Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

A Voyage to Terra Australis by Matthew Flinders

Part 4 out of 9

Adobe PDF icon
Download A Voyage to Terra Australis pdf
File size: 1.1 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

south-east end of the largest Swan Isle, in 4 fathoms; being well
sheltered from north and western winds, but entirely open to any that
might arise from the opposite quarters. The furthest extreme of the
opposite coast then bore S. 36 deg. E. three leagues; but the nearest part,
in the direction of S. by W., was little more than three miles distant.

I landed with Mr Bass; and leaving him to pursue his researches, went
round to the north side of the island, to take angles. From a small,
elevated projection there,

deg. '
The peak of Cape Barren was set at N. 28 40 E.
Mount Chappell, N. 21 20 W.;

from which, and several intermediate bearings, this station became firmly
connected with the survey of Furneaux's Islands. Mr. Bass thought the
stone to contain a rather large quantity of iron, and the bearings seemed
to confirm it, for they did not agree in any common intersection with the
allowance of 9 deg. east, which I considered to be the true variation; but
with 6 deg. 30', they not only coincided, but placed this station in latitude
40 deg. 43' south, the same as deduced from three meridional observations
taken within sight of the island.

One mile from the north-west end, lies a low, rocky islet, and several
rocks both above and under water. All these are comprehended under the
general name of the _Swan Isles_; a name which, on examination, they
appeared very little to deserve, for we did not see a single bird of that
species, or any of their nests; but there were several of the bernacle
geese, and two of them were shot by Mr Bass.

The length of the largest Swan Isle is two and a quarter miles, by a
medium breadth of one mile. The stony parts are over-run with thick brush
wood, and the sandy are mostly covered with hassocks of wiry grass, to
which the sooty petrels resort. In external appearance, this island bears
a resemblance to that of Preservation; but its sterility is greater, and
it is destitute of the kangaroo. We did not see any fresh water in the
valleys, a seal upon the shores, nor any marks of the island having been
ever visited by the natives of the opposite coast.

Nov 1. Having an unfavourable wind, I waited the flood tide, and then
proceeded westward, along that part of Van Diemen's land to which the
name of CAPE PORTLAND was given, in honour of His Grace the then
secretary of state for the colonies. From the eastern extremity, the
coast trends about N. 62 deg. W. six leagues, and terminates in a point, off
which lie some small rocky islets. The shore consists of long, sandy
beaches, separated by low and stony points, which project very little
beyond the coastline. The country for two or three miles behind the shore
is low and sandy; but it then ascends in gradations of gently rising
hills, and being covered with verdure, interspersed with clumps of wood
and single trees of a fair growth, it had a very pleasing appearance. At
the back of these hills, the bare and rugged tops of a ridge of distant
mountains appeared here and there, and formed a striking contrast with
the verdure of the front scene.

Our soundings along the south side of the largest Swan Isle were
generally 8 fathoms, on a sandy bottom; nor was there much decrease until
noon, when the low shore of Cape Portland was at something less, and the
outer rocky islets something more than a mile distant, and we came rather
suddenly into 3 fathoms. The latitude observed was 40 deg. 43 2/3' south, and
the island last quitted bore N. 85 deg. to S. 84 deg. E., distant six miles.

There being little wind at this time, the sloop, in passing round the
rocky islets of Cape Portland, was carried by the tide over a ledge where
there was scarcely 2 fathoms; and was then driven westward on a curved
line of rippling water, which extended northward from the islets as far
as the eye could reach. We passed over the rippling in 9 fathoms; and the
wind being entirely gone, were then carried to the south-west.

Soon after four o'clock, the ebb appeared to be making; and the anchor
was dropped in 11 fathoms, sandy bottom, about one mile west of Cape
Portland. The shore on this side of the cape trends south, in rocky heads
and beaches, and afterwards curves westward, forming an extensive bay,
which terminates in a point. To this the name of _Point Waterhouse_ was
given, in honour of the commander of the Reliance, and an island, whose
top is level and moderately high, lying off the point, was named ISLE

The bottom of the large bay is sandy, and the hills of Cape Portland
there retiring further back, permitted a view of the inland mountains, of
which there was a high and extensive ridge. Mountains like these are
usually the parents of rivers; and the direction of the ebb tide, which
came from between S.W. by S. and S.W. by W. at the rate of two-and-a-half
miles an hour, gave hopes of finding some considerable inlet in the bay,
and increased our anxiety for a fair breeze.

A set of distances of the sun east of the moon, a meridian altitude of
the planet Mars, and a western amplitude of the sun were taken at this
anchorage, the results of which, with the bearings of the land, were as

deg. '
Latitude observed, 40 44 S.
Longitude from lunar distances corrected, 147 56 E.
Variation of the compass (the sloop's head being S.W.) 12 30 E.
C. Barren peak, over the outer islets of C. Portland, N. 47 E.
Mount Chappell, North.
Isle Waterhouse, centre, dist. 5 or 6 leagues, S. 71 W.
Point Waterhouse. S. 61 W.
Ridge of inland mountains, South to S. 42 W.
Highest part of ditto, a round top, S. 19 W.

The flood tide ceased to run at three quarters past three in the morning,
or _about nine hours after_ the moon passed over the meridian.

Nov. 2. A light breeze having sprung up from the eastward we steered for
the bottom of the bay, and at noon the nearest part of the beach was
distant only two miles.

deg. '
Observed latitude, 40 493/4 S.
C. Portland, with the outer islets behind, N. 27 E.
Isle Waterhouse, extremes, N. 78 deg. to 89 W.
Point Waterhouse, S. 881/2 W.

We stood on another mile, and then bore away westward, following the
round of the shore, but no inlet could be perceived. At three o'clock, we
had passed Point Waterhouse, and seeing a fair channel of about two miles
wide between it and the island, steered through, S.W. by W.

Isle Waterhouse is near four miles in length. Its southern shore consists
of beaches and rocky points; but it rises abruptly to a moderate
elevation. The level top is mostly covered with wood; and although its
appearance did not bespeak fertility, it was superior to any we had seen
of Furneaux's Islands. The land at the back of Point Waterhouse is higher
than that of the island, and is composed of grassy, woody hills, rising
over each other by gentle ascents. Upon the point there is a sandy
hillock, and a reef of rocks extends out from it a quarter of a mile. We
had 8 fathoms, whilst rounding this reef; and in steering through the
passage, the soundings were 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 5, 6 fathoms; the sandy bottom
being visible under the sloop. At the further end of the channel, a rocky
islet and a small reef were passed, leaving them on the starbord hand.
The islet was almost covered with sea birds and hair seals; from which
circumstance we judged, that the natives of Van Diemen's Land were not
able to get across here, any more than to the Swan Isles; and that,
consequently, they had no canoes upon this part of the coast.

From Point Waterhouse, the shore trends S. 67 deg. W., five or six miles, and
is mostly rocky. It then takes a direction of S. S. W., in a long sandy
beach, and afterwards curves westward to a projecting point, near which
we had no ground with 13 fathoms a little before sunset. Another island
had been for some time visible, and was then distant six miles: It was

_Ninth Island_, and bore N. 32 deg. W.
Isle Waterhouse, about the centre, N. 50 deg. E.
South side of the passage, N. 62 deg. E.
Projecting point, dist. one-third of a mile, South.

The projecting point is over-topped with hillocks of almost bare sand, as
is a second, which lies W. 6 deg. S., two or three miles from, and much
resembles, the first: these two projections received the joint name of
_Double Sandy Point_. The back country was manifestly worse than any
before seen on this coast. The pleasant looking hills of Point Waterhouse
no longer approached the shore; but retiring far inland, left a low space
between the back hills and the sea, which had every appearance of being
sandy and barren.

In passing the western part of Double Sandy Point, we had 5, and then 4
fathoms; and saw a reef extending from it some distance to the westward.
It was then nearly dark, and we hauled off upon a wind, for the night;
the furthest visible extreme, a remarkable stony head, bearing S. 70 deg. W.
about eight miles.

The wind blew a moderate breeze all night, at north-east. At five in the
morning, Nov. 3, the Ninth Island was distant two miles, and bore E. 2 deg.
N., in a line with Point Waterhouse. The top of the island appeared green
and level; but I did not see any seals upon the rocks. Resuming our
former course along shore, we passed close to _Stony Head_ at ten
o'clock, when two sets of distances of the sun east of the moon, gave its
corrected longitude 147 deg. 10' east. The wind having then veered more to
the north, we hauled further off, and passed a rocky islet (the tenth),
upon which a few overgrown hair seals were sunning themselves. At noon,
our situation was as follows.

Latitude observed, 40 deg. 551/2' S.
Tenth I., distant four miles, S. 87 E.
Stony Head, dist. six or seven miles, S. 62 E.
A low head, distant ten miles, S. 35 W.
Western extreme of the land, S. 53 W.

Stony Head is the extremity of a ridge of hills which branches out from
the inland mountains, and stretches across the low, sandy land in front,
to the sea. On each side of the ridge there were several smokes, which
induced me to suppose the flat lands might contain lakes of fresh water.
The low head, bearing S. 35 deg. W. seemed to be the termination of another
branch from the inland mountains; round it there was some appearance of
an opening, and at two o'clock, this excited so much hope that I ventured
to bear away before the wind. We advanced rapidly with the flood, and at
four, had passed LOW HEAD and were steering S. E. by S., up an inlet of
more than a mile wide. Some shoals, not quite covered, we left on the
starbord hand; keeping a straight course for the entrance of a basin or
bay, at which the inlet seemed to terminate. This course took us over
some strong ripplings of tide, on none of which, however, there was less
than 5 fathoms; and so soon as they were passed, 13 fathoms did not reach
the bottom. After advancing three miles, we approached a low, green
island, lying nearly in mid-channel; and being uncertain which was the
deepest side, I took the most direct, which lay to the west. From 8
fathoms, the next cast of the lead was 31/2, and immediately the sloop was
aground. Fortunately, the bottom was soft, and the strong flood dragged
her over the bank without injury. The water deepened again as quick; and
when the channel on the east side of _Green Island_ was open, there was
no bottom at 13 fathoms.

We could not but remark the contrast between the shores of this inlet,
covered with grass and wood down to the water's edge, and the rocky
sterile banks observed in sailing up Port Jackson: it spoke favourably
for the country, and added to the satisfaction we felt in having made the
discovery. There was, however, little time for meditation: the tide drove
the sloop rapidly onward to the basin; and the evening coming on, I
pushed between some dry rocks and a point on the western side, and
anchored in 2 fathoms, on a bottom of sand and mud.

There appeared to be three arms, or rivers, discharging themselves into
this extensive basin. That which came from the westward., had its
_embouchure_ close to the sloop; and Mr. Bass went off in the boat to
look up it. His attention was, however, soon called to another pursuit: a
number of black swans were swimming before him, and judging from former
experience in Western Port, that several of them were unable to fly, he
gave chase with the boat. On his return at dusk, he rejoiced us with the
sight of four, and with a promise that we should not be in want of fresh
provisions in this port.

Nov. 4. I landed Mr. Bass with two men, to examine the country, and then
commenced a survey of the port by an examination of the _Western Arm_. It
is narrow, and has not more in the entrance than 3 fathoms, although,
about one mile up, there be 7 near the starbord shore. This arm is not
accessible to ships beyond three miles; and even in that distance there
is much more shoal than deep water.

The rocks lying at the entrance of the basin are covered at the top of
the flood, but at other times are much frequented by shags. After
observing the latitude and taking bearings there, I went down to Green
Island; and the tide being then out, perceived the shoals in Sea Reach to
be so numerous and extensive, that it was surprising how the sloop could
have reached thus far without striking upon some of them. In the channel
to the east of Green Island I found from 7 to 25 fathoms, and both the
sides of it steep to; a rock lies in the middle of the passage, but at
twenty yards from it there was 3 fathoms all round. Green Island is
covered with long, coarse grass and bushes, with a few small trees
intermixed. The large, noisy gulls frequent it for the purpose of
breeding, as do the swans, several of whose deserted nests were found
with the broken egg-shells in them. These were corroborating proofs, that
the natives of this part of Van Diemen's Land have not the means of
transporting themselves across the water; for Green Island is scarcely
two cables length from the shore.

In returning to the sloop, I took off Mr. Bass and his party, together
with a kangaroo weighing between eighty and ninety pounds, which he had
shot out of a considerable flock. Our fresh provisions were still further
increased by an addition of six swans, caught this evening with the boat.

