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Oxley's Journal from July 1817

Cunningham was the botanist who accompanied Oxley on this journey. GriffithGateway.com has been able to locate an extract from his journal for the same journey.

Previous months entries
April 1817
May 1817
June 1817
August 1817

Oxley June 1817 Cunningham June 1817

July 1.-Dark cloudy morning, with showers of rain. However desirous I was to proceed, I found that to do so would greatly injure the horses. Towards noon it cleared up, permitting me to take a tolerable observation, to ascertain our situation. I consider ourselves as peculiarly fortunate in being blessed with so dry and favourable a season; since all attempts to penetrate into the country during rain, or after an inundation of the stream, must have failed. I am quite convinced that at this place, when the banks are overflowed, the waters must extend from thirty to forty miles on each side of the stream, as we are that distance from any eminence. If there had been any nearer to the north, west, or south, we must have seen it from those extensive plains on which we have travelled for the last three days; for looking eastward, we can distinctly perceive Macquarie's Range, from which we estimate ourselves to be about thirty-five miles west. The stream was sounded in various places during the day, and its greatest depth never exceeded seven feet; the bottom and sides a stiff bluish clay. Latitude observed 33. 32. 22. S., longitude 145. 5. 50. E.; variation of the compass 6. 49. E.

1817. July 1st. Tuesday. In consequence of the heavy bad country we passed over yesterday we considered it advisable to rest the horses the whole of this day. By observation it appears our lat: is 33°32'22" S., and long. 145°38'30" E., and the variation of the compass is 6°49'00" E. The river at our encampment is 20 ft. wide, and upon sounding, we found 6 ft. to be the greatest depth. Our people caught a few fish 2 or 3 lbs. in weight.

July 2.-At nine o'clock we again set forward down the stream; our course, as it has hitherto done, lay over apparently interminable plains, nothing relieving the eye but a few scattered bushes, and occasionally some dwarf box-trees: the view was boundless as the ocean, neither eminence nor hillock appearing. On the edges of the stream alone, and the lagoons that occasionally branched from it, was any thing like timber to be seen. The occasional openings on the stream enabled us to perceive, that the north side was in every respect similar to the south: I was so much deceived, by the semblance of the plains on the other side to sheets of water, that I twice went down to the edge of the stream to assure myself to the contrary.

A strong current of water must frequently pass over these plains, as is evident from the traces left by the washings of shrubs, leaves, etc. The soil was a brown hazel-coloured sandy loam, very soft and boggy; in places it was more tenacious, water still remaining in many holes. By the marks on the trees it would seem that the stream occasionally overflows its banks to the depth of three or four feet; and five miles back from it small trees were seen, that had evidently stood from twelve to eighteen inches in the water. As usual we saw no recent signs of natives having visited these parts; here and there the remains of burnt muscle-shells would denote that at certain seasons the stream is visited by them for the purpose of procuring these shell-fish: I am clearly of opinion that, in dry summers, there is no running water in the bed of the present stream, and thus it is easy for them to procure the muscles from the shallow stagnant pools which would naturally be formed at every bend of the stream. To procure any such shell-fish whilst a stream like the present is running in it, is totally impossible.

Although we did not travel above eleven miles, we were nearly seven hours in performing it. Our halting place was within a few feet of the river, and so wet and spongy, that the water sprung even from the pressure of our feet; and this has been the case nearly ever since we made the stream, though of course we chose the driest spots. Neither hunting nor fishing were successful today, but as we had become from experience not over sanguine, our expectations were not much disappointed, and the aspect of the country promised nothing.

It had been remarked by all, for some days past, that a putrid sour smell seemed to proceed from the plains, and we were at first at some loss to discover the cause of it, as there did not appear sufficient vegetable matter in a decayed state to produce such an effect. Mr. Cunningham discovered that it proceeded from decayed plants of the salsolae, which produce the same effect as decayed sea-weed does in salt marshes; in short, all the plants found in our journey over these plains are the natural productions of low wet situations.

2nd. Wednesday. The native dogs, which were howling around us during the night, kept ours upon the lookout. A small hailstorm, seconded by a shower of rain, detained us a few moments. At 10 o'clock our baggage-horses and ourselves left the banks of the river and proceeded in a south-westerly direction over the plains, which are not much softened by the morning showers. I gathered duplicate seeds of Lobelia sp. (closely allied to L. purpurascens), from the swamps; in which humid situations Haloragis tetragyna accompanies a species of Achyranthus, with whorls of flowers. At 10 miles on a south-westerly course we struck in for the river, at which we arrived in 4 miles and halted, the horses considerably behind us. The river here is very shallow and muddy, not exceeding 3 feet; the banks are low, and the current runs about half a knot per hour, the water of which is turbid and of a fetid scent. The Blue Gums we daily observe do not appear upon the plains and are only to be seen on the immediate banks of the river, which they clothe pretty thickly, forming large heads and bulky timber, but, like many of its congeners, hollow. It may not be altogether amiss to mention here that the tubular stems of several species of Eucalyptus on the eastern coast, when well selected, have proved tolerable good conductors of water and have been turned to good account in draining land. The plains now appear very extensive and of considerable width, and of such continuance to the southward and westward as to be lost in the horizon, forming one continued dead flat.

July 3.-So thick a fog arose during the night, that in the morning we could not see in any direction above one hundred yards; this delayed us considerably, and it was the middle of the day before we could proceed.

Our course lay over the same description of country as we had previously passed. The soil in some parts a red loamy mould; in others, a dark hazel-coloured sandy soil: this last appears to have its origin in the depositions left by floods, the former being the original or prevailing soil. The plants and shrubs the same as yesterday.

Several flocks of a new description of pigeon were seen for the first time; two were shot, and were beautiful and curious. Their heads were crowned with a black plume, their wings streaked with black, the short feathers of a golden colour edged with white; the back of their necks a light flesh-colour, their breasts fawn-coloured, and their eyes red. A new species of cockatoo or paroquet, being between both, was also seen, with red necks and breasts, and grey backs. I mention these birds thus particularly, as they are the only ones we have yet seen which at all differ from those known on the east coast.6 Our visible horizon, in every direction, being merely studded with shrubs and low bushes, gave the scene a singular marine appearance. We stopped about two miles south of the river, not being able to reach it before night-fall, the marshy ground having driven us a considerable distance round.

3rd. Thursday. We were enveloped in a very thick fog, by which we were unavoidably detained until the mist had in some measure evaporated. Leaving the river about noon we advanced on a course southerly of S.W. over the plains, which are an immense expanse of flat open country. They are exceedingly barren and naked for the first 8 miles. About 3 o'clock p.m. we altered our course, steering westerly in order to make the river, but we were much deceived in its distance from us. On this course we saw Stenochilus longifolius, Acacia Pendula, Rhagodiae and some Salsolae miserably stunted.

Arriving at the angle of a wood near an old native encampment we halted at sunset, having travelled 11¼ miles, about 11 miles southward of the river, where we found plenty of water in a lagoon abounding with wild fowl. We noticed very recent impressions of the feet of some natives, one of them was very small, and might have been that of a woman. We were induced to hope that, from the very recent marks of the feet of emu upon the clayey soil, our dogs would have been able to secure one or two of these birds, which would have very materially benefited the whole of us, the ration that could only be allowed us being by no means sufficient to satisfy the keen appetites augmented by hard corporeal exercise. We shot a brace of pigeons of a new species, wings brown, with pinion feathers white, slightly bronzed, and green breast, slate colour; and they are rendered more handsome by reason of the small tuft or topknot of feathers on their heads. Some other strange birds were observed (supposed to be Parrots), about the size and flight of a pigeon, with beautiful red breasts; they were noticed to fly generally in pairs to and from the northward.

July 4.-During this day's course we repeatedly attempted to gain the situation where we supposed the river to take its course, but were always disappointed; immense swamps constantly barred our attempts to travel northerly; these swamps were now covered with several feet of water, which, from the marks of dwarf trees growing in them, is sometimes three or four feet deeper. The same dead level of country still prevailed; and the sandy deserts of Arabia could not boast a clearer horizon, the low acacia bushes not in any degree interrupting the view. It was remarkable that there was always water where the dwarf box-trees grew; we might therefore be said to coast along from woody point to point, since all attempts to pass through them were uniformly defeated. The soil the same as yesterday, and most unpleasant to travel over, from the circular pools or hollows, which covered the whole plain, and which seem to be formed by whirlpools of water, having a deep hole in the bottom, through which the water appeared to have gradually drained off. It is clear that the entire country is at times inundated, and that as every thing now bears the appearance of long-continued drought, the swamps and stagnant waters are the residuum.

In the whole we proceeded upwards of fourteen miles, and stopped for the night upon the edge of one of the swamps, which are now the only places that afford any timber for firing. Some traces of natives were seen today, about three or four days old; they appeared to have been a single family of four or five persons. If there are any natives in our neighbourhood, they must have discovered us, and keep out of the way, otherwise upon these clear flats we could not avoid seeing them.

We were again fortunate enough to kill an emu, a most acceptable supply, since continued exercise gives us appetites something beyond what our ration can satisfy.

4th. Friday. The birds observed last night, and which I suspected to be of the parrot kind, flying to the northward, returned this morning, flying in flocks to the southward. They are of a light ash colour on the back and wings, and have rich pink breasts and heads.[*] Resuming our route westerly about 2 miles we came to extensive low swamps and inundated woods of Blue Gum, on the margin of which were several native huts, built rather stronger than usual, evidently in the wet season, and having a loose thatch of red grass. Upon entering these abandoned Aboriginean houses, I found several conversation cards or barks perforated as before described, some fish, a snake bone and some mussel shells. Obliged to change our course, we passed about 6 miles southerly of west, until we were stopped in our progress by a small creek running from the swamps or wooded lagoons. Finding it impossible for our horses to pass it at this spot we struck south, over a flat covered with high grass and herbage and full of clear water-holes, in order to pass round this boggy creek, which we accomplished in a circuitous route of 3 miles. Continuing to the angle of a wood or line of gum trees, we stopped for the day, having travelled 14 miles. The plains are very heavy and boggy, and not so bare as we have observed them in other parts, but afford few new plants, the majority being duplicates of what we have already seen. The following plants, however, appear new:--Gnaphalium sp., allied to G. apiculatum. Dalea sp., with terminal blue flowers. Helichrysum polygalifolium, nova sp. Aster sp., 4 flowers, rays many, white. I observed the remains of a plant of an Orobanche in capsule (the whole of the root was dead), sparingly on the flats, in the waterholes of which Polamogeton natans and Polygonum junceum [= Muehlenbeckia Cunninghami] abound. Mr. Oxley, who had rode on before us, descried a pair of emus, male and female, with several young ones. Our dogs gave chase and, after a good run, secured the male, and our people ran down 6 of their young, which made us an excellent dinner. At the southern extremity of the plains a body of water was standing, of considerable length and about a quarter of a mile wide. We were all of us more or less seized with dysenteric affections, the natural consequence of living among swamps. [* Rose-breasted cockatoos (Galahs): ---The Galah comes in from sunrise for about two hours, same in the evening for about two hours of sunset . . . they fly right into water, settle round . . . and drink and then break up into flocks and fly away to feeding or roosting grounds. "--Campbell's "Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds."]

