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They Fought Over the Frying Pan

Written and Illustrated by ALLAN M. LEWIS

If ever there was a born explorer it was Hamilton Hume! Unlike most other explorers, he was a real Australian, born at Parramatta in 1797.


EVEN at 17 this tall, sunburnt  

youth had made many journeys of discovery. At 27 Hume embarked on his most important expedition. He wanted to find a land route from Lake George to the Southern


Little help came from the cheese- paring Government, so he accepted the offer of a seaman. William Hovell, to give him much-needed equipment. Hovell joined his party. The partner- ship was not successful. The ex- plorers argued and wrangled all the way, at times separating when they couldn't agree. An instance when two heads were worse than one!

They travelled (he hard way (and the wrong one) over some ot Aus- tralia's most rugged country, through

nerve-shattering gorges and over swollen rivers. They crossed ihe Murrumbidgee in full flood on an improvised raft made by wrapping a tarpaulin round their one and only cart. Hume and Boyd, another of the party, tied ropes to cords which they held between their teeth while they struggled across the raging tor- rent. Once across, the ropes wer« secured to trees and the remainder of the party and equipment wer« ferried across in the precious cart.

After days of weary travel they were rewarded by being the first white men to see the snow-cappcd Austra- lian Alps.

Another argument between the leaders concerning the best rout to take resulted in the party splitting up The equipment was divided, and they prepared to cut their one tent in halves. Hume and Hovell fought bit-  

terly over the frying-pan, one of them taking the handle, the other the pan itself. Later, however, Hovell re

joined Hume when he found he had

made a mistake.

They came upon a wide, deep river now known as the Murray, and im- provised a tarpaulin-covered wicker boat -but nobody was keen on cross- ing in such a fragile craft.

"If you don't do what tell you   i'll throw you in!" thundered Hume at Hovell. He won this argument, too.

After more hardships and disap- pointments they eventually reached their goal of Port Phillip, which, obstinate to the last, Hovell declared was Western Port. Hume recognised the landmarks Flinders had described.

The expedition returned by a shorter route, and Hume's unerring bushcraft led them safely to their starting point at Lake George,

the round journey having taken them

three months.

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