14 – 23 September

ASCEND MOUNT ABRUPT.

September 14.

I was most anxious to ascend Mount Abrupt, the first peak to the
northward of Mount Sturgeon, that I might close my survey of these
mountains and also reconnoitre the country before us. This morning clouds
hung upon the mountains however, and I could scarcely indulge a hope that
the weather would be favourable for the purposed survey; nevertheless I
bent my steps towards the mountain, having first set the carpenter to
work to make an additional width of felloe to the narrow wheels of one of
the carts, that it might pass with less difficulty over soft ground. We
soon came to a deep stream flowing not FROM but apparently TOWARDS the
mountains; its general course being westward. It was so deep that our
horses could scarcely ford it without swimming. Reeds grew about and the
bottom was soft, although two kinds of rock appeared in its banks. On the
right was trap, on the left the ferruginous sandstone of which all these
mountains consist. We soon entered on the barren and sandy but firm
ground at their base which, with its peculiar trees and shrubs, appeared
so different from the grassy plains. The banksia, the casuarina, and the
hardy xanthorrhoea reminded us of former toils on the opposite side of
these ranges.

VIEW OF THE GRAMPIANS FROM THE SUMMIT.
The weather turned out better than I had expected, and from the summit of
Mount Abrupt I beheld a truly sublime scene; the whole of the mountains,
quite clear of clouds, the grand outline of the more distant masses
blended with the sky, and forming a blue and purple background for the
numerous peaks of the range on which I stood, which consisted of sharp
cones and perpendicular cliffs foreshortened so as to form one grand
feature only of the extensive landscape, though composing a crescent
nearly 30 miles in extent: this range being but a branch from the still
more lofty masses of Mount William which crowned the whole. Towards the
coast there was less haze than usual, for I could distinguish Lady Julia
Percy’s Isle which I had looked for in vain from Mount Napier, a point
twenty-four miles nearer to it. Here I could also trace the course of the
stream we had crossed that morning from its sources under the eastern
base of the mountains to a group of lower hills twenty-seven miles
distant to the westward; which hills, named by me Dundas group, formed a
most useful point in my trigonometrical survey.

LAKES.

Several extensive lakes appeared in the lowest parts adjacent; but what
interested me most after I had intersected the various summits was the
appearance of the country to the eastward, through which we were to find
our way home. There I saw a vast extent of open downs and could trace
their undulations to where they joined a range of mountains which,
judging by their outlines, appeared to be of easy access. Our straightest
way homewards passed just under a bluff head about fifty miles distant,
and so far I could easily perceive a most favourable line of route by
avoiding several large reedy lakes. Between that open country and these
lakes on one side and the coast on the other, a low woody ridge extended
eastward; and by first gaining that I hoped we should reach the open
ground in a direction which should enable us to leave all the lakes on
our left.

The largest pieces of water I could see were Lake Linlithgow and its
companion in the open grassy plains between the range and Mount Napier,
as previously discovered from that hill. Several small and very
picturesque lakes, then as smooth as mirrors, adorned the valley
immediately to the westward of the hill I was upon. They were fringed
with luxuriant shrubs so that it was really painful to me to hurry, as I
was then compelled to do, past spots like these, involving in their
unexplored recesses so much of novelty amidst the most romantic scenery.

The rock consisted of a finely-grained sandstone as in other parts of
that mass. The Grampians of the south consist of three ranges covering a
surface which extends latitudinally 54 miles and longitudinally 20 miles.

The extreme eastern and highest summit is Mount William, in height 4,500
feet above the sea. The northern point is Mount Zero, in latitude 36
degrees 52 minutes 35 seconds South, and the southern is Mount Sturgeon,
in latitude 37 degrees 38 minutes 00 seconds. I here again recognised the
outline of the most northern and elevated range extending from Mount
William to Mount Zero, but it was not so steep on the southern as on the
northern side.

