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INTERIOR DISCO V^ERY,
BY MAJOR MITCHELL.
Colonial Secretary' s^Ojffice; \t ? 'Sydney, 17 tK September; 1835.'
Hts Excellency 'the Governor has been pleased to direct that the^foliowing commu- . nication dated ,;the . 4th ,in§t ant, from Major Mitchell. Survevor-General' of the Colonv.
reporting tne result or Mus exploring expe dition into the interior of the Country, be .published for general information. ? ? -.-., . ' -Uy His Excellency '? Command, .' ALEXANDER M'LEAY. ''?'??. . .Camp West ofm ,lTatiiu'» Rqjtge, .? *? rt:' ,';; ' ' '? , ..?.'?^?i-'1 ^'Sepl'embe^i IBS!*''''1 x smx ^??-- ??-.-??????' ?'??'?-????;????.,.' '.v1-1. .?;;?;'?,' Ihaye the honor to snbmit for Ihn'informaion ofpHii' Excellency5 .the^'Go'vcrn'orV the following report of the'-.' prbufe'is'of tlie' p aFty,-''a'|riU^fckiih' of the expedition -which His Excellency' wa| pleased to place niidur my command ,' for the purpose «f exploring the. course of th« Hiver Dnrlins. ' ', Hnvinji joined this p.nty at Buree on ibe 5th of April, I veconnoi red the country on the following day, and on the 7th we proceeded, by a route not hitherto explored, to thnt part of the Darling spe cified in my instruction*. My plan was to proceed along (ho high ground between the Kivcrs Lachlan and Alacquaiia, and which extended further into the interior than had been explored. Thus I hoped to avoid tin necessity for crossing any livers, or incurring any ilsk of delay from floods, such as those which formerly at tho tame reason of the year' impeded the progress of tjie lata Surveyor General. Another object I had in view in choos ing this route, was to extend my trigonometrical sur vey as far as passible along these heights into the interior. My this line wo reached the River Darling near tha Junction o.f. New Y.earV- Creek in thirty-one day* travelling . from Burcc; . having] found the country so favourable that it was never necessary to unload a dray or cut a way through scrub, or to pan* a night without water. .On my right I had the waters of thfe Utigan, Mid on my left a connected chain of heights, whereof New -Year's Kange is the last. - ? -. .--.. ?.?!-. -'? - : lint a grievoiiR mUforttine befel the expedition, in tjie loss of Mr. Cunningham,- the .Colonial BotatVist, wlio wandered from the jmrty near the head,. of, the Itivcr, Iio«an on the 17th of Apiil. After, an ntixlotis Eearcli continued for twelve, days, (luring wlilch.the 'party hnltcd, his horsn was .traced till found dead, having still tho wi'ldlo on, and the bridle iu its mouth. It appeared that Mr. Cun
niughiun, afiar Jo»ingj Jil» hprje, had ^ dirked his PVtf .stejts northward,.; 'we jracedVihe'iH *ih(o Uia II«?gati7'aiid-westward-aloiig-th''e-b'ed'-of-thHt-Hver for twentymlles; a'nd, until they [disappeared .near a recenfencampmerit^of- Natives.^ :There? a -small portion of tlm s.kirtof |ii» cont was found; also spma .fragments of 'a map 'which* I had sei n in' his pos seibion. -There Were i two 'distinct/tribes of.Nalivei on the Uogau, but from those with' wlionvwe had coinmuuicatipn we could team nothing', of his fate. 1 have ever since indulged a hope that lie 'might have crossed to the Macquarie, and so returned to the jr' settled districts, but i ; this i'.hppe f \liaa not relieved me much from the most paiiifurappre hensiotis, coiibidering the disposition qf.tlio Natives, VVhether Mr; Cunnhighim really survives or not, his absence has made- a, melancholy blank in out party, and has certainly, caused .a'sjmpus loss/tc science. '. ' -vil ?»-^-m»\-«.u Divvj We found the interior -country parched j'by .such excessive drought, that the. swamp under Oyley'i Table Land, mentioned by 'CuptaiivStuYt,1 wasVom pletely.dry,. andonly a few/,ppnds^ ieinaiiied/in the river Bogan (which is New Year's Creek '(if thai traveller). Indeed, for ; three hundred niile»-'b«lo\v that. creek, we idrnnk'no otlier! woterj tJiHiijtiiat ol the Darling. In this-riyer_therc.,wa»,a slight cur rent, the quantity 'tlowinj; in rapiils being about as much 'as 'might be required to turn a mill. The water was In all parts as transparent aB.that of the ?pureit'jpring well, and it entirely lost all lirackisli taste1 below an -extreme point of Dunlop's. Range, i where a hill consisting of a .very hard -brcscia closes ion the 