A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 2 by Matthew Flinders

This eBook was produced by Col Choat PRODUCTION NOTES: Notes referred to in the book (*) are shown in square brackets ( ) at the end of the paragraph in which the note is indicated. Italics are indicated by underscore characters (_) at the start and finish of the italicised words. References to the charts
This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
  • 1814
Buy it on Amazon FREE Audible 30 days

This eBook was produced by Col Choat


Notes referred to in the book (*) are shown in square brackets ([]) at the end of the paragraph in which the note is indicated.

Italics are indicated by underscore characters (_) at the start and finish of the italicised words.

References to the charts have been retained though, of course, the charts are not present in the text only version of the ebook.

The original punctuation and spelling and the use of italics and capital letters to highlight words and phrases have, for the most part, been retained. I think they help maintain the “feel” of the book, which was published nearly 200 years ago. Flinders notes in the preface that “I heard it declared that a man who published a quarto volume without an index ought to be set in the pillory, and being unwilling to incur the full rigour of this sentence, a running title has been affixed to all the pages; on one side is expressed the country or coast, and on the opposite the particular part where the ship is at anchor or which is the immediate subject of examination; this, it is hoped, will answer the main purpose of an index, without swelling the volumes.” This treatment is, of course, not possible, where there are no defined pages. However, Flinders’ page headings are included at appropriate places where they seem relevant. These, together with the Notes which, in the book, appear in the margin, are represented as line headings with a blank line before and after them.

1801, 1802 AND 1803,

[Facsimile Edition, 1966]


TABLE OF CONTENTS. (For both volumes)






Preliminary Remarks:
Discoveries of the Duyfhen; of
Tasman; and of
three Dutch vessels.
Of Cook;
Bligh and Portlock; and
Bampton and Alt.
Conclusive Remarks.



Preliminary Observations.
Discoveries of Hartog:
of the Ship Leeuwin:
the Vianen:
of Pelsert:
Conclusive Remarks.



Discovery of Nuyts.
Examination of Vancouver:
of D’Entrecasteaux.
Conclusive Remarks.




Preliminary Observations.
Discoveries of Tasman;
of Cook;
Marion and Furneaux.
Observations of Cook;
Bligh; and Cox.
Discovery of D’Entrecasteaux.


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




Appointment to the Investigator.
Outfit of the ship.
Instruments, books, and charts supplied, with articles for presents and barter.
Liberal conduct of the Hon. East-India Company. Passage round to Spithead.
The Roar sand.
Instructions for the execution of the voyage. French passport, and orders in consequence. Officers and company of the Investigator, and men of science who embarked.
Account of the time keepers.


Departure from Spithead.
Variation of the compass.
The Dezertas.
Arrival at Madeira.
Remarks on Funchal.
Political state of the island.
Latitude and longitude.
Departure from Madeira.
The island St. Antonio.
Foul winds; and remarks upon them.
The ship leaky.
Search made for Isle Sable.
Saxemberg sought for.
Variation of the compass.
State of the ship’s company, on arriving at the Cape of Good Hope. Refitment at Simon’s Bay.
Observatory set Up.
The astronomer quits the expedition. Rates Of the time keepers.
Some remarks on Simon’s Bay.


Departure from False Bay.
Remarks on the passage to Terra Australis. Gravity of sea-water tried.
Cape Leeuwin, and the coast from thence to King George’s Sound. Arrival in the Sound.
Examination of the harbours.
Excursion inland.
Country, soil, and productions.
Native inhabitants: Language and anatomical measurement. Astronomical and nautical observations.


Departure from King George’s Sound.
Coast from thence to the Archipelago of the Recherche. Discovery of Lucky Bay and Thistle’s Cove. The surrounding country, and islands of the Archipelago. Astronomical and nautical observations.
Goose-Island Bay.
A salt lake.
Nautical observations.
Coast from the Archipelago to the end of Nuyts’ Land. Arrival in a bay of the unknown coast.
Remarks on the preceding examination.


Fowler’s Bay.
Departure from thence.
Arrival at the Isles of St. Francis. Correspondence between the winds and the marine barometer. Examination of the other parts of Nuyts’ Archipelago, and of the main coast.
The Isles of St Peter.
Return to St. Francis.
General remarks on Nuyts’ Archipelago. Identification of the islands in the Dutch chart.


Prosecution of the discovery of the unknown coast. Anxious Bay.
Anchorage at Waldegrave’s and at Flinders’ Islands. The Investigator’s Group.
Coffin’s Bay.
Whidbey’s Isles.
Differences in the magnetic needle. Cape Wiles.
Anchorage at Thistle’s Island.
Thorny Passage.
Fatal accident.
Anchorage in Memory Cove.
Cape Catastrophe, and the surrounding country. Anchorage in Port Lincoln, and refitment of the ship. Remarks on the country and inhabitants.
Astronomical and nautical observations.


Departure from Port Lincoln.
Sir Joseph Banks’ Group.
Examination of the coast, northward. The ship found to be in a gulph.
Anchorage near the head of the gulph. Boat expedition.
Excursion to Mount Brown.
Nautical observations.
Departure from the head, and examination of the east side of the gulph. Extensive shoal.
Point Pearce.
Hardwicke Bay.
Verification of the time keepers.
General remarks on the gulph.
Cape Spencer and the Althorpe Isles. New land discovered: Anchorage there.
General remarks on Kangaroo Island. Nautical observations.


Departure from Kangaroo Island.
Examination of the main coast, from Cape Spencer eastward. The Investigator’s Strait.
A new gulph discovered. Anchorage at, and examination of the head. Remarks on the surrounding land.
Return down the gulph.
Troubridge Shoal.
Yorke’s Peninsula.
Return to Kangaroo Island.
Boat expedition to Pelican Lagoon.
Astronomical observations.
Kangaroo Island quitted.
Back-stairs Passage.
The coast from Cape Jervis, eastward. Meeting, and communication with Le Geographe. Remarks upon the French discoveries on the South Coast.


Examination of the coast resumed.
Encounter Bay.
The capes Bernouilli and Jaffa.
Baudin’s Rocks.
Differences in the bearings on tacking. Cape Buffon, the eastern limit of the French discovery. The capes Northumberland and Bridgewater of captain Grant. Danger from a south-west gale.
King’s Island, in Bass’ Strait: Anchorage there. Some account of the island.
Nautical observations.
New Year’s Isles.
Cape Otway, and the north-west entrance to Bass’ Strait. Anchorage in, and examination of Port Phillip. The country and inhabitants.
Nautical observations.


Departure from Port Phillip.
Cape Schanck.
Wilson’s Promontory, and its isles. Kent’s Groups, and Furneaux’s Isles.
Hills behind the Long Beach.
Arrival at Port Jackson.
Health of the ship’s company.
Refitment and supply of the ship.
Price of provisions.
Volunteers entered.
Arrangement for the succeeding part of the voyage. French ships.
Astronomical and nautical observations.


Of the winds and currents on the south coast of Terra Australis, and in Bass’ Strait.
Usual progress of the gales.
Proper seasons for sailing eastward, and for going westward:
best places of shelter in each case, with some instructions for the Strait.


Account of the observations by which the _Longitudes_ of places on the north coast of Terra Australis have been settled.





Departure from Port Jackson, with the Lady Nelson. Examination of various parts of the East Coast, from thence to Sandy Cape.
Break-sea Spit.
Anchorage in Hervey’s Bay, where the Lady Nelson joins after a separation.
Some account of the inhabitants.
Variations of the compass.
Run to Bustard Bay.
Port Curtis discovered, and examined. Some account of the surrounding country. Arrival in Keppel Bay, and examination of its branches, one of which leads into Port Curtis.
Some account of the natives, and of the country round Keppel Bay. Astronomical and nautical observations.


The Keppel Isles, and coast to Cape Manifold. A new port discovered and examined.
Harvey’s Isles.
A new passage into Shoal-water Bay. View from Mount Westall.
A boat lost.
The upper parts of Shoal-water Bay examined. Some account of the country and inhabitants. General remarks on the bay.
Astronomical and nautical observations.


Departure from Shoal-water Bay, and anchorage in Thirsty Sound. Magnetical observations.
Boat excursion to the nearest Northumberland Islands. Remarks on Thirsty Sound.
Observations at West Hill, Broad Sound. Anchorage near Upper Head.
Expedition to the head of Broad Sound: another round Long Island.
Remarks on Broad Sound, and the surrounding country. Advantages for a colony.
Astronomical observations, and remarks on the high tides.


The Percy Isles: anchorage at No. 2.
Boat excursions.
Remarks on the Percy Isles; with nautical observations. Coral reefs: courses amongst them during eleven days search for a passage through, to sea.
Description of a reef.
Anchorage at an eastern Cumberland Isle. The Lady Nelson sent back to Port Jackson. Continuation of coral reefs;
and courses amongst them during three other days. Cape Gloucester.
An opening discovered, and the reefs quitted. General remarks on the Great Barrier;
with some instruction relative to the opening.


Passage from the Barrier Reefs to Torres’ Strait. Reefs named Eastern Fields.
Pandora’s Entrance to the Strait.
Anchorage at Murray’s Islands.
Communication with the inhabitants. Half-way Island.
Notions on the formation of coral islands in general. Prince of Wales’s Islands, with remarks on them. Wallis’ Isles.
Entrance into the Gulph of Carpentaria. Review of the passage through Torres’ Strait.


Examination of the coast on the east side of the Gulph of Carpentaria. Landing at Coen River.
Head of the Gulph.
Anchorage at Sweers’ Island.
Interview with Indians at Horse-shoe Island. Investigator’s Road.
The ship found to be in a state of decay. General remarks on the islands at the Head of the Gulph, and their inhabitants.
Astronomical and nautical observations.


