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2 corrections, most recently by kswann - Show corrections

THE LATE HAMILTON HUME, THE

EXPLORER.  

(From the Yass Courier.)  

Early on the morning of the 19th instant, Hamilton Hume   passed away to his rest. That his memory deserves to be held in grateful remembrance by his countrymen the following brief memoir will, we think, fully prove; for, though the public actions of his life were few in number, yet they were of such a character as accurately to show what manner of man he was ; and in the history of Australian exploration his name must always hold a prominent place-a place quite on a level with those of Sturt, Kennedy, Mitchell, and M'Kinlay

Hamilton Hume was born at Parramatta, on the 10th June, 1797. He was the eldest of the four children of Mr Commissary- General A. H. Hume,* who, in 1778, left England for Australia on board the frigite Guardian, commanded by Rion, " the gallant good Rion," of subsequent historic fame of these four children onij ono now survives-Mr Hawdon Humo, of Castle stcndB Mr J K Humo was 1 llled many years ago The only daughter, w ho hail married Mr Bur h or, of Glenrock, and who waa the mother ol a lurgo fumily (two of which, Mr. Thomas Barber anti Mr K A Barber, arc residents in this neighbourhood), has also been dead some years The Humes are scions of the old Scottlsh border family ot that name.  

Debarred by the circumstances of the colony from receiving a liberal education, the subject of this memoir grew up to manhood, without the usual advantages of a young man in his position of life. What educatlon he did get ho received from his mother,   and scanty though it was, he yet turned it to good account. Much of his boyhood was spent in the prosecution of bush ad- ventures, in which he developed activity, determination, and self reliance - qualities that subsequently stood him in good stead. On entering upon manhood, Hamilton Hume must have been singularly active both in mind and body, his personal physique being, moreover, admirably adapted for strength and endurance.

When but 17, Mr Hume discovered the country around Ber- rima. On this expedition ho «iib accompanied by his brother, J. h Hume In 1815, ho thoroughlv explored that country, an* by IiIb acquaintance with its pastoral w ealth was enabled to bo ot great Fcrvico to his friends in pointing out to thom new country i-uilal le lor stock In 1817, at tho request of Governor Macquarie, Mr Hume accompanied Mr burvcvoi Meehan on a Southern ex- pedition to tho " now country " Duriug this trip they discovered Lake Bathurst, Goulburn Plains, and neighbourhood Aa payment for his serviecs on this jouincy, Mr Quins received a Und order lol SCO uc cs near Appin

In 1818, Mi Humo was joined with Messrs Meehan and Oxley in an exploring expedition to Jervis liny In 1822, ho was en- gaged on Lieutenant Johnston'« east const survoy, in search of rivers, during whioh trip Mr Hume, with Mr Alexander Ben/, ptnctruttd from tho Upper C1} de to the present Bito of the thriv- ing town of Btiiitlwooil

In 1821, Mr Hume, in company with Mr G Barber (his brotlici-in-law) Sir J Iv Hinno, and Mr \V II Broughton, diFCOvirrd the Yu«s 3 lalns i lie account of this discovery hag been Bcv eral times denied, but tho w hole vv e'ght of evidence 1b In favour ol' its bolng the true v cisión Mr Hovell, of Minto, whose nimio will often bo lound mixed up with that of Mr Humo, has, on many occasion«, contradicted the truth of matt} of Mr Hume's recorded statements, but tho intrinsic character or thsso state- ments, corroborated as they ira b> tho strongest collateral evi- dence, will cvei outweigh with tho Impartial inquirer the unsup- ported testimony of a gentleman betw ccn whom and his once companion there seems ever to h ¡ive been a considerable feeling of

bitterness

In 1824 Mr Berry suggested to Governor Brisbane that Hamilton Humo was a most suitable person to lead tho exploring; patt) which lim Excellency intended to dispatch from Capo Howe oi Wilson's 1'iomontory buck to Sydney overland Mr. Hume declined tD undertake such a tusk Ho stated his readi- ness, if supplied with men und pack-horses, tc> puBh hlo way from Lillie G corni to Bass's Straits this offer, though accepted by the Govi i nor, ni ver was actually realised Homo time after» words, Mr Hovell, of Minto, agi cod with Mr Humo to find, jointlj, the nrorBPary men and enttlu for an expedition of a simi- lor k nd The Government ol tho day fell in with this arrange- ment, end on accepting tho offer, ncrrccd to furnish pack-saddles, a tent, two tarpaulin!, arms, ammunition, and a couple of skele- ton cherts I very thing elfio hod to bo supplied from private resource?, nnd ns an txample of tho deep interest taken in tho work by Mr. Hume, it may bo mentioned that he was compelled to dltpoFC of avaluablo imported iron plough, in order to raise tho niciBBHiv luiuls for fuliillirig his share of the obligation.

