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use, as they did not understand a single one. They had neither of them lost the upper front tooth, though apparently men grown.'— pp. 171173.
In the centre of this valley was a strong and transparent stream dashing over a gravelly bottom, and the bills which inclosed it were covered to the summits with cypresses and acacias in full blossom. No less to their delight than astonishment, they soon discovered that this beautiful stream joined a large river, whose width, as appeared by the banks, could not be less, in time of flood, than from six to eight hundred feet. It was that of which they were in quest, the Macquarie. Different in every respect from the Lachlan,' says Mr. Oxley, “it here formed a stream equal to the Hawkesbury at Windsor, and in many parts as wide as the Nepean at Emu plains.'
Near this place our travellers again crossed the ridge of limestone formation running to the northward; from hence to Bathurst plains, where they arrived on the 29th August, the whole of the intervening country was uninterruptedly rich and beautiful
The magnitude of the Macquarie, at the point it was fallen in with, excited a sanguine expectation, that either a communication with the ocean, or with interior navigable waters, would be discovered by following its course; and on this ground the governor directed a Second Expedition to be undertaken, which was again intrusted to the direction of Mr. Oxley, who left Bathurst on the 28th May, 1818.
For the first twelve days,' says Mr. Oxley,' we enjoyed all the necessaries and many of the luxuries of life; but though fish, flesh and fowl were abundant, there were no human beings but ourselves to enjoy them. The river continued of noble width and appearance; had few rapids, and offered no obstruction to navigation. On the sixteenth day, for the first time, the party fell in with two families of natives, who made their escape, with the exception of an old man, and a boy who was in a tree, and whom no intreaties could bring down; both of them appeared to be petrified with terror.
On the eighteenth day of their journey, every hill and eminence disappeared; the face of the country presented as perfect a level as that through which the Lachlan winds its way; and they found themselves entering on the same kind of low swampy ground as that which arrested their progress before. On the 29th June, the river began to overflow its banks, and to spread over a great extent of country. Considering it unsafe to proceed with the horses and baggage, the latter were sent back to the nearest eminence; and on the 2d July, Mr. Oxley proceeded down the river
in the boat about thirty miles, through a country so flooded on all sides as to appear a perfect sea. The next day, following the main chanuel of the river about twenty miles farther, he entirely lost all sight of land and trees, the channel winding through large beds of tall reeds (the arundo phragmites), among which the water was only about three feet deep. Proceeding about four miles farther he perceived the whole inundation running with the same rapidity as the river had done within its banks; and concluded that he was now entering upon the great lake or inland sea into which he conjectured the mass of water conveyed by the Macquarie to be discharged. This point of junction with the interior waters, or where the Macquarie ceased to have the form of a river, lies in lat. 30° 45' S. long. 147° 10' E.
To assert positively,' says Mr. Evans,' that we were on the margin of the lake or sea into which this great body of water is discharged, might reasonably be deemed a conclusion which has nothing but conjecture for its basis; but if an opinion may be permitted to be hazarded from actual appearances, mine is decidedly in favour of our being in the immediate vicinity of an inland sea, or lake, most probably a shoal one, and gradually filling up by immense depositions from the higher lands left by the waters which flow into it.'—Journal, p. 244.
With this notion impressed on his mind, and in the course of navigating nearly sixty miles on this inundation, it is very remarkable that it should never once have occurred to Mr. Oxley to taste whether the water was fresh or salt; as that circumstance would have nearly decided the question of the termination of the Macquarie in a mediterranean sea, or of its course being resumed beyond the expanse of waters.
The great inundation however evidently proceeded from freshes, which continued to increase with such rapidity, as to cover the whole of the flat country as far back as the spot to which the party with the baggage and horses had retired, presenting a most dreary and melancholy scene; but the rising continued only for a few days, when the inundation again subsided with equal rapidity. Our travellers however were in no condition to proceed; and they therefore prudently commenced their return to the eastward. In this journey they fell in with various streams, (one of which, as large as the Macquarie, they named Castlereagh,) all running in a nostherly direction, but as Mr. Oxley expresses it, they had to struggle through a line of country that baffles all description; and were literally up to the middle in water the whole way.' Even when all traces of water had disappeared, and they were in the midst of an apparently dry forest of iron bark and cypress trees, the water sprang up at every step which the horses took, and the ground sunk with them to their girths.
The moment, however, that they approached the limestone formation, the country again became beautiful, and kangaroos appeared in great abundance. On the 2d September they reached a large stream running, like the rest, to the northward.
• This was the largest interior river (with the exception of the Macquarie and Castlereagh), which we had yet seen. It would be impossible to find a finer or more luxuriant country than it waters: north and south, its extent is unknown, but it is certainly not less than sixty miles, whilst the breadth of the vale is on a medium about twenty miles. This space between the bounding hills is not altogether level, but rises into gentle inequalities, and independently of the river is well watered; the grass was most luxuriant; the timber good and not thick; in short, no place in the world can afford more advantages to the industrious seitler, than this extensive vale. The river was named Peel's River, in honour of the Right Hon. Robert Peel. A great many new plants were found to-day and yesterday, chiefly of the orchis tribe : we saw numbers of the ornithorynchus, or water mole, in the river, also a few turtle : we were not successful in obtaining any fish, so that we were unable to decide whether it contained the same species as the Macquarie.'-p. 284.