VICTORIA RANGE AND THE SERRA.
From this hill two other ranges branch off to the south; the western
being marked Victoria range on the map, the eastern, the Serra, from its
serrated appearance, the broken outlines they present being highly
ornamental to the fine country around. On the northern slopes of the

range are some forests of fine timber but in general the higher summits

are bare and rocky. The chief source of the Glenelg is between the

Victoria range and the most northern, whence it soon sinks into a deep

glen or ravine, receiving numberless tributaries from other dells

intersecting the adjacent country. A considerable branch of the Glenelg

named by the natives the Wannon has its sources in the eastern and

southern rivulets from these mountains. The waters falling northward

enter the Wimmera, a different river whose estuary has not yet been

explored. Returning towards the camp, on approaching the stream, we met

with one of the most strikingly beautiful species of the common genus

Pultenaea; its narrow heath-like leaves were so closely covered with soft

silky hairs as to have quite a silvery appearance and the branches were

loaded with the heads of yellow and brown flowers now fully open. It

formed a new species of the Proliferous section, allied to Pultenaea

stipularis.*

(*Footnote. P. mollis, Lindley manuscripts; ramulis villosis, foliis

linearibus v. lineari-lanceolatis obtusis v. acuminatis subtus convexis

supra sulcatis sericeo-pilosis capitulis sessilibus longioribus, stipulis

ovato-linearibus acutis glabris badiis, calycibus villosis.)

PARTY IMPEDED BY THE MUD AGAIN, AND A BROKEN AXLE.

September 15.

Pursuing an easterly course in order to avoid the Wannon we again found

the ground so soft and boggy that it was impossible to proceed; and after

advancing with incredible labour (under which one of the poor bullocks

fell to rise no more) barely four miles, I ordered the tents to be again

set up, but almost in despair for having performed during the previous

days several good journeys with perfect freedom from this species of

impediment, and having seen no indication of any change in the surface, I

had assured the men on descending from the mountains that the country

before us was favourable. We were nevertheless compelled to halt again at

this part by the breaking of the iron axle of one of the carts, for it

was necessary to endeavour to repair it before we could proceed. The

highest part of the woody ridge between us and the plains bore according

to my map due east, being distant 14 miles.

MR. STAPYLTON EXAMINES THE COUNTRY BEFORE US.

I gave that bearing to Mr. Stapylton who rode forward with Burnett to

ascertain how far we were from firmer ground, while I continued in my

tent occupied with the map of the mountains. It was dark before Mr.

Stapylton returned and brought the pleasing tidings that the soft ground

extended only to three or four miles from the camp, and that from beyond

that distance to the forest hills he had found the ground tolerably firm.

September 16.

The country which proved so soft was nevertheless stony and trap-rock

projected from every higher portion; yet such rocky eminences being

unconnected each was surrounded by softer ground. I was resolved to make

the very most of them: but an iron axle having been broken in our

struggles with the mud, the smith required more time to repair it, and I

therefore determined to proceed with but half the equipment drawn by ALL

the bullocks, leaving Burnett and the remaining portion of the party and

equipment to come on next day by the same means, as soon as the cattle

could be sent back.

AT LENGTH GET THROUGH THE SOFT REGION.

Having previously examined the ground and carefully traced out the

hardest parts connecting these rocky features, I led the way with the

carts and got through the first part of the journey much better than any

of us had expected. After passing over four miles of soft boggy ground we

came to a small running stream, the surface beyond it rising to a

somewhat steep ascent. On reaching that side I found myself on a good

firm ridge along which I continued for some time until we reached a

swampy lagoon, the banks of which were very firm and good. Leaving this

on our right we at length saw the darkly wooded hills of the ridge before

mentioned; and having travelled eleven miles we encamped near a small

lagoon on a spot where there was excellent grass; but it was still

necessary to send back the poor cattle with their drivers that evening to

where the other party still remained encamped.

CATTLE QUITE EXHAUSTED.

September 17.

This day the rest of the party came up but the cattle seemed quite

exhausted. They had at length become so weak from the continued heavy

dragging through mud that it was obvious they could not proceed much

further until after they had enjoyed at least some weeks of repose. But

our provisions did not admit of this delay as the time had arrived when I

ought to have been at Sydney although still so far from it.

DETERMINE TO LEAVE THEM IN A DEPOT TO REFRESH WHILE I PROCEED FORWARD.

