24 September – 8 October

MANY RIVULETS.

September 24.

The morning was rainy and our way having to be traced up the ravines and

round the hills was very tortuous for the first three miles. We then

reached the dividing part of the range and descended immediately after

into valleys of a less intricate character. Having passed over the swampy

bed of a rivulet flowing southward, and having also crossed several fine

bold ridges with good streams between them, we at length encamped near a

round hill which, being clear on the summit, was therefore a favourable

station for the theodolite. This hill also consisted of granite and

commanded an open and extensive view over the country to the eastward.

September 25.

One bold range of forest land appeared before us and after crossing it we

passed over several rivulets falling northward, then over a ridge of

trappean conglomerate with embedded quartz pebbles, and descended into a

valley of the finest description. Grassy hills clear of timber appeared

beyond a stream also flowing northward. These hills consisted of old

vesicular lava. We next entered a forest of very large trees of ironbark

eucalyptus, and we finally encamped in a grassy valley in the midst of

this forest.

September 26.

We first crossed more hills of the trappean conglomerate on which grew

ironbark eucalypti and box. The rock consisted of a base of compact

felspar with embedded grains of quartz, giving to some parts the

character of conglomerate, and there were also embedded crystals of

common felspar. By diverging a little to the right we entered upon an

open tract of the most favourable aspect, stretching away to the

south-west among similar hills until they were lost in the extreme

distance. The whole surface was green as an emerald and on our right for

some miles ran a fine rivulet between steep grassy banks and over a bed

of trap-rock.

MAMMELOID HILLS.

At length this stream was joined by two others coming through similar

grassy valleys from the south; and when we approached two lofty smooth

round hills, green to their summits, the united streams flowed in an open

dell which our carts rolled through without meeting any impediment. I

ascended the most western of these hills as it was a point which I had

observed from various distant stations, and I enjoyed such a charming

view eastward from the summit as can but seldom fall to the lot of the

explorers of new countries. The surface presented the forms of pristine

beauty clothed in the hues of spring; and the shining verdure of these

smooth and symmetrical hills was relieved by the darker hues of the wood

with which they were interlaced; which exhibited every variety of tint,

from a dark brown in the foreground to a light blue in extreme distance.

LAVA, THE SURFACE ROCK.

The hills consisted entirely of lava and I named them from their peculiar

shape the Mammeloid hills, and the station on which I stood Mount

Greenock. In travelling through this Eden no road was necessary, nor any

ingenuity in conducting wheel-carriages wherever we chose. The beautiful

little terrestrial orchidaceous plants Caladenia dilatata and Diuris

aurea were already in full bloom; and we also found on the plains this

day a most curious little bush resembling a heath in foliage, but with

solitary polypetalous flowers resembling those of Sollya.* When we had

completed fourteen miles we encamped on the edge of an open plain and

near a small rivulet, the opposite bank consisting of grassy forest land.

(*Footnote. This has been ascertained to be a new species of the genus

Campylanthera of Hooker, or Pronaya of Baron Hugel, of which two species

were found by the latter botanist and the late Mr. Frazer at Swan River.

Campylanthera ericoides, Lindley manuscripts; erecta, fruticosa, glabra,

foliis oblongo-cuneatis mucronatis margine revolutis, floribus solitariis

terminalibus erectis, antheris subrotundis.)

ABORIGINAL IMITATIONS.

September 27.

I was surprised to hear the voice of a Scotchwoman in the camp this

morning. The peculiar accent and rapid utterance could not be mistaken as

I thought, and I called to inquire who the stranger was, when I

ascertained that it was only Tommy Came-last who was imitating a Scotch

female who, as I then learnt, was at Portland Bay and had been very kind

to Tommy. The imitation was ridiculously true through all the modulations

of that peculiar accent although, strange to say, without the

pronunciation of a single intelligible word. The talent of the aborigines

for imitation seems a peculiar trait in their character. I was informed

that The Widow could also amuse the men occasionally by enacting their

leader, taking angles, drawing from nature, etc.