'river so as to- separate the plains above II ?from those' lower down, 'the taste of the watei 'Was worst where the river is nearest to D'Urban't Group-^nbove that, at the .junction of New 'Year^i ,Cieek,' and for seventeen miles from thence down 'viardx, it was excellent. ' -??? ' i.it '-dt ei When the party first arrived on the Darling,'! -was induced,' from-' the favourable appearance rol the reaches, to try at what rate I might proceed on the 'river -with the boats. Tt was necessary to resi and refresh the cattle after so long a journey,' even had ?'I possessed no other riieans '.of- proceeding further. That part of tlie river bank which I fixed on ' for'-the '-depot^is Situated about .'twelve niilct .below i the''-jRiiciiohl-of /.N*ew- -YeSfr's ? Cr«ck';Wllic iposition was naturnUy':gobd,'- overhanging the river, 'and ^commanding a good run for the cattle ; but 1 ktrengthened it as' B'place 'of ?= defence against the 'Natives,: by 'cutting down1 the low tree's on;it,' aiid erecting a blockhouse Harge'- enough -;to contain tall our stores end' equipment.'' '; ,*«.?. i.qi;.; ?.it.ifcLiit it On the 1 at of June (the'siith 'day after. 'oui arrival). I proceeded down the' river; in the'tboats, with the greater portion of the' party ;! and on the following day we returned to thefort; having found too many shallow and rocky plucesin-therivsr to admit of oar making such progress as was necessary to rnabla us to accomplish the object of the ex. pedition. . - Having next asccrtuincd, by a reconnoisanre I made as far ns Dunlop's Range, with a party on horseback, that the water below' was good, and the country not unfavourable to our further journey by land ; we evacuated the depot on Ihe 8th of June (the cattle having then rested two weeks) aud pro ceeded along the left bank of the Dailiup. ' As the cuttle became weaker, the country, as we descended, became much more difficult tor them to travel upon. It consisttd chiefly - of plains of naked earth too soft to retain roots, yet jwst- tena cious enough to open in deep cracks, across; which it was not always safe to ride. Impassable hollows (covered with polygonum juncium) at lengtlrtkirte'd the river so extensively, that we could ?seldom encamp within a mile of it, and sometimes' not within ihiee. Still we could not have existed there without the river, which contained the only water, and had on its banks the only grass for our. cattle ; consequently it was necessary to send a separate parly to remain with the cattle at the liver, gene rally, in the presence of Natives, and.it required the utmost vigilance! on the part of these men every night, to prevent cattle getting bogged in the soft mud of the banks. ? I had proceeded thus about three, hundred miles down the Darling, when the weakness of the bill Iiicks, Biid.thc reduced state of our provisions, obliged me to consider the expediency of going forward, with a small party only, and at a faster rate, while the exhausted cattle might in the moan time be refreshing for the homeward journey. But before deciding on the separation of th« party, in the presence of several powerful tribes of Natives, I halted it to lest the animals, while some prepara' lions were goiuc forward for setting out- In two days I was cominced, from tha movements I ob servett amongst ihe native tribes, that in proceeding further at so great a risk of compromising . the safety of Ihe stationary party, I should have ,ac ted contrary to the Oth Article of His Excellency's instructions, and thereupon I abandoned ,the inten *ion. _ ' ../,, ,'-;.;; ;,;;;;;. .. , Scarcely an hour had elapsed after 1 had . ppmmu nicnted.to the men my determination toTeturnj. when fir'ng was heard from Ibe forage parly,on.tho river. At that timn a tribo of strangers, just arrived,, -lay before our camp. By amusing them and inter cepting a mes«enger, we succeeded, in preventing them trom joimug the river tribe;' while more men -and a supply of ammunition -were sent to i reinforce ' our party on the river. These arrived just in time 'to prevent the sacrifice, of Sevan 'of our' men. A chief, to whom I had given presents 'ttrid' shewn particulur attention, had been the first to break tlia peace. ? The conduct of several of these tribes* was ,. very extraordinary. To conciliate them -was quite hopeless, but not from