After mature deliberation we hit upon a plan which might as I thought

enable us to escape. The arrangement proposed was that I should go

forward with some of the freshest of the cattle drawing the light carts

and boat, with a month’s provisions, and taking with me as many men as

would enable me to leave with those who should remain provisions for two

months. That the cattle should rest at the present camp two weeks and

then proceed while I, by travelling so far before them with so light a

party, could send back a supply of provisions and also the boat, to meet

this second party following in my track on the banks of the Murray. Thus

I could reach Sydney some weeks sooner, and also carry on my survey much

more conveniently; the cattle, which had been sinking almost daily, would

be thus refreshed sufficiently to be able to travel and the chance of the

whole party suffering from famine would be much diminished. Such was the

outline of the plan which our position and necessities suggested.

September 18.

This day was passed in making preparations for setting out tomorrow with

the light party as proposed.

SPECIMENS OF NATURAL HISTORY.

The catalogue of the objects of Natural History collected during the

journey included several birds and animals not hitherto mentioned in this

Journal. Amongst the most remarkable of these was the pig-footed animal

found on June 16. It measured about ten inches in length, had no tail,

and the forefeet resembled those of a pig. There was also the rat which

climbs trees like the opossum; the flat-tailed rat from the scrubs of the

Darling, where it builds an enormous nest of branches and boughs, so

interlaced as to be proof against any attacks of the native dog. The

unique specimen from the reedy country on the Murray of a very singular

animal much resembling the jerboa or desert rat of Persia; also a

rat-eared bat from the Lachlan. We had several new birds, but the most

admired of our ornithological discoveries was a white-winged superb

warbler from the junction of the Darling and the Murray, all the plumage

not white being of a bright blue colour; but of this we had obtained only

one specimen. I had not many opportunities of figuring the birds from

life, so very desirable in ornithological subjects. The eye of the eagle

and the rich crest of the cockatoo of the desert could not be preserved

in dead specimens, and were too fine to be omitted among the sketches I

endeavoured to snatch from nature.* Our herbarium had suffered from the

continued wet weather, especially in fording deep rivers; and this was

the more to be regretted as it contained many remarkable specimens. The

seeds and bulbous roots comprising varieties of Calostemma, Caladenia,

and Anguillaria, besides a number of large liliaceous bulbs, were however

preserved in a very good state.**

(*Footnote. See Plates 23 and 36.)

(**Footnote. The specimens of natural history were deposited in the

Museum at Sydney, according to my letter of instructions. The seeds,

amounting to 134 varieties, have been brought home and distributed, with

the obliging assistance of my friend Dr. Lindley, amongst the principal

gardens in this country. The bulbs, 62 in number, were planted soon after

my arrival in England, in the gardens of the Horticultural Society at

Chiswick. It was not without regret that I left at Sydney the single

specimens of the Chaeropus and Dipus, but I took drawings representing

each, of the natural size, and from these the figures in Plates 37 and 38

have been very accurately reduced by Mr. Picken.)

SITUATION OF DEPOT CAMP AT LAKE REPOSE.

The camp in which Mr. Stapylton’s party was to remain two weeks was in as

favourable a place for refreshing the cattle as could be found. The

ground undulated and was thickly clothed with fresh verdure; a grassy

swamp also, such as cattle delight in, extended northward into a lake of

fresh water which I named Lake Repose. The peaks of the Serra Range and

especially Mount Abrupt were landmarks which secured the men from even

the possibility of losing their way in looking after the cattle.

Of the natives in our party it was arranged among themselves that Tommy

Came-first and The Widow, who most required a rest, having sore feet,

should remain with Mr. Stapylton and that Piper and Tommy Came-last

should accompany me.

PARTING OF THE WIDOW AND HER CHILD.

September 19.

