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Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia] [Volume 2 of 2] by Phillip Parker King

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with the tide it must have some communication with the sea. The rocks of
the island are principally calcareous and in a very advanced state of
decomposition. The beaches were covered with dead shells of the genera
buccinum, bulla, murex, trochus, and haliotis; but we found none with the
living animal in them. Of the feathered tribe a hawk and a pigeon were
the only land-birds seen; but boobies, terns, and sandpipers were very
numerous about the shores. Mr. Cunningham was fully employed during the
short time that we were on shore, and excepting the pleasing interest
created in our minds by landing on an island which has been so seldom
before seen, and which from Vlaming's account bears a prominent place in
the history of this part of the coast, he was the only one of the party
that derived any advantage from our visit. Of the productions of this
island he makes the following brief remarks: "It is surprising that an
island, situated at so short a distance from the south-west coast, should
bear so small a feature of the characteristic vegetation of King George's
Sound as not to furnish a plant of its several genera of Proteaceae or
Mimoseae, and but a solitary plant of Leguminosae. It would therefore
seem that these families are confined to the shores of the main,
particularly about King George's Sound, where we have just left them in
the greatest luxuriance and profusion. Among the botanical productions of
this island there is no plant of so striking a feature as the callitris,
a tree of about twenty-five feet high, with a short stem of three feet in
diameter; it much resembles the Pinus cedrus, or cedar of Lebanon, in its
robust horizontal growth; it is found abundantly over the island, and
within a few yards of the sea-beach. The island is formed by a succession
of small hills and intervening valleys; and although the soil is very
poor, being principally a mixture of quartzose sand and a large
proportion of marine exuviae, yet this tree grows to a considerable size,
but covering the surface of the island, gives it a monotonous appearance
which is however occasionally relieved by a spreading undescribed species
of melaleuca (allied to Melaleuca armillaris, Smith) and the more elegant
pittosporum, an arborescent species, also undescribed. In fact, these
three trees constitute the timber of the island. The ground is in some
parts profusely clothed with Spinifex hirsutus, Labil., in which I
detected a new species of xerotes, a round bushy plant growing in large

"No fresh water has ever been discovered upon this island: indeed the
loose filtering nature of the soil is not tenacious enough to retain that
element at the surface. The woods are abundantly stocked with a small
species of kangaroo of which we saw only the traces; nor did we see the
animal, on account of whose numbers and resemblance to a rat the island
received its name from Vlaming in 1619. M. Peron says that it forms a new
genus, and of a very remarkable character.* Rottnest Island does not
appear ever to have been inhabited or even visited by the natives from
the main; probably on account of the stormy nature of the weather, and
the prevalence of westerly winds, which would be quite sufficient to
deter them from venturing to sea in such fragile vessels as they

(*Footnote. Peron volume 1 page 189.)

(**Footnote. Cunningham manuscripts.)

January 15.

On our return to the brig, we passed over a clear sandy bottom that would
have afforded better anchorage than where we had brought up; for the
vessel was not only exposed to a considerable swell but the ground was so
foul that in weighing the anchor the following morning one of the flukes
hooked a rock and broke off, besides which the cable was much rubbed.

As Swan River had been very minutely examined in Baudin's voyage by MM.
Heirisson and Baily, the former an enseigne de vaisseau, the latter a
mineralogist, an account of which is fully detailed in De Freycinet's and
Peron's respective accounts of that voyage,* without their finding
anything of sufficient importance to induce me to risk leaving the brig
at anchor off Rottnest Island for so long a time as it would necessarily
take to add to the knowledge of it that we already possess, I did not
think it advisable to delay for such a purpose, and therefore as soon as
we were underweigh steered for the mainland and continued to run
northerly along the shore at the distance of six miles from it. At noon
our latitude was 31 degrees 37 minutes 32 seconds. The coast is formed by
sandy hillocks, or dunes, of from one hundred to one hundred and fifty
feet high, here and there sprinkled with shrubs, but in many parts quite
bare: behind this frontier a second range of hills was occasionally seen
on which the trees appeared to be of moderate size: the shore is rocky
for two miles off and in many parts the sea broke. At half-past three
o'clock we were abreast of a low, sandy projection, supposed to be
Captain Baudin's Cape Leschenault. The appearance of the coast to the
northward on this cape differed from what we passed in the morning, in
that the coast hillocks are more bare of vegetation; there appeared to be
several ridges behind the coast dunes, but they were all equally
unproductive of vegetation. Lancelin Island was not distinctly made out
but the two small rocky lumps on the bare sandhills that M. De Freycinet
mentions, were seen and thought to be very remarkable. At seven o'clock,
having reached in my plan the latitude 31 degrees 0 minutes 30 seconds,
and longitude 115 degrees 0 minutes 0 seconds, we hauled off shore for
the night.

January 16.

And at six o'clock a.m. stood towards the land again. At half-past ten
o'clock we were so near to it as to see the beach: at noon the latitude
was observed to be 30 degrees 52 minutes 13 seconds, its longitude being
114 degrees 56 minutes 45 seconds, at which time we were on the parallel
of the two rocky lumps seen the last evening. Hence we steered north on a
parallel direction with the coast and ran forty-five miles, passing the
different projections of the beach at the distance of four or five miles,
and sounding in between nineteen and twenty-five fathoms. At four o'clock
we were abreast of a bare sandy point which appeared to be the north head
of Jurien Bay, in which two rocky islets were seen, fronted by reefs, on
which the sea in many parts was breaking violently. To the southward of
the point the coast hills are rather high and principally formed of very
white sand, bearing a strong resemblance, from the absence of vegetables,
to hills covered with snow. Here and there however a few shrubs partially
concealed the sand, and gave a variety to the scene which was dismally
triste. The country to the northward bears a different character; the
shore is very low and sandy and continues so for some distance in the
interior towards the base of a range of tolerably-elevated hills, on
which the French have placed three remarkable pitons, but these, perhaps
from our being too close in shore, we did not discover.

(*Footnote. See De Freycinet page 175 et seq and Peron volume 1 page 178
et seq.)

This range extends in a North by West and South by East direction, and
appears to be rocky. In the middle ground some trees were noticed and
vegetation appeared to be more abundant than in the space between the
bare sandy point and Cape Leschenault. In Jurien Bay towards its south
part near the shore is a small hillock, on which some trees of a moderate
size were seen; they are thus noticed because the existence of trees
hereabout is so rare as to be deserving of record. No native fires were
seen between this part and Rottnest Island, nor was there any other
indication of the coast being inhabited; it is however likely to be as
populous as any other part, for the hills in the interior, which we
occasionally got a glimpse of, seemed to be wooded, and would therefore
furnish subsistence to natives from hunting, even if the seashore failed
in supplying them with fish. Between the bare sandy point and Island
Point there is a deep bay, the shores of which are fronted by a reef
partly dry, extending from the shore two miles.

At seven o'clock we were about a mile and a half from a reef that nearly
crossed our course; and as it was time to haul off for the night we
shortened sail and brought to the wind, then blowing a strong squally
breeze from south; but notwithstanding this succession of bad weather,
the mercury in the barometer had ranged steadily between 29.90 and 29.92

January 17.

At daybreak we steered in for the land but ran twenty-two miles before it
was seen. At nine o'clock it bore between North-East and South-East, and
at a quarter after nine heavy breakers were seen in the South-East at the
distance of five miles. The weather was now fine and the wind
South-South-East, but still blew strong; the horizon was so enveloped by
haze that the land, although not more than seven miles from our track,
was very indistinctly seen: it seemed to be formed of sandhills, from one
hundred to one hundred and fifty feet high, slightly studded with a
scrubby vegetation; in the interior we perceived a range of hills of
tabular form which are probably very high. At ten o'clock we passed
another patch of breakers at the distance of about a mile and a half; but
these appeared to have no connexion with those seen at nine o'clock. Our
soundings were between fifteen and seventeen fathoms, and our distance
from the beach from six to seven miles. At noon the wind veered back to
South-South-West and blew hard: we were at this time in 29 degrees 5
minutes 1 second South and by chronometers in 114 degrees 40 minutes 30
seconds East; by which we found that a current had set us during the last
twenty-four hours to the North-North-West at one mile per hour. At
half-past twelve o'clock more breakers were seen bearing North-West 1/2
North, when we hauled off West-North-West in order to ascertain the
distance between the land and the Abrolhos bank which, in Van Keulen's
chart, is placed abreast of this part of the coast.

At half-past four o'clock the masthead man was cautioned to look out for
breakers and in less than half an hour afterwards he reported some
bearing North-West by North. On going to the masthead I saw them
distinctly for they were not more than four miles off, and on looking
round the horizon towards the westward, distinctly saw the island of
Frederick Houtman's Abrolhos, which for some time the masthead man
persisted was only the shadow of the clouds; but a small hummock being
soon afterwards descried upon the summit of the largest, confirmed my
conjectures. The group appeared to consist of three islands, all low and
of small size. Beyond and around them the sea was smooth and to the
southward another patch of breakers was observed. Preparations were now
made to tack off, but I had scarcely reached the deck when the lookout
man reported rocks under our lee bow, upon which the helm was immediately
put up; and when the vessel's head was round upon the opposite tack the
following bearings were taken:

Island of the Abrolhos: eight miles off, between West and South 75
degrees West.

Breakers: four miles off, North-North-West North.

Another patch: seven miles off, South-West.

And the small rock patch, half a mile off, West.

This last I did not see myself but two men perceived it distinctly from
the masthead, and it is from their accounts that I am induced to give it
a place upon the chart. The position of the vessel when we saw the
breakers was in latitude 28 degrees 53 minutes and in longitude 114
degrees 2 minutes, and from the short interval between our obtaining
sights for the chronometer and the meridional observation at noon, the
position may be considered to be tolerably correct. After taking the
bearings and before sail was made we sounded in twenty-five fathoms, fine
shelly sand; but as we stood to the eastward the water gradually deepened
to twenty-nine and thirty fathoms.

January 18.

The next morning at daylight the land was out of sight but at five
o'clock was distinguished, forming a range of flat-topped land, probably
about one thousand feet high. At the northern end of the range were four
or five hills standing apart from each other, of which, in the view we
then had of them, the northernmost was flat-topped, and the others
peaked; at the south end of the range were three other distinct hills,
the centre being peaked and the other two flat-topped. Near the centre of
the main range was another summit that was remarkable for its form.

This range was seen by Captain Hamelin of the Naturaliste, and is thus
noticed by M. De Freycinet in his account of the voyage. "Entre les
paralleles de 29 degres et 28 degres 20 minutes, la terre est tres haute;
on y remarque deux montagnes bien reconnoisables par leur forme qui
approche de celle de la Grange, sur la cote de Saint-Domingue, ou de la
Montagne de la Table au Cap de Bonne-Esperance; une autre ressemble un
peu au Pouce, de l'Ile-de-France. La terre est aride, bordee de falaises
rougeatres; on y voit peu de sable comparativement aux terres plus au

(*Footnote. De Freycinet page 181.)

We sought in vain for the resemblance to the Pouce, but as all the hills
were flat-topped of course they were similar to the Table Land of the
Cape of Good Hope, but probably inferior to it in point of height.

This range I called after Captain Moresby, R.N. C.B., in grateful
recognition of the prompt assistance rendered by him to the wants and
repairs of our vessel, during her late visit to Mauritius. The summit in
the centre was called Mount Fairfax; the group of hills at the north end
were named Menai Hills, and the three at the south end of the range were
distinguished by the name of Wizard Hills; Mount Fairfax is in latitude
28 degrees 45 minutes 20 seconds, longitude 114 degrees 38 minutes 45
seconds. The shore in front of these hills is sandy and there was an
appearance of two openings in the beach that were probably the outlets of
mountain-streams. The country also appeared much better wooded than in
other parts, and as large smokes were seen in the valleys the place most
likely at the time of our passing frequented by natives.

