lake containing water like chrystal,
and fringed with white lotus flowers. Its western shore consisted of
shelving rock. An immense number of ducks floated on its eastern
extremity. From this lake, following a grassy flat to the N. W., we at
length reached the river, or rather its bed, seared into numerous
channels. The lake, and long flat connected with it, appeared to me more
like the vestiges of a former channel, than as the mere outlet of surplus
waters; nor did it seem that the water is now supplied from the floods of
the river. I followed this a few miles further, and then encamped just
beyond, where much gravel appeared in the banks. While the men were
erecting the tents, I rode some miles to the westward, and found an open
iron-bark forest covering it, with much luxuriant grass. This was rather
peculiar, as compared with any other part passed through. It was also
undulating; and, from a tree ascended by Yuranigh, it was ascertained we
were approaching mountains, as he saw one which bore 77 deg., also a hill to
the eastward, in which latter direction (or rather in that of 333 deg.), he
saw also an open country. Thermometer, at sunrise, 47 deg.; at 4 P. M., 62 deg.;
at 9 P. M 57 deg.; mean height above the sea, 694 feet.

3RD MAY.--Natives were heard near our camp during the night, and we
perceived the smoke of their fires, in the bushes, behind in the morning.
Yuranigh went up to them, accompanied by one of the party bearing a green
branch, and he prevailed on three of their tribe to come to our tents.
One stood amongst the carts and tents, apparently quite absorbed in
observation. Intense curiosity in these men had evidently overcome all
their fears of such strangers. They were entirely naked, and without any
kind of ornament or weapon, offensive or defensive. With steady fixed
looks, eyes wide open, and serious intelligent countenances, what passed
in their minds was not disguised, as is usual with savages. On the
contrary, there was a manly openness of countenance, and a look of good
sense about them, which would have gained my full confidence, could we
but have understood each other. They asked for nothing, nor did they show
any covetousness, although surrounded by articles, the smallest of which
might have been of use to them. There must be an original vein of mind in
these aboriginal men of the land. O that philosophy or philanthropy could
but find it out and work it! Yuranigh plied them with all my questions,
but to little purpose; for although he could understand their language,
he complained that they did not answer him in it, but repeated, like
parrots, whatever he said to them. In the same manner, they followed me
with a very exact repetition of English words. He, however, gathered from
them that the lake was called "Turanimga," this river "Cogoon," a hill to
the eastward "Toolumba," etc. They had never before seen white men, and
behaved as properly as it was possible for men in their situation to do.
At length we set out on our journey, and in mounting my horse, which
seemed very much to astonish them, I made signs that we were going to the

Travelling by the river bank was easy, over grassy forest land. The deep
ponds were tolerably well filled, but the quantity of water was small, in
comparison with that in the Balonne; which the natives seemed to say we
had left to the right, and that this was "one of its brothers." Malga
scrub crowned the bergs of the river, where they bounded one of these
forest flats forming its margin, and the mere sight of that impervious
sort of scrub was sufficient to banish all thoughts of making straighter
cuts to the north-west. Our course, with the river, was, however, now
rather to the west of north-west; and that this was but a tributary to
the Balonne, was evident. That river line, as traced by us, pursued a
tolerably straight direction between the parallels of 29 deg. and 27 deg., coming
round from nearly north-east to about north. For these last three days we
had travelled with this minor channel, to the westward of north-west; in
which direction I had, therefore, good reason to expect that we should
soon find mountains.

As soon as we arrived at an eligible spot for the camp, I proceeded, with
Yuranigh, towards a height presenting a rocky face, which I saw through
the trees, and seemed distant about two miles. From that crest, I
perceived woody ridges on all sides, but all apparently sloping from the
south-west; and a misty valley beyond the nearest of them in the
northeast, like the line of the Balonne. But the most interesting sight
to me then, was that of blue pics at a great distance to the north-west,
the object of all my dreams of discovery for years. No white man had
before seen these. There we might hope to find the DIVISA AQUARUM, still
undiscovered; the pass to Carpentaria, still unexplored: I called this
hill Mount First View, and descended, delighted with what I had seen from
its rocky crest. The sides were covered with Malga scrub. The rock was
felspathic, apparently allied to those already seen in the Balonne. Lat.
27 deg. 2' 57" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 45 deg.; at 4 P. M., 68 deg.; at 9 P. M.,
45 deg.;--with wet bulb, 43 deg..

4TH MAY.--An Australian morning is always charming,--amid these scenes of
primaeval nature it seemed exquisitely so. The BARITA? or GYMNORHINA, the
organ-magpie, was here represented by a much smaller bird, whose notes,
resembling the softest breathings of a flute, were the only sounds that
met the ear. What the stillness of even adds to such sounds in other
climes, is felt more intensely in the stillness of morning in this. "The
rapture of repose that's there" gratifies every sense; the perfume of the
shrubs, of those even that have recently been burnt, and the tints and
tones of the landscape, accord with the soft sounds. The light red tints
of the ANTHISTIRIA, the brilliant green of the MIMOSA, the white stems of
the EUCALYPTUS, and the deep grey shadows of early morning, still
slumbering about the woods, are blended and contrasted in the most
pleasing harmony. The forms in the soft landscape are equally fine, from
the wild fantastic tufting of the Eucalyptus, and its delicate willow-
like ever-drooping leaf, to the prostrate trunks of ancient trees, the
mighty ruins of the vegetable world. Instead of autumnal tints, there is
a perpetual blending of the richest hues of autumn with the most
brilliant verdure of spring; while the sun's welcome rays in a winter
morning, and the cool breath of the woods in a summer morning, are
equally grateful concomitants of such scenes. These attach even the
savage to his woods, and might well reclaim the man of crime from
thoughts likely to disturb the harmony of human existence.

Following up the little river with more confidence now, since I had seen
whence it came, I proceeded more directly north-west. Thus I found myself
on a small creek, or chain of ponds, from the west and southwest, so that
I crossed it and made for some open ground, between ridges clothed with
dense Malga scrub. We thus crossed a low ridge, and descended towards a
fine open country, on which pigeons were numerous, and traces of natives.
It was also sloping to the northward, and I had no doubt that we had
passed into a valley which I had observed yesterday from Mount First
View, and had supposed it contained a larger river. In the open ground, I
found a small rocky knoll which I named Mount Minute. From its summit, I
recognised Mount First-Sight, bearing 128 deg. 30'. We next passed through
some scrub, and came to a hollow full of Acacia pendula. Following this
down we arrived at a chain of ponds, and these led to an open grassy
valley, in which we found our old friend, the river, still pursuing,
steadily, a north-west course. Travelling along the bank, for a mile or
two, we found that these now consisted of fine open forest flats; and at
length encamped on the margin, after a journey of about twelve miles.
Near our camp, I saw natives on the opposite bank, first standing in mute
astonishment, then running away. I held up a green bough, but they seemed
very wild; and, although occasionally seen during the afternoon, none of
them would approach us. We found on the banks of this river, a purple-
flowered CALANDRINIA, previously unknown.[*] Lat. 26 deg. 57' 39" S.
Thermometer, at sunrise, 25 deg.; at 4 P. M., 70 deg.; at 9, 37 deg.;--with wet bulb,
34 deg..

[* C. BALONENSIS (Lindl. MS.); foliis angustis obovato-lanceolatis
alternis oppositisque, racemis secundis multifloris caulibus multo
longioribus, floribus (conspicuis) polyandris.]

5TH MAY.--The three last nights had been cold, each, in succession,
colder than the former. This morning the thermometer stood at 19 deg. E., yet
the water was not frozen, nor did our natives, sleeping in the open air,
seem to feel it. Hence, it was obvious that, in a dry atmosphere, extreme
cold can be more easily borne than in one that is moist. So, also, in the
opposite extreme of heat and drought, we had been so accustomed to a
higher temperature than 100 deg. F., that any degree under that felt
refreshing. Our journey this day by the side of the little river was
still very straight towards the N. W. We met with rocks at the westerly
bends; from which side it was also joined by a small tributary, with
ponds and hollows containing marks of flood, and beds of the POLYGONUM
ACRE. Still, however, the main channel could be distinguished from these,
and the open forest flats along its banks became more and more extensive
and open as we ascended this channel,--leading so directly where we
wished to go.

Hills were occasionally seen back from it, chiefly covered with scrub,
but some were grassy and seemed fit for sheep. Others were clothed with
callitris, and there the woods were open enough to be travelled through.
I rode to the summit of one and recognized two of the points seen from
Mount First Sight. At one sharp turn of the river rugged rocks had to be
removed to make a way for the carts, but this was soon done. Beyond,
there was a noble reach of water in a rocky bed, traversed by a dyke of
felspathic rock, which exhibited a tendency to break into irregular
polygons, some of the faces of which were curved; its strike was E. and
W. We encamped on open forest land in lat. 26 deg. 54' 16" S. It was only
during the last two days that I could perceive in the barometer, any
indication that we were rising to any higher level above the sea than
that of the great basin, in which we had journeyed so long, and the
difference was still but trifling, as indicated by not more than six or
seven millimetres of the Syphon barometer; our actual height above the
sea being 737 feet. Thermometer, at sunrise, 19 deg.; at 4 P. M., 67 deg..

6TH MAY.--The banks of the Cogoon became more open, and the slopes less
abrupt as we advanced. They frequently consisted of a mixture of sand, at
a height of twenty feet above its bed; where it occupied a section of
considerable width, as much, perhaps, as 100 yards between bank and bank.
On these rounded off banks or bergs of forest land, Youranigh drew my
attention to large, old, waterworn, trunks of trees, which he showed me
had been deposited there by floods. As they were of a growth and size
quite disproportioned to other trees there, I was convinced that they
were the debris of floods; and, consequently, that a vast body of water
sometimes came down this channel. This native was taciturn and observant
of such natural circumstances, to a degree that made his opinion of value
in doubtful cases. Such, for instance, as which of two channels, that
might come both in our way, might be the main one; thus my last resource,
when almost "in a fix," was to "tomar el parecer," as they say in Spain,
of this aboriginal, and he was seldom wrong. At length, the cheering
expanse of an open country appeared before us, and a finely shaped hill,
half-covered only, with bushes. On reaching an elevated clear part, I saw
extensive downs before me. The river turned amongst woods to the
eastward, and I continued on our route to the north, sure of meeting with
it again, as some fine forest ridges hemmed in the valley to the
eastward. Besides the hill already mentioned (which I named Mount
Inviting), there was a curious red cone some miles to the westward,
crowned with a bit of rock, on which I longed to plant my theodolite.
After crossing the plain, we entered an open scrub of Acacia pendula
which gradually changed to an open forest, within which I met with a
chain of ponds, and encamped in lat. 26 deg. 46' S. I immediately set out,
with a man carrying my theodolite, for Mount Red Cap, distant from our
camp about six miles. This little red cone had a very singular
appearance, as we approached it from the east. A dark tinted scrub of
flat-topped trees enveloped its base, on the outside of which the light
and graceful Acacia pendula also grew on the grassy plain. I found the
red rock to be the common one of the country, in a state of
decomposition. It was hollowed out by some burrowing animal, whose tracks
had opened ways through the thick thorny scrub, enabling us to lead our
horses to near the top. From the apex, I obtained an extensive view of
the country then before us, in many parts clear of wood to the verge of
the horizon, and finely studded with isolated hills of picturesque form,
and patches of wood. Looking backward, or in the direction whence we had
come, our valley appeared hemmed in by more continuous ridges; and,
towards the extremity of them, I could just recognise Mount First View,
this being one of the distant cones I had seen from it. I took as many
angles as the descending sun permitted, and then retraced our horses'
tracks to the camp. Thermometer, at sunrise, 20 deg.; at 9 P. M., 47 deg.. Height
above the sea, 747 feet.

7TH MAY.--Pursuing a N. W. course, we crossed a fine tract of open
forest, then a plain, beyond which we entered a scrub of Acacia pendula,
in which pigeons and quail were very numerous. Turning northward, now
anxious again to see the river, on approaching this open country, we
found what we considered the highest branch of it, in a chain of ponds
skirting the wood bounding the plains. Halting the party, I continued my
ride a mile and a half further northward, to the summit of a clear ridge.
From thence I saw an open country to the northward, with some little
wood. On my right, or to the eastward, a double topped hill sate in the
centre of this fine open country, and from the abundance of good
pasturage around it, I named it Mount Abundance. We continued still to
follow the now attenuated channel upwards, and found it to come from the
west, and even south-west, leaving the extreme corner of the open downs,
and leading us into a scrub. There, it formed two branches, in neither of
which could we find any water, and had consequently to return to the last
of its ponds, situated exactly at the close of the open country towards
the S. W. There, we encamped in latitude 26 deg. 42' 27" S., thankful that we
had been enabled by its means to advance thus far, and to discover so
fine a tract of country as that watered by it. Thermometer, at sunrise,
48 deg.; at 4 P. M., 68 deg.; at 9, 30 deg..

8TH MAY.--This morning Fahrenheit's thermometer stood at 21 deg. in my tent,
a degree of cold I should never have expected to have seen indicated from
my own sensations, or from the state of the pond, which was not frozen,
neither was there any hoar frost. The sun rose in splendour; pigeons
cooed, and birds were as merry as usual in the woods. The business of the
day was most exciting; I was to ride over the fine open country to the
westward of Mount Abundance, and there look still for a higher branch of
the river, or A river; confident that so fine a region could not be
deficient in water, but more confident from what I had seen of the range
to which we had approached so near. Riding to the N. N. E. in about two
hours we came upon the identical river we had so long followed up. It was
accompanied, as usual, by the Acacia pendula; had its rounded bergs;
reedy water holes; and an open strip along the left bank. Crossing it I
rode over towards an elevated part of the open downs, in hopes to obtain
a sight of what the country was beyond, but I found that to be
impossible, as it seemed boundless. So, turning, I ascended an elevated
north-eastern extremity of Mount Abundance, and from it beheld the finest
country I had ever seen in a primaeval state. A champaign region, spotted
with wood, stretching as far as human vision, or even the telescope,
could reach. It was intersected by river lines from the north,
distinguishable by columns of smoke. A noble mountain mass arose in the
midst of that fine country, and was so elongated in a S. W. and N. E.
direction, as to deserve the name of a range.