While the party went forward over the open plains with Mr. Stapylton I

ascended a smooth round hill, distant about a mile to the southward of

our camp, from which I could with ease continue my survey by means of

hills on all sides, the highest of them being to the southward. I could

trace the rivulets flowing northward into one or two principal channels,

near several masses of mountain: these channels and ranges being probably

connected with those crossed by us on our route from the Murray. In these

bare hills and on the open grassy plains, old vesicular lava abounded;

small loose elongated fragments lay on the round hills, having a red

scorified appearance and being also so cellular as to be nearly as light

as pumice. We this day crossed several fine running streams and forests

of box and bluegum growing on ridges of trappean conglomerate. At length

we entered on a very level and extensive flat, exceedingly green and

resembling an English park. It was bounded on the east by a small river

flowing to the north-west (probably the Loddon) and abrupt but grassy

slopes arose beyond its right bank. After crossing this stream we

encamped, having travelled nearly fifteen miles in one straight line

bearing 60 1/2 degrees east of north. This tract was rather of a

different character from that of the fine country of which we had

previously seen so much, and we saw for the first time the Discaria

australis, a remarkable green leafless spiny bush and resembling in a

most striking manner the Colletias of Chili. Sheltered on every side by

woods or higher ground, the spring seemed more advanced there than

elsewhere, and our hard wrought cattle well deserved to be the first to

browse on that verdant plain. The stream in its course downwards vanished

amongst grassy hills to water a country apparently of the most

interesting and valuable character.

September 28.

The steep banks beyond the river consisted of clay-slate having under it

a conglomerate containing fragments of quartz cemented by compact

haematite.

SNAKES EATEN BY THE NATIVES.

The day was hot and we killed several large snakes of the species eaten

by the natives. I observed that our guides looked at the colour of the

belly when in any doubt about the sort they preferred; these were

white-bellied, whereas the belly of a very fierce one with a large head,

of which Piper and the others seemed much afraid, was yellow. On cutting

this snake open two young quails were found within: one of them not being

quite dead. The country we crossed during the early part of the day was

at least as fine as that we had left. We passed alternately through

strips of forest and over open flats well watered, the streams flowing

southward; and at nine miles we crossed a large stream also flowing in

that direction: all these being evidently tributaries to that on which we

had been encamped. Beyond the greater stream, where we last crossed it,

the country presented more of the mountain character, but good strong

grass grew among the trees, which consisted of box and lofty bluegum.

After making out upwards of eleven miles, we encamped in a valley where

water lodged in holes and where we found also abundance of grass. We were

fast approaching those summits which had guided me in my route from Mount

Cole, then more than fifty miles behind us. Like that mountain these

heights also belonged to a lofty range, and like it were beside a very

low part of it, through which I hoped to effect a passage. Leaving the

party to encamp I proceeded forward in search of the hill I had so long

seen before me, and I found that the hills immediately beyond our camp

were part of the dividing range and broken into deep ravines on the

eastern side. Pursuing the connection between them and the still higher

summits on the north-east, I came at length upon an open valley enclosed

by hills very lightly wooded. This change was evidently owing to a

difference in the rock which was a fine-grained granite, whereas the

hills we had recently crossed belonged chiefly to the volcanic class of

rocks, with the exception of the range I had traversed that evening in my

way from the camp, which consisted of ferruginous sandstone. With the

change of rock a difference was also obvious in the shape of the hills,

the quantity and quality of the water, and the character of the trees.

The hills presented a bold sweeping outline and were no longer broken by

sharp-edged strata but crowned with large round masses of rock. Running

water was gushing from every hollow in much greater abundance than

elsewhere; and lastly the timber, which on the other ranges consisted

chiefly of ironbark and stringybark, now presented the shining bark of

the bluegum or yarra and the grey hue of the box. The Anthisteria

australis, a grass which seems to delight in a granitic soil, also

appeared in great abundance, and we also found the aromatic tea, Tasmania

aromatica, which represents in New Holland the winter’s bark of the

southern extremity of South America. The leaves and bark of this tree

have a hot biting cinnamon-like taste on which account it is vulgarly

called the pepper-tree.

ASCEND MOUNT BYNG. – LEANGANOOK (Now Mt Alexander)

I could ride with ease to the summit of the friendly hill that I had seen

from afar, and found it but thinly wooded so that I could take my angles

around the horizon without difficulty. Again reminded by the similar

aspect this region presented of the lower Pyrenees and the pass of

Orbaicetta, I named the summit Mount Byng.