On ils corni leuou tho partv consisted of eight porsons : Mr. Hume »i d his thrco servants, UaudL Bossown, Henry Angel, and James Fitrintrlck, Mr Hovell and his three, Thomas Boyd, Willlnm Bollard, und Ibonius bmith Of tlic>-e, Angel, Fltz patilck and floyd hnvo radi testified to tho exuct truth of a

pauii-iii« jiuui «n«i oy Mr Hume in 1854, under tl!'9 JW0;"A

Driel Statinunt of Fucts in connection with an Overland Expedí« tlon from I »ko Georgo to Port Phillip in 1824 " Indeed so late as lust j car, Mr Ht/patrick, now ii resident near Campbelltown, in tbetc columns, dcelarcd his conviction that Mr Hume's state» ment was in nil points subbtnntially correct It is on these points,

thcielore, that wo have elected to follow that pamphlet as the ._ truo record of tho celebrated journey, ever to be conncoted with the nunn of Humilton Humo W o may hero mention that Mr. G \\ ltUFdcn, in his work, " The Discovery, burvoy, and 8ottle mtnt of lort lliilHp," declare» that utter a carritti examination of Mr HunieV i-tnttnieiit, and Mr novcll's reply thereto, ho felt bound to accept the loi mer na tho witness of truth

The ini-ti uctii ns given to the party were to take departure iron» I ake George- nnd to push on at nil hazards to Westi rn Port, in the event ol meetng a tiver nut lurdihlc, to trato ita source tiawmd i s far > h possible On tho 17th October, I Bil, the party left Ml Huui's btntion near Luke George On the 18th they cnmptd mnr (hu site of his late residence, Cooma, oloso to the

town ii \ass

Fnmilu 1'itbtotlio 22nd they wcro detained at Marjungong. (he Muiiinib dece being in flood Kosolvcd to push on, Mr. Hume tool his catt to piiccs and made a punt of it with his tarpaulin, and hi overcame what seemed to his companions an lnsupcrublc difficulty As an illustiauon of the risks undergone, ? it should ni. remembered that Hamilton Hume and Boyd

swam nnd chugged the improvised punt to and fio across the flooded strcim After crossing the Tumut Itivcr, Mr Hume found tiley wero getting into to» high a country as he observed the Snowy Mountains crossing their course He, therclore, altered hi« route, lind ntccred for the wcBt Mr Hovell was lor holding on, but, alter leaving the main party, icturned to it nnd adopted tbo wiser views of his companion. On tho MGth November thoy reached the river, now known as the Murrny Mr Humo called it tlio Hume, after his fathir Unfortunate!} its later bestow ed nppollatlon is the one by which it is now best known. Mr Hume's memory, as well ns thnt of his father, Is, however, preserved in tho name of thnt clccti ral district of New South Wales which includes the

district about Albury On the 20th they crossed tho Mutta Multa in a boat rrndo by Mr. Hume of wattles, and civered with his tarpaulin Tho pasBngo over this river had been viu emly opposed by Mr Hovell, but the determination of Humo earritd the duy Crobs'ug the Little Uiver, passing over tho present Oveis gold-fields (Beechworth), tiny reached the Goulburn Uiver I rom thence they mudo Mount Disappointment, where they met with a complete check After desperate endeavours to penetrato the sciub in tho direction they wera making, they were at last compelled to chango their course by an

Infusion of more west. At their camp, near whero tho city of

Kilmore now stands, thcro was a display on tho part of the men of considerable discontent. Mr. Hovell refused to go on: but Hume rando this compromise with tho party, that if no decided prospect occurred of making the coast within tbe next two or three days, ho would give up the journey and return homewards. On the 13th December, Hume, in advance of his party, observed an opening and a fall of tho lnnd far to the south. He felt that he had won. Three deys afterwards they mado the coast, camping on tho 17th. December near tho present Bite of Geelong.

It surely would bo a mean mind which could rcfuso praise to Humo for this exploit-which can bco aught of bathos in a com- parison of the subject of a memeir to

" Stout Cortea, when with eagle eyes

ne stared at tho Faciflo, and all hlBmen Looked at each other with a wild surmise

Silent, upon a peak In Darien."