any apprehensions soil their part. Un tho contrary, tha more we endeavoured to supply their real wants and shew good will towards them, the more they seemed to covet what.wns utterly useless to them, and the more tber plotted our destruction. Some of their ceremonies were different- from those of any other Aboriginal tribes nearer tha Colony, such as waving the green bough, first setting it on iire, with furious gesturesat us ; throwing dust nt us tvtlh their toes, and spiffing- at our men. They behaved thus just after they bad . received presents, and while we' endeavoured, by sitting in the dust, to conform to their manners nnd customs. I had every reason to b« satisfied with the conduct of my men in this aff'uir. Of the threo parties most offending, two were killed, and one (the obief) shot through the groin. The only injury done, on our. aide, wns the blow of a wnddy by that chief, who knocked a man down while carrying water, in orcU'r to tnke his kettle. W« remained masters ever after of the left bnnk of thsi Darling, although a very aavnge tribe, 120 miles J' Uer, crossed one day in a scrub, and imme diately act about burning: the bushes and grass close to our tents, until we drove them across the river. I ought to mention that these were not strangers to us. On our vray down we hud taken much pains to conciliate* them, ..yet they used the knives, as soon as they got them, to cut tha cording of our tents, and ?tolo or tried to steal whatever they saw. ' Tte' track of our drays hud formed a roaj, whioh was much easier for .tho cattle in returning, so that by short marches, and occnsionril- rests, while I ex plored the country on each side, we reached the former dopot on the 10th of August, having lost only six of tha bullocks, theso having either got fnst in tho mud of the' river'; or lain down exhausted 'and unable again to rise. ' ' ': ?????????? ;:?-,?'-; ' The interior country westward of the *I)arlihg''is divpraified with detached groups of hills, and low ranges broken into portions resembling islands; but the gonernl aspect thereof afforded no indication of its having then any water on its surface.': ?from1twp.. different hills, ench about 12 miles1 west ^of the; Darling, and distant from each 'other' about 70 miles, I obtained extensive views across the country ;- but from neither of these heights could Iperceive any smoke, or oven any appearance of trees : -the whole country being- covered with one fciml of bush, form ing a thick scrub, with intervals rather more open, but strewed with smaller bushes. During the four winter months just past, no clouds gathered .to. any particular point of that 'horizon ; no rain has fallen, noither has there been any dew ; and the winds from the west and north west, hot and parching, seemed to blow over a region in which no humidity re mained. ? ?' '?'':'''- ? , -' ' ? : The' Darling did not, in a. course of three hundred' miUs, reseive a single river or chain of ponds from either side. Such was the extent of the plains on its banks! and the depth and absorbent quality of the soil, that mucli'rof the waters of high floods appear to be retained therein.besid^s all the 'drainage from the back country.J,rThus the .springs appear to be - supplied, by which tljo river is sustained during the present season of drought. These .absorbent plains, extend to about five rnileti, on an average, from tho river -on each side; hills of soft red sand bound them, andreeedo nbout three miles further.. . Undu- lutions -of. diluvial gravel (of u ^ver/ hard siliceous brcscia) succeed, and skirt tho buso of the heights, which generally consist of primary snndstono. ? The country eastward. of , the river rises gradually backwards towurd the hills, by which I advanced to tho Darling. Tbero the higher grounds aro more connected, and send, down chains of ponds, which