When about to set out I observed that The Widow Turandurey, who was to

remain with Mr. Stapylton’s party and the carts, was marked with white

round the eyes (the natives’ fashion of mourning) and that the face of

her child Ballandella was whitened also. This poor woman who had

cheerfully carried the child on her back when we offered to carry both on

the carts, and who was as careful and affectionate as any mother could

be, had at length determined to entrust to me the care of this infant. I

was gratified with such a proof of the mother’s confidence in us, but I

should have been less willing to take charge of her child had I not been

aware of the wretched state of slavery to which the natives females are

doomed. I felt additional interest in this poor child from the

circumstance of her having suffered so much by the accident that befel

her while with our party, and which had not prevented her from now

preferring our mode of living so much that I believe the mother at length

despaired of being ever able to initiate her thoroughly in the mysteries

of killing and eating snakes, lizards, rats, and similar food. The widow

had been long enough with us to be sensible how much more her sex was

respected by civilised men than savages, and, as I conceived, it was with

such sentiments that she committed her child to my charge, under the

immediate care however of Piper’s gin.

WE AT LENGTH EMERGE ON MUCH FIRMER GROUND.

For several miles we met with soft ground at the low connecting parts of

hills, but we at length gained the woody ridge so likely, as I had hoped,

to favour our progress. Its turnings were intricate but, by one or two

rivulets falling to my left and then by others falling to the right, I

learnt how to keep on the intermediate ground until at length, after a

journey of nine miles, we emerged from the woods on a firm open surface

and an extensive prospect was seen before us. Leaving the party to encamp

I rode to a round forest hill some miles to the eastward and obtained a

comprehensive view of the Grampians, and also of the country to the

northward which now appeared to be chiefly open; and I had little doubt

that we should find it more favourable for travelling upon. Eastward of

the forest hill the ground sank into a deep valley which turned round to

the south-east after receiving the drainage from some hollows in the open

country north of it.

RIVER HOPKINS.

This ravine received also the waters from the woody ridge now south of

us, where the numerous deep valleys were irrigated by streams arising in

swamps; the whole probably forming the head of some more important stream

flowing to the coast and which I here named the river Hopkins. This

eminence, which I distinguished as Mount Stavely, consisted apparently of

decomposed clay-stone or felspar, having a tendency to divide naturally

into regular prisms. A very beautiful and singular-looking shrub appeared

on the hills we crossed this day, and also on the open ground where

indeed it was most abundant. It was a species of acacia, the leaves

adhering edgeways to thorny branches; many of these shrubs were in

blossom, the flowers being yellow and as large and round as marbles, and

those growing very thickly, they gave to the branches the appearance of

garlands or festoons, the effect altogether being extremely graceful and

singular. We found also a beautiful new species of acacia looking like a

broad-leaved variety of A. armata. The branches were singularly protected

by short spiny forks which proved to be the hardened permanent stipules.*

(*Footnote. A. furcifera, Lindley manuscripts; stipulis spinescentibus

persistentibus, phyllodiis obliquis ovato-oblongis mucronatis uninerviis

hinc venosis glabris, ramis hirsutis, capitulis solitariis foliis

brevioribus.)

With this occurred another species with hard stiff scymetar-shaped leaves

and a profusion of balls of browner yellow flowers which had been

previously observed (on June 22) in a more vigorous condition.* By

observations from this hill I made the height of Mount William about

4,500 feet above the sea.

(*Footnote. This was most nearly related to A. hispidula, but the leaves

were quite smooth and much smaller. A. acinacea, Lindley manuscripts;

glaberrima; ramulis alato-angulatis rigidis, phyllodiis brevibus

acinaciformibus mucronatis 1-nerviis et enerviis: margine superiore infra

medium glanduloso, capitulis geminis axillaribus, pedunculis phyllodiorum

longitudine.)

September 20.

Our wheels now rolled lightly over fine grassy downs and our faces were

turned towards distant home. Before us arose a low, thinly-wooded hill,

which at first bounded our view towards the north, and afterwards proved

to be the feature connecting the low woody ridge near our last camp with

the hills still further to the northward. On reaching the summit I

perceived that a considerable extent of open country intervened, being

watered in the lower parts by several lakes.

MOUNT NICHOLSON. COCKAJEMMY SALT LAKES.