It is worthy of remark that, although the surface of the country had now so much improved, and all the productions as well animal as vegetable were of superior growth, the appearance of the few natives seen was most miserable, their features approached deformity, and their persons were disgustingly filthy: their small attenuated limbs seemed scarcely able to support their bodies; and their entire person formed a marked contrast to the fine and manly figures of their brethren in the interior.'
On the 7th September the party crossed the meridian of Sydney, and at the same time reached the elevated ridge of mountains which divides the waters running west from those which fall into the sea on the eastern coast; on the 23d of the same month they gained the summit of what Mr. Oxley considers one of the most elevated peaks in this range, and the height of which he estimates at from six to seven thousand feet. From this mountain they could discover the sea at the distance of fifty miles; and they had also the gratification to find at its feet, the sources of a large river running easterly towards the coast. Following this stream until the 8th October, they arrived on the beach, near the entrance of a harbour into which it fell.
This port or inlet is situated in lat. 31° 25' 45" S. long. 152° 53' 54" E. It had been noticed by Captain Flinders as a lagoon or inland lake, the distance he was obliged to keep from the coast having hid from him the entrance. This has a bar of sand across it, on which at low water spring tides the depth of about nine feet; the tide then rising from three to four feet; but E 3
within, the depth increases to five or six fathoms, and continues so for about ten miles into the interior.—They gave to the port the name of Macquarie, and to the river that of Hastings. In the neighbourhood were great quantities of the gum tree, of rose wood, and of coal. A stratum of this mineral appeared to pervade the whole of the south side of the harbour as far as Camden. It is intended to make this spot the Botany-bay of New South Wales, instead of the Coal River.
These expeditions of Mr. Oxley have, we conceive, pretty nearly settled two points of some importance. The first is that colonization is not very likely to extend beyond two hundred miles from the eastern coast; and that, from the nature of the interior, the settlers will have nothing to apprehend from any foreign power planting its subjects on the western shore, as was once said to be the intention of the French. The second is the improbability of either the Lachlan or the Macquarie reaching any part of the sea coast, and the total inutility of both for any commercial purposes. Indeed we may now venture to go a step further, and assert that no river of any magnitude empties itself into the sea, on the northern, western or southern coasts of New Holland.
It was satisfactorily ascertained that in those parts of the coast examined by Captain Flinders, D'Entrecasteau and Baudin, no river of any magnitude discharged its waters into the sea; and that most of the great openings or inlets terminated either in low swampy land, or salt marshes, or were bounded by sand hills. These navigators, liowever, still left unexamined a line of coast on the western side, extending from lat. 22° to Ilo S. bearing the names of De Witt's land, Dampier's land, and Van Diemen's land. The greater part of this coast had never been even seen, much less investigated. It was possible, therefore, that in some part of it a considerable river or rivers might exist to drain off the waters from this immense continent; and it was not an unreasonable speculation, that, as the Macquarie and all the inferior streams in its neighbourhood tended to the northward and westward, one or all of them inight find their way across the continent and be discharged into the sea on the north-western coast. This supposition was rendered the more probable, as our old and excellent navigator Dampier had recorded his opinion of a great strait or river opening out behind the Archipelago of the Rosemary Islands; a conclusion to which he was led by the circumstance of a remarkable current setting out from the coast beyond those islands, sufficiently strong to prevent his vessel from approaching the main land.
This conjecture, however, has not been verified. Lieutenant King was sent out by the Admiralty about two years ago to survey
the remaining part of the coast of Australia, commencing with the southern extremity of Terre de Witt, near which the Archipelago in question is situated. He began his examination at Vlaming's Head, or the North-west cape, in lat. 21° 45', which he found to be the northern extremity of a deep bay to which he gave the name of Exmouth Gulf. It contained excellent anchoring ground in every part; but the surrounding shores were sandy and sterile, and without any stream falling into the bay.
From Vlaming's Head to lat. 20° 30' and from long. 114° to 118° the space was occupied by a group of islands, to which he gave the name of Dampier’s Archipelago. One of them is the Rosemary Island of that great navigator, near which, and indeed through all the passages of the Archipelago, he found the tide running strong; but nothing in the shape of a river appeared on any part of the coast, which was generally low and covered with mangroves, behind which was observed an extensive tract of inundated marshy country like that described by Lieutenant Oxley.
Having examined the Archipelago, Lieutenant King stood out to sea, and made the coast again in lat. 12° near that part which in the charts is named Cape Van Diemen. This cape was found to be the northern extremity of an island, between which and the continent was a narrow strait; and to the eastward of this was another island, separated in like manner by a strait from one to three miles wide, with fine anchorage through the whole extent; the shores on either side being thickly lined with mangroves. Between these two islands, and the Arnheim's Land' of the charts, is a deep gulf with good anchorage in every part, to which Lieutenant King gave the name of Van Diemen’s Gulf. In the bottom of this was discovered an opening, which appeared to be the outlet of a considerable river meandering through a low marshy country; the banks were covered with mangroves, but the open plain behind was clothed with thick coarse grass, as far as the eye could reach from a point thirty miles up the river, to which distance the Lieutenant ascended: here it was about a quarter of a mile in width, and from three to four fathoms in depth; it exhibited, however, no indications of a large river, but appeared rather a great drain, with no other current than what was given to it by the ebbing and flowing of the tide.
Lieutenant King, we understand, is still employed in completing the survey of the 8 or 9 degrees of latitude on the north-west coast, which still remained to be examined; but, from the apparent nature of that coast, he entertained but slender hopes of any great river being discovered. It is just possible, that the waters of the Macquarie, and the numerous streams which Lieutenant Oxley discovered, all running to the northward, may be