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globes being three guineas and a half; that is to say, in proportion to the value of money, about four times as dear as they should be. It is entirely owing to the great demand for these things, that is to say, to the great and superior diffusion of useful knowledge among the public of this happy Island, that our artists are enabled to sell them at so low a rate.
ART. VIII. Journals of two Expeditions into the Interior of
New South Wales, undertaken by Order of the British Government in the Years 1817-18. By John Oxley, SurveyorGeneral of the Territory. i Vol. 4to. pp. 408. Murray,
Albemarle-Street. London, 1820. Wurther Botany Bay was made in a merry mood of Na
ture, or whether it was her first essay in making continents, we shall never know; but we may be quite sure, that every thing found there will be diametrically opposite to the ordinary productions and inventions of the Old World. Here are, for instance, two rivers, the Lachlan and the Macquarie, which Mr John Oxley, arguing upon analogy, supposes to flow on and increase till they empty themselves into the
But in three or four weeks he rides them fairly down into the bogs, where they are lost among millions of barren and unhealthy acres, impervious, unfit for human life, abandoned to reeds, ducks and frogs. A mouth for the Niger has of late years been loudly and arrogantly called for. The excellent Mr Park, some Captains, and a good deal of money, have been expended in its detection. Mi Oxley has shown, that Nature will have her caprices in spite of hydrographers and mapmakers—that she does not consult Mr Arrowsmith-and flows where she pleases, without asking permission of Mr Barrow, or inquiring what direction will best suit the hypotheses of Mr Maxwell or Mr Reichard. We have no doubt that some of our geographical people will be very angry with these rivers ;" but they must learn, in this age of discovery, to hold their theories at single anchor-often to acknowledge their supposed land to be fog-banks--and to turn flexibly and obsequiously, as they are impelled by the breath of science,
The year 1813 was very dry in Bctany Bay; the grass was consumed, and the cattle threatened with famine. Three gentlemen (as Scotchmen are in the habit of doing) * sallied forth in
* Better this than to gain it (as they often do at home) by the most abject political baseness.
quest of food, penetrated across the Blue Mountains, and discovered, on the western side of them, a beautiful country, admirably qualified for the support of man and beast. Governor Macquarie, the same year, despatched Mr Evans, deputy-surveyor of the Colony, who, proceeding westward from the point where the former discoverers stopped, passed through a mountainous country abounding in water and pasturage, till he arrived at the spot where the union of the Fish River with the Campbell River constitutes the River Macquarie. From this point he traced the Macquarie for eleven days, through a country abounding in game, water, timber, and grass, and offering every advantage to colonization. The next step was to construct a road over the Blue Mountains. Upon this, so constructed, the Governor passed, and founded on the Macquarie the town of Bathurst, commanding for many miles a beautiful and extensive prospect in every direction, situated on a clear and beautiful stream, and within a short distance of fifty thousand cleared acres, well adapted for every purpose of agriculture. During the Governor's stay in Bathurst Plains, Mr Evans was sent to explore in a south-west direction. This expedition produced the discovery of the River Lachlan; and the importance of examining the course of that river gave birth to one of the Journeys recorded in the publication now before us.
Mr Oxley commences his journey from Bathurst in the end of March 1817.
• Bathurst had assumed a very different appearance since I first visited it in the suite of his Excellency the Governor in 1815. The industrious hand of man had been busy in improving the beautiful works of nature; a good substantial house for the superintendant had been erected, the government grounds fenced in; and the stackyards showed that the abundant produce of the last harvest had amply repaid the labour bestowed on its culture. The fine healthy appearance of the flocks and herds was a convincing proof how admirably adapted these extensive downs and thinly wooded hills are for grazing, more particularly of sheep. The mind dwelt with pleasure on the idea that at no very distant period these secluded plains would be covered with flocks bearing the richest fleeces, and contribute in no small degree to the prosperity of the eastern settlements.
The soil, in the immediate neighbourhood of Bathurst, is for the first six inches of a light, black, vegetable mould, lying on a stratum of sand, about eighteen inches deep, but of a poor description, and mixed with small stones, under which is a strong clay. The surface of the hills is covered with small gravel, the soil light and sandy, with a subsoil of clay. The low flats on the immediate borders of the river are evidently formed by washings from the hills and valleys
deposited by floods, and the overflowings of the water-courses.'Pp. 2, 3.
From Bathurst they passed through a fine grazing country to the river Lachlan; and in their way they discoveredl, not a gold nor silver mine, but (what is infinitely more valuable to the colony, and had never been discovered there before) plenty of good limestone. On the 25th of April they made the Lachlan River, of the breadth of forty yards, and with very steep banks. From this period till the 3d of May, they travelled along the banks of the river, at the rate of from ten to fifteen miles a day, finding considerable tracts of good pasturage, and plenty of timber and of fish. As they advanced, the country became worse and worse, a perfectly dead level, to which no boundary could be discerned.
May 3.-Proceeded down the river. We passed over a very barren desolate country, perfectly level, without even the slightest eminence, covered with dwarf box-trees and scrubby bushes ; towards the latter part of the day a few small cypresses were seen.
I think the other side of the river is much the same. We have hitherto met with no water except at the river, and a few shallow lagoons, which are evidently dry in summer. I do not know how far this level extends north and south, but I cannot estimate it at less than from ten to twelve miles on each side ; but this is mere conjecture, since, for the last three days, I have been unable to see beyond a mile. I have, however, occasionally made excursions of five or six miles, and never perceived any difference in the elevation of the country. To-day the course of the river has been a little south of west : its windings are very frequent and sudden, fully accounting for the apparent heights of the floods, of which marks were observed about thirty-six feet above the level of the stream. At six o'clock the boats had not arrived ; and as I had given directions on no account to attempt to proceed after dark, I ceased to expect them this evening.' pp. 16, 17.