RICH GRASS.

A country fully as promising as the fine region we had left was embraced

in my view from that point. I perceived long patches of open plain

interspersed with forest hills and low woody ranges, among which I could

trace out a good line of route for another fifty miles homewards. The

highest of the mountains lay to the south and evidently belonged to the

coast range, if it might be so called; and on that side a lofty mass

arose above the rest and promised a view towards the sea, that height

being distant from the hill on which I stood about thirty miles. A broad

chain of woody hills connected the coast range with Mount Byng, and I

could trace the general course of several important streams through the

country to the east of it. Northward I saw a little of the interior

plains and the points where the various ranges terminated upon them. The

sun was setting when I left Mount Byng but I depended on one of our

natives, Tommy Came-last, who was then with me, for finding our way to

the camp; and who on such occasions could trace my steps backwards with

wonderful facility by day or night.

EXPEDITION PASS.

September 29.

The range before us was certainly rather formidable for the passage of

carts, but home lay beyond it, while delay and famine were synonymous

terms with us at that time. By following up the valley in which we had

encamped I found early on this morning an easy way through which the

carts might gain the lowest part of the range. Having conducted them to

this point without any other inconvenience besides the overturning of one

cart (from bad driving) we descended along the hollow of a ravine after

making it passable by throwing some rocks into the narrow part near its

head. The ravine at length opened, as I had expected, into a grassy

valley with a fine rivulet flowing through it, and from this valley we

debouched into the still more open granitic country at the foot of Mount

Byng. The pass thus auspiciously discovered and opened, over a neck

apparently the very lowest of the whole range, I named Expedition-pass,

confident that such a line of communication between the southern coast

and Sydney must, in the course of time, become a very considerable

thoroughfare. The change of soil however introduced us to the old

difficulty from which we had been happily relieved for some time, for we

came once more upon rotten and boggy ground. We met with this unexpected

impediment in an open-looking flat near a rivulet I was about to cross,

when I found the surface so extremely soft and yielding that from the

extreme resistance a bolt of the boat-carriage gave way, a circumstance

which obliged us immediately to encamp although we had travelled only

four miles.

EXCURSION TOWARDS PORT PHILLIP.

September 30.

Compelled thus to await the repair of the boat-carriage I determined to

make an excursion to the lofty mountain mass which appeared about thirty

miles to the southward, in order that I might connect my survey with Port

Phillip, which I hoped to see thence. The horses were not found as soon

as they were required, but when we at last got upon their backs we were

therefore less disposed to spare them.

DISCOVER AND CROSS THE RIVER BARNARD.

We crossed some soft hollows during the first few miles, and then arrived

on the banks of a small and deep river with reeds on its borders, and

containing many broad and deep reaches. It was full and flowed, but not

rapidly, towards the north-east, and it was not until we had continued

along the left bank of this stream for a considerable way upwards that we

found a rapid where we could cross without swimming. The left bank was of

bold acclivity but grassy and clear of timber, being very level on the

summit; and I found it consisted of trap-rock of the same vesicular

character which I had observed in so many other parts of this southern

region. Beyond the river (which I then named the Barnard) we first

encountered a hilly country from which we emerged rather unexpectedly;

for after crossing a small rivulet flowing in a deep and grassy dell

where trap-rock again appeared, and ascending the opposite slope, we

found that the summit consisted of an open level country of the finest

description. It was covered with the best kind of grass and the immediate

object of our ride, the mountain, was now visible beyond these rich

plains. Some fine forest-hills arose in various directions to the right

and left, and indeed I never saw a more pleasing or promising portion of

territory. The rich open ground across which we rode was not without

slight undulations; and when we had traversed about four miles of it we

came quite unawares to a full and flowing stream, nearly on a level with

its grassy banks; the bottom being so sound that we forded it without the

least difficulty.

EMUS NUMEROUS AND TAME.

Emus were very numerous on the downs and their curiosity brought them to

stare at our horses, apparently unconscious of the presence of the biped

on their backs whom both birds and beasts seem instinctively to avoid. In

one flock I counted twenty-nine emus, and so near did they come to us

that, having no rifle with me, I was tempted to discharge even my pistol

at one, although without effect. Kangaroos were equally numerous. Having

proceeded three miles beyond the stream we came to another flowing to the

westward between some very deep ponds, and it was probably a tributary to

the first.

