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

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  • 1827
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THE YEARS 1818 AND 1822.










Survey upon the mermaid.
Purchase another vessel.
New establishment.
Departure on the fourth voyage, accompanied by a merchant-ship bound through Torres Strait.
Discovery of an addition to the crew. Pass round Breaksea Spit, and steer up the East Coast. Transactions at Percy Island.
Enormous sting-rays.
Pine-trees serviceable for masts.
Joined by a merchant brig.
Anchor under Cape Grafton, Hope Islands, and Lizard Island. Natives at Lizard Island.
Cape Flinders.
Visit the Frederick’s wreck.
Surprised by natives.
Mr. Cunningham’s description of the drawings of the natives in a cavern on Clack’s Island.
Anchor in Margaret Bay, and under Cairncross Island. Accident, and loss of anchors.
Pass through Torres Strait, and visit Goulburn Island. Affair with the natives.
The Dick parts company.

Passage from Cape Van Diemen to Careening Bay. Not finding water, visit Prince Regent’s River, and procure it from the Cascade.
Farther examination of the river.
Amphibious mud-fish.
Anchor in Halfway Bay, and explore Munster Water and Hanover Bay in a boat.
Visit Hanover Bay, and procure water and fish. Interview with natives.
The surgeon speared.
Retaliate upon them, and capture their rafts and weapons. Description of their implements.
Port George the Fourth.
Islands to the westward.
Red Island of Captain Heywood.
Strong tides.
Camden Bay.
Buccaneer’s Archipelago.
Cygnet Bay.
Dangerous situation of the brig.
High and rapid tides.
Cape Leveque.
Examination of the coast to Cape Latouche Treville. Remarkable effect of mirage.
Leave the coast for Mauritius.
Voyage thither.
Arrival at Port Louis.
Some account of the island.

Departure from Port Louis.
Voyage to the South-west Coast of New Holland. Anchor in King George the Third’s Sound. Occurrences there.
Visited by the Natives.
Our intercourse with them.
Descriptions of their weapons and other implements. Vocabulary of their language.
Meteorological and other observations. Edible plants.
Testaceous productions.

Leave King George the Third’s Sound, and commence the survey of the West Coast at Rottnest Island.
Another remarkable effect of mirage. Anchor under, and land upon Rottnest Island. Break an anchor.
Examine the coast to the northward. Cape Leschenault.
Lancelin Island.
Jurien Bay.
Houtman’s Abrolhos.
Moresby’s Flat-topped Range.
Red Point.
Anchor in Dirk Hartog’s Road, at the entrance of Shark’s Bay. Occurrences there.
Examination of the coast to the North-west Cape. Barrow Island.
Heavy gale off the Montebello Isles. Rowley’s Shoals.
Cape Leveque.
Dangerous situation of the brig among the islands of Buccaneer’s Archipelago.
Examination and description of Cygnet Bay. Lose an anchor, and leave the coast.
Adele Island.
Return to Port Jackson.

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.



Of the winds and currents, and description of the ports, islands, and coast between Port Jackson and Breaksea Spit.


Description of the winds and weather, and of the ports, islands, and coast between Breaksea Spit and Cape York.


Description of the winds and weather, and of the ports and coast between Wessel’s Islands and Clarence Strait.


Of the nature of the winds and the description of the coast between Clarence Strait and the North-west Cape.


Of the winds and weather, and description of the Western Coast between the North-west Cape and Cape Leeuwin.


Of the winds and weather upon the South Coast. Directions for King George the Third’s Sound, and hydrographical remarks relating to Bass Strait.


Description of the shoals and reefs in the neighbourhood of the coasts of Australia.


Directions for the passage within the reefs through Torres Strait.


Dip of the magnetic needle.


Upon the geographical positions of the fixed points of the survey.


Containing a list and description of the subjects of natural history collected during Captain King’s survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia.




Language of the Natives.



From a sketch by P.P. King. Published in May 1825 by John Murray, London.


VIEW OF THE CASCADE IN PRINCE REGENT’S RIVER. From a sketch by P.P. King. Published in May 1825 by John Murray, London.


1. Stone Spear Head (Full size.) From a Drawing by F. Chantrey, Esquire, F.R.S.

2. Section of a Stone Spear Head (Full size.) From a Drawing by F. Chantrey, Esquire, F.R.S.

3. Spear armed with the Stone head.

4. Throwing-stick.

5. Hatchet.

Published in May 1825 by John Murray, London.






CHART OF PORT COCKBURN AT MELVILLE ISLAND. Plan of Port Cockburn, between Bathurst and Melville Islands. From a survey made by Lieutenant J.S. ROE in October 1824.



Left to right: Corneille, Fenelon, Descartes, and Pascal Islands, Hills on Cape Voltaire, Condillac Island, and East end of Cassini Island (Peron’s Atlas, plate 6, figure 7) and the outline of the Iles Forbin (Peron’s Atlas, plate 8, figure 5).

Left to right: Peak upon Cape Voltaire and Condillac Island, bearing South, two miles distant.
Several drawings of Captain King.

SKETCH 3: TWO CONSPICUOUS HILLS NORTH-EAST OF PRINCE-REGENT’S RIVER. Left to right: Mount Trafalgar and Mount Waterloo.

A. Castlereagh Bay.
B. Point Dale.
C. Arnhem Bay.
D. Melville Bay.
E. Cape Arnhem.
F. Caledon Bay.
1, 1 etc. Wessel’s Islands.
2, 2 etc. The English Company’s Islands. 3. Red Cliffs.
4. Mallison’s Island.
5. Cape Newbold.
6. Cape Wilberforce.
7. Bromby’s Islands.






Chlamydosaurus kingii.
The plate was engraved by Mr. Curtis, from an exceedingly correct drawing made by Henry C. Field, Esquire. Fel. Coll. Surg. Published by John Murray, Albemarle Street, March, 1826.

Carpophagus banksiae.
Megamerus kingii.
Phasma tiaratum.
Drawn by Miss M.L. Field. J. Curtis sculp. Published by John Murray, Albemarle Street, March, 1826.

Kingia Australis.
Curtis, Id et sculp.
Published by John Murray, Albemarle Street.


Survey upon the mermaid.
Purchase another vessel.
New establishment.
Departure on the fourth voyage, accompanied by a merchant-ship bound through Torres Strait.
Discovery of an addition to the crew. Pass round Breaksea Spit, and steer up the East Coast. Transactions at Percy Island.
Enormous sting-rays.
Pine-trees serviceable for masts.
Joined by a merchant brig.
Anchor under Cape Grafton, Hope Islands, and Lizard Island. Natives at Lizard Island.
Cape Flinders.
Visit the Frederick’s wreck.
Surprised by natives.
Mr. Cunningham’s description of the drawings of the natives in a cavern on Clack’s Island.
Anchor in Margaret Bay, and under Cairncross Island. Accident, and loss of anchors.
Pass through Torres Strait, and visit Goulburn Island. Affair with the natives.
The Dick parts company.

1820. December 6.

As soon as the opportunity offered after our arrival, the cutter was laid on shore upon the beach of Sydney Cove, and surveyed by the master and the carpenter of H.M. Store-Ship Dromedary, which ship was preparing for her return to England with a cargo of New Zealand spars. Upon stripping the copper off the bottom, the tide flowed into her, and proved that to the copper sheathing alone we were indebted for our safe return. The iron spikes that fastened her were entirely decayed, and a considerable repair was recommended by the surveying officers. Upon my communicating the result of their report to His Excellency, Governor Macquarie, he agreed with me in thinking that, as her repairs would take up so much time, it would be better to purchase another vessel, and as a brig was then in the harbour, that appeared to be every way suited for my purpose, she was examined by my order by Mr. Mart, the Dromedary’s carpenter, who reported so favourably of her, that, by the governor’s permission, she was purchased and fitted for the voyage. She was built of teak, of one hundred and seventy tons burden, and had lately received a very considerable repair at Calcutta; so that, excepting a few trifling defects and alterations, she was quite fit for sea. Her name was altered at the suggestion of Governor Macquarie to that of the Bathurst.

By this change we gained a great addition to our comforts; and, besides increasing the number of our crew, were much better off in regard to boats; for we now possessed a long-boat, large enough to carry out and weigh an anchor, or save the crew if any accident should happen to the vessel; a resource which we did not possess in the Mermaid.

A further addition was made to our party by the appointment of Mr. Perceval Baskerville, one of the Dromedary’s midshipman; but Mr. Hunter the surgeon, who had volunteered his services in the Mermaid during the last voyage, was superseded by Mr. A. Montgomery, who had lately arrived in charge of a convict ship.

Our establishment now consisted of the following officers and men:

Lieutenant and Commander: Phillip Parker King.

Surgeon: Andrew Montgomery.

Master’s Mates (Assistant Surveyors): Frederick Bedwell.
John S. Roe.

Midshipman: Perceval Baskerville.

Botanical Collector: Allan Cunningham.


Boatswain’s Mate.

Carpenter’s Mate.

Sail Maker.


Seamen: 16.

Boys: 5.

Total: 32.

1821. May 26.

After experiencing many tedious and unexpected delays in equipping the Bathurst, notwithstanding our wants were few, and the greater part of our repairs were effected by our own people, we were not completed for sea until the 26th of May, when we sailed from Port Jackson upon our fourth and last voyage to the north coast, accompanied by the merchant-ship Dick (the same vessel in which we had originally embarked from England): she was bound to Batavia, and being ready for sailing at the time of our departure, requested permission to accompany us through Torres Strait, which, since it would rather prove an assistance to us than cause any delay in our proceedings, was acceded to on my part with much satisfaction. In the mean time the Mermaid, our late vessel, had been thoroughly repaired, fresh fastened with copper spikes, and fitted out; and, before we sailed, had been sent to sea to carry the first establishment to Port Macquarie, on which service she had been wrecked. She was, however, afterwards got off the rocks and repaired, and is now a very serviceable vessel in the colony.