Departure from Sweers’ Island.
South side of C. Van Diemen examined. Anchorage at Bountiful Island: turtle and sharks there. Land of C. Van Diemen proved to be an island. Examination of the main coast to Cape Vanderlin. That cape found to be one of a group of islands. Examination of the islands; their soil, etc. Monument of the natives.
Traces of former visitors to these parts. Astronomical and nautical observations.


Departure from Sir Edward Pellew’s Group. Coast from thence westward.
Cape Maria found to be an island.
Limmen’s Bight. Coast northward to Cape Barrow: landing on it. Circumnavigation of Groote Eylandt.
Specimens of native art at Chasm Island. Anchorage in North-west Bay, Groote Eylandt; with remarks and nautical observations.
Blue-mud Bay. Skirmish with the natives. Cape Shield.
Mount Grindall.
Coast to Caledon Bay.
Occurrences in that bay, with remarks on the country and inhabitants. Astronomical and nautical observations.


Departure from Caledon Bay.
Cape Arnhem.
Melville Bay.
Cape Wilberforce, and Bromby’s Isles. The English Company’s Islands: meeting there with vessels from Macassar. Arnhem Bay.
The Wessel’s Islands.
Further examination of the North Coast postponed. Arrival at Coepang Bay, in Timor.
Remarks and astronomical observations.


Departure from Timor.
Search made for the Trial Rocks.
Anchorage in Goose-Island Bay.
Interment of the boatswain, and sickly state of the ship’s company. Escape from the bay, and passage through Bass’ Strait. Arrival at Port Jackson.
Losses in men.
Survey and condemnation of the ship. Plans for continuing the survey;
but preparation finally made for returning to England. State of the colony at Port Jackson.


Of the winds, currents, and navigation along the east coast of Terra Australis, both without and within the tropic; also on the north coast.

Directions for sailing from Port Jackson, through Torres’ Strait, towards India or the Cape of Good Hope.

Advantages of this passage over that round New Guinea.




Departure from Port Jackson in the Porpoise, accompanied by the Bridgewater and Cato. The Cato’s Bank.
Shipwreck of the Porpoise and Cato in the night. The crews get on a sand bank; where they are left by the Bridgewater. Provisions saved.
Regulations on the bank.
Measures adopted for getting back to Port Jackson. Description of Wreck-Reef Bank.
Remarks on the loss of M. de La Perouse.


Departure from Wreck-Reef Bank in a boat. Boisterous weather.
The Coast of New South Wales reached, and followed. Natives at Point Look-out.
Landing near Smoky Cape; and again near Port Hunter. Arrival at Port Jackson on the thirteenth day. Return to Wreck Reef with a ship and two schooners. Arrangements at the Bank.
Account of the reef, with nautical and other remarks.


Passage in the Cumberland to Torres’ Strait. Eastern Fields and Pandora’s Entrance.
New channels amongst the reefs.
Anchorage at Half-way Island, and under the York Isles. Prince of Wales’s Islands further examined. Booby Isle.
Passage across the Gulph of Carpentaria. Anchorage at Wessel’s Islands.
Passage to Coepang Bay, in Timor; and to Mauritius, where the leakiness of the Cumberland makes it necessary to stop. Anchorage at the Baye du Cap, and departure for Port Louis.


Arrival at Port Louis (or North-West) in Mauritius. Interview with the French governor.
Seizure of the Cumberland, with the charts and journals of the Investigator’s voyage; and imprisonment of the commander and people. Letters to the governor, with his answer. Restitution of some books and charts.
Friendly act of the English interpreter. Propositions made to the governor.
Humane conduct of captain Bergeret. Reflections on a voyage of discovery.
Removal to the Maison Despeaux or Garden Prison.


Prisoners in the Maison Despeaux or Garden Prison. Application to admiral Linois.
Spy-glasses and swords taken.
Some papers restored.
Opinions upon the detention of the Cumberland. Letter of captain Baudin.
An English squadron arrives off Mauritius: its consequences. Arrival of a French officer with despatches, and observations thereon. Passages in the Moniteur, with remarks.
Mr. Aken liberated.
Arrival of cartels from India.
Application made by the marquis Wellesley. Different treatment of English and French prisoners. Prizes brought to Mauritius in sixteen months. Departure of all prisoners of war.
Permission to quit the Garden Prison. Astronomical observations.


Parole given.
Journey into the interior of Mauritius. The governor’s country seat.
Residence at the Refuge, in that Part of Williems Plains called Vacouas. Its situation and climate, with the mountains, rivers, cascades, and views near it.
The Mare aux Vacouas and Grand Bassin. State of cultivation and produce of Vacouas; its black ebony, game, and wild fruits; and freedom from noxious insects.


Occupations at Vacouas.
Hospitality of the inhabitants.
Letters from England.
Refusal to be sent to France repeated. Account of two hurricanes, of a subterraneous stream and circular pit. Habitation of La Perouse.
Letters to the French marine minister, National Institute, etc. Letters from Sir Edward Pellew.
Caverns in the Plains of St. Pierre. Visit to Port Louis.
Narrative transmitted to England.
Letter to captain Bergeret on his departure for France.


Effects of repeated disappointment on the mind. Arrival of a cartel, and of letters from India. Letter of the French marine minister.
Restitution of papers.
Applications for liberty evasively answered. Attempted seizure of private letters.
Memorial to the minister.
Encroachments made at Paris on the Investigator’s discoveries. Expected attack on Mauritius produces an abridgment of Liberty. Strict blockade.
Arrival of another cartel from India. State of the public finances in Mauritius. French cartel sails for the Cape of Good Hope.


A prospect of liberty, which is officially confirmed. Occurrences during eleven weeks residence in the town of Port Louis and on board the Harriet cartel.
Parole and certificates.
Departure from Port Louis, and embarkation in the Otter. Eulogium on the inhabitants of Mauritius. Review of the conduct of general De Caen. Passage to the Cape of Good Hope, and after seven weeks stay, from thence to England.


No. I.

Account of the observations by which the _Longitudes_ of places on the east and north coasts of Terra Australis have been settled.

No. II.

On the errors of the compass arising from attractions within the ship, and others from the magnetism of land; with precautions for obviating their effects in marine surveying.

No. III.

General Remarks, geographical and systematical, on the Botany of Terra Australis. By ROBERT BROWN, F. R. S. _Acad. Reg. Scient. Berolin. Corresp._ NATURALIST TO THE VOYAGE.



View from the south side of King George’s Sound.

Entrance of Port Lincoln, taken from behind Memory Cove.

View on the north side of Kangaroo Island.

View of Port Jackson, taken from the South Head.


View of Port Bowen, from behind the Watering Gully. View of Murray’s Islands, with the natives offering to barter. View in Sir Edward Pellew’s Group–Gulph of Carpentaria. View of Malay Road, from Pobassoo’s Island. View of Wreck-Reef Bank, taken at low water.



I. General Chart of TERRA AUSTRALIS and the neighbouring lands, from latitude 7 deg. to 441/2 deg. south, and longitude 102 deg. to 165 deg. east.

II. Particular chart of the South Coast, from Cape Leeuwin to the Archipelago of the Recherche.

III. Ditto from the Archipelago of the Recherche to past the head of the great Australian Bight.

IV. Ditto from the head of the great Australian Bight to past Encounter Bay.

V. Ditto from near Encounter Bay to Cape Otway at the west entrance of Bass’ Strait.

VI. Ditto from Cape Otway, past Cape Howe, to Barmouth Creek.

VII. Particular chart of Van Diemen’s Land.

VIII. Particular chart of the East Coast, from Barmouth Creek to past Cape Hawke.

IX. Ditto from near Cape Hawke to past Glass-house Bay.

X. Ditto from Glass-house Bay to Broad Sound.

XI. Ditto from Broad Sound to Cape Grafton.

XII. Ditto from Cape Grafton to the Isle of Direction.

XIII. Particular chart of the East Coast from the I. of Direction to Cape York, and of the North Coast from thence to Pera Head; including Torres Strait and parts of New Guinea.

XIV. A particular chart of the North Coast, from Torres’ Strait to Point Dale and the Wessel’s Islands, including the whole of the Gulph of Carpentaria.

XV. The north-west side of the Gulph of Carpentaria, on a large scale.

XVI. Particular chart of Timor and some neighbouring islands.

XVII. Fourteen views of headlands, etc. on the south coast of Terra Australis.

XVIII. Thirteen views on the east and north coasts, and one of Samow Strait.


Ten plates of selected plants from different parts of Terra Australis.




Departure from Port Jackson, with the Lady Nelson. Examination of various parts of the East Coast, from thence to Sandy Cape.
Break-sea Spit.
Anchorage in Hervey’s Bay, where the Lady Nelson joins after a separation.
Some account of the inhabitants.
Variations of the compass.
Run to Bustard Bay.
Port Curtis discovered, and examined. Some account of the surrounding country. Arrival in Keppel Bay, and examination of its branches, one of which leads into Port Curtis.
Some account of the natives, and of the country round Keppel Bay. Astronomical and nautical observations.



Lieutenant John Murray, commander of the brig Lady Nelson, having received orders to put himself under my command, I gave him a small code of signals, and directed him, in case of separation, to repair to Hervey’s Bay; which he was to enter by a passage said to have been found by the south-sea whalers, between Sandy Cape and Break-sea Spit. In the morning of July 22, we sailed out of Port Jackson together; and the breeze being fair and fresh, ran rapidly to the northward, keeping at a little distance from the coast. (Atlas, Plate VIII.)