Nov. 5 was employed in the survey of the Western Arm, and searching, but
in vain, for the means of conveniently replenishing our water casks. Next
morning we steered across the basin., and sought to anchor under an
island which, from its situation at the entrance of the eastern arm, was
called _Middle Island_; but there not being a sufficient depth of water
behind it, the course was continued up the eastern arm, in 10 or more
fathoms water, for two or three miles; when we anchored upon a
five-fathom bank, near a small cove on the northern shore. On landing, a
little stream was found descending from the hills into the south-east
corner of the cove, and in the middle was a gully with several deep holes
in it full of excellent water: this last, though not accessible till half
flood, was the most convenient for our purpose.

There were many recent traces of natives on the shore; and after
returning to the sloop, we saw, on the opposite side of the arm a man who
employed or amused himself by setting fire to the grass in different
places. He did not stay to receive us, and we rowed down to Middle Island
where a smoke was rising. The natives shunned us there also; for soon
after landing, I saw three of them walk up from the shoal which joins
Middle Island to the opposite low, sandy point. The party appeared to
consist of a man, a woman, and a boy; and the two first had something
wrapped round them which resembled cloaks of skins.

The gently-sloping hills of Middle Island afford about forty acres of
pasture land, well covered with grass, and thinly wooded. No fresh water
was seen, but it might probably be obtained by digging. This island is
little frequented by aquatic birds, from the circumstance of its being
accessible, at low water, to the inhabitants of the main.

Nov. 7. Mr. Bass and myself landed on the south shore upon our respective
pursuits. The sandy point at the back of Middle Island was particularly
favourable to the survey; and a base of sixty-six chains measured round
it, with the concomitant angles, enabled me to connect the eastern arm
with the basin. The sloop had been completed with water in the morning,
and was ready to proceed in continuation of the voyage; but the width of
the arm, the depth of water in it, and strength of the tides, were too
strong indications of a river of extensive course for me to be able to
quit it without some further examination.

(Atlas, Pl. VII.)

A rainy gale from the eastward did not allow of moving until Nov. 9th; we
then got under way with the flood tide, and beat up the first, or _Long
Reach_, against a south-east wind. Abreast of _Point Rapid_ (see the
chart), where the river turned sharp round to the south-west, I went away
in the boat to examine the upper end of Long Reach; but the haste
required in following after the sloop, which the tide assisted in driving
fast upward, allowed me to do it but very cursorily. In _Crooked Reach_,
I stopped at two places, and measured a short base near _Glen Bight_. The
sloop was then lost to view, although the wind had died away; and on
reaching _Brush Island_, it was not easy to know which way she had taken,
_Round-head Bay_ having as much the appearance of being a continuation of
the river, as had _Whirlpool Reach_. This reach stretches south-eastward,
and its width is much less than in any of the lower parts of the river,
being no more than a short quarter of a mile; but, as might be expected,
the depth in it, from 10 to 22 fathoms, is greater, and its borders are
steep and rocky. At the end of Whirlpool Reach, the banks of the river
opened out so considerably that, from our little boat, it appeared like a
sea, the land at the further end being scarcely distinguishable.
Fortunately, we got sight of the sloop in _Anchor Bight_ before it was
dark, and carried with us another black swan.

Nov. l0, being under the necessity of going down to Brush Island, to
bring the survey up from thence to the position of the sloop, we did not
get under way till near noon. The wind was from the westward, and I went
forward in the boat to Egg Island, so named from the number of eggs,
mostly of the gull and red bill, which were there found. It is small and
stony; but covered with grass, and had not been visited by the natives.
My next station was on the opposite side of the river, upon a low sandy
point which is lengthened by a dry shoal. These project out from the
general line of the southern shore, and contract the river to less than
half a mile; whereas its width above and below, is one mile and a half.
On the east, or lee side of this point and shoal was a flock of swans, in
number not less than from three to five hundred; and their cast quills
were so intermixed with the sand, as to form a component part of the
beach. This countless number of quills gave me an insight into the cause
why so many of the swans, though not young birds, were unable to fly:
they moult their wing feathers, probably at stated periods, though not, I
should think, every year. This sandy projection was named _Swan Point_.

On steering southward from thence, I found that the bight in which this
great number of birds had assembled, was full of shoals producing the
long aquatic grass which forms the principal part, if it be not their
sole food. We sailed through the flock, and might have procured a good
number, had not the progress of the sloop obliged us to hasten onward to
_Shoal Point_: one incautious bird was caught by his long neck as we
sailed past him.

The change in the direction of the river, from south-east to south, made
the extension of a new base necessary. From the end of Shoal Point, I ran
thirty-two chains westward, across a small stream of _fresh water_; and
having taken the necessary angles, returned to the sloop, which had then
anchored at half a mile from the point, in 4 fathoms. The shoal was dry
in the evening, within two cables length of the vessel, and rendered the
fresh stream inaccessible to a boat.

The time of our absence from Port Jackson being restricted to the
beginning of January, I did not think it advisable to take the sloop any
further up the river; but determined, after devoting one day more to an
excursion in the boat, to return and proceed along the north coast of Van
Diemen's Land, in prosecution of the main object of the voyage.

Nov. 11, Mr. Bass landed near Shoal Point, to go as far back into the
country as the limited time would permit. I steered from thence over to a
red bank on the east side of the river, measured a base of seventy nine
chains, and took angles from a variety of stations. At the Crescent
Shore, the river was contracted to a quarter of a mile in width, the
water was half fresh, and the depth across as follows: 11/2, 3, 51/2, 8, 81/2,
121/2, 11, 6, 4 fathoms at half flood.

The direction of the river, from where the sloop was lying to this part,
is nearly S. S. W.; but it then winds round the Crescent Shore, and runs
E. S. E. My uppermost station was upon a hill near the water side, at the
commencement of this new reach; and from thence the river appeared, at
the distance of a mile and a half, to reopen out its banks, and to turn
more southward. In an eastern direction, across the wide part, there were
three ridges of hills, and beyond them some blue peaks and caps of
distant mountains, which I judged to be the same we had seen from Cape
Portland; and amongst which the source, or some of the sources of this
river most probably arose. The distance of these mountains concurred with
the strength of the tides and the depth of water to indicate, that, at
the Crescent Shore, the larger half of the river still remained to be

[* The chart will show from later examinations, how far the river is
navigable, and whence its different sources are derived.]

The morning of Nov. 12 was foggy and calm. We rowed the sloop down with
the assistance of the ebb tide, to Round-head Bay, and anchored in 31/2
fathoms. At high water, the anchor was again weighed; and at dusk, having
had a breeze, we reached the five-fathom bank in Long Reach, near
Watering Cove. From the upper end of Whirlpool Reach to Point Rapid, I
went ahead in the boat and examined all the creeks and gullies on the
western shore, for watering places. There were drains of fresh water down
some of these, but in none, not even in Glen Bight, was there any
accessible to boats.

Nov. 13, we beat down with the ebb tide to Middle Island, and then
steered across the basin for the _Middle Arm_, which was yet totally
unexplored; but after many ineffectual attempts to find a passage over
the shoals, we came to, in 5 fathoms, near the Shag Rocks, and I went to
examine the arm with the boat. From _Inspection Head_ I discovered a
narrow channel leading into it, where there was more than sufficient
depth for ships; but this arm is altogether of little consequence.

In the evening, it blew a gale of wind from the north-westward, with hail
and rain; and the same weather continuing next day, I employed the time
in examining Sea Reach. On the 15th, somewhat finer weather enabled us to
get down to Outer Cove, a place opposite to Green Island, where there is
room for a larger vessel than the Norfolk to ride at single anchor, in 8
fathoms. The head of the cove is shoal, and the stream that falls into it
is salt to a greater distance than a boat can go; nor could any
accessible fresh water be found in the neighbourhood. _Middle Rock_, so
named from its situation in the deep channel between the cove and Green
Island, is hidden at half flood. Fine muscles were gathered from it, many
of them containing small, discoloured pearls, such as are found in those
of Adventure Bay.

From this time to the 20th, the western winds continued to blow strong;
and finding, after an ineffectual attempt, that it was impossible to make
any progress in the voyage, we remained in port, taking astronomical
observations, completing the survey, and examining the country, until a
favourable change should take place. At the back of the longest beach
near Low Head, and on the same side, I found a deep pool of tolerably
good water, at which our casks were again replenished; and when the boat
was not employed in this, or other services, the people were sent swan
hunting, and never without success.

Nov. 20. The wind having become moderate at north-west, we beat out of
the port with the ebb tide; and at one p.m., took a departure from Low
Head. The breeze had then veered to E. N. E.; and when we had run nine
leagues, a head on the west side of the port bore S. 53 deg. E., and the
furthest visible part of the coast was at west: being then dusk, the wind
was hauled off shore.

We had rainy weather in the night, and the wind shifted back to W. N. W.,
and blew a fresh gale. This soon raised a high sea, and reduced us to a
close-reefed main sail and jib; nor were we without apprehensions of the
shore for the following night, so much did the sloop drive to leeward. On
the 22nd at noon the gale was more moderate, the wind at W. by S., and
the weather permitted an observation to be taken for the latitude; it was
40 deg. 13', and we had land bearing E. N. E. about three leagues distant. So
soon as I had satisfied myself that this could be no other than the hilly
land lying five leagues to the northward of the Chappell Isles, we bore
away before the sea; and by carrying all sail, secured an anchorage in
Hamilton's Road before dark.

It was not safe to move on the 23rd, and there being a lunar eclipse
announced in the ephemeris to take place in the following night, I landed
to observe it with the telescope of the sextant. The times at which the
beginning and end happened by the watch, being corrected from altitudes
of the stars _Rigel_ and _Sirius_ observed in an artificial horizon, gave
148 deg. 371/2' for the uncorrected longitude of Preservation Island; which is
37' more than was deduced from the lunar distances in the Francis. The
penumbra attending the earth's shadow is usually supposed to render this
observation uncertain to two or three minutes of time, or more than half
a degree of longitude.

Nov. 24. The gale had subsided to a moderate breeze, and we tried to beat
back to the westward; but finding too much sea, bore away into
Armstrong's Channel to speak the commander of the Nautilus; that, through
him, governor Hunter might be informed of our discoveries thus far, and
of the delays experienced from the western winds. I was happy to find
captain Bishop proceeding successfully in his sealing business, though
slower than he might have done, had the anchorage been nearer to the
eastern points.*

[* Nine thousand skins of the first quality, with several tons of oil,
were procured by the Nautilus, and Furneaux's Islands have since been
frequented by small vessels from Port Jackson upon the same errand.
Unfortunately, this species of fishery is soon exhausted in any one
place; or it would have been the means of raising up an useful body of
seamen, and thus proved of advantage, both to the colony and to the
mother country.]

In the evening it fell calm, and the tide being favourable, we rowed back
for Hamilton's Road; but a fair breeze springing up when abreast of it,
instead of anchoring we made all sail to the west-south-west for Van
Diemen's Land.

On the 25th at day-light, the Ninth Island bore south, five miles; the
wind had then shifted to N. by W., and blew strong, with rainy weather;
and at eight o'clock, it was at N. W. by W., and obliged us to tack
offshore. This gale cleared away on the 26th, and at noon our situation
was in

Latitude 40 deg. 341/2' S.
Mount Chappell bore N. E.
Peak of Cape Barren, N. 78 deg. E.
Land taken for Isle Waterhouse, S. 7 deg. E.

We were then steering south-westward again with a fair breeze; but had
scarcely passed Stony Head, next morning, when another gale sprung up
from the north-west. It was a happy circumstance that we were able to
reach our new discovered port, and take refuge at the former secure
anchorage near the Shag Rocks; for this gale was more violent and of
longer continuance than any of the preceding. This long succession of
adverse winds caused us almost to despair of accomplishing the principal
object of the voyage; for of the twelve weeks, to which our absence from
Port Packson was limited, nearly eight were already expired.

Dec. 2. The gale moderated, and we made an attempt to continue the
voyage, but were driven back. On the 3rd, the attempt was repeated; and
the wind being light, we anchored at the entrance of the port, to prevent
losing by the flood what had been gained by the ebb tide. In the evening
a fair wind sprung up; and at length, to our great satisfaction, we were
enabled to proceed in the discovery of the strait.