Boongaree, the native who had formerly accompanied us, volunteered his services whilst the vessel was preparing for the voyage, which I gladly accepted; but when the day of departure drew nigh, he kept aloof; and the morning that we sailed, his place was filled by another volunteer, Bundell; who proved not only to be a more active seaman, but was of much greater service to us, than his countryman Boongaree had been. This addition made our number thirty-three.

May 30.

Three days after we left the port, a discovery was made of another addition to the number of the crew. Upon opening the hold, which had been locked ever since the day before we sailed, a young girl, not more than fourteen years of age, was found concealed among the casks, where she had secreted herself in order to accompany the boatswain to sea: upon being brought on deck, she was in a most pitiable plight, for her dress and appearance were so filthy, from four days’ close confinement in a dark hold, and from having been dreadfully seasick the whole time, that her acquaintances, of which she had many on board, could scarcely recognise her. Upon being interrogated, she declared she had, unknown to all on board, concealed herself in the hold the day before the vessel sailed; and that her swain knew nothing of the step she had taken. As it was now inconvenient to return to put her on shore, and as the man consented to share his ration with her, she was allowed to remain; but in a very short time heartily repented of her imprudence, and would gladly have been re-landed, had it been possible.

1821. June 4.

Between the 30th and the 4th of June we had a series of gales of wind, which enabled us to prove the capabilities of our new ship; and it was very satisfactory to find that she was weatherly, tight, and dry, three very essential qualities for a surveying vessel.

June 5.

On the afternoon of the 5th we passed round the north end of Breaksea Spit, and crossed Hervey’s Bay; in the night, when the brig ought to have been many miles from the shore, we found ourselves unexpectedly close to some land; but it was not until the day broke that we knew the full extent of the danger we had encountered: the land we had seen proved to be the round head of Bustard Bay, which, as the wind was blowing directly upon it, we were fortunate in having room to clear. The Dick was apprized by us of the danger in time, and succeeded in clearing the land by tacking to the southward.

June 6.

At noon we were passing the small woody isle that was seen by Captain Flinders, and farther on we discovered two other isles of a similar character: they were seen from the masthead to the north-east; and a fourth was seen by the Dick. After this we had a few days of fine weather, which, as dysentery had already made its appearance amongst us, was most welcome, and tended materially to check the progress of so alarming a complaint.

June 8.

On the 8th we entered among the Northumberland Islands.

June 10.

But, from light northerly winds, did not reach an anchorage under Percy Island, Number 2, until the morning of the 10th. Our situation was between the Pine Islets and the basin, in ten fathoms, near a run of water, which fell from the rocks into the sea at about a quarter of a mile to the northward of the sandy beach: from this stream we filled our casks. Water was also found in many other parts, but all the runs appeared to be of temporary duration.

June 11.

This island, like Number 1, which we visited in 1819, appears to be principally of quartzose formation. The soil is sandy, and affords but little nourishment to the stunted trees with which it is furnished. In the more barren and rocky parts the pine was abundant, but not growing to any great size: the Dick’s people cut down and embarked several logs; on examination they were thought to be useless; but, from subsequent experience, they proved to be far from deserving such contempt, for during the voyage we made two pole-top gallant-masts of it; which, although very full of knots, were as tough as any spar I ever saw; and carried a press of sail longer than would be trusted on many masts. These trees are very abundant on the Cumberland and Northumberland Islands, but do not attain any large size; being seldom higher than fifty or sixty feet, or of a greater diameter than from twelve to eighteen inches.

Among the variety of birds, several black cockatoos and the pheasant cuckoo were seen. The beaches were frequented by gulls, terns, and oyster-catchers; and an egret was noticed of a slate-coloured plumage, with a small ruff upon its head.

The seine was hauled upon the beach; but the only fish caught were two very large sting-rays; one of which measured twelve feet across: as it was too unwieldy to take on board, we had no means of weighing it; but the liver nearly filled a small pork barrel.* It is very probable that our bad success may be attributed to the presence of these fish, for on board the Dick several snappers were caught with the hook and line.

(*Footnote. Captain Cook describes some fish, probably of the same species, found at Botany Bay, weighing each three hundred and thirty-six pounds (Hawkesworth volume 3 page 100); from which circumstance, as it is not generally known, the name of Sting-ray Bay was given to that harbour; it is so-called in the charts of the Endeavour’s voyage, in the Hydrographical Office at the Admiralty, as well as in Sir Joseph Banks’ copy of the Endeavour’s journal, and in Dr. Solander’s manuscript journal, both of which are in the possession of my friend Robert Brown, Esquire. The name by which it is now known appears to have been given subsequently, on account of the variety and beauty of its botanical productions.)

In the evening the wind set in from South by East, with rain, and cloudy, thick weather: in striking the royal masts, a serious defect was discovered in our fore-top-mast; the upper part being found rotten for twelve feet below the head; and the top-gallant-mast was also found to be sprung in the wake of the cap.

June 12.

So that we were compelled to remain all the next day at the anchorage to shift them. This detention was very vexatious, for we were not only losing a fair wind, but lying in a very exposed situation.

During the preceding night a brig anchored half a mile to the southward of us: she proved to be the San Antonio; she left Port Jackson four days after us, and was bound on a trading speculation to the Moluccas and Singapore. In the forenoon I visited the master, Mr. Hemmans, and offered him my guidance up the coast, if he would wait until we had shifted our defective masts; but he declined it as he was anxious to get on without delay; and, having Captain Flinders’ charts, intended to run “DAY AND NIGHT THROUGH THE REEFS;” he told me that he had anchored here with the intention of watering and cutting some pine spars, but that not finding the latter worth the trouble, he was then getting underweigh to proceed. When I went away, he accompanied me to look over my plan of the passage; after which he returned to his vessel, which soon afterwards steered past us on her way to the northward. Mr. Hemmans told me that he had anchored under Keppel Islands, where he had a friendly communication with the natives, who used nets, which he thought were of European construction; but from his description, they are similar to what have been before seen on the coast, and are constructed by the natives themselves.

June 13.

At eight o’clock the next morning we got underweigh; but the Dick in weighing her anchor found both flukes broken off.

June 14.

The next day, we rounded the north extremity of the Cumberland Islands.

June 15.

And at four o’clock a.m. the 15th, were abreast of Cape Gloucester.

Thick cloudy weather with rain and a fresh breeze from the southward, variable between South-South-East and South-South-West, now set in, and was unfavourable for our seeing the coast as we passed it: Cape Bowling Green was not seen, but the gradual decrease of soundings from eighteen to fourteen fathoms, and the subsequent increase of depth, indicated our having passed this low and dangerous projection.

June 16.

At daylight of the 16th, we passed outside the Palm Islands at the distance of five miles.

The weather continued so thick and rainy, that Mount Hinchinbrook was quite concealed from our view; but a partial glimpse of the land enabled me to distinguish Point Hillock, and afterwards to see Cape Sandwich, Goold Island, and the group of the Family Isles.

June 17.

In passing the largest Frankland Island, the San Antonio was seen lying at anchor near it, with her fore topsail loose, firing guns: seeing this, we hauled to the wind, and made sail to beat up towards her, under the idea of her being in distress; but as we approached, we observed a boat alongside, and her top-gallant yards across, which were proofs that she was not in such immediate danger, as to require our beating up, with the risk of losing some of our spars, for the Dick had already sprung her jib-boom; we, therefore, hove the vessels to, and soon afterwards the San Antonio joined and passed under our stern, when Mr. Hemmans informed me that the guns he had fired were intended as signals to his boat, and that they were not meant for us. He had been aground, he said, on a reef near the Palm Islands, but had received no damage: light, however, as he pretended to make of this accident, it was a sufficient lesson for him, and we soon found he had profited by it, for instead of preceding us, he quietly fell into our wake, a station which he never afterwards left, until all danger was over, and we had passed through Torres Strait.

I had now determined upon taking up an anchorage round Cape Grafton during the continuance of the bad weather, and for that purpose steered through the strait that separates the cape from Fitzroy Island; and anchored in six fathoms mud, at about half a mile from its northern extremity.

It is little remarkable that the day on which we anchored should be the anniversary of the discovery of the bay; for Captain Cook anchored here on the eve of Trinity Sunday, fifty-one years before, and named the bay between Capes Grafton and Tribulation, in reverence of the following day. In passing between Cape Grafton and Fitzroy Island, eight or ten natives were observed seated on the rocks at the south end of the beach: one of them waved his spear to us as we passed, but the distance was too great to take any notice of him.

In the afternoon we landed upon the small island in the bay, and found it to be separated from the mainland by a very shoal channel, through which our boat had some difficulty in passing; the island is small, and formed of loose fragments of granite, over which the decomposed vegetable matter had formed a soil, which, although shallow, was sufficient to nourish some luxuriant grass (panicum) and a robust species of eucalyptus: among these large flights of cockatoos and parroquets were hovering, but they were very shy, and did not allow us to approach them: a small dove, common to other parts of the coast, was killed. A native was seen walking along a sandy beach behind the island, but proceeded without noticing our boat, which was at that time passing.

June 18.

The following day the weather was so clear that, in the early part of the morning, we distinctly saw the summit of the land at the back of Cape Tribulation, bearing North 43 degrees West (magnetic); it must have been fifty-five or sixty miles off; the fall of the land towards the extremity of the cape was also seen, bearing North 35 degrees 50 minutes West fifty-six miles.