Tho important result of Hume's expedition to the Iramoo Downs, whereon Geelong now stands, became manifest in 1835. On the 39th May of that year, John Batman reached Port Phillip. Bia mind had been inflamed by Humo's account of the riohness of the lnnd Ever since 1827 ho had been enüeavoudng to settle hi Port Phillip, but it was not until 1835 that ho was ona>jIea to» do to. Batman, It muet bo remembered, was the foUo^towni man of Hamilton Humo, having olso been horn in, "parramatta.. As Rusden sayB :-" Hume'B overland journey «ad Btlrrod him (Batman). Bußhman as he was, he know uUtHumo had been right about Pott Phillip Bay end Station Teak." After their return ? home, with their party, Mr. Hovell had insisted that they bad made Western Port, Mr. Humo that thoy had made Port Phillip. - Thci e cannot now bo a Bhadow of a doubt as to who wai right. The skeleton chart which Mr. Hume had tilled In was, in after ycarB, used by Sir Thomas Mitchell, and found by him (to use his own expression) " Burprisiugly correct." It cannot but be . subject of regret that the two associates on such a hazardous journey-one so fruitful of great ro?ulta-should havo bcon bo unequally yoked ; Hume all determination, resource, and hope ; Hovell all timidity and vacillation. Hurao'a pnmphlct (of 1855, and» second edition was at press when dcatbj removed its uuthor), if it do justico to his companion, paints him a-> the poet painted lilondel-Vatro in the drama-" a man wise in negatives, expert in stepping backwards, and an adept at augur inn eclipses." Such | a word portrait in not complimentary ;

but the leader ol' the account is forced into believing it to bq

correct.

Before starting, a promise lind boen mado by the Government to' Messrs. Hume and Hovell that a cash payment should bo made to them for tho hire of tho cattle, and that a grant of land would be aiven ehould any important discoveries result from that explora- tion. Ou their successful return money paymont for tho cattlo was refused ! Mr. Hume bad great difllculty in getting tiokota of leave (or tho three men who hud accompanied him personally, ne obtained an order to select 1200 aores of ground, but waa under tho ncccisity of selling it to defray his expenses.

In the year 1828, Mr. Hume went us second to Captain Sturt on that famous Australian explorer's expedition to trace the Mac- quarie Uiver, l'roin tho experience of that journey, 8turt pro- nounced Hume tobo an able, sagacious, anti intrepid bushman. Tho ocquaintaiico then formed ripened Into n friendship which waa

never broken. Home of Sturt'» lottcra to his friends givo pleasant ? glimpses into the nature of the regard which oxlstcd between .. tlicm. Captain Sturt was very anxious to seouro Hume's servloea a second time, but privato Interests compelled the latter to forego what otherwise would have bcensoplcasurablo an employment.

In 1828, lho career of Mr. Hume ceased to prcsont poluta of special interest io tho general public. He had done his work aa an explorer. Tho rimuinderof lila years wore spont In the suc- cessful pursuit ol pnstorul occupations, by willoh ho amassed s competency; retiring at the close of his career to sp«nd bia daya at his seat upon the bnnks of the Yass Tllvcr, to whloh he bid given the nmne of Cooma, l'or ycara he could say

" My way of life Ib fallen Into the sore, the yellow leaf:

And that whloh should uccompany old agc

As honour, love, obedience, troops of friend«, I am richly blessed with,"

í or roany years Mr. Humo satisfactorily performed tho duties' Of a Justice ot the Peace on the Yass bench, but increasing in fiimitiis attendant upon his weight of voarB forbade the exorcise of them for sonic j mrs putt tor several monthB preoodlng ma death ho had he»n supcr'ntcnd'ng the erection of a tomb in the

A ass Church of I'ngliuul cemetery, lu which his own remain*

w ero to be burled.

Mr Hume waa a married mnn his wifohavingbecnaMisB Dight. Their union was not blessed with children Mrs Humo still sur- vives, and it will, wo trust, proie to hera consolation in her deep .orrow that her late husband's memory is sure to be long treasured

by hlB countrymen us that of one who, in h's day and generation,

did his State rood service

It Is probable that In a ¡holt time the second edition of Mr. Hume's ' Brief Statement " will lie issued from the Press. We> bellera it will contain no alterations whatever in the original text, but that several cnnflimatoi y additions will bo the only new matt«. It was in the act of bung prepared by Mr. Humo when summoned away , and wan intended for un appeal to pos- terity that his claim as the lender of the pioneer overland ex-

pedition from New South Malea to Port Phillip should not bo

ignored

To Hamilton Humo it now mattet s little what the verdict ot posterity may be. Bobas done with the troubles, the rivalries, the animosities of tbls world But to those who surrlvo him, to those who have benefited by his perilous work, bo boldly and so> sagaciously carried out, it does matter that atriot justice should be done to his memory. Mo hononrs were bestowed upon him by the Crown, though others with le«s claims for distinction reaped ribbons and crosses. History, let us hope, will determine Kore lustly-will award to him the praise of having done a brave set loyally-will recognise in bim a man of grand old Anglo-Saxon type, one of thathoroio stamp who take fir their resolute stott*

' F'iiro mi emam autfanam."

<* . Eldest son of the Rev. Jsmes Hume, of Moira, Ireland. Mr. A. H Hume married Elisabeth Moore. Kennedy, second daughter .f the Itev. John Kennedy, of 'lesion and Nettlestead, county Kent, England. 7

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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