The harbour, which we entered with so much pleasure on Nov. 3, and
finally quitted with still more on Dec. 3, was named PORT DALRYMPLE, by
His Excellency governor Hunter, as a mark of respect to Alexander
Dalrymple, Esq., the late hydrographer to the Admiralty. The following is
a summary of the observations taken there, for fixing the position of Low
Head, on the east side of the entrance:

_Latitude_ from six meridian altitudes, of which three
were taken in port, and three at sea within sight
of Low Head 41 deg. 3'
30" S.
_Longitude_ from two sets of distances of the sun east,
and two west of the moon, with Troughton's nine
inch sextant No. 251, corrected for the errors of
the lunar and solar tables 146 deg. 43'
45" E.

From two sets of distances of the sun east, and two west
of the moon, with a five-inch sextant of Adams 146 deg. 52'

Mean from sun and moon 146 deg. 48' 15" E.

From one set of a star east, and one west of the moon,
with No. 251 146 deg. 52'
From two ditto, ditto, with the five-inch 146 deg. 56'
Mean from stars and moon 146 deg. 54'
Mean of all 146 deg. 51'
28" E.*

_Variation_ of the theodolite., observed on the shore
of Outer Cove 7 28
Do. of the azimuth compass, observed in the same place, 8 30
Do. of the same, taken at anchor off the port, the
sloop's head being N. by E. (magnetic), 7 44
The time of high water in Port Dalrymple, is _one quarter of an hour
before_ the moon passes over the meridian; and the rise of tide is from
six to eight, or it is said to ten, feet. The ebb sets out seven hours;
and both ebb and flood run with much rapidity in the narrow parts, but
the particular rate was not ascertained.

[* The longitude of Low-Head, deduced from the Investigator's time
keepers, combined with my surveys in the Francis and Norfolk, is 146 deg. 471/2
east; as the observations with the large sextant, No. 251, taken alone,
would give it very nearly.]

Port Dalrymple and the _River Tamar_* occupy the bottom of a valley
betwixt two irregular chains of hills, which shoot off north-westward,
from the great body of inland mountains. In some places, these hills
stand wide apart, and the river then opens its banks to a considerable
extent; in others, they nearly meet, and contract its bed to narrow
limits. The Tamar has, indeed, more the appearance of a chain of lakes,
than of a regularly-formed river; and such it probably was, until, by
long undermining, assisted perhaps by some unusual weight of water, a
communicating channel was formed, and a passage forced out to sea. From
the shoals in Sea Reach, and more particularly from those at Green Island
which turn the whole force of the tides, one is led to suppose, that the
period when the passage to sea was forced has not been very remote.

[* So named by the late lieut. colonel Paterson, who was sent from Port
Jackson to settle a new colony there, in 1804. The sources of the river
were then explored, and the new names applied which are given in the
chart. The first town established was _Yorktown_ at the head of the
Western Arm, but this proving inconvenient as a sea port, it was proposed
to be removed lower down, near Green Island. _Launceston_, which is
intended to be the capital of the new colony, is fixed at the junction of
the _North_ and _South Esks_, up to which the Tamar is navigable for
vessels of 150 tons. The tide reaches nine or ten miles up the North Esk,
and the produce of the farms within that distance may be sent down the
river by boats, but the South Esk descends from the mountains by a
cataract, directly into the Tamar, and, consequently, is not accessible
to navigation of any kind.]

Of the two chains of hills which bound the valley, the eastern one
terminates at Low Head; the other comes down to the sea, five or six
miles from it, on the west side of the port. The ends of these chains,
when seen from directly off the entrance, appear as two clusters of hills
having some resemblance to each other; and in fine weather, the distant
blue heads of the back mountains will be seen over the tops of both
clusters. These appearances, joined to the latitude and longitude, are
the best _distant_ marks for finding Port Dalrymple. If a ship come along
shore from the eastward, the Ninth Island, and afterward Stony Head with
the Tenth Islet lying three or four miles to the north-west, will
announce the vicinity of the port; and Low Head will be perceived in the
bight to the S. S. W., but it is not a conspicuous object.

Three or four leagues to the westward of the port, the back land is
uncommonly high, and the top of the ridge is intersected into uncouth
shapes. From the brilliancy of some of these mountains, on the appearance
of the sun after rain, I judged them to be of granite, like those of
Furneaux's Islands. These mountains, with the direction of the coast and
what has been said of the clusters of hills, may serve as marks for Port
Dalrymple to ships coming along shore from the westward.

Reefs and banks extend out to a considerable distance on the west side of
the entrance; so that strangers should avoid that side, and endeavour to
come in with Low Head. The greater part of these shoals, as also of those
in Sea Reach, are covered at half tide; therefore the first of the flood,
or even a little before, is the best time to enter Port Dalrymple, as
almost the whole of the dangers are then visible. A signal post, with
pilots, was fixed at Low Head on the settlement of the new colony in
1804, and beacons have since been placed on the most dangerous rocks and
shoals; it has therefore become unnecessary to give particular
instructions for sailing up the port, especially as they may be found in
my _Observations on the coasts of Van Diemen's Land, etc._; a little
memoir published by Mr. Arrowsmith, in 1801.*

[* In Mr. Horsburgh's _Sailing Directions, etc._ Part II., are given,
upon my friend captain Kent's authority, notices of the beacons laid
down, and directions respecting them; to which I add, from the
information of lieut. Oxley, that a rock, on which H. M. ship Porpoise
struck, lies W. 1/2 N. by compass, one cable's length from _Point
Roundabout_. There is no more than four feet upon it at low water, but it
way be safely passed on either side.]

We found Port Dalrymple to be an excellent place for refreshment. Out of
the flocks of black swans, from one-fifth to one-tenth of them were
unable to fly; and since the same thing has been found to obtain in the
months of January and May, as well as in October. it is probably so at
all times of the year. These birds are endowed with a considerable
portion of sagacity: they cannot dive, but have a method of immersing
themselves so deep in the water, as to render their bodies nearly
invisible, and thus frequently to avoid detection. In chase, their plan
was to gain the wind upon our little boat; and they usually succeeded
when the breeze was strong, and sometimes escaped from our shot also.

Kangaroos appeared to be rather numerous in this part of Van Diemen's
Land; but as they were shy, and we had little time or necessity to go
after them, one only was procured; it was of the large, forest kind, and
the flesh was thought superior to that of the same animal at Port

Ducks and teal went by flocks in Port Dalrymple; but they were shy, and
we took no trouble after them. The white-bellied shag, and the black and
pied red bills were common in the lower parts of the port, and some
pelicans were seen upon the shoals. The large black shag, usually found
in rivers, was seen in different parts of the Tamar; and upon another
occasion, we found these birds to be tolerable food.

Neither our wants nor leisure were sufficient to induce any attempt to
catch fish. Muscles were abundant upon those rocks which are overflowed
by the tide; and the natives appeared to get oysters by diving, the
shells having been found near their fire places.

The country round Port Dalrymple has, in general, a pleasing and fertile
appearance; nor did examination prove it to be deceitful. But this
subject, and what concerns the natives, came more particularly within the
department of Mr. Bass; and his observations upon them having been
published, I proceed to the continuation of the voyage.

Dec. 3, in the evening, the Norfolk was lying at anchor off the entrance
of the port, when a breeze sprung up from the north-eastward, and enabled
us to proceed along the coast. At dusk, Low Head bore S. 77 deg. E. six
miles, and we then hauled off for the night. The shore on the west side
of Port Dalrymple falls back to the southward and forms a bight under the
high land, where it is possible there may be some small opening; for the
haziness of the weather did not allow the coast line to be distinctly
traced. Upon the back mountains are many variously-shaped tops, of which
the easternmost bore S. 5 deg. E., and a flat one towards the other end of
the ridge, S. 38 deg. W. The furthest land which could be seen was a round
hill, making like an island, and bore very nearly west from the mast

Dec. 4. We resumed our course westward, but the wind being at N. N. E.,
did not dare to approach very near the shore. At noon, the observed
latitude was 40 deg. 58', and the hills on the west side of Port Dalrymple
bore S. 65 deg. E. five or six leagues. From thence to S. 38 deg. W., where
another chain of hills came down to the sea, the country is well wooded,
and lies in hills and vallies. The Round Hill bore S. 65 deg. W. five or six
leagues, and in the evening, when three leagues distant, the low land
connecting it with the main was visible.

During the night, and next day, Dec. 5, the winds were light and
variable, so that we made little progress. At noon, the furthest land
seen to the westward appeared like a small flat-topped island, but being
found to be connected with the main land, received the descriptive name
of _Circular Head_; a nearer projection, of a jagged appearance, was
called _Rocky Cape_, and a steep cliffy head still nearer, _Table Cape_,
from its flat top. Our situation was then as under;

Latitude observed, 40 deg. 56' S.
Round Hill, distant three leagues, S. 22 E.
Table Cape, north extreme, N. 88 W.
Rocky Cape, highest knob, N. 77 W.
Circular Head N. 71 W.
A flat-topped peak, inland, S. 14 W.

The sandy shore abreast was seven or eight miles distant, and behind it
the land was low, but tolerably well covered with wood. The sole
remarkable object inland, was the flat-topped peak, which had very much
the appearance of an extinguished volcano. From after bearings, it was
found to lie S. 1 deg. E. eleven leagues from Table Cape; and in that
direction its top assumes the form of a pointed cone.

In the morning of Dec. 6, our situation was N. 8 deg. E. four miles from the
cliffy, north-east end of Table Cape, and the Round Hill bore S. 41 deg. E.
Having a favourable breeze, we passed, at eight o'clock, within half a
mile of the reef which surrounds Rocky Cape, and steered onward for
Circular Head, which as yet was the furthest visible land.

Table Cape, Rocky Cape, and Circular Head lie nearly in a line of N. 62 deg.
W., and are about ten miles apart from each other. Between these, the
coast forms two shallow bights; the shore of the first is mostly rocky,
and an islet lies in the middle; the western bight is sandy, and promises
better anchorage, particularly near Circular Head, where a vessel may be
sheltered against all winds from the western half of the compass. The
land at the back of the shore, from Table Cape westward, is of a
different description to that before passed: instead of having an
extensive view over a variegated, and well wooded country, the sight was
there confined by a ridge of stony hills, of which Rocky Cape is no more
than a projecting part.

Circular Head is a cliffy, round lump, in form much resembling a
Christmas cake; and is joined to the main by a low, sandy isthmus. The
land at the back is somewhat lower than the head, and is formed into very
gentle slopes. A slight covering of withered grass gave it a smooth
appearance; and some green bushes scattered over it much resembled, at a
distance, a herd of seals basking upon a rock.

We passed Circular Head at ten, and three hummocks of land then came in
sight to the north-westward, the southernmost and highest having
something of a sugar-loaf form. Between these hills and the smooth land
to the west of Circular Head, there was a large bight, in which some
patches of land were indistinctly visible through the haze; but as the
wind was then blowing directly into the bight, the fear of getting
embayed prevented its examination. Our position at noon was as follows:

Latitude observed, 40 deg. 393/4' S.
Circular Head, distant seven miles, S. 17 E.
West extreme of the smooth land behind it, S. 6 W.
Sugar-loaf hummock, N. 55 W.
Northernmost hummock, N. 49 W.

From the time of leaving Port Dalrymple no tide had been observed, until
this morning. It ran with us, and continued until three o'clock; at which
time low land was seen beyond the three hummocks. This trending of the
coast so far to the north made me apprehend, that it might be found to
join the land near Western Port, and thus disappoint our hopes of
discovering an open passage to the westward; the water was also
discoloured, as if we were approaching the head of a bay, rather than the
issue of a strait; and on sounding, we had 17, and afterwards 15 fathoms
on a sandy bottom.

The wind having become light and the tide turned to the eastward, our
situation at dusk was little altered from what it had been at three
o'clock; but from the clearing away of the haze, the lands in the great
bight had become more distinguishable, and the following bearings were

Table Cape, distant 11 or 12 leagues, S. 431/2 deg. E.
Circular Head, S. 26 E.
Sugar-loaf hummock, N. 75 W.
Extreme of the three-hummock land, N. 48 W.
Low point in the great bight, with a cliffy
head at a further distance behind it, S. 70 W.

The cliffs visible behind the low point had every appearance of being the
north head of an opening, but of what kind, our distance was too great to

[* In 1804, Mr. Charles Robbins, acting lieutenant of His Majesty's ship
Buffalo, was sent from Port Jackson to examine this great bight; and from
his sketch it is, that the unshaded coast and soundings written at right
angles are laid down in the chart.]