THE RIVER CAMPASPE.

At twenty-two miles from the camp, on descending from some finely

undulating open ground, we arrived at a stream flowing westward, which I

judged to be also a branch of that we had first crossed. Its bed

consisted of granitic rocks and on the left bank I found trap. We had

this stream afterwards in sight on our left until, at two miles further,

we again crossed it and entered a wood of eucalyptus, being then only

five miles distant from the mountain, and we subsequently found that this

wood extended to its base.

EFFECTS OF A STORM IN THE WOODS.

The effects of some violent hurricane from the north were visible under

every tree, the earth being covered with broken branches, some of which

were more than a foot in diameter; the withering leaves remained upon

them, and I remarked that no whole trees had been blown down, although

almost all had lost their principal limbs and not a few had been reduced

to bare poles. The havoc which the storm had made gave an unusual aspect

to the whole of the forest land, so universally was it covered with

withering branches. Whether this region is subject to frequent

visitations of a like nature I could not of course then ascertain; but I

perceived that many of the trees had lost some of their top limbs at a

much earlier period in a similar manner. Neither had this been but a

partial tempest, for to the very base of the mountain the same effects

were visible. The trees on its side were of a much grander character than

those in the forest, and consisted principally of black-butt and bluegum

eucalypti measuring from six to eight feet in diameter. The rock was

syenite, so weathered as to resemble sandstone.

ASCEND MOUNT MACEDON.

I ascended without having been obliged to alight from my horse, and I

found that the summit was very spacious, being covered towards the south

with tree-ferns, and the musk-plant grew in great luxuriance. I saw also

many other plants found at the Illawarra, on the eastern coast of the

colony of New South Wales. The summit was full of wombat holes and,

unlike that side by which I had ascended, it was covered with the dead

trunks of enormous trees in all stages of decay.

PORT PHILLIP DIMLY SEEN FROM IT.

I had two important objects in view in ascending this hill; one being to

determine its position trigonometrically as a point likely to be seen

from the country to which I was going, where it might be useful to me in

fixing other points; the other being to obtain a view of Port Phillip,

and thus to connect my survey with that harbour. But the tree-fern,

musk-plant, brush, and lofty timber together shut us up for a long time

from any prospect of the low country to the southward, and it was not

until I had nearly exhausted a fine sunny afternoon in wandering round

the broad summit that I could distinguish and recognise some of the hills

to the westward; and when I at length obtained a glimpse of the country

towards the coast the features of the earth could scarcely be

distinguished from the sky or sea, although one dark point looked more

like a cape than a cloud and seemed to remain steady. With my glass I

perceived that water lay inside of that cape and that low plains extended

northward from the water. I next discovered a hilly point outside of the

cape or towards the sea; and on descending the hill to where the trees

grew less thickly I obtained an uninterrupted view of the whole piece of

water. As the sun went down the distant horizon became clearer towards

the coast and I intersected at length the two capes; also one at the head

of the bay and several detached hills. I perceived distinctly the course

of the Exe and Arundell rivers and a line of mangrove trees along the low

shore. In short I at length recognised Port Phillip and the intervening

country around it at a distance afterwards ascertained to be upwards of

fifty miles from Indented Head, which proved to be the first cape I had

seen; that outside (at A) being Point Nepean on the east side of the

entrance to this bay. At that vast distance I could trace no signs of

life about this harbour. No stockyards, cattle, nor even smoke, although

at the highest northern point of the bay I saw a mass of white objects

which might have been either tents or vessels. I perceived a white speck,

which I took for breakers or white sand, on the projecting point of the

north-eastern shore. (B.) On that day nine years exactly I first beheld

the heads of Port Jackson, a rather singular coincidence. Thus the

mountain on which I stood became an important point in my survey, and I

gave it the name of Mount Macedon, with reference to that of Port

Phillip.* It had been long dark before I reached the base of the mountain

and picked out a dry bit of turf on which to lie down for the night.