Descending northward along an offset of the same hills which had led us

in that direction and which I now named Mount Nicholson, I observed that

the lakes occurred at intervals in a valley apparently falling from the

westward in which no stream appeared, although it was shut in by well

escarped rocky banks. We encamped after a journey of ten miles at a point

where another valley from the north joined the above, and I was somewhat

surprised to find after encamping that the water in the adjacent lakes

was extremely salt. No connection existed by means of any channel between

them although they formed together a chain of lagoons in the bed of a

deep and well defined valley. On the contrary the soil was particularly

solid and firm between them, and the margin of the most eastern of these

lakes was separated by a high bank from the bed of another valley where a

running stream of pure water flowed over a broad and swampy bed fifteen

feet higher than the adjacent valley containing the stagnant salt lakes.

The rock enclosing these singular valleys was basalt, and from these

peculiarities, considered with reference to the ancient volcano and the

dip of a mountain strata to the north-west, it was evident that some

upheaving or subsidence had materially altered the levels of the original

surface.

I could find no brine-springs in or about these lakes, and as it was

evident that a stream had once washed the bed of the ravine now occupied

by them, I may leave the solution of the problem to geologists.

(*Footnote. Having submitted specimens of the water from these and other

salt lakes of the interior to my friend Professor Faraday, I have been

favoured with the following particulars respecting their contents: “All

of them are solutions of common salt much surpassing the ocean or even

the Mediterranean in the quantity of salt dissolved. Besides the common

salt there are present (in comparatively small quantity) portions of

sulphates and muriates of lime and magnesia: the waters are neutral and

except in strength very much resemble those of the ocean. That labelled

Greenhill Lake 24th July had a specific gravity of 1049.4 and three

measured ounces gave on evaporation 97 grains of dry salts. That labelled

Mitre Lake 24th July had a specific gravity of 1038.6, and three measured

ounces of it yielded 77 grains of dry saline matter. The water labelled

Cockajemmy Lake Camp 20th September had a specific gravity of 1055.3 and

the amount of dry salts from three measured ounces was 113 grains.”)

NATIVES ILL DISPOSED.

As we proceeded over the open ground before we reached the spot where we

finally encamped several natives appeared at a great distance in a valley

eastward of Mount Nicholson, and Piper went towards them supported by

Brown whom I sent after him on horseback. They proved to be three or four

gins only, but Piper continued to pursue them to the top of a hill, when

a number of men armed with spears suddenly started from behind trees and

were running furiously towards Piper when Brown rode up. On presenting

his pistol they came to a full stop, thereby showing that they had some

idea of firearms, although they refused to answer Piper’s questions or to

remain longer. In the evening, four of them approaching our camp, Piper

went forward with Burnett to meet them. They advanced to the tents

apparently without fear, and I obtained from them the names of various

localities. On being questioned respecting Cadong, they told us that all

these waters ran into it, and pointed to the south-east, saying that I

should by-and-bye see it. When I found we could obtain no more

information I presented the most intelligent of them with a tomahawk, on

which they went slowly away, repeatedly turning round towards us and

saying something which, according to Piper, had reference to their tribe

coming again and dancing a corrobory, a proposal these savage tribes

often make and which the traveller who knows them well will think it

better to discourage.

SINGULAR WEAPON.

These men carried a singular kind of malga, of a construction different

from any Piper had ever seen. The malga is a weapon usually made in the

form of Figure 2, but that with which these natives were provided

somewhat resembled a pick-axe with one half broken off, and was of the

form of Figure 1, being made so as to be thickest at the angle. The blow

of such a formidable weapon could not be easily parried from the

uncertainty whether it would be aimed with the thick heavy corner or the

sharp point. All the weapons of this singular race are peculiar and this

one was not the least remarkable.

TREACHEROUS CONCEALMENT OF A NATIVE.

At dusk while Woods was looking after the cattle near the camp he

surprised a native concealed behind a small bush, who did not make his

escape until Woods was within two yards of him.

CONTENTS OF A NATIVE’S BASKET AND STORE.

How many more had been about we could not ascertain, but next morning we

found near the spot one of the bags usually carried by gins and

containing the following samples of their daily food: three snakes; three

rats; about 2 pounds of small fish, like white bait; crayfish; and a

quantity of the small root of the cichoraceous plant tao, usually found

growing on the plains with a bright yellow flower. There were also in the

bag various bodkins and colouring stones, and two mogos or stone hatchets

(Figure 5). It seemed that our civility had as usual inspired these

savages with a desire to beat our brains out while asleep, and we were

thankful that in effecting their cowardly designs they had been once more

unsuccessful.