The same sort of country continued till the 12th of May, when the party was completely stopped by the spread of the waters. Upon ascending an eminence about half a mile to the south side of the river, the whole country from the west northwest, round to north, was either a complete marsh, or lay under water, and this for a distance of twenty-five to thirty miles. Low marshy grounds lay between them and more elevated grounds which appeared in the south and south-west quarters. From this point Mr Oxley made for the coast in the direction of Cape Northumberland to the south-west, that he might intersect any river flowing from these marshes into the sea between Spencer's Gulf and Cape Otway. This journey he be
gan on the 18th of May; and a more wearisome expedition was never undertaken by man. No water fit to drink -a boundless expanse of barrenness---horses dying daily from fatigue—the absence of every living being but themselves-every thing calculated to produce depression and despair. After many days of this kind of suffering, they turn to the north-west and west, in search of a better country and a better supply of water,-not forgetting from time to time, like good Christians, to scatter in the desert the seeds of many European fruits, yet doubting if ever these spots would again be revisited by civilized man.
On the 23d of June they again fell in with the River Lachlan, extremely diminished in size, from the water diffused over the marshes, but running with a brisk stream to the westward. Down the tortuous and barren banks of this river they proceeded through a country, of which the following extract is the description.
'Immense plains extended to the westward, as far as the eye could reach. These plains were entirely barren, being evidently, in times of rain, altogether under water, when they doubtless form one vast lake : they extended in places from three to six miles from the margin of the stream, which on its immediate borders was a wet bog, full of small water holes, and the surface covered with marsh plants, with a few straggling dwarf box-trees. It was only on the very edge of the bank, and in the bottoms of the bights, that any eucalypti grew: the plains were covered with nothing but gnaphalium; the soil various ; in some places red ti nacious clay ; in others a dark hazelcoloured loam, so rotten and full of holes that it was with difficulty the horses could travel over them. Although those plains were bounded only by the horizon, not a semblance of a hill appeared in the distance; we seemed indeed to have taken a long farewell of every thing like an elevation, whence the surrounding country could be observed. To the southward, bounding those plains in that direction, barren scrubs and dwarf box-trees, with numberless holes of stagnant water, too clearly proclaimed the nature of the country in that quarter. We could see, through the openings of the trees on the river, that plains of similar extent occupied the other side, which has all along appeared to us to be (if any thing) the lower ground. We travelled in the centre of the plains, our medium distance from the river being from one to two miles ; and although we did not go above thirteen miles, some of the horses were excessively distressed from the nature of the ground. - There was not the least appearance of natives; nor was bird or animal of any description seen during the day, except a solitary native dog.' pp. 89-91.
On the 9th of July, the country began to stink; the river had dwindled to a mere lagoon; and the whole region, as fax as the eye could see, was one interminable and impassable marsh.
Finding any farther prosecution of their journey to be utterly useless-having detected this shabby terniination of the river, and aware that any farther discoveries in a part of the globe, fruitful only in intolerable smells, would be of little importance, they turned about in their way home; but instead of taking an easterly direction, they aimed at the supposed course of the Macquarie, at a considerable distance below Bathurst. In this direction, the country rapidly improved : they met with_grass, water, beautiful trees, and were soon restored to the Botany Bay delicacies of Kangaroo and Emu. On the 19th of August, they find the river Macquarie.
August 19.— Full of the hopes entertained yesterday, at half past eight o'clock we pursued our course down Glenfinlass. A mile and a half brought us into the valley which we had seen on our first descending into the glen. Imagination cannot fancy any thing more beautifully picturesque than the scene which burst upon us. The breadth of the valley to the base of the opposite gently rising hills was, between three and four miles, studded with fine trees, upon a soil which for richness can nowhere be excelled : its extent north and south we could not see. To the west it was bounded by the lofty rocky ranges by which we had entered it: this was covered to the summit with cypresses and acacia in full bloom: a few trees of the sterculia heterophylla, with their bright green foliage, gave additional beauty to the scene. In the centre of this charming valley ran a strong and beautiful stream; its bright transparent waters dashing over a gravelly bottom, intermingled with large stones. forming at short intervals considerable pools, in which the rays of the sun were reflected with a brilliancy equal to that of the most polished mirror. I should have been well contented to have found this to be the Macquarie River, and at first conceived it to be so. Under this impression, I intended stopping upon its banks for the remainder of the day, and then proceeding up the stream southerly. Whilst we were waiting for the horses to come up, we crossed the stream; and, wishing to see as much of the country on its banks northerly as possible, I proceeded down the stream, and had scarcely rode a mile when I was no less astonished than delighted to find that it joined a very fine river, coming from the east-south-east from among the chain of low grassy hills, bounding the east side of the valley in which we were. This then was certainly the long sought Macquarie ; the sight of which amply repaid us for all our former disappointments. Different in every respect from the Lachlan, it here formed a river equal to the Hawkesbury at Windsor, and in many parts as wide as the Nepean at Emu Plains. These noble streams were connected by rapids running over a rocky and pebbly bottom, but not fordable, much resembling the reaches and falls at the crossing place at Emuford, pnly deeper: the water was bright, and transparent, and we were fortunate enough to see it at a period when it was neither swelled