July 5.-Independently of the nature of the country rendering it altogether uninhabitable, the noxious vapours that must naturally arise during the heats of summer from these marshes (should the present surface of land on which we are now travelling be then free from water), would render the whole tract peculiarly unhealthy. Even during the short space of a fortnight, when it might be presumed that the winter's cold had in a great degree rendered the effluvia innoxious, every person in the expedition was more or less affected by dysenterical complaints; and the putrid sour smell that constantly attended us was symptomatic of what would be its effects when rendered active by the powerful heats of summer.

Although there was no grass out of the marshes for the horses to feed upon, yet they appeared to live very tolerably upon a species of atriplex which covered the plains, and being extremely succulent was eaten with avidity by them; they certainly preferred it to the grasses which the swamps produced.

Our route lay over the same unvarying plain surface as on the preceding days, and after travelling about five miles, we again saw the line of trees growing on the banks of the stream; and having performed about ten miles more, we halted on the immediate banks of it. These were considerably lower, being about six feet above the water; the current was almost imperceptible, and the depth did not exceed four feet, and was extremely muddy; the trees growing on the banks were neither so large nor so numerous as before, and a new species of eucalyptus prevailed over the old blue gum. The north-east side was precisely of the same description of country as the south-east. A very large sheet of water or lake lay on the north-west side, opposite to the place where we made the river. The horizon was clear and distinct round the whole circle, the line of trees on the river alone excepted. From the marks on these trees, the waters appear to rise about three feet above the level of the bank; a height more than sufficient to inundate the whole country. This stream is certainly in the summer season, or in the long absence of rain, nothing more than a mere chain of ponds, serving as a channel to convey the waters from the eastward over this low tract. It is certain that no waters join this river from its source to this point; and passing, as it does, for the most part, through a line of country so low as to be frequently overflowed, and to an extent north and south perfectly unknown. but certainly at this place exceeding forty miles, it must cause the country to remain for ever uninhabitable, and useless for all the purposes of civilized man.

These considerations, added to the state of our provisions, of which, at the reduced ration of three pounds of flour per man per week, we had but ten weeks remaining, determined me to proceed no farther westward with the main part of the expedition; but as the state of the greater part of our horses was such as absolutely to require some days' rest and refreshment, before we attempted to return eastward, I considered that it would be acting best up to the spirit of my instructions to proceed forward myself with three men and horses, and as we should carry nothing with us but our provisions, we should be enabled to proceed with so much expedition, as to go as far and see as much in three days as would take the whole party at least seven to perform.

My object in thus proceeding farther was to get so far to the westward as to place beyond all question the impossibility of a river falling into the sea between Cape Otway and Cape Bernouilli. In my opinion, the very nature of the country altogether precludes such a possibility, but I think my proceeding so far will be conclusive with those who have most strongly imbibed the conviction that a river enters the sea between the Capes in question, which was certainly an idea I also had entertained, and which nothing but the survey of a country, without either hills or permanent streams, could have destroyed.

I must observe as a remarkable feature in this singular country, that for the last fifty miles we have not seen a stone or pebble of any kind, save two, and they were taken out of the maws of two emus. I am now firmly persuaded that there are no eminent grounds in this part of the country, until these low sandy hills7 which bound the south-western coast-line are reached; and these, in my judgment, are the only barriers which prevent the ocean from extending its empire over a country which was probably once under its dominion.

(From Encounter Bay to this slight projection (Cape Bernouilli), the coast is little else than a bank of sand, with a few hummocks on the top, partially covered with small vegetation, nor could any thing in the interior country be distinguished above the bank. Flinder's Voy. Vol. I. p. 197.)

5th. Saturday. Our two men who were employed as huntsmen were sent forward in search of game for us. Resolving to make the river this afternoon if possible, we departed from our encampment in a westerly direction for about 7½ miles, stretching from point to point of the woods formed by the northerly bights or bends of the river. Making for a point which we found to be the river, having a current scarcely perceptible, its banks very low, not exceeding 8 feet and appearing very shallow. Tracing its left bank down to a dry spot, we halted and pitched our tent. Our journey is about 10 miles. About 200 yards below us two islands are formed in the channel of the river, which are covered with the Eucalyptus called the Blue Gum and Acacia stenophylla. We could clearly distinguish through the spaces between the trees plains of great extent on the opposite side of the river. The plains are again naked in many places and the soil dry and hard. A Lavatera, much allied to L. arborea, afforded me duplicate seeds. Clitoria sp., and another, leaflets elongated, blunt and silky, with a spike of flowers. Sida sp., a low depressed shrub, and Galium sp. At 2 miles on our day's journey we crossed the parallel of latitude of Port Jackson southerly. In order to make the most of the dry provisions we now have in casks we were obliged to reduce the ration, particularly the flour, to 2 quarts or 3 lbs. per week per man, in order to enable us to return home to Bathurst which we calculated upon reaching the last day of August. We had, as before stated, suffered a very severe loss in our flour, and our people all saw the necessity of this reduction. Mr. Oxley likewise stated to them that in all human probability (there was a moral certainty of it) we should be relieved from this privation in two or three weeks--from the time we turn our faces eastward--by arriving at a more hilly country, which would afford us game of all kinds, and that should we continue on the river banks we should find a resource in the fish, which are large and abundant in the deeper waters.

July 6.-A fine and pleasant morning; one of the horses was found dead, the greater part of the others in a very weakly state.

6th. Sunday. Considering the small quantity of provisions we are now in possession of, the great distance we are from any resource, being about 350 or 370 miles south-westerly of Bathurst, and the rivulet still continuing to run westerly although very slow, Mr. Oxley has resolved to halt at this spot the whole of this week, during which period our horses would recruit their strength, and their backs, which are much galled, should be attended to in order to heal them. And considering he would act up more fully to the spirit and tenor of the instructions he has received to continue the journey westward on horseback. Naturally concluding that the river would terminate and totally cease to run, being spent in low lands in the course of a distance of 70 miles westerly (which he calculating upon advancing in 3 days), or that it ended in an open lake, he was the more desirous of continuing his route westerly for 3 days if possible, because that distance would enable him to cross the parallel of latitude and the meridian of longitude of a part of the country the coast of which has been but very imperfectly surveyed, and hence has given rise to the possibility of the embouchure of a river or rivers there. Mr. Oxley therefore prepared himself to leave us for a week, taking with him two of the party, with bedding and provisions for that period, intending to leave us to-morrow morning. A serviceable packhorse which had been badly strained in the loins was reported to us to have died in the course of the last night, reducing our number to 11, this being the third horse that has died in the course of the expedition, and from singular causes.

July 7.-At eight o'clock, taking with me three men, I proceeded to follow the course of the stream; I attempted in the first instance to keep away from the banks, but was soon obliged to join them, as the morasses extended outwards and intersected my proposed course in almost every direction. About three miles and a half from the tent, a large arm extended from the north bank to a considerable distance on that side; the banks continually getting lower, and before we had gone six miles it was evident that the channel of the stream was only the bed of a lagoon, the current now being imperceptible, with small gum trees growing in the middle. Three miles farther the morasses closed upon us, and rendered all farther progress impossible. The water was here stagnant. The large trees that used to be met with in such numbers up the stream were entirely lost, a few diminutive gums being the only timber to be seen: the height of the bank from the water-line was three feet six inches; and the marks of floods on the trunks of the trees rose to the height of four feet six inches, being about one foot above the level of the surrounding marshes. It would appear that the water is frequently stationary at that height for a considerable time, as long moss and other marks of stagnant waters were remaining on the trunks and roots of the trees, and on the long-leaved acacia, which was here a strong plant. There could not be above three feet water in this part of the lagoon, as small bushes and tufts of tea grass were perceptible. The water was extremely muddy, and the odour arising from the banks and marshes was offensive in the extreme. There were only four different kinds of plants at this terminating point of our journey, viz. the small eucalyptus, the long-leaved acacia, the large tea grass, and a new diaeceous plant which covered the marshes, named polygonum junceum. It is possible that the bed of the lagoon might extend eight or ten miles farther, but I do not think it did, as the horizon was perfectly clear in all directions, a few bushes and acacia trees, marking the course of the lagoon, excepted.

Had there been any hill or even small eminence within thirty or forty miles of me they must now have been discovered, but there was not the least appearance of any such, and it was with infinite regret and pain that I was forced to come to the conclusion, that the interior of this vast country is a marsh and uninhabitable. How near these marshes may approach the south-western coast, I know not; but I do not think that the range of high and dry land in that quarter extends back north-easterly for any great distance; it being known, that the coast from Cape Bernouilli to the head of Spencer's Gulf is sandy and destitute of water.8

(The view from the top of Mount Brown (in lat. 32. 30. 15. S. and lon. 138. 0. 3/4. E. head of Spencer's Gulf) was very extensive, its elevation not being less than three thousand feet; but neither rivers nor lakes could be perceived, nor any thing of the sea to the south-eastward. In almost every direction the eye traversed over an uninterruptedly flat woody country, the sole exceptions being the ridge of mountains, extending north and south; and the water of the gulf to the south-westward. Flinder's Voy. Vol. I. p. 159.)

Perhaps there is no river, the history of which is known, that presents so remarkable a termination as the present: its course in a straight line from its source to its termination exceeds five hundred miles, and including its windings, it may fairly be calculated to run at least twelve hundred miles; during all which passage, through such a vast extent of country, it does not receive a single stream in addition to what it derives from its sources in the eastern mountains.

I think it a probable conjecture that this river is the channel by which all the waters rising in those ranges of hills to the westward of Port Jackson, known by the name of the Blue Mountains, and which do not fall into the sea on the east coast, are conveyed to these immense inland marshes; its sinuous course causing it to overflow its banks on a much higher level than the present, and in consequence, forming those low wet levels which are in the very neighbourhood of the government depot. Its length of course is, in my opinion, the principal cause of our finding any thing like a stream for the last one hundred miles, as the immense body of water which must undoubtedly be at times collected in such a river must find a vent somewhere, but being spent during so long a course without any accession, the only wonder is, that even those waters should cause a current at so great a distance from their source; everything however indicates, as before often observed, that in dry seasons the channel of the river is empty, or forms only a chain of ponds. It appears to have been a considerable length of time since the banks were overflowed, certainly not for the last year; and I think it probable they are not often so: the quantity of water must indeed be immense, and of long accumulation, in the upper marshes, before the whole of this vast country can be under water.