Hence the coast trends to the North-West by North towards a patch of bare
sand, which is remarkable because the coast is not so sandy as it is more
to the south. At ten o'clock a very thick haze spread over the land and
so enveloped it that nothing could be distinguished. At noon, the brig
being in 28 degrees 25 minutes 42 seconds South, and 114 degrees 7
minutes 0 seconds East, the haze partially cleared away and showed that
the coast had changed its character, being now steep, and in some parts
cliffy, but still occasionally studded with spots of bare sand. In the
interior a rocky, flat-topped hill was seen; it is probably the Mount
Naturaliste of the French. The coast trends here in a North by West

The passage or channel between the Abrolhos Bank and the coast has been
distinguished by the name of Vlaming's ship, The Geelvink, since she was
the first vessel that passed them (Anno 1697). Captain Hamelin in the
Naturaliste also passed within them, imagining that he perceived them to
the eastward, but what he saw must have been the summit of Moresby's
Flat-topped Range.*

(*Footnote. So M. De Freycinet also thinks, for he says: "quelques
personnes n'osent assurer que nous ayons vu les Abrolhos; d'autres, et je
suis de ce nombre, peusent que ce que nous avons pris pour ce groupe
d'iles est une portion du Continent." Freycinet page 180.)

The soundings of the coast upon our track between Rottnest Island and the
Abrolhos have been gradually of a gravelly nature, mixed sometimes with
shelly sand, and were generally coarser as we approached the shore. In
some parts, particularly near Cape Naturaliste and Rottnest Island, the
bottom appeared to be a bed of small water-worn quartzose pebbles not
larger than a pin's head. Off Moresby's Flat-topped Range the bottom is
of a soft dark-gray-coloured sand of a very fine quality that would
afford good anchorage was it not for the constant swell that pervades
this stormy coast; the water was however much smoother than in other
parts, which might have been occasioned either by the Abrolhos bank's
breaking the sea, or from the temporary cessation of the wind, for it was
comparatively light to what it had been since our leaving Rottnest

A large patch of bare sand terminates the sandy shores of this coast in
latitude 27 degrees 55 minutes. A steep cliff then commences and extends
for eight miles to the Red Point of Vlaming; behind which is a bight,
called by the French Gantheaume Bay; in the south part of which there
appeared a small opening. This bay did not seem to be so well calculated
for taking shelter in from southerly gales, as Van Keulen's chart
indicates; since it is exposed to winds from South-West by South, from
which quarter it must frequently blow. The country appeared very rocky;
the slight vegetation covering its surface gave it a greenish hue, but no
trees were seen near the shore which is fronted by a sandy beach; the
depth of the bight is probably five or six miles. The cliffs of Red Point
partake of a reddish tinge and appear to be disposed nearly in horizontal
strata. In the centre and about halfway between the base and summit of
the cliffs is a remarkable block of stone, of very white colour, that at
a distance appeared to be either a fort or house: some black marks on its
face took our attention and resembled characters of a very large size, as
if they had been painted for the purpose of attracting the attention of
vessels passing by; but a closer examination with the telescope prove
them to be only the shadows of the projecting parts of the surface.

At half-past seven o'clock we hauled off for the night and, standing off
and on, sounded in between thirty-three and thirty-five fathoms.

January 19.

At daylight the next morning the land bore from East to East-South-East
but the morning and forenoon were so hazy that it was very indistinctly
seen; at noon a partial clearing away of the haze exposed to our view a
long range of high and precipitous cliffs, the base of which was washed
by the sea, breaking upon it with a tremendous roar, and heard distinctly
by us. The wind falling in the afternoon induced me to stand off shore,
when we soon lost sight of the land. At noon we were in latitude 27
degrees 5 minutes 18 seconds. At one o'clock the depth was forty-five
fathoms fine gray sand. No land was seen during the rest of the day; for
although the sky was beautifully clear and serene, the atmosphere for
fifteen degrees above the horizon was enveloped in a thick hazy mist that
caused an extraordinary dampness in the air, and from the unfavourable
state of the weather we did not attempt to make it again.

January 20.

The next morning we saw that part of Dirk Hartog's Island which lies in
25 degrees 56 minutes, and when we had reached within four miles of the
shore steered to the northward parallel to the beach, but the haze was
still so great as to render the land very indistinct. We saw enough of it
however to be convinced of its perfect sterility. The coast is lined with
a barrier of rocks on which the sea was breaking high with a roar that
was heard on board although our distance from the shore was at least
three miles.

The warmth of the weather now began rapidly to increase; the thermometer
at noon ranged as high as 79 degrees.

At one o'clock Cape Inscription, the north-westernmost point of Dirk
Hartog's Island, was distinguished and the sea-breeze veered as far as
South-West by West, which was two points more westerly than we had
hitherto had it. At two o'clock the brig passed round the cape and, as
there was an appearance of good shelter in the bay to the eastward of it,
we hauled in and at half-past three o'clock anchored in twelve fathoms
fine gravelly soft sand; the west point of Dirk Hartog's Island (Cape
Inscription) bearing North 82 degrees West, and the low sandy point that
forms its north-east end South 53 degrees West, at a mile and a half from
the shore.

As we hauled round the cape and were passing under the lee of the land
the breeze became so suddenly heated, by its blowing over the arid and
parched surface of the coast, that my seaweed hygrometer, which had been
quite damp since we left Rottnest Island, was in ten minutes so dried as
to be covered with crystals of salt; and in this state it continued
during our stay.

Upon rounding the cape two posts were descried upon its summit, which we
conjectured to be those on which the French had affixed a record of their
visit, as well as the more ancient one of the Dutch navigators, Dirk
Hartog and Vlaming; for they were very conspicuously placed and appeared
to be in good preservation.

We had not anchored five minutes before the vessel was surrounded by
sharks, which at once impressed us with the propriety of Dampier's
nomenclature. One that was caught measured eleven feet in length but the
greater number were not more than three or four feet long. They were very
voracious and scared away large quantities of fish, of which, however,
our people during the evening caught a good supply.

January 21.

The following morning we landed at the Cape and with eager steps ascended
the rocky face of the hill to examine the interesting memorials that were
affixed to the post; but found to our great mortification that they had
been removed; the only vestige that remained was the nails by which they
had been secured. One of the posts was about two feet high and evidently
made of the wood of the callitris, that grows upon Rottnest Island; it
appeared to have been broken down; the other was still erect and seemed
to have been either the heel of a ship's royal-mast or part of a
studding-sail boom; upon one side of it a flag had been fastened by
nails. A careful search was made all round but, as no signs of the Dutch
plate or of the more recent French inscription were seen, it was
conjectured that they had been removed by the natives; but since our
return to England I have learnt that they are preserved in the Museum of
the Institute at Paris, where they had been deposited by M. De Freycinet
upon his return from his late voyage round the world. After this
disappointment we returned to the sea-beach, whilst Mr. Cunningham
botanised along the summit of the ridge; and before he rejoined us we had
been fortunate enough to find two very fine turtles, and a large quantity
of turtle-eggs. The animals had been left by the tide in holes of the
rocks, from which we had some difficulty in extricating them. During our
absence from the vessel our people had been very successful with the hook
and line, having caught about five or six dozen snappers, besides some of
the genus tetradon.

This seasonable supply and the probability of our procuring more turtles
from the beach induced me to remain here a few days to perform some
trifling repairs that could not be effected at sea. We were also
prevented from moving, from the unfavourable state of the weather; for it
was blowing a gale of wind all the time we remained; but as our people
were living upon fresh food the time was not considered as lost.

January 22.

The next morning fifty turtles were turned, but as we could not convey
them all on board forty were left on shore upon their backs for the
night: upon landing the next morning they were all found dead, having
killed themselves by their exertions to escape, and from their exposure
to the heat of the sun which was so great during the day that I did not
send any of the people on shore. We found, however, no difficulty in
procuring more, some of which weighed four hundredweight.

The shore of this bay is fronted by a rocky reef covered with shell-fish,
of which the principal sorts were species of trochus, chama, conus,
voluta, cypraea, buccinum, ostrea, mytilus, and patella; among the latter
was the large one of King George's Sound. Upon the beaches to windward of
the cape we found varieties of sponge and coral; and beche de mer were
observed in the crevices of the rocks but were neither large nor
plentiful. Mr. Cunningham saw two land snakes, one of which was about
four feet in length; the colour of its back was black and the belly
yellow; the only quadruped seen was a small opossum. A seal of the hair
species, like those of Rottnest Island, was seen on the rocks, probably
of the same description that Dampier found in the maw of the shark;* and
also what was found by the French on Faure Island, which M. Peron
supposed to be an herbivorous animal and described as a dugong.**

(*Footnote. Dampier volume 3 page 87.)

(**Footnote. Peron volume 2 page 227 et seq and De Freycinet page 201.)

January 24.

On the 24th Mr. Roe visited the Cape to fix on the post a memorial of our
visit; an inscription was carved upon a small piece of wood in the back
of which was deposited another memorandum written upon vellum; the wood
was of the size of the sheave-hole of the larger post, into which it was
fixed, and near it Mr. Roe piled up a heap of stones. After this was
accomplished the party walked for some distance along the beach to the
south-west of the cape, where they found the remains of two or three
whales that had been lately wrecked; a small piece of putrefied flesh was
also seen, about two or three feet long, one side of which was covered
with red hair, it was however too far gone to ascertain to what animal it

On examining into the state of our dry provisions it was mortifying to
find that the rats and cockroaches had destroyed an incredible quantity,
particularly of our biscuit and flour. In one of the casks of the latter
more than two-thirds of its contents was deficient. The biscuit was
completely drilled through and the greater part would not have been
thought fit to eat if we had possessed any of a better quality; I still
however hoped to have a sufficiency on board to complete the survey of
the north-west coast before our return to Port Jackson, which I now found
would of necessity be at least four or five weeks before the time I had
fixed upon when we left the Mauritius. As it would take up a great
portion of the time we had now left to make a more extensive examination
of Shark's Bay than what the French have already performed, and would
entirely prevent my going upon the north-west coast again; it was
determined that we should not delay here, but pass on and resume our
examination of the coast at Cape Cuvier, the northern head of the bay.
The only part of Shark's Bay that seems to be at all interesting, and to
require further examination, is the eastern side of the bay immediately
opposite to the Islands of Dorre and Bernier; but from the very intricate
and shoal nature of its approach it is very doubtful whether even a sight
of the land in that direction could be procured.

The rocks of Dirk Hartog's Island are of a very remarkable formation,
consisting of a congeries of quartzose sand, united in small circular
kernels by a calcareous cement in which some shells were found embedded.
The geological character of this rock is more fully treated upon in the
Appendix by my friend Dr. Fitton.