During the night and next day, Dec. 7, the wind was variable, with
alternate calms. The latitude at noon was 40 deg. 28', and the sugarloaf hill
bore W. by S. ten miles. On the 8th a breeze sprung up from the
south-westward, and threatened a gale from that boisterous quarter. We
were in 40 deg. 23' at noon, and trying to work up to the land of the three
hummocks, to prevent losing ground; and at six in the evening, got to an
anchor in a quarter less 4 fathoms, in a small sandy bight under the
northern hummock, being sheltered from N. 2 deg. E., round by the west to S.
30 deg. E. Circular Head was still visible, bearing S. 35 deg. E.; and the
difference of longitude made from Port Dalrymple was calculated at 13/4 deg.,
subject to future revision.

Mr. Bass and myself landed immediately to examine the country and the
coast, and to see what food could be procured; for the long detention by
foul winds had obliged me to make a reduction in the provisions, lest the
object of our voyage and return to Port Jackson should not be
accomplished in the twelve weeks for which we were victualled. At dusk,
we returned on board, having had little success as to any of the objects
proposed; but with the knowledge of a fact, from which an interesting
deduction was drawn: the tide had been running from the eastward all the
afternoon, and contrary to expectation, we found it to be near low water
by the shore; the flood, therefore, came from the west, and not from the
eastward, as at Furneaux's Isles. This we considered to be a strong
proof, not only of the real existence of a passage betwixt this land and
New South Wales, but also that the entrance into the Southern Indian
Ocean could not be far distant.

The little time there was for examining the coast, confined my
observations to what were necessary for giving it the formation it has in
the chart. The country is hilly, and Mr. Bass found it impenetrable from
the closeness of the tall brush wood, although it had been partially
burnt not long before. There was very little soil spread over the rock
and sand, and the general aspect was that of sterility. Several deserted
fire places, strewed round with the shells of the sea ear, were found
upon the shore.

The south-west wind died away in the night; and at six next morning, Dec.
9, we got under way with a light air at south-east. After rounding the
northeast point of the three-hummock land, our course westward was
pursued along its north side.

A large flock of gannets was observed at daylight, to issue out of the
great bight to the southward; and they were followed by such a number of
the sooty petrels as we had never seen equalled. There was a stream of
from fifty to eighty yards in depth, and of three hundred yards, or more,
in breadth; the birds were not scattered, but flying as compactly as a
free movement of their wings seemed to allow; and during a full _hour and
a half_, this stream of petrels continued to pass without interruption,
at a rate little inferior to the swiftness of the pigeon. On the lowest
computation, I think the number could not have been less than a hundred
millions; and we were thence led to believe, that there must be, in the
large bight, one or more uninhabited islands of considerable size.*

[* Taking the stream to have been fifty yards deep by three hundred in
width, and that it moved at the rate of thirty miles an hour, and
allowing nine cubic yards of space to each bird, the number would amount
to 151,500,000. The burrows required to lodge this quantity of birds
would be 75,750,000; and allowing a square yard to each burrow, they
would cover something more than 181 geographic square miles of ground.]

From the north-east point of the three-hummock land, the shore trended W.
1 deg. N. three miles; then S. 39 deg. W. four miles, to a rocky point, forming
the south-west extremity of what was then ascertained to be THREE-HUMMOCK
ISLAND. The channel which separates it from the land to the west, is, at
least, two miles in width, and is deep; so that it was difficult to
conjecture how the Indians were able to get over to the island. It was
almost certain that they had no canoes at Port Dalrymple, nor any means
of reaching islands lying not more than two cables length from the shore;
and it therefore seemed improbable that they should possess canoes here.
The small size of Three-hummock Island rendered the idea of fixed
inhabitants inadmissible; and whichever way it was considered, the
presence of men there was a problem difficult to be resolved.*

[* Future visitants to these islands have seen the Indians passing over
in bodies, by swimming, similar to those whom Dampier saw on the
north-west coast of New Holland. Why the natives of Port Dalrymple should
not have had recourse to the same expedient, where the distance to be
traversed is so much less, seems incomprehensible.]

The coast on the west side of the channel lies nearly south, and rises in
height as it advances towards the cliffy head, set on the 6th p.m. The
north end of this land is a sloping, rocky point; and the first
projection which opened round it, was at S. 32 deg. W., five or six miles.
Beyond this there was nothing like main land to be seen; indeed, this
western land itself had very little the appearance of being such, either
in its form, or in its poor, starved vegetation. So soon as we had passed
the north sloping point, a long swell was perceived to come from the
south-west, such as we had not been accustomed to for some time. It broke
heavily upon a small reef, lying a mile and a half from the point, and
upon all the western shores; but, although it was likely to prove
troublesome, and perhaps dangerous, Mr. Bass and myself hailed it with
joy and mutual congratulation, as announcing the completion of our
long-wished-for discovery of a passage into the Southern Indian Ocean.

We had a fine breeze at east; and our course was directed for a small,
rocky island which lies W. 1/2 N. 6 miles from the north point of the
barren land. This island appeared to be almost white with birds; and so
much excited our curiosity and hope of procuring a supply of food, that
Mr. Bass went on shore in the boat whilst I stood off and on, waiting his
return. No land could be seen to the northward, and the furthest clearly
distinguishable in the opposite direction was a steep island at the
distance of four leagues. The observations taken at noon were,

Latitude, 40 deg. 231/2' S.
The bird island, distant two miles, S. 16 to 64 E.
Three-hummock Island, the sugar loaf, S. 64 E.
Steep-head Island S. 9 E.

Mr. Bass returned at half past two, with a boat load of seals and
albatrosses. He had been obliged to fight his way up the cliffs of the
island with the seals, and when arrived at the top, to make a road with
his clubs amongst the albatrosses. These birds were sitting upon their
nests, and almost covered the surface of the ground, nor did they any
otherwise derange themselves for the new visitors, than to peck at their
legs as they passed by. This species of albatross is white on the neck
and breast, partly brown on the back and wings, and its size is less than
many others met with at sea, particularly in the high southern latitudes.
The seals were of the usual size, and bore a reddish fur, much inferior
in quality to that of the seals at Furneaux's Islands.

_Albatross Island_, for so it was named, is near two miles in length, and
sufficiently high to be seen five or six leagues from a ship's deck: its
shores are mostly steep cliffs. The latitude is 40 deg. 25', and longitude
made by the running survey, 2 deg. 7' west of Port Dalrymple; but it
afterwards appeared from the Investigator's time keepers, to lie in 144 deg.
41' east of Greenwich.

The tide (apparently the ebb) had set so strong to the south-westward,
that notwithstanding our efforts to keep up with the island, it was
distant five miles when Mr. Bass returned and the boat was hoisted in. A
black lump of rock was then seen three or four leagues to the
south-westward, and the following bearings were taken just before making

Albatross Island, N. 75 deg. to 86 deg. E.
Steep-head Island, S. 31 E.
Black. pyramidal rock, S. 59 W.

We kept close to the wind at north-east, in order to fetch Steep-head
Island; but were carried so far to leeward by the tide, that soon after
four o'clock our situation was as follows:

Albatross Island, N. 18 deg. E.
Sugar-loaf hummock, N. 71 E.
Western part of the barren land, N. 61 E.
Steep-head Island, centre, S. 71 E.
Black, pyramidal rock, N. 77 W.
High black rock, dist. 2 miles,
having breakers to the south-westward, S. 18 E.

Besides these islands and rocks, we passed another cliffy island four or
five miles to the south of Steep-head, and to which I gave the name of
_Trefoil Island_, its form appearing to be nearly that of a clover leaf;
there were, also, several others of less importance, mostly lying near
the barren land. The steep south end of this land was set over the north
end of Trefoil at N. 65 deg. E.; and being almost assured of its separation
from Van Diemen's Land, I added it, under the name of _Barren Island_, to
the rest of this cluster; and in honour of His Excellency, the governor
of New South Wales, I gave to the whole the title of HUNTER'S ISLES.

(Atlas Pl. VII.)

The north-west cape of Van Diemen's Land, or island, as it might now be
termed, is a steep, black head, which, from its appearance, I call CAPE
GRIM. It lies nearly due south, four miles, from the centre of Trefoil,
in latitude 40 deg. 44'; the longitude will be 144 deg. 43 deg. east, according to
the position of Albatross Island made in the Investigator. There are two
rocks close to Cape Grim, of the same description with itself. On the
north side of the cape, the shore is a low, sandy beach, and trends
north-eastward, three or four miles; but whether there be a sufficient
depth for ships to pass between it and Barren Island, has not, I believe,
been yet ascertained. To the south of the cape, the black cliffs extend
seven or eight miles, when the shore falls back, eastward, to a sandy
bay, of which little could be perceived.

Our situation at dusk, was three miles from the cliffs, with Cape Grim
bearing N. 18 deg. E. The furthest land, beyond the sandy bay, bore S. 4 deg. E.
four or five leagues, and proved to be near the westernmost point of Van
Diemen's Land. The wind being strong at E. N. E. and the night dark and
tempestuous, we kept as much under the land as possible; but found
ourselves in the morning, Dec. l0, to be driven far to the
south-westward. At eight o'clock, the wind having moderated, we made
sail, S. E. 1/2 E; and at noon, were in the following situation.

Latitude observed, 41 deg. 133/4' S.
Sandy west Pt. of V. D. Land, dist. 10 m. N. 10 W.
Furthest extreme, a low point, S. 22 E.
An inland mount, S. 53 E.

The nearest part of the coast was between two and three miles distant,
and consisted of sandy beaches, separated by points which had many
straggling rocks lying off them. At the back of the shore, the land was
low for two or three miles, and then rose gently to a ridge of barren,
low hills. The inland mount, set at S. 53 deg. E., appeared to be the north
end of a second chain, much higher, and better wooded, than the front
ridge: it lies eight miles back from the shore, and is named _Mount
Norfolk_, after my little vessel.

After obtaining the noon's observation and bearings, we steered southward
along the shore; and at six o'clock, had passed five leagues of the same
kind of coast as before described; but the wind then flew round to W. N.
W., and made it necessary to haul further off. At 6 deg. 30',

Mount Norfolk bore N. 56 deg. E.
Low, rocky projection, distant four miles, N. 35 E.
Distant mount, at the southern end of the back ridge,
and the furthest land in sight, S. 42 E.

Dec. 11. Before five o'clock, we came in with the land a few miles from
where it had been quitted in the evening.

Mount Norfolk then bore N. 27 deg. E.
Low, rocky projection, dist. three leagues, N. 12 W.
Two conic rocks, at the southern extreme, S. 42 E.

The wind was moderate at north-west, and we bore away along the shore,
which was distant four miles, and much similar to that of the preceding
day; but it had no scattered rocks lying in front. Behind some low
cliffs, passed at seven o'clock, was perceived a small opening like a
river, whose course seemed to run northward, between the front and back
ridges of hills: a smoke, which arose from the inner side of the opening,
was the first seen upon this west coast. I steered a short time for the
entrance; but seeing rocks in it, and the wind coming more on shore,
hauled off south, to increase our distance.

Two miles from the opening are the conic, and several low rocks, which
were passed at the distance of one mile and a half. At ten, we kept two
points more away, having gained an offing of seven miles; and at noon

Latitude observed, 42 deg. 21/4' S.
Furthest extreme of the coast, S. S. E.
Mount at the southern end of the back ridge, N. 42 E.
A peaked hill, four miles E. S. E. from it, N. 60 E.

The two last appear to have been the smaller mountains seen by TASMAN to
the north-east, on his discovering this land Nov. 24, 1642; and I have
therefore named the first _Mount Heemskerk_, and the latter _Mount
Meehan_, after his two ships. The back ridge of woody hills does not
terminate here; but it retreats further inland, and as far as could be
perceived through the haze, rises in height to the southward. The extreme
of the coast, which bore S. S. E., forms the southern point of a sandy,
and rather deep bight, where I thought it probable there might be some
small opening; but as the wind blew strong directly into it, there was
too much danger in bearing away for its examination.

At three o'clock, we passed the southern point of the bight, at the
distance of four miles; and the coast then again trended S. S. E., waving
in rocky bights and projections. The land here rises by a gentle ascent
for two or three miles from the shore; its appearance was smooth and
uniform; but it was destitute of wood, and almost of other vegetation:
the back mountains were obscured by the haze.