In the afternoon I went on shore near the north extremity of the Cape, to procure some bearings; after which we strolled about, and found a temporary stream of water falling into the sea. In walking past a grove of pandanus trees, which grew near the water, we disturbed a prodigious quantity of bronze-winged butterflies, reminding us, in point of number, of the Euploea hamata, at Cape Cleveland in 1819. It proved to be a variety of the Urania orontes (Godart) of Amboyna and the other Indian Islands. Mr. Cunningham took advantage of the Dick’s boat going to the bottom of the bay, to cut grass: near their landing-place he found some natives’ huts; some of which were of more substantial construction than usual, and were thatched with palm leaves: inside of one he found a fishing rod, and a line, five or six fathoms long, furnished with a hook made from a shell, like the hooks of the South Sea Islanders: he also found a small basket, made from the leaf of a palm-tree, lying near the remains of their fireplaces, which were strewed with broken exuviae of their shell-fish repasts.

A canoe twelve feet long, similar to the one described at Blomfield’s Rivulet (volume 1) was also seen; and, like it, was not more than nine inches wide at the bilge. A small kangaroo was seen by Mr. Cunningham feeding upon the grass, but fled the moment that it saw him approaching.

Nothing more was seen of the natives, nor were any heard, or suspected of being near us; had there been any number the party would have been placed in an awkward situation, for upon landing, they all incautiously, and very imprudently, separated, to amuse themselves as they were inclined, without regarding the situation of the boat, which was soon left dry by the ebbing tide; and it was eight o’clock at night before they succeeded in launching her. Immediately after its return, for which we had been waiting four hours, we got underweigh, and were only just in time to save the breeze, which carried us out into the offing: after a short calm, the wind gradually freshened from South-South-West, and we steered on under easy sail towards Cape Tribulation.

June 19.

On passing the cape two reefs were seen to seaward, which had previously escaped our notice.

In the afternoon we anchored in ten fathoms, at about half a mile from the north-west end of the reef that stretches for two miles to the northward of the south-westernmost Hope Island; and, as it was low water and the reef uncovered, we walked across it. It is formed principally of coral, on the surface of which we found the gray trepang; a small Chama gigas, a cypraea, a pretty azure-coloured species of asteria, and a few bivalve shells. The few birds that frequented the reef were very shy, and flew away at our approach: they were principally pelicans and terns.

June 20.

After weighing the next morning, we steered North 1/2 West, a course farther to seaward than we had previously taken, in order to see the reefs more distinctly, and to prove the width and extent of this part of the channel; but the sun was shining in the direction of our course, and the shadows of the clouds upon the water were at times so deceptious that, whilst they often caused appearances of reefs where none existed, they concealed others that, for the same reason, were not seen until we were close to them. Having now the charge of two merchant-vessels, it was necessary to proceed with caution, and therefore we steered nearly over our last year’s track, but notwithstanding, we now discovered several new reefs, and informed ourselves of the extent and shape of others which had escaped our previous observation.

As we were rounding the two islands that lie close to the south side of Lizard Island, a native was seen in a canoe, paddling towards another who was sitting on the rocks watching our movements; and, as we hauled round the south point of the bay, two others were observed walking towards the beach; upon seeing us they stopped short and retreated up the hill; but, after we anchored and sent a boat on shore, which was accompanied by one from the Dick, they advanced, and without much hesitation, came forward and communicated with our party. They carried spears with them, and each of our gentlemen had their fowling-pieces: the appearance of Bundell, who on these occasions always took his clothes off, perhaps gave them greater confidence. After some vociferous and unintelligible parley, one of our gentlemen, in order to give them further cause for the surprise which they had already manifested to a great extent, unadvisedly fired his fowling-piece; upon which, as might be expected, they became distrustful and frightened, and, fixing their spears in their throwing sticks, walked backwards at a quick pace, and withdrew altogether towards the hills.

Lizard Island, and the Direction Isles to the south-westward, are of very different character to the other islands which front this coast, being high, rising to peaks, and of granitic formation. Captain Cook, in his description of Lizard Island, mentions it as being a good place to refresh at, on account of its supplying both wood and water; but, at the same time we were there, the latter was not found, although the rain had been lately falling in great quantity; with the former, however, it is well supplied. This island, from its connection with Captain Cook’s misfortunes during his perilous navigation within the reefs, will always be an interesting feature in the history of the discovery and examination of this coast, and deserves a more appropriate appellation.

June 21.

Leaving Lizard Island the following morning, we directed our course for Cape Flinders, over our last year’s track. Upon passing Port Ninian, the sea was observed to break heavily upon the Barrier Reefs, which in this part approach nearer to the mainland than at any other. As we doubled Cape Melville, the wind, as usual, freshened up to a strong breeze, and carried us rapidly across Bathurst Bay: to the westward of the cape several natives were observed walking upon the beach.

In passing round Cape Flinders, there appeared to be a considerable diminution in the remains of the Frederick’s wreck. No vestige was left of her stern or forecastle, both of which were before so very conspicuous. At half-past five o’clock we anchored with our companions near the usual place.

June 22.

The following morning, at daybreak, a party of men went to the wreck to collect the spars and planks that had escaped the mischievous fires of the natives; and at five o’clock I joined them with the master of the Dick and Mr. Roe, ordering Mr. Bedwell to relieve the shore party with some fresh hands at eight o’clock. When the time arrived, supposing that the relief-party had nearly reached the shore, I sent the people over the hill, in order to be ready when the boat arrived to go on board; and in the meantime amused myself in wandering about the reef near the wreck, where Mr. Roe was also employed. Mr. Harrison (the master of the Dick) was at the further end of the beach with his fowling piece, with two of his boat’s crew picking up shells: when suddenly they were surprised by hearing a loud shout, and seeing several spears strike the rocks about them: upon looking round, Mr. Harrison found that a party of natives were advancing upon him with their spears poised; upon which he presented his gun at the foremost, but, from his having waded about in the water, the powder had got damp and would not go off. Immediately that I heard the shout of the natives, and saw Mr. Harrison retreating from the Indians, who were in close pursuit, I hastened to his assistance, and came up in time to prevent them from doing any mischief; and, by occasionally levelling my gun, kept them at bay whilst we retreated towards the wreck, from which we were about half a mile distant. By this time Mr. Roe, who had also heard the noise, joined; but, as he had not a gun, the only assistance he brought was an addition to our number. Among the four foremost of the natives was a mischievous boy, who, being emboldened by our not firing, and showing an anxiety to get away from them, fixed his spear and aimed it at me; upon which I fired my gun, but, as it was only loaded with small shot, it had no effect at the distance he was from me; the noise, however, arrested their pursuit for a moment; and by the time they recovered their surprise, I had reloaded with ball, but to my great mortification, upon presenting the gun to deter the boy from throwing his spear again, it missed fire: the weapon, which at first was aimed at me, was then thrown at one of the Dick’s men, and, piercing his hat, which he was carrying at his breast, fortunately, full of shells, only slightly wounded one of his fingers. The man, who to all appearance was dangerously wounded, for the spear stuck in the hat and hung suspended in the air, drew it out, and, throwing it on the ground with the greatest composure, continued to retreat. The natives then finding we were not intimidated or hurt by the spears, began to make friendly gestures, which we, of course, returned, but still continued to walk away with our faces turned towards them.

We were now only four in number (for I had despatched one of the Dick’s people to recall our boat, and to order the crew over to our assistance) and being without any means, or show of defence, it required much caution and management on our part to prevent their throwing any more spears; for they were now within a few yards of us: their ferocity, however, began to diminish, as their attention was taken by our clothes and a silk handkerchief which Mr. Roe held out to them: they were about ten in number, of whom five or six were armed with spears. Our only safety now was in letting them approach, and amusing them by a display of our silk handkerchiefs and other parts of our dress, and making all the grimaces and monkey-like gestures we could think of.

Among the natives was a young woman, whom they repeatedly offered to us by using the most significant signs; which she also endeavoured to strengthen by appropriate gestures on her part; but our inclinations were not consonant with the opportunity so pressingly, but so suspiciously, offered. After our declining this honour, they occasionally laid their hands upon our clothes to detain us, but it did not require much force to make them quit their hold. One of the men having seized my gun, I drew it out of his hand rather roughly; but, accompanied at the same moment with the friendly gesture of patting his breast, the recovery was happily effected without exciting his anger.

In this manner, and with great fatigue, we continued our retreat across the reef, and reached the wreck without any signs of our people coming to our assistance; when the natives found we intended to walk round the point, they divided, and gave their spears to a party that went over the hills, as it were, to cut us off; but in this intention, if they entertained it, they were disappointed, for our boat was there, and the crew all embarked, ready to shove off, little expecting ever to see us again. The idea of being thus easily deserted by our people was for a moment mortifying, but I ordered some of the crew on shore, and by our numbers kept the natives amused on the beach, while Mr. Harrison shoved off in his gig to give the alarm, and to order some muskets to be sent for our protection: by the time, however, that Mr. Bedwell arrived, we had succeeded in making friends with the natives; who, upon perceiving that we had now in our turn the superiority, began to draw away, and appeared to be as anxious to get rid of us as we had been, half an hour before, to escape from them; but we accompanied them halfway across the reef, watching an opportunity to seize the boy who had wounded the Dick’s man, whom I intended to keep a prisoner while we were here, and then to dismiss him with presents, to show that we were not inimical to them, although angry at being so treacherously attacked. My intention, however, was probably suspected, for they avoided our approaching sufficiently near them to effect my purpose with the certainty of success, I therefore called our people away to resume their work at the wreck, and, after leaving orders with Mr. Bedwell not to fire but in self-defence, and if an opportunity offered, to seize the boy, went on board with the party to breakfast. I had not, however, left the shore long before hostilities again commenced, and several shots were mischievously fired at the natives by some of the Dick’s and San Antonio’s people, who, being advanced, had very improperly endeavoured to cut off three of them, upon which one of the natives poised his spear with a threat of throwing it, when several muskets were fired at these miserable wretches, who, fortunately for them, got clear off; although one of them by his limping appeared to have been struck in the leg.