"Upon the summit of the cliffs there are a few low shrubs, at this time
much parched up, but among them Mr. Cunningham found a tolerably rich
harvest. In his collection were the following plants, which were
originally brought to Europe by Dampier; namely, Trichinium incanum, Br.;
Diplolaena dampieri, Desf.; solanum, a thorny ferruginous species without
fructification (Solanum dampieri ?) Dampiera incana, Br.; and a cordate
melaleuca, figured by Dampier*: a beautiful loranthus (teretifolius,
Cunningham) grew on the branches of an undescribed acacia (Acacia
ligulata, Cunningham manuscript):"..."many were the wrecks of most
interesting plants, and especially those of soft herbaceous duration,
which had some time since fallen a sacrifice to the apparent
long-protracted drought of the season; but it was impossible, amidst the
sad languor of vegetation, not to admire the luxuriant and healthy habit
of an undescribed species of pittosporum (oleifolium, Cunningham
manuscript) which formed a small robust tree, ten feet high, laden with
ripe fruit. We could perceive no traces either of remains of fires, or
otherwise of natives, in the whole length of our walk along the edge of
the cliffs or the plains, but we saw two snakes of very distinct kinds,
each exceeding five feet in length; the one black with a yellow belly,
the other green and black, but they quickly escaped into holes, leaving a
serpentine impression of their bodies upon the sand. These marks were
seen and remarked near the edge of all the holes, which were very
numerous upon the surface of the island, before I discovered that they
were the tracks of reptiles, from which it may be inferred that these
animals are very abundant. The only bird seen was a solitary species of
loxia, but upon a steep ledge of rocks I observed one of those nests of
which frequent mention has been already made: I examined and found it
built upon the pinnacle of some large rocks, very strongly constructed of
long sticks; it was about five feet high and exceeded four feet in
diameter, with a very slight cavity above; and seemed to have been very
recently inhabited. The rocks that formed its base were ornamented with a
prostrate capparis, or calyptranthus (Calyptranthus orbicularis,
Cunningham manuscript) which afforded me good flowering specimens. In my
walk I started a small black kangaroo: it was feeding upon the seeds of a
small acacia and, upon perceiving my approach, fled across the down
without reaching a single bush or rock large enough to conceal itself as
far as the eye could discern it, so bare and destitute of vegetation are
these arid, sandy plains."* The heat of the weather was so great as not
to allow of any communication with the shore, excepting between daybreak
and eight o'clock. Mr. Cunningham's visits were therefore necessarily
much confined: this precaution I found it absolutely requisite to take to
prevent the people from being exposed to the very great heat of the sun,
which on shore must have been at least twenty degrees more powerful than
on board, where the thermometer ranged between 71 1/2 degrees at
midnight, and 85 and 87 degrees at noon. The barometer ranged between
29.76 and 29.99 inches, and stood highest when the wind was to the
eastward of south, with which winds the horizon was much clearer, and the
air consequently drier than when the wind blew from the sea.

(*Footnote. Cunningham manuscript.)

As an anchorage during the summer months Dirk Hartog's Road has
everything to recommend it, excepting the total absence of fresh water
which, according to the French, was not found in any part of Shark's Bay;
the anchorage is secure and the bottom clear of rocks. There is also an
abundance of fish and turtle, and of the latter a ship might embark forty
or fifty every day, for they are very sluggish and make no effort to
escape, perhaps from knowing the impossibility of their scrambling over
the rocky barrier that fronts the shore, and dries at half ebb. Of fish
we caught only two kinds; the snapper, a species of sparus, called by the
French the rouge bossu, and a tetradon which our people could not be
persuaded to eat, although the French lived chiefly upon it. There are
some species of this genus that are poisonous but many are of delicious
flavour: it is described by M. Lacepede in a paper in the Annal. du
Museum d'Histoire Naturelle (tome 4 page 203) as le Tetrodon argente
(Tetrodon argenteus).

January 26.

On the 26th we sailed and passed outside of Dorre and Bernier's Islands;
nothing was seen of the reef that lies in mid-channel on the south side
of Dorre Island: a rippling was noticed by Mr. Roe in an East by South
direction from the masthead at twenty minutes before one o'clock but, if
the position assigned to it by the French is correct, we had passed it
long before that time. At six o'clock Kok's Island, the small rocky islet
that lies off the north end of Bernier's Island, bore North 83 degrees
East, distant seven miles.

January 27.

The following morning at daylight the land was seen in the North-East and
at half-past eight o'clock we resumed our course and passed Cape Cuvier,
a reddish-coloured rocky bluff that presents a precipitous face to the
sea. The coast thence takes a North by East direction; it is low and
sandy and fronted by a sandy beach, occasionally interrupted by
projecting rocky points; those parts where patches of bare sand were
noticed are marked upon the chart.

At one o'clock we were near a low sandy projection round which the coast
extends to the East-North-East and forms a shallow bay. This projection
was called after Sir Robert Townsend Farquhar, Bart., the late Governor
of the Mauritius.

Farther on, in latitude 23 degrees 10 minutes 30 seconds, is a projection
which, at Mr. Cunningham's request, was called after Mr. William Anderson
of the apothecaries' garden at Chelsea. The coast to the northward of
Point Anderson is higher than to the southward and falls back to the
North-East, but was very imperfectly seen on account of the thick haze
that enveloped it. At a quarter before seven o'clock we hauled to the
wind for the night with a fresh gale from the southward.

January 28.

The next morning was cloudy and the horizon tolerably clear; but towards
noon a light haze began to spread, which by sunset was so thick as
entirely to conceal the land. The mercury fell as low as 29.76 inches
and, although the thermometer was at 79 degrees and the sun powerful, yet
the atmosphere was so charged with moisture that the decks and everything
out of the immediate influence of the sun were quite damp. This
extraordinary and constant humidity appeared only to occupy the
atmosphere for the sky was always beautifully clear and serene.

During the night the gale blew strong from the southward with a high
topping sea from the South-West; and being occupied in shifting the main
topsail which had split during the night, we stood off until three
o'clock before we tacked towards the shore.

January 29.

At eight o'clock being in latitude 22 degrees 19 minutes 23 seconds, the
land was visible from North-East to South 35 degrees East at the distance
of five or six leagues: by its outline which, from the glare of the sun
was the only part at all discernible, it seemed to be of moderate height,
very level, and offering no particular mark that could be set with any
chance of recognition to obtain a cross bearing. As there is every reason
to believe that this part of the coast is what was taken by former
navigators for Cloates Island,* I have named the southernmost point of
the high land Point Cloates.

(*Footnote. See volume 1.)

At noon we were in latitude 21 degrees 57 minutes 5 seconds, having
experienced a current of twenty-three miles to the north since yesterday
at noon. The northern extreme, Vlaming's Head, bore North-East by East
1/2 East and the south extreme South 7 degrees West; and in the bearing
of between South 32 degrees to 82 degrees East the land is higher than in
other parts and declines very gradually towards the extreme.

As the brig approached the land breakers were seen to extend the whole
length of the shore, which is fronted by a sandy beach: the land is of
moderate height but the summit is rather more rugged than that to the
southward where the outline is perfectly level. At half-past three
o'clock Vlaming Head bore south six miles and three quarters off: at four
o'clock the latitude, by the moon's meridional altitude, was found to be
21 degrees 38 minutes 27 seconds, at which time sights were taken for the
chronometer, which made the longitude of the head 114 degrees 2 minutes
16 seconds: the situation assigned to it on our first voyage was 114
degrees 1 minute 47 seconds; the mean of the two, 114 degrees 2 minutes 2
seconds, may therefore be considered its true situation.

From the above observation for the latitude of the North-West Cape
agreeing nearly with those of our former voyage, I was induced to think
that there might be some land more to the northward that the French saw
and took for the cape; for they have placed it in 21 degrees 37 minutes 7
seconds South, which is nearly 10 minutes too northerly. Captain
Horsburgh, in the supplement to his Directory, notices some islands seen
by the San Antonio in 1818, called Piddington's Islands, that are said to
lie in the latitude of 21 degrees 36 minutes, but after steering
seventeen miles to the North-East from the above situation, without
seeing anything like land, there remained no doubt in my mind that the
French must have been deceived and that Piddington's Islands are some of
the low, sandy islets to the eastward of Muiron Island.

January 30.

Having steered through the night on a north-east course, Barrow's Island
came in sight the next morning, when it was about five leagues off; at
eight o'clock it bore between South 27 East and North 87 degrees East.
From noon to three p.m. we had calm, dull, and cloudy weather; and
although the thermometer did not range higher than 87 degrees, the heat
was extremely oppressive, and occasioned the death of three of our
turtles. At three o'clock a breeze springing up from the westward enabled
us to steer to the northward round the Montebello Islands, in doing which
we saw nothing of Hermite Island, which the French have laid down as the
westernmost island of that group. There is certainly no land to the
westward of Trimouille Island; and the error can only be accounted for by
Captain Baudin's having seen the latter at two different periods; indeed
this conjecture is in some measure proved, since there is a considerable
reef running off the north-west end of that island, which in the French
chart is attached to Hermite Island; this reef might not have been seen
by him at his first visit, and when he made the land again and observed
the reef he must have concluded it to have been a second island.

After steering a north course until seven o'clock and deepening the water
to sixty-five fathoms, we gradually hauled round the north end of the
Montebello Isles; and at eleven p.m. steered East; but at two o'clock,
having decreased the depth from seventy-two to forty-one fathoms, we
steered off to the northward until daylight, and then to the
East-South-East, in order to anchor in the Mermaid's Strait to the
eastward of Malus Island, to take some stones on board as ballast, for
the brig was so very light and leewardly that it would have been running
a great risk to approach the land, as she then was. But in this we were
disappointed, for after an interval of close sultry weather, and a severe
thunderstorm, a gale of wind set in from the South-West, during which the
barometer fell as low as 29.36 inches. The gale then veered gradually
round to the North-West, and obliged us to make sail off the coast, and
by the time it moderated we were so far to leeward of Dampier's
Archipelago that I was constrained to alter my plan and give up the idea
of taking ballast on board. I therefore determined upon making Rowley's
Shoals, for the purpose of fixing their position with greater
correctness, and examining the extent of the bight round Cape Leveque,
which we were obliged to leave unexplored during the earlier part of this

1822. February 4.

The first of these objects was effected on the 4th; on which day we
passed round the south end of the Imperieuse (the westernmost) Shoal;
which we now found to extend nearly four miles more to the southward than
had been suspected in 1818, at which period we steered round its north

A large patch of dry rocks was also seen on the north-east end of the
reef about ten miles from the vessel's track, and Mr. Roe, from the
masthead, thought that the east side of the shoal did not appear to be so
steep as the western side.

From noon we steered east to make the shoal seen by the Good Hope, but
having sailed in that direction as far as latitude 17 degrees 42 minutes
51 seconds and longitude 119 degrees 32 minutes 4 seconds, without seeing
any signs of it for ten miles on either side of our course, we hauled to
the wind for the night and sounded in one hundred and forty-five fathoms
speckled sand and broken shells.

February 5.

At seven o'clock the following morning we were steering east when broken
water was reported bearing from East to East-South-East, but it turned
out to be a rippling which we passed through. These ripplings have been
frequently noticed in the vicinity of the reefs, but we have been very
little affected by the tides by which they must be occasioned. At noon we
were by observation in 17 degrees 43 minutes 41 seconds and longitude 119
degrees 41 minutes 52 seconds, when we sounded in one hundred and twenty
fathoms, speckled sand mixed with broken shells and stones; and at twenty
miles farther to the eastward sounded again on the same depth.

February 6.

At eight o'clock the next morning, having steered through the night
North-East by East, we were in ninety fathoms, sand, broken shells, and
large stones.

February 8.