The heavy south-west swell, which had met us at the entrance of the
Indian Ocean, still continued to roll in, and set dead upon this coast;
and the wind blew fresh at W. N. W. Under these circumstances, we looked
out for some little beach where in case of necessity, the sloop might be
run on shore with a prospect of safety to our lives; for should the wind
come three or four points further forward, there was no probability of
clearing the land on either tack. No such beach could, however, be
discovered; and we therefore carried all possible sail to get past this
dreary coast. A remarkable pyramid came in sight in the evening; at eight
o'clock it was distant five miles to the east, and seen to be a rock on
the north side of a point, which projects two or three miles from the
coast line. This point, named _Point Hibbs_ after the colonial master of
the Norfolk, is higher than the neck by which it is joined to the back
land; and from thence, it appears to have been taken for an island by
Tasman; for I consider Point Ebbs and the pyramid to be the two islands
laid down by him, in 42 deg. 35': their latitude, by our run from noon, is
42 deg. 39'.

We hauled off, upon a wind, at eight o'clock; and at four next morning,
Dec. 12, came in again with the same land. At five, when our course was
resumed along shore, Point Hibbs was distant two or three miles, and the
pyramid, which bore N. 31 deg. E. over its extremity, then appeared like the
crown of a hat. The coast to the southward is more irregular in its
trending, is of somewhat greater elevation, and not so destitute of wood
as on the north side of the point. At the distance of three leagues we
passed a cliffy head, with high rocks lying a mile from it; and two
leagues further, there were some patches of breakers two miles off the
shore: the general trending was between S. by E. and S. S. E.

At ten o'clock, a projection which merited the name of _Rocky Point_ bore
S. 74 deg. E., five miles; and here the direction of the coast was changed to
east, for near seven miles, when it formed a bight by again trending
south-eastward. The shore round the bight is high, and at the back were
several bare peaks which, from their whiteness, might have been thought
to be covered with snow; but their greatest elevation of perhaps 1200
feet, combined with the height of the thermometer at 62 deg., did not admit
the supposition. These peaks are probably what Tasman named De Witt's
Isles, from his distance having been too far off to distinguish the
connecting land, and I therefore called the highest of them, lying in 43 deg.
91/2' south, _Mount De Witt_.

This morning, two sets of distances of the sun west of the moon were
observed, and our situation at noon was as follows:

Latitude, 43 deg. 7' S.
Longitude from the lunar observations, 145 16 E.
Rocky Point, distant six or seven miles, N. 3 W.
Mount De Witt, S. 77 E.
Highest of two smaller hills, at the S. extreme, S. 59 E.

It afterwards appeared, that these smaller hills stood upon the extremity
of a point; and in honour of the noble admiral with whose victory we had
become acquainted, it was named POINT ST. VINCENT.

The western breeze died away in the evening, and the sloop was drifted in
by the swell, and perhaps by a tide, towards an opening round Point St.
Vincent. This opening is indicated in the small chart which accompanies
the voyage of M. Marion, but does not appear to have been seen by any
other navigator. Our bearings of the land, at sunset, deduced from the
sun's amplitude and sextant angles, were as follow:

Mount De Witt, N. 18 deg. E.
Point St. Vincent, distant five miles, N. 57 E.
Steep head on the east side of the opening, dist. 8 m. N. 86 E.
Pyramidal rock, lying off a cliffy head, S. 46 E.

At a further distance, and in the same bearing with the pyramidal rock,
was a steep, jagged point, which proved to be the south-west cape of Van
Diemen's Land. Our latitude at this time was 43 deg. 181/2', the passage of the
moon having allowed me to get an observation at four o'clock; from whence
to eight, our position had changed only one-and-half mile to the east.

It remained nearly calm all night; and on the 13th, at daybreak, I was
much surprised to find our situation near ten miles to the southward,
instead of being in the same place. This circumstance, and a breeze which
arose at north, precluded me from examining the opening as I had
intended; for a width of three or four miles at the entrance, and the
form of the mountains behind, made it probable that a considerable river
discharged itself there; and the offset during the night strengthened the
supposition. At six o'clock,

Mount De Witt bore North.
Point St. Vincent, N. 7 deg. E.
Steep head on the east side of the opening, W. 27 E.
Pyramidal rock, off the cliffy head, N. 33 E.
South-west Cape, the extreme. S. 82 E.

We were then steering for the South-west Cape, and at nine I set Mount De
Witt over it at N. 22 deg. W., our distance from the cape being then about
three miles.

Seven islands and rocks were counted to the eastward, lying at different
distances from the coast; and the wind having veered to west, permitted
us to pass within them. At noon, the shore to the north being too near
for the sun's altitude to be observed, its supplement was taken to the
south, and gave the latitude 43 deg. 271/2'. A steep head which lies N. 79 deg. E.
four or five miles from the south-west Cape, then bore S. 74 deg. W., three
miles;* whence the latitude of the Cape should be 43 deg. 29', which is 10
_less_ than given by captain Furneaux, and 8' by captain Cook. This
difference naturally excited some suspicion of an error in the
observation, and I measured the supplement in the same manner on the
following noon, when it gave 2' 40" _less_ than the latitude determined
by D'Entrecasteaux in Storm Bay. The South-west Cape is therefore placed
2' 40" further south than my observation gave it; that is, in latitude
43 deg. 32'.** The longitude of the Cape, from the observations taken off
Rocky Point and brought forward by the survey, would be 145 deg. 47'; but its
situation in 146 deg. 7', by captain Cook, appears to be preferable:
D'Entrecasteaux places it in 146 deg. 0'.

[* This head opened round the Cape at E. 14 deg. N.. magnetic, the sloop's
head being E. by N.; and shut at W. 20 deg. S., when the head was north. In
the first case I allow 31/2 deg. east variation, and in the last, 8 deg.; which
makes them agree as nearly as can be expected from bearings taken under

[** Captain Furneaux says (in _Cook's second Voyage_, Vol. I. page 109),
that on March 9, 1773, at noon, the South-west Cape bore _north, four
leagues_; and by referring to the _Astronomical Observations_, p. 193, I
find that his latitude was 43 deg. 45 2/3', which would place the Cape in 43 deg.
33 2/3'; nevertheless the captain says it is in 43 deg. 39', and it is so
laid down in his chart. The observation by which captain Cook appears to
have fixed the South-west Cape, is that of Jan. 24, 1777, at noon; when
he says, "our latitude was 43 deg. 47' south" (_Third Voyage_, Vol. I. p.
93.) But the _Astronomical Observations_ of that voyage show (p. 101),
that the observed latitude on board the Resolution was 43 deg. 421/2'; which
would make the Cape in 43 deg. 321/2' south. I consulted captain King's journal
at the Admiralty, but found no observed latitude marked by him on that

The nearest land, at noon, was a steep head bearing N. 66 deg. E., one mile
and a half; and between this, and the head which bore S. 74 deg. W., the
shore forms a sandy bay four miles deep, where it is probable there may
be good anchorage, if two clumps of rock, which lie in the entrance, will
admit of a passage in. After taking bearings of Maatsuyker's Isles and
the different headlands, we bore away eastward, and passed another deep,
sandy bight, probably the same in which Mr. Cox anchored in 1789. At two
o'clock, the

South-west Cape, distant 15 or 16 miles, bore W. 2 deg. S.
A steep head at the furthest extreme,
which proved to be the _South Cape_, S. 72 deg. E. *

[* The magnetic bearing of the South-west Cape was W. 5 deg. S., and that of
the South Cape E. 15 deg. S. The true variation I believe to have been 8 deg. E.;
but as the sloop's head was at east, no more than 3 deg. are allowed, from a
system which will be hereafter explained. It seemed necessary to say
this, because the formation of the south end of Van Diemen's Land in my
chart, differs from that given by captain Cook, and from those of most
others. In Bayly's _Astronomical Observations_, page 192, it appears that
six sets of variations were observed on board the Resolution, Mar. 24,
1777, off the South Cape; the mean result of which was 4 deg. 43' east. Next
morning six other sets were taken near the same place, and the mean
variation came out 10 deg.8' east. In captain King's journal, I found the
same observations entered, and that the ship's head was E. by N. 1/2 N. in
the first case, and N. W. by W. in the second. This, with the example in
the Francis, page cxxvi {The relevant paragraph begins "Whilst passing
round the north end . . ." ebook Ed.}, and that in the Norfolk on the
preceding page {a few paragraphs above this point. ebook Ed.}, may serve
to show, for the present, that corrections are required to the variation,
according to the direction of the vessel's head.]

At this time we were one mile within, or north of the largest of the
islands; and saw with some surprise, for it is three miles from the main,
that its grassy vegetation had been burnt. From hence we steered for the
easternmost isle, lying off a wide open bight in the coast, and
afterwards hauled up for the South Cape. The wind died away at six
o'clock, when the Cape was one mile distant; but thick clouds were
gathering in the south and west, and strong gusts with heavy rain
presently succeeded. Fortunately, the squalls came from the westward, so
that we were enabled to get further from those stupendous cliffs; had
they come from the south, the consequences might have been fatal to the

The first steep head, to the eastward of the South Cape, opened round it
at E. 7 deg. N., (allowing 4 deg. east variation,) and a second from the first,
at E. 16 deg. N., their distances asunder being each about five miles. It is
the middlemost of these three heads which is called South Cape by captain
Cook, as appears from the relative situations of his Peaked Hill and of
Swilly rock; but he had not the opportunity of seeing the heads opening
one from the other, as we had in the Norfolk. I make the latitude of the
Cape (adding the 2' 40") to be 43 deg. 37', nearly as captain Furneaux did;
and as captain Cook would have done, had his latitude at noon been taken
43 deg. 421/2', according to the _Astronomical Observations_, instead Of 42 deg.
47', as in the voyage.

Pedro Blame, or Swilly rock, became visible at half past seven, when the
squalls had mostly blown over; and the following bearings where then

South Cape, distant five miles, W. by N.
East extreme of the next steep head, dist. 21/2 miles, N. 14 deg. E.
Pedro Blanca, S. 33 E.
Distant land through the haze, N. 60 E.

At nine o'clock we hauled up for D'Entrecasteauxs Channel, of which I had
the sketch of Mr. Hayes, and stood off and on, in the entrance, during
the night; the wind blowing hard at west, with dark rainy weather.

Dec. 14, at four in the morning, our situation was far to leeward; and
having no prospect of fetching into the channel, we bore away for
Boreel's Isles, which were seen bearing N. 65 deg. E. two leagues. Three of
these produce some vegetation, and that of the largest had been partially
burnt not long before. The two easternmost, called the Friars by captain
Furneaux, are bare pyramidal rocks, and, except where they had been made
white by the gannets, are of a black, weather-beaten colour: a patch of
breakers lies one mile to the north-east from them.

Fluted Cape opened round Tasman's Head at N. 18 deg. E. We passed these steep
projections at a mile distance; and not being able to fetch into
Adventure Bay, did the same by Cape Frederick Henry.* At noon, this cape
bore S. 13 deg. W. eight miles, and Fluted Cape was behind it in the same
bearing. I proposed to enter the Derwent River; but on making a stretch
toward Betsey's Island,** it appeared that the Henshaw's Bay of Hayes,
instead of being a shallow bight, was a deep opening; and as the
north-west wind blew out of the Derwent, we stretched on, seven miles
above the island, and came to an anchor in 10 fathoms, sandy ground. This
opening is the _North Bay_ of D'Entrecasteaux; but I was totally
ignorant, at that time, of its having ever been entered.

[* This name, given by Captain Furneaux, is altered in D'Entrecasteaux's
voyage to that of _>Cape Trobriand_. The captain was undoubtedly mistaken
in his idea concerning Frederik Hendrick's Bay; but this does not appear
to be a sufficient reason for changing the established name of the cape,
unless Tasman had applied it to some other land, which is not the case.]

[** This is the _Isle Willaumez_, of D'Entrecasteaux; but it was known to
me from the sketch of captain Hayes, and is still to the colonists, under
the name of Betsey's Island.]

Dec. 15, the wind being at north-west, we passed a sloping island (Isle
St. Aignan of D'Extrecasteaux), and steered north-eastward, to explore
the inlet. After running three-and-half miles, with soundings from 13 no
bottom, to 5 fathoms, we anchored under a small island, which lies S. 75 deg.
W., one mile and a half, from _Point Renard_, the uppermost station of
the French boats. This small spot received the descriptive name of _Isle
of Caves_, and lies in the passage from North Bay to a large extent of
water which appeared to the eastward, and which the French boats did not

From the Isle of Caves we ran six miles, E. S. E. up the new bay, for
_Smooth Island_. The width of the entrance, from Point Renard to _Green
Head_, is two miles, the soundings are from 6 to 16 fathoms, and there
are no dangers. Smooth Island, behind which we anchored in 4 fathoms, and
where I again landed to take bearings, is three quarters of a mile long,
and covered with grass and a few small trees. It had been visited by the
natives, as had the Isle of Caves; but from the eggs of gulls found upon
both, I judge they do not go often.

