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pected from so heterogeneous and discordant a mass of materials as are thus thrown together: indifferent in the abstract, it is not improved by that spirit of scandal which usually exists in little communities, where every one is disposed to inquire minutely into the concerns of his neighbour. At Sydney they raised a theatre and instituted annual races, but it was found that they were not quite ripe for these kinds of amusements;'-the races we should have thought would have suited their taste-they have however frequent dinner and supper parties, and regular subscription balls. Upon the whole,' says Mr. Wentworth, it may be safely asserted, that the natural disposition of the people to sociality has not only been in nowise impaired by their change of scene, but that all classes of the colonists are more hospitable than persons of similar means in this country.'
The climate, as we have more than once stated, is healthy and pleasant, and the colonists are not subject to any particular diseases. The small pox was carried into the country, as is supposed, by Captain Cook, and committed dreadful havoc among the natives; the recollection of this event is still fresh in their minds, though the generation which witnessed its horrors has nearly past away. The moment,' says Mr. Wentworth, that one of them was seized with it was the signal for abandoning him to his fate. Brothers deserted their brothers, children their parents, and parents their children; and, in some of the caves on the coast, heaps of decayed bones still indicate the spots where the helpless sufferers were left to expire, not so much perhaps from the violence of the disease, as from the want of sustenance.'
The grains in cultivation are wheat, maize, barley, oats and rye; the first two are those which thrive best and are most in use; maize gives on flooded lands a hundred bushels an acre. All the garden vegetables known in England are produced freely in the colony; and Mr. Wentworth's enumeration of its fruits is quite seducing, peaches, apricots, nectarines, oranges, lemons, citrons, loquits, guavas, cherries, Cape, China and English mulberries, walnuts, Spanish chesnuts, almonds, medlars, quinces, grapes, pears, plums, figs, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, and melons of all sorts attain the highest degree of maturity in the open air; and even the pineapple may be produced merely by the aid of the common forcing glass.' To this list we are enabled to add the olive, which promises to thrive well. The first tree, carried out by Mr. M'Arthur, is now in full bearing, and numerous plants have been raised from it. The grape too succeeds to admiration, and almost all the varieties, at least the choicest kinds, from the continent of Europe, have been secured to the country. As colonization extends to the northward, the progress of which will be
hastened by the discovery of a new port by Mr. Oxley, sugar, tobacco, cotton, and all the products of a tropical climate, will no doubt be added to those which the colony already enjoys. The wool of the New South Wales sheep is of remarkable fineness; it is found to vie with the very best Spanish wool, and it can be brought to the English market nearly as cheap as from Spain. The navigation is now so well understood, that the celerity of a passage to and from Port Jackson is quite extraordinary. From 3 to 4 months is now the usual length of a passage either out or home.
Nothing can better exemplify the thriving condition and general prosperity of New South Wales and its dependencies, than a comparative view of the increase of stock at different periods. By a census taken at the end of the year 1800 (twelve years after the foundation of the colony) the number of horses was only 163; of horned cattle 1024; and of sheep 6124: at the end of 1813, the horses had increased to 1891; the horned cattle to 21,513; and the sheep to 65,121: and at the end of 1817, the horses had further increased to 3072; horned cattle to 44,753; and sheep to 170,420. But the astonishing rapidity with which the population, stock and produce were increasing will best appear by the comparison of two musters, taken in the months of November 1817 and 1818.
All the settlements above mentioned are situated at no great distance from the sea coast, on the belt of land, more or less narrow, between it and a range of lofty hills known to the colonists by the name of the Blue Mountains. These, though so little removed from the principal settlement, were crossed, for the first time, about the close of the year 1813, by Mr. Evans the Deputy Surveyor of the colony. On reaching the opposite side he found the herbage to be extremely good, the vallies well watered, and the mountain streams running to the westward. To two of these which assumed the character of rivers, he gave the names of the Fish and the Campbell rivers; and to their united streams that of the Macquarie. He pursued its course for ten days, passing over rich tracts of country, clear of timber, well-watered,
• Since the latter period, we believe that not fewer than 8000 convicts have been and
and abounding with kangaroos and emus. To this new and promising region Governor Macquarie gave immediate directions for a road to be made, passable by carriages, which, though extending in length upwards of one hundred miles, was completed early in 1815; and over which the governor proceeded in person, in the spring of that year, as far as Bathurst plains. From this place he dispatched Mr. Evans to examine the country to the south-west, in which direction another river had been discovered, afterwards named the Lachlan.
The expeditions, of which the account is now before us, were undertaken to explore the termination of this river and the Macquarie, the direction of which was to the north-west: both were placed under the command of Lieutenant Oxley, (a zealous and enterprizing officer,) Surveyor General of the territory of New South Wales. He left Bathurst, in April 1817; and proceeded, in the first place, to trace the course of the Lachlan.