A TRIBE COMES FORWARD.

September 21.

Early in the morning a tribe of about forty were seen advancing toward

our camp preceded by the four men who had been previously there. Having

determined that they should not approach us again, I made Piper advance

to them and inquire what they wanted last night behind the bush, pointing

at the same time to the spot. They returned no answer to this question,

but continued to come forward until I ordered a burning bush to be waved

at them and, when they came to a stand without answering Piper’s

question, I ordered a party of our men to charge them, whereupon they all

scampered off. We saw them upon our encamping ground after we had

proceeded about two miles, but they did not attempt to follow us. Whether

they would find a letter which I had buried there for Mr. Stapylton or

not, we could only hope to discover after that gentleman’s return to the

colony. It was understood between us that, where a cross was cut in the

turf where my tent had stood, he would find a note under the centre of

the cross. This I buried by merely pushing a stick into the earth and

dropping into the hole thus made the note twisted up like a cigar. The

letter was written chiefly to caution him about these natives. Basalt

appeared in the sides of the ravine which contained the salt lakes and in

equal abundance and of the same quality in that which enclosed the living

stream where it lay in blocks forming small cliffs. Finding at length a

favourable place for crossing this stream, we traversed the ravine and

resumed our direct course towards the southern extremity of a distant

range named Mammala by the natives, the bluff head previously seen from

Mount Abrupt (see above).

FINE COUNTRY FOR COLONISATION.

We now travelled over a country quite open, slightly undulating, and well

covered with grass. To the westward the noble outline of the Grampians

terminated a view extending over vast plains fringed with forests and

embellished with lakes. To the northward appeared other more

accessible-looking hills, some being slightly wooded, some green and

quite clear to their summits, long grassy vales and ridges intervening:

while to the eastward the open plain extended as far as the eye could

reach. Our way lay between distant ranges which in that direction mingled

with the clouds. Thus I had both the low country, which was without

timber, and the well wooded hills within reach, and might choose either

for our route, according to the state of the ground, weather, etc.

Certainly a land more favourable for colonisation could not be found.

Flocks might be turned out upon its hills, or the plough at once set to

work in the plains. No primeval forests required to be first rooted out,

although there was enough of wood for all purposes of utility and as much

also for embellishment as even a painter could wish.

HOLLOWS IN THE DOWNS.

One feature peculiar to that country appeared on these open downs: it

consisted of hollows which, being usually surrounded by a line of yarra

gumtrees or whitebark eucalyptus, seemed at a distance to contain lakes,

but instead of water I found only blocks of vesicular trap, consisting

apparently of granular felspar, and hornblende rock also appeared in the

banks enclosing them. Some of these hollows were of a winding character,

as if they were the remains of ancient watercourses; but if ever currents

flowed there the surface must have undergone considerable alteration

since, for the downs where these hollows appeared were elevated at least

900 feet above the sea and surrounded on all sides by lower ground. There

was an appearance of moisture among the rocks in some of these

depressions; and whether by digging a few feet permanent wells might be

made may be a question worth attention when colonisation extends to that

country. We found on other parts of this open ground large blocks

composed of irregular concretions of ironstone, covered with a thin

coating of compact brown haematite. The purple-ringed Anguillaria dioica,

first seen on Pyramid Hill, again appeared here; and in many places the

ground was quite yellow with the flowers of the cichoraceous plant tao

whose root, small as it is, constitutes the food of the native women and

children. The cattle are very fond of the leaves of this plant and seemed

to thrive upon it. We also found a new bulbine with a delicate yellow

flower being perfectly distinct from both the species described by

Brown.*

(*Footnote. This has been planted with the others in the Horticultural

Gardens at Chiswick and was the first to flower there, a head having been

sent to me on the 8th May last by Dr. Lindley who describes it thus:

Bulbine suavis; radice fasciculata, foliis longissimis attenuatis

semiteretibus basi canaliculatis glaucis, racemo erecto multifloro,

petalis oblongis subundulatis sepalis duplo latioribus, staminibus

ascendentibus, filamentis apice stuposis petalinis patentibus sepalinis

erectis apice incurvis brevioribus.)