(*Footnote. Geboor is the native name of this hill, as since ascertained

by my friend Captain King, and it is a much better one, having fewer

letters and being aboriginal.)

October 1.

The morning was cloudy with drizzling rain, a circumstance which

prevented me from re-ascending a naked rock on the north-eastern summit

to extend my observations over the country we were about to traverse. I

found decomposed gneiss at the base of this hill.

RETURN TO THE CAMP.

While returning to the camp we saw great numbers of kangaroos but could

not add to our stock of provisions, having neither dogs nor a rifle with

us. I found on my arrival at the camp that the boat-carriage having been

made once more serviceable, the party was quite ready to move forward in

the morning.

October 2.

The day being Sunday and the weather unfavourable, as it rained heavily,

the barometer having also fallen more than half an inch, I made it a day

of rest for the benefit of our jaded horses, notwithstanding our own

short rations. I was also very desirous to complete some work on the map.

CONTINUE OUR HOMEWARD JOURNEY.

October 3.

A clear morning: I buried another letter for Mr. Stapylton, informing him

how he might best avoid the mud; and then we proceeded along the highest

points of the ground, thus keeping clear of that which was boggy, and we

found the surface to improve much in this respect as we receded from the

base of the higher range. We crossed some fine valleys, each watered by a

running stream; and all the hills consisted of granite. The various

rivulets we crossed fell southwards into one we had seen in a valley on

our right which continued from the base of the mountain, and this rivulet

at length entered a still deeper valley in which there was very little

wood, the hills on the opposite side being uncommonly level at the top.

In this valley a fine stream ran northward, being undoubtedly the

Barnard, or first river crossed by us on our way to Mount Macedon. We

succeeded in finding a ford, but although it was deep a greater

difficulty to be overcome was the descent of our carts to it, so abrupt

and steep-sided was the ravine in which the Barnard flowed.

WATERFALL OF COBAW.

When we had effected at length a descent and a passage across, having

also established our camp beyond this stream, I rode up the bank towards

a noise of falling water, and thus came to a very fine cascade of upwards

of sixty feet. The river indeed fell more than double that height, but in

the lower part the water escaped unseen, flowing amongst large blocks of

granite. I had visited several waterfalls in Scotland, but this was

certainly the most picturesque I had witnessed; although the effect was

not so much in the body of water falling, or the loud noise, as in the

bold character of the rocks over and amongst which it fell. Their colour

and shape were harmonized into a more complete scene than nature usually

presents, resembling the finished subject of an artist, foreground and

all. The prevailing hues were light red and purple-grey, the rocks being

finely interlaced with a small-leaved creeper of the brightest green. A

dark-coloured moss, which presents a warm green in the sun, covered the

lower masses and relieved and supported the brighter hues, while a

brilliant iris shone steadily in the spray, and blended into perfect

harmony the lighter hues of the higher rocks and the whiteness of the

torrent rushing over them. The banks of this stream were of so bold a

character that in all probability other picturesque scenery, perhaps

finer than this, may yet be found upon it.

SINGULAR COUNTRY ON THE BARNARD.

The geological character of the adjacent country was sufficiently

striking–the left bank consisted of undulating hills and bold rocks of

granite; the right of trap-rock in the higher part, and presented a

remarkable contrast to the other, from the perfectly level character of

the summits of adjacent hills, as if the whole had been once in a fluid

state. Some of these table hills were separated by dry grassy vales of

excellent soil. Further back the rugged crests of a wooded range of a

different formation rendered the level character of this ancient lava or

vesicular trap more obvious. The hills behind consisted in the higher

parts of a felspathic conglomerate and clay-slate dipping to the

eastward.

The country looked fine to the south and also northward, or down the

stream. By keeping along a winding valley we ascended without

inconvenience between these curiously scarped trap hills.

October 5.

We found the trees on the low range much broken like those near Mount

Macedon, and the ground strewed here also with withering boughs, the

result apparently of the same storm, the destructive effects of which we

had noticed on the trees there.

CROSS THE CAMPASPE.

