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THE NEW

SETTLEMENT AT ROCKINGHAM BAY  

mmmW?^^$Mm* **** BtwIteocT Sir W^má*i^ímHk:vf> tva ? exploring *»

ÏM^^.iliâ^ly; y» la .-tie oorthem ' * .<* "¿ék ' lÈWbàtttv AwgttAt 1,1884.

'9MriB, «L0.O.MLO^ ftc, ftc, ftc

t£14km,~~ï éo myself fte tumour to ia

jfom yotif BixWleory, tí»*» I hare suc~ cesnied fa ätsooreriag and opening A ttra^tícatne dray Toad from Buckingham ;rf»fr"-*o fte interior at fte Valley «rf ^.j^»» «roi aA»oy á> ooajaoctios with pB»X|»li*t*MvÍÍJr A-1. Seotl, established » |»W aettleinant ia connection tbere ^>i*W ott fte ¿tra of Port Hînchin

Hain* myself perfectly eatisueá of OHS possibility «f finding a road, and bein$ aMttrf Opinion that my laboura would be »ac« raxrtaüed by fte establishment of i -a *aJe bsai* of operations on Ute sea * board, and by a general view of tbe

«tole tan of the coast tanges frota tbe -^.Htaenes to Rockingham Bay-co aa to

tmafe» «ne to detect a spot where a pass astgbt with fte greatest ease be obtained On «be table land-we decided to proceed by aaa, wita . fall equipment for tbe purpose, to form a aettletnent on these a^tèvrn, and to endeavour to force apas

aacetheaoeto the interior.

?fijJWà therefore «bartered at Port

*2Deniaou fte echooner " Policeman," Sfyfrnfer and «amer, Walter Powell), and

||¿H tbe 12ft January, 1864, shipped Bfihoraes, «heep, stores, material* for butld

- jpg*» Ac, and prepared for sea.

" Oar p&rtjr numbered twenty souls, amongst whom were :-Hr.' Arthur 3. *teott¡, Hr. Tully. C.C.L., Lieutenant Marlow, (QneensUnd native police.) ., Mr. Sell) etm, (squatter,) Mr. George

UL Fkrq uh arson, (of Invercauld, in Aberdeenshire,) Mr. Dallachy, (a botanist, seat to accompany me by Dr. Muller, of Melbourne,) James Morrill, (seventeen year» with the aborigines, as interpreter,) J. Morrissey, (hotel keeper,) T. F. Milne, (storekeeper,) Wilhelm Peters, (carpenter,) Walter Butler, E. Kerr, R Ewart, &c., &c.

On the 15th. of January, the " Police- man," with our small cotter, the ** Heather Bell," of three tons, in tow, * *was at length clear of Port Dewson

fieads, wheoco we experienced a mo.st tedious and uncomfortable passage to - fte northward, baring to live on deck

' under a boiling sun, and erposed to beary squalls of wind and drenching iain, alternating with light and contrary winds; the Teasel crowded beyond its capacity with men, horse.', and cargo.

' On the 18th January, we brought up under the high land of the west side of ? Cape Cleveland, and went on shore for ^ water and grass, both of which we

obtained behind a sandy beach one mile and' a half inside the caf«, at a spot which I had visited on my expedition iu the "Spitfire," tn 1860.

A. faur wind coming up from the south- east'during the night, on the morning of fte 19th we passed the Palm Inlands »n our port beam, and sighted the lofty . rugged masses of liiucbinbrook Island . [tonorth-north-west,its8Utnmits shrouded

.;">*in clouds.

\ As we ran down its eastern side before fte fresh south-easter, the clouds rose majestically from the extraordinary jagged peaks and pinnacles, which tow- ered high above us to the height of 2500 foot sheer out of the ovean, in bluffs and precipices of grey granite rock-the deep ' fissures and gorges furrowing their sides

right down to the rock-bound shore. Lieh ed by the ever restless surge of the Pacifie, being frequently clothed with picturesque groups of pines-(Araucaria Oookii), dense scrubs, and forest trees.