SNAKES NUMEROUS.

The genial warmth of spring had begun to show its influence on these

plants and also brought the snakes from their holes, for on this day in

particular it was ascertained that twenty-two had been killed by the

party. These were all of that species not venomous I believe which the

natives eat. We encamped near a small clump of trees for the sake of

firewood.

September 22.

This day’s journey lay chiefly across open downs with wooded hills

occasionally to the left. On the southward these downs extended to the

horizon: and several isolated hills at great distances, apparently of

trap, presented an outline like the volcanic Mount Napier. All the

various small rivulets we traversed in our line of route seemed to flow

in that direction. Having crossed three of these we encamped on the right

bank of the fourth. The hills on our left were of granite and as

different as possible in appearance from the mountains to the westward

which were all of red sandstone. In the afternoon there was a

thunderstorm but the sky became again perfectly serene in the evening.

September 23.

This morning a thick fog hung over us; but having well reconnoitred the

country beyond I knew that I might travel in a straight line over open

ground for several miles. When the fog arose some finely wooded hills

appeared on our right; but after advancing seven miles on good firm earth

we again came upon very soft ground which obliged us to turn and wind and

pick our way wherever the surface seemed most likely to bear us.

NATIVE FEMALES.

The fog was succeeded by a fine warm day, and as we proceeded we saw two

gins and their children at work separately on a swampy meadow; and, quick

as the sight of these natives is, we had travelled long within view

before they observed us. They were spread over the field much in the

manner in which emus and kangaroos feed on plains, and we observed them

digging in the ground for roots. All carried bags and when Piper went

towards them they ran with great speed across the vast open plains to the

southward.

CATTLE TRACKS.

This day we perceived the fresh track of several bullocks, a very

extraordinary circumstance in that situation. The beautiful

yellow-wreathed acacia was not to be seen after we quitted the open

country. The ground was becoming almost hopelessly soft, when we reached

a small run of water from the hills and, by keeping along its bank, we

had the good fortune to reach an extremity of the range where the solid

granite was as welcome to our feet as a dry beach is to shipwrecked

seamen.

ASCEND MOUNT COLE.

We had at length arrived under Mammala, the bluff hill which had been my

landmark from the time I left Mr. Stapylton. I found this was the

southern extremity of a lofty range which I lost no time in ascending

after I had fixed on a spot for the camp. It consisted of huge blocks of

granite,* and was crowned with such lofty timber that I could only catch

occasional peeps of the surrounding country: nevertheless I obtained, by

moving about among the trees with my pocket sextant, almost all the

angles I wanted; and I thus connected the survey of the region I was

leaving with that I was about to enter. My first view over this eastern

country was extensive, and when I at length descended to a projecting

rock I found the prospect extremely promising, the land being variegated

with open plains and strips of forest, and studded with smooth green

hills of the most beautiful forms. In the extreme distance a range much

resembling that on which I stood declined at its southern extremity in

the same manner as this did, and thus left me a passage precisely in the

most direct line of route homewards.

(*Footnote. Consisting of pink felspar, white quartz and silvery mica.)

ENTER ON A GRANITE COUNTRY.

The carts had still however to cross the range at which we had arrived

and which, as I perceived here, not only extended southward but also

broke into bold ravines on the eastern side, being connected with some

noble hills, or rather mountains, all grassy to their summits, thinly

wooded and consisting wholly of granite. They resembled very much some

hills of the lower Pyrenees in Spain, only that they were more grassy and

less acclivitous, and I named this hill Mount Cole. To the southward the

sea-haze dimmed the horizon: but I perceived the eastern margin of a

large piece of water bearing south-south-east, and which I supposed might

be Cadong. It was sheltered on the south-east by elevated ground

apparently very distant, but no high range appeared between us and that

inlet of the sea. On the contrary the heights extending southward from

this summit, being connected with the highest and most southern hills

visible from it, seemed to be the only high land or separation of the

waters falling north and south. With such a country before us I bade

adieu to swamps and returned well pleased to the camp, being guided to it

only by the gushing torrent, for I had remained on the hill as long as

daylight lasted.