After this we saw nothing more of them for the day. Mr. Bedwell was employed with his party at the wreck, whilst Mr. Cunningham traversed the hills in the vicinity, for it was not safe to trust himself at any distance from our people, since the natives would not have failed, had they met with an opportunity, to punish us for our broken faith.

June 23.

The following day, on the return of our people from the wreck, they reported that the natives had shown themselves on the opposite side of the bay; I therefore went to the shore with Mr. Harrison, to endeavour to make peace, but saw no signs of them, excepting a smoke on the next island, to which they had probably retired. On the following day they were again seen, and fired upon by the boat’s crew of the Dick.

All these events gave me much concern, not only because the natives may be induced to attack and take revenge upon strangers who may subsequently pass this way, but also because they must have imbibed a very poor idea of the effect of our arms, when so many muskets were fired without doing them any mischief: and, but for the sake of humanity, I could almost have wished that one had been killed.

The day after we arrived here, a boat from the San Antonio conveyed Mr. Montgomery and Mr. Cunningham to Clack’s Island. The reef abounded with shells, of which they brought back a large collection, but not in any great variety; an indifferent cypraea was the most common; but there were also some volutae and other shells, besides trepang and asteriae, in abundance. Mr. Cunningham observed a singularly curious cavern upon the rock, of which he gave me a description in the following account of the island:

“The south and south-eastern extremes of Clack’s Island presented a steep, rocky bluff, thinly covered with small trees. I ascended the steep head, which rose to an elevation of a hundred and eighty feet above the sea. I found simply the plants of the main, namely, Mimusops parvifolia, Br.; Hoya nivea, Cunningham manuscript; Acacia plectocarpa, Cunningham manuscript; Chionanthus axillaris, Br.; Notelaea punctata, Br.; some alyxiae, and the small orange-fruited ficus, which grew in the thickets, and, by insinuating its roots in the interstices of the rocks, clothed a great portion of the inaccessible front of the island.

“The remarkable structure of the geological feature of this islet led me to examine the south-east part, which was the most exposed to the weather, and where the disposition of the strata was of course more plainly developed. The base is a coarse, granular, siliceous sandstone, in which large pebbles of quartz and jasper are embedded: this stratum continues for sixteen to twenty feet above the water: for the next ten feet there is a horizontal stratum of black schistose rock, which was of so soft a consistence, that the weather had excavated several tiers of galleries; upon the roof and sides of which some curious drawings were observed, which deserve to be particularly described: they were executed upon a ground of red ochre (rubbed on the black schistus) and were delineated by dots of a white argillaceous earth, which had been worked up into a paste. They represented tolerable figures of sharks, porpoises, turtles, lizards (of which I saw several small ones among the rocks) trepang, star-fish, clubs, canoes, water-gourds, and some quadrupeds, which were probably intended to represent kangaroos and dogs. The figures, besides being outlined by the dots, were decorated all over with the same pigment in dotted transverse belts. Tracing a gallery round to windward, it brought me to a commodious cave, or recess, overhung by a portion of the schistus, sufficiently large to shelter twenty natives, whose recent fireplaces appeared on the projecting area of the cave.

“Many turtles’ heads were placed on the shelfs or niches of the excavation, amply demonstrative of the luxurious and profuse mode of life these outcasts of society had, at a period rather recently, followed. The roof and sides of this snug retreat were also entirely covered with the uncouth figures I have already described.

“As this is the first specimen of Australian taste in the fine arts that we have detected in these voyages, it became me to make a particular observation thereon: Captain Flinders had discovered figures on Chasm Island, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, formed with a burnt stick; but this performance, exceeding a hundred and fifty figures, which must have occupied much time, appears at least to be one step nearer refinement than those simply executed with a piece of charred wood. Immediately above this schistose stratum is a superincumbent mass of sandstone, which appeared to form the upper stratum of the island.” (Cunningham manuscript.)*

(*Footnote. Similar representations were found by Mr. White, carved on stone in the neighbourhood of Port Jackson. White’s Journal quarto page 141.)

June 25.

Having procured all the spars and planks from the wreck that could be useful to us, we made preparations to sail, and at daylight, the 25th, got underweigh with my two companions, and resumed our course to the northward, over that of last year, excepting that we steered inside of Pelican Island, and to leeward of Island 4. We passed several large sting-rays asleep on the surface of the sea, which our people ineffectually endeavoured to harpoon. On the former island large flights of pelicans were seen, and upon the sandbank, to the southward of it, there was a flock of two or three hundred young birds.

The breeze not being sufficient to carry us to Night Island before dark, the anchor was dropped in eleven fathoms muddy bottom, two miles to the eastward of Island 8. The Dick and San Antonio anchored close to us. During the night we had a fresh breeze from South-East by East, and, not having any island or reef to shelter us from the swell, we were obliged to drop a second anchor to retain our position. The San Antonio drove for some distance, but the Dick rode through the night without driving, although she had but forty fathoms of cable out.

June 26.

On weighing the next morning, we made sail to the North by West, but, from the compass-box not being quite straight in the binnacle, we made a North by West 1/2 West course, which was not discovered until we had nearly paid dear for our neglect; for we passed close to a rock which I intended to have gone at least a mile to windward of. It was seen just in time to put the helm a-lee, or we should have run upon it.

The weather was now so thick that we could not see a mile around us; we were therefore obliged to follow our former courses, to avoid the risk of running over a strange track in such unfavourable weather. At sunset we anchored under the lee of Piper’s Islets.

June 27.

The next day we anchored under Sunday Island in Margaret Bay, at about half a mile from the sandy beach, on its north-west side.

Here we were detained by bad weather until the 30th.

June 30.

When, with some slight appearance of improvement, and tired of losing so much time, we weighed and proceeded on our course. After passing the Bird Isles, thick weather again set in, with constant rain, and a strong breeze from South-East. Upon reaching Cairncross Island, under which it was my intention to anchor, the sails were reduced; and, as we were in the act of letting go the anchor, Mr. Roe, who was at the masthead holding thoughtlessly by the fore-topmast staysail-halyards, whilst the sail was being hauled down, was precipitated from a height of fifty feet, and fell senseless on the deck. We were now close to the reef; and, in the hurry and confusion attending the accident, and the Dick at the same time luffing up under our stern, the anchor was dropped, without my ascertaining the quality of the bottom, which was afterwards found to be of a very questionable nature.

The Dick, having dropped her anchor within forty yards of us, was lying so close as to prevent our veering more cable than sixty fathoms, but as we appeared to ride tolerably easy with a sheer to starboard, while the Dick rode on the opposite sheer, we remained as we were: to prevent accident, the yards were braced so that we should cast clear of the Dick if we parted, a precaution which was most happily taken.

As soon as the distressing accident that had occurred was known on board the Dick, Dr. Armstrong, a surgeon of the navy and a passenger in that ship, hastened on board to assist Mr. Montgomery in dressing Mr. Roe’s hurt, which I found, to my inexpressible satisfaction, was not so grievous as might have been expected: his fall was, most providentially, broken twice; first by the spritsail brace, and secondly by some planks from the Frederick’s wreck, which had fortunately been placed across the forecastle bulwark over the cat-heads: his head struck the edge of the plank and broke his fall, but it cut a very deep wound over the right temple. This unfortunate event threatened to deprive me of his very valuable assistance for some time, a loss I could but very ill spare, particularly when upon the point of returning to the examination of so intricate a coast as that part where we last left off.

At six o’clock in the evening the flood-tide began to set to leeward, and as night approached the appearance of the weather became very threatening, accompanied by a descent of the mercury; this gave me a very unfavourable idea of our situation: the wind was blowing clear of the reef, and raised a heavy sea; and the Dick was so close to us that we dared not veer cable, for fear of getting on board of her, which must have happened if either ship should break her sheer.

At half-past ten o’clock, during a very heavy squall, the cable parted, but from the precaution above-mentioned, the brig happily drifted with her head to starboard, and passed clear both of the Dick and San Antonio; the chain-cabled anchor was then dropped, and veered to ninety fathoms, which brought her up in fifteen fathoms, mud; in which birth she appeared to ride much easier than before. I was now very anxious about the lost anchor; and, having expressed a wish to inform Mr. Harrison of our situation, and to request him to recover our anchor in the morning if the weather would permit, Mr. Bedwell volunteered to go on board her; which, although a service of danger, was, if possible to be effected, absolutely necessary. The boat was lowered, and they shoved off, but as the crew were unable to pull it ahead, I called her on board again, which was most fortunate; for shortly afterwards the chain-cable parted also, and the brig drove with her head towards the shore.

1821. July 1.

We had now the prospect of being obliged to keep under sail during the remainder of the night. An attempt was made to veer, in order that, by laying to with her head off shore, we might have time to recover the cable, without endangering the security of the vessel; but, from the weight of the chain at the bow, this manoeuvre could not be effected; fearing, therefore, to drift any more to the westward, in which direction we were making rapid way, I was under the necessity of slipping the chain, by which we lost one hundred fathoms of cable, which we could but badly spare: being now freed from the impediment, the brig’s head was placed off shore; and after making sail, we fired several muskets and showed lights, as signals to the Dick, who, it afterwards appeared, kept a light up for our guidance; but the weather was so squally and thick, with almost constant rain, that it was not seen by us. It was half-past twelve o’clock when we made sail to the North-East by East, deepening from fourteen to sixteen fathoms, and when the hillocky summit of Cairncross Island bore South by West, beyond which bearing we did not know how far we could proceed with safety; we tacked to the South-South-West, and proceeded in that direction until the island bore South, when we were in fourteen fathoms. Having thus ascertained the depth of this space, which was about three miles in extent, it was occupied during the remainder of the night; which, being very dark and squally, was passed by us in the greatest anxiety. At day-dawn we were joined by our companions, and, as it was not possible from the state of the weather to regain the anchors we had lost, made sail towards Turtle Island, on our way to which we passed Escape River: both of these places reminded us of former perils, but the recollection of our providential preservation on those occasions, as well as on many others during our former voyages, increased the grateful feelings which we now felt for our safety and protection during the last night, the anxieties and circumstances of which can never be obliterated from our minds.