Towards the north end of the island, fte mountains descend in more regular slopes, cloihed with open forest from the sandy beach to their summits; Mount Bowen, Mount Burnett, and Mount Pitt again rising to an elevation of from

2000 to 2300 feet.

Passing rapidly the high rocky head- land of Cape Sandwich-which is con- nected with the mainland of Hinchin- brook Island by a low «pit of desert sand bills-«re passed between tbe long, krw, rocky, pine-clad Brook Islands on our starboard side, and the forest-dad peek of Goold Island, 1375 feet tn height, tm our port beam.

Keeping away westerly, close under fte ^northern declivity-the whole of Soclangham Bay broke suddenly upon our view, backed by its imposing con- tinuous Woe lofty ranges of mountains ol from 8500 to 4000 feet elevation-rising abruptly from a level forest-clad low country, from which numerous smokes of bush fires of the natives curled up- wards into the clear blue sky.

These ranges met the lofty mass ot JitJBinchinbrooa to fte south-east andeast 5|>ward, and stretched far awav into fte

SOvthern horizon. Tbe field of our taboon) was before ns ; but this unbroken mountain wall seemed to cutoff all com nttntcation with fte interior from fte

immediate neighbourhood of the port

We anchored about one and a hall »ilea inside Hecate Point, in f.iut fathoms, mad. Some blacks came off in three small bark canoes, two in each; bat we did not en cou rage them to come a&mmde, aad they left and went scrota io Hinchinbrook Inland.

OB fte morning cf fte 20th we landed apposite oar anchorage on fte mainland, at fte spot reported upon by Captait: Bichará*, of HMS. " Hecate," as beinf tmitable for a townsite; bat finding th«

water shoal for «orne distarte» from tb.« beach, and the forest rather dense, wt determined to examine fte entire sborei

©f ft» port before deciding upon fte pre dsefdaos for settlement.

We, therefore, made sail on tat achaooer, and stood down Port Hinchió Abrook (which conneeu Bnddngbata ant Halifax Bay«), carrying Mandinga o

from swen to twelv» fathoms for tw

.yOea, where we anchored.

- On the 31st, having £xmd br explo ration io fte ** Heather Bell," that th whale shares of fte passage south of am

anchorage «rara ona immena» mangrove j

nat, interaected br aaltwater «Mein,' none of which reach the sound count rr :

behind, we weighed and stood up the i passages, examining thc coa rf, aa we pro-i <*eded, and were mach disappointed in ; not finding a atngie «pot in the fi nest

part of the harbour which waa not j either covered or aurrounded with man- ] groftt and swamp-entfl we returned to Captain Bi ch arda' aile, where we j I determined to fix our camp at the most

open spot at fte north-west end of fte ? Two-mile Beach, and off which we

anchored.

When coming np fte harbour, a num- ber of aborigines were seen on a small sandy beach, t, therefore, went with a party in fte snip'a boat, with James Morriu, fte interpreter- The blacks came out some way into the water to meet os ; a number of others lay in wait

in the bushes.

They asked for tomahawks, &c, and

seemed much astonished that Morrill could converse with them-if not exactly in their own dialect, jet so as to be per- fectly understood.

I asked them if there was not a river

behind the range (one I had seen on my expedition last year), and where it ran into the sea ; but they most positively dented, over and over again, that any

such river existed. X then asked them where fte eaaieet track existed through the ranges? as I wished to go over to the great river. Mail Mool, or Burdekin (pointing in that direction), but they

stated with much animation that there was no way through fte ranges, and that they went far away (pointing to the north-west), and there tressed, and would take me that way themselves! an arrangement which I did not exactly appreciate, considering the smallness ot" my party, and the hostility shown by these blacks to the unfortunate Kennedy and his companions-not to mention that right behind them, and only a few miles off, I saw a splendid gap, by which I bad determined to penetrate to the interior ; and therefore felt perfectly certain that these cunning savages were answering every question by a falsehood for their own purposes.