appear to lie' ithsorDed ia the plain*..; Tiha s»ma kind ; of ibtibbv'howerer, covers the 'first region 'or* high' Jj»nn'(] Tjack from the Darling on botlraides pfadrttre character of features, and direction of vallies, wero ; not very apparent from heights near this' river. ? r The pensrnl course, of the i)arling\ fas fyX ar^Jfajl explored it (which was to the latitude of this head of . Spencer's Gulf,y is somewhat.-to tha' -west'of south i \yest.i(viuriation 8,°. 27', This would, tendito the ; w^sfwiird of, the head of Gulf St. Vincent', if^ the j lohgiTirda of the 'Upper Darling were cbrrect'j -hut I ' make tho longitude of .that river, on the parrallel of of SO ° south, nearly a degree more to the eastward, and from.that longitude, the general jcourse^tends much mnre' nearly towards the supposed- junction 1 below, althoughiConsiderably - to -Ihs, west, of that ? P£-i[-tf as, lmd^dflwn on maps. ''..., ''.-» Having measured the whole of our route,' and sur veyed tho country, as -I proceeded, in continumion ot'iiiy'gGnoral Purvey of .the Colony, I had thereby tfavixacansibf. ascertaining the ' longitude of points oonneoted'itherewith; -Thus ,1 place, ..... \ -.'?:-,,»%? JJew- yiear!a Jtatgb (olearhill,; -.; ; , ? ...Y ? loini longitude. .. ; . . ; ;-.-.- . . .? . 146 ° -'-, 53.' 00'^E &?? Tho latitude (*by several obaer- .--;--?- ????.' ?,-.- .y Q*- ic'!vatiOFlia-)^eingdi ;;,.;.- ....v30 '-f 27^, .45' ,S J Oilers IHible liarid (south Bide) i ,is , ??:?}_?- \-.n\r,i u»'-thv iTvim longitude i. ...... .-. . . .146 P\ 16' .9' E: V Latitude .... ..... ........... 30 ° .11', 15' S 3 D'Urban's^Group .'(high south . .' , '? ; :'.: '?'?. ~l *,l hill) longitude'. .'.*.;... i . .145 ?? : 43' 30' E V Latitudo ? i .-.-.-V -. SO ° - 34? ?' 40' S J Fort Bourlco in longitude... ? 145 °_ . 52'. 12' E ) Latitude ? .............30° 7' 4' S \ Tho lust mentioned, , being . an important station, accessible at oll-aeasoris' by tlio line*x-f the Bogan, and 'available 'for 'carrying' the 'survey into 'the more remote countrjr, I hava'-taken ',thetlihertjr:.t6';'distin-. guisji with''t1ie'nB'mB^f'His''Ex'ctliency th» Governor, unde^ whoso- orders the' survey' of :ih'e ; Colony has beeri 'connected with' the' geography of the interior.V From Fort- U.ourke I ? continued ,. the survey of tho Darling, by actual measurement,' corrected by inter secting distant points ,. and also by observations of latitude, to thejermiuatiqn of myvjournoy in latitude ' 32° 24' 20'-S.,'aria 1 mske'thi longitude of that 'pointi'os deduced from this survey j' 442*'24'-26';E. .Having ascertained the most westerly iof:tbe two icrceksr crossed* hy Cuptuin'Sturti'dn i hfsjjdu'rneyf b'a- Vond^tlie-AJucquarietto be thsoBoganijiand 'tfeirig ' desirous to discover the originfof.theiother named Duck Creek, 1 sent Mr.- Larmer;last.-weeki to survey it. Mr. Larmer roturriecl yesterday ^from.T the; Mac quarie, having traced Duct Creek upwards to a large lagoon on the margin of that .river, (from which other lagooiiS and channels also led into this creek. Mr. Larmer found in Duck Crsek extensive reaches of excellent water, but the bed of the Macquarie was dry where he made it. Thus i it . appears that as th» dip of the whole Country, is to the westward,, the surplus waters, of the Macquarie. are. conveyed to the Darling by. Duck Creek, a ..separate channel altoge ther to tho westward of the marshe3. I ha'vo much* satisfaction in 'stating Hh'at no men could have been animated with- a batter spirit than thoio of this party have been for the accomplishment of the object of this expedition. Our Jong Vjourney proceeded with equal regularity and security. ? Mo cattle ware allowed. to strny and retard iti .and both . thrse and .tli9'*cd'mp''have'b*epif vigilantly guarded and.watchedr every night. Tha patient forbearance and good will of the men towards the aboriginal tnativ.es, deserves my highest praise, and. certainly not less their courage when circumstances called it torth. This wns most conspicuous when exposed, .almost '. singly to the savage natives, as they often werafrom | necessity when watching the cattle on the! Darling. 1 have, to add that our provisions are scarcely sufficient to supply tba party until it reaches Buree ; : also that one man is dangerously ill, and another unnble to walk, from scurvy. ? . ... .' ? j , , ? .1 trust my humble testimony of the services these men have rendered under perdous circumstances, in expiation of the errors of the past, and with the best hopes and intentions respecting rlbe future, will bs favourably received by His Excellency the Governor. ( ( ,' i I have thehonorto.be, Sir, .: — - v - ., , , . Your most obedient Servant, i. ,. T. L. MllCHELL, .~. - .-._ ? ._ -Surveyor General. ? To the ^Honorable the Cohmial-Seeratfing.ns & vs u,'j\- .