A three-topped hill appeared far to the north of the above, and to the S.
E. of the first described, another mass, also isolated, overlooking that
variegated land of wood and plain. To the S. E. of all these, the peaks
of a very distant range were just visible. I determined to name the whole
country Fitzroy Downs, and to identify it, I gave the name of the Grafton
Range to the fine mass in the midst of it. In hopes of obtaining an
elevated view over the country to the westward, I endeavoured to ascend
the northern summit of Mount Abundance, but although the surface to near
the top was tolerably smooth, and the bush open, I was met there by
rugged rocks, and a scrub of thorny bushes so formidable as to tear
leathern overalls, and even my nose. After various attempts, I found I
was working round a rocky hollow, somewhat resembling a crater, although
the rock did not appear to be volcanic. The trees and bushes there were
different from others in the immediate vicinity, and, to me, seemed
chiefly new. It is, indeed, rather a curious circumstance, but by no
means uncommon, that the vegetation on such isolated summits in
Australia, is peculiar and different from that of the country around
them. Trees of a very droll form chiefly drew my attention here. The
trunk bulged out in the middle like a barrel, to nearly twice the
diameter at the ground, or of that at the first springing of the branches
above. These were small in proportion to their great girth, and the whole
tree looked very odd. These trees were all so alike in general form that
I was convinced this was their character, and not a LUSUS NATUROE. [A
still more remarkable specimen of this tree was found by Mr. Kennedy in
the apex of a basaltic peak, in the kind of gap of the range through
which we passed on the 15th of May, and of which he made the accompanying

These trees grew here only in that almost inaccessible, crater-like
hollow, which had impeded me in my attempt to reach the summit.[*]
Leaving the horses, however, I scrambled through the briars and up the
rocks to the summit, but found it, after all this trouble, too thickly
covered with scrub to afford me the desired view to the westward, even
after I had ascended a tree on the edge of the broad and level plateau,
so thickly covered with bushes. On returning and descending eastward
towards the open country, I found a much more practicable way down than
that by which I had ascended. Returning to the valley of the Cogoon, I
passed between the two summits, and found a good open passage to the
westward between the brigalow. Thermometer, at sunrise, 20 deg.; at noon,
70 deg.; at 4 P. M., 68 deg.; at 9, 30 deg.. Height above the sea 1043 feet.

[* This remarkable plant constitutes a new and very curious genus of
Sterculiads. It agrees with STERCULIA in the position of the radicle with
respect to the hilum, but it is, otherwise, a BRACHYCHITON, with which it
more especially corresponds in the singular condition of the seeds. These
are placed, six together, in the interior of long-stalked, ovate,
mucronate, smooth, deep brown follicles, of a tough papery texture, and
lined with a thin fur of stellate hairs. The seeds themselves are also
closely covered with starry hairs, which are so entangled that they hold
the seeds together firmly; these hairs, however, are absent from the
upper half of the seed, whose thin brittle vascular primine is shining,
smooth, and marked with a brown nipple, the remains of the foramen.
Within the primine lies the bony crustaceous secundine, which is quite
loose, and seems as if it were independent of the primine. Eventually the
end of the thin brittle primine breaks like an eggshell and the secundine
falls out. The seeds themselves, remaining attached to each other and to
the follicle, resemble six deep cells, or may be rather compared to half
a dozen brown eggshells, placed on the broad end, from which the young
have escaped through the point.

Sir Thomas Mitchell has named the genus after Sir Henry T. De la Beche,
as president of a Society which has greatly encouraged him in his
Australian researches; and in honour of a science which has occasionally
thrown some light on his dark and difficult path. It may be
scientifically described as follows:--


CHAR. GEN. CALYX 5-fidus, valvatus. ANTHEROE congestae. STYLI. ...
STIGMATA. ... FOLLICULI coriaceo-papyracei, 6-spermi, longe stipitati,
intus stellato-pubescentes. SEMINA albuminosa, albumine bipartibili
cotyledonibus foliaceis parum adhaerente, pube stellari basi vestita,
inter se et fundo folliculi cohaerentia; PRIMINA laxa, tenui, fragili,
apice foramine incrassato notata, SECUNDINA crustacea, demum libera
chalaza magna circulari notata. EMBRYONIS radicula hilo contraria.


ARBOR grandis, trunco in dolii speciem tumescente. LIGNUM album, laxum,
mucilagine repletum, vasis porosis (bothrenchymate) maximis faciem
internam cujusque zonae occupantibus, radiis medullaribus tenuibus
equidistantibus. FOLIA lineari-oblonga, acuminata, integerrima, in
petiolum filiformem ipsis duplbreviorem insidentia, subtus pallida et
quasi vernice quadam cinerea obducta. INFLORESCENTIA axillaris,
trichotoma, tomentosa, foliis brevior. CALYX valvatus, utrinque

The wood of the tree has a remarkably loose texture: it is soft, and
brittle, owing to the presence of an enormous quantity of very large
tubes of pitted tissue, some of which measure a line and half across;
they form the whole inner face of each woody zone. When boiling water is
poured over shavings of this wood a clear jelly, resembling tragacanth,
is formed and becomes a thick viscid mass; iodine stains it brown, but
not a trace of starch is indicated in it. No doubt the nutritious quality
of the tree is owing to the mucilage, which is apparently of the same
nature as that of the nearly allied Tragacanth tree of Sierra Leone

It is not a little remarkable that the barrel-like form of the trunk
should be almost exactly paralleled by another Sterculiad, the CHORISIA
VENTRICOSA of Nees, called by the Brazilian Portuguese PAO BARRIGUDO. It
seems, however, that a tendency to a short lumpish mode of growth is
common among the order, as is indicated by the Baobab of Senegal, which
is almost as broad as it is long, and the great buttress trees, or Silk-
Cottons of tropical America.--J. L.]

9TH MAY.--The thermometer stood at 19 deg. in my tent this morning, yet no
ice appeared on the adjacent pool; for this reason, we named that branch
of the river Frosty Creek. In order to leave a more direct track for Mr.
Kennedy to follow with the drays, I made the carts return about two miles
to the spot where we first made these ponds. There I had a trench cut
across the track to the camp we had quitted, and also buried a letter for
Mr. Kennedy, in which I instructed him to avoid that detour which might
have otherwise led him into scrubs. We then prolonged our track from the
south, northward across the open downs. I travelled in the direction of
the meridian, and most of our route, this morning, marked a due north
line. We came, at length, upon a watercourse which I took for our river,
as the banks were finely rounded, the ponds full of water, and the woods
quite open. The scenery was parklike and most inviting. The watercourse,
soon, however, dwindled into a mere chain of ponds, and these at last
were found to contain no water, when we had completed our day's journey.
Open downs surrounded us, and fortunately I could still distinguish my
rocky position of yesterday, where I had noted that the general direction
of the river channel we had now again left, bore N. W. We were still much
to the southward of the line so observed, apprehending, as I did think
then, that some tempting plains might take us too far along some western
tributary. Riding in search of water, I perceived a column of smoke to
the northward; and, taking the party in that direction, we found, in the
first valley we fell in with, a chain of ponds, and in one of these water
enough for our use, whereupon I gladly encamped. This day we discovered a
new EUCALYPTUS which casts its bark in small angular pieces.[*] Latitude,
26 deg. 33' 34" S. Thermometer, at 4 P. M., 74 deg.; at sunset, 63 deg.. Height above
the sea, 1299 feet.

[* E. VIMINALIS (Hook. MS.); foliis alternis glaucis lineari-lanceolatis
breviter tenuiter petiolatis subfalcatis utrinque acuminatis
reticulatovenosis, nervis lateralibus marginem prope, racemis paucifloris
axillaribus, calyce turbinato in pedicellum brevem attenuato.]

10TH MAY.--Continued nearly northwards, over fine open forest land. The
sprinkling of mountains of peculiar forms here and there, and the open
country, which showed a bluey distance, were new features in the scenery,
and most pleasing to us, so long accustomed to travel through a level
woody country. The visible possibility of overlooking the country from
any eminence, is refreshing at all times, but to an explorer it is every
thing; besides he is not half so much in danger of wanting water, when in
the neighbourhood of mountains: with these sentiments I went forward this
morning, even although rather despairing of seeing more of our friendly
river. We crossed two chains of dry ponds, apparently some of its highest
sources. Still I travelled steadily towards a fine mountain before us,
over open downs, but with scrubs on either side. Reaching a dry bushy
hill S. E. of the mountains, about the time we should have encamped, I
perceived that the country sloped most to the eastern side of it, which
was rather out of my course; for the sake of finding water more readily I
got into a water-course falling that way, and followed it down. This,
opening soon into grassy flats, enabled us to avoid the scrubs. The
welcome white-trunked Eucalyptus next over-hung the holes of the water-
course, and the valleys spread into beautiful open plains, gracefully
fringed with Acacia pendula. Still, the ponds were dry. I crossed a bare
grassy eminence, and, where several channels met, I saw luxuriant white
trunks; heard and saw many cockatoos of the same colour (PSITTACUS
GALERITUS); and found there an abundant pond of water, beside which we
encamped. On some of the Eucalyptus trees grew a beautiful Loranthus,
which was new to us; it proved to be one formerly discovered by the
indefatigable Allan Cunningham, but only now described by Sir William
Hooker.[*] Thermometer, at sunrise, 28 deg.; at 4 P. M., 76 deg.; at 9, 38 deg.;--
with wet bulb, 34 deg..

[* L. NUTANS (All. Cunn. in Hook. Herb.) totus incano-glaucescens, foliis
oblongis ellipticis sublanceolatis obtusis coriaceis obscure trinerviis
tenui-rubro-marginatis basi in petiolum mediocrem attenuatis, pedunculis
axillaribus longitudine petiolorum racemosis compositis, floribus ternis
nutantibus, calycibus globoso-campanulatis ore contracto, petalis
linearibus.--Two varieties, a narrow-leaved and a broad-leaved, were
subsequently discovered; that now described was the narrow-leaved form.]

11TH MAY.--I ascended the mountain accompanied by two men with axes, and
one carrying my theodolite. The summit was covered with thick scrub
interlaced with vines, but my horse could push his way almost any where.
I fortunately found a rock near the summit, and, on throwing down a few
of the trees about it, obtained an extensive view over the country to the
northward. Open downs surrounded the mountain. Beyond these, valleys,
also clear of trees, or thinly wooded, fell on one side to the S. E., on
another side, other valleys fell to the N. W., leaving a rather elevated
tract between; which appeared to connect this mountain with a range just
dimly visible, bearing nearly north. The valley descending towards the N.
W., seemed to me to be the head of a river likely to pass through a
remarkable gap in a flat range, beyond which the view did not extend. To
the westward a woody, and rather level country appeared, from which I
thought I saw ridges, with plains or downs between them, descending
towards the N. W. river.

Anxious to discover the division of the waters, I carefully levelled my
theodolite and swept the northern horizon, but found, to my surprise,
that the country to the westward was lower than the hill on which I
stood, and that the ridge northward with the gap in it, was lower still,
the only greater elevation visible being the lofty mass bearing about due
north. Could this be all the obstruction I was prepared to open a pass
through? Could the hidden mystery of the division between the northern
and southern waters be here? Far in the east, a river line was evident
from columns of smoke, as well as from the termination of various lateral
ranges, between my position and the great mountain to the northward. That
was, probably, still the Balonne falling southward. Here I had found an
interior river that would, at all events, lead north-west, and this I
resolved to follow. On this mountain there grew, in several spots, the
remarkable trees I had first seen on Mount Abundance; some of them much
resembling bottles, but tapering near the root. On descending and
returning to the camp, which was about five miles from the hill, I found
eight natives, who had come frankly forward to the party during my
absence. I was very glad to see them, and gave to an old man, a tomahawk
to express my sentiments, and welcome the strangers, for little could be
understood by our native, of their speech, or by them, of his. We did,
however, make out from them, that the hill I had just returned from, was
"Bindango;" its lesser brother to the westward of it, Bindyego; and the
ponds or creek beside which we were then encamped, "Tagando;" all very
good sonorous names, which I was glad to adopt at once in my notes and
map. These natives were coloured with iron-ochre, and had a few feathers
of the white cockatoo, in the black hair of their foreheads and beards.
These simple decorations gave them a splendid holiday appearance, as
savages. The trio who had visited us some days before, were all
thoughtful observation; these were merry as larks, and their white teeth,
constantly visible, shone whiter than even the cockatoo's feathers on
their brows and chins. Contrasted with our woollen-jacketted, straw-
hatted, great-coated race, full of work and care, it seemed as if nature
was pleased to join in the laugh, at the expense of the sons of art. Sun
never shone upon a merrier group of mortals than these children of nature
appeared to be. One amongst them was a fine powerful fellow, whose voice
sounded so strongly, that it seemed as if his very whisper might be heard
half a mile off. The old man remained by our fire all night; the others
who, as I understood, were all his sons, had departed about 11 P. M.,
having left their gins in the vicinity. Thermometer, at sunrise, 22 deg.; at
noon, 76 deg.; at 4 P. M., 59 deg.; at 9, 35 deg..