They were large muscular men, with bullet-shaped heads and a ferocious, cunning, and repulsive cast of features.

Seeing that to admit any of these people to our new settlement would be to allow a multitude of armed savages to have the chance of watching, and har raaging, and endangering, at any weak moment, a small isolated camp of set- tlers in a densely wooded country, some of whom would require to be put out in the bush splitting and sawing timber without any protection, I told them, through Morrill, that we had come to take possession of the coast from a point on the north-west shore of the bay to a point opposite Haycock Island, and that we were going to settle there and pos-

sess it.

They said, " they hoped we were not going to war with them." I replied

" No : that we did not wish to burt them, but that we wished to bc left alone ; that if they would keep off and not molest us, we would not injure or interfere with them in any way." They eee tn ed to understand this ultimatum, and retired slowly into the mangroves, Morrill having explained it to them over and over again, and told them to inform the neighbouring tribes accor- dingly.

1 had obtained the service* of Morrill

from your Excellency's government for the purpose of, if possible, coming to au amicable understanding with these people, having always been of opinion that hostility and bloodshed frequently

occur between the wild blacks and white settlers at the outset of their

I intercourse, from perfect ignorance on i the part of the former as to what the j white men require of them-"Thou ! shalt not steal" and " Thou shalt do ; no murder" having always required j heretofore to be taught them by the rifle

i and revolver.

It was with great regret that we found it impossible to find a site for settlement on the shores of the inner harbour further to the southward ; how- ever, that selected is one of the finest in Australia.

Port Hinchinbrook is a perfectly land-locked harbour, of twenty-five miles in length by two in breadth, car- rying eoundinss of from four to twelve fathoms at dead low water spring tides,

and I feel very confident that an en- j

trance will be discovered from Halifax

Bay, close under the high land of. Hinchinbrook, through the bar reported to exist there bv Captain Blackwood, S.N., of H.M.S."" Flv."

Such bars along the north-east coast of Australia are formed by tbe south-

east trade meeting the currents of rivers j of tidal estuaries throwing up banks to ' windward, but almost invariably with an available channel to the northward, as at the mouths of the Brisbane, Fitzroy,

Burdekin, and other minor streams and

outlets of the coast. |

The lofty peaks of Hinchinbrook on

fte eastern, and the mountain chain on : the mainland on fte western aide, com j pktely «helter thia beautiful barbour

from all winds, and render it the wost \ grandly picturesque as well aa one of

! the finest of the Australian ports, lt

is, in fact, inferior to Sydney onlv tn point of wharfage, vessels unfortunately

being unable io approach within a i quarter of a mile or any portion of the

! mainland.

The northern entrance to the port is completely sheltered by Tunk Island, the Family, and Goold Islands, and banka, through . hieb a broad passage of

titree and a-óalf fathoms at low water ¡

springs gives easy access from fte open

.ea.

The site for net 'lernen t recommended

by Captain Richards, B.N., and which we decided upon adopting, is inside and

about west-south-west from Hecate

Point ; and here, during the heaviest weather experienced since our arrival,

and during fte moat stormy season of < fte year, there has been no break what-

ever ou fte beach, and small boats could :

ply at all times with perfect safety.

Although fte anchorage for large ««mêla ]

is «orno little distance out, vet «o »oft «.nd «ven i« the (Ut in front of the town, that they can run right in at high water, and, lying io perfect safety at low water, land cargo on to the beach from the ship's tácales. A jetty, aoh as is pro- posed at Port Denison, will in due timo quite overcome this difficulty.