My intention to penetrate farther westward being thus frustrated, I returned to the tent about three o'clock, and determined, should the horses appear sufficiently recovered and refreshed, finally to quit this western part of the country on Thursday next; a few days rain would prevent us from ever quitting it, but we have been bountifully favoured by Providence with a season of continued fair and pleasant weather, which could hardly have been expected, and which alone could have enabled us to decide so satisfactorily, if it can be called satisfaction to prove the negative of the existence of any navigable rivers in this part of Australia.

7th. Monday. This morning Mr. Oxley left our encampment on his journey westerly, accompanied by Fraser, Burns and Simpson, with provisions for six days, and trusting they will be able to clear 25 miles per day for three days, at the end of which, should the stream still continue to run westerly, they hope to reach some hills or rising grounds from which they could make observations as to the nature of the country S.W. and N.W. of them. In their absence our people will be employed in mending the pack-harness, attending to our sick horses and preparing for our return home early next week. Economy and necessity had taught us to turn every accident to some account. The flesh of our deceased horse afforded our faithful but famishing dogs some tolerable meals, and the skin furnished our people with materials for mocassins or shoes, which they divided equally with mathematical niceness. I employed myself in repapering and drying my specimens. I likewise overhauled that description of baggage which belonged to me, rendering more compact and repairing my saddlebags, which had suffered much by friction through a difficult country.

About 2 o'clock in the afternoon, Mr. Oxley and those that accompanied him returned to our encampment, having advanced about 9 miles on the immediate bank of the rivulet until they were obliged to desist from proceeding further, the horses being bogged up to their girths, endangering the lives of their riders and themselves.[*] About 4 miles from our tent they observed two arms or branches running from the rivulet in a northerly direction. Onward the current is scarcely perceptible, and the water is muddy and discoloured. At the termination of their journey the banks do not exceed 3½ feet in height, its channel very narrow and choked up by miserable Blue Gums growing in it with Arundo phragmites, when its current ceases and the water is stagnant. On the small shrubs of Eucalyptus, which are remarkably strong and mossy, indicative of the perpetual humidity, the highest water marks do not exceed 4½ feet. The only plants observed at this "Ne plus ultra" of our expedition are the Blue Gums, Acacia stenophylla, Polygonum junceum [= Muehlenbeckia Cunninghami], and a long reed grass all on the muddy banks or in its channel. Its extreme termination was probably not above 10 miles farther on[**]--19 miles from our tent--which Mr. Oxley doubts not he would have verified had it been possible for him to have continued on the banks, which being the highest part was the best travelling. We proposed to continue at our present encampment until Thursday morning, and then commence our route easterly home. Our people shot several of the new pigeons. [* The above will show that Oxley's farthest West was nine miles beyond his encampment. Mitchell, whilst exploring the Lachlan, came there on May 5, 1832, and surmised that this part was under water at the time of Oxley's visit. He saw a tree there marked on each side which the natives informed him had been "marked by Oxley at the farthest place he reached."] [** The Lachlan after passing through the marsh joins the Murrumbidgee in 34½° S. and 143½° E., the latter river, then turning on a south-westerly course unites with the Murray and falls into the sea in 35½° S. and 139° E.]

July 8.-Observed the sun's magnetic amplitude in rising from the clear horizon of the plain, a circumstance that rarely can occur in any country unless such a one as the present; it strongly marks the. horizontal level which seems to run now from east to west.

Mean lat. of our tent 33 degrees 53 minutes 19 seconds S. Comp. long. 144 33 50 E. Mean variation 7 25 00 E.

Situation of the spot where the stream ceased to have a current.

Lat 33 degrees 57 minutes 30 seconds S. Long. comp. 144 23 00 E. Do. do. 144 31 15 E.

No hill or eminence in a south-west direction terminating in lat. 34. 22. 12. and in long. 143. 30. 00. E. which is the calculated extent of our visible clear horizon.

The afternoon proved cloudy, with occasional showers: prepared every thing for our return eastward on the morrow.

8th. Tuesday. By way of experiment and as a proof of the immense expanse of clear flat country, Mr. Oxley took his amplitude of the sun at its rising, an observation that has never been taken before in the interior of Western Australia, and it may be the first observed in any country, for want of an horizon, which is this morning very clear and cloudless. By further observations taken this day the site of our present encampment is as follows. Mean altitude 33°53'19" S., computed longitude 145°07'15" E., or the same free from errors of chart 144°39'30" E., mean var. of compass 7°25' E. The place where the stream ceased to have motion is in lat. 33°57'30" S., computed long. 144°59'0" E., and freed from errors of chart 144°31'15" E., the hill, an eminence in a S.W. direction, terminating in lat. 34°22'12" S. and long. 144° E., that being the calculated extent of our visible clear horizon. I gathered some seeds of a plant with globular heads of flowers and agreeing with Richea in the number of its plumose pappi. I dug up some fine roots of a species of Anthericum before observed, which is very abundant with the Pancratium Macquaria [= Calostemma purpureum]. I sowed several peach stones and quince seeds near this last south-westerly encampment.

We wrote a paper stating the latitude and longitude of the spot, the object of the expedition, with names of those who comprised it, and observed that it was our intention to return to Bathurst in a northern circuitous route, in hopes of intersecting the Macquarie River. This paper was carefully enveloped in a sheet of brown paper, put into a dry wine bottle, corked, sealed over, and its neck covered strongly with leather, intending in the morning to bury it beneath a species of Eucalyptus bicolor near our tent.

July 9.-The morning fair and pleasant, but cold, the ground being covered with hoar-frost. At half-past eight we set out on our return eastward, every one feeling no little pleasure at quitting a region which had presented nothing to his exertions but disappointment and desolation. Under a tree near the tent, inscribed with the words "Dig under," we buried a bottle, containing a paper bearing the date of our arrival and departure, with our purposed course, and the names of each individual that composed the party. I cannot flatter myself with the belief, however, that European eyes will ever trace the characters either on the tree or the paper; but we deposited the scroll as a memorial that the spot had been once in the tide of time visited by civilized man, and that should Providence forbid our safe return to Bathurst, the friends who might search for us should at least know the course we had taken.

About two o'clock we arrived at our halting-place of the 4th; and there being no place convenient for pitching our tent within six or seven miles farther on, we determined to remain here.

9th. Wednesday. We buried the bottle, which we had closed the last evening, beneath the shade of a moderate sized Eucalyptus, engraving on the solid timber "DIG UNDER," information that could not well be expressed by less letters.[*] The whole of us left this spot this morning in good spirits and intend to retrace our footsteps to the place where we discovered the river on the 23rd ultimo. At 2 o'clock we arrived at our last stage, where we stopped for the night. I gathered a few specimens:-another species of Sowerbaea, or a variety of the species discovered on Strangford's Plains. The petals are generally sulphur-coloured with purple stripes. Lotus sp., a slender herbaceous plant. Helichrysum, a new sp., with terminal white solitary flowers. Also specimen of a shrub with linear leaves; the whole plant is woolly, different from others of the same habit, discovered on these plains. Also a Callitris and some grasses. I observed a species of Plantago, scarcely differing from the species found on the flats.

[* The natives led Major Mitchell to the spot where Oxley's tent had stood. He saw there the stump of a tree that had been recently burned down, which the natives said had had marks upon it. Mitchell dug under it for the bottle without success, and he learned from a native tribe that after the tree had been fired a child had found the bottle and broken it. It had contained a letter they said, and "this news" be observes "saved us further search."]

July 10.-Observed the variation of the compass by amp., at sun-rising, to be 7. 47. E., by Kater's compass. The horses having strayed, it was nearly eleven o'clock before we could set out, and between four and five o'clock we stopped at our halting-place of the 3d. On our way we passed a raised mound of earth which had somewhat the appearance of a burial-place; we opened it, but found nothing in it except a few ashes, but whether from bones or wood could not be distinguished; a semicircular trench was dug round one side of it, as if for seats for persons in attendance.

10th. Thursday. It was late before we could leave our encampment, a delay occasioned by our horses having strayed away some miles back S.W. in the course of the night. About 3 o'clock we arrived at our resting place of the third inst. Having pursued a more direct course we made it in 12 miles, which was 14 on the 4th. I gathered the following specimens: Gnaphalium sp., musk scented when fresh. Anacyclus sp., leaves bipinnate and linear; scape elongated, one flowered. Gnaphalium sp., a delicate diminutive plant, accompanying Siloxerus humifusus, a dwarf plant discovered by Labillardière on the south coast, which is abundant with a species of Gymnostyles, a plant of the same class and pigmy growth. A raised mound of earth which we passed on the plains, we suspect to be an Aboriginean grave, near which grew a dwarf shrubby species of Solanum, with narrow lanceolate leaves. Large flocks of new birds, some of which we have shot and find to be a species of cockatoo, and the pigeons passed over us in their diurnal northern and southern flights.

July 11.-At nine, again set forward on our return up the river, and it was near four o'clock before we arrived at a convenient halting-place on its banks, the river presented a most singular phenomenon to our astonished view. That river which yesterday was so shallow that it could be walked across, and whose stream was scarcely perceptible, was now rolling along its agitated and muddy waters nearly on a level with the banks: whence this sudden rise, we could not divine, any more than we could account for the non-appearance of a fresh twenty miles lower down; unless the marshes which we have traced for the two last days, at a distance from the river, should have absorbed the waters in passing, or unless the extremely winding course should so protract and retard the current of them as to cause a considerable time to elapse before a flood in the upper parts could reach the lower. We considered ourselves as extremely fortunate in having quitted our station of the 8th a day or two before it was originally intended, as we should otherwise have been in considerable danger.

The present height of the bank above the level of the stream is four feet nine inches.

A singular instance of affection in one of the brute creation was this day witnessed. About a week ago we killed a native dog, and threw his body on a small bush: in returning past the same spot to-day, we found the body removed three or four yards from the bush, and the female in a dying state lying close beside it; she had apparently been there from the day the dog was killed, being so weakened and emaciated as to be unable to move on our approach. It was deemed mercy to despatch her.

A tomb similar in form to that which we observed yesterday being discovered near our halting-place of this day, I caused it to be opened: it is as a conical mound of earth about four feet high in the centre, and nearly eight feet long in the longest part, exactly in the centre, and deep in the ground: we at first thought we perceived the remains of a human body, which had been originally placed upon sticks arranged transversely, but now nearly decayed by time; nothing remained of what we took for the body but a quantity of unctuous clayey matter. The whole had the appearance of being not recent, the semicircular seats being now nearly level with the rest of the ground, and the tomb itself overgrown with weeds. The river fell about three inches in the course of the night.