Beyond the clay-stone range we entered on another open and grassy tract

where trap-rock again appeared; and at four miles and a half we descended

into a grassy ravine in which we found another river flowing northward;

this being apparently the second river crossed in my ride to Mount

Macedon and which I now named the Campaspe. It was difficult to find in

this stream any fordable place where the banks could be approached by the

carts, one side or the other always proving too steep; but at length we

succeeded. Strata of clay-slate inclined almost perpendicularly to the

horizon projected at parts of the left bank, and over this clay-slate I

found trap-rock. Beyond the Campaspe we crossed plains and much open

land. At length on descending a little from a sort of table the trap was

no longer to be seen, and we entered a wood where sandstone seemed to

predominate, the strata dipping to the south-west. Fine grassy slopes

extended through this forest, which was also so open that we could see

each way for several miles. A rich variety of yellow flowers adorned the

verdure among which the Caladenia and Diuris aurea, and also a large

white Anguillaria, were very abundant.

AN ENGLISH RAZOR FOUND.

Piper found at an old native encampment a razor, and I had the

satisfaction of reading on the blade the words “Old English” in this wild

region, still so remote from civilised man’s dominion! In the afternoon a

remarkable change took place in the weather, for we had rain with an

easterly wind, the thermometer being at 68 degrees. We encamped on a

chain of deep ponds falling to the northward; reeds grew in them and we

endeavoured to catch cod-perch but without success, probably because the

natives of the country were too expert fishers to leave any in such

holes.

ASCEND MOUNT CAMPBELL.

October 6.

At two miles on we reached the summit of the range near Mount Campbell

which had partly bounded my view eastward from Mount Byng. A slight scrub

grew on this range but not so thickly as to be impervious to carts; and

after crossing it, as well as a succession of lower ridges, a good valley

at length appeared on the left, while another which was very wide and

green lay before us. At the further side of this and under another range

ran a deep mountain stream which was joined a little lower down by one

from the valley on the left: thus by following this stream I might have

turned the range, but it was not too steep to be crossed, and I required

some angles with the surrounding hills and the country before us. We

ascended it therefore and comparatively with ease; and from amongst the

trees on a hill I saw and intersected more points than I expected to see;

even Mount Macedon was visible and, to the eastward, summits which I was

almost certain lay beyond the river Goulburn. The descent from this ridge

to the eastward was rather steep; but we immediately after entered an

open forest in a valley which led very nearly in the direction of my

intended route.

NATIVE BEVERAGE.

The adjacent forest consisted of large trees of ironbark, the first of

that species of eucalyptus that we had seen for a considerable time. This

tree was then in flower, and we found in a large canoe at an old native

encampment a considerable quantity of the blossoms, which had not been

long cut. Piper explained the purpose for which these flowers had been

gathered by informing me that, by steeping them a night in water, the

natives make a sweet beverage named bool.

VALLEY OF THE DEEGAY.

October 7.

The whole of this day’s journey (fourteen miles) was along the same

valley that we had entered yesterday. The deep bed of a stream, then

containing a chain of ponds only, pursued a meandering course through it.

We saw in this valley a pair of cockatoos with the scarlet and yellow

top-knot. (Plate 23.) We had not been long encamped when intelligence was

brought me by Piper that a party of natives were following our track, and

soon after, Burnett and he having gone out to encourage them to come up,

seven, including an old man and two boys, approached and I hastened out

to meet them that they might not sit down too close to our camp. They

told us the creek watering this long valley was named Deegay.

NATIVES EXCHANGE BASKETS FOR AXES.

Three of them carried very neatly-wrought baskets, and I gave two

tomahawks in exchange for two of the baskets, and then making signs that

it was time to sleep I returned to my tent, hoping that they would go to

their tribe.

THEY LINGER ABOUT OUR CAMP.

On looking out however some time after, I found that two had walked

boldly up to our fires, while the others continued to cower over a few

embers at the spot where I left them; the evening being very cold and

stormy. Piper, who at first seemed much disposed to make friends of these

people, had found that his endeavours to conciliate strange natives were

as usual in vain, and was now going about sword in hand, while three of

the strangers seemed desirous to assuage his anger by telling him a long

yarn. The other, who was the old man, was casting a covetous eye on all

things around the camp. When I went out they retired to the group, but

long after it had become quite dark there they still sat, having scarcely

any fire and evidently bent on mischief.

EFFECT OF FIREWORKS, ETC.