'Bathurst (Mr. Oxley says) had assumed a very different appearance since I first visited it in the suite of his excellency the Governor in 1815. The industrious hand of man had been busy in improving the beautiful works of nature; a good substantial house for the superintendant had been erected, the government grounds fenced in, and the stackyards shewed that the abundant produce of the last harvest had amply repaid the labour bestowed on its culture. The fine healthy appearance of the flocks and herds was a convincing proof how admirably adapted these extensive downs and thinly wooded hills are for grazing, more particularly of sheep. The mind dwelt with pleasure on the idea, that at no very distant period these secluded plains would be covered with flocks bearing the richest fleeces, and contribute in no small degree to the prosperity of the eastern settlement.'--p. 2.
Not far to the westward of Bathurst is a ridge of limestone hills ruuming north and south through a very beautiful well-wooded country admirably adapted for grazing. It may here be remarked that this ridge runs on a meridional line to a great distance, perhaps the whole extent of New South Wales, as it was observed in three distinct places lying exactly north and south of each other, the extremes of which were two hundred miles apart. It also appeared that this meridional distribution was nót confined to the geology of the country; but was equally noticeable in the trees and shrubberies, the same species and the same kind of grouping into clumps, or thickets, being constantly observed to take place on the same meridian, and to differ on different méridians.
On reaching the point of the river where it becomes navigable, the country assumed the appearance of a perfect level, and the soil seemed poor, except on the banks, which were high and steep,
and on which alone large trees were found growing. The width of the river was here from thirty to forty yards. A considerable number of natives flocked down to the opposite side, about twenty of whom swam across, with their galengars or stone hatchets in their hands, which, ou landing, they laid at the feet of the strangers. They were stout, well featured, and manly in their appearance, with long black beards. The words used by these people had not the remotest resemblance to those used by the natives of the coast for expressing the same objects, though at so short a distance from each other. Seven days after they fell in with another party, who came up boldly to them; they were clothed in cloaks made of the skins of the opossum, with their hair bound up in nets neatly worked; their faces were daubed with a red and yellow pigment; and the front teeth of the upper jaw were wanting in all.
The country was evidently subject to extensive inundations; and as the travellers proceeded they found the grass in some places nearly breast high, coarse, thick, and so entangled as to be almost impenetrable; in others were extensive swamps, interspersed with dwarf box and gum trees: swans and other water fowl were in great abundance. The navigation of the river was frequently interrupted by fallen trees, and so winding was its course, that the distance by water was nearly three times that by land. It was, however, found to be rich in excellent fish.
'One man in less than an hour caught eighteen, one of which was a curiosity from its immense size, and the beauty of its colours. In shape and general form it most resembled a cod, but was speckled over with brown, blue, and yellow spots, like a leopard's skin; its gills and belly a clear white, the tail and fins a dark brown. It weighed entire seventy pounds, and without the entrails sixty-six pounds: it is somewhat singular that in none of these fish is any thing found in the stomach, except occasionally a shrimp or two. The dimensions of this fish were as follow:
On the 11th of May, the party had reached a spot of the dead level through which the river flowed, where it appeared to lose itself in a multitude of branches among marshy flats; and where a rise of four feet would have been sufficient to sweep them all
away; since there was not within sight the smallest eminence to retreat to. Lieutenant Oxley therefore determined to strike off to the south-west for Cape Northumberland, knowing that if any river emptied itself into Bass' Strait between Spencer's Gulf and Cape Otway, that course would intersect it; and that if the Lachlan united itself into one stream, beyond the marshes, he would thus be most likely to fall in with it. The party accordingly commenced their journey, and at the end of five weeks came again, unexpectedly, upon the banks of the Lachlan, much diminished in size, but still running in a tolerably brisk stream to the westward.
The country over which they had travelled to gain this part of the river was of the most miserable description; and the sufferings of the party from fatigue, and want of water, were very great. In some places they fell in with a little grass in patches, just sufficient to keep their cattle alive, but this was of rare occurrence.
It is impossible,' says Mr. Oxley' to imagine a more desolate region; and the uncertainty we are in, whilst traversing it, of finding water, adds to the melancholy feelings which the silence and solitude of such wastes are calculated to inspire.' As the party advanced to the north-west, they came to a low range of stony hills equally barren with the sandy deserts which they had passed; these, however, abounded with dogs, whose howlings were incessant by day as well as by night. As there was no appearance of any kind of game, it was concluded that the principal sustenance of these wild animals must be rats, which had undermined the whole country. The natives eat these dogs; and the present party, when short of provisions, agreed in thinking them by no means unpalatable.
On the 23d June the appearance of a flock of large kangaroos, of emus and bustards, and the change of the soil from loose sand to stiff tenacious clay, bearing evident marks of occasional inundations, left little doubt on the minds of the party that a river would be met with at no great distance; and accordingly, observed above, they all at once found themselves upon the banks of the Lachlan, the course of which they now determined to follow. The face of the country continued to present a dead level on all sides, and, in the neighbourhood of the river, was full of bogs and swamps. 'We seemed,' says Mr. Oxley, the sole living creatures in those vast deserts.' There was no object to relieve the eye but a few scattered bushes, and occasionally dwarf box-trees; the view being as boundless as the ocean.
Our travellers however still proceeded down the stream till, on the 7th July, it became evident that the channel was the bed only of a lagoon, the current being now imperceptible, and the waters