11th. Friday. Continuing our journey easterly we travelled over the plain passed on the 3rd inst., and although we did not return upon our old tracks,--launching out upon the open plain,--the soil is equally heavy travelling. We continued our march 3¼ miles up the river, rather than halt upon the low swampy spot where we stopped on the 2nd inst. The river presented to us an appearance that we little expected to see. It had received a sudden fresh from the eastward; the current ran about 1½ knots, and the waters are far beyond their usual channel, being within 4¾ feet of the highest part of the flats. It however decreased ½ an inch in the course Of 4 hours. The old marks of inundations were 7½ to 8 feet above their present level, which had rendered these extensive plains a sheet of water upwards of 2 feet deep. The Satureia, of which our people made tea, grows luxuriantly here. I gathered seeds of it. It assumes a woody habit and rises to the height of 6 ft. We shot some of the new cockatoos to-day, but found their flesh hard and rancid. A small mound of earth having been found near our tents of the same character as others that we have supposed to be natives' graves, I accompanied Mr. Oxley and Mr. Evans to it. It was 3 ft. high, of conical shape, and of ancient appearance. We dug into it with an adze and found the remains of bones, and several rough pieces of bark placed across each other and apparently with some order and regularity but very much decayed.

N.B. I must here mention a singular mark of affection in a brute which will tend to prove the paucity of animals inhabiting these inhospitable plains. Our kangaroo dogs had been suffered wantonly to destroy one of a native species on these flats in our journey westerly. His carcase we fixed up in the fork of a small low tree. The female, his mate, had doubtless taken a range in search of him, when, having found his dead body, she drew it down from the branch and coiling herself round his lifeless remains seemed determined there to die! On our return this, day we passed the spot and found her in an emaciated state, pining from grief and hunger, and in that debilitated low condition as not to be able to make the slightest resistance or attempt to escape.

July 12.-It is impossible that any weather can be finer than that which we are favoured with. For days together the sky is unobscured by even a single cloud, and although the air is cold and sharp, yet the dryness of the atmosphere amply repays us for any little inconvenience we sustain from the cold. At nine, we again set forward on our return up the river, and at three arrived on its banks, having performed about twelve miles. The river had fallen about one foot in the course of the day. The horses being much fatigued by the heavy travelling over the flats, and many of them being very sorely galled in the back, I propose halting to-morrow to refresh them. We were this day once more cheered by the sight of rising ground; Macquarie's Range just appearing above the horizon, distance about forty miles; and we felt that we were again about to tread on secure and healthy land, with a chance of procuring some sort of game, which would now be very acceptable, our diet being entirely confined to pork and our morsel of bread. The weather is far too cold for us to have any hopes of procuring fish; all our attempts to catch them for the last fortnight being unsuccessful. The odour from the river and marshes was most fetid, and was, I think, even stronger than that which we had before experienced.

July 12th. Saturday. We left the bank of the river about 9 o'clock, travelling over the plains about 7 miles without a single botanical novelty to relieve the scenery around us. Passing a low tract, covered with bushes of Polygonum junceum [= Muehlenbeckia Cunninghami], and continuing our journey about 3 miles over a stiff part of the plains we came upon the river and pitched our tent in a narrow peninsula formed by it and a lagoon connected with it. Our day's journey is about 12¼ miles, or about 1 mile to the eastward of our resting place on the 30th ultimo. Our horses were much fatigued by the heaviness of the soil during this day's route. A very strong effluvia assailed us from the river, occasioned by the flood having disturbed and carried down the vegetable matter resting on its muddy banks. So accustomed are we to a continuance of the same objects before us and so little to any diversity of country that the sight of Macquarie Range, although distant many miles, being very blue and hazy, caused a considerable degree of animation in us while toiling over the loose sandy plains to-day.

July 13.-In the course of the day the river fell upwards of a foot.

13th. Sunday. Rested ourselves at the peninsula all this day. I aired the whole of my specimens and packed them up in an empty flour cask. The water of the river has fallen almost a foot since last night.

July 14.-The river fell about eighteen inches. We found that the horses had again strayed, and they were not found and brought home until past sunset, having wandered about in search of food from eight to twelve miles in various directions. As the people had of course separated in the search, three men still remained out; and being fearful that the darkness of the night might prevent them from finding the camp, fired several musquets, and kindled a fire upon the plains. It was twelve o'clock before they were fortunate enough to regain the tents.

14th. Monday. The river fell upwards of 9 inches in the course of last night. Our horses had strayed in the night and were not taken when I left the encampment. Mr. Evans had already started (with his assistant wheeling the perambulator), and I commenced tracing their steps at an easy pace over the plains. Crossing the eastern boundary of Molle's Plains, I continued for the space of 8 miles over Harrington's until I arrived at the resting place of the 29th ultimo. Here I stopped, in expectation of being overtaken by our baggage horses in the course of the day. Mr. Evans and Parr, who had advanced 2 miles to the eastward of this spot, returned to me about 2 o'clock. The plains abound with emu. I observed five large fine birds, and Mr. Evans saw seven feeding on the flats near the river. Finding that the horses did not make their appearance and not caring to return to the encampment, 9 miles westerly of us, we determined to bivouac, and collected wood, making up a large fire for the night, which relieved us from the action of the frosty air, for we had no bedding or provision.

July 15.-At three, having travelled about twelve miles, halted on the stream for the evening. The dogs killed an emu.

15th. Tuesday. In full expectation that the horses with our party would proceed forward to us we remained at our last night's fires till 11 o'clock, when, suspecting some accident had happened, we determined to return to the encampment. We, however, met our people and horses 2 miles distant. It appears the horses had strayed away about 10 miles over the plains in a southerly direction and were not secured until late last night. We passed our fires about 3 miles to the eastward and halted on the immediate bank of the river, the late flood of which had fallen about 3 feet. Our dogs caught one of the emus seen yesterday.

July 16.-Cloudy, but mild and pleasant. We retraced this day much of the same ground which we travelled on the 28th ult. The horses were frequently up to their shoulders in deep holes, to the danger of breaking their own limbs, or those of their leaders or riders. There is a uniformity in the barren desolateness of this country, which wearies one more than I am able to express. One tree, one soil, one water, and one description of bird, fish, or animal, prevails alike for ten miles, and for one hundred. A variety of wretchedness is at all times preferable to one unvarying cause of pain or distress.

We halted on the margin of one of the swamps, after travelling about eleven miles, which it took eight hours to accomplish.

16th. Wednesday. From the banks of the river we travelled over the sandy plains, tracing our old footsteps through a very sterile scrub and low grassy land to our halting place of the 28th ultimo, being 8¼ miles from the bank we left this morning. It being early in the day we continued our route about 3 miles further round the lagoon and stopped for the night in a tolerable dry and (dead) wooded spot near the angle of the lagoon, which abounds with vast bodies of wild duck and other waterfowl. I gathered specimens of Loranthus angustifolius, parasitical on the snake-bark, and a little trifling Arabis. Of a flock of emu, about 20 in number, our dogs secured for us two fine birds, which were distributed among the people and ourselves.

July 17.-Part of the horses again strayed; these delays in such a country try our patience to the very utmost, and their very rambling is the sole means of their being kept alive. It was past eleven before we could set out, and the rain that had fallen during the night rendered our track so extremely soft that it was with difficulty the horses could proceed. At three we halted for the evening on a large lagoon near the river, having gone about nine miles and a quarter.

17th. Thursday. At a late hour we left our resting place at the swamp and advanced on our journey, over small open plains and scrubby tracts alternately, for upwards Of 4½ miles, when we turned out of the old beaten path, which we had traced, in order to make as direct and straight a path as possible to the margin of Smith's Plains. An Acacia allied to A. suaveolens decorates these dreary wastes with its great profusion of golden flowers, and the new genus of the Bignoniaceae having a persistent calyx. A shrub with succulent short leaves, and much the habit of Bursaria spinosa, is frequent here as in other situations, not in flower or fruit. Continuing our route about 5 miles over a country grey with Acacia pendula, and not caring to pursue our journey through a thick brush on the confines of which we had arrived and in which we might fare worse in point of herbage and grass for our horses, we turned in towards the river and halted at a recent native encampment on the margin of a small lagoon. The soil in this day's route is red and sandy, and very heavy with the rain of last night.

July 18.-At nine proceeded onwards towards Macquarie's Range; and at four, we halted at the place we rested at on the 24th ult. For the first time since we left Cypress Hill we heard natives on the other side of the river, but they kept out of our sight.

18th. Friday. In hopes of making a good day's journey to our resting place of the 24th ultimo, we left the lagoon at an early hour. Tracing our path through a very considerable brush, at the extremity of which Cape Porteous bore northeasterly about 8½ miles, we passed an open flat of some extent and entered a brush of small Callitris and dwarf Eucalyptus, with some low scrub, in which a new Bossiaea abounds. At 12½ miles we arrived under the north-west side of Macquarie Range, where I collected the following interesting duplicate specimens, which are much finer and more luxuriant than I have observed previously. Indigofera sp., Dodonaea cuneata. D. heterophylla, Cassia glauca. Under Cape Porteous I gathered Anthocercis albicans in young fruit, and duplicate specimens of Senecio anethifolius. Upon examining some shrubs of Correa speciosa I discovered a capsule with ripe seeds. Callitris verrucosa of the Euryalean Scrub, a trailing twiggy Solanum, and a small slender Sida are plants by no means rare under this range. In the flats near the mount I discovered a new Amaryllis whose bulbs were very near the surface of the earth. I likewise found a few more of the larger rooted Amaryllis discovered by me on the 24th ultimo. Pursuing our journey about 3 miles, we arrived at an old encampment about 4 o'clock and halted our horses; having travelled the 15½ miles with more than ordinary ease. We could distinctly hear some natives on the opposite side of the river, but they did not make their appearance. These woods near the river are full of the little Sowerbaea in damp situations.

July 19.-At nine we proceeded up the river, and at three arrived at the spot where we first reached the river on the 23d ult. The fresh in the river was still considerable, being from three to five feet above its apparent usual level.

19th. Saturday. Our stage to the spot where we made the river on the 23rd ultimo being about 11 miles, we started about 9 o'clock in hopes of reaching that bend of the river early in the afternoon. Clearing the wood we travelled over Strangford's Plains on a course running nearly parallel with Macquarie's Range--about 6 miles. The Pancratium Macquaria [= Calostemma purpureum] and Sowerbaea are scattered on the flats, with a small yellow Hypoxis.[*] I gathered seeds of the pendulous Eucalyptus (allied to E. paniculata), as well as a few seeds of E. bicolor. Taking a route more northerly for the last 5 miles we arrived at our old resting place in good time. The flood from the eastward, which we had observed down this river, had filled the creek by which the large lagoon is supplied from the stream. From very recent marks of natives on the trees, and the removal of a quantity of dry grass from the spot on which we left it, it is evident this place has been visited by natives since we left it on our journey over the plain. Our dogs killed a very lofty emu.