I really was not sorry then to find that they still continued, for I had

made arrangements for having a little amusement in that case, although

their object in lingering there was nothing less than to kill us when

asleep. Accordingly at a given signal Burnett suddenly sallied forth

wearing a gilt mask and holding in his hand a blue light with which he

fired a rocket.* Two men concealed behind the boat-carriage bellowed

hideously through speaking trumpets, while all the others shouted and

discharged their carabines in the air. Burnett marched solemnly towards

the astonished natives who were seen through the gloom but for an instant

as they made their escape and disappeared forever; leaving behind them

however rough-shaped heavy clubs which they had made there in the dark

with the new tomahawks we had given them, and which clubs were doubtless

made for the sole purpose of beating out our brains as soon as we fell

asleep. Thus their savage thirst for our blood only afforded us some

hearty laughing. Such an instance of ingratitude was to me however a

subject of painful reflection. The clubs made in the dark, during a very

cold night, with the tomahawks I had given them, enabled me to understand

better what the intentions of the natives had been in other similar

cases; and I was at length convinced that no kindness had the slightest

effect in altering the disposition and savage desire of these wild men to

kill white strangers on their first coming among them. That Australia can

never be explored with safety except by very powerful parties will

probably be proved by the treacherous murder of many brave white men.**

(*Footnote. The use of these masks, which I on several occasions

displayed with success, was first suggested to me by Sir John Jamison.)

(**Footnote. A distressing instance of this hostility towards the whites

on the part of the aborigines has since occurred not far from the very

spot where I wrote the above portion of my journal. Our line of route

soon became the high road from Sydney to Port Phillip, and it appears by

the Sydney newspapers (see Appendix 2.3) that the natives attacked a

party of fifteen men proceeding with cattle into these recently explored

regions. Although the whites had firearms the blacks killed seven of

them, leaving another so severely wounded that his recovery was deemed

hopeless. The winding swamp where this sudden attack by aboriginal

natives took place is marked Swampy River on the map, and from the

assembling of such a number at that point, exactly midway between the

Murrumbidgee and Port Phillip, therefore the most remote from settled

parts, and especially from the SUDDENNESS of that attack, the reader may

imagine the perilous situation of my party on the Darling and the lower

part of the Murray where, had any such attack but commenced successfully,

it is extremely improbable that any white man would have returned to the

settled districts.)

October 8.

The windings of the creek were this day more in our way as we proceeded

along the valley and, when in doubt whether it would be best for our

purpose to cross this channel or one joining it there from the south, I

perceived a small hill at no great distance beyond, upon which I halted

the party and ascended, when I saw that several ranges previously

observed were at no great distance before us. In these ranges a gap to

the south-east seemed to be the bed of the river which I knew we were

approaching, and which I therefore concluded we should find in the low

intervening country. Westward of the gap or ravine stood a large mass

which I thought might be the Mount Disappointment of Mr. Hume.

ARRIVAL AT, AND PASSAGE OF, THE GOULBURN.

On returning to the party we crossed the channel of the Deegay; but at

less than a mile further we were obliged to pass again to the right bank

at a point where its course tended northward. Soon after recrossing it we

met with a broad dry channel or lagoon, with lofty gum trees of the yarra

species on its borders, a proof that the river was at hand; and on

advancing three-quarters of a mile further we made the bank of the

Goulburn or Hovell, a fine river somewhat larger than the Murrumbidgee.*

Its banks and bed were firm; the breadth 60 yards; the mean depth as

ascertained by soundings being somewhat more there than two fathoms. The

velocity was at the rate of 100 yards in three minutes, or one mile and

240 yards per hour; the temperature of the water 54 degrees Fahrenheit.

After having ascertained that this river was nowhere fordable at that

time I sought an eligible place for swimming the cattle and horses across

and immediately launched the boat. All the animals reached the opposite

bank in safety; and by the evening every part of our equipment except the

boat-carriage was also across.

(*Footnote. This river has been unfortunate in obtaining a variety of

names and therefore less objection can be made to my preference of the

aboriginal which I ascertained through Piper to be Bayunga. We already

have a river Goulburn in New South Wales.)

FISH CAUGHT.

In this river we caught one or two very fine cod-perch, our old friends

Gristes peelii.