Our course was directed entirely by the chart I had previously formed; for the weather was so thick that for the greater part of the way no land could be seen to guide us: by noon we had passed between Cape York and Mount Adolphus, and in a short time rounded the north end of Wednesday Island, and were steering between it and the North-West Reef.

After passing the rock off Hammond’s Island, we steered West by South 1/2 South, but were obliged to haul up South-West by West to pass to the southward of a small shoal, some part of which was uncovered (the time of tide being nearly low water, spring tide): this shoal lies in a North 50 degrees West direction, from the low rocky ledge off the north end of Good’s Island, and is distant from it about a mile and a half. The Dick being a little to leeward of our track, had four fathoms; but the least we had was five and three-quarters. This reef is not noticed in Captain Flinders’ chart: at high water, or even at half ebb, it is very dangerous, from its lying in the direct track; but, by hauling over to the south shore, may be easily avoided.

At four o’clock we passed Booby Island, and steered West by South across the Gulf of Carpentaria.

July 3.

Between Booby Island and Cape Wessel, which we passed in sight of on the 3rd, we had thick gloomy weather, with the wind between South and East-South-East; and, after rounding the Cape had some heavy rain, in which the mercury, having previously fallen to 29.91, rose to 29.95 inches. Lightning from the east and west accompanied the rain, but the wind was steady, and did not freshen or lull during the showers.

July 5.

On the 5th, at daylight, Goulburn Islands were seen, and at nine o’clock we passed through the strait that divides them; our track being half a mile more to the northward than that of last year, we had more regular soundings.

As soon as we anchored in South-West Bay, I sent on shore to examine our former watering-place, but found that the stream had failed. The parched up appearance of the island showed that the last had been an unusually dry season; every place that, even in the month of August, six weeks later, had before yielded large quantities, as well as the lagoon behind the beach, which, from the nature of the plants growing in it, was conjectured to be a never-failing supply, was now dried up.

July 6 to 8.

The next morning the brig’s boat went over to Sims Island with Mr. Cunningham, and there found a small quantity of water, sufficient, according to Mr. Hemmans’ report, for all our wants. The next morning (7th) he moved the San Antonio over to the island, and anchoring her off the sandy beach, landed his people to dig holes. In the afternoon he sent me a specimen of what had been collected; but it was so brackish that I gave up all idea of shipping any: he had improvidently dug large holes, into which all the water good and bad had drained, and thereby the good was spoiled. The following morning he sent another specimen, which, notwithstanding it was considerably better, was still too bad to tempt me to embark any. During the San Antonio’s stay at Sims Island, our gentleman paid it a visit: its vegetation appeared to have suffered as much from want of rain as Goulburn Island. “The venerable tournefortia (Tournefortia argentea. Lin.) however, appeared as an exception: this tree, which grows on the centre of the beach, where it is remarkably conspicuous, appeared to have resisted the dry state of the season; it was in full leaf, and covered with a profusion of flowers, which attracted a variety of insects, particularly of the genera apis, vespa, and sphex; and among them a beautiful green-coloured chrysis.” (Cunningham manuscripts.)

During the two last days, our people were employed cutting wood; no natives had made their appearance, although recent tracks on the sand showed they were not far off; but on the evening of the 7th, the surgeon, accompanied by Dr. Armstrong of the Dick, landed in that vessel’s gig, and, whilst amusing themselves among the trees, and the boat’s crew incautiously wandering away from the boat, the natives came down, and would have carried off all the boat’s furniture, and everything in her, had they not been disturbed by the return of one of the sailors with a musket. They succeeded however, in making a prize of a new boat-cloak, and the boat-hook, and one of them had nearly succeeded in carrying off an oar, but upon being fired at, dropped his booty and scampered off. This trifling loss was deservedly sustained by our gentlemen, for they were well aware how suddenly the natives have always appeared, and how mischievously they had on those occasions conducted themselves: they were also cautioned, when they went on shore to be upon their guard, and it was fortunate for them that nothing more serious occurred.

July 8.

At daylight, the 8th, the San Antonio rejoined us from Sims Island, and at eleven o’clock we left the bay, and passed to the eastward of New Year’s Island: the Dick and ourselves then steered to the westward along the coast, while the San Antonio steered a north-west course, and parted company.

July 9.

The following day, being in sight of the land of Cape Van Diemen, and having sent our letters on board the Dick for conveyance to England, we parted company by an interchange of three cheers; and it was not without a considerable degree of regret that we took this leave of our friends; for it is but due to Mr. Harrison to say that we received very great assistance from him on several occasions: he offered us his stream anchor to replace in some degree our loss, although he had himself only one left; it was, however, much too small for our purpose.

By this opportunity I wrote to the Secretary of the Admiralty, and the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, and communicating to them a brief account of our voyage up the east coast, acquainted them of my intention of employing the fine-weather months of July and August upon the north-west coast, and then of going to Mauritius, to replace our anchors and cable, previous to our examination of the west coast.

Passage from Cape Van Diemen to Careening Bay. Not finding water, visit Prince Regent’s River, and procure it from the Cascade.
Farther examination of the river.
Amphibious mud-fish.
Anchor in Halfway Bay, and explore Munster Water and Hanover Bay in a boat.
Visit Hanover Bay, and procure water and fish. Interview with natives.
The surgeon speared.
Retaliate upon them, and capture their rafts and weapons. Description of their implements.
Port George the Fourth.
Islands to the westward.
Red Island of Captain Heywood.
Strong tides.
Camden Bay.
Buccaneer’s Archipelago.
Cygnet Bay.
Dangerous situation of the brig.
High and rapid tides.
Cape Leveque.
Examination of the coast to Cape Latouche Treville. Remarkable effect of mirage.
Leave the coast for Mauritius.
Voyage thither.
Arrival at Port Louis.
Some account of the island.

1821. July 9.

Our course was held to the south-west towards Cape Londonderry; on which, with a fresh South-East wind, we proceeded with rapidity.

July 12.

On the morning of the 12th, Eclipse Hill and Sir Graham Moore’s Islands were seen, and in the afternoon we passed Troughton Island; at sunset, Point Hillock bore South thirteen miles, whence we steered to the West-North-West and North-West, and rounded the north end of the long reef, to the westward of Cape Bougainville.

July 13.

The next morning, at daylight, Cassini Island was seen bearing South by West; here we were detained for two days by light baffling winds and calms.

July 14.

During the night of the 14th, the wind was light from the westward, and we stood off and on to the north of Cassini Island.

July 15.

At half-past one o’clock a.m., having sounded in thirty-three fathoms, we shoaled suddenly to fourteen, when the vessel’s head was put to the southward, but the breeze was so very light, that she had hardly steerage way: by the light of the moon a line of breakers was seen two miles off, under our lee: we had now shoaled to nine fathoms on a rocky bottom, but its great irregularity prevented our dropping the anchor until the last minute, since it would have been to the certain loss of the only one we had. In order, therefore, to save it, if possible, the boat was lowered, and sent to sound between the vessel and the breakers. Finding we made no progress off the reef by standing to the southward, we tacked; and, a light breeze springing up from the westward, we drew off the bank on a north-west course, and in the space of a mile and a half deepened the water gradually to thirty fathoms.

July 16.

The next morning, at a quarter past eight o’clock, the breakers were again seen; they were found to be 24 minutes 44 seconds West of Troughton Island. The wind was too light to allow of our approaching, we therefore tacked off to the westward, and soon lost sight of them; at noon we were in latitude 13 degrees 26 minutes 26 seconds. The breakers from the masthead, bearing south-east, distant eight or nine miles.

During the ensuing night, having a fresh breeze, we stood first to the westward, and afterwards to the south-east.

July 17.

At seven o’clock the next morning no land was in sight, but breakers were seen extending from South by West to South-West by South, about five miles off; and two miles beyond them was another line of breakers, bearing from South-South-West to South-West by West. As we steered obliquely towards them, they were noticed to extend still farther to the eastward, but apparently in detached patches; our soundings, as we stood on, shoaled to fifteen fathoms; and we were shortly within half a mile of an appearance of shoal-water, in thirteen fathoms on a rocky bottom. The wind now began to lessen; and, for fear of being becalmed, I was anxious to get an offing. By our observations, we found the breakers this morning were connected with those passed yesterday, and are a part of Baudin’s Holothurie Banks. The French charts of this part are very vague and incorrect; for our situation at noon upon their plan (with respect to the position of Cassini Island) was in the centre of their reefs.

At noon we were in 13 degrees 38 minutes South, when a freshening breeze from South-East enabled us to make progress to the southward. At two o’clock some of the Montalivet Islands were seen; and before three o’clock, an island was seen bearing South, which proved, as we stood towards it, to be the northernmost of a group lying off the north-west end of Bigge’s Island; they were seen last year from Cape Pond, and also from the summit of the hills over Careening Bay.

July 19 to 21.

At daylight (19th) having laid to all night, this group was about six leagues off, bearing from South 35 1/2 to 49 degrees East, but a continuation of calms and light winds detained us in sight of them until the 21st.

This group consists of eight or nine islands, and appears to be those called by the French the Maret Isles; they are from one quarter to a mile and a half in extent, and are rocky and flat-topped; the shores are composed of steep, rocky cliffs. They are fronted on the west side by a rocky reef extending in a North-North-East and South-South-West direction.

During the calm weather, in the vicinity of this group, we had seen many fish and sea-snakes; one of the latter was shot and preserved; its length was four feet four inches; the head very small; it had neither fins nor gills, and respired like land-snakes; on each scale was a rough ridge: it did not appear to be venomous. A shark was also taken, eleven feet long; and many curious specimens of crustacea and medusa were obtained by the towing-net. Some of the latter were so diaphanous as to be perfectly invisible when immersed in the water. Among the former were a species of phyllosoma, and the Alima hyalina of Leach.*

(*Footnote. Cancer vitreus. Banks and Solander manuscripts. Lin. Gmel. tome 1 page 2991. Astacus vitreus. Fabr. Syst. ent. page 417 n. 8.)

At daylight we were about four leagues to the West-North-West of Captain Baudin’s Colbert Island; at the back of which were seen some patches of the Coronation Islands. The night was passed at anchor off the northernmost Coronation Island.

July 23.

And the following afternoon we anchored at about half a mile from the sandy beach of Careening Bay.

As soon as the vessel was secured, we visited the shore, and recognised the site of our last year’s encampment, which had suffered no alteration, except what had been occasioned by a rapid vegetation: a sterculia, the stem of which had served as one of the props of our mess-tent, and to which we had nailed a sheet of copper with an inscription, was considerably grown; and the gum had oozed out in such profusion where the nails had pierced the bark that it had forced one corner of the copper off.

The large gouty-stemmed tree on which the Mermaid’s name had been carved in deep indented characters remained without any alteration, and seemed likely to bear the marks of our visit longer than any other memento we had left.

The sensations experienced at revisiting a place which had so seasonably afforded us a friendly shelter and such unlooked-for convenience for our purposes, can only be estimated by those who have experienced them; and it is only to strangers to such feelings that it will appear ridiculous to say, that even the nail to which our thermometer had been suspended, was the subject of pleasurable recognition.

We then bent our steps to the water-gully, but, to our mortification, it was quite dried up, and exhibited no vestige of its having contained any for some time. From the more luxuriant and verdant appearance of the trees and grass than the country hereabout assumed last year, when the water was abundant, we had felt assured of finding it and therefore our disappointment was the greater.

July 24.

After another unsuccessful search in the bight, to the eastward of Careening Bay, in which we fruitlessly examined a gully that Mr. Cunningham informed me had last year produced a considerable stream, we gave up all hopes of success here, and directed our attention to the cascade of Prince Regent’s River; which we entered the next afternoon, with the wind and tide in our favour, and at sunset reached an anchorage at the bottom of St. George’s Basin, a mile and a half to the northward of the islet that lies off the inner entrance of the river, in seven fathoms muddy sand.

July 26.

The following morning at half-past four o’clock Mr. Montgomery accompanied me in the whale-boat to visit the cascade; we reached it at nine o’clock and found the water, to our inexpressible satisfaction, falling abundantly.

While the boat’s crew rested and filled their baricas, I ascended the rocks over which the water was falling and was surprised to find its height had been so underrated when we passed by it last year: it was then thought to be about forty feet, but I now found it could not be less than one hundred and fifty. The rock, a fine-grained siliceous sandstone, is disposed in horizontal strata, from six to twelve feet thick, each of which projects about three feet from that above it, and forms a continuity of steps to the summit, which we found some difficulty in climbing; but where the distance between the ledges was great we assisted our ascent by tufts of grass firmly rooted in the luxuriant moss that grew abundantly about the water-courses. On reaching the summit, I found that the fall was supplied from a stream winding through rugged chasms and thickly-matted clusters of plants and trees, among which the pandanus bore a conspicuous appearance and gave a picturesque richness to the place. While admiring the wildness of the scene, Mr. Montgomery joined me; we did not however succeed in following the stream for more than a hundred yards, for at that distance its windings were so confused among rocks and spinifex that we could not trace its source. After collecting for Mr. Cunningham, who was confined on board by sickness, a few specimens of those plants which, to me, appeared the most novel, we commenced our descent, and reached the bottom in safety; by which time the tide was ebbing so rapidly that we set off immediately on our return with a view of arriving on board by low-water, in order that no time might be lost in sending the boats up with our empty water-casks.

During our absence Mr. Roe, who was fast recovering from the effects of his fall, had obtained the sun’s meridional altitude upon the islet at the entrance of the river, which gave 15 degrees 25 minutes 46 seconds for its latitude, differing from the plan of last year by only fifteen seconds.

July 27.

The following day the boats were despatched up the river, but as the ebb-tide ran until after four o’clock it was late at night before they reached the cascade, having experienced some delay by running upon the sandbanks, which, above Alligator Island, are very numerous and form a narrow winding channel of not more than twelve feet deep; these banks are dry at low-water, and are composed of a yellow quartzose sand. At midnight, as soon as the launch and cutter were loaded, for it did not take more than half an hour to fill the casks, I despatched them to the vessel with orders to return the following night for another load, and in the meantime I purposed continuing the examination of the river, of which we knew nothing beyond a few miles above the cascade.

July 28.

We were, however, unable to set out until half flood the next morning, on account of the shoalness of the channel.

For ten miles we found little or no variation either in its character or course: its windings were only just sufficient to intercept a clear view; for so direct was its course, that from this part the high round hill near the entrance was seen midway between the hills that form the banks of the river.

Proceeding a little way farther, we were suddenly whirled into a rapid amongst large stones, in the midst of which, as the stream was running at the rate of five or six knots, the grapnel was instantly dropped, which had the effect of reversing the boat’s head. After this the grapnel was weighed, and by very great exertions we extricated ourselves from the rapid, and then landed at a hundred yards below the fall, on the east bank, where the mangroves were so thick that it was with difficulty we penetrated through them: having succeeded, we walked to the bank near the rapid, and found that it was occasioned by the tide falling over a barrier of rocks, which probably at low-water confines the fresh water above this place; a few minutes afterwards it was high-water, and the tide suddenly ceased to run; when the water became quite smooth and motionless.

A fresh-water rivulet, at that time the mere drainings of what occasionally is a torrent, joined the main river, just above the rapid, by a trickling stream; and made us the more desirous of extending our knowledge of this extraordinary river: we therefore re-embarked, and, passing the rapid, pulled up the river against the tide for a mile farther, where it was suddenly terminated by a beautiful fresh-water rivulet, whose clear, transparent stream was so great a contrast to the thick, muddied water we had so long been pulling through that it was a most gratifying sight, and amply repaid us for all our fatigue and exertions. The fresh water was separated from the salt tide by a gentle fall over rounded stones; but as the boat was unable to pass over them, we had only time to fill our water-vessels, in order to be certain of returning over the first rapid, before the strength of the stream rendered it dangerous to pass. The bed of the river at this second fall appeared to be about two hundred and fifty yards in breadth: its farther course was lost sight of by a sharp turn, first to the North-East, and then to the South-East, between high and rocky hills.

Large groves of pandanus and hibiscus and a variety of other plants were growing in great luxuriance upon the banks, but unhappily the sterile and rocky appearance of the country was some alloy to the satisfaction we felt at the first sight of the fresh water; as we did not, however, expect to find a good country, the pleasure was not much diminished, and we set off on our return, perfectly satisfied with the success of our labours: we were at this time about fifty miles from the sea.

The ebb-tide had fallen for an hour when we passed the first falls, but there was no appearance of that violence which we witnessed in the morning; probably because the stream had not reached its strength.

An alligator was seen on our return, swimming within two yards of the boat, and a musket, charged with a ball and buck-shot, was uselessly fired at it. The appearance of these animals in the water is very deceptious; they lie quite motionless, and resemble a branch of a tree floating with the tide; the snout, the eye, and some of the ridges of the back and tail being the only parts that are seen. The animal that we fired at was noticed for some time, but considered to be only a dead branch, although we were looking out for alligators, and approached within six yards of it before we found out our mistake: the length of this animal was from twelve to fifteen feet; I do not think that we have ever seen one more than twenty feet long.

We reached the cascade by four o’clock and remained there until our boats arrived for a second cargo of water, which was at midnight; as soon as the casks were filled, we set off on our return, but did not reach the brig until eight o’clock in the morning.

July 29.

The fatigue and exposure which attended our watering at this place were so great that I was obliged to give up the idea of completing it now. We had obtained, by the two trips, enough to last until the end of October, which, with the chance of finding more upon other parts of the coast, was sufficient for our intended mode of proceeding. The boats were therefore hoisted in, and preparations made to leave the anchorage.

The river appears to abound with fish, particularly with mullet; and porpoises were observed as high as the first falls, a distance of fifty miles from the sea. A curious species of mud-fish (chironectes sp. Cuvier) was noticed, of amphibious nature, and something similar to what we have frequently before seen; these were, however, much larger, being about nine inches long. At low water the mud-banks near the cascade that were exposed by the falling tide were covered with these fish, sporting about, and running at each other with open mouths; but as we approached, they so instantaneously buried themselves in the soft mud that their disappearance seemed the effect of magic: upon our retiring and attentively watching the spot, these curious animals would re-appear as suddenly as they had before vanished. We fired at several, but so sudden were their motions that they generally escaped; two or three only were procured, which appeared from their lying on the mud in an inactive state to have been asleep; they are furnished with very strong pectoral and ventral fins with which and with the anal fin, when required, they make a hole, into which they drop. When sporting on the mud, the pectoral fins are used like legs, upon which they move very quickly; but nothing can exceed the instantaneous movement by which they disappear. Those that were shot were taken on board, but on account of the extreme heat of the weather they had become so putrefied as to be totally unfit for preservation.

July 30.

The next day, the 30th, was spent in examining some bights in the narrow part of the channel near Gap Island, so named from a remarkable division in its centre, through which the high-tide flows, and gives it the appearance of being two islands. It was on this occasion that we explored Halfway Bay, where we were fortunate in finding good anchorage, and in which we also discovered a strait, that on a subsequent examination was found to communicate with Munster Water, and to insulate the land that forms the north-west shore of the bay: this island was called after the late Right Honourable Charles Greville, whose name has also been given to a family of plants (grevillea) that bears a prominent rank in the botany of this country. The strait, in which the tide was running at the rate of six or seven knots, was not more than one hundred and fifty yards wide; but in one part it was contracted to a much narrower compass, by a bed of rocks that nearly extended across the strait, and which must originally have communicated with the opposite shore.

We landed under the flat-topped hill, at the south end of Greville Island, among the mangroves which skirt the shore, and walked a few hundred yards round the point, to examine the course of the strait; but the way was so rugged, and we had so little time to spare, that we soon re-embarked and returned into Halfway Bay. The geological character of the island is a red-coloured, coarse-granular, siliceous sandstone, disposed in horizontal strata, and intersected by veins of crystallised quartz. The surface is covered by a shallow, reddish-coloured soil, producing a variety of shrubs and plants.

After this we crossed the river, and examined the two bays opposite to Gap Island, but found them so shoal and overrun with mangroves that no landing could be effected in any part. In both bays there is anchorage between the heads; but all the inner part is very shoal, and perhaps at low water there is not more than nine feet water within the heads. In the mid-stream of the river the bottom is deep, and is formed entirely of shells over which, on account of its being very narrow, the tide runs with great strength; and from the irregularity of the bottom forms numerous eddies and whirlpools, in which a boat is quite unmanageable.

During our absence, Mr. Bedwell examined our former watering-place, at the back of St. Andrew’s Island, and on his return landed upon the sandy beach of a bay on the south-west side of the basin, but was unsuccessful in his search for water at both places.

The sea breeze freshened towards sunset, and fanned up the fires that had been burning for the last three days in several places upon the low land, and on the sides of the hills to the westward of Mount Trafalgar; before night they had all joined, and, spreading over the tops of the hills for a space of three miles, produced a singularly grand and magnificent effect.

1821. August 1.

At half past five o’clock the next morning we were under sail but, the breeze being light, had only time to reach the anchorage under Greville Island in Halfway Bay, before the tide turned against us. It was purposed to remain only during the flood; but, on examination, the place was found to be so well adapted for the purpose of procuring some lunar distances with the sun, to correspond with those taken last year at Careening Bay, that we determined upon seizing the opportunity; and as wood was abundant on the island and growing close to the shores, a party was formed to complete our holds with fuel, whilst Mr. Roe assisted me in taking observations upon a convenient station on the north point of the bay within Lammas Island, a small rocky islet covered with shrubs, and separated from the easternmost point of Greville Island by a very shoal and rocky channel.

During these occupations we examined Munster Water: on our way to it we landed on the reef off the east end of the Midway Isles, which was found to be more extensive than had been suspected, and to embrace the group of small rocks, which at high-water only just show their summits above the water; at high-tide there is at least fifteen feet water over it, but being low-water when we landed, the reef was dry. Upon it we found several varieties of coral, particularly Explanaria mesenterina, Lam.; Caryophylla fastigata, Lam.; and Porites subdigitata, Lam.: the only shell that we observed upon the reef was a Delphinula laciniata, Lam. (Turbo delphinus, Linn.). After obtaining bearings from its extremity, as also from the summit of the outer dry rock, we landed upon a small verdant-looking grassy mound, the northernmost islet of the group; but we found the verdure of its appearance was caused only by the abundance of the spinifex, through which we had, as usual, much difficulty in travelling. After procuring some bearings from its summit we re-embarked and pulled up Munster Water, supposing that it was connected with the strait at the back of Greville Island; but as the tide then flowing was running in a contrary direction to what was expected from the hypothesis we had formed, we began to suspect some other communication with the sea, and in this we were not deceived; for a narrow but a very deep strait opened suddenly to our view, at the bottom of the Water, through which some of the islands in the offing were recognised. In pulling through we had kept close to the south shore, that we might not miss the communication with Hanover Bay, but notwithstanding all our care we passed by without noticing it, on account of the deceptious appearance of the land; indeed the strait which we discovered leading to sea was not seen until we were within two hundred yards of it, and would also have escaped our observation had not the channel been so direct that the sea horizon was exposed to our view. At the bottom of this arm are two deep bays which were partially but sufficiently examined. In most parts of Munster Water there is good anchorage amongst several small rocky islands, on one of which we landed, and climbed its summit, but saw nothing to repay us for the trouble or the danger of the ascent: the surface was composed entirely of loose blocks of sandstone, which, when trod upon, would crumble away or roll down the nearly perpendicular face of the rock; and it was only by grasping the branches of the acacias and other trees that were firmly rooted in the interstices of the less-decomposed rocks that we were saved from being precipitated with them. On our return we passed through the channel on the west side of the Midway Isles which we found to be very deep and the stream very strong.

August 4.

The next day we pulled through the strait that insulates Greville Island, and found that it communicated with Munster Water at a part where we had yesterday concluded it likely to exist, and had in consequence steered towards it; but as we proceeded the probability became less and less, and we gave up the search when we were within three hundred yards of being actually in it.

We then pulled up Munster Water and afterwards through the strait to sea; and, landing on some dry rocks on a reef which projects off the west head of the strait, found that we were at the entrance of the bight, which was last year named Hanover Bay: after taking a set of bearings, we re-embarked and proceeded to the bottom of the bay which terminated in a shoal basin.

On our return we entered an opening in the rocky cliff which bore the appearance of being the outlet of a torrent stream; being low-water, there was not in many parts sufficient depth to float the boat; but after pulling up for half a mile, a muddy channel was found, which, at the end of another half mile, was terminated by a bed of rocks over which the tide flows at high-water. The ravine is formed by steep precipitous rocks which are at least two hundred and fifty feet high; it appeared to extend to a considerable distance, and as the farther progress of the boat was prevented by the stones and want of water, Bundell and two of the boat’s crew were despatched to examine a place farther on, where, from the green appearance of the trees, it was thought not unlikely that there might be a fresh stream. In this they were not disappointed, for after much delay and trouble, from the difficulty of passing over the rocks, they returned with two baricas full of fresh water, which they found in holes of considerable size.

In pulling up the river, an alligator was seen crawling slowly over the mud banks, but took to the water before we came near it and did not afterwards reappear. Many kangaroo-rats and small kangaroos were seen skipping about the rocks, but they were very shy, and fled the moment they saw us.

Hanover Bay thus proving to afford good anchorage and an opportunity of increasing our stock of water, as well as presenting a sandy beach on which we could haul the seine, it was determined that we should visit it as soon as the brig could be moved out of Prince Regent’s River.

On our return, which was over the same ground as we had passed in the morning, we landed near two or three gullies on the inner side of the island, which forms the eastern boundary of Munster Water, but were unsuccessful in all our searches after fresh water.

August 6.

At daylight on the 6th we got underweigh to a light air of wind from the southward, to leave Prince Regent’s River; but notwithstanding the vessel was under all sail she was very nearly thrown upon Lammas Island by the tide, which was setting with great strength through the shoal passage between it and Sight Point: as we passed without it we were not more than five yards from the rocks. The wind then fell to a dead calm and the brig was perfectly immovable in the water; but, drifted by the tide and whirled round by the eddies, we were fast approaching the body of the largest Midway Island, with a very great uncertainty on which side of it the tide would drift us: when we were about three hundred yards from the island the direction of the stream changed and carried us round its south-east side, at about two hundred yards from the shore, but close to the low rocks off its east end, on which we landed two days since. We were under great anxiety for fear of being driven over the reef, on which there could not have been sufficient water to have floated us; but our fears of that danger were soon over for the tide swept us rapidly round it. At this moment a light air sprang up which lasted only five minutes, but it was sufficient to carry us past the junction of the Rothsay and Munster Waters with the main stream. The vessel was at times unmanageable from the violent whirlpools through which we passed, and was more than once whirled completely round upon her keel; but our former experience of a similar event prepared us to expect it, and the yards were as quickly braced round.

Having passed all the dangers, the ebb-tide very soon carried us out of the river into Hanover Bay. In passing the easternmost of the outer isles, the shrill voices of natives were heard calling to us, and Bundell returned their shout, but it was some time before we could discern them on account of the very rugged nature of the island: at last three Indians were observed standing upon the rocks near the summit of the island but, as the tide was running out with great strength, we were soon out of hearing.

Soon after one o’clock the brig was anchored at about half a mile off the sandy beach in Hanover Bay, in eight fathoms (half flood) muddy bottom. The boats were immediately hoisted out and sent up the river, but the tide was ebbing and the difficulty of filling the casks so great that, after great labour, we only procured a puncheon of water. The launch was moored without the rocky bed of the river, while the jolly-boat conveyed the baricas to her as they were filled, but even the latter could not get within three hundred yards of the water, so that the people had to carry the baricas over the rugged bed of the river for that distance, which made the work laborious and slow; still however it was much less distressing than the fatigue of watering from the cascade in Prince Regent’s River. At night a successful haul of the seine supplied our people with abundance of fish, among which were mullets weighing from three to five pounds; cavallos, whitings, silver fish, breams, and two species of guard-fish.

August 7.

While our people were employed the next morning in washing the decks, they heard at a distance the voices of natives; at eight o’clock they were again heard and at ten o’clock they were close by; shortly afterwards three, of whom one was a woman, were seen standing on the rocks waving their arms. Being curious to communicate with the inhabitants of this part of the coast, since we had not seen any between this and Vansittart Bay, a party consisting of the surgeon, Mr. Bedwell, Mr. Baskerville, and myself, went on shore to the place where the natives were seated waiting for us. Bundell, who generally accompanied us on these occasions divested of his clothes, stood up in the bow of the boat, and, as we approached the shore, made signs of friendship, which the natives returned, and appeared quite unconcerned at our approach. On landing we climbed the rocks on which the two men were standing, when we found that the woman had walked away: upon our approach they retired a few paces and evidently eyed us in a distrustful manner; but, as they had dropped their spears, and repeated the sign of peace that we had made to them, we did not hesitate to walk towards them unarmed, desiring the boat’s crew to be prepared with the muskets, if called. When we joined them they had their spears poised ready to throw, but on our presenting them with some of the fish that we had caught the preceding evening they dropped their spears and immediately returned us something in exchange; one gave a belt, made of opossum fur, to Bundell; and the other, the tallest of the two, gave me a club that he carried in his hand, a short stick about eighteen inches long, pointed at both ends. This exchange of presents appeared to establish a mutual confidence between us, and, to strengthen it, I presented my friend with a clasped knife, after showing him its use, the possession of which appeared to give him great pleasure.

By this time Mr. Montgomery and Mr. Bedwell joined us; the latter gentleman was unarmed, but the former had a pistol concealed under his coat and carried a fish which he held out for them to take; but, as they would not approach us nearer than two or three yards, he threw it towards them, when the shortest native picked it up. Upon this accession to our numbers they began to talk to each other, and at the same time picked up their spears; but as the latter appeared only to be a cautionary movement we did not anticipate their mischievous intentions. I then, with a view to amuse them, made signs to my friend for the knife, which he put into my hands without showing the least reluctance, upon which he was again instructed how to open and shut it; but as this, instead of pacifying, only served to increase their anger, the knife was thrown at his feet, which he instantly picked up, and then both retired a few paces in a very suspicious manner.

We were at this time about three or four yards from the natives, who were talking to each other in a most animated way, and evidently intent upon some object; and, as it appeared probable that, if we remained any longer, a rupture would ensue, it was proposed that our party should retire to the boat, under the idea that they would follow us down; no sooner, however, had we waved to them our farewell, and turned our backs to descend the rocks, than they unexpectedly, and in the most treacherous manner, threw their spears; one of which, striking a rock, broke and fell harmless to the ground, but the other, which was thrown by the tallest man, wounded Mr. Montgomery in the back; the natives then, without waiting to throw their second spears, made off, closely pursued by Bundell, who had armed himself with the broken spear; but they were out of sight in a moment, and, by the time that the muskets were brought to our assistance, were doubtless out of gun-shot. A pursuit was, however, commenced, but our progress was so much impeded by the rugged and rocky nature of the ground and by the abundance and intricate growth of the shrubs and trees that we very soon desisted, and returned to the boat, to which Mr. Montgomery had been in the meantime carried, complaining of great weakness from loss of blood.

Upon examining Mr. Montgomery’s wound, which unfortunately was in such a part of his body that he could not himself inspect it, it appeared that the spear had penetrated about three inches; and, from the quantity of extravasated blood, great fears were entertained that he had received a very serious internal injury. The wound, from which he was suffering very great pain, was dressed according to his instructions, but it was several days before he considered himself out of danger.

August 8.

The next morning at eleven o’clock a native was seen on a float, or catamaran, paddling round the west point of the strait, and another man, a woman, and a child, were observed on the rocks, who, in less than a quarter of an hour, came down to the spot where we met them yesterday, and began to wave and call to us. An opportunity now offered of punishing these wretches for their treacherous conduct, and of disappointing them in their present plans, for they were evidently intent upon some mischief. Mr. Bedwell was therefore despatched to secure their catamaran, which was hauled up on a sandy beach near the outer point, whilst another boat was sent towards the natives: when the latter arrived near the shore, they were sitting on the rock and inviting us to land; but it was necessary to convince them that we were not so defenceless as they imagined, and, as soon as we were sufficiently near, several muskets were fired over their heads: one of them fell down behind a rock, but the other made off. The native who had fallen was wounded in the shoulder, and was recognised to be the man that speared Mr. Montgomery; he made several attempts to get away, but every time his head appeared above the rock which concealed him from us, a pistol or a musket was fired to prevent his escape; at last, however, he sprang up, and, leaping upon the rock with a violent effort, was instantaneously out of sight.

As soon as he was gone we pulled round to the sandy bay where the natives had landed and overtook Mr. Bedwell, who was passing by the place. Upon the beach we found two catamarans, or floats, on each of which a large bundle of spears was tied with ligatures of bark; and on searching about the grass we soon found and secured all their riches, consisting of water-baskets, tomahawks, spears, throwing-sticks, fire-sticks, fishing-lines, and thirty-six spears; some of the latter were of large size, and very roughly made, and one was headed with a piece of stone curiously pointed and worked. This last spear is propelled by a throwing-stick, which was also found lying by it. After launching the catamarans and securing everything found upon them, they were towed round by the boats to where we had fired upon the natives, whilst a party walked over land to examine the place. On the way several spears were discovered placed ready for use on their retreat to the beach, where, from the quantity collected, they evidently intended to make a stand; supposing no doubt from our appearance yesterday that we were defenceless, and would therefore fall an easy prey. On reaching the rock, behind which the native fell, it was found covered with blood; and Bundell, who probably did the deed, said the wound was on his shoulder. We traced their retreat by the blood for half a mile to the border of a mangrove inlet, which they had evidently crossed, for the marks of their feet were perceived imprinted in the mud. We then gave up the pursuit, and went on board.

Upon examining the baskets, among other things a piece of iron hoop was found fixed in a wooden handle, which it seemed they had used for the purpose of digging up roots. This hoop must have been left by us last year at Careening Bay. But what chiefly attracted our attention was a small bundle of bark, tied up with more than usual care; upon opening it we found it contained several spear-heads, most ingeniously and curiously made of stone; they were about six inches in length, and were terminated by a very sharp point; both edges were serrated in a most surprising way; the serratures were evidently made by a sharp stroke with some instrument, but it was effected without leaving the least mark of the blow: the stone was covered with red pigment, and appeared to be a flinty slate. These spear-heads were ready for fixing, and the careful manner in which they were preserved plainly showed their value, for each was separated by strips of bark, and the sharp edges protected by a covering of fur. A wound with such a spear must be mortal; and it was very fortunate for Mr. Montgomery that his was not inflicted with one of these truly formidable weapons. Their hatchets were also made of the same stone, the edges of which are ground so sharp that a few blows serve to chop off the branch of a tree.

The catamarans consisted of five mangrove stems lashed together to a frame of smaller wood, as in Woodcut 2: they are bouyant enough to carry two natives, besides their spears and baskets. A representation of this mode of conveyance is also given in Woodcut 1.

These natives were more robust-looking men than any we had before seen; the tallest must have been at least six feet two inches high; their bodies were scarred all over; their teeth perfect, and they were quite naked. The shorter native had his hair collected into a knob at the top of his head, which gave him a ferocious appearance. The punishment they so justly received will make them respect in future the formidable nature of our arms.

At night we hauled the seine, and procured about four dozen fish, principally mullet. An armed party was stationed above the beach to prevent any attack from the natives, but they did not show themselves.

August 9.

On the following day we again heard them shouting and hallooing but it was some time before we could observe their situation; at last five were discovered by the aid of a telescope, seated on the summit of a hill behind the beach, occupied in making spears; at a little distance were two others, one of whom was distinguished to be the native that had escaped unwounded; the other, a stranger, was chopping a branch off a tree, which he was seen to trim and scrape into a rough spear. During the time they were thus employed, they frequently hallooed to us; no notice was however taken of their cries, although the temptation was very great of firing a shot over their heads to show them that they were still within our reach. As soon as they had finished their work and had made about a dozen spears, they all got up and walked away.

After they disappeared behind the hill it was thought not unlikely that they would attack our people at the watering-place; the party were therefore sent away in the afternoon well armed, but the natives did not make their appearance, and the boats returned at sunset without having been disturbed. The tide was so trifling and the difficulty of loading the boat so great that only ninety gallons of water were procured; and as we were not likely to make quicker progress unless we waited for the spring-tides, we gave up all idea of completing our water, and made preparations to leave the bay.

August 10.

On the following day (10th) as there was no wind all the morning, I sent for another turn of water but only obtained enough for one day’s issue; for the tide did not rise more than four feet. In the meantime I visited the extreme point on the west side of the bay, and examined in my way some openings in the land that, from their appearance, promised to afford water: as it was low tide I could not enter them, for they were blocked up by banks of sand and rocks; but on my return the tide was higher, and I pulled about one mile up the northernmost inlet, where I was again stopped by the shoalness of the water. All these places must afford abundance of fresh water during the rainy season, and perhaps are seldom without; and, as this was a year of unusual drought, it is not improbable that the river in which we watered generally afforded a very considerable stream; if so, from its proximity to the anchorage, the bay is of great importance, and is an excellent place for refreshment: turtle might be procured at the islands in its vicinity, and abundance of very fine fish at the sandy beach: the anchorage is safe in all parts, being protected from the sea by the islands in the offing, which front the bay. There is also abundance of wood that may be cut close to the waterside.

Ships detained during the westerly monsoon, as far to leeward as the meridian of 125 degrees, would find an advantage in putting into Hanover Bay, and remaining there until the wind should veer round: by which they would avoid the necessity of beating to windward, over such dangerous ground as extends between this part to Timor; and, by being to the southward, out of the strength of the westerly winds, at the latter end of February and beginning of March, when southerly and south-east winds prevail on the coast, they might much earlier effect their passage to the westward.

The beach of Hanover Bay is situated in latitude 15 degrees 18 minutes 21 seconds, and 13 minutes 40 seconds West of our observatory at Careening Bay, which makes its longitude 124 degrees 47 minutes 5 seconds East of Greenwich.

August 11.

The next morning (11th) we left Hanover Bay and steered out at the distance of a mile and a half from the western shore. After passing round the western head, we entered a deep opening, and, running into it for