July 20.-Rested the horses to-day, having had a hard week's work, and the weather being unfavourable. Confirmed my intention of returning to Bathurst instead of the depot on the Lachlan, for the following reasons. The route up the Lachlan would be difficult and very tedious, not to say impracticable, without the assistance of boats in crossing the two principal creeks; and if it should have proved wet and rainy, it would be nearly impossible to travel over the low-lands with loaded horses. Again, our return by the route outward would not afford us any additional knowledge of the country, and presuming this river to be the Lachlan, the course and the country in the neighbourhood of the Macquarie would still remain unknown. To return to Bathurst by a northerly course would enable us to trace the Macquarie to a very considerable distance; it would give us a knowledge of the country at least two hundred miles below Bathurst; and although the difficulties we may meet with in the attempt are of course unknown to us, yet I consider it a far preferable route to returning by the Lachlan, the difficulties of which are known, and I think we may reach one station as soon as the other.

To-morrow, therefore, I am resolved to set forward again up the stream, and take the earliest opportunity to cross it; when, should the inclination of its course be such as to give reason to believe it to be the Macquarie, we shall continue on the north bank the whole way to Bathurst: but, on the contrary, should its course leave it no longer in doubt that it is the Lachlan again rising from the marshes under Mount Cunningham, we shall quit its banks, and, taking a north-easterly course, endeavour to fall in with the Macquarie, which having found, I shall pursue my first intention of keeping along its banks until we arrive at Bathurst. The river has risen in the course of the night and morning about eighteen inches. We killed this day a red kangaroo, and three emus.

20th. Sunday. We remained quiet the whole of this day in order to rest our horses. Some of our people who had gone out from us early this morning in pursuit of game returned to the tent about 2 o'clock this afternoon with a couple of emu and a red haired kangaroo (macropus), distinct in colour and size from elegans.

July 21.-The stream has risen nearly eighteen inches in the night. It is extremely puzzling whence such a body of water can come thus suddenly. There must have been a great deal of rain in the eastern mountains, and the accumulated waters can be only now bending their way to the lower grounds; should the winter have proved wet to the eastward, it will undoubtedly solve the problem.

At half past eight o'clock we proceeded up the river, which during our day's journey trended nearly north. Both banks appeared equally low: that on which we were travelling extended to the base of Goulburn's Range, and was wet and barren. About two miles from our night's encampment, we ascended a low stony hill, from which the country northerly was broken into detached hills; to the east was Goulburn's Range, and to the north-west the country was low without any rising grounds as far as we could see. The sameness which had so wearied us during the last month was somewhat relieved by the various rising hills and low ranges which were scattered over the otherwise level surface of the country. A hill bearing N. 15 E. received the name of Mount Torrens; it stood quite detached. Two of the men, who were about a mile ahead of the main party, fell in with a small native family, consisting of a man, two women and three children, the eldest about three years old. The man was very stout and tall; he was armed with a jagged spear, and no friendly motions of the men (who were totally unarmed) could induce him to lay it aside, or suffer them to approach him: during the short time they were with him, he kept the most watchful eye upon them; and when the men calling the dogs together were about to depart, he threw down with apparent fierceness the little bark guneah which had sheltered him and his family during the night, and made towards the river, calling loudly and repeatedly, as if to bring others to his assistance: he was quite naked, except the netted band round the waist, in which were womerahs. The women were covered with skins over their shoulders, and the two younger children were slung in them on their backs.

There was a very considerable fresh in the stream, and its windings to-day were singularly remarkable, insomuch that it was frequently taken for two different rivers; necks of land near a mile long, but not one hundred yards wide, being the only separation between several of the reaches. At three o'clock we halted on its banks, having travelled eleven miles and a half.

21st. Monday. The river rose considerably since last evening, indicative of much rain having fallen to the eastward. Mr. Oxley intends to commence his journey up the river for a few days and endeavour to cross its stream at a favourable and easy place, continuing on the north side in order to ascertain what this river in reality is, and should it prove to be the Lachlan, we are at liberty when on the opposite bank to leave it to prevent being entangled in its swamps, and shall then be able to bear away northerly in search of the Macquarie, and return on it to Bathurst. This is our present plan of advancement, which like all others must be governed by local circumstances, contingencies which no human eye can foresee. About 9 o'clock we commenced our new route up the river on the plains, making a small clear mount bearing north easterly 2 miles from the angle of the wood in which we had encamped. From this elevation Mr. Evans took bearings of some remarkable elevated spots to the northward of us. The general appearance of the country before us is plain and brushy spots alternately with some mounts and ranges as far as the eye can see. Goulburn's Range bore from the mount north-easterly 1½ miles, which is contrasted with ranges of hills on the opposite side of the river, We observed some smoke issuing through the trees on the lower lands, which informed us of the presence of natives, and, it being in our course, we made up to it. Natives had been there this morning but were gone; their fires were still burning, round which many fresh bones of the wallabee[*] or brush kangaroo were scattered, and the gunya or bark hut had been thrown down. These plains or flats produce the same plants as Smith Plains.

[* Wallaby.]

Stretching over these small plains at 8 miles we came upon the river, which is considerably beyond its usual and proper limits, as may be seen by the trees that the increased flood has placed in the middle of the stream--still evidently rising. Having passed a short scrub, we stopped and pitched our tent at a remarkable elbow of the river, being about 11 miles from our last encampment. The travelling over these plains is heavy, being wet and slimy, and the woody lands soft and hollow. Our course generally was N.N.E. The river has occasionally several short windings in a small distance, so as to form parallel lines with each other.

Our huntsmen came up with a native, his two gins or wives and three small children. They were extremely shy and by no means friendly, showing symptoms of suspicion and mistrust towards our people, who tried to persuade them to follow them to our encampment but to no purpose. The man was represented as of a strong robust athletic habit, perfectly naked, and armed with a stone hatchet and a long spear of acacia wood, with which he continually kept our people at a distance when they attempted to approach the females. The women were of delicate low stature, wore short mantles of skin round their shoulders, but were otherwise naked and were from 25 to 30 years of age. They carried some wooden spoon-shaped instruments in their hands, with which they dig for grubs, or roots. Our people made free and took one of these spoons which they brought to our tent. It was this little family that had left the fire in the brush this morning (which we had made up to), and the man was so exasperated with our people continuing to follow him that he went back to the bark hut, threw it down and went off with his family precipitately to the river calling to his companions.

July 22.-The river had risen during the night upwards of a foot, and was now about eight feet from the banks; its breadth from thirty to fifty feet, whilst its apparent usual channel could not exceed from fifteen to twenty. The calls of the natives were heard this morning on the opposite side of the river. At nine o'clock we again proceeded up the river, which to-day trended east by north. About four miles east from our last station, we ascended a stony mount being near the north-east extreme of Goulburn's Range: the country to the north-east and round to east was without any eminences of magnitude, but several rising chains of low hills were scattered over the general surface of the country; they were mostly bare of trees, being stony and barren. It is impossible to imagine a worse tract of country than that through which our route lay this day; to the very edges of the stream, it was a barren acacia scrub intermingled with cypresses and dwarf box-trees. The flats were uniformly swampy, and covered with bushes (rhagodea); the hills instead of grass were clothed with gnapthalium. We repeatedly saw the river in our course, but I could find no eligible place to cross it, as the trees which would have suited our purpose for bridges were now, in consequence of the fresh or flood, in the very middle of the stream. The banks where the rising grounds came immediately on the river were high and of a red loamy clay, and when this was the case the opposite banks were seen to be low in proportion: when we halted for the night, they were not above five or six feet, and I think there must have been from ten to twelve feet more water in the bed of the stream than usual. Bad as the travelling was even close to the stream, it was still worse about two miles back from it; several small scrubs of the eucalyptus dumosa and prickly shrubs were passed through by the men who had taken out the dogs in search of game; and from the hill we first ascended, we observed several very extensive scrubs to the northward, of the same description. At half past three we halted for the night, having gone about eleven miles.

22nd. Tuesday. Fine clear cool morning. We could distinctly hear the conversation of natives, who appeared to be on the same side of the river on which we were encamped, but they were not seen. Continuing our route easterly we desired to reach the base of a mount called Mount Torrens, of which we took bearings from the clear hill yesterday with a view of making further observations. We, however, found that the river ran to the southward of it placing it on the opposite bank and consequently preventing us from approaching it. At about 4 miles we came to the foot of an elevated hill, which Mr. Oxley has named Mount Farquhar, in honour of Mr. Walter Farquhar physician to H.R.H. the Prince Regent, from which several bearings were taken. Mount Torrens bore about 1½ miles northerly of us. The centre of the three principal eminences connected together bearing north easterly several miles, has been termed Mount Davidson, in honour of Walter Davidson Esqre., nephew of the above gentleman. Mount Farquhar is very bare and sterile, its upper surface being covered with a species of granite mixed with loose coarse fragments of quartz. Its summit has some burnt specimens of Casuarina with long fine brittle leaves and some dwarf Eucalypti. A beautiful white flowered Aster, frequently observed previously, decorates the slopes of this mount, and the delicate Tecoma Oxleyi its rocky north side. I observed a species of Thlaspi differing but little from Thlaspi montanum a diminutive Eriophorum, a Bossiaea, and an Asclepiad of volubilous habit on the southern base. I gathered specimens of a Sida filiformis with a slender procumbent stem. I likewise observed some few plants of Nictoiana undulata. The country to the northward appears broken and hilly. Descending this mount we travelled N.E., passing brushy spots and open slimy tracts of country covered with large bushes of a species of Rhagodia. I here gathered the following:--seeds of Cotula sp., leaves elongated, flowers white; and another species with cuneated dentated leaves and yellow flowers; a species of Richea, and some grasses. Entering a clear confined scrub in which I collected specimens of a Thesium, we halted at 10 miles near the immediate bank of the river in a damp spot and at a place where there was but little food for the horses.

The soil of the brush is uniformly red, sandy and sterile, and that of the open plains damp and slimy. The south bank of the river is in many places very high, and of a red earth, the stream is 30 feet wide and its windings numerous. The smaller rooted Amaryllis discovered under Cape Porteous we noticed in clusters near the surface of the soil. The tetrandrous nut-tree is frequent with Clematis occidentalis, producing abundance of male flowers. Our hunters, who had lost their way, were wandering in a dense prickly scrub to the southward of us and did not fall in with our horse-track till late at night, which alone enabled them to find our encampment. They had killed an emu but were unable to carry him to the tent, so they left him in a tree till to-morrow. The flood will prevent us from crossing the river for some days.