Dec. 16, we anchored two miles to the south-east of Smooth Island, in 6
fathoms, near a point of the main where a round hill afforded me a good
view of this extensive bay. The country there is stony and barren, though
covered with wood and much frequented by kangaroos. In the evening, the
appearance of a southern gale induced me to shift our berth to the north
side of the point; between which, and an islet lying half a mile from it,
the depth was 5 to 7 fathoms.

On the 17th, we landed upon the islet, and killed some out of the many
gulls by which it is frequented. A small arm of the bay extending
north-eastward, where we hoped to obtain fresh water, was the object of
our examination in the afternoon. There was a little stream falling in at
the head, but rocks prevented it from being accessible to boats, or to a
raft; and a walk of perhaps a mile to the eastward, afforded nothing but
the sight of a stony country, and of a few miserable huts. Our greyhound
started a kangaroo, but it was lost in the wood; and there were no birds
to shoot.

Dec. 18, the wind still blowing fresh from the westward, we worked up to
Smooth Island; and then stretched over to the south side of the bay. The
soundings were generally 9 fathoms, on mud and sand, to within a mile of
the shore; and at half a mile, where the anchor was dropped, the depth
was 4 fathoms.

We landed at a steep, but not high point near the sloop, where I took
some bearings, and observed the meridian altitude of the moon in an
artificial horizon, which gave the latitude 43 deg. 11/2'; Mr. Bass, in the
mean time, walked a little distance inland, but saw nothing of particular
interest. Some further bearings were taken next morning, from a head
lying to the west; after which the anchor was weighed, and we steered
northward along the west side of the bay, with soundings from 8 to 4
fathoms. In the evening, we had worked back into North Bay, and come to
an anchor under the north-east end of Sloping Island.

The great eastern bay now quitted had never been entered till this time;
and as it is proved not to be Frederik Hendrik's, I have named it NORFOLK
BAY. It is about eight miles long, north and south, and three to five
miles broad from east to west. The largest fleet may find shelter here,
with anchorage on a good bottom of 4 to 9 fathoms deep. We saw but one
small stream of fresh water, and that was of difficult access; but it is
scarcely probable that, amongst the many coves all around the bay, water
convenient for ships should not be found. The country near the shore is
rocky; but as the kangaroo seemed to be abundant, there are probably many
grassy plains further inland. Wood abounds every where, except at Green
Head, which is mostly covered with grass. Of the four islands in the bay,
Smooth and Gull Islands were found superior in fertility to the main
land: the first contains about forty acres of tolerable pasturage.

In North Bay, the upper part seemed to be circumscribed by a sandy beach,
and to offer nothing of particular interest; we therefore steered
downward, on Dec. 20, for the Derwent River; but rainy squalls coming on
from the south, ran for a small beach on the western shore, and anchored
off it in 21/2 fathoms. A narrow inlet there, from which the tide issued
with some strength, excited the hope of finding a short cut into the
Derwent; but it proved, on examination, to terminate in a shoal lagoon.
The country on its borders affords good pasturage, with some spots fit
for cultivation; there is, also, fresh water on the north side, but only
for domestic purposes. The lagoon is frequented by ducks, black shags,
pelicans, and gannets.

Dec. 21, we proceeded round for the Derwent. On clearing North Bay, I
went off in the boat to Betsey's Island, leaving Mr. Bass to conduct the
sloop. This island is high, and accessible only towards its north end;
its length is one mile, and mean breadth about half that quantity; the
soil is fertile, and nourishes a luxuriant vegetation of grass and wood;
and though the natives visit it occasionally, none of their traces were
recent. On rejoining the sloop, I found she had passed between the island
and two flat rocks near the main, with from 5 to 9 fathoms water; in
which depths the gigantic sea-weed grows up to the surface. At eight
clock we anchored in 9 fathoms, off Cape Direction, at the entrance of
the river.

Dec. 22, a base was measured and bearings taken for a survey of the
entrance, which proved to be near three miles wide. On the 23rd, the wind
being fair, we ran upwards between shores which were sometimes steep, but
generally of a gradual ascent, and well clothed with grass and wood. At
nine miles from the entrance lies _Sullivan Cove_, on the west side,
where a settlement has since been established by colonel Collins;* and
here the width of the river is suddenly contracted, from one mile and a
half to less than three-quarters of a mile, but the depth is not
diminished. Four miles higher up we found Risdon Cove, and anchored there
in 4 fathoms, with the intention of filling our empty water casks at the
_Risdon River_ of Mr. Hayes; but finding it to be a little creek which
even our boat could not enter, I determined to seek a more convenient
watering place higher up the Derwent.

[* The first settlement was made in Risdon Cove, in 1803, by captain John
Bowen of the navy, who was sent from Port Jackson for that purpose, by
his Excellency governor King; but on the arrival of colonel Collins in
1804, it was removed to Sullivan Cove.]

Dec. 24, the wind being adverse to proceeding upward, an extensive set of
angles was taken from the top of Mount Direction; and next day, I carried
the survey up the river, whilst Mr. Bass ascended the great _Mount
Table_, on the western side. At the northern foot of this mount lie _King
George's Plains_, a name given by Mr. Hayes to about three hundred acres
of pasture land; and in the front of the plains is his _Prince of Wales'
Bay_, a small shallow cove. Such names as these led us, at first, into
some errors with respect to the importance of the places sought; but
after the above examples, we were no longer deceived by them.

In the afternoon of the 25th, we got the sloop, with much difficulty,
five or six miles further up the river, to an inlet which I called
_Herdsman's Cove_, from the pastoral appearance of the surrounding
country. Two streams fall into it; and up the principal one, in the
north-east corner, I went two miles with the boat. The water was there
found to be fresh, and the depth sufficient to allow of its being reached
by the sloop; but the banks being steep and channel narrow, I was
deterred from watering in this place, by the fear of detention from foul

The width of the Derwent abreast of Herdsman's Cove is half a mile; but
except a very narrow channel close to the eastern shore, it is too
shallow even for boats. The intention of proceeding further with the
sloop was therefore abandoned; but so soon as the rainy, blowing weather
permitted, which was not until the 28th, I accompanied Mr. Bass in a boat
excursion up the river. Three miles above Herdsman's Cove the banks open
out to a mile in width; the river, from running north-westward, turns to
the south-west; and the deep channel makes a short cut across to the
convex bank, leaving the mud to collect in the opposite elbow. A great
deal of long, aquatic grass growing upon these mud flats, seemed to have
attracted the black swans, for the number collected there was not
estimated at less than five hundred.

The width of the Derwent is contracted in the south-west reach to little
more than a quarter of a mile, and we had not rowed far up it before the
water became perfectly fresh. The land on both sides rises to hills of
moderate elevation, and the rather steep acclivities being well clothed
with verdure, they had an agreeable appearance. Our attention was
suddenly called from contemplating the country, by the sound of a human
voice coming from the hills. There were three people; and as they would
not comply with our signs to come down, we landed and went up to them,
taking with us a black swan. Two women ran off, but a man, who had two or
three spears in his hand, stayed to receive us, and accepted the swan
with rapture. He seemed entirely ignorant of muskets, nor did any thing
excite his attention or desire except the swan and the red kerchiefs
about our necks; he knew, however, that we came from the sloop, and where
it was lying. A little knowledge of the Port Jackson, and of the
South-Sea-Island languages was of no use in making ourselves understood
by this man; but the quickness with which he comprehended our signs spoke
in favour of his intelligence. His appearance much resembled that of the
inhabitants of New South Wales; he had also marks raised upon the skin,
and his face was blackened and hair ruddled as is sometimes practised by
them. The hair was either close cropped, or naturally short; but it had
not the appearance of being woolly. He acceded to our proposition of
going to his hut; but finding from his devious route and frequent
stoppages, that he sought to tire our patience, we left him delighted
with the certain possession of his swan, and returned to the boat. This
was the sole opportunity we had of communicating with any of the natives
of Van Diemen's Land.

At one o'clock, when advanced five miles above the elbow, the ebb tide
made; and the wind being unfavourable, we landed to dine. The general
course of the river had been nearly south-west; but it there turned
west-by-north. The width, found by extending a base line, was two hundred
and thirty yards, and the depth, as it had generally been in the channel
from Herdsman's Cove, was 3 fathoms; but in some parts there may not be
more than 2, at low water.

We arrived on board the sloop in the evening, with fourteen swans, in
time to get a short distance down the river, before the ebb tide had done
running; and no place more convenient than Risdon Cove having offered
itself, we anchored there next day, and proceeded to complete our water,
and refit the sloop for returning to Port Jackson. The late rains had so
much increased the stream at the head of the cove, that our labour was
much abridged; and in the evening of Dec. 30, every thing was completed.

This cove is the highest part of the Derwent to which a ship can advance.
There is no danger in proceeding thus far, except off Shoal Point, about
two miles below, on the western shore; and on the opposite side, near the
echoing cliffs, there are 12 to 17 fathoms. Above Risdon Cove the mud
flats commence, and will stop any vessel which draws more than ten or
twelve feet; although there be, in some places higher up, from 5 to 8
fathoms. Mount Direction, on the north side of Risdon Cove, forms two
round heads which are distinguishable from the entrance of the river,
bearing N. 16 deg. W. from Cape Direction. The latitude observed under the
mount, from the moon's meridian altitude, was 42 deg. 48' 12" south;
variation of the azimuth compass on the south side of the cove, 8 deg. 28',
and of the surveying theodolite 9 deg. 15' east; but I found it alter one or
two degrees in different places, both in Norfolk Bay and in the Derwent,
owing to partial attractions in the land.*

[* Upon the top of Mount Table, the compass has since been found to vary
as much as 20 deg., from one part of the mountain to another.]

In Risdon Cove the tide rises between four and five feet, which is more,
by at least a foot, than it appeared to be at the entrance of the river.
The time of high water is _about eight hours after_ the moon's passage
over the meridian, or one hour later than in Adventure Bay.* In the
narrow parts, above Sullivan Cove, the tides run with tolerable
regularity, and with some degree of strength; but towards the entrance of
the river, the water at the surface sometimes ran down twelve hours
together, and at other times as much upwards, whilst the rise and fall by
the shore were at the usual periods. These anomalies were probably
occasioned by the wind, and seemed not to extend far below the surface;
for I found a counter current at the bottom.

[* See Bligh's _Voyage to the South Seas_; page 53.]

The banks of the Derwent are not remarkably high, but the country in
general may be termed mountainous. Mount Table, at the back of Sullivan
Cove, is supposed to be three-quarters of a mile in height; nor do I
think, from having seen it beyond the distance of thirty miles from the
sloop's deck, that it can be much less. The publication of Mr. Bass'
remarks upon the soil and productions of this part of Van Diemen's Land
dispenses me from entering upon those subjects; it is sufficient to say,
that the reports of them were so favourable as to induce the
establishment of a colony on the banks of the Derwent, four years
afterward; and that the discoveries which have since been made are marked
in the chart.


The last day of December and the first of January were occupied in
beating down to the entrance of the river.

Jan. 2. The wind blew strong from the south-east, with heavy rain; and
finding no advantage could be made by beating in Storm Bay, we ran into
D'Entrecasteaux's Channel, passed the large _North-west Port_, and
anchored in Pruen Cove, in 4 fathoms. We landed, so soon as the rain
cleared away, and found a small creek in which the water was fresh at a
few hundred yards above where it falls into the cove. A tree had been
felled on the bank, probably in 1793 or 4 by Mr. Hayes, who called this
stream Amelia's River; but it would be very difficult to fill casks here,
except when long continued rains should bring the fresh water to the
entrance of the creek. The valley through which it comes from the
westward, seemed to be of a rich, though damp soil.

On Jan. 3, having a breeze at north-west, we got under way at daylight;
and after repassing the northern entrance of D'Entrecasteaux's Channel,
steered across Storm Bay. At two clock I had the following bearings:

Tasman's Head. S. 37 deg. W.
Cape Frederik Henry, S. 71 W.
Quoin Island, distant six miles, N. 28 W.
Low point, distant 11/4 miles, N. 6 E.
Cape Raoul,* distant 3 miles, S. 71 E.

[* This is the cape which, from its appearance, I had called by the
descriptive name of _Cape Basaltes_; not knowing that D'Entrecasteaux, or
any other navigator, had previously affixed an appellation. I give it up
the more readily, because it is said these columns are not strictly

Cape Pillar opened round Cape Raoul at E. 5 deg. N., and the distance run
from one to the other was nine miles. These two high, columnar capes are
the extreme points of the land which captain Furneaux took to be Maria's
Island. Between them, the shore falls back about four miles, and forms a
small bay at the head, where there appeared to be shelter against all
winds except those from the southward; and perhaps from those also, for
the water seemed to reach behind the inner western point. At five clock
we passed Tasman's small, cliffy Island and Cape Pillar, and Maria's
Island came in sight at N. 6 deg. E. We then hauled up to keep close in with
the shore to the northward; but the wind came in such violent puffs down
those steep cliffs, that the necessity of steering further off frustrated
my intention: the outer Hippolite Rock bore N. 56 deg. W. three miles, at

Jan. 4. At daylight, Maria's Island appeared to be divided into two,
Schouten's Island was visible, and the principal bearings taken were as

Tasman's small Island, S. 24 deg. W.
A deep bight in the coast, S. 56 W.
South head of Frederik Hendrik's Bay, S. 72 W.
Maria's Island, south part, N. 64 deg. to 43 W.
north part, N. 39 to 19 W.
Schouten's Island, North to N. 5 E.

The wind shifted to north at ten o'clock, and we tacked towards Maria's
Island. At noon, the north-east extreme, a cock's-comb-like head, was
distant four or five miles; but the islet lying off it, in Mr. Cox's
chart, was not visible, nor yet the isthmus which connects the two parts
of the island.

Observed latitude, 42 deg. 411/2' S.
South head of Frederik Hendrik's Bay, S. 40 W.
Maria's Island, south part, Clouded.
--------------- north part, S. 82 deg. to N. 64 W.
Schouten's Island, dist. 4 leagues, N. 3 W. to 8 E.

We had squally weather in the afternoon, with the wind at north-west; and
being unable to get near Maria's Island before the evening, bore away
northward, having then a fresh breeze at W. S. W. Schouten's Island was
passed within two miles at ten o'clock, and at eleven, a piece of land
called Vanderlin's Island by Tasman, but which has since been found to be
the southern extremity of a peninsula. We then steered north, to keep in
with the coast; but the wind drawing forward in the morning of the 5th,
the sloop was drifted off, by noon, to four or five leagues. The land
then abreast rose in ranges of irregular, well-wooded hills; and behind
them were two peaks and a flat-topped piece of land, seemingly not many
leagues from the shore. The southernmost of the two peaks is the most
elevated, and appears to be the _high round mountain_ seen by Tasman on
Dec 4 and 5, 1642; I have, therefore, called it _Tasman's Peak_. It is
the northernmost part seen by him on this side of Van Diemen's Land, as
Mount Heemskerk was on the west coast: the flat-topped mountain is that
which colonel Paterson afterwards named _Benlomen_. To the southward, the
land was visible at a great distance; and if Schouten's Island and the
cape of the peninsula near it can possibly be seen so far as twenty
leagues from the deck, it must have been them. My observation and
bearings at this time were as follow:

Latitude observed, 41 deg. 271/2' S.
South extreme of the coast, S. 18 W.
Another piece of land, like an island, S. 23 W.
Tasman's Peak, S. 63 W.
Northern extremity of the land, N. 32 W.

It was to me a subject of regret, that the wind did not allow of keeping
close in with this east coast, since captain Furneauxs examination was
made at too great a distance to be exact; but my limited time of absence
being expired, and provisions nearly out, nothing more could be attempted
than what might be done in the way to Port Jackson.

(Atlas, Plate VI.)

Jan. 6, in latitude 40 deg. 451/2' no land was in sight; but on the 7th, when
in 40 deg. 243/4', the high land of Cape Barren was visible through a thick
haze, bearing S. 76 deg. W. five or six miles. The wind being then nearly at
east, we steered to pass between Cape Barren and the great northern
island, intending to explore the west side of the latter in our way. At
five o'clock breakers were seen two miles to the north, though no bottom
could be found at 17 fathoms; at six, however, we fell suddenly into 3
fathoms; but hoping to find a sufficient depth for the sloop round the
island which lies in the opening, stood on till the soundings diminished
to nine feet, and breakers were seen all round ahead, from beam to beam.
It was then near sun-set, and the breeze right aft; but whilst I was
considering what could be done for our safety, the wind shifted suddenly,
as if by an act of Providence, to the opposite quarter, and enabled us to
steer back, out of this dangerous place, with all sail. At nine o'clock
the wind returned to the south-eastward, having just lasted long enough
to take us out of danger; at eleven we had 20 fathoms; and in two hours
more steered N. by W., for the Babel Isles, with a fresh and fair wind.

Jan 8, at six o'clock, Mr. Bass went on shore to the small, south~
eastern islet; whence he brought a boat load of seals and gannets.
Besides these, the islet is inhabited by geese, shags, penguins, gulls,
and sooty petrels; each occupying its separate district, and using its
own language. It was the confusion of noises amongst these various
animals which induced me to give the name of _Babel Isles_ to this small

After taking on board our seals and gannets, we steered north-westward;
and at one o'clock took a departure from the Sisters. I wished to make
another effort to find the supposed Furneaux's Land, represented to lie
north of these islands and in latitude 39 deg.; but the wind being strong
from the south-eastward, the course steered was N. by E. At eight o'clock
we had passed the 39th degree; and no land being visible, the course was
then altered to north-east, for Cape Howe.

Jan. 9, the wind blew strong at S. S. E., with thick, hazy weather. At
eight in the morning, high land was distinguished two points on the
weather bow, and sand hills from thence to abaft the lee beam, not more
than six or seven miles distant. We immediately hauled the wind to the
eastward, and carried every sail the sloop could bear in such a sea as
was then running. The land to windward was judged to be near the Ram
Head; although our reckoning was 20' short in latitude, and we supposed
ourselves to the eastward.

To make certain of clearing Cape Howe, the eastern course was prolonged
until day-light of the 10th; we then bore away, and at noon were in
latitude 37 deg. 5'. On the 11th, the observation gave 34 deg. 30'; and the gale
still continuing, we anchored within the heads of Port Jackson at ten
o'clock the same evening, having exceeded, by no more than eleven days,
the time which had been fixed for our return.

To the strait which had been the great object of research, and whose
discovery was now completed, governor Hunter gave, at my recommendation,
the name of BASS' STRAIT. This was no more than a just tribute to my
worthy friend and companion, for the extreme dangers and fatigues he had
undergone in first entering it in the whale boat, and to the correct
judgment he had formed from various indications, of the existence of a
wide opening between Van Diemen's Land and New South Wales.


The success of this expedition favoured my views of further discovery;
and the Reliance not being immediately wanted for service, His Excellency
accepted a proposition to explore _Glass-house_ and _Hervey's Bays_, two
large openings to the northward, of which the entrances only were known.
I had some hope of finding a considerable river discharging itself at one
of these openings, and of being able by its means to penetrate further
into the interior of the country than had hitherto been effected.

The sloop Norfolk was again allotted to me, with nearly the same
volunteer crew as before; and I was accompanied by Mr. S. W. Flinders, a
midshipman of the Reliance, and by _Bongaree_, a native, whose good
disposition and manly conduct had attracted my esteem. Of the assistance
of my able friend Bass I was, however, deprived, he having quitted the
station soon after our last voyage, to return to England. The time of my
absence was limited by the governor to six weeks, some arrivals being
then expected which might call the Reliance into active service.

(Atlas, Plate VIII.)

We sailed out of Port Jackson on July 8; and next morning came in with a
part of the coast, north of Port Stephens, which captain Cook had passed
in the night.* Off a projection which I called _Sugar-loaf Point_, in
latitude 32 deg. 29', lie two rocks to the south-eastward, at the distances
of two and four miles. We passed between these rocks and the point, and
kept close in with the shore as far to the north as the hills called
_Three Brothers_ by captain Cook, of which the northernmost and highest
lies in latitude 31 deg. 43' south.

[* The journal of this expedition, delivered to governor Hunter on my
return, having been published in great part by colonel Collins, the
account here given will be brief, and almost wholly confined to nautical
subjects. The reader who desires more information upon the lands visited,
and upon their productions and inhabitants, is referred to the _Account
of the English Colony in New South Wales_, Vol II. page 225 to 263.]

(Atlas, Plate IX.)

July 10, the observed latitude of 31 deg. 38' showed a set of 33' to the
south; whereas it had the day before been 8' the contrary way. Our
distance from the shore had then become six leagues, owing to a foul
wind; but we got in with it again in the evening, and steered northward
with a fair breeze. On the 11th we sailed amongst the Solitary Isles, of
which five were added to the number before seen; and the space from
thence to twelve leagues northward having been passed by captain Cook in
the night, I continued to keep close in with the coast.

In latitude 29 deg. 43', we discovered a small opening like a river, with an
islet lying in the entrance; and at sunset, entered a larger, to which I
gave the name of SHOAL BAY, an appellation which it but too well merited.
On the south side of the entrance, which is the deepest, there is ten
feet at low water; and within side, the depth is from 2 to 4 fathoms in a
channel near the south shore: the rest of the bay is mostly occupied by
shoals, over which boats can scarcely pass when the tide is out. High
water appeared to take place about _seven hours after_ the moon's
passage; at which time, a ship drawing not more than fourteen feet might
venture in, if severely pressed. Shoal Bay is difficult to be found,
except by its latitude, which is 29 deg. 261/2'; but there is on the low land
about four leagues to the southward, a small hill somewhat peaked, which
may serve as a mark to vessels coming from that direction.

July 12. The morning was employed in examining the bay, and in looking
round the country. The sloop had sprung a bad leak, and I wished to have
laid her on shore; but not finding a convenient place, nor any thing of
particular interest to detain me longer, we sailed at one o'clock, when
the tide began to rise. Cape Byron, in latitude 28 deg. 38', and the coast
for twelve miles to the north and south, were passed on the 13th: but no
particular addition or correction could be made to captain Cook's chart.
At Moreton Bay, further on, that navigator had left it in doubt whether
there were any opening; and therefore we closed in again with the land at
Point Look-out, on the 14th. At noon, the point bore S. 42 deg. E., three or
four miles, and a small flat islet E. 3 deg. N. three miles; the opening in
Moreton Bay was then evident, and bore W. N. W. It is small, and formed
by two sandy points, beyond which a large extent of water was visible.
Our latitude at this time, was 27 deg. 24', giving that of Point Look-out to
be 27 deg. 27' south. Captain Cook says it is "in latitude 27 deg. 6';" * a
difference which probably arose from his having allowed for a strong
northern current during the run of four or five hours from the preceding
noon, whereas, in reality, none existed; for his course and distance by
log, from the noon's observation, would give the point in its true

[* _Hawkesworth's Voyages_, Vol III. page 119.]

We stood on to within two miles of the opening in Moreton Bay; but seeing
it blocked up by many shoals of sand, and the depth having diminished
from 12 to 4 fathoms, the course was altered for Cape Moreton, which was
visible seven or eight leagues to the northward. At eight in the evening,
the anchor was dropped in 7 fathoms at the entrance of Glass-house Bay,
Cape Moreton bearing E. S. E. two or three miles.

But little progress was made up the bay on the 15th, owing to the many
shoals in it, and to a foul wind. At noon, the latitude of Cape Moreton
was ascertained to be 27 deg. 01/2' south, and the longitude from distances of
stars east and west of the moon, corrected by the observations at
Greeenwich, was 153 deg. 25' east; being 41/2' south, and 7' west of its
position by captain Cook. In the evening, when the lunar distances were
observed, the sloop was at anchor in 11 fathoms on the west side of the
entrance, within two miles of a low projection which an unfortunate
occurrence afterwards caused to be named Point Skirmish.

On the 16th, whilst beating up amongst the shoals, an opening was
perceived round the point; and being much in want of a place to lay the
sloop on shore, on account of the leak, I tried to enter it; but not
finding it accessible from the south, was obliged to make the examination
with the boat, whilst the sloop lay at anchor five miles off. There was a
party of natives on the point, and our communication was at first
friendly; but after receiving presents they made an attack, and one of
them was wounded by our fire. Proceeding up the opening, I found it to be
more than a mile in width; and from the
quantities of pumice stone on the borders, it was named _Pumice-stone
River_. It led towards the remarkable peaks called the Glass Houses,
which were now suspected to be volcanic, and excited my curiosity.

On board the sloop, the leak had, in the mean time, been found to arise
from a plank having started from the timbers, at three or four streaks
above the keel; and the open space being filled up with oakum from the
inside, very little water came in; I therefore left the river and the
Glass Houses for a future examination, and proceeded up the bay with the
afternoon's flood. On the 18th at noon, we had passed two low islands
surrounded with shoals, and were at anchor in 6 fathoms, abreast of a
third. The south point of the opening from Moreton Bay then bore N. 77 deg.
E., ten miles; and the observed latitude being 27 deg. 271/4', confirmed the
observation taken without side on the 14th. Next day, we beat up against
a southern wind to a sixth island; but the shoals then became more
numerous, and the channels between them so narrow, that it was very
difficult to proceed further.

The latitude observed upon the sixth island was 27 deg. 35', being
thirty-four miles south of Cape Moreton at the entrance of the bay. Above
this island, the east and west shores, from being nine or ten miles
apart, approach each other within two miles, and the space between them
takes the form of a river; but the entrance was too full of shoals to
leave a hope of penetrating by it far into the interior, or that it could
be of importance to navigation. Under this discouragement and that of a
foul wind, all further research at the head of Glass-house Bay was given
up; and I returned on board to seek in Pumice-stone River for a place to
stop the leak, and the means of visiting the Glass Houses. On the 22nd,
we got into the river after many difficulties, arising principally from
shoals in the entrance, which could only be passed at high water. The
place chosen for laying the sloop on shore was on the east side, five
miles above Point Skirmish, at a small beach, close to which the depth
was 7 fathoms.

July 25. The leaky plank being secured, and the sloop restowed and
completed with water, we proceeded two miles further up the river,
amongst mangrove islets and muddy flats. Next morning I landed on the
west side, as far above the sloop as the boat could advance; and with my
friend Bongaree and two sailors, steered north-westward for the
Glasshouse peaks. After nine miles of laborious walking, mostly through
swamps or over a rocky country, we reached the top of a stony mount, from
whence the highest peak was four miles distant to the north-west. Three
or four leagues beyond it was a ridge of mountain, from which various
small streams descend into Pumice-stone River; the principal place of
their junction seeming to be at a considerable extent of water which bore
N. 80 deg. E., and was about six miles above the sloop. Early on the 27th, we
reached the foot of the nearest Glass House, a flat-topped peak, one mile
and a half north of the stony mount. It was impossible to ascend this
almost perpendicular rock; and finding no marks of volcanic eruption, we
returned to the boat, and to the sloop the same evening.

July 28, we proceeded down the river; but owing to strong winds and
squalls from the south-east, did not clear it before the 31st. Some
communications with the natives had been obtained whilst the sloop was
lying on shore; and this detention afforded opportunities of repeating
them. I am happy to say they were all friendly, which is attributable to
their opinion of us having undergone a salutary change from the effect of
our fire arms at Point Skirmish.

These people were evidently of the same race as those at Port Jackson,
though speaking a language which Bongaree could not understand. They fish
almost wholly with cast and setting nets, live more in society than the
natives to the southward, and are much better lodged. Their spears are of
solid wood, and used without the throwing stick. Two or three bark canoes
were seen; but from the number of black swans in the river, of which
eighteen were caught in our little boat, it should seem that these people
are not dextrous in the management either of the canoe or spear.

The entrance of Glass-house Bay, from Point Skirmish to the inner part of
Cape Moreton, is eight miles wide; but it contains so many shoals that a
ship would have much difficulty in finding a passage. These shoals are of
sand, and in the channels between them are various depths from 5 to 13
fathoms upon similar ground; but towards the head of the bay, both on the
shoals and in the deeper parts, the bottom is almost universally of mud.
The land on the borders of Pumice-stone River is low; and is either sandy
or rocky, with a slight superficies of vegetable soil; yet not ill
clothed with grass and wood. On the west side of Glass-house Bay, the
appearance of the land was much similar, but with a diminution of sand in
the upper part. The long slip on the east side, which I have called
_Moreton Island_, as supposing it would have received that name from
captain Cook, had he known of its insularity, is little else than a ridge
of rocky hills, with a sandy surface; but the peninsula further south had
some appearance of fertility. I judged favourably of the country on the
borders of what seemed to be a river falling into the head of the bay,
both from its thick covering of wood, and from the good soil of the sixth
island, which lies at the entrance. The other islands in the bay are very
low, and so surrounded with forests of large mangrove, that it must be
difficult to land upon them. It was high water in Pumice-stone River,
_nine hours and a half after_ the moon's passage over the meridian; and
the rise of tide was from three to six feet, the night tide being much
the highest.

July 31, we sailed out of Pumice-stone River; and by keeping near the
shore of Point Skirmish had generally 6 fathoms; but two narrow shoals
were passed upon which the depth was only twelve feet. At noon, when the
east extreme of the point bore S. 40 deg. W. one mile and a half, the
observed latitude was 27 deg. 4', and depth 10 fathoms; but before one
o'clock, it suddenly diminished to 3; and during five miles run to the N.
N. E., varied from that to 6 fathoms. It then deepened to 9, and the
outer edge of the shoals, a well-defined line of discoloured water, was
seen stretching S. 60 deg. E. for Cape Moreton. At five o'clock, the top of
the highest Glass House, appearing like a small peak upon the mountainous
ridge behind, bore S. 62 deg. W., and Cape Moreton S. 11 deg. E. twenty-two
miles. The cape was then disappearing from the deck; whence its elevation
should be between three and four hundred feet above the sea.

(Atlas, Plate X.)

August 2 at noon, the eastern extremity of Sandy Cape bore N. 51 deg. W., six
miles, and its latitude was found to be 24 deg. 42', being three minutes
north of its situation by captain Cook. In running northward, within two
or three miles of the edge of Break-sea Spit, we had 12 fathoms; and at
five o'clock, passed over the end of the spit in 31/2; Sandy Cape then
bearing S. 9 deg. E. six leagues. The water deepened almost immediately to
more than 17 fathoms; and in keeping close to a south-east wind, up
Hervey's Bay, the depth was from 20 to 14, during the night.

On the 3rd, the wind veered to S. S. W; and at noon the anchor was
dropped in 17 fathoms, with the extreme of Sandy Cape bearing N. 66 deg. E.
seven or eight miles. The observed latitude was 24 deg. 45 1/3', and a tide
of one mile per hour came from the southward. A fair wind sprung up in
the afternoon, and we ran five leagues by log in a S. by W. direction,
anchoring at dusk in 11 fathoms, sandy bottom.

Aug. 4 was employed in beating up along the eastern shore, against a
south-west wind. At three leagues above the anchorage, our progress was
stopped by a mass of shoals which seemed to preclude all further access
towards the head of the bay on that side. In the night, we stretched
north-westward, to get round them; and in the evening of the 5th,
anchored in 5 fathoms, three or four miles from the western shore.

Aug. 6. The wind being off the land, we followed the line of the coast
upwards, as close as the shoals would allow; and before noon entered an
opening formed by the western shore on one side, and an island of
moderate height, three or four miles long, on the other. The opening was
not more than two miles wide, and was still further contracted by a low
islet in the middle, surrounded with shallow banks. There was a large
expanse of water above; but we had not advanced two miles before shoal
water obliged us to tack; and after having tried for a channel in every
direction, without success, I anchored in 3 fathoms, half a mile
north-west from the low islet, and landed.

This rocky, sandy spot lies in latitude 25 deg. 17'. It is much frequented by
aquatic birds, particularly by that species whence it obtained the name
of _Curlew Islet_; and since a small shield and three wooden spears were
found there, it must also be visited occasionally by men. The larger
island, lying to the east, is richly covered with grass and wood. Its
position is nearly in the middle of the entrance to what may be called
the upper bay; and as no deep channel past the island could be found on
the west, I determined to try on the east side; having much difficulty in
believing, that a piece of water six or seven miles in extent every way,
should not have a channel into it sufficiently deep for the Norfolk.

The anchor was weighed soon after four o'clock, and several attempts made
to get round the larger island; but being constantly repulsed by shoals,
I was at length forced to relinquish the hope of penetrating further up
Hervey's Bay. We then steered north-westward, to complete the examination
of the west side down to the coast seen by captain Cook.

Aug. 7. At daylight, a sloping hummock, in latitude 24 deg. 50', bore W. 16 deg.
N., our distance off the shore under it being one mile and a half, and
the depth 7 fathoms. At nine, the water shoaled suddenly, and obliged us
to haul off north-eastward. The coast was then seen extending to the W.
N. W., and having been laid down by captain Cook, the north-eastern
course was continued for Break-sea Spit, and the examination of Hervey's
Bay concluded.

This inlet is about fifteen leagues across, from the sloping hummock to
the eastern extremity of Sandy Cape, and nearly as much in depth. The
east side is formed by a great sandy peninsula, of which the cape is the
northern extremity; but about half way up, there are several white
cliffs, and others in the upper bay, which had the appearance of chalk.
The shores at the head and on the west side are more rocky than sandy.
The back land is low for some miles, and not ill covered with grass and
wood; it then rises to hills of considerable elevation, amongst which
Double Mount was most remarkable. The smokes in different places bespoke
the country to be inhabited in the scanty numbers usual on other parts of
the east coast; but none of the people were seen.

Aug. 7, at ten in the evening, we passed the end of Break-sea Spit in 13
fathoms, and hauled up south-east; but the winds were so unfavourable,
that on the 14th our latitude was no more than 29 deg. 19'. I kept the land
barely within sight, in order to obtain the greatest advantage from the
southwardly current; for, contrary to captain Cook's observation, it was
found to be strongest at the distance of six, and from thence to twenty
leagues. Close in with the shore, more especially in the bights which
fall within the general line of the coast, an eddy had been found setting
to the northward.

Light northern winds favoured us for two days; but returning to the
south-west, and sometimes blowing strong, it was the 20th in the evening
before the sloop was secured in Port Jackson, although the current had
set us 210 miles on the way.

I must acknowledge myself to have been disappointed in not being able to
penetrate into the interior of New South Wales, by either of the openings
examined in this expedition; but, however mortifying the conviction might
be, it was then an ascertained fact, that no river of importance
intersected the East Coast between the 24th and 39th degrees of south


The account of the discoveries which resulted from the establishment of
the colony in New South Wales, closes with this expedition; and it
remains only to point out what was wanted to be done in these parts of
Terra Australis.

(Atlas, Plate I.)

In Van Diemen's Land, the opening round Point St. Vincent and the space
between Maria's Island and Cape Portland required to be further explored.
The north side also, from the want of a time keeper in the Norfolk,
required to have the longitude of its points better ascertained; and that
the bight between Circular Head and Cape Grim should be examined. In
Bass' Strait, some of the islands were known, but the middle of the
strait and its western entrance were in want of much investigation,
before it could be deemed a safe passage for ships; and the greater part
of the coast on the north side, remained as laid down by Mr. Bass, with
all the uncertainty attending the navigation of an open boat.

On the east coast of New South Wales, from Bass' Strait to Bustard Bay in
latitude 24 deg., the shore might be said to be well explored; but from
thence northward to Cape York, there were several portions which had
either been passed by captain Cook in the night, or at such a distance in
the day time, as to render their formation doubtful: The coast from 15 deg.
30' to 14 deg. 30' was totally unknown.

The following openings or bights had been seen and named by captain Cook,
but were yet unexamined: _Keppel_ and _Shoal-water Bays_; _Broad Sound_;
_Repulse_, _Edgecumbe_, _Cleveland_, _Halifax_, _Rockingham_, and _Weary
Bays_. To the northward of these were _Weymouth_, _Temple_, _Shelburne_,
and _Newcastle Bays_; and perhaps many others which distance did not
permit our great navigator to notice. There was also a numerous list of
islands, of which a few only had been examined; and several were merely
indicated from a distant view.

From 16 deg. northward to Cape York, an extensive chain of reefs had been
found to lie at a considerable distance from the coast, without side of
the islands; and two vessels from Port Jackson had met with others
further south, extending nearly from 21 deg. to 23 deg.. It was of importance to

Facebook Google Reddit Twitter Pinterest