At eleven o’clock, the south head of Broken Bay bore W. by N. three leagues; and Mr. Westall then made a sketch of the entrance, with that of the Hawkesbury River, which falls into it (Atlas, Plate XVIII, View 2). The colonists have called this place Broken Bay, but it is not what was so named by captain Cook; for he says it lies in latitude 33 deg. 42′ (Hawkesworth III. 103), whereas the southernmost point of entrance is not further than 33 deg. 34′ south. There is, in captain Cook’s latitude, a very small opening, and the hills behind it answer to his description of “some broken land that seemed to form a bay,” when seen at four leagues, the distance he was off; but in reality, there is nothing more than a shallow lagoon in that place. In consequence of this difference in position, Cape Three-points has been sought three or four leagues to the north of Broken Bay; whereas it is the north head of the entrance into the bay itself which was so named, and it corresponds both in situation and appearance.

At noon, the south-eastern bluff of Cape Three-points bore S. 64 deg. W., seven or eight miles, and was found to lie in 33 deg. 321/2′ south and 151 deg. 231/2′ east. In steering northward along the coast, at from six to two miles distance, we passed two rocky islets lying under the high shore; and at sunset, Coal Island, in the entrance of Port Hunter, bore N. 9 deg. W., five or six miles. This port was discovered in 1797 by the late captain John Shortland, and lies in 32 deg. 56′ south, longitude 151 deg. 43′ east.

We passed Port Stephens a little before midnight; and the breeze being fresh at W. by S., the Lady Nelson was left astern, and we lay to for an hour next morning [FRIDAY 23 JULY 1802], to wait her coming up. The land was then scarcely visible, but a north course brought us in with the Three Brothers (Atlas Plate IX.); and at four in the afternoon, they bore from S. 56 deg. to 65 deg. W., the nearest land being a low, but steep point, distant four or five miles in the first direction. The Three Brothers lie from one to five miles behind the shore, at the eastern extremity of a range of high land, coming out of the interior country. The northernmost hill is the broadest, most elevated, and nearest to the water side; and being visible fifty miles from a ship’s deck, is an excellent landmark for vessels passing along the coast: its latitude is 31 deg. 43′ south, and longitude 152 deg. 45′ east.

To the northward of the Three Brothers there is four leagues of low. and mostly sandy shore; and after passing it, we came up with a projection, whose top is composed of small, irregular-shaped hummocks, the northernmost of them being a rocky lump of a sugar-loaf form; further on, the land falls back into a shallow bight, with rocks in it standing above water. When abreast of the projection, which was called _Tacking Point_, the night was closing in, and we stood off shore, intending to make the same part next morning; for some of this coast had been passed in the dark by captain Cook, and might therefore contain openings.


At daybreak of the 24th, Tacking Point was distant three miles, and the breeze fresh at S. W. by W. with fine weather. Our little consort being out of sight, we stood an hour to the southward; and not seeing her in that direction, bore away along the coast until noon, when our situation was as under:

Latitude observed 30 deg. 581/4′ Longitude by time-keepers 153 61/2 Northern Brother, dist. 48 miles, bore S. 23 W. Smoky Cape, distant 3 or 4 miles, N. 41 deg. to 30 W. Northern extreme of the land, N. 5 W.

The coast from Tacking Point to Smoky Cape is generally low and sandy; but its uniformity is broken at intervals by rocky points, which first appear like islands. Behind them the land is low, but quickly rises to hills of a moderate height; and these being well covered with wood, the country had a pleasant appearance. Smoky Cape was found to answer the description given of it by captain Cook; its centre lies in 30 deg. 55′ south, and 153 deg. 4′ east. The three hummocks upon it stand on so many projecting parts; and at half a mile from the southernmost lie two rocks, and a third two miles further south, which were not before noticed. On the north side of Smoky Cape, the coast falls back four or five miles to the westward, forming a bight in the low land, where there may probably be a shallow inlet; it afterwards resumed a northern direction, and consisted as before of sandy beaches and stony points.

Our consort was not yet in sight; but we kept on until five in the evening, when the nearest land was two miles off, and the northern hummock on Smoky Cape bore S. 4 deg. W. nine leagues. I had before seen the coast further northward, as far as 29 deg. 20′; and having therefore no inducement to lose a night’s run for its examination, we steered onward, passing without side of the Solitary Isles. At three in the morning [SUNDAY 25 JULY 1802], hove to until day-light; and at eight o’clock made the south head of a bay discovered in the Norfolk (Introd. Vol I, “In latitude 29 deg. 43′, we discovered a small opening like a river, with an islet lying in the entrance; and at sunset, entered a larger, to which I gave the name of SHOAL BAY, an appellation which it but too well merited.”), and named _Shoal Bay_. One of the marks for finding this small place is a peaked hummock on the low land, thirteen miles distant; and it was now set over the south head of the bay at S. 20 deg. W. In steering northward close along the coast, we passed two small reefs, and the water shoaled to 10 fathoms; they lie two miles off the land, and there did not seem to be any safe passage within them. Our latitude at noon was 29 deg. 4′, and longitude by time keepers 153 deg. 31′; the shore was three miles off but until we came up with Cape Byron at five in the evening, there was no projection worthy of being particularly noticed. From Shoal Bay to Cape Byron is fifty miles, where the coast, with the exception of two or three rocky heads, is mostly low and sandy; and the soundings, at from two to four miles off, vary between 10 and 32 fathoms, on a sandy bottom. A few miles back the land rises to hills of moderate elevation, which were poorly covered with wood in the southern part, but towards the cape had a more fertile appearance.

Cape Byron is a small steep head, projecting about two miles from the low land, and in coming along the coast makes like an island; its latitude is 28 deg. 38′, and longitude 153 deg. 37′, or 7′ east of the situation assigned to it by captain Cook. There are three rocks on its north side; and in the direction of N. 57 deg. W., eight or nine leagues from it, is the peaked top of a mass of mountains, named by its discoverer _Mount Warning_; whose elevation is about 3300 feet, and exceeds that of Mount Dromedary, or any other land I have seen upon this East Coast. To Mr. Westall’s sketch of this remarkable peak (Atlas, Plate XVIII. View 3.) it may be added, that the surrounding hills were well covered with wood, whose foliage announced a soil more fertile than usual so near the sea side.

The sun was near setting at the time Cape Byron bore west, three or four miles; and the coast from thence to Point Look-out having been seen by captain Cook, we steered off in order to avoid falling in with the reefs of Point Danger in the night. At eleven, hauled more in for the land; and at eight next day [MONDAY 26 JULY 1802], Mount Warning was set at S. 25 deg. W., twenty leagues. On coming in with Point Look-out, I took observations for the latitude and longitude, which fixed it in 27 deg. 27′ south, and 153 deg. 31′ east. The latitude is the same as it had been made in the Norfolk, (Introd. Vol. I), but is 19′ south, and 3′ west of the situation given in captain Cook’s chart. The bearings of the land at noon were,

Point Look-out, distant 3 leagues, S. 9 deg. W. Moreton entrance to Glass-house Bay, S. 55 W. Cape Moreton, distant six leagues, N. 18 W.

A strange vessel seen to the southward, had induced me to carry little sail all the morning; it was now perceived not to be the Lady Nelson, but probably one of the two whalers known to be fishing off the coast; we therefore made sail for Cape Moreton, and came up with it at four o’clock. I was much surprised to see a small, but dangerous reef lying between four and five miles off this cape to the north-east, which had not been noticed in the Norfolk; in entering Glass-house Bay I had then hauled close round Cape Moreton at dusk in the evening, and in coming out had passed too far westward to observe it. The longitude of Cape Moreton was now fixed by the time keepers at 153 deg. 261/2′ east, differing only 11/2′ from the lunar observations before taken in the Norfolk; when its latitude had been settled at 27 deg. 01/2′ south.

(Atlas, Plate X.)


After passing the dangerous reef, we steered northward until three in the morning; and then hove to until daylight, for the purpose of examining the land about Double-island Point and Wide Bay, which did not appear to have been well distinguished by captain Cook. At seven o’clock the point bore N. 2 deg. W., six leagues, and the shore abreast, a beach with sandy hills behind it, was distant six miles. Between the S. 63. W. and a low bluff head bearing S. 32 deg. W., was a bight in the coast where the sand hills seemed to terminate; for the back land further south was high and rocky with small peaks on the top, similar to the ridge behind the Glass Houses, of which it is probably a continuation.

At half past nine we hauled close round Double-island Point, within a rock lying between one and two miles to the N. N. E., having 7 fathoms for the least water. The point answered captain Cook’s description: it is a steep head, at the extremity of a neck of land which runs out two miles from the main, and lies in 25 deg. 56′ south, and 153 deg. 13′ east. On the north side of the point the coast falls back to the westward, and presents a steep shore of white sand; but in curving round Wide Bay the sandy land becomes very low, and a small opening was seen in it, leading to a piece of water like a lagoon; but the shoals which lie off the entrance render it difficult of access, if indeed there be a passage for any thing larger than boats. Had the Lady Nelson been with me, I should have attempted to get her into the lagoon, having previously entertained a conjecture that the head of Hervey’s Bay might communicate with Wide Bay; but the apprehension that lieutenant Murray would arrive at the first rendezvous, and proceed to the next before we could join him, deterred me from attempting it with the Investigator or with boats.

Upon the north side of the opening there was a number of Indians, fifty as reported, looking at the ship, and near Double-island Point ten others had been seen, implying a more numerous population than is usual to the southward. I inferred from hence, that the piece of water at the head of Wide Bay was extensive and shallow; for in such places the natives draw much subsistence from the fish which there abound, and are more easily caught than in deep water. So far as could be seen from the mast head at three or four miles off, the water extended about five miles westward, to the feet of some hills covered with small wood. Its extent north and south could not be distinguished, and it seemed probable that one, and perhaps two streams fall into it; for there were many large medusas floating at the entrance, such as are usually found near the mouths of rivers in this country.