The site available for the township ex- tends behind two miles of open sandy beach, destitute of mangroves, and slopes gently back for about two miles to the base of the mountains, which

rise in abrupt and imposing masses be- hind : and in future years, wheu the forests shall have fallen, and churches, public building, streets, warehouses, &e., spread far along the gleaming shore and back to the base of fte mountains, and the taper spars and black balls of a merchant fleet give life to the now lonely waters of fte harbour, Australia witt hold nothing more beautiful than the city of Cardwell and its port.

The soil of fte town site is a coarse

dry gravel, evidently disintegrated granite rock, from the range behind.

The forest is composed of several varieties of rucalyptttt (gums), melaleuca

(tea-tree), a large tree called meramate, : a kind of stringy bark, and very valuable for building purpose? ; bloodwood, white-

wood, Moreton Bay ash, &c., and some ; fine large specimens of a description of ficus, with dense foliage and while wax looking flowers, with powerful perfume, which latter trees grow on the beach, their limbs overhanging the sea.

Fresh water is obtained anywhere along the beach by digging, and is of excellent quality. Also ia small run- ning creeks, about balf-a-mile from fte town, and in a email swamp close to the settlement ; and, I should presume, from the elevation and proximity of the

ranges, that fte supply is permanent.

Ou the 22nd Jauuary, we landed our horses, sheep, tent«, &c., from the " Po- liceman," and formed a camp at fte west end of the beach ; and on the 26th, having, after a careful examination of the locality by land and sea, decided upon the eastern ead as the site com- bining proximity to the best anchorage, the soundest and most healthy ground,

and convenient communication with the

probable route to the interior, ne moved our camp to that place, erected an iron store and huts, landed our cargo, and soon had the satisfaction of seeing forest trees falling in all directions, slabs being split, clearings made, and this silent wilderness of the north awakening sud- denly to life and civilisation.

To the westward of the settlement a

fine valley runs up about eight miles into the range, and seeing leading spurs de- scending at its head into the low country, I proceeded to explore it for a i road, accompanied by Lieutenant Mar i low (native mounted police), and three

troopers.

Passing through rather dense and I lofty forest for about six miles, we en- ; tered a very beautiful tract of rich ; country, of limited extent, openly tim- J be red ridges descending from the range \ into rich small plains and forest glade»,

intersected with many clear running i stony streams, all joining a small rapid river (which I have named the Marlow), its banks clothed with dense lofty jungle, a mass of creeping vines, palms, etc.

At the head of the valley, where it was [ surrounded by almost an amphitheatre ! of precipitous mountains, this river fell j from the crest of the range in a fine j cascade into the woodlands below. j

A broad hard-beaten path of the blacks led us into this retreat, where small verdant plains, bounded and

broken by clumps of vine, jungle, and i fig trees, varied by the fresh bright j green of groves, or single trees of the \ wild banana, and the tall graceful stems : of the Seafirthia elegant palm, half com- j pleted the delusion that we were enter- j ing one of the beautiful mountain vii- j läge* of Ceylon or of the islands of the \

Pacific

The whole of the open ground of this portion of the floor of the valley was dotted with old and recent ""bora"

trrounds of the blacks, where they hold i large meetings of their tribe», at certain ! seasons, at the full moon, to make war- ?? ri ors of the youths, and have fights and "corroborées." Certainly a more beauti- ful and picturesque site for such wild ceremonies could scarcely be selected.

Over these " bora" grounds the soil

was beaten down hard and bare over a j space of a quarter of an acre, like an j oriental thrashing floor, and generally

surrounded by clusters of small round- Í topped huts, covered with melaleuca j

bark. In one of these we found some of the shields and wooden «words of the

natives,-the former about three feet I long by one and a-half feet broad, and of an ovid shape, with a nob in the centre. Ther are formed of the soft light wood of tte buttress root of a description of ficta, and are painted in blue, black, red, and yellow bands, iu a quaint zigzag pattern, found on all shields in tais part of the colony.