On the morning of the 8th the land was seen in the South-East and soon
afterwards the brig passed round Cape Leveque at the distance of a mile
and a half. On our way towards Point Swan we saw from the masthead a line
of strong tide-ripplings, extending from the point in a North-West by
West direction; within which we at first attempted to pass but, finding
that they were connected to the point, hauled up to steer through them
where they seemed to be the least dangerous. As we approached the noise
was terrific and, although we were not more than two minutes amongst the
breakers, yet the shocks of the sea were so violent as to make me fear
for the safety of our masts. A smaller vessel would perhaps have been
swamped; for although the sea was in other parts quite smooth and the
wind light, yet the water broke over the bows and strained the brig

We then steered between Point Swan and two rocky islands lying five miles
from the shore over a space which, at our last visit, appeared to be
occupied by an extensive reef, but we were then probably deceived by

It was my intention to have brought up under the lee of the point, where
Dampier describes his having anchored in twenty-nine fathoms clear sandy
ground; but upon rounding the projection, the wind suddenly fell and,
after a light squall from South-West we had a dead calm; the depth was
thirty fathoms coral bottom and therefore not safe to anchor upon; this
was unfortunate for the sudden defection of the wind prevented our
hauling into the bay out of the tide, which was evidently running with
considerable rapidity and drifting us, without our having the means of
preventing it, towards a cluster of small rocks and islands through which
we could not discover any outlet, and which were so crowded that in the
dangerous predicament in which we found ourselves placed they bore a
truly awful and terrific appearance. At this time I was at my usual post,
the masthead, directing the steerage of the vessel; but as the brig was
drifting forward by a rapid sluice of tide towards some low rocks, about
a quarter of a mile off, that were not more than two feet above the
water's edge, and upon which it appeared almost inevitable that we must
strike, I descended to the deck, under the certain conviction that we
could not escape the dangers that were strewed across our path unless a
breeze should spring up, of which there was not the slightest appearance
or probability.

Happily however the stream of the tide swept us past the rocks without
accident and, after carrying us about half a mile farther, changed its
direction to south-east and drifted us towards a narrow strait separating
two rocky islands, in the centre of which was a large insulated rock that
seemed to divide the stream. The boat was now hoisted out and sent ahead
to tow, but we could not succeed in getting the vessel's head round. As
she approached the strait the channel became much narrower, and several
islands were passed at not more than thirty yards from her course. The
voices of natives were now heard and soon afterwards some were seen on
either side of the strait, hallooing and waving their arms; we were so
near to one party that they might have thrown their spears on board; they
had a dog with them which Mr. Cunningham remarked to be black. By this
time we were flying past the shore with such velocity that it made us
quite giddy; and our situation was too awful to give us time to observe
the motions of the Indians; for we were entering the narrowest part of
the strait, and the next moment were close to the rock which it appeared
to be almost impossible to avoid; and it was more than probable that the
stream it divided would carry us broadside upon it, when the consequences
would have been truly dreadful; the current, or sluice, was setting past
the rock at the rate of eight or nine knots, and the water being confined
by its intervention fell at least six or seven feet; at the moment,
however, when we were upon the point of being dashed to pieces, a sudden
breeze providentially sprung up and, filling our sails, impelled the
vessel forward for three or four yards: this was enough, but only just
sufficient, for the rudder was not more than six yards from the rock. No
sooner had we passed this frightful danger than the breeze fell again and
was succeeded by a dead calm; the tide however continued to carry us on
with a gradually decreasing strength until one o'clock, when we felt very
little effect from it.

From the spot we had now reached the coast from Cape Leveque appeared to
trend to the southward but was not visible beyond the bearing of
South-West; there was however some land more to the southward that had
the appearance of being an island; it was afterwards found to be a
projection, forming the east head of a bay, and was subsequently called
after my friend Mr. Cunningham, to whose indefatigable zeal the
scientific world is considerably indebted for the very extensive and
valuable botanical collection that has been formed upon this voyage.

We had a dead calm until high-water during which, as the brig continued
to drive with the tide to the southward in from twenty to twenty-four
fathoms, over a rocky bottom, I was undetermined what course to pursue in
order to preserve the situation which we had so unexpectedly reached, and
to prevent the ebb-tide from carrying us back through the strait: the
bare idea of this impending danger reconciled me to determine upon
sacrificing an anchor, for, from the nature of the bottom, it seemed next
to impossible that we could recover it, if once dropped. Just, however,
as the tide was beginning to turn, a breeze sprang up from the westward
and at once put an end to our fears and anxieties; all sail was made
towards Point Cunningham beyond which no land was visible; but the tide
being adverse and the evening near at hand, we anchored in the bight to
the north-west of the Point which bore South 32 1/2 degrees East seven
miles and a half.

February 9.

The next day I remained at the anchorage and despatched Mr. Roe to
examine the coast round Point Cunningham; Mr. Baskerville in the meantime
sounded about the bay between the brig and the western shore and found
very good anchorage in all parts: at about one mile to the westward of
our situation the bottom was of mud, and the depth nine and ten fathoms:
the land appeared a good deal broken, like islands, but from the vessel
the coast seemed to be formed by a continuity of deep bays that may
perhaps afford good anchorage. On one of the sandy beaches at the back of
the bay near Park Hillock, so-called from its green appearance and being
studded with trees, eight or ten natives were observed walking along the
beach close to the low water mark, probably in search of shell-fish; some
of them were children, and perhaps the others were women, except two or
three who carried spears; a dog was trotting along the beach behind them.

After dark, according to a preconcerted plan, port fires were burnt every
half hour for Mr. Roe's guidance, and before midnight the boat came
alongside. Mr. Roe informed me that there was good anchorage round the
point; and where he landed at Point Cunningham there was plenty of fresh
water; but he saw nothing like land to the South-East; the coast trended
from Point Cunningham to the south, and was of low wooded sandy land. The
heat was excessive; the thermometer at noon, out of the influence of the
sun, stood at 120 degrees, and when they landed at Point Cunningham Mr.
Roe thought the heat was increased at least 10 degrees. At this place he
obtained an indifferent meridian altitude which placed it in 16 degrees
40 minutes 18 seconds South.

In the meantime Mr. Cunningham, who had accompanied him, botanised with
success. The traces of natives, dogs, turtle-bones, and broken shells,
were found strewed about; and several fireplaces were noticed that had
very recently been used; a fresh-water stream was running down the rocks
into the sea, and at the back of the beach was a hollow, full of sweet
water. Near the fireplaces Mr. Roe picked up some stones that had been
chipped probably in the manufacture of their hatchets.

The soil was of a red-coloured earth of a very sandy nature; and the
rocks were two sorts of sandstone, one of a deep red colour, the other
whitish, and harder. After leaving Point Cunningham they pulled round the
rocks, which extended for some distance off the point, and then entered a
bay, all over which they found good anchorage; a low distant point formed
the south extreme, but it was too late to reach it and at high-water they
landed at a bright red, cliffy point.

At half-past five o'clock they re-embarked on their return and, although
the tide was in their favour, were six hours before they reached the
vessel; from which Mr. Roe calculated the distance to be nearly twenty
miles, and by the survey subsequently made it was found to be seventeen.

February 11.

We did not leave this anchorage until the 11th and then had some
difficulty in doing it, on account of the shoalness of the water upon the
sandbank that fronts the bay; indeed we were obliged to anchor until the
tide rose high enough to permit our crossing it. At two o'clock we again
got underweigh and crossed the bank, when the wind falling calm we
anchored with Point Cunningham bearing South 17 degrees East three and a
half miles.

February 12.

The following morning I sent Mr. Roe to the point to take some bearings;
the boat left the brig at half-past three o'clock but did not succeed in
reaching the land before the sun rose; at which time the horizon, from
being clearer, would have presented a more distinct view of distant
objects. The group of islands to the eastward was observed to extend no
farther to the southward than the bearing of North 88 degrees East, and
beyond this was an open, boundless sea. The station whence this bearing
was taken was on the north-west trend of the point.

On their first landing Mr. Roe and Mr. Baskerville, with one of the
boat's crew, ascended the summit and, whilst employed in looking round,
heard the voices of natives among the trees about thirty yards off; but
as they could not see them they very properly descended, and carried on
their operations in the vicinity of the boat; they were onshore for two
or three hours afterwards, but the natives did not make their appearance.
The foot-marks of men and boys were evident on the sand below the
high-water mark, and the remains of fireplaces, and where the natives had
been manufacturing spears, were of recent date. The gentlemen brought off
a few shells and some insects, among which was a beautiful sphynx;
besides which one of the boat's crew caught a species of vampyrus,
apparently similar to the flying fox of Port Jackson. Of shells there was
not a great variety; a chama (Tridacna gigas, Lam.) a pinna, and the
trochus (caerulescens) of Dirk Hartog's Island; but at one of the
fireplaces they found a very large voluta that seemed to have served the
purpose of a water-vessel; it was fifteen inches long and ten inches in

The shores appear to abound with shellfish, although Dampier thought that
shells hereabouts were scarce. We could easily have completed our water
at this point, but from the place appearing to be populous and, as the
vessel could not be anchored sufficiently near the shore to have
protected the boat's crews, it was feared that our work might be impeded
by the natives.

The boat returned at ten o'clock while we were getting underweigh; but
the wind being at South-East it was one o'clock before we weathered Point
Cunningham, when the tide was urging us forward rapidly. In steering
round the point we found ourselves passing through some light coloured
water and, before we could extricate the brig, were in three and a half
fathoms; the anchor was immediately dropped underfoot and, with the
assistance of the sails, which were kept full, the vessel was retained
whilst the whale-boat was veered astern, and ascertained that the
shoalest part had been already passed; therefore the anchor was again
weighed, and eventually dropped in the bay to the south of Point
Cunningham in fourteen fathoms and three quarters, fine speckled sand and

In the direction of North 63 degrees West and at a mile and a half from
the anchorage was a remarkable flat-topped hill which was called at Mr.
Cunningham's wish, Carlisle Head, and the bay in which we anchored,
Goodenough Bay, in compliment to the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of
Carlisle. At this part Mr. Cunningham found a new species of velleia (of
the natural order Goodenoviae).

We were now suffering much from the extreme heat and closeness of the
weather; the thermometer ranged night and day between 85 and 89 degrees,
and when the breeze was light or the weather calm the air was
insufferably hot and close, and affected us all very much, but happily
without any very serious consequences.

In the evening four natives armed with spears were seen sitting in the
shade upon the sandy beach under Carlisle Head, attentively watching us;
but upon being joined by three others, who came towards them from Point
Cunningham, got up and walked away. We have yet to learn how far these
people may be confided in, for we were not at a very great distance from
Hanover Bay where we so nearly paid dear for trusting ourselves amongst
them unarmed.

February 13.

We remained at the anchorage in Goodenough Bay until the following
morning, when we weighed to a very light breeze from south-east, the only
direction from which we experienced any wind; the breeze generally blew
strong at night, whilst during the day it was light, or nearly calm; so
that during the night we were very insecurely placed if the anchorage was
at all suspicious, and in the day were either delayed very much or
entirely prevented from weighing.

Thus it was with us on this day; soon after we weighed it fell calm and
the tide, drifting us rapidly to the southward over rocky ground, carried
us close to a reef of dry rocks to the northward of Foul Point without
our being able to avoid it. At a little before five o'clock the
flood-tide was nearly expended and obliged us to drop the chain-cabled
anchor at the distance of three miles from Foul Point, upon a bottom of
rotten yellow-coloured rock that crumbled away upon being touched, but
from the noise that the chain made in dragging over the ground there was
reason to apprehend it was very rocky; and consequently great fears were
entertained for the safety of our anchor.

Our situation was in the outer part of a bay, the southern head of which
bore South 22 degrees East, and which, from the loss and perplexity we
met with in it, was afterwards called Disaster Bay, and its south
extreme, off which is a small rocky island, was named Repulse Point.

During the afternoon we had another instance of mirage which proved
useful so far that it indicated to us the trend of the land to the
south-eastward, in which direction nothing had previously been seen; it
appeared to be very low and level, and similar to the character of the
coast on the southward of Cape Leveque. At sunset when the haze cleared
off and the appearance of the land gradually sank below the horizon we
were instantly relieved from the oppressive heat we had experienced
during the day, for the thermometer had indicated a temperature of 91
degrees and, when exposed to the influence of the sun, rose to 120

Three natives were noticed as we passed along the shore; they were
walking upon a sandy beach abreast of us but very soon disappeared among
the trees and bushes which here grow close down to the waterside; they
were armed with spears and appeared to be watching our movements; for
they moved along in the direction of our course and did not afterwards
make their appearance during the evening.

February 14.