We passed the shoals of Wide Bay in from 12 to 5 fathoms water; and steered northward at the distance of six, and from that to two miles off the shore, until dark. Captain Cook describes this part of the coast as moderately high and very barren; there being great patches of moveable sand many acres in extent, through which appeared in some places the green tops of trees half buried, and in others the naked trunks of such as the sand had destroyed. We sailed some miles nearer to it than the Endeavour had done, and saw extensive, bare patches in many parts; but nothing to indicate the sands being moveable; and in general, there were shrubs, bushes, and some trees scattered over the hills in front of the sea. Nothing however can well be imagined more barren than this peninsula; but the smokes which arose from many parts, corroborated the remark made upon the population about Wide Bay; and bespoke that fresh water was not scarce in this sandy country.

Our course at night was directed by the fires on the shore, and the wind being moderate from the south-westward, it was continued until ten o’clock; after which we stood off and on till daylight [WEDNESDAY 28 JULY 1802], and then had Indian Head bearing S. 54 deg. W. one mile and a half. This head was so named by captain Cook, from the great number of Indians assembled there in 1770. Mr. Westall’s sketch of it (Atlas, Plate XVIII, View 4.), taken as we steered close along the shore for Sandy Cape, will show that the same sterility prevailed here as in the southern part of the peninsula; and it continued to the northern extremity.

At eleven o’clock we reached Sandy Cape, and the master was sent ahead to sound in a small passage through Break-sea Spit. The ship followed under easy sail, until we got into 3 fathoms; and the master not making the signal for any deeper water, I tacked and called the boat on board. The channel appeared to go quite through the Spit, into Hervey’s Bay; but as there were, in many parts, not more than 2 fathoms, it can be passed only by small vessels. At noon,

Sandy Cape, distant a miles, bore S. 64 deg. to 80 deg. W. Indian Head, distant 7 leagues, S. 12 E.

Our observations fixed Sandy Cape in 24 deg. 42′ south, and 153 deg.’ 16′ east, being 3′ north, and 7′ east of the position assigned to it by captain Cook.


At one o’clock we steered northward, close to the edge of Break-sea Spit, searching for a passage through it into Hervey’s Bay. There were many small winding channels amongst the breakers, and a larger being perceived at three, the boat was sent to make an examination; in the mean time, the wind having shifted to north-west and become very light, we dropped the stream anchor two miles from the Spit, in 11 fathoms, fine grey sand. The channel where the boat was sounding, and out of which a tide came of more than one mile an hour, bore W. by N.1/2 N., and Sandy Cape S. 24 deg. to 41 deg. W., about three leagues.

Soon after sunset the master returned, and reported the channel to be nearly a mile and a half wide, and that it went quite through to the bay; but it did not generally contain more than fourteen feet water, and was therefore impassable for the Investigator. The bottom of this, and of the former small channel, as also the shoaler banks of the Spit, were of coral, mixed with coral sand.


At three in the morning, on a breeze springing up at S. W. by S., we stretched south-eastward; and a vessel having been observed over night off Indian Head, this tack was prolonged till seven o’clock; when seeing nothing of her, we stood back for the Spit, and coasted close along its east side as before, in from 10 to 5 fathoms water. At forty minutes after noon we passed over the tail of the Spit, in latitude 24 deg. 24′; the water then deepening suddenly from 6 and 7, to 22 fathoms, and the white patches on Sandy Cape bearing S. 8 deg. E. In standing N. W. by W. we crossed a bank in 11 fathoms, and on tacking, passed another part of it with only 5; the water upon it was not discoloured, nor had it been observed either by captain Cook, or by me in the Norfolk: it lies about 6 miles W. N. W. from the end of Break-sea Spit.

The first rendezvous appointed for lieutenant Murray, was the anchorage near Sandy Cape; but the wind being unfavourable, we did not reach it till four on the following afternoon [FRIDAY 30 JULY 1802]; at which time the anchor was dropped in 7 fathoms, sandy bottom, with the outer extremity of the cape bearing S. 79 deg. E., and the nearest part distant two miles. A vessel was seen on the outside of the Spit, which proved to be the Lady Nelson; and the master being sent with a boat to assist her through the passage, she anchored near us at sunset, and lieutenant Murray came on board. The account he gave of his separation, and the delay in arriving at the rendezvous, convinced me both of the Lady Nelson being an indifferent vessel, and of the truth of an observation before made upon the currents: that they run much stronger to the southward at the distance of six, and from that to twenty leagues off the coast, than they do close in with the shore. Mr. Murray not being much accustomed to make free with the land, had kept it barely within sight, and had been much retarded.

In order to give the botanists an opportunity of examining the productions of Sandy Cape, I determined to remain here a day; and some natives being seen upon the beach, a boat was sent to commence an acquaintance with them; they however retired, and suffered Mr. Brown to botanise without disturbance. Next morning [SATURDAY 31 July 1802] the brig anchored within a quarter of a mile of the shore, to cover our landing parties; and the armed boats being moored at grapnels, out of the reach of the natives, we separated into three divisions. The naturalist’s party, consisting of six persons, walked along the shore towards the upper part of the bay; Mr. Murray and his people went to cut wood for fuel; and the party with me, also of six persons, including my native friend _Bongaree_, went towards the extremity of Sandy Cape. Several Indians with branches of trees in their hands, were there collected; and whilst they retreated themselves, were waving to us to go back. Bongaree stripped off his clothes and laid aside his spear, as inducements for them to wait for him; but finding they did not understand his language, the poor fellow, in the simplicity of his heart, addressed them in broken English, hoping to succeed better. At length they suffered him to come up, and by degrees our whole party joined; and after receiving some presents, twenty of them returned with us to the boats, and were feasted upon the blubber of two porpoises, which had been brought on shore purposely for them. At two o’clock the naturalists returned, bringing some of the scoop nets used by the natives in catching fish; and we then quitted our new friends, after presenting them with hatchets and other testimonials of our satisfaction.

These people go entirely naked, and otherwise much resemble the inhabitants of Port Jackson in personal appearance; but they were more fleshy, perhaps from being able to obtain a better supply of food with the scoop nets, which are not known on the southern parts of the coast. I noticed in most of them a hard tumour on the outer knuckle of the wrist, which, if we understood them aright, was caused by the stretcher of the scoop coming in contact with this part in the act of throwing the net. Our native did not understand a word of their language, nor did they seem to know the use of his _womerah_ or throwing stick; for one of them being invited to imitate Bongaree, who lanced a spear with it very dexterously and to a great distance, he, in the most awkward manner, threw both womerah and spear together. Nothing like a canoe was seen amongst these people; but they must have some means of passing over the water to short distances, since I found, in 1799, that Curlew Islet, near the head of this bay, had been visited.

A species of _pandanus_ before found at Glass-house and Shoal Bays, grows in abundance upon Sandy Cape; and notwithstanding the extreme sterility of the soil, the sand hills were mostly covered with bushes, and the vallies contained trees of the _casuarina_ and _eucalyptus_. There was fresh water in a pool near the shore, and as a ship may lie within half a mile, both wood and water might be procured here without great difficulty; but I doubt if the water would not altogether fail in the dry season.

A tolerably regular tide set past the ship, N. N. E. and S. S. W., nearly one mile an hour; and it appeared by the shore to be high water _about eight hours after_ the moon’s passage, and the common rise to be between six and seven feet.

No mention has been made of the variation of the compass since leaving Port Jackson, A gradual diminution seems to take place from Twofold Bay, near the southern extremity of this coast, to Sandy Cape; as will appear from the following observations.

Lat. 37 deg. 4′ Azim., one compass, on shore, 9 deg. 29′ E. 33 52 do , do , do , 8 51 31 36 do , do , head north, 9 8 30 32 do , three comp., do , 8 42 26 10 do , one comp., head N. by W. 8 deg. 40′, corr. 8 7 25 0 Ampl., do , head N. W. by N. 9 39 , corr. 8 9 24 43 do , do , head S. E. 1/2 S. 6 33 , corr 8 14

The coast lies nearly north, and except Sandy Cape, appears to be mostly of free stone, which I have not found to produce any effect upon the needle; and what is remarkable, on comparing my observations with those of captain Cook, it appeared that little or no change had taken place in the variation, during thirty-two years; for wherever our observations were taken with the ships heads in the same direction, there the same variation was obtained to a few minutes.

Within Break-sea Spit, an amplitude gave the variation when corrected, 7 deg. 25′ east; and one taken at the anchorage near Sandy Cape, but uncorrected, the direction of the ship’s head being unknown, 7 deg. 57′ east. There is little doubt that on bringing the land to the eastward of the ship, the variation was diminished at least half a degree: the stone of Sandy Cape is granitic.


In the morning of August 1, the wind was from the southward, and we steered across Hervey’s Bay, towards a sloping hummock on the west side, where my examination in the Norfolk had terminated. The soundings increased from 7, gradually to 18 fathoms, and afterwards decreased till half past four in the afternoon; when the sloping hummock bore S. 2 deg. E. eight miles, and we had no more than 31/2 fathoms near some dry banks and breakers, which extend out three miles from two shallow inlets in the coast. At dusk the anchor was let go in 61/2 fathoms, mud and sand; the shallow inlets to the south being distant 6 miles, and the sloping hummock bearing S. 17 deg. E. In captain Cook’s chart, the width of Hervey’s Bay is fifty-nine miles, which had appeared to me too great when here in the Norfolk; and I now made the distance, from the north-west extremity of Sandy Cape to a low point running out from the hummock, to be forty three miles by the _time keepers_. Such errors as this are almost unavoidable without the aid of these instruments, when sailing either along a coast which lies nearly on the same parallel, or where no land is in sight to correct the longitude by bearings. From Port Jackson to Sandy Cape, captain Cook’s positions had been found to differ from mine, not more than from 10′ east to 7′ west; which must be considered a great degree of accuracy, considering the expeditious manner in which he sailed along the coast, and that there were no time keepers on board the Endeavour; but from Sandy Cape northward, where the direction of the coast has a good deal of westing in it, greater differences began to show themselves.