12TH MAY.--I took a ride in the direction where I hoped to find a river
flowing towards the interior, according to my observations at Mount
Bindango. I rode over an open plain, or open forest country, soon found
the dells marked by water-courses, and, at length, the channel of a
river, with the Yarra trees. Following this new channel downwards a short
way, I found the beds of the ponds moist, and seven emus, running from
one a-head of me, first indicated the situation of a large pond; from
which three wood-ducks also waddled away as I approached it. This water
was only fifteen miles from where I had left the party encamped, to which
I hastened back with the tidings of a discovery that was likely to
expedite so much our momentous journey. Thermometer, at sunrise, 30 deg.; at
noon, 81 deg.; at 4 P. M., 59 deg.; at 9, 52 deg.;--with wet bulb, 51 deg.. Height above
the sea, 1168 feet.

13TH MAY.--I buried a letter here for Mr. Kennedy. This day the party
crossed the dividing ground, which I found to be elevated only 1563 feet
above the sea, and consisting, as already stated, of fine open grassy
downs, sprinkled with Acacia pendula and other shrubs. One or two knolls
projected, however, and resembled islands in a sea of grass. I rode to
one and found it consisted wholly of trap-rock in nodules. This was the
first trap I had seen during the journey beyond the Barwan, and from
their aspect I thought that other minor features of the mountains
Bindango and Bindyego, which I had not leisure to examine then, also
consisted of this rock. The little knoll I did visit, was about one
hundred yards in diameter at its base on the plains, and was covered with
trees wholly different from those in the adjacent forest, namely,
CALLITRIS PYRAMIDALIS, EUCALYPTUS (Iron-bark species), etc. We next
descended to a separate system of drainage, apparently falling to the
north-west. Instead of following rivers upwards, as we had hitherto been
doing, and finding them grow less, or taking a tributary for a main
channel, we were now to follow one downwards, with the prospect of
finding it to increase as we proceeded. The relief from the constant
apprehension of not falling in with water was great, as each day's
journey was likely to show additional tributaries to our new found river,
and, of course, to augment the supply. The old native at Tagando, had
pointed much to the north-west, frequently repeating the word "MARAN;"
whether that was, or what was, the name of this river, remained to be
ascertained. A sweet breeze from the N. W. met us as we descended the
slopes, and thus it was that white men first passed in that direction,
"AL NACIMIENTO DE LA ESPECERIA." Thermometer, at sunrise, 26 deg.; at noon,
75 deg.; at 4 P. M., 64 deg.; at 9, 43 deg.. Height of camp above the sea, 1226 feet.

14TH MAY.--The left bank of the river being rather steep and broken, I
crossed it, determined to pursue a N. W. course, so long as I found the
country open, thinking I might easily fall in with the river about the
time I wished to encamp, believing its course would be towards the gap.
We passed through some scrub, but chiefly over good forest land. When we
had travelled on about ten miles, I saw hills nearly clear of wood before
me, and halted the party while I went forward to look at the country in
that direction. I soon overlooked a deep dell, full of the richest grass,
and wooded like a park. The fall of the enclosing ranges showed me,
however, that our river might be further to the westward than I had
thought at all likely. On returning to the party, I found they had been
called to by natives in our rear, one of whom was formally seated in
advance, prepared for a ceremonious interview; and I accordingly went
forward to him with the green bough, and accompanied by Yuranigh. We
found him in a profuse perspiration about the chest, (from terror, which
was not, however, obvious in his manner,) and that he had nothing at all
to say to us after all; indeed his language was wholly unintelligible to
my native, who, moreover, apprised me that he was the big bully from the
tribe at our former encampment, then distant some twenty-five miles. He
handled my hat, asked for my watch, my compass, and was about to examine
my pockets, when Yuranigh desired him to desist, in a tone that convinced
him we were not quite at his mercy. I thought he said that the river was
called the "Amby," and something about the "Culgoa!" It then, for the
first time, occurred to me, from a gesture of this man's arm, that this
might be only a tributary to the Culgoa after all. We bade him adieu as
civilly as we could, but he hung upon our rear for a mile or two, and I
perceived that he had brought with him his whole tribe after us. Nothing
more unfortunate can befall an explorer, than to be followed by a wild
tribe like this, as I had experienced in former journies. The gift of the
tomahawk had done all this mischief, and how it would end, was a thought
which caused me some anxiety. The tall savage had set his heart upon our
goods and chattels, and it was not in human nature for him to desist from
his aggressive purpose, if we could not, in some way, contrive to cheek
the pursuit. I knew instinctively, by the first sound of a loud whisper
of his at "Tagando" at night, near our tents, that there was no music in
this man's soul. We soon arrived at a ridge of ferruginous sandstone,
whereof the strike tended S. S. W. and the dip was to the eastward. A
gradual ascent brought us to the verge of a low ridge, which was steep
towards the N. W., and a rocky knoll (of red sand-stone) afforded me a
view of the gap I had seen from Bindango, and hills about it. I
perceived, with great disappointment, that the structure of the country
was not according to my anticipations. The river course seemed marked out
by plains far to the south-west, and all the valleys and watercourses
fell FROM the gap in that direction, and not TO the gap. Still the
country about that opening looked very inviting. Picturesque hills,
clothed with grass and open forest, especially on their summits, and
dells between them, yellow or red with rich ripe grass, indicated a spot
of the finest description; and through the gap lay my destined line of
route, to the north-west, river or no river. Just then, however, we
wanted water, but on following a little channel about a mile downwards,
we found in it a spacious pond, and encamped. I rode three miles further
down this channel, which there turned SOUTHWARD, so that I despaired of
my newly discovered river Amby being of any further utility now; but I
was almost convinced that it would have brought me into this very
country, had I come round by Fort Bourke. Latitude 26 deg. 17' 8" S.
Thermometer, at sunrise, 35 deg.; at 4 P. M., 80 deg.; at 7 P. M., 71 deg.; at 9,
48 deg.. Height above the sea, 1150 feet.

15TH MAY.--My servant Brown drew my attention, early this morning, to
natives occasionally peeping at us from a hill overlooking our camp. Some
time after, I perceived a figure resembling a large black quadruped, with
head erect like a lion, prowling about, amongst the long grass beside my
after breakfast tree. Taking my glass, I recognized the identical big
savage of yesterday.

Hamlet might here have exclaimed--

"What a piece of work is man! ... ..... how infinite in faculties! In
form and action how like a QUADRUPED! In apprehension, how like a DEVIL!"

There the fate of Mr. Darke[*] doubtless awaited me; and this was to be
the result of my spontaneous gift of a tomahawk to the old man! This
savage had evidently been watching us all night, and his party were
concealed behind the hill. Our only remaining little dog, Procyon, had
been very restless during the night, when these people were, probably,
drinking at the pond near us. My rifle (fortunately I now think) was in
the case, but I fired a carbine so that the fellow should hear the bullet
whistle near him into the long grass; and at the same time shouted,
expressive of my disgust at his conduct, making the men join in a loud
JEERING cheer as he galloped off, still on all-fours, towards his camp.
My horse was standing saddled for a ride of reconnoissance in a different
direction, and, as it was not desirable that these people should know
either where I went, or even that I was absent, I took this opportunity
of frightening them away from our rear, and covering my ride the other
way. With this intention, I immediately mounted, rode first to the tree,
with my rifle in hand, and, accompanied by one of the men and Yuranigh,
both mounted, I next examined their camp behind the hill, whence I found
that a great number had just retired, leaving even their opossums still
roasting on the fire;--they having, in a very brief interval, by rapid
strides, retired to a considerable distance, where I heard their shouts
in the woods, calling their gins together for a precipitate retreat--
aware that we were now justly offended. I then set out, passing behind
some hills on the opposite side of our camp, and proceeded with the
business of the day, through woods in an opposite direction. I found a
low flat-topped range, extending nearly W. N. W., and consisting of black
ferruginous sandstone. It was broad and of peculiar structure, so that it
might well have been considered a dividing feature. Parallel to it on the
south, a line of pointed hills of trap or basalt, extended so as to give
birth, in the valley intervening, to the watercourse by which we were
encamped. On one of these Mr. Kennedy afterwards found the Bottle tree,
represented at page 154. I at length reached the gap in this range, and
in it discovered a most favourable and curious opening to the country
westward. Passing, then, into that region, I eagerly sought a
watercourse, soon found one, and followed it down to Yarra trees and dry
ponds; its first direction having been, as usually remarked in the
commencement of various other channels, to the N. W. Following this
downwards, I found the valley to improve, and two retreating emus drew
our attention to a particular spot, where we found water, at length, in a
pond. But the course of this little river had come round to S. W., and
the ridges enclosing its tributaries from the eastward, being apparently
in the same direction, I was still rather at a loss, but determined to
bring forward my little party to this pond, and then to reconnoitre the
country beyond. The XEROTES LEUCOCEPHALA was just coming into flower, and
the country seemed to contain much good grass. Thermometer, at sunrise,
38 deg.; at noon, 82 deg.; at 4 P. M., 82 deg.; at 9, 43 deg..

[* This gentleman was killed by natives when obeying the calls of nature
behind a tree.]

16TH MAY.--We pursued a tolerably straight and level route with the
carts, from the camp to the Pass. The trap hills appearing successively
on the right hand, rendered the scenery more than ordinarily picturesque,
while the probable future utility of this pass, gave them still more
importance in my estimation. We found a more direct route than along the
creek, to my pond of yesterday, where we encamped, thankful to find water
at such a convenient distance, during such a dry season. Lat. 26 deg. 15' 24"
S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 27 deg.; at 4 P. M., 83 deg.; at 9, 49 deg.. Height above
the sea, of the Pass, 1458 feet;--of this camp, 1256 feet.

17TH MAY.--Another reconnoissance seemed indispensable, before I could
move the carts. Taking the direction of an opening in the sandstone
ranges before us, I found that our little creek turned (as I hoped it
would), to the W. and N. W., having on all sides broken ranges enveloping
valleys of good open forest land. Some of the tops of these ranges were
clear of timber, and bore a heavy crop of grass. I ascended one, and
found it was capped with trap rock in amygdaloidal nodules. This height
afforded me an extensive view northward, where the country appeared to be
chiefly flat and thinly wooded. A low range of hills broke the horizon,
and presented some favourable points, and I thought I could trace the
course of our little river, through an extensive intervening woody flat.
I descended from the hill, and followed the little river down, but could
find no more water in its ponds. There were the Yarra trees, and fine
grassy flats on its banks; and I came to a fine looking piece of rising
ground, on the right bank, where the grass was on fire. We sought the
inhabitants of the woods, but could discover none. I now found our creek
turning towards the south, and that its channel disappeared in a spacious
open flat. While thus perplexed, and under an apprehension that our
further progress northward in such a season would be found impossible, I
perceived a dense line of trees, skirting a grassy flat, and rode towards
it, observing, that any where else I should have said we were approaching
a large river. I next perceived steep sloping earthy banks; then, below
these, a deep section of rock, and at length, dark green reeds, and the
blue surface of extensive reaches of water. I had left my party at a pond
that could not have lasted long,--here I saw at once secure, a firm
footing thus far into the interior. Whence the river came, or whither it
went, was of less importance; thus far we had water. The river was fully
as large as the Darling, and I very soon saw that its course was from N.
to S.; but in that case, we could, by following it upwards, penetrate far
on our way into the interior, and at its sources probably fall in with
other streams, flowing where we wished to go. I followed the course
downwards about two miles, and passed through native camps just deserted,
the water vessels and other gear of the natives having been left
suspended on trees near their fires. I found that the river turned sharp
under the rocky extremities of sandstone spurs from the S., and that its
final course was an enigma not to be solved without much more research. I
returned to my camp, glad that I could take the party forward to a
permanent supply of water. Thermometer, at sunrise, 29 deg.; at noon, 78 deg.; at
4 P. M. 75 deg.; at 9, 49 deg..

18TH MAY.--Leaving a buried letter for Mr. Kennedy we proceeded to trace,
with our cart-wheels, the best route I could find for the heavy drays
coming forward with him. The soil was sandy, but in other respects the
country was good: consisting chiefly of open forest, and being well
covered with grass. Another gap enabled me to pass very directly on to
the newly-discovered river, and it seemed that this, and the other gap
behind it, were almost the only openings in the ranges from which we had
descended. Both led in the direction of our route, and the pond we had
just left was ascertained to be the only one in the little channel. I
sought a good position for a depot camp on the newly-discovered river,
and found one extremely favourable, on a curve concave to the N. W.,
overlooking, from a high bank, a dry ford, on a smooth rocky bed; and
having also access to a reach of water, where the bottom was hard and
firm. We approached this position with our carts, in the midst of smoke
and flame; the natives having availed themselves of a hot wind to burn as
much as they could of the old grass, and a prickly weed which, being
removed, would admit the growth of a green crop, on which the kangaroos
come to feed, and are then more easily got at. Latitude of this camp, 26 deg.
12' 47" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 40 deg.; at 4 P. M., 78 deg.; at 9, 57 deg..

19TH MAY.--I could now venture to halt a day without any apprehensions
about leaving sufficient water for the party who were following us; and I
had recently obtained many angles I wished to put together, in order to
learn the character of the country, which required much study. That I
should have overlooked an extensive country, without perceiving any
indication of a large river flowing through it, almost at my feet, seemed
a singular circumstance, and I was still as little aware of its ultimate
course. I found on laying down my work on paper, that the chief
elevations ran, in a continuous line, nearly due north from Mount Red
Cap, Bindango, and Bindyego, to the high ranges nearer the coast. That
the nascent stream on the western side of Bindango (the Amby), and
flowing first N. W., turned towards the S. W. within a range of basaltic
rock, which was a branch from the main stem between Bindango and the
northern range. Thus, upon the whole, this seemed but one side, and that
the south-eastern, of the basin of the river we had discovered. Where was
the other? The marks of flood were not high. The waters were full of
fish, but they would not take the bait. Thermometer, at sunrise, 46 deg.; at
noon, 73 deg.; at 4 P. M., 76 deg.; at 9, 65 deg..

20TH MAY.--The sky was wholly overcast, and drizzling rain afforded us
some grounds for hoping that the great impediment to our exploration
during this dry season, was at an end. The temperature underwent a sudden
change, and this day was the coldest as yet experienced during the
journey; the thermometer at noon being only 48 deg.. F. Yuranigh contrived to
catch three fishes, of a kind wholly different from those of the rivers
in the south; leaving it doubtful, again, whether this river could belong
to the system of the Barwan. Thermometer, at sunrise, 53 deg.; at noon, 48 deg.;
at 4 P. M., 45 deg.; at 9, 45 deg..

21ST MAY.--The morning being clear, frosty, and serene, induced me to
ride towards an elevated point, about thirteen miles to the north-west,
in hopes of obtaining a view of more distant mountains. Crossing the
river near our camp I met with no obstruction, but found open forests,
and a good grassy country throughout; the soil being, however, rather too
loose and sandy, for the easy passage of wheel carriages. I crossed three
channels of water-courses all dry, but evidently receptacles of water in
ordinary seasons. They now contained a most luxuriant crop of oat-grass
(Anthistiria). The hill was rocky and open on the summit, the chief trees
being very remarkable; especially a species of FICUS, of a unique kind,
but not in fruit, closely resembling the English ash; but growing wholly
on rock. Bottle trees (DELABECHEA) grew also in a romantic nook, such as
they seem to delight in, in the neighbourhood of minor shrubs, equally
strange. The rock consisted of a sandstone with vegetable impressions,
such as I had never seen on the sandstone of the ranges. From this
summit, the crests of very distant ranges appeared to the northward; the
highest bearing nearly north, by compass, and apparently distant 70 or 80
miles. The course of the river, or at least of a river, judging by a line
of smoke, came from the north-westward, between that mountain, and others
to the westward of it. More to the right, or eastward, the horizon
presented flat-topped ranges; increasing in elevation as they receded
from that side of the country whence we had come. That sort of level
horizon seemed always to bound our view to the southward, the little gap
was the only relieving blue break in the whole of that side. The eye
ranged over a vast extent of country, however, at its base, extending
eastward, where open plains or downs shone bright in the remote distance;
in which direction, much smoke arose from fires of the natives. I
returned from the hill but little wiser than I went, except that I had
observed the strata dipping southward, and that we might, therefore,
still look for their synclinal line to the northward; and beyond that,
for the heads of other rivers. These hills, overlooking the valley of the
river, resembled rocky bergs, at a distance of ten or twelve miles west
of it. They, however, partly formed a small range, and belonged to an
extensive tract of sandstone country; which, on the south, was broken
into gullies, falling towards the river. Thermometer, at sunrise, 27 deg.; at
noon, 54 deg.; at 4 P. M., 55 deg.; at 9, 30 deg..

22D MAY.--This morning, the thermometer in my tent stood at 20 deg.; and in
the open air, at 12 deg.. The river was frozen, and the grass was white with
hoar-frost. The soil appearing so sandy in the country before us, I
resolved to form a depot with our drays and heavy equipment here, and to
await their arrival before I proceeded further with the carts. The spot
was eligible in every respect; and in awaiting the arrival of Mr. Kennedy
with the drays, I could have time to investigate more extensively the
character of the surrounding country. I was, indeed, rather apprehensive
that the drays could not reach without difficulty even this point; and I
was resolved, on their arrival, to make some arrangement for continuing
the journey, without dragging them any further through the heavy sand. It
was most irksome, during the finest of weather, thus to be obliged to
remain comparatively inactive, in the middle of such a journey, when
horses and light carts might have enabled me to have pursued it to a
conclusion, without such delays. Thermometer, at noon, 54 deg.; at 4 P. M.,
55 deg.; at 9, 27 deg..

23D MAY.--The river seemed to cut its way through rocky ranges, and to
receive many tributaries; had, in some places, bergs, and margins of
ancient gravel and sedimentary strata; in others, rocky escarps of great
height, presented sections of rocks through which it passed. Its further
course downwards, seemed accessible for some way from this camp; and, in
awaiting the arrival of the drays, I resolved to explore it. With this
view, I this day proceeded westward to head the gullies falling to it
from the other bank, from the sandstone country already mentioned. I
ascended by an extremity of the hill, to the rocky crest without
difficulty, or much deviation from my intended course. On reaching the
western side of the rough scrubby table of the range, I found the descent
gradual, through an open forest: traversed two flats, having in them the
Yarra gums, but no water-course, the surface very sandy. Here grew the
ACACIA CONFERTA, a small shrub just coming into flower; the XANTHORRHOEA
MIMOSA (with rough bark), yellow gum, black-butted gum, iron-bark, and
stringy bark. The woods astonished my native companion Yuranigh; who
remarked that they were trees belonging to the sea coast at Sydney. But
deep rocky ravines prevented me from exploring the country, in the
direction in which I should have expected to find the river. At length,
we approached a valley, in which was a deep channel with rocky banks; but
quite dry, and very sandy. It ran to the southward; in which direction I
turned with it, to follow it to its junction with the main river; but it
pursued a very tortuous course, and our time did not admit of my going
far enough that day, and I returned to the camp, resolved to extend this
interesting search on a greater scale subsequently. I had seen, from the
furthest point I reached, that the same table land to the southward,
extended west; and it therefore appeared to me probable that the river
would be found at its base. In the evening we heard, at a short distance
from our camp, the songs of females or children; as if the overflowing of
their animal spirits. I had seen their smoke in a part of the range I
passed this day, to which I feared they had fled on our approach, hearing
our guns, and in terror of strangers. I was, therefore, glad to find that
they had no longer any dread of us, and had returned to THEIR home, the
river bank. These people had no clothing,--the mercury stood at 19 deg. and
20 deg. F.; the means of subsistence open to them, had been scarcely enough
to have kept white men alive, even with the aid of their guns. Yet, under
such circumstances, and with such strange visitors so close to them,
these human beings were so contented and happy, that the overflowings of
their hearts were poured forth in song! Such is human nature in a wild
state. Their happiness was not such as we could envy; on the contrary, I
was so solicitous that we should not disturb it, that, much as I wished
to learn the original name of this interior river, and something about
its course, I forbade any of the party from taking any notice of these,
its original inhabitants. Our last intercourse with the natives, had also
taught me to bear ever in mind aesop's fable of the camel. Thermometer,
at sunrise, 12 deg.; at noon, 52 deg.; at 4 P. M., 56 deg.; at 9, 32 deg..

24TH MAY.--I proceeded, with two men bearing axes, to a hill about two
miles S. W. of our camp, one of the extremities of the range already
mentioned, (which I call River Head Range). We passed, at no great
distance from our camp, those natives whose song we had heard last
evening, but without taking any notice of them, except by slightly waving
my hand. One tall female stooped amongst the long grass, and several
others, male and female, endeavoured to hide themselves in a similar
manner, as they beheld, probably for the first time, a white man on
horseback, followed by others bearing a saw and axes. On the summit, grew
the Malga tree; which is an acacia of such very hard wood, that I was
obliged to be content to cut off the top branches only of a tree on the
summit I had endeavoured to cut down, and to erect a sort of platform on
the remainder, whence I took my angles. Up the river, there appeared some
open plains, and a level horizon, in the direction of its apparent
course. Thermometer, at sunrise, 11 deg.; at noon, 65 deg.; at 4 P. M., 67 deg.; and
at 9, 30 deg..

25TH MAY.--Protracting the observed angles I endeavoured to fix, if
possible, some prominent points, whereby I might obtain some knowledge of
the structure of the surrounding country. The result of my work was a
conviction that the course of the river was parallel to the projecting
extremities of the low range beyond it (River Head Range), and that its
basin had extensive ramifications, back amongst the sandstone cliffs on
this side. But the course downwards still remained a question, which
diminished in its importance, as I discovered the upper course to come
from where it was my wish to go. I resolved, nevertheless, while thus
awaiting the arrival of the drays, to extend my ride of the 23RD MAY, and
ascertain whether it could turn westward under the southern cliffs, the
only direction in which it was likely to be available to us, downwards,
at this time. Thermometer, at sunrise, 17 deg.; at noon, 70 deg.; at 4 P.M. 68 deg.;
and at 9, 38 deg..

26TH MAY.--Taking with me two men and Yuranigh, mounted, I retraced my
former track to the westward, and on proceeding beyond the dry river bed,
where I had previously been, I entered amongst sandstone gullies, where
one grassy flat extended nearly in the direction I wished to pursue; and
this brought me to a sort of table-land, covered with an open forest of
iron-bark (with the common leaf). The rock consisted here of the same
felspathic sort characterising most of the hills of the Barwan basin; the
soil sterile, bearing, in lieu of the ordinary grass, the stiff, hard
leaved, glutinous TRIODIA PUNGENS. But this was better than scrub, and,
further on, I perceived through a forest on the western slopes, the blue
distance and yellow plains of an open country. As plains usually
accompany rivers, I believed I was approaching the river I was in search
of. We crossed a deep watercourse falling to the S.E.b.S., and entered on
a noble flat of firm rich soil, whereon grew luxuriantly, the ACACIA
PENDULA (not previously seen by us in that region), and the two best
kinds of grass, ANTHISTIRIA and PANICUM LOEVINODE. Then we came to a good
pond of water, with recent footmarks of natives, and, at about a mile
beyond, we reached the open downs. They extended eastward as far as we
could see between the range on the S., under which I had expected to find
the river, and the rocky country over which we had come. Westward, the
downs were bounded by several very picturesque isolated conical hills,--
the southern sandy ranges on the S., still continuing westward like a
limit to all this interior open country. Yet through that barrier the
river had found a course, and instead of its overlooking the river, I
found that the ground rose towards it, and I hastened four or five miles
further westward, in hopes still to see it beyond the open downs, but I
saw nothing like it. Kangaroos showed their heads occasionally amid the
long grass: the air was all astir with pigeons, and traces of native
inhabitants were numerous. As the sun was then near setting, we hastened
back to the pond, and lay down beside it for the night, which happened to
be a mild one. Thermometer, at sunrise, 20 deg.; at noon, 72 deg.; at 4 P.M.,
71 deg.; at 9, 44 deg..

27TH MAY.--We rode nearly westward towards a conical hill, which I had
seen on the evening before, and named Mount Lonsdale. This peak appeared
to me then to promise an extensive view to the W. and S.W., and in that
expectation I was not disappointed. I also fortunately recognised two of
my fixed points, at distances of thirty-two and fortytwo miles
respectively, besides an elevated extremity of the continuous range on
the S., which I had previously intersected, and here determined to be
only five miles off, bearing about S.E.b.S. I could now see not only
westward, but to the southward of S.W., for nearly twenty miles over a
long flat, containing indeed, a line of ACACIA PENDULA scrub, such as
accompanies lines of water drainage, but no river. All the country in
sight more to the northward seemed to fall that way, or southward, and
although it seemed possible that a cross line of valley and blue mist at
the far extremity of the flat might be the river, it was much more
probable, from the general slope of the country, that it was only another
tributary coming from the north.[*] Such was Yuranigh's opinion too, who
alone stood on that peak with me, and who there reminded me of the fate
of the rivers Macquarie and Narran, and maintained that rivers were not
to be found every where. "Where then is our river, Mr. Yuranigh?" "Bel me
know," was the reply. I could soon have found this out, however, had it
been an object for our journey northward. It was enough to know then that
it did not turn into that interior country, which was open, and looked
much lower, and how much further the fine valley extended beyond the
twenty miles, an adjacent woody hill prevented me from seeing. The land
around me was fair to look on; nothing could be finer than the forms of
the hills--half clear of wood, the disposition of open grassy downs and
vales--or the beauty of the woods. Water was not wanting, at least there
seemed to be enough for the present inhabitants, and to an admirer of
nature there was all that could be desired. Deeply impressed with its
sublime and solitary beauty, I sketched the scene, and descended from
that hill, resolved to follow the river upwards, as more favourable, in
that direction, to the chief object of my mission. I named the hill
overlooking that lonely dale, Mount Lonsdale, in honour of my valuable
geological friend. We reached the depot camp in the evening, and found
all well, only that a very tall and powerful native had been
reconnoitring our position during the day, from various trees commanding
a view of it; probably only from curiosity. These visits, however, always
happened to be made, as it would appear, when some portion of the party
was absent, as on this occasion. Thermometer, at sunrise, 34 deg.; at noon,
79 deg.; at 4 P.M., 68 deg.; at 9, 59 deg.; with wet bulb, 50 deg..

[* Probably the Nive. See INFRA.]

28TH AND 29TH MAY.--My ride westward had enabled me to intersect more
points to the northward; but this was certainly the most intricate
country I had ever either to survey or explore; for neither by laying
down points on a map, nor by overlooking it from high summits, could I
gain a satisfactory knowledge of its structure. Upon the whole, however,
I was convinced that the downward course of the river, above our depot
camp, was in a favourable direction for the continuation of our journey.
The arrival of the drays and the rest of the party was now an important
desideratum; for I had resolved to establish them in a dephere, and
continue the journey with a smaller party and the horses; the sandy soil
beyond the river, appearing almost impassable for the absurdly heavy
drays, with which the party had been equipped. They had now had nearly
time sufficient to come thus far, making due allowance for sand and other
obstructions. In the mean while I determined to extend my reconnoissance
northward from a commanding height, distant fourteen miles, and bearing
271/2 deg. E. of N. from my camp. Thermometer, at sunrise, 47 deg.; at noon, 85 deg.;
at 4 P.M., 79 deg.: at 9, 65 deg..

30TH MAY.--I proceeded, accordingly, to the hill, over a tract of
excellent open forest land, which extended to its base. The summit
consisted of trap-rock in nodules, and, towards the highest point, was
much broken. On the most elevated part of the summit, grew one of those
remarkable trees, first seen by me on Mount Abundance. I had since seen
them in various solitary singular situations; two on the Hogs'-back
crest of Bindango; two or three near the summit of various other heights.
The girth of this was thirty feet at its greatest circumference, and only
sixteen at the ground. There was only one companion of the same kind, a
very young one, beside this; which in locality, form, and quality, seems
to be as remarkable a tree, amongst trees in general, as the kangaroo is
remarkable amongst other animals. Of its quality, much, I am sure,
remains to be said, when it becomes better known; the wood being so
light, moist, and full of gum, that a man, having a knife or tomahawk,
might live by the side of one without other food or water; as if nature
in pity for the most distressed of mortals, hiding in solitary places,
had planted even there this tree of Abundance. The wood must contain a
great portion of mucilage, for, on chewing it, it seems to contain as
much nutritious matter, as fibre. The pods contain a great number of
seeds which are eaten by the natives, and also by many birds; and, from
the circumstance of my having found one pod half-eaten by a bird on a
rock, the very apex of a lofty summit, the solitary locality of this tree
may, perhaps, be considered at least partly owing to its seeds being the
favourite food of some birds inhabiting such places, each seed probably
requiring to be picked out of the thick shell, in order that it may
grow.[*] The view the hill afforded me was most gratifying and
satisfactory. I saw again Mounts Bindango, Bindyego and Abundance, to the
southward; the cone I had lately visited in the west, (Mount Lonsdale):
the course of the river downwards, marked by open plains in the S. W.;
and, an extensive rather level country lay to the northward, beyond
which, at great distances, the summits of lofty mountains were just
visible. Through the wide champagne country intervening, the river's
course seemed marked by a line of smoke; a hot wind was then blowing, and
the natives are in the habit of burning off the old grass on such
occasions. The river seemed to come from the mountains, nearly from the
N.N.W.; so that the prospect of finding water in that direction, or
towards these mountains, was all I could desire. Here I intersected
various lofty distant summits seen on the 21st instant, and could thus
connect the whole trigonometrically with back angles to Bindango, Mount
Abundance, etc. In the eastward, a range of tabular masses, some almost
clear of wood, extended apparently to the coast ranges; and seemed to be
also connected with those stretching towards Bindango, and separating the
basin of the upper Balonne from this interior country. A hill similar to
that on which I stood, but of less height, lay on the interior side of
it, having a remarkable conic summit clear of bushes. The valley at the
base of these two hills contained a fine crop of ANTHISTIRIA; and there
was also a chain of ponds, where natives had been encamped not long
before, but in which no water then remained.

[* A new genus, since named DELABECHEA.]

On returning to the camp in the evening, I learnt that soon after I left
it in the morning, two natives came boldly up, painted white, bearing,
each, several spears and four or five bommerengs. They were followed by
two females bearing loads of spears. The men were got immediately under
arms, forming a line before the tents, and Corporal Graham beckoned to
the natives to halt. They pointed after me, and by very plain gestures
motioned to the party to follow me, or to begone. Finding the men before
the tents made the same signs to them, and stood firm, the principal
speaker edged off towards a man at a distance, in charge of the horses.
Graham got between, so as to cover the man and the horses, when they
advanced more boldly upon him, quivering their poised spears at him, at a
distance of only ten or twelve paces. At length the foremost man turned
round, and by slapping his posteriors, gave him to understand by that
vulgar gesture, his most contemptuous defiance: this induced the old
soldier to discharge his carbine over the head of the savage, who first
sprung some feet into the air, and then ran off with all the others. Soon
after, the same native was seen creeping up the steep bank, so as to
approach the camp under the cover of some large trees, the rest
following, and he was again met by our party. He then seemed to recite
with great volubility a description of the surrounding territory, as he
continually pointed in the course of his harangue to various localities,
and in this description he was prompted by the female behind, who also,
by rapid utterance and motions of the arm, seemed to recite a territorial
description. Finding, however, that his speech made no impression on the
white strangers, and that they still beckoned them to depart; he stuck a
spear into the ground, and, by gestures, seemed to propose that, on the
one side, the ground should be occupied by the strangers, and on the
other side, by them. Graham apparently assenting to this, they seemed
more satisfied and departed. There were two deep reaches; one above, the
other below, our camp. The upper one was deepest, largest, and more
remote from our party, and most within reach of the natives. I gave
strict orders that no man should go there; nor that the cattle should be
allowed to feed there; that it should, in fact, be left wholly to the
natives; that no ducks should be shot, that no men should fish there.
Nothing could be more reasonable than the proposal of this native, nor
more courageous than his appearance before our more numerous party, with
his spears and open defiance; and I was determined to take every
precaution to avoid a collision with his small tribe, and prevent, during
our probably long residence here, our people from doing them any harm.
Thermometer, at sunrise, 22 deg.; at noon, 60 deg.; at 4 P.M., 63 deg.; at 9, 31 deg..

1ST JUNE.--The sound of a distant shot about noon, which proceeded from
the Doctor firing at a bird, gave us the first notice of the approach of
the other party. Soon after, Mr. Kennedy came in, measuring the line;
and, subsequently, the drays, and the whole of the men in good health.
The cattle had got refreshed without delaying me, and I could now again
proceed with a good supply of stores, leaving them again in depot here.
Mr. Kennedy had examined the river, about which I had written to him, for
twelve miles up, and found that it was a separate river, coming from the
N.W., and that in all its bed no water could be found. The tribe of
Tagando had been troublesome to him, as I feared they would, after their
attempt upon us. The following account of their visit to Mr. Kennedy is
from his own notes:--"At 1 P.M., an old native, accompanied by five
younger men, approached the camp, each carrying a green bough, and when
within forty yards, they sat down in a line, the old man (probably their
chief) taking up his position about four yards in advance of the rest.
Sir Thomas Mitchell having mentioned, in a communication I received here,
that the natives had been friendly to him, I was anxious to preserve that
good feeling, but at the same time to keep them at a distance, according
to my instructions. I therefore went up to them with a green bough, and
endeavoured by signs to make them leave:--finding that of no avail, I
presented the chief with an old hat, and gave to each a piece of bread.
After they had eaten it, I raised the old man with my right hand, and
taking another in my left, I led them away in the direction whence they
had come, broke off a green branch, gave a portion to each, and bid them
farewell. As the others still remained in STATU QUO, I went through the
same ceremony with them until they were all on their path homewards.
Having heard nothing more of them for some time, I flattered myself that
I had succeeded in giving them a friendly hint that we did not wish them
beside us; but I soon discovered my mistake, for at 4 P.M. a large number
of natives, accompanied by two or three gins and children, came boldly up
and encamped within a few yards of the tents, and two hundred more were
reported to me by Mortimer as being at a short distance in their rear. I
gave strict orders that no man should go near them, and I mustered the
party myself at 8 P.M. Shortly afterwards, three or four natives came
down to our fires, and on the men saying that they would not be made to
leave, I put my hand upon their shoulders, and shewed them their own
camp. One tall young native in particular, wearing an opossum cloak,
exhibited a strong inclination to resist. I continued to watch their
movements until half-past eleven, P.M. up to which time they were talking
very earnestly, continually repeating the words "white fellow." I had not
retired to my tent five minutes when I heard Baldock (one of the two men
on watch) several times desire the natives to go back, who, as it
appeared, would insist on coming forward to our fires. Serjeant Niblet
then called me, saying he thought "all was not right," that the natives
refused to keep away, and that he had seen the fire sticks of others
approaching from several directions. On turning out, I found them making
a line of fires within twenty-five yards or less of our tents, and the
grass on fire, the old man urging them on in their mischievous work. I
called to them in the language of some of the aborigines, to go away
quickly, using the words "Yau-a-ca-burri!" but seeing that they still
drew nearer with their fires, to the imminent danger of the camp, I
desired the men, who by this time had got ready with their arms, to
charge them with a shout, but not to fire until they received orders. We
succeeded in making them run; when, to add to their alarm, one or two
shots were fired in the air. In their haste, they left the old hat I had
given them, an iron tomahawk, and a few other implements, behind them,
all of which I caused to be left untouched, in order to show them that we
had only objected to their intrusion. All being quiet, and the cattle
brought close to the camp, I added a third man to the morning watch, and
no more was heard of the natives." This was a specimen of the treacherous
nature of their mode of warfare, and very characteristic of the
aborigines, but by no means so creditable to them, as the conduct of our
neighbours at this camp, where the arrival of the other party was likely
to convince them still more, that they could not induce us to quit that
position, until we thought proper to do so. I had instructed Mr. Kennedy
to continue the numbering of the camps; but as the drays could not keep
pace with mine, only some of my camps have been so numbered, the others
marked being those where his party had passed the night. This depot camp
was, thus, No. XXIX, and the numbers of such others of mine as have been
marked between this and VIII., shall be added to this journal, and the
whole marked on the map. A new species of CALLITRIS appeared among the
trees, the ACACIA STENOPHYLLA, and the large leaved variety of ACACIA
DECORA, further removed than usual from the common form, and approaching,
in some respects, to A. RUBIDA. Among the bushes was the beautiful little
A. CONFERTA, remarkable for its little heath-like leaves, and among the
grasses was remarked an abundance of a new annual SPOROBOLUS with
extremely minute flowers.[*] Thermometer, at sunrise, 18 deg.; at noon, 64 deg.;
at 4 P.M., 64 deg.; at 9, 30 deg..

[* S. PALLIDUS (Lindl. MS.) foliis planis glabris ligula nulla nisi
squamula quadam, panicula effusa ramis brevibus alternis verticillatisque
scabriusculis, paleis truncatis altera 3-nervi altera binervi.]

2D JUNE.--Two half-boats were mounted on frames, and fixed over two of
the light carts, and other preparations made for the prosecution of the
journey with a small party. My plan was to reduce each man's ration of
flower from 7lbs. to 4lbs. per week: to allow a larger quantity of
mutton: some gelatine and barley, dried potatoes, etc. With my party, I
now proposed to take forward a portion of the sheep, as not requiring
carriage, and Mr. Stephenson, a man to assist him, and the shepherd,
formed the only addition to the number with which I had advanced to this
point. Mr. Kennedy had brought me a dispatch from Commissioner Mitchell,
accompanied by some newspapers, in which I read such passages as the
following:--"Australia Felix and the discoveries of Sir Thomas Mitchell
now dwindle into comparative insignificance." "We understand the intrepid
Dr. Leichardt is about to start another expedition to the Gulf, keeping
to the westward of the coast ranges," etc., etc. Not very encouraging to
us, certainly; but we work for the future. Thermometer, at sunrise, 11 deg.;
at noon, 67 deg.; at 4 P.M., 67 deg.; at 9, 30 deg..

3D JUNE.--This day one of the party caught several fishes in the river,
which appeared to be of the same species as the Eelfish, or Plotosus
tandanus described in the journal of my first journey (Vol. i. p. 95). It
is therein stated to be an Asiatic form of fish, on the authority of Mr.
Wm. M'Leay, but in other respects this was identical with one in the
Barwan. The course downwards of the new river, which we even now believed
to be called the Maran, from what we had gathered from the natives, was
thus almost proved to be towards the southern rivers. I instructed Mr.
Kennedy to employ the party in digging, and fencing in, and daily
watering, a garden; also, to make a stockyard wherein to lodge the cattle
at night, as this would leave more men disposable for the immediate
protection, if necessary, of the camp and stores. I also gave him very
particular instructions as to the natives, that no intercourse should be
allowed between them and the men; that he should, nevertheless, use them
very civilly, and endeavour to obtain some information, if possible,
respecting the final course of the Maran, etc. Thermometer, at sunrise,
16 deg.; at noon, 69 deg.; at 4 P.M., 66 deg.; at 9, 34 deg..

Chapter V.


4TH JUNE.--EVERY preparation having been made, I bade Mr. Kennedy adieu,
for at least four months, and crossed the Maranwith my party and light
carts. It was not without very much regret that I thus left this zealous
assistant, and so large a portion of my men, behind, in departing on a
hazardous enter prise, as this was likely to be, where the population
might be numerous. Anxiety for the safety of the party left, predominated
with me, for whatever might be the danger of passing and repassing
through these barbarous regions, that of a party stationary for a length
of time in one place, seemed greater, as they were more likely to be
assailed by assembled numbers, and more exposed to their cunning and
treachery. I gave to Mr. Kennedy the best advice I could, and we parted
in the hope of a happy meeting, at the period of my return--a hope, I
must confess, I could not indulge in then, with any degree of pleasure,
looking forward to the many difficulties we were prepared to encounter,
and considering the state of my own health.

The sandy bed of the river was difficult to cross with the carts, and
delayed us an hour. A different adjustment of the loads was necessary;
therefore I was obliged to turn out of my intended route for this day,
and go into a bight of the river for water, in making a much shorter
journey. This was only of six miles from the depot camp. Amongst the
waterworn pebbles in the bed of the river, we found various portions of
coal and the rocky sections in parts of the banks resembled its
concomitant strata. Thermometer, at sunrise, 16 deg.; at 9 P.M., 40 deg..

5TH JUNE.--The ground was sandy, and several gullies descending to the
river occasioned difficulties which tried the mettle of our horses, and
convinced me that we now carried too much weight for them. I accordingly
sent back Edward Taylor and another man with a note to Mr. Kennedy, and
with directions to pick out ten good bullocks, and bring forward one of
the drays as soon as possible. We met with various dry channels of
tributaries so deep and rocky, that they seemed, at first sight, like the
main river. I wished to reach the bank of this, at a favourable point to
encamp at, and await the arrival of the expected dray. But there gullies
rendered the access difficult. Sand and callitris covered the
intermediate ground, and augmented the impediments the horses had to
contend with. After crossing three rather important channels, I turned to
the N. E., and fortunately came upon the river, where the ground was very
open, and the acclivities gentle. The bed of the river was full of water,
forming a long reach covered with a red weed, the course from north to
south, straight. Height above the sea, 1190 feet. This we marked XXXI.,
last camp being XXX. Thermometer, at sunrise, 24 deg.; at 4 P.M., 70 deg.; at 9,
43 deg..

6TH JUNE.--Taylor arrived early with a fine team and strong dray,
confident in being able to keep up with the carts, and lightly loaded, of
course, that he might cross heavy sand, or deep gullies. I employed the
time usefully, in adapting Mr. Kennedy's measurements to my map. I had
now measured bases, besides those of latitude for my trigonometrical
work, and I should not have regretted even a day longer in camp, to have
had more time to protract angles, but time was too precious, as my men
were voluntarily on very reduced rations. The DODONOEA HIRTELLA of Miquel
was the only novelty found here. Latitude 26 deg. 6' 25" S. Thermometer, at
sunrise, 30 deg.; at noon, 75 deg.; at 4 P.M., 76 deg.; at 9, 50 deg..

7TH JUNE.--We set off at a better pace this morning, and kept it up, as
we found the ground firmer, and less broken. Several hollows with water-
courses in them, lay in our way, but presented no serious impediment. At
length, I saw some of the heads of River-Head Range, and a long ridge
appeared before us. On ascending it obliquely, following up the smooth
clay floor of a water-course, I found myself gradually entangled in a bad
scrub of brigalow and rosewood. After cutting our way through it, for a
mile and a half, I sought on the other side for any hollow leading off
water, and found one which brought us into an open forest flat with a
fine chain of ponds. The Acacia pendula appeared on its skirts; and, at
length, abundance of water, also, in the ponds. The grass was so
luxuriant near one of these, that I encamped beside it, without seeking
the river, to which these ponds seemed adjacent. Thermometer, at sunrise,
36 deg.; at 4 P.M., 85 deg.; at 9, 70 deg. (XXXII.). Height above the sea, 1309 feet.

8TH JUNE.--The country beyond this camp in a northerly direction was very
fine. The Acacia pendula, open forests, and gently undulating country
intersected by chains of ponds then dry, were its characteristics. At
length, we reached the river bank, and could travel along it to the west.
Just there, I perceived the junction of a river (perhaps the main
channel) from the N. N. W. It seemed full of water, whereas that which I
was obliged to follow, being the most westerly, was nearly dry, although
its banks were boldly broken, and precipitous. Its course came round even
from S. W., and deep ravines and water-courses coming into it, obliged me
to travel to the southward of that bearing in order to avoid them. We
thus, at length, came into a fine open grassy country, tolerably level,
and could resume a north-west course. In that direction, we crossed a
water-course from the S. W., and came to another in a deeper valley,
where we saw natives, who did not run away. There was a water-hole
nearest to our side, and one from which a native was ascending when I
approached. I directed the men (having encamped here) to keep the cattle
from that water-hole, if possible, anxious to avoid giving any offence on
this delicate point to the natives of these forests. Thermometer, at
sunrise, 36 deg.; at 4 P. M., 85 deg.; at 9, 70 deg.. (XXXIII.)

9TH JUNE.--The sky being overcast, and rain likely to fall, I considered
that the bullocks' necks might be galled by the yokes in wet weather;
and, being in some doubt about finding water in the direction in which I
wished now to travel, I set out with two men on horseback to explore the
country to the N. W., leaving the party to enjoy a day's rest. Little
rain fell, and the ride was very pleasant. A perfume like that of hay,
but much more fragrant, arose from the moistened vegetation, and I found
a beautiful country of open forest with ACACIA PENDULA in graceful
clumps. A few miles on, we were suddenly hailed from behind a few bushes,
by about twenty-five natives, painted red. We halted and endeavoured to
talk to them, but not a word was intelligible to Yuranigh, who was with
me. In vain he inquired about rivers, or water, in his language, and in
vain they bawled to us in theirs: so, after this unintelligible parley at
some distance, (for they would not come close up,) we rode on. We came at
length on a sandy country with much Callitris, but the whole surface was
undulating, and we crossed several chains of deep ponds, all falling to
our right, or eastward; some containing water. At length, I perceived on
the right, a deeper valley, and found in it a little river with a rocky
bed, and coming from the N. N. W. At two miles further, along my N. W.
course, I found it crossed it, coming from W. S. W., and here I turned,
well pleased to find an abundant supply of water, and a good country in
the best direction for our interior journey. The river ran chiefly on
rock, and the water was plentiful. Having returned to the camp, in the
evening, after sunset we were called to by a numerous tribe of natives,
assembled on the opposite steep bank of the chain of ponds, over which we
had encamped. By the particular cooey, I recognised the same party we had
seen in the morning. Their language was now loud and angry, and war was
evidently their purpose; from experience I judged it best to nip the evil
in the bud, and ordered five men under arms, who were first formed in
line before the tents, and with whom, at the bugle's sound, I advanced
steadily up the opposite bank, as our only reply to all their loud
jeering noise. They set up a furious yell on our approach, and advanced
to the brow of the cliff, as if prepared to defend it; but as we silently
ascended, they fell off, and, by the time we gained the height, they had
retired to a considerable distance, still shouting vociferously. Two,
however, were seen drawing round our left flank, in a little gully,
followed by a female carrying spears. I discharged my rifle over their
heads, upon which they hastened to their fellows. On firing another shot
over the dark noisy mass before us, they became suddenly quite silent,
probably persuaded that we were really in earnest. We marched through
their camp, made a feint, by descending into a gully, of coming upon them
unawares, and continued there, until silence and darkness secured our
peaceful occupation of the ground. Thus I prevented a night of alarms and
noise, which might have been kept up until morning, and until they had
worked themselves into that sort of frenzy, without which I do not think
they have courage to fight Europeans; and having once got their steam up,
they were sure to have followed us, and gathered a savage population in
our rear. Lat., 25 deg. 54' 17" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 56 deg.; at 4 P. M.,
70; at 9, 50 deg.. (XXXIII.)

10TH JUNE.--We advanced at an early hour, crossing Possession Creek, for
so we called it (and which proved rather an impediment, until we filled a
hollow with logs), and followed my horse's tracks of yesterday. Thus we
reached the little river in good time, notwithstanding much heavy sand in
the way of our carts, and encamped at the furthest point I had previously
visited. Thermometer, at sunrise, 30 deg.; at 4 P.M., 75 deg.; at 9, 39 deg.. Height
above the sea, 1240 feet. (XXXIV.)

11TH JUNE.--Keeping along the bank of the rocky river, we were obliged to
turn southward, and even S.S.E., such was the direction whence the river
came. I therefore encamped the party, after a journey of only 31/2 miles,
and proceeded to explore again, towards the N. W. I thus came upon the
rocky river where the rock formed a bridge affording an easy means of
crossing it, and this I valued more, as being the only passable place I
had seen in it, so deep and rocky was the bed elsewhere. The strata at
this bridge dipped N. N. E., a circumstance which induced me to travel
westward instead of N. W., in hopes to cross thereby sooner, a synclinal
line, and so arrive at the sources of some northern river. We passed
through some scrub, and attained, by gradual ascent, considerable
elevation. The country in general consisted of open forest, and contained
grass in great abundance. At nine miles, I came upon a chain of ponds
falling northward, and in which were two good ponds of water, whereupon I
returned to the camp. Thermometer, at sunrise, 38 deg.; at 9 P.M., 38 deg..
Height above the sea, 1287 feet. (XXXV.)

12TH JUNE.--The rock about the river here was deeply impressed with
ripple marks, and also dipped N.N.E. or northward. It consisted of a
yellow sandstone in thin strata, covered in some parts with beds of
waterworn pebbles. These consisted chiefly of quartz, felspar, and a
silicious petrifaction of woody appearance. We proceeded along my horse
track of yesterday. In crossing what seemed a principal ridge on which
grew brigalow scrub (through which we had, in parts, to cut a way), we
came upon a fine specimen of the Bottle Tree (DELABECHEA); near it grew
the GEIJERA PARVIFLORA, which did not attain a greater height than 10
feet. I found by the syphon barometer that our height above the sea was
here 1579 feet. By the same gauge I found that two other ridges further
on were still higher (1587 feet). In the afternoon, the sky became
overcast with dark, round, heavy clouds, and in the evening, slight
showers fell. Thermometer, at sunrise, 20 deg.; at noon, 74 deg.; at 4P.M., 73 deg.;
at 9, 60 deg.. The wind and clouds came from the west.

13TH JUNE.--The line of ponds we were upon might turn to the northward;
nevertheless I was unwilling to follow them down, and again lose westing,
until I had made another attempt to penetrate to the N. W. The morning
was rainy, and, as in such weather travelling was likely to gall the
necks of the bullocks, I halted the party, and took a ride in that
direction. I encountered much soft sand and scrubs of brigalow, rosewood,
and Callitris. Scrubs of the latter were most dense and continuous. I
fell in with a goodly little river at five miles; its course there was
from S. W. to N. E. Beyond it, I found the country still more sandy,
although intersected by one or two water-courses falling to the
northward. The furthest one, at fifteen miles from our camp, had in it
ponds containing no water. It seemed near the source, and that we had
almost reached the crest of some dividing feature. A thunder-storm then
burst over us, and the time of day did not admit of going further. I
therefore returned, convinced that I could not in that direction make
much progress.* Thermometer, at sunrise, 49 deg.; at noon, 57 deg.; at 4 P.M.,
54 deg.; at 9, 48 deg..

[* This was unfortunate: it will be seen by the map, that ten miles
further would have taken me to the river Warregin a direct line to the
head of the river Victoria, avoiding the mountains.]

14TH JUNE.--A drizzling rain continued, and the barometer indicated a
change; hence I hoped the rain would last until the water-holes were
filled. The day being Sunday, I gave the party another day of rest, and
took that opportunity of laying down on my map, the recently discovered
rivers and water-courses. It was only after I had done so, that I began
to think the water-course we were encamped upon, was worth following
down. The evening was clear, and I ascertained the latitude to be 25 deg. 47'
28" S. Thermometer, at sunrise, 52 deg.; at noon, 55 deg.; at 4 P.M., 57 deg.; at 9,
38 deg. (XXXVI.). Height above the sea, 1528 feet.

15TH JUNE.--In following down this chain of ponds, we found its channel
became a well-formed river, with abundance of water in it, a few miles
below our camp. The course thus far was northward; and I saw in one part
of it rocks dipping to the westward. I was in expectation that it would
have continued northward, when it suddenly turned towards the S.S.W. I
thereupon crossed it, and resumed my N.W. course. My path was thus again
crossed by our river flowing northward: we had then travelled 121/2 miles,
and I encamped on its banks. The whole of the day's journey, with little
exception, had been over heavy sand, and, but for the rain that had
fallen, it must have greatly distressed the horses and oxen. As it was,
they got over it wondrous well. In a pond of this river, Mr. Stephenson
caught a great number of the harlequin fish, a circumstance almost
proving that this was a tributary to the Maran. We found this day a new
narrow-leaved TRISTANIA[*], thirty feet high, with bark thick, soft, and
fibrous. A smooth narrow-leaved variety of ACACIA HOLOSERICEA was loaded
with spikes of crooked sickle-shaped pods. Among the herbage was observed
the TEUCRIUM ARGUTUM of Brown; and the XEROTES LEUCOCEPHALA grew in the
light dry sand. Novelty in the plants, animals, and fishes, was now to be
expected; the weather was cool and pleasant, and our travelling equipment
tolerably efficient. Thermometer, at sunrise, 30 deg.; at 4 P. M., 58 deg.; at 9
P. M., 46 deg. (XXXVII.). Height above the sea, 1827 feet.

[* T. ANGUSTIFOLIA (Hook. MS.); foliis angusto-linearibus
mucronatoacuminatis supra glabris subtus subsericeis marginibus arcte
revolutis, paniculis terminalibus folio brevioribus calycibusque incano-
tomentosis. These specimens were in fruit. It is very distinct from every
other species.]

16TH JUNE.--Proceeding nearly north-west, we met with the little river I
had discovered a few miles beyond my camp of the 13th and 14th instant.
The distance of this point from the camp we had left this morning was
about 21/2 miles. We crossed it, and turned to the westward, and even
south-west, to avoid it. Over its extreme south-western bend there was a
little rocky hill, which I ascended, and thence saw a mountain I had
intersected from the high station east of the depot. It now bore 12 deg. west
of north, and I directed my course towards it, as well as the country
would permit. We crossed several sandy ranges on which the callitris was,
as usual, the chief tree, as it was also on the soft heavy sand between
them. Occasionally, the lowest parts where water would take its course,
consisted of firm clay, and we took advantage of such flats, when their
direction was favourable. I was at length under the necessity of
encamping on one of these, where there was no water, nor any to be found
in it after I had followed it down four miles. In my search for water, I
found a curious new PHEBALIUM.[*] Thermometer, at sunrise, 43 deg.; at 9 P.
M., 54 deg.. Height above the sea, 1646 feet.

[* P. GLANDULOSUM (Hook. MS.); foliis angusto-lineari-cuneatis retusis
canaliculatis marginibus revolutis subtus ramulisque argenteo-lepidotis
superne (praecipue) grosse glandulosis nudis, corymbis terminalibus
parvis sessilibus fusco-lepidotis, calycibus subtruncatis, petalis ovatis
concavis. Allied to P. SQUAMULOSUM and P. ELOEAGNOIDES, but very
distinct, especially in the presence of the large semipellucid
hemispherical glands, seen more or less in various parts of the plant,
but very conspicuous on the upper side of the leaves.]

17TH JUNE.--Pursuing a course in the direction of the mountain already
mentioned, I met with much heavy sand on which grew thick forests of
callitris, frequently quite impervious to our carts except at open places
amongst which we had to wind, as they permitted. The ground was
undulating, and there was clay in the hollows, but the direction of these
ran across my intended route, falling all to the east-ward. We at length
attained what seemed the highest of these ridges, and on the summit I
ascertained its elevation to be 1833 feet above the sea. Beyond it, we
came to a flat of firmer surface, consisting of clay, and, as we greatly
wanted water, I followed it down to the north-east. I found it soon
hemmed in by sandstone rocks; but we travelled still on a broad grassy
flat which fell into one still broader, through which ran a continuous
but dry channel coming from the north-west. After following this
downwards about a mile, we crossed towards an opening between the
sandstone cliffs beyond it; this opening terminated under shelving rocks.
Ascending at another place, with my horse, I found a table-land above,
and an open forest country. I succeeded in getting the carts and dray up
at a rocky point, and travelled thence E.S.E., anxious now to find the
Maran, convinced by a deep ravine on our right, that it could not be far
off. We descended by a gently inclined part of the sandstone to a dry
watercourse lined with brigalow, and which soon guided us to the river.
Here, however, the bed was dry and full of sand, of spacious and uniform
breadth, and with grassy sloping banks. The course was towards S.W., and
I followed it upwards, in hopes soon to meet with a pond. No water,
however, was to be seen, when a rocky precipitous bank before us, and the
sun setting in the west, obliged me to encamp the party. I hastened up
the dry channel, followed by all the horses and the bullocks. We found
some rain water on a level piece of rock, about two miles from the camp,
which was scarcely enough for the horses, and afforded a few gallons for
our kegs; nor could I find more, although I continued my search upwards
until dusk; the bullocks had therefore to pass a second night without
drinking. The bed and banks of this river were of very uniform extent
throughout; averaging, in width about 100 feet; in height of banks from
30 to 50 feet. The course was straight, and it seemed as if a few dams
might have sufficed to render it navigable, or at least to have retained
a vast supply of water; for although the bed was sandy, the bottom was
rocky, and the banks consisted of stiff clay. These being covered with
rich grass, and consisting of good soil, water alone was wanting to make
the whole both valuable and useful. Yet this was not so scarce amongst
the gullies and tributaries, nor in the channel itself, lower down. I
found, growing in the bed, the ALPHITONIA EXCELSA of Reissek, collected
by Allan Cunningham and Frazer along the Brisbane and upper part of
Hunter's River; also a remarkable kind of Brome grass I had never seen on
the Darling. Thermometer, at sunrise, 36 deg.; at 9 P. M., 61 deg..

18TH JUNE.--Drizzling rain had fallen during the night, which greatly
refreshed the grass for the cattle. Early this morning, I sent Corporal
Graham and another man, up the river, in search of water; and the
bullock-driver with his cattle down the river, with orders to go on until
he fell in with some. Others of the party were directed to search amongst
the rocky crevices nearer to our camp. I set out with Yuranigh for the
summit of the mountain already mentioned, which, according to my survey,
lay about seven miles off to the N.W. My ride to it was unimpeded by
gullies; and, on ascending it, I obtained a most extensive view,
embracing lofty ranges to the eastward and south-east. A line of volcanic
cones (of which this was one) extended from these ranges in the direction
of about N.E.b.N. But, besides these elevated summits, little could be
seen of the adjacent country: nothing of the sandstone gullies, by which
the party was then shut in. I could only imagine one bluey tint in a long
line of ravines, to be over the bed of the Maran, which seemed thus to
pass through the line of cones, and to come from high ranges about the
25th parallel. The country to the northward was still hidden from my
sight by a portion of the old crater which was higher than that I had
ascended. The western interior was visible to a great distance bounded by
low ranges; some of which seemed to have precipitous sides, like cliffs,
towards the west. Lines of open plains, and columns of smoke, indicated a
good country, and inhabitants. I recognised, from this station, that
eastward of the depot camp, to which, from the peculiar interest then
attaching to that distant spot, I now named Mount Kennedy after the
officer in charge of the party there. I could now intersect many of the
summits observed therefrom; thus adding extensively to the general map,
and checking my longitude, by back angles into the interior. I was now at
a loss for names to the principal summits of the country. No more could
be gathered from the natives, and I resolved to name the features, for
which names were now requisite, after such individuals of our own race as
had been most distinguished or zealous in the advancement of science, and
the pursuit of human knowledge; men sufficiently well-known in the world
to preclude all necessity for further explanation why their names were
applied to a part of the world's geography, than that it was to do honour
to Australia, as well as to them. I called this hill Mount Owen; a bald-
forest hill to the N.E. of it, Mount Clift; a lofty truncated cone, to
the eastward of these, the centre of a group, and one of my zero points,
Mount Ogilby; a broad-topped hill far in the north-west, where I wished
to continue my route, Mount Faraday; a high table land intervening,
Hope's Table Land; the loftiest part of the coast ranges, visible on all
sides, Buckland's Table Land, etc. etc. The part of Mount Owen on which I
stood, consisted of basalt, which had crystallised cubically so as to
form a tottering pile on the summit, not unlike the ruins of a castle,
"nodding to its fall," and almost overhanging their base. Curious bushes
grew amongst these rocks, unlike those in the lower country; amongst
them, a climber, resembling a worm, which wholly enveloped a tree. On
returning to the camp, I learnt that the bullock-driver had found a
spacious basin in a rocky part of the bed, some miles down the river;
having thereat watered his cattle and returned; also, that Corporal
Graham had met with a pond ten miles higher up the river than our camp:
thus it was evident that many miles intervened between these two ponds in
the river. The other men left at the camp had fortunately found in the
crevice of a rock beyond the river-channel, enough of water for the
horses and themselves. But, had this river-channel contained much more
water, I could not have followed it in its upward course, and so go to
the north-east, instead of the north-west; neither had this been possible
from the precipitous rocks overhanging it at almost every turning. I had
found, in Mount Owen, a nucleus, which was a key to these sandstone
gullies radiating about it, and I had also perceived from it that towards
Mount Faraday, the north-western interior was tolerably clear of
mountainous obstructions; three small or very distant cones, seemed the
principal features beyond it. I wished much to have explored a route for
our carts in that direction; but it was necessary that I should first
establish the party near water. I accordingly determined to conduct it
along the range towards Mount Owen next day, as far as might be
necessary, in order to turn off to the right, and encamp, overlooking
some rocky gully within a convenient distance of Mount Owen; and, again
to explore these recesses for water, or send for it to Corporal Graham's
pond in the main channel. Mr. Stephenson gathered near this camp two
beautiful and delicate ferns, the ADIANTUM HISPIDULUM, and ADIANTUM
ASSIMILE, the Australian maiden's hair. The ACACIA IXIOPHYLLA, and ACACIA
CUNNINGHAMII, on the rocky cliffs; occurred with an Exocarpus, probably a
variety of E. SPARTEA, and a new Eucalyptus.[*] Thermometer at sunrise,
56 deg.; at noon, 69 deg.; at 4 P.M., 63 deg.; at 9, 55 deg.. Height above the sea, 1578
feet; and above river bed 40 feet.

[* E. POPULIFOLIA (Hook. MS.); foliis rhombeo-triangularibus obtusissimis
longius petiolatis coriaceis minute punctatis (punctis pallidis)
reticulatovenosis. This species is remarkable in the size and shape of
its petiolated leaves. The branches bear turbinated woody excrescences
(galls), each with two or more, generally three, sharp angles, and as
many unequal projecting wings, altogether exactly resembling the fruit of
some BEGONIA.]

19TH JUNE.--Another dewy night had providentially refreshed the grass for
our thirsty animals. We ascended, at a very favourable point, the
sandstone table-land, and travelled for some miles along my horse's track
towards Mount Owen, turning round the heads of gullies which broke
abruptly in steep rocks both to our right and left. Then, turning to the
right, where a branch of the high land projected eastward towards the
river, we encamped on its extreme eastern point, overlooking a grassy
valley, hemmed in by precipitous cliffs, yet easily accessible to our
horses and cattle, from the point on which we had encamped. I had already
found a deep hole in a rock on the right, containing water sufficient for
the men and horses for several days, and, on riding down the valley while
they pitched the tents, I found a large pond only a mile from the camp.
The valley contained many still larger, but all, save this one, were dry.
Grass grew there in great abundance, and of excellent quality. Pigeons
were numerous of that species (GEOPHAPS SCRIPTA) which is so great a
luxury; the most delicate food, perhaps, of all the feathered race. The
highest of the sandy tableland crossed this day appeared (by Captain
King's subsequent calculations) to be 1863 feet. That of the camp over
the cliffs, 1840 feet above the sea, the height of these cliffs above the
bed of the river being thus about 300 feet. Thermometer, at sunrise, 50 deg.;
at 4 P.M., 65 deg.; at 9, 61 deg..

20TH JUNE.--I set out (with two men and Yuranigh) to explore the country
beyond Mount Owen. From its base I observed some open forest land, and a
less broken country, in a direction much further to the westward than the
course I had previously selected, which was N.N.W. I now proceeded W.N.W.
towards that open forest land. We found the country open for some miles,
then, entering a flat or valley, I descended gradually between sandstone
rocks, to a valley in which a chain of deep ponds led to the north-west.
On following this down, I found it turned more and more to the westward,
and at length to the south-west, whereupon I quitted its bed and cliffy
banks, and, following up a ravine from the other side, again endeavoured
to pursue my intended course. We crossed, at the head of the ravine, a
sandstone range, and descended by another valley which led first
northward, but terminated in joining a spacious grassy flat with dry
ponds in it. I endeavoured to trace this downwards for several miles in a
rainy evening, and found at last, to my disappointment, that this also
turned to the S.W. This flat was broad and hemmed in by low rocky points
of ground, of very uniform shape. Many marks of natives appeared on the
trees, and, in good seasons, it must be one of their favourite spots. I
left it, however, when darkness and heavy rain obliged me to look for
shelter in a gloomy forest to the westward. By the time we arrived at
this, we could see no grassy spot for our horses, nor any sort of cover
for ourselves. Douglas found, at length, a fallen tree, and under this,
covered with a few boughs, we lay down on the wet earth for the night,
being ourselves as wet, yet wanting withal, water for ourselves and
horses. Thermometer, at sunrise, 54 deg.; at noon, 69 deg.; at 4 P.M., 67 deg.; at 9,
57 deg..

21ST JUNE.--The rain had abated to my great disappointment, for we should
have been amply compensated for wet jackets, by the sight of well filled
ponds of water, the want of which was the great impediment to this
journey. The sky was still overcast, and the wet bushes were unavoidable.
On I travelled north-west, until we approached some fine open forest
hills, the bare tops of which, just visible from the foot of Mount Owen,
had first drawn me in that direction. One tempting peak induced me to
approach it, and to think of an ascent. In a rugged little water-course
in its bosom, we found water enough for our horses, the product of last
night's rain. The view from the summit, made up for the deviation from my
route. A group of the most picturesque hills imaginable lay to the
northward, and were connected with this, the whole being branches from
the Table Land of Hope. Some appeared of a deep blue colour, where their
clothing was evergreen bush. Others were partly of a golden hue, from the
rich ripe grass upon them. The sun broke through the heavy clouds and
poured rays over them, which perfected the beauty of the landscape. I
recognised, from this apex, my station on Mount Owen, and several hills I
had intersected from it. Amongst others, the three remarkable cones to
the westward of Mount Faraday, apparently a continuation of the line of
summits I have already mentioned. This hill consisted of amygdaloidal
trap in nodules, the crevices being filled with crystals of sulphate of
lime, and there were many round balls of ironstone, like marbles or round
shot, strewed about. A red ferruginous crust projected from the highest
part, and, on this summit, the magnetic needle was greatly affected by
local attraction, and quite useless. Fortunately, I had also my pocket
sextant, and with it took some valuable angles. On descending, I heartily
enjoyed a breakfast, and named the hill which gave us the water, Mount
Aquarius. Returning towards Mount Owen, by a more direct route, I arrived
at the head of a gully which led tolerably direct until we found our
track, in the creek I had run down on the preceding day. But night was
approaching, and we had water enough in a rocky hollow, and also a cavern
before which a large fire gave such warmth, that, in passing the night
there in my cloak, I was quite insensible to a frost without, which, at
the camp, at 4 P. M., had lowered the mercury in Fahrenheit's thermometer
to 22 deg., or 10 deg. below the freezing point.

22D JUNE.--Our provisions being out, I hastened back to the camp,
determined to explore in a more northerly direction, according to my
original intention. Water was only to be found in so dry a season, in the
neighbourhood of mountains, or in rocky gullies likely to retain a
passing shower. In our way back, I ascended the north-western shoulder of
Mount Owen, and was much more inclined to take a northerly route, from
the appearance of the mountains on that side. The view from that summit
to the northward, was very grand; I saw more plainly the line of the
Maranfrom its upper sources. Two mighty masses of table-land seemed the
highest of all. One I had already seen and named Buckland's Table Land. I
could here distinguish the apex of Mount Aquarius, and fix it in my map.
I perceived a hollow part of the range immediately to the northward, and
a sort of hiatus amongst the peaks in the broken country beyond, through
which I hoped to find a way. I hastened to the camp to prepare for a
"raid" of a whole week, if necessary, in that direction. Thermometer, at
sunrise, 27 deg.; at noon, 52 deg.; at 4 P. M., 55 deg.; at 9, 59 deg..