The next morning whilst the ebb-tide lasted we had a light breeze but, at
noon, as the weather was calm and the brig could not be got underweigh,
either with safety or utility, the boats were despatched in different
directions to improve our knowledge of the place.

At low water a considerable sandbank was exposed to our view, that had
not previously been seen; it fronts the bay and is dry at low tide for
some extent, it is also shoal some distance to the northward, as our boat
had only four feet in passing over it. In the afternoon, as there was
every appearance of fine weather and no likelihood of a breeze, Mr.
Baskerville and Mr. Cunningham set off in a boat to visit Repulse Point,
in order to make what observations they could upon the further trend of
the land; but no sooner had they left the vessel than a breeze sprung up
and freshened to a gale in which our cable parted; and as there was no
chance of dropping another anchor with a prospect of recovering it, we
were obliged to return to our former anchorage in Goodenough Bay; but,
owing to the tide being contrary, the brig did not reach it until nearly
sunset. Our alarm and anxieties were now raised to a great pitch for the
safety of Mr. Baskerville and his companions: signals of recall had been
hoisted and several guns fired before the cable parted, but the boat was
too far off to notice either: as soon as it was dark signal guns were
fired and port fires burnt every ten minutes to guide its return.

Happily these signals at last had the desired effect, for at ten o'clock
the boat came alongside. Mr. Baskerville had failed in reaching Repulse
Point but obtained some useful information as to the trend of the land
round the point, which still appeared to extend to the southward; they
had not been able to land, but had encountered much danger from the small
size of the boat, which shipped a great deal of water, so that by the
time it arrived they were completely drenched with the spray of the sea.
They had only observed our signals for a few minutes before their
arrival; for the flashes of the guns and the lights of the port-fires
were so confused with lightning and the fires of the natives on the shore
that they could not be distinguished from each other. Soon after they
arrived on board heavy rain commenced, and fell during the greater part
of the night.

February 15.

The ensuing day the weather was still squally and unsettled. In the
afternoon the launch and another boat were sent in search of our lost
anchor but returned at night without success; for the tide was so strong
that the buoy did not watch. The next morning it was again intended to
resume the search, but the weather clouded in and threatened to be so bad
that all further attempts were abandoned.

This succession of bad weather, and our having only one anchor left, made
me feel the necessity of leaving this part, and giving up for the present
the examination of this interesting place; and as we wanted both wood and
water, which we had found no opportunity of obtaining here on account of
the tempestuous state of the weather, it was purposed we should go to
Port George the Fourth, which place would afford both security for the
vessel and facility for procuring these articles. This delay might also
be made serviceable by employing a part of the crew at the same time in
the boats in examining the islands in Rogers Strait, and tracing the
continuation of the mainland behind the islands that form the south-east
coast of Camden Bay, of which we knew nothing. After doing this I hoped
to be able to continue the examination of the deep bay behind
Montgomery's Islands, and connect that part with the gulf or strait
behind the Buccaneer's Archipelago in which we now were; but our loss of
anchors made all this very dangerous and, indeed, nothing could be done
without very fine weather, of which there was at present unfortunately no

But a greater and more serious hindrance was that our provisions were
very much reduced in quantity, and that we had not more than enough to
last, upon a full allowance, for the voyage to Port Jackson; the hope
however of procuring more information of this part of the coast was so
inviting that I did not despair of effecting something in a fortnight
worth the delay. We had dry provisions and water on board for about ten
weeks, so that with fine weather we could have retarded our departure for
ten or twelve days without much risk.

February 16.

Our quitting this place being determined upon we did not lose any time;
but from various delays of calm weather and adverse tides could not
succeed in getting out to sea until the 18th.

It was impossible to go out by the dangerous channel through which we
entered; but as Sunday Strait, through which the brig had been drifted
before we went to Mauritius, appeared free from danger, we directed our
course to it.

February 17.

And, after being underweigh all the night near its inner entrance, during
which we had once nearly struck on a reef of rocks, found ourselves at
daylight drifting through it with a rapid ebb-tide without a breath of
wind. The tide however lasted long enough to carry us out, and when the
flood commenced, which would have drifted us back again, a fresh breeze
sprang up from the westward and very soon carried us clear of the
influence of the tide.

With respect to the opening we had now left there were many conflicting
opinions among us, but I have every reason to think that the land from
Cape Leveque to Point Gantheaume is an island and that there is also a
communication between Cygnet and Collier's Bays, behind the islands of
the Archipelago, where it is also probable there is an opening trending
to the south-east. The great rise and fall of the tides in the
neighbourhood of Point Gantheaume gives a plausibility to this opinion;
and the only thing that I know against it is the trifling depth of the
water between that point and Cape Villaret. This however may be caused by
the numerous banks and channels existing there, and which, of themselves
alone, are indicative of the opening being something more than a mere

As sunset approached the eastern horizon was as usual in commotion; heavy
dense clouds were collected, from which we had thunder and lightning. At
seven o'clock the appearance was more threatening and, as a squall was
evidently approaching, the sails were taken in and preparation made to
meet it: soon after eight o'clock it passed rapidly over and brought a
strong gust of wind, before which we were obliged to scud. After blowing
most tempestuously for an hour the wind moderated, and the night passed
without any repetition of it; we had however run five miles to leeward:
had we been obliged to do this last night when underway in Cygnet Bay, or
been drifted back this evening by the ebb-tide, we should have been very
dangerously placed, from being surrounded by islands and blinded by the
darkness of the night. Whilst this squall lasted the barometer was in no
way affected, but the thermometer fell two degrees, having stood all the
afternoon at 89 3/4 degrees.

February 18.

During the remainder of the night we stood off and on and experienced a
current setting in the direction of North 52 degrees West one mile per
hour. At eight o'clock the next morning (18th) Adele Island was seen; and
in the afternoon we passed at a mile and a half from the western side of
the reef which surrounds it. This island is low and sandy and covered
with small bushes; it is about two or three miles in length; a dry sand
extends for five miles from its south end, and as far as one mile from
its north-west point; but the covered part of the reef is more extensive,
and appeared rocky. At the distance of three miles and a half, in a
north-west direction from its north end, are two dry sandbanks which are
probably covered at high-water. Light-coloured water extended for three
miles to the westward and for fourteen miles to the north-west; but the
water is probably deep enough over it for any vessel to pass: we steered
over the tail within the coloured water, but had no bottom with
forty-five fathoms. In many parts near the island the rocks must be very
little below the surface of the water, for the sea occasionally broke
upon them.

We then steered to the East and East-North-East and at night made short
trips on either tack. The weather was extremely sultry during the
afternoon, the thermometer being at 89 degrees, and when exposed to the
sun the mercury rose to 125 degrees. Towards sunset large flights of
boobies, terns, and other sea-birds passed by, flying towards the
islands. One or two stopped to notice us and flew round the brig several

February 19.

The night was fine with light south-west winds; but we had lightning in
the North-East, from which quarter at daylight the weather clouded in;
and, from the increasing dampness of the atmosphere, indicated rain.

At noon we were in 15 degrees 12 minutes 15 seconds South and 7 minutes 1
second east of the anchorage in Cygnet Bay. The wind was from the
southward with dull cloudy weather. Large flights of birds were about the
vessel, preying upon small fish swimming among the seaweed, of which we
passed a great quantity. As the evening approached the weather clouded in
and threatened us with another squall from the eastward. The thermometer
stood at 88 degrees, and the barometer at 29.81 inches: half an hour
before sunset the clouds, which had collected in the eastern horizon,
began to thicken and approach us with loud thunder and vivid lightning:
all the sails, except the topsails which were lowered, were furled just
in time to avoid any bad effects from the squall, which commenced with a
strong gust from East-South-East and East; it lasted about an hour,
during the latter part of which we had very heavy rain. At eight o'clock
the wind fell to a calm and was afterwards baffling and light from north
to east and south-east.

February 20.

At daylight (20th) the morning was dull and cloudy: a bank of heavy
threatening clouds, rising from the eastward, induced my steering to the
westward to await the issue of this weather, so unfavourable for our
doing any good upon the coast, as well as increasing the danger of
navigating among reefs and islands where the tides were so strong. The
next morning at daylight we had a squall with rain and wind from the
eastward after which a fresh breeze set in from the same quarter: as this
weather appeared likely to last I very unwillingly determined upon
leaving the coast and returning immediately to Port Jackson.

February 21 to 24.

From the 21st until the 24th we had moderate winds between north and
south-east which gradually drew us out of the influence of the damp,
unwholesome weather we so lately experienced. Our course was held to the
northward of Rowley's Shoals which, upon passing, we found a strong
current setting towards them at the rate of one mile an hour. This
indraught increases the danger of navigating near this part but I do not
recollect having experienced any when we passed them in June, 1818. The
current, therefore, that we felt, may be only of temporary duration, and
probably caused by the variable state of the wind.

1822. February 24 to March 3.

Between the 24th of February and the 3rd of March we had light and
variable winds from all directions but, being more frequent from the
eastward than from any other point of the compass, I became reconciled to
the step I had taken of leaving the coast, since it would not have been
possible to have reached Port George the Fourth to effect any good.

The thermometer now ranged between 87 and 89 degrees and the weather was
consequently extremely oppressive and sultry.

March 3 to 11.

On the 3rd at noon we were in latitude 18 degrees 45 minutes 18 seconds
and longitude 111 degrees 4 minutes 15 seconds when a breeze sprang up
from the South-east and carried us within the influence of the trade,
which blew steadily between South-South-east and South by East and
advanced us on our passage but carried us considerably to the westward.
On this course we were accompanied by immense shoals of albicores
(Scomber thynnus, Linn.) but they were of small size; very few measured
more than twenty inches in length, and the average weight about ten
pounds: The meat was very good and tender and as a great number of the
fish were caught, proved a grateful relief to our salt diet. The
atmosphere was very damp and before the vessel entered the trade we had
lightning every night, but it ceased the moment that we were within its
limits. Tropic and other oceanic birds, some of a dark brown colour,
hovered about us and were our daily companions, particularly the latter
which preyed upon the small fish that were pursued by the albicores.

March 11 to 14.

From the 11th to the 14th the trade ceased and the interval was supplied
by a northerly wind, veering round to west, which enabled us to make up
for the ground we had lost by its having been so much from the southward.
After this we had variable breezes between South and East-South-East but
the current, which before had been setting us to the north-west, now set
to the north-east; this change was probably occasioned by the
south-westerly swell.

On the 14th we were in 27 degrees 49 minutes South, and 101 degrees 1
minute East. Some tropic birds were seen this morning but as yet neither
albatrosses nor pintadoes had made their appearance. During the short
cessation of the trade the atmosphere was very dry until the
south-easterly winds returned, when it became more humid; but as we
approached the southern limit of this South-East wind, which may be
considered to bear more of the character of a periodical wind than the
trade, the atmosphere became altogether drier; it carried us as far as 32
degrees 40 minutes South and 96 degrees 42 minutes West before it veered
to the northward of east when, after a calm, we had north-easterly winds
and fine weather of which we made good use.

The first albatross was seen in 31 1/4 degrees South and was flying about
the brig at the same time with a tropic bird, which is a remarkable
occurrence, for I never saw the latter bird before so far without the
tropic; but here was one nearly five hundred miles to the southward of
it, and at least three hundred leagues from the nearest land; an
albatross (Diomedea exulans, Linn.) was shot, but did not measure more
than nine feet nine inches across the tips of the wings.

February 25.

On the 25th of February we examined our water and found the casks so much
damaged by rats that instead of having thirteen tons we had only nine on
board, but as this was thought to be sufficient for our voyage the daily
issue was not reduced.

March 28.

On the 28th of March however it was found necessary to make a
considerable reduction in the allowance.

April 13.