There was a little tide running past the ship in the first part of the night from N. N. W., which appeared to be the flood setting into Hervey’s Bay. At daybreak [MONDAY 2 AUGUST 1802] we pursued our course along the shore, at the distance of four or five miles, in soundings between 5 and 9 fathoms. The coast was low, but not sandy; and behind it was a range of hills extending north-westward, and like the flat country, was not ill clothed with wood. There was no remarkable projection till we came to the south head of Bustard Bay; and the night being then at hand, we ran in and anchored on a sandy bottom, in 41/2 fathoms, nearly in the same spot where the Endeavour had lain thirty-two years before.

The rocky south head of Bustard Bay, from the survey between the preceding and following noons, should lie in 24 deg. 9′ south, and the time keepers placed it in 151 deg. 52′ east; or 5′ south and 10′ east of captain Cook’s situation; nor did the form of the Bay correspond to his chart.* The variation observed a few miles from the anchorage, was 8 deg. 20′ east, with the ship’s head N. W. by N., or 6 deg. 52′ reduced to the meridian; nearly as had been found in the morning, when it was 6 deg. 56′ corrected. This is a full degree less than it was on the east side of Sandy Cape, and captain Cook’s observations show a still greater diminution.

[* The latitude 24 deg. 4′ was observed on board the Endeavour, at anchor here; by whom is uncertain, but it was not by captain Cook or Mr. Green. In the _Astronomical Observations_ of the voyage, p. 134, Mr. Wales, in deducing the position of Bustard Bay, takes no notice of this observation, and omits the latitude.]


At daylight we proceeded along the coast; but the wind being very light, were no more than abreast of the north head of Bustard Bay at noon; and the ship being drifted by the tide toward some rocks lying off the head, a boat went to sound amongst them for a passage; in the mean time an air sprung up at north; and having got the ship’s head to the eastward, we stretched off from the rocks. This north head lies in latitude 24 deg. 0′, as laid down by captain Cook, and bears from the south head N. 44 deg. W., twelve miles; it is moderately high, and behind it is a mass of hummocky, barren hills, which extend far to the westward. A reef lies out as far as two miles from the north head; but within the outer rock above water our boat had 14 fathoms, and there was room for a ship to pass.

Not being able to weather the reef before dark, we worked to windward during the night; bearing down frequently to the Lady Nelson, to prevent separation. At daylight [WEDNESDAY 4 AUGUST 1802], the wind had shifted gradually round, from north to the south-westward; and at noon the north head of Bustard, Bay was brought to bear S. 16 deg. E., four leagues, our latitude being then 23 deg. 48′, and longitude 151 deg. 40′. A low island was seen from the mast head, bearing north at the supposed distance of six leagues, of which captain Cook does not make any mention;* and the furthest visible part of the main land was a conspicuous hill, named _Mount Larcom_, in compliment to captain Larcom of the navy. It bore W. 1/2 deg. N., ten or eleven leagues; but the coast line between it and the north head of Bustard Bay, seemed to be much broken.

[* A cluster of low islands, about fifteen leagues from the coast, was seen in the following year by Mr. Bunker, commander of the Albion, south whaler. He described the cluster to be of considerable extent, and as lying in latitude 233/4 deg., and longitude about 1521/2 deg.; or nearly a degree to the eastward of the low isle above mentioned. It is probably to these islands, whose existence captain Cook suspected, that the great flights of boobies he saw in Hervey’s Bay retire at night.]

In the afternoon, a breeze from the north-westward enabled us to stretch in for the land; and we anchored soon after sunset in 10 fathoms, brown sand, five or six miles from a projection which received the name of _Gatcombe Head_; and to the southward of it there was a rather deep bight in the coast. The bearings of the land, taken a few minutes before anchoring, were as under.

North head of Bustard Bay, dist. 5 leagues, S. 56 deg. E. Gatcombe Head, S. 86 W.
Mount Larcom, N. 80 W. Northern extreme of the coast, N. 46 W.

The chain of hills which rises near Bustard Bay, was seen to stretch westward a few miles behind the shore, till it was lost at the back of Mount Larcom. These hills were not destitute of wood, but they had a barren appearance; and the coast was more rocky than sandy. At this anchorage, the flood tide came from the north-by-east, and the ebb set east, half a mile per hour.



At daylight of the 5th, we closed in with the shore, steering north-westward; and at nine o’clock a small opening was discovered, and water seen over the low front land. The Lady Nelson was ordered to look for anchorage; and at eleven we came to, in 4 fathoms brown sand, one mile from the east point of the opening; and the following bearings were then taken:

Southern extreme of the coast, over the east point, S. 36 deg. E. Rocky islet in the middle of the opening, dist. 11/2 mile, S. 28 W. Mount Larcom, S. 75 W. Hummock at the northern extreme (C. Capricorn), N. 18 W.

The opening was not so much as a mile in width, but from the extent of water within, it was conjectured to have a communication with the bight on the south side of Gatcombe Head; and this being an object worthy of examination, the sails were furled and the boats hoisted out. The naturalist and his companions landed at the west side of the entrance, where some Indians had assembled to look at the ship; but they retired on the approach of our gentlemen, and afterwards taking the advantage of a hillock, began to throw stones at the party; nor would they desist until two or three muskets were fired over their heads, when they disappeared. There were seven bark canoes lying on the shore, and near them hung upon a tree some parts of a turtle; and scoop nets, such as those of Hervey’s Bay, were also seen.

I proceeded up the opening in a boat, and lieutenant Murray got under way to follow with the brig; but the tide ran up so rapidly, over a bottom which was rocky and very irregular in depth, that he anchored almost immediately, and came to the middle islet where I was taking angles. We then went over to the west shore, and ascended a hill called in the chart, _Hill View_; from whence it was evident, that this water did certainly communicate with the bight round Gatcombe Head, and by an opening much more considerable than that in which the vessels were anchored; the port was also seen to extend far to the westward, and I was induced to form a regular plan for its examination. The northern entrance being too full of rocks and shoals for the Lady Nelson to pass, although drawing no more than six feet when the keels were hoisted up, Mr. Murray was desired to go round to the southern opening; and about sunset he got under way.


Early in the morning I went off in the whale boat, with two days provisions, and made nearly a straight course up the port, for a low point on the south shore called _South-trees Point_. The water was very shallow, with many rocks and dry banks, until the southern entrance was fairly open, when the depth varied between 7 and 3 fathoms; but there was from 6 to 8 close to the low point. This forms the inner part of the southern entrance, and Gatcombe Head, the outer part, lies from it S. 64 deg. E. about four miles; from the head southward, however, the width of the channel is much less, being contracted by banks which extend out from the opposite shore.

Seeing nothing of the brig, I proceeded in the examination, steering westward for a small island four or five miles up the port. This is the southernmost of six islets, lying behind the point of Hill View, and from one of two hillocks upon it, another set of bearings was taken. The depth of water thus far, had varied from 8 fathoms, to six feet upon a middle shoal; after which it deepened to 3, 4, and 7 fathoms, and there was 10 close to the southern islet. The Lady Nelson made her appearance off Gatcombe Head about noon; but not waiting for her, I went to a point on the northern shore, near two miles higher up, where the water was so deep that a ship might make fast to the rocks and trees: the soundings were very irregular from the southern islet, but the least depth was 5 fathoms.

The port was here contracted to one mile in width; but it opened out higher up, and taking a more northern direction, assumed the form of a river. In steering across to the western shore, I carried from 8 to 4, and afterwards from 6 to 2 fathoms; when turning northward for two islets covered with mangroves, the depth increased again to 7 fathoms. We tried to land upon a third islet, it being then sunset; but a surrounding bank of soft mud making the islet inaccessible, we rowed on upwards, and landed with difficulty on the west shore before it became quite dark. The breadth of the stream here was about a mile; and the greatest depth 6 fathoms at low water.


In the morning, a small opening was observed in the opposite, eastern shore; but reserving this for examination in returning, I proceeded upwards with a fair wind, five miles further, when the greatest depth any where to be found was 3 fathoms. The stream then divided into two arms; the largest, about one mile in breadth, continuing its direction to the N. W. by N., and apparently ending a little further up; the other running westward, but the greater part of both occupied by shallow water and mud banks. Upon the point of separation, which is insulated at high water, there were some low, reddish cliffs, the second observed on the west shore; and from thence I set Mount Larcom at S. 15 deg. 15′ W., distant seven or eight miles.

This station was nine miles above the steep point, where the port is first contracted, and the steep point is ten from Gatcombe Head; and conceiving it could answer no essentially useful purpose to pursue the examination where a ship could not go, I returned to the small opening in the eastern shore, opposite to where we had passed the night. There was 4 fathoms in the entrance of this little branch; but it presently became shallow, and I landed to ascend a hill which had but little wood at the top. The sea was visible from thence; and the ship at the northern entrance of the port was set at N. 891/2 deg. E, and Mount Larcom S. 591/2 deg. W. The small, mangrove islets below this branch, were passed on the east side in our way down, there being a narrow channel with from 3 to 5 fathoms in it, close past two trees standing alone in the water; and at sunset we got on board the brig, lying at anchor off South-trees Point.

Lieutenant Murray had found some difficulty in getting into the southern entrance, from a shoal which lay to the S. E. by E., one mile and a half from Gatcombe Head. He passed on the north side of the shoal, and brought deep water as far as South-trees Point; but in steering onward, in mid-channel, had met with other banks, and was obliged to anchor. I desired Mr. Murray to ascertain as he went out, whether there were any channel on the south side of the shoal near Gatcombe Head; and quitting the brig next morning [SUNDAY 8 AUGUST 1802], I landed on the larger island to the south of the point of Hill View, to take angles; and soon after nine o’clock, reached the ship.