23D JUNE.--Returning early by the foot of Mount Owen, I travelled nearly
northward through a fine open forest, in which we saw a large kangaroo
entirely black. Rocky gullies next came in my way, and, in avoiding those
on the left, others falling to the right, or to the Maran, showed me that
this was a dividing feature. I knew it was continuous to Mount Clift from
my former observations, and therefore followed it by keeping between the
heads of gullies breaking to each side, until I found one favourable for
a descent to the left. Below, we found a broad, grassy, valley, extending
about W.N.W., and in it, deep ponds, which sometimes evidently held much
water, although they were then dry. This soon, however, turned to the
south-west, evidently to join the channel I had before explored. Quitting
it, therefore, much disappointed, I ascended sandstone cliffs and pushed
through scrubs, determined to proceed directly north-ward, until I met
with valleys falling north-west. We thus passed just under the most
easterly part of Hope's Table Land, and came, about sunset, to a hollow
containing ponds, in two of which we found water. Here we gladly
bivouacked for the night. ZAMIAS grew here, and were numerous higher up
the valley. Thermometer, at sunrise, 26 deg.; at noon, 54 deg.; at 4 P. M., 50 deg.;
at 9, 40 deg..

24TH JUNE.--The hoar-frost had stiffened the grass, and the water was
frozen so that the horses cared not to drink. I proceeded N. N. W., in
which direction a beautiful cone rose to a great height, and sharp apex.
Stony hills of trap appearing also in that line, I turned northward, and,
after crossing a level tract of high ground, much like a dividing
feature, (especially as seen from Mount Owen,) I entered a valley
descending to the northwest. It fell rapidly, contained large water
holes, and in two of these, at length, an abundant supply of water. The
course, throughout all its windings, was towards the north-west, and this
I, at the time, thought, might be a northern water. I therefore returned,
anxious to bring the party thus far, at all events, and resolved to
follow this little river down. We arrived, on our way back, in the
evening of the same day, in the valley I had quitted in the morning,
having followed down a water-course from the end of Hope's Table Land,
under which I had passed, in search of a good way for the carts. Although
we had seen promising ponds of water in this little channel, we could
find none in the lower part, having in the expectation of finding some,
rode on until darkness prevented me from going further. We were thus
obliged to pass the night (a very cold one) without water, and almost
without fuel. I missed the comfortable cavern where I had slept a few
nights before, especially when I arose here in the night to mend the
fire, and found we had no more wood at hand. I learnt afterwards that at
the camp, the thermometer at 4 P. M. had been as low as 17 deg. of
Fahrenheit.[*] Thermometer, at sunrise, 21 deg.; at noon, 51 deg.; at 4 P. M.
49 deg.; at 9, 29 deg..

[* This was 15 deg. degrees below the freezing point, and shows how much more
easily cold may be endured in a dry atmosphere than where there is
moisture, as instanced in the following extract from a despatch of
Captain James C. Ross (in command of the Antarctic Expedition), dated 7th
April, 1841, and published in the Tasmanian Journal.

"With a temperature of 20 deg. below the freezing point, we found the ice to
form so rapidly on the surface, that any further examination of the
barrier in so extremely severe a period of the season being
impracticable, we stood away to the westward, for the purpose of making
another attempt to approach the magnetic pole, and reached its latitude
(76 deg. S.) on the 15th February."]

25TH JUNE.--Continuing our ride as soon as day-light permitted, ten
minutes brought us to a pond containing plenty of water under a shelving
rock, and here we alighted to breakfast, which was pleasant enough, but
not so gratifying as the position of this pond, which would enable me to
bring the carts through these valleys, to this convenient intermediate
stage in the way to the Northern river. The next question was, whether
the route to the eastward, descending into these valleys near Mount
Clift, or that by my first route, when I discovered this rocky country,
should be preferred; and I returned towards our camp this morning by the
eastern gullies, in hopes to find an easy descent nearer to Mount Clift
than at the point where I before came down. But I found them much more
acclivitous and rocky. We at length, with difficulty, got our horses up a
rocky point, on which grew a thick scrub of "blackwood," as Yuranigh
called it, an acacia having many tough stems growing thickly together
from one root, and obstructing the passage, and covering the ground with
its half-fallen and fallen timber. Our passage along the range thence
towards Mount Owen, having been too much to the eastward, brought us upon
the bend of a gully falling to the Maran; a wild and impracticable
looking dell as ever was seen. On regaining our track near Mount Owen,
and returning along it to the camp, I found that another pond had been
discovered in the valley, by Felix Maguire, who on two occasions, had
dreamt of water, risen, and walked directly to where he found it! However
that might have been, this man had a happy knack in finding water. In the
neighbourhood of this camp some interesting plants were collected; viz.
ADIANTUM HISPIDULUM and ASSIMILE, all ferns, together with HOVEA
shrub, occupying the ravines. Besides these we observed a small species
of SIDA in the sandy soil of forests, the DOODIA CAUDATA Br., a verdant
fern, and the SOLANUM FURFURACEUM with lilac flowers, and small red
berries. A shrub loaded with succulent drupes, seated in reddish cups,
appeared to be a new species of VITEX, but its genus was uncertain, there
being no flowers. What is here called GREVILLEA FLORIBUNDA may have been
an allied species, for the leaves were more downy, almost tomentose
above. In addition to this a new species of the common genus DODONOEA,
frequently met with afterwards, was now producing its flowers.[*]
Thermometer, at sunrise, 12 deg.; at noon, 50 deg.; at 4 P. M. 51 deg.; at 9, 22 deg..

[* D. MOLLIS (Lindl. MS.); molliter pubescens, ramulis subteretibus,
foliis obovatis acutis truncatis rotundatis retusis tridentatisque,
capsulis tetragonis trigonisque pubescentibus apteris.]

26TH JUNE. The party moved forward, at length, with the certainty of
finding water for at least three days' journey, and of a hopeful water-
course being before us. Passing by the foot of Mount Owen, I observed the
barometer which gave an elevation of 2083 feet: the summit might be 700
feet higher. My plan of route was, to enter the little river that turned
to the south-west (as I had found it did, on the 20th,) and to travel
along its valley upwards, until I reached the pond near which I had
bivouacked on the 25th. This we accomplished most successfully before
sunset, encamping beside the large pond already mentioned, near which
were two others. The earth by the margin was so soft that neither the
horses nor bullocks could approach the water; they could only be watered
out of buckets; but the water was excellent, and water of any quality, in
abundance too, was to us rather uncommon good fortune, and quite
cheering, even when surrounded by soft mud. Thermometer, at sunrise, 14 deg.;
at noon, 48 deg.; at 4 P. M. 47 deg.; at 9, 37 deg..

27TH JUNE. We had next to trace up a grassy valley which seemed to come
directly from the vicinity of that in which I had found water and
bivouacked on the 24th. It formed an excellent line, and we found it
possible to keep this fine firm level surface, until we had approached to
within two miles of that spot. Leaving a little hill of trap to the left,
and some brigalow scrub on the right, we reached the old ground and
encamped. The small ponds had evaporated, but, in the frosty night, the
cattle were not likely to require water, as they had been watered on the
way, about 3 P. M., at a rocky well in the valley. We had now traced with
our wheels, a good way through a country much broken and shut up by
sandstone gullies; but which contained also many rich valleys, and
extensive hilly tracts of trap rock, on which the grass was very
luxuriant, apparently available for either sheep or cattle. Immediately
to the westward of this camp (marked XXXVIII.) an extensive valley was
bounded by the fine trap range of Hope's Table Land; which range was open
along the summit, and contained springs, in various ravines along its
sides. In these ravines, we first saw the arborescent Zamia, and various
remarkable shrubs; the MYOPORUM CUNNINGHAMII of Swan River, forming a
shrub six feet high, with white fragrant flowers. Thermometer, at
sunrise, 20 deg.; at 9 P. M., 29 deg.. Height above the sea, 2064 feet.

28TH JUNE.--Severe frost whenever the sky was clear, seemed the ordinary
weather of that country, at that season; showing, as the barometer also
indicated, that we were at a great height above the sea. I sent the party
forward, guided by Yuranigh, along my former track, to the ponds in the
newly discovered channel, falling north-west; and I proceeded myself,
accompanied by Mr. Stephenson, to the summit of the fine cone already
mentioned. From this, I beheld a splendid and extensive view of the
mountains further northward. Most of the summits I had previously
intersected, and many others, very remarkable, just appeared over an
intermediate woody range, through which I was at a loss to discover where
our supposed northern river would pass. Far in the north-west, I could
just distinguish the tops of curiously broken hills arising from a much
lower country; and therein I hoped to find, whatever might be the final
course of our river, a passage to the north-west, and water. The most
important feature in that scene seemed to me to be a grey misty tint, as
if it marked a valley descending from the highest eastern mountains,
towards the curiously broken summits in the northwest. Bare crests of
similar hills, appeared to arise throughout the whole extent of that
valley. Under those lofty mountains, at such elevation, in such a clime,
with these romantic hills, that valley must be a paradise if watered
well, as I hope it is. So flowed the "spring" of hope at least, as it was
fed by the scene then before me. The cone we had ascended consisted of
trap rock, much resembling that of Mount Aquarius; but, at its base, and
on its sides, I found in large masses, the very compact felspathic rock
which characterises the valley of the Darling. This has been considered a
very fine-grained sandstone; but it is evidently an altered rock. Here,
in contact with trap, it possessed the same tendency to break into
irregular polygons, some of the faces of which were curved; and I
observed one mass which had been so tossed up, that its lower side lay
uppermost, inclined at an angle of about 60 deg.. That this is a hypogene
rock, sometimes in contact with granite as well as with trap, is evident
at Oxley's Table Land, and other places. I was glad to find it here, as
affording a prospect of meeting with better soil than the loose sand we
had seen so much of. We here found the grey, prickly SOLANUM ELLIPTICUM.
I named this cone Mount P. P. King; and, I have since ascertained, by
that officer's register and calculations, the height of this summit above
the sea, to be 2646 feet; and the height of this camp, 2159 feet.
Thermometer, at sunrise, 25 deg.; at 4 P. M., 55 deg.; at 9, 25 deg.. (XXXIX)

29TH JUNE.--Crossing a small tributary which was full of water (coming
from Hope's Table Land), we continued to travel along the left bank of
the newly found river. Rocky precipices overhanging it, obliged me to
make some detours, and to pass through some scrubs; but still we regained
the banks of the river, although our progress was not considerable. Its
general course was still north-west, to the spot selected for my second
camp on its banks. The channel was now broad; the banks high, rounded,
and grassy; in some places, rocky. Water in the channel was rarely to be
seen, but at the junction of tributaries, where recent temporary showers
seemed to have fallen. By careful observation, I ascertained the
variation of the needle to be 8 deg. 4' E. here. Thermometer, at sunrise,
25 deg.; at 4 P. M., 68 deg.; at 9, 53 deg.. Height above the sea, 1914 feet. (XL.)

30TH JUNE.--The course of the river was now found to turn to the
southward of west; and, even in that direction, rugged cliffs covered
with scrub greatly impeded our progress. I endeavoured to conduct the
carts along the bed of the river, soft and sandy as it was; but we did
not proceed far in it, before rocks, fallen trees, and driftwood, obliged
us to abandon that course as speedily as we could. Then, ascending a
projecting eminence, we plunged into the scrubs; but, even in a southwest
direction, we came upon the river. Pursuing its course along the bank,
southward, I arrived near the base of a fine open forest hill; and,
directing the party to encamp, I hastened to its summit. I there obtained
a view of most of the mountains of the eastern range formerly observed,
and enough of the fixed points, to enable me to determine the position of
this. In the south-west, a line of open forest, and a vast column of
smoke seemed too plainly to mark the further course of our river; but,
towards the north-west, I saw much to reconcile me to this
disappointment. Summits of broken and uncommon aspect, beyond an
intervening woody range, there indicated a much lower and different kind
of country, as if that was, indeed, the basin of a system of northern
waters; the woody intervening range appearing to be the division between
them. As our last explored river again turned southward, it seemed
reasonable to expect, beyond that very continuous range, rivers pursuing
a different course. This range was plainly traceable from the high
mountains more to the eastward, and was continuous westward to three
remarkable conical hills, beyond which, the view did not extend. On the
same range, a fine tableshaped mountain appeared nearly north. This I had
already intersected from other stations, and named Mount Faraday. The
hill on which I stood consisted of trap-rock, and seemed to be almost the
western extremity of Hope's Table Land. A copious spring was afterwards
found by Mr. Stephenson, in a valley to the eastward of this summit. That
ravine was extensive; and in it grew various remarkable trees. The
bottle-tree (Delabechea) grew more gregariously than we had ever seen it,
in the stony banks of the channel of the torrent from the hills. One
thorny tree or shrub (first seen at the base of Mount P. P. King) again
appeared here; it was, generally, in a withered state; had a leaf
somewhat like the human hand, and a pod containing two peas of a bright
scarlet colour, about the shape and size of a French bean. This,
sometimes grew to a tree as much as a foot in diameter; and the natives,
who, like Nature herself, may be said to do nothing in vain, had cut one
down, and carried off the whole of the trunk. The wood was of a leaden
colour. This proved to be a new species of ERYTHRINA, or coral tree.[*]
By our last day's journey, we had lost two miles of northing, and had
thus recrossed the 25th parallel of south latitude. I therefore
determined to cross our friendly little river, and look for another
beyond the range to the northward. Thermometer, at sunrise, 44 deg.; at noon,
68 deg.; at 4 P. M., 65 deg.; at 9, 38 deg.. Height above the sea, 1732 feet. (XLI.)

[* E. VESPERTILIO (Benth. MS.); glaberrima, caule fruticoso aculeato,
foliorum petiolo elongato, foliolis trilobis lobo medio recto acutiusculo
lateralibus multo majoribus falcato-divaricatis obtusissimis.--Although
no flowers were seen, the genus of this shrub is well indicated by the
pod and the general habit. The leaflets are often above four inches broad

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