July 23.-The river had fallen a little during the night. At nine o'clock we again set forward: the country became extremely low and marshy, far more so than any we had passed over east of Macquarie's Range. These marshes extended so far southerly that to have gone round them would have led us far from our purposed course without answering any useful purpose, and although we judged that at first they might not extend above three or four miles back, yet we soon had reason to change that opinion. The river had led us upon a general course nearly east about six miles, when about half a mile from the bank southerly, a very extensive lake was formed, extending about east-south-east and west-north-west from three to four miles, and being about a mile and a half wide. Excepting the sheet of water on the north side near the termination of the stream, this was the only one we had seen that could justly be entitled to the denomination of lake. We crossed over a low wet swamp, by which its overflowings are doubtless re-conveyed to the river. This lake was joined to another more easterly, but much smaller. We could not form any correct judgment how far the marshy ground extended south-east of it; but the country was low and level as far as Mount Byng, and a low range extended north-easterly from it. We now kept the banks of the stream, till at the tenth mile we ascended a small hill a mile south of it, from which Mount Byng bore N. 12. E. Close under the hill ran a considerable branch of the river, which certainly supplied the lakes and lower grounds with water; on the other side of this arm, the country was low, and apparently marshy as far as we could see. On examination I found it would be extremely difficult to cross this branch, as the water was too shallow to swim the horses over, and the ground so soft that they could not approach the banks within several yards. I therefore determined to get upon the river nearly where this branch separated from it, and endeavour to construct a bridge, by which we might convey the provisions and baggage over: as to the horses, they could easily swim across.

The course of the river during the day had been nearly due east, but from the separation of the branch it seemed to take a more northerly direction; the banks were very low, and never exceeded five feet from the water. Occasional points of land somewhat more elevated than the general surface would of course make them in Places a little higher; but we could not discover any marks which denoted a greater rise than six feet, or six feet six inches, above the present level. When we halted in the evening, the stream was running with great rapidity. The water did not appear to have either risen or fallen during the day; but all the trees which would have best answered our purposes were now several feet in the water. We had however no alternative but to cross somewhere in this neighbourhood, as we were fearful of entangling ourselves in marshy ground by proceeding farther up this bank; and to attempt to penetrate, or even to round, the marshes to the southward, (if it were practicable,) would take up more time (without being of any service) than we could spare. Experience had made us too well acquainted with the nature of these marshes to run any needless risks; and we had besides great hopes that we should find better travelling to the northward, which as the river seemed inclined to come from that point would also be a great convenience to us, as I did not purpose to quit its banks as long as it continued to run any thing north of east.

As to the soil and general description of country passed over this day, the low-lands were all swamps covered with atriplex bushes, and where the land was a little more elevated, the soil was sandy and barren, covered with acacias, dodonaeae, small cypresses and dwarf box-trees. Our course was E. 4. N. 6 3/4 miles; but by the windings of the river, we had measured nearly 12 miles. The lake I named Campbell Lake, in honour of Mrs. Macquarie's family name.

23rd. Wednesday. We departed from our encampment at an early hour this morning, cleared the brush and stretched across the plain to some gentle rising land that ran down to the margin of the river. We here took away the emu that had been killed last evening from the tree on which the huntsmen had hung him. The country north-easterly, in which our route lay, is the same as yesterday, at 7 miles we were obliged to make the river in consequence of a large lake 3 miles long and about half that space wide, the lower lands in its vicinity being exceedingly wet and swampy. Changing our course we continued about 3 miles up the river, but found that a further advancement only entangled us in bogs and swamps. Crossing some rocky hills, we stayed and pitched our tent near to an arm running southerly from the river to the above lake, which is supplied by it.

On the late swampy lands for the space of 3 miles were Polygonum junceum [= Muehlerbeckia Cunninghami] and other plants usually found in such situations. The open flats abound with the large Rhagodia, the young leaves of which we found an excellent substitute for cabbage. On the rocky hills near our tent I observed a species of Psychotria in fruit, but, being subject to insects or disease, furnished no good seeds; a simple leaved Acacia, with terminal panicles of flowers, frequent on Bathurst Plains, is likewise common on the elevated spots. A mount called Mount Byng bore easterly 20 miles. The stream has been running generally from the southward to-day, and the flood increases. The present singular surface of the plains is within 5 feet of the highest flood mark on the Blue Gums on its banks, some of which are standing in the present mid channel. Our journey was 11½ miles. The snake-bark is now large and frequent, taking the place of Sterculia heterophylla, which has not appeared for some time. Our dogs killed 3 emu on the flats near the river.

July 24.-At day-light we attempted to construct our bridge near to the place where we were encamped, but as fast as the trees were felled they were swept away by the rapidity of the current; the breadth on an average being now, by reason of the flood, nearly sixty feet, and the trees on the immediate or proper banks being several feet in the water: we were therefore obliged to fell trees farther inland, and these, as before remarked, were swept away, falling short of the land on the opposite side.

All our attempts to construct a bridge during the day were fruitless, as the flood was too violent to allow the trees to take firm hold: in searching the banks of the stream for a proper place for our purpose, an arm nearly as large as the main branch up which we had travelled was discovered about a mile down the stream on the north side; it ran to the north-north-west, and then apparently trended more westerly. Thus is this vast body of water, all originating in the Eastern or Blue Mountains, conveyed over these extensive marshes, rendering uninhabitable a tract which they might reasonably be expected to fertilize.

Finding that in the present high state of the water we could not succeed in crossing the river, at least near our present station, and that if we returned lower down we should experience a farther difficulty in crossing the north-west arm recently seen, it was judged best to try if we could get over the branch on the south side, and swim the horses over in the main stream near the mouth of the branch. We could not, however, find any tree on this side that would reach across; although it was quite dark before we gave over the attempt for the night.

24th. Thursday. We ascertained by a mark that the river had fallen about one inch in the course of the last night. In consequence of the difficulty of continuing our journey on the left bank, Mr. Oxley has resolved to remain at our present station and endeavour to form a bridge of trees, enabling us to convey our provisions, luggage and selves across to the right bank, there being little or no doubt of its being the Lachlan River or its outlet from the swamps, which prevented us from proceeding further on the course we were pursuing on the 12th May last. The men were therefore employed in felling such large gum trees as would reach over to the opposite bank, which, however, we found labour in vain. The water is too deep and the current so rapid and strong as to carry away the trees which we had fallen over it without the least difficulty. Upon tracing its banks down with a view of examining the same in order to find an eligible place to construct a bridge we discovered another arm 40 ft. wide running N. of West from the river, which we did not observe yesterday. Not finding any fair spot either favoured with lofty trees and narrow channel or otherwise, Mr. Oxley sent the men to the southern arm but it appears their attempts failed in the formation of a bridge, there being no trees sufficiently large to fall for that purpose, or where there were any of the ordinary size, the channel was so deep as to form no lodgment as a rest or stay for the branches, the current not allowing them to remain stationary.

July 25.-Every means was again employed in constructing the bridge over the south-west branch. The stream had fallen but a few inches, and continues to fall too slowly to permit us to entertain any hopes of crossing it in this vicinity.

Our bridge was finished by one o'clock, but it being too late to cross the horses and baggage this evening, I went in company with Byrne on horseback to view the country to the southward. After going about two miles and a quarter south of the tent, we were most agreeably surprised with the sight of a very fine lake; we rode down to its shores, which on this side were hard and sandy beaches. On the south side the shores were bolder, being red clay cliffs. We now found that the creek or arm which I had supposed to be the source whence Campbell Lake was supplied, had not any communication with it, but supplied the lake we now saw: a low ridge of hills, bare of trees except small cypresses in clumps, lying between the two lakes, which were distant from each other two or three miles. Finding I might obtain a better view by going to the point of these bare hills about five miles westward, I rode thither along the margin of the lake, but quitted it to ascend the hill, which was about two miles and a half from it. The hill was but low in comparison with Goulburn's Range and other hills in the vicinity, but was sufficiently elevated to afford me the most varied and noble prospect I had seen in New South Wales The expanse of water was too large and winding to be seen in one point of view, but it broke in large sheets from east to west for upwards of six miles; its medium breadth being from two and a half to three miles: it was bounded six or seven miles from its eastern extremity by a low range of hills connected with Mount Byng, and from the dark broken woody appearance of the country in that direction, I felt assured that the stream came from a more northerly quarter. To the westward was Goulburn's Range, distant about five or six miles; its bold rocky peaks of lofty elevation forming a striking contrast to the dead level of the country southerly, in which however Mount Aiton appeared like a blue speck on the horizon. To the northward was Mount Granard, the highest of a very elevated range, it having been seen at a distance of seventy-two miles from Mount Aiton; and to the north-north-east were extensive open flats; in one place, bearing N. 17. E., I thought I could distinguish water. Between the hill on which I stood and the stream, Campbell Lake wound along the plain, but its width did not allow it to be so conspicuously seen as the present one. To the south-east and round to the north-east the country was covered with dark foliage of the eucalyptus, intermixed with the cypress; whilst to the south-west, as far as the base of Goulburn's Range, it was more open, with gentle hills clothed with a few small cypresses. These hills were rocky and barren, the lower grounds a red loamy clay; but the intermingled light and shade formed by the different description of trees and shrubs, the hills, but above all, the noble lake before me, gave a character to the scenery highly picturesque and pleasing.

I came back to the tent at half-past four o'clock and it was extremely satisfactory to us to find, on laying the different bearings down on the chart, that the connection of the survey with Mount Aiton corresponded to less than a mile of longitude, although it had extended on a most varied course from that point between three and four hundred miles.

The water in the stream has remained stationary throughout the day.

25th. Friday. Having no resource left (being entirely blocked by the river and its dependencies) but to try another part of the southern arm, our people with much labour and perseverance threw a bridge over it in a shallow part sufficiently strong to bear the weight of ourselves and luggage. The river has fallen 3½ inches since last night, and in 4 hours it dropped 1½ inches. Burns, who had visited with his dogs the elevated grounds, brought us a fine large emu which they had selected from a large flock. He reported that about 2 miles south from us he came to the shores of an extensive lake, forming a very large sheet of water encircled by a sandy beach. Mr. Oxley visited this water in the afternoon. The plants on the flats near the southern arm vary not in the smallest degree from those common on the Lachlan River. By observation taken this day our lat. is 33°13'28" S., and long. 146°40'20" E.

July 26.-Mr. Evans set out to view the lake and take some sketches, whilst I remained to forward the horses and baggage over the arm of the river, by which time I expected he would return, so as to enable us to proceed at least a few miles farther up. By half-past eleven we had got the horses and every other thing safely over, and they proceeded up the river. Mr. Evans did not return until half-past one to the bridge, having been highly gratified with his excursion to the lake, of which he had taken two views.

After proceeding to the north-east about three miles, through a low, wet, and barren country, which is at times from eighteen inches to two feet under water, we came upon another fine lake about a mile distant from the river. This lake was not so large as the last, but was nevertheless a fine sheet of water, about three miles long and one and a half or two miles wide; the opposite or south shore was much more elevated than that near the river, which had here extremely low banks, the water in the stream not being above four feet below them; the marks of flood upon the trees were also upwards of three feet higher. The cypress-tree grew very thick and strong on the opposite side of the lake, casting a dark shade over its transparent waters, which, though certainly originating in the river, had not received any supply for apparently a considerable time. The land from hence to the place where we stopped for the night was very low and much flooded, with fine, deep, clear lagoons winding round almost every bend of the stream; the soil was also much better, having more the appearance of fertility than any we had seen for some time. About one and a half or two miles from the river a thick cypress brush bordered the low lands, and was of course free from floods. The small dwarf box-tree still, however, continued to be the prevailing wood, and covered, as usual, the more wet and boggy portions of the low land. The north-west side appeared to be higher, and the banks, as much at least as we could see of them, seemed of better soil. A large native's canoe having been found hauled tip near to the spot on which we stopped, appearing to me sufficiently strong to be capable of transporting ourselves and baggage to the opposite side of the river, I determined to make trial of it for that purpose, and if found practicable to cross at once, rather than wait the chance of the waters falling sufficiently to enable us to construct a bridge, where, in the event of failing in that design, no friendly canoe might be at hand to assist us.