During my absence, the botanical gentlemen had been on shore every day, lieutenant Flinders had made astronomical observations, and boats had been employed, though unsuccessfully, in fishing. No Indians had been seen on the east side of the port, and I therefore gave a part of the ship’s company leave this afternoon, to land there and divert themselves. At eight in the evening a gun was heard in the offing; and by the guidance of our light, the Lady Nelson returned to her anchorage four hours afterward. Mr. Murray had struck upon a reef, having kept too near the shore in the apprehension of missing the anchorage in the dark; but his vessel did not appear to have sustained any other damage than the main sliding keel being carried away.

As much time having been employed in the examination of this port as the various objects I had in view could permit, we prepared to quit it on the following morning. This part of the East Coast had been passed in the night by captain Cook; so that both the openings escaped his notice, and the discovery of the port fell to our lot. In honour of admiral Sir Roger Curtis, who had commanded at the Cape of Good Hope and been so attentive to our wants, I gave to it the name of PORT CURTIS; and the island which protects it from the sea, and in fact forms the port, was called _Facing Island_. It is a slip of rather low land, eight miles in length, and from two to half a mile in breadth, having Gatcombe Head for its southern extremity.

The northern entrance to Port Curtis is accessible only to boats; but ships of any size may enter the port by the southern opening. Mr. Murray did not find any passage on the south side of the shoal near Gatcombe Head, but could not say that none existed; he thought the deep channel to be not more than a mile wide; but at half a mile from the head there was from 6 to 10 fathoms, and the channel from thence leads fair up the port to beyond South-trees Point; I suspected, however, from the account given by Mr. Murray, that there might be a second shoal, lying not so much as a mile from the head, and one is marked in the plan accordingly, that ships may be induced to greater caution. There is good anchorage just within Gatcombe Head; and at a small beach there, behind a rock, is a rill of fresh water, and wood is easily to be procured.

I cannot venture to give any other sailing directions for going up this port, than to run cautiously, with a boat ahead and the plan upon the binnacle. Both the bottom and shoals are usually a mixture of sand, with mud or clay; but in the northern entrance, and off some of the upper points and islands where the tides run strong, the ground is in general rocky.

The country round Port Curtis is overspread with grass, and produces the _eucalyptus_ and other trees common to this coast; yet the soil is either sandy or covered with loose stones, and generally incapable of cultivation. Much of the shores and the low islands are overspread with mangroves, of three different species; but that which sends down roots, or rather supporters from the branches, and interweaves so closely as to be almost impenetrable, was the most common. This species, the _Rhizophora Mangle_ of Linnaeus, is also the most abundant in the East and West Indies; but is not found at Port Jackson, nor upon the south coast of this country.

Granite, streaked red and black, and cracked in all directions, appeared to be the common stone in the upper parts of the port; but a stratified argillaceous stone was not unfrequent; and upon the larger island, lying off the point of Hill View, there was a softish, white earth, which I took to be calcareous until it was tried with acids, and did not produce any effervescence.

Traces of inhabitants were found upon all the shores where we landed, but the natives kept out of sight after the little skirmish on the first day of our arrival; they subsist partly on turtle, and possess bark canoes and scoop nets. We saw three turtle lying on the water, but were not so fortunate as to procure any. Fish seemed to be plentiful, and some were speared by Bongaree, who was a constant attendant in my boat; and yet our efforts with the seine were altogether unsuccessful. The shores abound with oysters, amongst which, in the upper parts of the port, was the kind producing pearls; but being small and discoloured, they are of no value. The attempts made near the ship with the dredge, to procure larger oysters from the deep water, were without success.

I saw no quadrupeds in the woods, and almost no birds; but there were some pelicans, gulls, and curlews about the shores and flats. Fresh water was found in small pools on both sides of the northern entrance, and at the point of Hill View I met with some in holes; but that which best merits the attention of a ship, is the rill found by Mr. Murray at the back of the small beach within Gatcombe Head.

The _latitude_ of our anchorage at the northern entrance, from four meridian altitudes of the sun, is 23 deg. 44′ 16″ south.

Six sets of distances of the sun west of the moon, taken by lieutenant Flinders, would make the _longitude_ 151 deg. 21′ 22″ east; the two time keepers gave 151 deg. 20′ 10″; and fifty sets of distances, reduced from Broad Sound by the survey, which I consider to be the best authority, place the anchorage in 151 deg. 20′ 15″ east.

These being reduced by the survey to the southern entrance, place Gatcombe Head in latitude 23 deg. 521/2 deg. S. longitude 151 deg. 24′ E.

No _variations_ were observed at the anchorage; but two amplitudes off Gatcombe Head gave 11 deg. 11′, and azimuths with three compasses, 10 deg. 50′ east, the ship’s head being W. S. W. and W. N. W. These being reduced to the meridian, will give the true variation to be 8 deg. 40′ east.

This is an increase of near 2 deg. from Bustard Bay; and seems attributable to the attraction of the granitic land which lay to the westward, and drew the south end of the needle that way.

The rise of _tide_ at the place where I slept near the head of the port, was no more than four feet; but upon the rocky islet in the northern entrance, there were marks of its having risen the double of that quantity. The time of high water was not well ascertained, but it will be between eight and nine hours after the moon’s passage over and under the meridian.


On getting under way at daylight of the 9th, to prosecute the examination of the coast, the anchor came up with an arm broken off, in consequence of a flaw extending two-thirds through the iron. The negligence with which this anchor had been made, might in some cases have caused the loss of the ship.


In following the low and rather sandy shore, northward to Cape Capricorn, we passed within a rocky islet and another composed of rock and sand, four miles south-east of the cape, the soundings being there from 8 to 9 fathoms; and at ten o’clock hauled round for Cape Keppel, which lies from Cape Capricorn N. 80 deg. W., ten miles. The shore is low, with some small inlets in it, and sand banks with shoal water run off more than two miles; at six miles out there is a hummocky island and four rocks, one of which was at first taken for a ship. We passed within these, as captain Cook had before done; and at half past two in the afternoon anchored in Keppel Bay, in 6 fathoms soft bottom, three-quarters of a mile from a head on the east side of the entrance.

My object in stopping at this bay was to explore two openings marked in it by captain Cook, which it was possible might be the entrances of rivers leading into the interior. So soon as the ship was secured, a boat was sent to haul the seine, and I landed with a party of the gentlemen to inspect the bay from an eminence called _Sea Hill_. There were four places where the water penetrated into the land, but none of these openings were large; that on the west side, in which were two islands, was the most considerable, and the hills near it were sufficiently elevated to afford an extensive view; whereas in most other parts, the shores were low and covered with mangroves. These considerations induced me to begin the proposed examination by the western arm; and early next morning [TUESDAY 10 AUGUST 1802] I embarked in the Lady Nelson, intending to employ her and my whale boat in exploring the bay and inlets, whilst the botanists made their excursions in the neighbourhood of the ship.

The depth in steering for the western arm was from 6 to 9 fathoms, for about one mile, when it diminished quickly to 2, upon a shoal which seemed to run up the bay; the water afterwards deepened to 5 and 7 fathoms, but meeting with a second shoal, the brig was obliged to anchor. I then went on in my boat for the nearest of the two islands, passing over the banks and crossing the narrow, deep channels marked in the plan. The two islands are mostly very low, and the shores so muddy and covered with mangroves, that a landing on the northern and highest of them could be effected only at the west end; but a hillock there enabled me to take an useful set of bearings, including Mount Larcom, which is visible from all parts of this bay, as it is from Port Curtis.

In the afternoon I proceeded up the western arm, having from 3 to 8 fathoms close along the northern shore; and about four miles up, where the width was diminished to one mile, found a landing place, a rare convenience here, and ascended a hill from whence there was a good view. At five or six leagues to the south, and extending thence north-westward, was a continuation of the same chain of hills which rises near Bustard Bay and passes behind Mount Larcom; but at the back of Keppel Bay it forms a more connected ridge, and is rocky, steep, and barren. Within this ridge the land is low, and intersected by various streams, some falling into the western arm at ten or twelve miles above the entrance, and others into the south-west and south arms of the bay. The borders of the western arm, and of its upper branches so far as could be perceived, were over-run with mangroves; whence it seemed probable the water was salt, and that no landing was practicable, higher than this station; the sun also was near setting when my bearings from _West-arm Hill_ were completed; and I therefore gave up the intention of proceeding further, and returned to the northern island in the entrance, to pass the night.

It was high water here at seven in the evening, and the tide fell nine and a half feet; but the morning’s tide rose to six and a half only [WEDNESDAY 11 AUGUST 1802]. In rowing out between the two islands, I had from 8 to 3 fathoms; but shoal water in crossing from thence to the entrance of the south-west arm, where again there was 5 to 8 fathoms. A strong wind from the south-eastward did not permit me to go up this arm, and the extensive flats made it impossible to land upon the south side of the bay; and finding that nothing more could be done at this time, I returned to the ship.

The numerous shoals in Keppel Bay rendering the services of the Lady Nelson in a great measure useless to the examination, I directed lieutenant Murray to run out to the hummocky island lying to the north-east from Cape Keppel, and endeavour to take us some turtle; for there were no signs of inhabitants upon it, and turtle seemed to be plentiful in this neighbourhood. He was also to ascend the hills, and take bearings of any island or other object visible in the offing; and after making such remarks as circumstances might allow, to return not later than the third evening.


Next afternoon, I went, accompanied by the naturalist, to examine the eastern arm of the bay, which is divided into two branches. Pursuing the easternmost and largest, with soundings from 6 to 3 fathoms, we came to several mangrove islands, about four miles up, where the stream changed its direction from S. S. E. to E. S. E., and the deepest water was 2 fathoms. A little further on we landed for the night, cutting a path through the mangroves to a higher part of the northern shore; but the swarms of musketoes and sand flies made sleeping impossible to all except one of the boat’s crew, who was so enviably constituted, that these insects either did not attack him, or could not penetrate his skin. It was high water here at nine o’clock; and the tide afterwards fell between ten and twelve feet.