The sword is formed of a hard and tough wood, like brigalow. These swords are about five feet long and six inchea

broad, and shaped with a curte, and 1 point like an infantry sword. The han- j

die is fined off, and bound with cord and i natt< e wax, and is only large enough for ; one hand ; and as they are so heavy that

few white men can raise them at arm's ¡ length, it is difficult to understand boa' they can he in anv way an efficient wea- pon in the hands of the Australian savages, unless they are far more power- ful men than their more southern bre-

thren, and more so than the generality

of white me«.

On the 4th of February I ascended , the range, and leaving Lieutenant Mar-1 low and trooper Norman outside, with troopers Warbragen and Archy, cut my way up to the summit, through the densest vine and thorn jungle I ever met with, even in the East Indies. Besides an undergrowth of smaller thorny bushes, a perfect network i« formed of cane creejters, of various dimensions, covered «Uh hook-shaped thorns, which catch one by the face, back, hands, and log«, so that not only were our clothes nearly tom to ribbons, but we rjeturned to the outside all acnatcbed and bleeding,

and our hand* and wrist» so full of poisonous toorna, that on my return to the settlement I was forced to put both hand« in poultice*.

From ute summit of the range I found I thal the dense scrub extort Jed for mila« ] to tho wost ward, without a break, and, j

therefore, X returned to the settlement,

determined to examine the gap to the j

southward.

On the loth of February 1 proceeded, with Mr Arthur Booti and my black boy Cockey, to examine this gap, which is distant ten miles from the settlement, in a southerly direction.

A blacks' Crack or path led us right into the gap, crossing many swamps be- hind the mangroves ; but I have since made an excellent road through sound forest country, along the base of the

range.

We ascended, by easy «pur«, to a hill above the saddle of this gap, and thence discovered that it descended by a gorge, full of dense scrub, or rather jungle, into the broad valley of the fine ri ter (which 1 bad seen from the western ranges last year, and had questioned the blacks about), and on the opposite or western side of which the main coast range, sweeping back from its lofty abutment on the coast of Halifax Bay, trends away in a W.N. VP., and finally westerly direction, on to the Mount Lang table- land, where by the hills of the head of Great Anthill Creek, Razorback, Mount Lang, ic., it joins the Great East Australian Cordilleras, where it forms the watershed of the Burdekin and Lynd Eivers.

From the heads of Separation Creek of Leichhardt, a lofty range-in reality a great spur of the main backbone range-sweeps round nearly parallel to the coast range, and sending out a branch (the northern watershed of the Mackay Uiver, terminating in Tam O'shanter Point, inside Dunk Island), the main mara forms the wall-like rang« of Rockingham Bay, terminating opposite tlie «outb entrance of the innet passage, called Port Hinchinbrook in Mount Leach, a granitic mass of full]

four thousand feet elevation.

Between Mount Leach and Mount Arthur Scott (tbe next most loft] mountain of the chain) is the vert peculiar depression of gap which wi had ascended-at once solving tbe diffi culty in my mind of overcoming the pre viously considered impassable Hocking

ham range«.

Thc new river, which I had th honour of raming the Herbert, after th Colonial Secretary, rises on and tra verses the eastern slopes of the tab! land ; and bein:* precipitated over th edge of the basalt in a heavy fill (wittel we have heard distinctly twelve mile off) into a deep gor^e-like valley betwee the granitic mountains of the grea Rockingham spur and the igneoti rocks of thc main coast ran^e and tab) land-as these open up towards th coast-winds through the beautiful an rich country of the Vale of Herbert, t all appearances running into Hal ita Bay nnd the south end of Bockinghat channel, and there assisting by il deposits in the formation of the gre* extent of mud flats and niangroi swamps which cumber this end of tfc harbour. 1 am of opinion that tl sources of the Herbert are identic; with the Separation Creek of Leicl hardt-more particularly as fir man miles of its upper course it forms tl boundary between the primary an metamorphic rocks ; and I could di cover no practicable outlet for JSepar; j tion Creek through the northern fange j {To b* concluded ia our next.)

î _,_._

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