The waters in the stream had not fallen at all, and were about four or five feet from the banks, continuing to run with great rapidity. The first lake seen yesterday was named the Regent's Lake, in honour of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent.

A superb scarlet flower, named kennedia speciosa, was found on the shore of the first named lake. The course of the river this day was north-east, and our distance five miles and a half, although we had travelled upwards of eight and three-quarters.

26th. Saturday. Morning fair. Taking an early breakfast and accompanied by Mr. Evans, Fraser and Parr, I visited the lake which had been discovered yesterday, and being only 2 miles southerly we were soon presented with a view of this truly magnificent body of water. Its breadth is about 3 miles, and its length probably exceeds 7 miles; it is bounded by fine large sandy shores; the north side is bold and rocky. It is skirted by Blue Gum and Cypress; its surface is covered with large bodies of pelicans, wild duck, teal, divers etc., and to add to the general beauty of the scene Goulburn's lofty range and Peel's range appear at a distance in the background. We proceeded round the beach easterly in order to obtain a good and favourable view of this lake, of which sketches were taken. On the bare open rising grounds above the lake, I observed some small specimens of Sterculia heterophylla, a blue-flowered Clitoria, and some common Gnaphalia. This lake has been called the Prince Regent's Lake.[*] A beautiful reclining strong growing herbaceous plant, of the Diadelphous Leguminasae, I discovered on these sterile flats, and which proves to be a new Kennedya. The flowers have much the shape and colour of Kennedya rubicunda, but are twice the size. The plant is perennial. I likewise discovered on the sands of the lake a species of Polygonum with dioecious flowers, forming a shrub one foot high. I also furnished myself with female flowers of the new Clematis: the large yellow-flowered Goodenia is likewise common. Mount Aiton could be seen from a particular point of view, and we now estimate Mount Granard to be 72 miles north-westerly of that elevation. It was 2 o'clock in the afternoon before we returned to our encampment, which was broken up and all the luggage conveyed over the southern arm by the bridge; our horses swam forward, tracing the river up its banks, and there was nothing left for us but to follow their tracks with all possible despatch.

The country appears to rise, although it has signs of having been inundated. It is alternately woody with high coarse grass and plains, on which the white flowered stoloniferous Chrysanthemum is most predominant. About 4½ miles on our line of route we passed another extensive sheet of water about the same width as the Prince Regent's Lake, but clear of timber, and so full of water as to be up to the highest mossy water mark. It appeared to wind to the southward and eastward and in all probability is of considerable depth. Continuing on our horse-tracks about 3 miles we rounded a lagoon of remarkable fine clear water and arrived at our tent in a bend of the river at dusk. Our people discovered a large native bark canoe, which Mr. Oxley intends to make use of in the conveyance of our provisions over the river, there being a great doubt whether we shall be able to construct a bridge so long as the flood continues. Our journey was about 8 miles from our bridge over the southern arm, generally north-easterly. [* Lake Cargellico.]

July 27.-As soon as it was light, our little canoe was launched; but our hopes and expectations had been too sanguine as to her capability: sufficiently strong and buoyant to contain one person, more was too much for her; I therefore of necessity abandoned the design, and at half-past nine o'clock again proceeded up the strewn. The fresh did not in the least diminish, but I thought rather rose than fell. A line which had last night been thrown into the stream, with little hope or expectation of catching any thing, was found, when taken up this morning, to have hooked a very fine fish. Since the flood we had almost ceased to think of fish, as we never had the least success in our trials.

The river, as we had conjectured it would, trended this day again to the north-east. The country passed over was low and nearly level. The points and immediate banks were deeply flooded, forming extensive morasses, and there were generally between them and the drier and more elevated land deep serpentine lagoons, the water in which was clear and transparent, it having been apparently a long time since that of the river had filled them. The back land was a red sandy loam, very light, covered with acacia bushes, spear-wood, and small cypresses; the only herbage, a coarse tea-grass; and yet I do not think the kind of soil which appears to be the universal one upon the drier lands, can be strictly called barren: I have seen apparently much worse soils in a state of cultivation. We crossed one or two large plains, clear of wood and even bushes; the soil a stiff tenacious clay, which, though not flooded by the river, retains all the water that falls upon it, there being no descent or fall by which it can be conveyed to its natural drain, the river. These plains were now dry and hard, and having been lately burnt, the coarse natural herbage springing up fresh, gave them a pleasing green appearance. One or two beautiful new shrubs in seed and flower were found to-day, to the great satisfaction of the botanists, who had not lately made many very splendid or valuable additions to their collections.

A party of natives was seen on the opposite side of the river, consisting of one man, two lads, and two women; they disappeared as soon as they observed us.

The flood had swollen the stream to a considerable breadth; it was at least sixty feet wide at the spot where we stopped, and was about six feet below the banks.

27th. Sunday. The land on the opposite side of the river appearing high and rising, and hence would afford us better travelling, induced Mr. Oxley to make the attempt to ferry over our luggage in the bark canoe. It was, however, too hazardous an experiment to be carried into effect, for the canoe would not carry two of our men. We had lost two days of the last week in consequence of detention at the southern arm and therefore considered ourselves by no means justified to halt this day, especially as the whole of our provisions in hand would not at the present ration last longer than 7 weeks. It was late before we continued our journey, which was about 5 miles, and descending to some grassy swamps we changed our course to the east and continued half a mile on the margin of a thick scrub bounded by bog. Resuming our course of N.E. we passed some land that had been fired by natives, and stretching over a plain came to an angle of a large serpentine lagoon of remarkably clear water, down which we continued 1 mile and a half to the river where we pitched our tent having travelled 9¾ miles. I discovered a new species of Stenochilus, with ovate-lanceolate leaves and axillary peduncles, scarcely longer than the leaves. It has the largest drupes of all I have seen. The flowers are scarlet and spotted inside. A small Phleum, and the pygmy plants called Siloxerus humifusus, and a Plantago with lanceolate, entire-nerved leaves, are frequent on the wet flats. Fraser, who had gone down to the river, had noticed several natives cutting bark from the gum trees for their huts. They were forming an encampment on the opposite side of the river, and desisted for the moment when they perceived him, but upon his continuing his journey resumed their labours on the trees. There were 6 men, 2 women, and 2 boys.

July 28.-The waters in the stream continue stationary. There must have been heavy rains to the eastward, to maintain at this height such a body of water. As to the rains that fall westward of the Blue Mountains, I am clearly of opinion, that they are in no way auxiliary in forming this stream. The soil, the general level surface, without a single water-course north or south, prove that all the waters which fall are quickly absorbed; and I think it very probable that rain falls here extremely seldom, and never simultaneously with the rain of the eastern coast and mountains.

The day was full of cross accidents, and ended in the separation of the expedition for the first time. The river turned suddenly north, whilst extensive swamps ran out from it to the south-east, backed by thick scrubby land, which we afterwards found, having taken another sudden bend into the north-west, to be at a considerable distance, and which we had some difficulty in finding at all, the smaller plains being separated from the larger one by lagoons, edged with trees similar to those on the banks of the river.

Not having been able to find the rest of my companions this evening, I halted with three men on the spot where we reached the river, firing muskets, that if any of the missing party were near, they might be enabled to join us in the morning.

The bendings of the river were singularly remarkable, trending suddenly from south-east by east to north-north-west, and then back to the north and north-east; I mean the principal bending in the general course, for the smaller ones were as usual innumerable.

Of the swamps, which in places, extended from eight to ten miles from the river south-east and south, some parts were dry and others under water; and there were occasionally large lagoons covered with innumerable wild fowl of various descriptions. Great numbers of native companions, bustards, and emus, were seen on the plains, Which, at the termination of our day's journey, were of a better and drier description than usual. The north-east hills bounding them were low, thinly studded with trees, and although rocky on the summits, were covered with green tea-grass. The flood in the river was very high, but from the appearance of the banks, which were about five feet from the water, I did not think it had risen much in the course of the day.

28th. Monday. Sharp frost last night. About 9 o'clock we continued our route easterly, in order to clear a small creek running from the river. We came out upon a low swampy grassy flat bounded by serpentine lagoons communicating with the river to the northward of it. Unable to ascertain our distance from the river we penetrated the brush in order to make the banks, but its stream had bent in westerly so that in the attempt our men and horses became involved in deep narrow bights of lagoons, some of which formed serpentine windings round the N.E. margin of the small plains; at this critical moment we got dispersed into different parties. Having travelled about 11 miles on various courses, generally north-easterly, myself, two men and four horses came to an angle of the river where we halted, in the hopes that the other part of our company would follow our footsteps and meet us at this point. The country assumes the same gloomy appearance as it has for some time past. The plains are, however, firm and hard, and the river does not appear to fall; its stream in many places is very wide, at this angle 50 feet, and running about two knots per hour. From the plains some hills bore northerly. It was sunset and not one of the party appearing, we unloaded the horses and encamped for the night round a large fire. We fired a musket to inform our people-who I concluded were not far from us-of our situation, and we were answered by Mr. Oxley's party.

July 29.-At day-light sent a man on horseback to search for our missing companions up the river, as we thought we had heard a musquet in that direction in reply to one of ours. The man shortly returned, having met with two men whom I had seen yesterday looking for their horses; they had been joined by Mr. Cunningham, and had encamped about half a mile higher up the stream than ourselves: of Mr. Evans's party, consisting besides himself of five men, they had heard or seen nothing, nor had they fallen in with any of their marks. At half-past eight o'clock I proceeded with the horses up the river to join the two men, expecting also that Mr. Evans would certainly return downwards when he found that we did not join him. It was twelve o'clock before we found him, and we then proceeded up the river, whilst one man and myself went to a clear hill in the range of Mount Byng, and from which we expected a good prospect. We passed over a large plain, washed by the river; the soil, a stiff red clayey loam, long parched by drought; the sides of the hill light red sandy loam. Small blue gum-trees, box, cypress, and a multitude of acacia shrubs of various species, were the usual productions of the drier and more elevated grounds.

Our expectations of an extensive prospect from the top of the hill were not disappointed: we had a distinct view round the compass. The river wound close under the foot of the hill, and trending to the south-east through low marshy grounds covered with atriplex bushes and the acacia pendula, evidently and distinctly showed that it originated in the separated branches of the Lachlan, which it is probable united fifteen or twenty miles below Mount Cunningham, forming the present stream. The north-east side of the river was equally low and marshy. All the points which had been set at Mount Cunningham were distinctly recognised, and bearings being now taken to them, served to correct and prove the survey. The bearings taken from this hill, named Piper's Hill, were as follows by the theodolite:

Mount Cunningham E. 9 deg. 20 min. S.

Mount Meyrick S. 67 10 E.

Mount Maude S. 62 0 E.

Table Hill S. 4 30 E.

Line of Mount Byng, called Watson Taylor's range E. 7 0 W.

Mount Granard N. 79 0 W.

Mount Barrer N. 68 0 W. about the same distance as Mount Granard.

Extreme of a high range from N. 59 1/2 W., to N. 24 1/2 W.; nearest extreme distance about thirty miles, westward 45.

Extremes of another range from N. 10. W., to N. 2. W., about twelve miles long; another range, N. 3. E. to N. 50 1/2 E

Hurd's Peak, N. 72. E.; a mount north of it (Mount Hawkins), N. 71. 15. E.; a distant one, N. 86 1/2 E (Mount Riley).

Low ranges in N. 44. E., N. 35. E. and N. 26 1/2 E., all the intermediate spaces being low level land.

On descending, we waited on the stream till the arrival of Mr. Evans, about half-past three o'clock, when we halted.

It was determined that as we had now ascertained the course of the Lachlan, from the depot to its termination, any farther trace of it, running as it did from the south-east, would take us materially out of our purposed course to Bathurst, without answering any good purpose, at the same time that we should entangle ourselves in the mushy grounds which had been seen both from Mount Cunningham, Farewell Hill, and our present station; and that therefore we should immediately proceed to construct a raft on which we might transport our provisions and baggage across the river, afterwards taking such a course as we deemed most likely to bring us to the Macquarie river, and so keep along its banks to Bathurst. This work, and the task of getting the baggage over, will take two days to accomplish.

The stream where we stopped was about four feet from the banks, running with much rapidity; and I think the flood in it has rather increased than abated.

Almost directly under the hill near our halting-place, we saw a tumulus, which was apparently of recent construction (within a year at most). It would seem that some person of consideration among the natives had been buried in it, from the exterior marks of a form which had certainly been observed in the construction of the tomb and surrounding seats. The form of the whole was semicircular. Three rows of seats occupied one half, the grave and an outer row of seats the other; the seats formed segments of circles of fifty, forty-five, and forty feet each, and were formed by the soil being trenched up from between them. The centre part of the grave was about five feet high, and about nine long, forming an oblong pointed cone.

I hope I shall not be considered as either wantonly disturbing the remains of the dead, or needlessly violating the religious rites of an harmless people, in having caused the tomb to be opened, that we might examine its interior construction. The whole outward form and appearance of the place was so totally different from that of any custom or ceremony in use by the natives on the eastern coast, where the body is merely covered with a piece of bark and buried in a grave about four feet deep, that we were induced to think that the manner of interring the body might also be different. On removing the soil from one end of the tumulus, and about two feet beneath the solid surface of the ground, we came to three or four layers of wood, lying across the grave, serving as an arch to bear the weight of the earthy cone or tomb above. On removing one end of those layers, sheet after sheet of dry bark was taken out, then dry grass and leaves in a perfect state of preservation, the wet or damp having apparently never penetrated even to the first covering of wood. We were obliged to suspend our operation for the night, as the corpse became extremely offensive to the smell, resolving to remove on the morrow all the earth from the top of the grave, and expose it for some time to the external air before we searched farther.

29th. Tuesday. In consequence of the deep bights of the river yesterday, and not being able to track Mr. Evans, we were separated during the night. Mr. Oxley with all the horses (except four which were with me) was encamped 2 miles behind me, when Mr. Evans, who had made good 13 miles on a N.E. course, had passed the night with five of the party in a brush about 2 miles to the eastward of my resting place, but without any provisions. I despatched one of the people back to Mr. Oxley to inform him of my situation as well as that of Mr. Evans, which I learnt from Fraser, one of his party, who came back to me for some provisions. It was about 11 o'clock before we all collected in a body at Mr. Evans's encampment. We proceeded forward in a direction governed by the inclination of the river, which was about S.E. by E., for the space Of 7 miles before we stopped for the day. On the damp plains I furnished myself with specimens of Siloxerus humifusus; Plantago sp., a small delicate plant; and another species, stemless, with leaves oblong, and petioled, a diminutive plant of a species of Goodenia; and an Anacyclus, a small plant with blue flowers. On the south side of the flats there is a range of hills running east and west, from which Mr. Oxley took several bearings of points named and seen from Mount Cunningham. We came to the conclusion that the river having run so far from the westward and north-westerly would turn out to be the Macquarie but our ideas are found to be chimerical; the observations of Mr. Oxley tending to clear up any doubts existing respecting its being other than the Lachlan's outlets from the swamps. Mr. Oxley's bearings agreed exactly with the mounts and hills laid down in the charts in May last previous to the abandonment of the boats.

Near our encampment a native grave of modern construction, from the regular manner and systematical mode in which everything connected with it is disposed, led us to conclude that this mausoleum[*] contained the remains of some person of eminence, either a chief or one who had acquired from his skill in hunting, the respect and awe of his countrymen. It is a mound of earth about 3 feet above the level of the ground and is bounded on one side by three rows of seats forming the segment of a circle and of the following dimensions. The inside tier 40 ft. long, the centre 45 feet and the outer one 50 feet. Each tier is 4½ feet apart and about one foot high. On the opposite side of the grave is a single tree less than any of the others, and on the north and south side of the grave are openings to it.

[* The site of this grave of an aboriginal king is now marked by a stone cairn by the New South Wales Government.] About 6 feet to the west of this mausoleum stood a cypress on which was cut out with very considerable labour remarkable characters, the stem having been previously barked and about 30 feet north west was another having some singular figures deeply cut on its stem--perhaps a description of the man, his age, and cause of death. The banks of the river vary in height, from 5 to 16 feet, clothed as usual with Acacia stenophylla and a few Casuarinae. The Cypress and Blue Gum are more abundant than they were.

July 30.-Employed in preparing dead cypress-trees for the timber of the raft. The rain continued throughout the day without intermission. and prevented us from making much progress with it. This morning we removed all the earth from the tomb and grave, and found the body deposited about four feet deep in an oval grave, four feet long and from eighteen inches to two feet wide. The feet were bent quite up to the head, the arms having been placed between the thighs. The face was downwards, the body being placed east and west, the head to the east.*

* "Nay, Cadwal, we must lay his head to the east; my father has a reason for it."-CYMBELINE.

It had been very carefully wrapped in a great number of oppossum skins, the head bound round with the net usually worn by the natives, and also the girdle: it appeared after being enclosed in those skins to have been placed in a larger net, and then deposited in the manner before mentioned. The bones and head showed that they were the remains of a powerful tall man. The hair on the head was perfect, being long and black; the under part of the body was not totally decayed, giving us reason to think that he could not have been interred above six or eight months. Judging from his hair and teeth, he might have been between thirty and forty years of age: to the west and north of the grave were two cypress-trees distant between fifty and sixty feet; the sides towards the tomb were barked, and curious characters deeply cut upon them, in a manner which, considering the tools they possess, must have been a work of great labour and time. Having satisfied our curiosity, the whole was carefully re-interred, and restored as near as possible to the station in which it was found. The river fell in the course of the day near two feet.

30th. Wednesday. Mr. Oxley having satisfied himself that this river is the Lachlan and that it would answer no purpose to advance further on its banks (having already arrived near the confines of the large swamps) has resolved to try the experiment of falling trees over the stream to form a bridge, or construct a raft that would convey our luggage and provisions over the river in a safe and dry condition. The boat-builder with some of the people were accordingly employed to fall the timber and form a raft with all possible despatch. Repapered my green specimens that had been collected some days. Rain without intermission in showers all the forenoon.

As Mr. Oxley is instructed to collect all the information possible respecting the government, customs and habits of the aborigines of the country over which we might pass--points on account of the sparse thin population of Western Australia, with which we had no opportunity to furnish ourselves--he intends to open the grave in order to ascertain its internal appearance. Removing the whole of the mound, we found it vaulted with pieces of wood and layers of bark and came to the body about 3½ feet below the surface of the ground, compressed in a grave 2 feet by 4, formed in long ovate figure sufficient to contain that part of a person from head to hip--the legs and feet having been forced over the shoulders. The body was placed on its right side, and the face looking towards the East or rising sun. His head was ornamented with the usual netting, and his opossum hatchet-girdle was placed behind him. From the size of his bones he appears to have been a man of 6 feet, and might have been 40 years of age, and apparently had not been dead six months. Our people took up his skull, which had the hair very fresh upon it. It's upper jaw wanted one of the front teeth, which loss may be occasioned by the same custom prevailing here as is adopted on the Eastern coast. The skull Mr. Oxley intends to take with us, as a subject for study by craniologists.

July 31.-Again employed in the construction of our raft, which I hope will be completed sufficiently early to-morrow to allow us time to get every thing over, and encamp on the other side. The river fell about two feet in the course of the day, and still continues to fall rapidly. The dogs were very successful, killing three emus and a small kangaroo.

31st. Thursday. Fine and clear. Our people are employed sawing pine or cypress for the raft, which being a heavy job will scarcely be finished this day. Took a walk on the neighbouring hills. The following are the whole of the plants that came within my observation. Helichrysum bicolor, scales of calyx tinged with a red colour and the leaves terminated in a naked mucrone. Gnaphalium fragrans, scented like the Touquin Bean. Brunonia australis is very common on the hills, at the base of which I gathered seeds of Dodonaea pinnata. One of the Gentianaceae, frequently observed, has a variety here with white flowers; and some few shrubs producing orange capsules, likewise abundant. From the summit of the most elevated bill of the range (bearing three quarters of a mile south of our tent), which has been called Piper's Hill, in honour of our naval officer of Port Jackson Harbour, Captain Piper, we had an extensive panoramic view of the country around us for about 40 miles. Among the numerous observations and bearings taken by Mr. Oxley, I'll only note the following. A mount bearing N.W. about 45 or 50 miles distant has been named Mount Bauer, in honour of Francis and Ferdinand Bauer, Esqres., particularly of the latter gentleman whose indefatigable labours in the illustration of Australian Botany merit a much higher honour than a distant mount that may never be seen by European eyes again, and doubtless will never be visited by any. The country between us and the Mounts bearing southward and eastward appear flat and wooded in some places, and it is probable that the Macquarie may not run far north of us, and we are in hopes of intersecting it in about 12 days on a N.E. course, steering for Hurd's Peak [Mt. Tolga]. I observed some western iron bark, Eucalyptus sideroxylon, on the south side of the hills, miserably small and stunted. During our stay in this encampment we made some excellent meals of the large Rhagodia, which is an excellent substitute for spinach. The river falls rapidly.

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