In the morning, I set Broad Mount in Keppel Bay at N. 61 deg. 20′ W. and Mount Larcom S. 8 deg. 20′ E; and we then steered onward in six to eight feet water, amongst various little islands of mud and mangroves; the whole width of the stream being still more than half a mile, nearly the same as at the entrance. Three miles above the sleeping place the water began to increase in breadth, and was 2 fathoms deep; and advancing further, it took a direction more southward, and to our very agreeable surprise, brought us to the head of Port Curtis; forming thus a channel of communication from Keppel Bay, and cutting off Cape Capricorn with a piece of land twenty-five miles in length, from the continent.

I landed on the eastern shore, nearly opposite to the reddish cliffs which had been my uppermost station from Port Curtis, and set

Broad Mount in Keppel Bay at N. 60 deg. 45′ W. Mount Larcom, S. 16 15 W.

Having found one communication, we rowed up the western branch near the reddish cliffs, hoping to get back to Keppel Bay by a second new passage; but after going two miles, with a diminishing depth from 4 fathoms to three feet, we were stopped by mangroves, and obliged to return to the main stream.

The tide was half ebbed when we came to the shallowest part of the communicating channel; and it was with much difficulty that the boat could be got over. A space here of about two miles in length, appears to be dry, or very nearly so, at low water; but it is possible that some small channel may exist amongst the mangroves, of sufficient depth for a boat to pass at all times of tide.

We reached the entrance of the eastern arm from Keppel Bay, with the last of the ebb; and took the flood to go up the southern branch. The depth of water was generally 3 fathoms, on the eastern side, and the width nearly half a mile. This continued three miles up, when a division took place; in the smallest, which ran southward, we got one mile, and up the other, leading south-westward, two miles; when both were found to terminate in shallows amongst the mangroves. It was then dusk; and there being no possibility of landing, the boat was made fast to a mangrove bush till high water, and with the returning ebb, we got on board the ship at eleven o’clock.

The Lady Nelson had returned from the hummocky island, without taking any turtle. No good anchorage was found, nor was there either wood or water upon the island, worth the attention of a ship. Mr. Murray ascended the highest of the hummocks with a compass, but did not see any lands in the offing further out than the Keppel Isles.


I left the ship again in the morning, and went up the southern arm to a little hill on its western shore; hoping to gain from thence a better knowledge of the various streams which intersect the low land on the south side of the bay. This arm is one mile in width, and the depth in it from 3 to 6 fathoms; the shores are flat, as in other parts, and covered with mangroves; but at high water a landing was effected under the _South Hill_, without much trouble. The sides of this little eminence are steep, and were so thickly covered with trees and shrubs, bound together and intertwisted with strong vines, that our attempts to reach the top were fruitless. It would perhaps have been easier to climb up the trees, and scramble from one to another upon the vines, than to have penetrated through the intricate net work in the darkness underneath.

Disappointed in my principal object, and unable to do any thing in the boat, which could not then approach the shore within two hundred yards, I sought to walk upwards, and ascertain the communication between the south and south-west arms; but after much fatigue amongst the mangroves and muddy swamps, very little more information could be gained. The small fish which leaps on land upon two strong breast fins, and was first seen by captain Cook on the shores of Thirsty Sound, was very common in the swamps round the South Hill. There were also numbers of a small kind of red crab, having one of its claws uncommonly large, being, indeed, nearly as big as the body; and this it keeps erected and open, so long as there is any expectation of disturbance. It was curious to see a file of these pugnacious little animals raise their claws at our approach, and open their pincers ready for an attack; and afterwards, finding there was no molestation, shoulder their arms and march on.

At nine in the evening, the tide brought the boat under the hill, and allowed us to return to the ship. All the examination of Keppel Bay which our time could allow, was now done; but a day being required for laying down the plan of the different arms, I offered a boat on Sunday [15 AUGUST 1802] morning to the botanists, to visit the South Hill, which afforded a variety of plants; but they found little that had not before fallen under their observation. A part of the ship’s company was allowed to go on shore abreast of the ship, for no Indians had hitherto been seen there; but towards the evening, about twenty were observed in company with a party of the sailors. They had been met with near Cape Keppel, and at first menaced our people with their spears; but finding them inclined to be friendly, laid aside their arms, and accompanied the sailors to the ship in a good-natured manner. A master’s mate and a seaman were, however, missing, and nothing was heard of them all night.


At daylight, two guns were fired and an officer was sent up the small inlet under Sea Hill; whilst I took a boat round to Cape Keppel, in the double view of searching for the absentees and obtaining a set of bearings from the top of the cape. This station afforded me a better view of the Keppel Isles than any former one; and to the northward of them were two high peaks on the main land, nearly as far distant as Cape Manifold.

Amongst the number of bearings taken, those most essential to the connection of the survey were as under.

Cape Capricorn, outer hummock, S. 79 deg. 30′ E. Mount Larcom, S. 6 10 E.
The ship at anchor, S. 59 50 W. Highest peak near Cape Manifold, N. 25 10 W. Keppel Isles, outermost, called first lump, N. 0 45 E. Hummocky Island, N. 54 deg. 35′ to 61 40 E.

On my return to the ship, the master’s mate and seaman were on board. The officer had very incautiously strayed away from his party, after natives had been seen; and at sunset, when he should have been at the beach, he and the man he had taken with him were entangled in a muddy swamp amongst mangroves, several miles distant; in which uncomfortable situation, and persecuted by clouds of musketoes, they passed the night. Next morning they got out of the swamp; but fell in with about twenty-five Indians, who surrounded and took them to a fire place. A couple of ducks were broiled; and after the wanderers had satisfied their hunger, and undergone a personal examination, they were conducted back to the ship in safety. Some of the gentlemen went to meet the natives with presents, and an interview took place, highly satisfactory to both parties; the Indians then returned to the woods, and our people were brought on board.


The anchor was weighed at daylight of the 17th, but the wind and tide being unfavourable, it took the whole day to get into the offing; at dusk we came to, in 9 fathoms, mud and sand, having the centre of the hummocky island bearing S. 72 deg. E. two leagues. A sketch of the island and of Cape Keppel was taken by Mr. Westall (Atlas, Plate XVIII. View 5.) whilst beating out of the bay.

Keppel Bay was discovered and named by captain Cook, who sailed past it in 1770. A ship going in will be much deceived by the colour of the water; for the shores of the bay being soft and muddy, the water running out by the deep channels with the latter part of the ebb, is thick; whilst the more shallow parts, over which the tide does not then set, are covered with sea water, which is clear. Not only are the shores for the most part muddy, but a large portion of the bay itself is occupied by shoals of mud and sand. The deep water is in the channels made by the tides, setting in and out of the different arms; and the best information I can give of them, will be found by referring to the plan. The broadest of these channels is about two miles wide, on the east side of the bay; and our anchorage there near Sea Hill, just within the entrance, seems to be the best for a ship purposing to make but a short stay. Wood is easily procured; and fresh water was found in small ponds and swamps, at a little distance behind the beach. This is also the best, if not the sole place in the bay for hauling the seine; and a fresh meal of good fish was there several times procured for all the ship’s company.

The country round Keppel Bay mostly consists either of stony hills, or of very low land covered with salt swamps and mangroves. Almost all the borders of the bay, and of the several arms into which it branches, are of this latter description; so that there are few places where it was not necessary to wade some distance in soft mud, and afterwards to cut through a barrier of mangroves, before reaching the solid land.

Mention has been made of the ridge of hills by which the low land on the south side of the bay is bounded. The upper parts of it are steep and rocky, and may be a thousand, or perhaps fifteen hundred feet high, but the lower sloping sides are covered with wood; Mount Larcom and the hills within the ridge, are clothed with trees nearly to the top; yet the aspect of the whole is sterile. The high land near the western arm, though stony and shallow in soil, is covered with grass, and trees of moderate growth; but the best part of the country was that near Cape Keppel; hill and valley are there well proportioned, the grass is of a better kind and more abundant, the trees are thinly scattered, and there is very little underwood. The lowest parts are not mangrove swamps, as elsewhere, but pleasant looking vallies, at the bottom of which are ponds of fresh water frequented by flocks of ducks. Cattle would find here a tolerable abundance of nutritive food, though the soil may perhaps be no where sufficiently deep and good to afford a productive return to the husbandman.

After the mangrove, the most common trees round Keppel Bay are different kinds of _eucalyptus_, fit for the ordinary purposes of building. A species of _Cycas_, described by captain Cook (Hawkesworth, III. 220, 221) as a third kind of palm found by him on this coast, and bearing poisonous nuts, was not scarce in the neighbourhood of West-arm Hill. We found three kinds of stone here: a greyish slate, quartz and various granitic combinations, and a soft, whitish stone, saponaceous to the touch; the two first were often found intermixed, and the last generally, if not always lying above them. The quartz was of various colours, and sometimes pure; but never in a state of crystallisation.

Wherever we landed there had been Indians; but it was near the ship only, that any of them made their appearance. They were described by the gentlemen who saw them, as stout, muscular men, who seemed to understand bartering better than most, or perhaps any people we had hitherto seen in this country. Upon the outer bone of the wrist they had the same hard tumour as the people of Hervey’s Bay, and the cause of it was attempted, ineffectually, to be explained to one of the gentlemen; but as cast nets were seen in the neighbourhood, there seems little doubt that the manner of throwing them produces the tumours. These people were not devoid of curiosity; but several things which might have been supposed most likely to excite it, passed without notice. Of their dispositions we had every reason to speak highly, from their conduct to our sailors; but particularly to the master’s mate and seaman who had lost themselves, and were absolutely in their power. On the morning we quitted the bay, a large party was again seen, coming down to the usual place; which seemed to imply that our conduct and presents had conciliated their good will, and that they would be glad to have communication with another vessel.