On the 13th of April the north-west end of Van Diemen's Land came in
sight but it was not until the 15th that we entered Bass Strait by the
passage between King's and Hunter's Islands. Off Cape Howe we boarded a
trading brig belonging to Port Jackson bound to Van Diemen's Land, from
which we obtained pleasing and satisfactory news of our friends at
Sydney, as also the gratifying intelligence of the promotion of myself to
the rank of commander, and of Messrs. Bedwell and Roe to that of
lieutenant. The promotion of the latter gentleman was under circumstances
of the most flattering nature, and here not only offers a most
satisfactory proof of the approbation bestowed by the Lords Commissioners
of the Admiralty upon my zealous assistant, but precludes me from the
otherwise pleasing task of giving my humble testimonial of his conduct
and merits.

Between Cape Howe and Port Jackson we experienced much bad weather, which
delayed our arrival so long that we had expended all our bread and were
reduced to a very small proportion of water:

April 25.

We however succeeded in effecting our arrival at Sydney by the 25th,
after an absence of 344 days.

The Bathurst sails for England.
Remarks upon some errors in the hydrography of the south coast of Van
Diemen's Land.
King George the Third's Sound.
Passage to the Cape of Good Hope.
Cross the Atlantic, and arrive at Plymouth Sound.
Observations upon the voyages, and conclusion.

1822. April 25 to September 25.

Upon an examination of the brig's defects after our arrival at Port
Jackson her stern and cut-water were found so defective as to require a
considerable repair; but from the difficulty of procuring seasoned wood,
so long a time elapsed before it was effected that we were not ready for
sea until the beginning of September, when other delays of minor
importance detained us until the 25th.

At Port Jackson I found orders from the Lords Commissioners of the
Admiralty to return to England in the Bathurst when the survey should be
completed; but as we were in want of many things that the colony could
not furnish, and as we should be detained until the month of February
before the monsoon would allow of our going upon the coast; it was deemed
most advantageous for the public service to return without making another
voyage. Accordingly on the 25th September we sailed from Sydney with the
intention of proceeding to the north through Torres Strait, and calling
at the Mauritius on our way; but no sooner had we put to sea than a hard
gale set in from the north which induced me to bear up and either to go
round Van Diemen's Land to the westward, if the wind should favour such a
proceeding, or, by doubling the south end of New Zealand to make the
eastern passage round Cape Horn.

1822. October 6.

Having reached the south-east end of Van Diemen's Land on the 6th of
October, and a fresh north-easterly wind setting in at the same time, I
determined upon adopting the first plan; and therefore proceeded round
the south side of the island, in doing which I had the opportunity of
verifying some observations formerly taken by which it appeared that the
coast between Storm Bay and the South-west Cape was very erroneously laid
down both by Captain Flinders and the French expeditions under
d'Entrecasteaux and Baudin.

On my voyage to Macquarie Harbour in 1819 I found so many errors in the
bearings that were taken as induced me to suspect an original error, and
on this occasion a very considerable one was detected.

When Captain Flinders passed round Van Diemen's Land in the Norfolk he
obtained a meridional supplementary altitude of the sun to the south, his
vessel being under the land, which made the South-west Cape in 43 degrees
29 minutes South; but finding the next day that his instrument was 2
minutes 40 seconds in error to the north he assigned to the cape a
position of 43 degrees 32 minutes. In the Introduction to his voyage* he
makes some remarks in a note upon the positions assigned to it by
Captains Cook and Furneaux; the latter officer placed it in 43 degrees 39
minutes, in which I also found it to be by its transient bearing from the
South Cape. By a series of bearings carried along the coast its position
is thirty-three miles West 3 degrees South true, from the South Cape.

(*Footnote. Flinders volume 1 Introduction page 179.)

All parts of the coast in this interval are proportionally in error as to
latitude but tolerably well placed in reference to the coast. The
subjoined are the positions now assigned to the following places, namely:


South Cape : 43 degrees 38 minutes : 146 degrees 56 minutes.

Mewstone : 43 degrees 46 minutes : 146 degrees 31 1/2 minutes.

South-west Cape : 43 degrees 39 minutes : 146 degrees 12 minutes.

The south-east cape of Bruny Island, Tasman's Head, is also placed too
much to the southward in Captain Flinders' chart as well as in that of
Baudin. From the Mermaid it was set in a line with the south-east cape on
the bearing of North 56 degrees East (the vessel's head being to the
eastward); and on this occasion (the brig's head being to the westward)
it bore, when in the same line, North 53 degrees East. The variation in
the latter case was 9 degrees East, but in the former no more than 6
degrees was allowed, and Captain Flinders found even 4 degrees

I passed outside the Mewstone and took its bearing as it came on with the
points of the land between the south-west and the south-east capes, by
which I satisfied myself beyond a doubt of the correctness of my
observations and of the error into which Captain Flinders had fallen, and
which must either be attributed to the imperfection of his instrument or
to his reading off the altitude 10 minutes in error; and as there is just
that difference between it and the position assigned by Captain Furneaux,
which is also confirmed by my observation, the probability is in favour
of the last conjecture.

After leaving the coast of Van Diemen's Land we had much damp,
unwholesome weather, and a succession of heavy westerly gales, in which
the brig was occasionally much pressed.

1822. November 8-31.

And it was not until the 8th of November that we made Bald Island, which
is to the eastward of King George's Sound. We were now much in need of a
place to caulk the bends, as well as to repair some temporary damage to
the rigging and complete our wood and water. I therefore seized the
opportunity of our being near the sound and, steering into it, anchored
off the sandy bay within Seal Island and immediately commenced
operations. We were however much delayed by hard westerly gales, which
not only prevented the carpenter's caulking, but also delayed our
watering, since the boat could not pull to the shore; but as the
anchorage was well sheltered we suffered no further inconvenience than
the delay.

A few days after our arrival we were surprised by the appearance of a
strange vessel beating into the sound; she proved to be an American
schooner on a sealing voyage and was coming in for the purpose of
careening and cleaning the vessel's bottom in Oyster Harbour. The natives
also made their appearance and some of them being our old friends,
immediately recognised us.

As there was no wood convenient to our anchorage I moved the vessel to
the entrance of Princess Royal Harbour, near the northern head of which,
at the south end of the long sandy beach, the trees were growing in
abundance close to the beach: it was at this place also that Captain
Flinders obtained his wood; and excepting the entrance of Oyster Harbour
it is the most convenient place in the whole sound.

Whilst at this last anchorage we were visited by the natives, many of
them strangers; they were accompanied by our old friend Coolbun, the
native that, upon our former visit, was so noisy in explaining to his
companions the effect of the shot that was fired. On one occasion, when
they were on board, an immense shark was hooked, but broke the hook and
escaped, which was a great disappointment to them, for they evidently
anticipated a luxurious meal. After this they went on shore, when the
breeze blew so fresh as to make some seasick, very much to the amusement
of those who did not suffer, particularly one of the older men. On this
occasion the names of several of the natives were obtained, which have
been inserted with a few additional words at the end of the list obtained
from them during our former visit.* Our friend Jack did not make his
appearance, nor did the natives at all seem to understand for whom we
were enquiring.

(*Footnote. See above.)

As soon as our wood was completed the brig was moved to an anchorage off
the watering bay which proved a more convenient place than under Seal
Island, as it was better sheltered and nearer to the watering-place.
After riding out a heavy gale from the westward at single anchor without
any accident and as soon as our water was completed, we again anchored
for a day under Seal Island, but were obliged to make two attempts before
we succeeded in getting out to sea.

Whilst at the anchorage off Princess Royal Harbour I went to Oyster
Harbour to procure flowering specimens of a tree which had hitherto been
a subject of much curiosity to botanists: at our former visits the season
was too far advanced; and Mr. Brown was equally unfortunate. The plant
resembles xanthorrhoea, both in its trunk and leaves, but bears its
flower in a very different manner; for, instead of throwing out one long
flower scape, it produces eighteen or twenty short stalks, each
terminated by an oval head of flowers. I recollected having seen a large
grove of these trees growing at a short distance from the outer beach on
the east side of the entrance of the harbour; and on going there found
the decayed flowers and seeds sufficiently perfect to throw a
considerable light upon this singular plant;* several were procured and
brought to England. A drawing of this tree is given in the view of King
George's Sound in Captain Flinders' account of the Investigator's
voyage.** In the list of the plants collected by me upon this occasion
was a splendid species of anigosanthus, which proved to be quite new, and
had escaped the observation both of Mr. Brown and of Mr. Cunningham.
Living plants of various genera were also procured: among which were
several of the remarkable Cephalotus follicularis (Brown) which however
alone survived the voyage, and are now growing in the royal gardens at

(*Footnote. More perfect specimens were afterwards collected by Mr.
Baxter, and sent, through Mr. Henchman his employer, to my friend Mr.
Brown, the original discoverer of the tree in Captain Flinders' voyage,
and the author of the paper in the appendix at the end of the volume
relating to it.)

(**Footnote. Flinders volume 1 page 60.)

December 1 to February 9, 1823.

Having effected our departure from King George's Sound we proceeded on
our way towards Simon's Bay at the Cape of Good Hope, which we reached on
the 14th January after a passage of forty-six days without encountering a
gale of wind or the occurrence of any event worth recording.

February 9 to April 23.

We left Simon's Bay on the 9th of February and, after touching at St.
Helena and Ascension, crossed the line in 22 degrees 6 minutes West; and
on the 7th of April made the Island of Flores, one of the Azores. On the
same morning we fell in with two French men of war, a frigate and a
corvette, who bore down but, upon showing our colours, hauled their wind
and resumed their course without communicating with us. Between this and
the Channel we were delayed by a succession of northerly winds. The
Lizard Lights were made in the night of the 22nd of April and the
following day we anchored in Plymouth Sound; after an absence of more
than six years.

It may not be considered irrelevant here to make a few brief observations
upon what has been effected by these voyages, and what yet remains to be
done upon the northern coasts of Australia. Beginning with the
north-eastern coast, I have been enabled to lay down a very safe and
convenient track for vessels bound through Torres Strait, and to
delineate the coastline between Cape Hillsborough, in 20 degrees 54
minutes South, and Cape York, the north extremity of New South Wales; a
distance of six hundred and ninety miles. As my instructions did not
authorise my delaying to examine any part of this coast I could not
penetrate into the many numerous and extensive openings that presented
themselves in this space; particularly in the neighbourhoods of Cape
Gloucester, Upstart, and Cleveland; where the intersected and broken
appearances of the hills at the back are matters of interesting enquiry
and research.

My instructions at first confined me between Cape Arnhem and the
North-west Cape, but were subsequently extended to the western coast. The
examination of the northern and part of the north-western coasts, from
Wessel Islands to Port George the Fourth, a distance of seven hundred and
ninety miles, has been carefully made and, with a few exceptions, every
opening has been explored. Those parts in this interval that yet require
examination are some inlets on the south side of Clarence Strait, and one
of more considerable size to the eastward of Cambridge Gulf, trending in
to the south-east: otherways, the coast comprised within these limits has
been sufficiently examined for all the purposes of navigation.

The coast also between the North-west Cape and Depuch Island, containing
two hundred and twenty miles, has also been sufficiently explored; but
between the latter island and Port George the Fourth, a distance of five
hundred and ten miles, it yet remains almost unknown. The land that is
laid down is nothing more than an archipelago of islands fronting the
mainland, the situation of which is quite uncertain. Our examinations of
these islands were carried on as far as Cape Villaret, but between that
and Depuch Island the coast has only been seen by the French, who merely
occasionally saw small detached portions of it. At present however this
is conjecture; but the space is of considerable extent and, if there is
an opening into the interior of New Holland, it is in the vicinity of
this part. Off the Buccaneer's Archipelago the tides are strong and rise
to the height of thirty-six feet. Whatever may exist behind these
islands, which we were prevented by our poverty in anchors and other
circumstances from exploring, there are certainly some openings of
importance; and it is not at all improbable that there may be a
communication at this part with the interior for a considerable distance
from the coast.

The examination of the western coast was performed during an almost
continued gale of wind, so that we had no opportunity of making any very
careful observation upon its shores. There can however be very little
more worth knowing of them, as I apprehend the difficulty of landing is
too great ever to expect to gain much information; for it is only in
Shark's Bay that a vessel can anchor with safety.

With respect to the subjects of natural history that have been procured
upon the voyage, it is much to be lamented that the small size of the
vessel and our constant professional duties prevented my extending them.
Of quadrupeds we saw but few. Birds were very numerous but the operation
of skinning and preserving them would have taken up more time than could
be afforded. A few insects, some shells, and a small series of specimens
of the geology of the parts we landed at were among the only things
obtained, excepting the extensive and valuable collection of plants
formed by Mr. Cunningham which are now in the possession of Mr. Aiton, of
the Royal Gardens at Kew; for which establishment it would seem that they
were solely procured. It was in fact the only department of natural
history in which any pains were taken and for which every assistance was
rendered. A small herbarium was however collected by me, containing
nearly five hundred species: they are in the possession of my respected
friend Aylmer B. Lambert, Esquire, whose scientific attainments in the
field of botany are well and widely known. It is to be hoped however that
the few subjects offered to the scientific world in the appendix, through
the kindness of my friends, will not be thought uninteresting or
unimportant; and that they will serve to show how very desirable it is to
increase the comparatively slender knowledge that we possess of this
extensive country, which in this respect might still with propriety
retain its ancient name of Terra Australis INCOGNITA.

Whilst this sheet was going through the press accounts were received at
the Admiralty from Captain J.G. Bremer, C.B. of H.M. Ship Tamar who was
despatched by the government in the early part of last year (1824) to
take possession of Arnhem's Land, upon the north coast of the continent,
and to form an establishment upon the most eligible spot that could be
found for a mercantile depot. Of the proceedings of this expedition the
following particulars have been communicated to me by Lieutenant J.S.
Roe, my former companion and assistant, who was appointed lieutenant of
the Tamar upon her being destined for that service; and which, as the
sequel of the voyage I have been describing, cannot be deemed irrelevant
or uninteresting, since the place fixed upon by Captain Bremer was
discovered during the early part of the said voyage.*

(*Footnote. See volume 1.)

The Tamar arrived at Port Jackson on the 28th of July, 1824; when every
facility was rendered by the colonial government to further the object in
view. The expedition sailed thence in less than a month with a detachment
of the 3rd regiment and forty-five convicts, in addition to the party of
Royal Marines that had been embarked before the Tamar left England. The
establishment was placed under the command of Captain Barlow of the 3rd
regiment. A merchant ship, the Countess of Harcourt, was taken up to
convey the stores and provisions, and the Lady Nelson, colonial brig, was
also placed at the disposal of the commandant.

Lieutenant Roe, in describing this voyage to me, writes: "We had a very
favourable passage to the northward, and in less than three weeks cleared
Torres Strait by the route you recommended to Captain Bremer, without
encountering any accident. We nevertheless saw several shoals that, in
our former voyages in the Mermaid and Bathurst, were not noticed; by
reason of the greater altitude of the Tamar's masthead affording a much
more extensive view on either side of our course." The particulars of
these discoveries of Lieutenant Roe are given in the Appendix, under the
description of the North-East Coast, in the order in which they occur.

Having cleared Torres Strait the Tamar anchored in Port Essington.
Lieutenant Roe then says, "Having brought the ship to anchor off Table
Point in Port Essington, all the boats were hoisted out and the marines
landed, when, an union-jack being fixed upon a conspicuous tree near the
extremity of the point, formal possession was taken of the north coast of
Australia, between the meridians of 129 and 136 degrees East of
Greenwich. The marines fired three volleys, and the Tamar a royal salute,
upon the occasion.

"Our first object being to find water, parties were despatched in various
directions for that purpose; but after traversing many miles of country,
and coasting a great deal of the port, only one place was discovered (the
low sandy east point of entrance to Inner Harbour) where any was to be
procured, and it was then only obtained by digging deep holes in the
sand. A large Malay encampment had recently removed from this spot,
leaving their fireplaces and temporary couches, and large piles of
firewood to season, in readiness for their next visit. No natives were
seen, not even at our old place in Knockers Bay. The adjoining country
was found to be very good forest land, well timbered, but parched with
drought, which was by no means in favour of our views. Having buried a
sealed bottle upon the sandy point, containing an account of our
proceedings, we named it Point Record,* and sailed at the expiration of
two days for Apsley Strait.

(*Footnote. Point Record is the low sandy point on the left of the
picture in the view of Port Essington, volume 1.)

"Light winds retarded our arrival off Cape Van Diemen until the 24th, and
it was not before the 26th that we brought up close to Luxmoore Head, in
St. Asaph Bay. Possession was here taken in a similar manner and with the
same forms as at Port Essington, and we commenced a strict search for
water in every direction in the neighbourhood of the head, which appeared
so desirable and commanding a position, that it was with great reluctance
we eventually gave up all idea of settling there, on not finding fresh
water in its neighbourhood.

"At the expiration of five or six days a small river and plenty of water
was discovered on Melville Island abreast of Harris Island; and an
eligible situation for the intended new settlement being discovered near
it, the ships were removed thither on the 2nd of October, and parties
landed to commence immediate operations with the axe and saw. The
projection of land fixed upon for the site of a town, was named after the
commandant (Captain Barlow). The cove in which the ships were at anchor
was named King's Cove by Captain Bremer, after yourself, as the original
discoverer of the strait; and that part of Apsley Strait, between
Luxmoore Head and Harris Island,* received the name of Port Cockburn, in
honour of Vice Admiral Sir George Cockburn, G.C.B., one of the Lords of
the Admiralty.

(*Footnote. Harris Island was named by me after my friend John Harris,
Esquire, formerly surgeon of the 102nd Regiment, who has served so long
and so faithfully in various offices under the government of New South

"All disposable hands being employed on shore in clearing Point Barlow of
wood and other impediments, we were speedily enabled to commence the
erection of a fort, seventy-five yards in length by fifty wide; to be
built of the trunks of the felled trees, and to be surrounded by a ditch
ten feet wide and deep. On the memorable 21st of October, our
quarter-deck guns were landed and mounted, the colours were hoisted for
the first time, and the work was named Fort Dundas, under a royal salute
from itself.

"From this time the place began to assume the appearance of a fortified
village; quarters were constructed within the walls of the fort for the
accommodation of the officers belonging to the establishment, and about
thirty huts of various kinds were erected, and thatched with rushes for
the soldiers and convicts. A deep well was sunk near the fort; a good
substantial wharf ran out into the water; and, as soon as a commissariat
storehouse was finished, all the provisions were landed from the Countess
of Harcourt and secured there.

"The soil in the neighbourhood of the settlement being exceedingly good,
gardens were cleared and laid out, and soon produced all kinds of
vegetables. In our stock we were rather unfortunate, for of six sheep
that were landed for the purpose of breeding, five died, supposed from
the effect produced by eating some pernicious herb in the woods: pigs,
ducks, and fowls seemed however in a fair way of doing well, and had
increased considerably since they were landed; but great inconvenience
was experienced for want of some horses or draught oxen, which would not
only have materially expedited the work in hand, but would have spared
the men much laborious fatigue and exposure to the effects of a vertical
sun: all difficulties and obstacles were however met and overcome with
the greatest zeal and perseverance, and the works proceeded with such
spirit and alacrity, that we were enabled to sail for Bombay on the 13th
of November, without exposing the new settlement either to the jealousy
of the Malays, or the mischievous attack of the natives. No traces of the
former people were observed at this place, nor any of the trepang that
would be their sole inducement for visiting it. Not one native made his
appearance before the early part of November when, as if by signal, a
party of about eighteen on each shore communicated with us on the same
day and were very friendly, although exceedingly suspicious and timid.
They would not venture within the line of the outer hut and always came
armed, but laid aside their spears and clubs whenever friendly signs were
made. On the second day of their visit I was greatly astonished to see
amongst them a young man of about twenty years of age, not darker in
colour than a Chinese but with perfect Malay features and like all the
rest entirely naked: he had daubed himself all over with soot and grease,
to appear like the others, but the difference was plainly perceptible. On
perceiving that he was the object of our conversation, a certain archness
and lively expression came over his countenance, which a native
Australian would have strained his features in vain to have produced. The
natives appeared to be very fond of him. It seems probable that he must
have been kidnapped when very young, or found while astray in the woods.*

(*Footnote. At our visit to this place in 1818 and during our
communication with the natives a boy of the above description was noticed
among them; he was brought down upon the shoulders of one of the Indians,
in which position he is represented in the view. See volume 1.)

"These Indians made repeated signs for hatchets, which they called
paaco-paaco, and although they had stolen two or three on their first
appearance, it was considered desirable to gain their goodwill by giving
them more, and three were accordingly presented to individuals among them
who appeared to be in authority. They were of course much pleased, but
the next day several axes, knives, and sickles were taken by force from
men employed outside the settlement, upon which they were made to
understand that until these articles were restored no more would be
given. This arrangement being persevered in by us, they determined upon
seizing these implements on every occasion that presented itself; so that
it was found necessary to protect our working parties in the woods by a
guard; the result of which was that the natives threw their spears
whenever resistance was offered, and the guard was obliged to fire upon
the aggressors.

"Open acts of hostility having now been committed, and the natives
increasing daily in numbers to upwards of one hundred round the
settlement, a good lookout was kept upon them; but not sufficiently to
prevent about sixty of them surprising five of the marines in a swamp
cutting rushes, and throwing their spears amongst them: their salute was
immediately returned, and they disappeared without any damage having been
done on either side; at the same minute however reports of musketry were
heard at our watering-place and garden and proved to be in repelling an
attack that about forty natives had made upon our jolly-boat watering and
two men cutting grass. One of the natives was shot dead at ten yards'
distance while in the act of throwing his spear; and our people thought
that several others were wounded as they disappeared making most strange
noises, and have not been near us since. One of the spears thrown upon
the last occasion had sixteen barbs to it but, in general, they were
merely scraped to a sharp point without even one barb, and were not
thrown with anything like precision or good aim, which accounts for none
of their weapons having taken effect, although discharged at our people
at the distance only of a few yards."

Soon after this the Tamar left Fort Dundas for the India station and
despatched the Countess of Harcourt upon her ulterior destination. The
settlement was left in a very forward state and consisted altogether of
one hundred and twenty-six individuals of whom there were 3 or 4 women
and forty-five convicts; the remainder were composed of detachments of
the 3rd regiment (the Buffs) and of the marines, the latter under the
command of Lieutenant Williamson. The Lady Nelson was left with
Commandant Barlow.

Such is the state of the settlement of Fort Dundas, which at some future
time must become a place of considerable consequence in the eastern
world. The soil and climate of Melville and Bathurst Islands are capable
of growing all the valuable productions of the East, particularly spices,
and many other equally important articles of trade: it is conveniently
placed for the protection of ships passing to our Indian possessions from
Port Jackson, and admirably situated for the purposes of mercantile

Such, then, are the first fruits of the voyages I have had the honour to
direct. Much, however, of the coast yet remains to be examined; and
although, for the general purposes of navigation, it has been quite
sufficiently explored, yet there are many spaces upon the chart left
blank that would be highly interesting to examine and really important to
know. We have but a slight knowledge also of the natural history of the
continent; slight however as it is, no country has ever produced a more
extraordinary assemblage of indigenous productions; no country has proved
richer than Australia in every branch of natural history; and it has
besides, this advantage, that as the greater part is yet entirely
unknown, so much the more does it excite the interest of the geographer
and naturalist.

The examination of its vast interior can only be performed by degrees:
want of navigable rivers will naturally impede such a task, but all these
difficulties will be gradually overcome by the indefatigable zeal of our
countrymen, of whose researches in all parts of the world the present
times teem with such numerous examples.


Previously to entering into the detail of the following coast-directions,
in which it has been attempted, for the sake of a more easy reference, to
collect all the nautical information under one general head, it may be
proper to premise that Captain Flinders, in the account of his voyage,*
has given two very useful chapters upon the winds and weather that may be
experienced upon the various coasts of this continent; as well as
information respecting its general navigation and particular
sailing-directions for the outer passage from Port Jackson through Torres
Strait, by entering the reefs at Murray Island. From these chapters
Captain Horsburgh has arranged, in his valuable work on the Hydrography
etc. of the Indian Ocean, a set of sailing-directions and other nautical
information** that will be found useful for the navigation of the
southern and eastern coasts of this continent.

(*Footnote. Volume 1 book 1 chapter 11 and volume 2 book 2 chapter 11.)

(**Footnote. Horsburgh's Indian Directory volume 2 pages 493 and 515.)




The south-east trade cannot be said to blow home upon that part of the
coast of New South Wales, which lies between Breaksea Spit and Port
Jackson, except during the summer months when winds from that quarter
prevail and often blow very hard; they are then accompanied by heavy
rains and very thick weather: generally however from October to April
they assume the character of a sea-breeze and, excepting during their
suspension by south-easterly or westerly gales, are very regular. In the
month of December strong south-easterly gales are not uncommon; and in
February and March they are very frequent.

In the month of December hot winds from the north-west will sometimes
last for two or three days, and are almost always suddenly terminated by
a gust of wind from the southward. The most prevailing winds, during all
seasons, are from the south, and are probably oftener from the eastward
of that point than from the westward. The current always sets to the
southward, and has been found by us on several occasions to set the
strongest during a South-East gale. The general course of the current is
in the direction of the coast, but this is not constant; for, between
Port Stevens and to the southward of Port Jackson, it sometimes sets in
towards it. In a gale from the South-East in the month of December 1820,
it must have been setting as much to the westward as South-West. This
should be attended to, particularly in south-easterly gales, and an
offing preserved to provide against the wind's veering to East-South-East
and East by South, which is often the case; and then the current, setting
upon the weather-bow, will place the vessel, in a dark night, in
considerable danger. The rate of the current is generally about one mile
per hour, but it sometimes though rarely runs at the rate of nearly three

To the eastward in the space between New South Wales and New Caledonia
the current sets to the North-West, which carries a great body of water
into the bight between the former and New Guinea; but as Torres Strait
offers but a very inconsiderable outlet the stream is turned, and sets to
the southward until it gradually joins the easterly current which, from
the prevalence of westerly winds, is constantly running between Van
Diemen's Land and Cape Horn.

The tides in this interval are of little consequence and in few places
rise higher than six feet at the springs, excepting where they are
affected by local circumstances.

There are but few places of shelter upon the east coast between Port
Jackson and Breaksea Spit: Captain Flinders points out Broken Bay, Port
Hunter for small craft, Port Stephens, Shoal Bay for vessels not
exceeding fifty tons, and Glass House (Moreton) Bay. There are however
other anchorages that might be resorted to in the event of being thrown
upon a lee shore, which are equally good with Port Hunter, Shoal Bay, and
Glass House Bay.

There is an anchorage behind Black Head to the north of Point Stevens
which Lieutenant Oxley discovered to be an island; Port Macquarie also
affords shelter for small vessels; and on the north side of Smoky Cape
there is good shelter from southerly or south-easterly winds: but the
whole of these, excepting Broken Bay, are only attainable by small
vessels. A large ship must keep an offing; and as the coast is not at all
indented the wind must blow very hard, and the ship sail very badly, to
be placed in danger. Wide Bay however is a very good port, and affords a
safe and secure shelter; the anchorage being protected by a reef which
fronts it.


The Lighthouse, or Macquarie Tower, is in latitude 33 degrees 51 minutes
11 seconds South and longitude 4 minutes 29.8 seconds east of Sir Thomas
Brisbane's Observatory at Sydney, or 151 degrees 19 minutes 45 seconds
East of Greenwich. It is a revolving light and may be seen at the
distance of ten leagues. The Inner South Head bears from it North 20
degrees West* and is distant about two thousand five hundred yards. The
North Head bears from the Inner South Head North 53 degrees East by
compass, about two thousand four hundred and forty yards; and the
narrowest part of the entrance, which is between the Inner North and
South Heads, is a little more than eight hundred yards, so that there is
abundance of room to work in should the wind blow out of the Port. On
arriving off the lighthouse, steer in between the North and South Heads
until you are past the line of bearing of the Outer North, and the Inner
South Heads: then haul round the latter, but avoid a reef of rocks that
extends for two hundred yards off the point, and steer for Middle Head, a
projecting cliff at the bottom of the bay, until the harbour opens round
the Inner South Head; you may then pass on either side of the Sow and
Pigs; but the eastern channel, although the narrowest, is perhaps the
best; but this, in a great measure, depends upon the direction of the
wind. The eastern channel is the deepest. The Sow and Pigs, or Middle
Ground, is the only danger in Port Jackson: it is a bank of sand and
rocks, of about eight hundred yards in length, by about three hundred and
fifty in breadth: its length being in the direction of the harbour; a
very small portion of it is dry, and consists of a few rocks, upon which
the sea almost always breaks; they are situated upon the outer end of the
shoal, and are in the line of bearing of the Outer North and the Inner
South Heads. The south-western tail of the bank is chiefly of sand, with
rocks scattered about it; but, on the greater portion of it, there is
twelve feet water; it gradually deepens to three and a quarter fathoms,
which is beyond the rocky limits of the shoal. To sail through the
Western Channel, which is from one-third to half a mile wide, steer
towards George's Head, a high rocky head, about three quarters of a mile
above Middle Head, keeping it in sight upon the larboard bow, and the sea
horizon open between the points of entrance, until you are within the
line of bearing between a small sandy beach on the western shore and
Green Point; the latter is a grassy mound, the south head of Camp Cove.
Then steer for George's Head, and gradually round it: when you have
passed the line of bearing between it and Green Point, and opened the
sandy beach of Watson's Bay, steer boldly up the harbour. In rounding
Point Bradley, there is a rocky shelf that runs off the point for perhaps
one hundred yards. Pass on either side of Pinch-gut Island, and, in
hauling into Sydney Cove, avoid a rocky reef that extends off Point
Bennelong for rather more than two hundred yards into the sea.

To sail through the Eastern Channel, or to the eastward of the Sow and
Pigs, haul round the Inner South Head until the summit of the Inner North
Head is in a line with the inner trend of the former, bearing by compass
North 23 1/2 degrees East; then steer South-South-West until you have
passed Green Point, when the course may be directed at pleasure up the

In turning to windward, go no nearer to the Sow and Pigs than three and a
quarter fathoms, unless your vessel is small; nor within two hundred
yards of the shore, for although it is bold in most parts close to, yet
there are some few straggling rocks off the south point of Watson's Bay,
and also some round Shark's Island. There is good anchorage in all parts
of the harbour, when within Middle and the South Heads. There is also
anchorage in North Harbour, but not to be recommended, for the swell
sometimes rolls into the mouth of the harbour; no swell can, however,
affect the anchorage between Middle Head and the Sow and Pigs.

SYDNEY COVE is nearly half a mile deep, and four hundred yards wide, and
will contain more than twenty ships swinging at their moorings. The
shores are bold to, and, excepting the rocky shoals that extend off Point
Bennelong and Point Dawes, ships may approach very near.

On the eastern side of the cove is a convenient place for heaving down:
it belongs to the government, but merchant ships may use it, by paying a
small sum according to the length of time it is engaged. Wood and water
are easily obtained from the north shore of the port; the former may be
cut close to the beach; the latter is collected in tanks, and, excepting
during a very dry season, is always abundant.

The tide rises occasionally at the springs as much as eight feet, but six
feet is the general rise; it is high water at Sydney Cove at half past
eight o'clock, but at the heads, it precedes this time by a quarter of an
hour. The variation of the magnetic needle observed on shore by
Lieutenant Roe:

at Sydney Cove in 1822, to be 8 degrees 42 minutes East,

at Garden Island 9 degrees 6 minutes East,

at Camp Cove 9 degrees 42 minutes East.

As all navigators are, or ought to be, supplied with Captain Horsburgh's
Indian Directory, it has not been thought necessary to descant further
upon the nature of the winds and currents of the east coast; since this
subject has been so fully treated upon, in the above valuable book, in
the section that commences at page 501.

Captain Horsburgh has also described the entrance of Botany Bay at page
502, and of Broken Bay, at page 505. According to Lieutenant Jeffreys,
R.N., who commanded the hired armed transport Kangaroo, the latter
harbour has a bar stretching across from the south to the north head, on
which there is not less than five fathoms water.

PORT HUNTER is situated fifty-nine miles North 22 degrees East (true)
from the entrance of Port Jackson. There is a lighthouse at its southern
entrance, and pilots are established who come off to vessels that arrive.
The entrance is round the Nobby (latitude 32 degrees 56 minutes,
longitude 151 degrees 43 1/4 minutes) an insulated rock: and the passage
is indicated by keeping two lights, that are placed at a distance from
each other at the wharf, in a line: the anchorage is about two hundred
yards from the wharf in three fathoms. The shoals on the west side are
dangerous, and several vessels have been wrecked upon them in going in.
The above information is from a plan drawn by Lieutenant Jeffreys, in the
Hydrographical Office at the Admiralty: it was drawn in the year 1816;
since which a portion of the labour of the convicts has been employed in
building a breakwater, or pier, from the south entrance to the Nobby
Rock, which will tend to direct the stream of tide through the channel,
and also protect it from the surf and swell, which, during a south-east
gale, must render the harbour of dangerous access. The town was formerly
called King's Town, but it has since been changed to that of Newcastle,
and the appellation of the Coal River has partly superseded the more
legitimate name of Port Hunter.

PORT STEPHENS is easy to enter, but not to sail from, unless the wind is
fair, on account of the shoals that are near its entrance. Point Stephens
is in latitude 32 degrees 46 1/2 minutes, longitude 152 degrees 9 minutes
45 seconds.

BLACK HEAD is an island, behind which there is very good anchorage; the
head is in latitude 32 degrees 38 minutes 20 seconds. Between Black Head,
and the hills called the Brothers, are WALLIS' Lake, in latitude 32
degrees 11 minutes 50 seconds, HARRINGTON'S Lake, in 32 degrees 0
minutes, and FARQUHAR'S Lake, in latitude 31 degrees 54 minutes; they
were discovered by Lieutenant Oxley on his return from his land journey
in 1819; they have all shoal entrances, and are merely the outlets of
extensive lagoons, which receive the streams from the hills, and occupy a
considerable space between the coast and the mountains.

In latitude 31 degrees 47 minutes 50 seconds, and at the distance of two
miles and a quarter from the shore, is a dangerous reef, on which the sea
constantly breaks; it was named by Lieutenant Oxley, who discovered it,
the MERMAID'S REEF; it is about a quarter of a mile in extent, and bears
South 85 degrees East from the South Brother; a small detached portion of
the reef is separated from the principal rock, within which there
appeared to be a narrow navigable channel. A quarter of a mile without
the latter we found sixteen fathoms water. Round the point under the
North Brother Hill, is CAMDEN HAVEN, the particulars respecting its
entrance (in latitude 31 degrees 41 minutes, longitude 152 degrees) are

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