It is scarcely necessary to say, that these people are almost black, and go entirely naked, since none of any other colour, or regularly wearing clothes, have been seen in any part of Terra Australis. About their fire places were usually scattered the shells of large crabs, the bones of turtle, and the remains of a parsnip-like root, apparently of fern; and once the bones of a porpoise were found; besides these, they doubtless procure fish, and wild ducks were seen in their possession. There are kangaroos in the woods, and several bustards were seen near Cape Keppel. The mud banks are frequented by curlews, gulls, and some lesser birds. Oysters of a small, crumply kind, are tolerably plentiful; they do not adhere to the rocks, but stick to each other in large masses on the banks; here are also pearl oysters, but not so abundantly as in Port Curtis.

The _latitude_ of our anchorage, from the mean of three meridian altitudes to the north, was 23 deg. 29′ 34″ south.

_Longitude_ from twenty-four sets of distances of the sun and moon, the particulars of which are given in Table I. of Appendix No. I. to this volume, 151 deg. 0′ 28″; but from fifty other sets, reduced by the survey from Broad Sound, the better longitude of the anchorage is 150 deg. 58′ 20″ east.

According to the time keepers the longitude would be 150 deg. 57′ 43″; and in an interval of six days, they were found to err no more than 5″ of longitude on the Port-Jackson rates.

From three compasses on the binnacle, lieutenant Flinders observed the _variation_ 6 deg. 48′, when the ship’s head was north, and 5 deg. 47′ when it was south-south-east. This last being reduced to the meridian, the mean of both will be 6 deg. 47′ east, nearly the same as in Bustard Bay; but 2 deg. less than was observed off Gatcombe Head. At the different stations round Keppel Bay whence bearings were taken, the variation differed from 5 deg. 10′ to 6 deg. 30′ east.

Whilst beating off the entrance, I had 7 deg. 52′ east variation, from azimuths with the surveying compass when the head was N. W., and from an amplitude, with the head N. by W., 6 deg. 54′; the mean reduced to the meridian. will be for the outside of the bay 6 deg. 16′ east.

Captain Cook had 7 deg. 24′ near the same situation, from amplitudes and azimuths observed in 1770, with the Endeavour’s head W. N. W.

The rise of _tide_ in the entrance of Keppel Bay seems to vary at the neaps and springs, from nine to fourteen feet, and high water to take place _nine hours and a half_ after the moon’s passage over and under the meridian; but the morning’s tide fell two or three feet short of that at night. The set past the ship was greatest at the last quarter of the flood and first of the ebb, when it ran two-and-half knots, and turned very suddenly. In the offing, the flood came from the eastward, at the rate of one mile per hour.


The Keppel Isles, and coast to Cape Manifold. A new port discovered and examined.
Harvey’s Isles.
A new passage into Shoal-water Bay. View from Mount Westall.
A boat lost.
The upper parts of Shoal-water Bay examined. Some account of the country and inhabitants. General remarks on the bay.
Astronomical and nautical observations.



The rocks and islands lying off Keppel Bay to the northward, are numerous and scattered without order; two of them are of greater magnitude than the rest, and captain Cook had attempted to pass between these and the main land, from which they are distant about five miles; but shoal water obliged him to desist. When we got under way in the morning of the 18th [WEDNESDAY 18 AUGUST 1802], our course was directed for the outside of these two islands, and we passed within a mile of them in 9, and from that to 13 fathoms water. They are five miles asunder, and the southernmost and largest is near twelve in circumference; its rocky hills are partly covered with grass and wood, and the gullies down the sides, as also the natives seen upon the island, implied that fresh water was to be had there.


At the back of the islands the main coast is low and sandy, with the exception of two or three rocky heads; but at a few miles inland there is a chain of hills, moderately elevated and not ill clothed with wood. These hills are a continuation of the same which I had ascended on the west side of Keppel Bay, and extend as far as the two peaks behind Cape Manifold.

After passing the Keppel Isles we steered for a small opening in the coast, seven or eight miles to the north-west, and the Lady Nelson was directed to lead in; but on her making the signal for 3 fathoms, and the inlet appearing to be a sandy cove fit only for boats, we kept on northward, between one and two miles from the shore. At five o’clock, the south-east breeze died away, and a descent of the mercury announcing either little wind for the night or a breeze off the land, a kedge anchor was dropped in 8 fathoms, sandy bottom. The bearings then taken were,

Keppel Isles, the first lump, S. 45 deg. E. C. Manifold, east end of the island near it, N. 9 E. Peaked islet in the offing, N. 281/2 E. Flat islet, distant four or five leagues, N. 43 E.

The two last are called the Brothers., in captain Cook’s chart; though described in the voyage as being, one “low and flat, and the other high and round.” A perforation in the higher islet admits the light entirely through it, and is distinguishable when it bears nearly south-east.


At seven next morning, having then a light air from the land with foggy weather, we steered northward along the coast; and at noon were in latitude 22 deg. 473/4′, and two rocks near the shore bore S. 54 deg. W. two or three miles. From that time until evening, we worked to windward against a breeze from the north-east, which afterwards veered to N. N. W.; and at nine o’clock, a small anchor was dropped in 14 fathoms, two miles from the shore. The Lady Nelson had fallen to leeward; and made no answer to our signals during the night.


At daylight, supposing the brig had passed us by means of a shift of wind to W. N. W., we proceeded along the coast to the island lying off Cape Manifold. This island, with some of the northern hills, had been sketched by Mr. Westall (Atlas, Plate XVIII. View 6.) on the preceding evening; it is slightly covered with vegetation, and lies in latitude 22 deg. 42′, and longitude 150 deg. 50′. The cape is formed of several rocky heads and intermediate beaches; and the hills behind, from which the cape was named, rise one over the other to the two peaks set from Cape Keppel, and appeared to be rocky and barren. The easternmost, and somewhat the highest peak, is about four miles from the shore, and lies S. 49 deg. W. from the east end of the island whose situation is above given.

The wind was from the northward at noon, and we were then making a stretch for the land, which was distant four or five miles.

Latitude, observed to the north, 34 deg. 361/2′ C. Manifold, east end of the island, S. 1 W. C. Manifold, the highest peak, S. 301/2 W. Small isle (Entrance I.) at the northern extreme, N. 29 W. Peaked islet in the offing, distant 7 miles, S. 61 E.

From Cape Manifold the coast falls back to a sandy beach, six miles long, and near it are some scattered rocks. The land is there very low; but at the north end of the beach is a hilly projection, from which we tacked at one o’clock, in 12 fathoms; being then within a mile of two rocks, and two miles from the main land. The brig was seen to the south-eastward, and we made a long stretch off, to give her an opportunity of joining, and at two in the morning [SATURDAY 21 AUGUST 1802] lay by for her; but the wind veering to south-west at five, we stretched in for the land, and approached some rocky islets, part of the Harvey’s Isles of captain Cook, of which, and of the main coast as far as Island Head, Mr. Westall made a sketch (Atlas, Plate XVIII. View 7). At half past nine, when we tacked from Harvey’s Isles, I was surprised to see trees upon them resembling the pines of Norfolk Island; none such having been before noticed upon this coast, nor to my knowledge, upon any coast of Terra Australis. Pines were also distinguished upon a more southern islet, four miles off, the same which had been the northern extreme at the preceding noon; and behind it was a deep bight in the land where there seemed to be shelter. The breeze had then shifted to south, and the Lady Nelson being to windward, the signal was made for her to look for anchorage; but the brig being very leewardly, we passed her and stood into the bight by an opening between the islets of one mile wide and from 10 to 7 fathoms in depth. On the soundings decreasing to 5, we tacked and came to an anchor near the pine island in the entrance, in 7 fathoms coarse sand, exposed between N. 75 deg. and S. 23 deg. E, and the wind was then at south-east; but having a fair passage by which we could run out to the northward., in case of necessity, I did not apprehend any danger to the vessels.


Instead of a bight in the coast, we found this to be a port of some extent; which had not only escaped the observation of captain Cook, but from the shift of wind, was very near being missed by us also. I named it PORT BOWEN, in compliment to captain James Bowen of the navy; and to the hilly projection on the south side of the entrance (see the sketch), I gave the appellation of Cape Clinton, after colonel Clinton of the 85th, who commanded the land, as captain Bowen did the sea forces at Madeira, when we stopped at that island

A boat was despatched with the scientific gentlemen to the north side, where the hills rise abruptly and have a romantic appearance; another went to the same place to haul the seine at a small beach in front of a gully between the hills, where there was a prospect of obtaining fresh water; and a third boat was sent to _Entrance Island_ with the carpenters to cut pine logs for various purposes, but principally to make a main sliding keel for the Lady Nelson. Our little consort sailed indifferently at the best; but since the main keel had been carried away at Facing Island, it was as unsafe to trust her on a lee shore, even in moderate weather. On landing at Entrance Island, to take angles and inspect the form of the port, I saw an arm extending behind Cape Clinton to the southward, which had the appearance of a river; a still broader arm ran westward, until it was lost behind the land; and between Entrance Island and Cape Clinton was a space three miles wide, where nothing appeared to obstruct the free passage of a ship into both arms. Finding the port to be worthy of examination, and learning that the seine had been successful and that good water was to be procured, I left orders with lieutenant Fowler to employ the people in getting off pine logs and watering the ship; and early next morning [SUNDAY 22 AUGUST 1802], set off in my whale boat upon an excursion round the port.

From the ship to the inner part of Cape Clinton the soundings were from 5 to 8 fathoms, on a sandy bottom; but close to the innermost point there

You may also like: