1828-01-01, English, Article, Journal or magazine article edition: THE LATE TOUR OF A. CUNNINGHAM, ESQ. (COMMUNICATED BY THE AUTHOR.) (1 January 1828) Wilton, C. Pleydell N. (Charles Pleydell Neale), 1795-1859.

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THE LATE TOUR OF A. CUNNINGHAM, ESQ. (COMMUNICATED BY THE AUTHOR.) (1 January 1828)
 
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  • xna, A. Hill, 1828-01-01
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  • THE LATE TOUR OF A. CUNNINGHAM, ESQ. (COMMUNICATED BY THE AUTHOR.) (1 January 1828)
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  • The Australian quarterly journal of theology, literature &​ science., no.January 1828, 1828-01-01
Author
  • Wilton, C. Pleydell N. (Charles Pleydell Neale), 1795-1859.
Published
  • xna, A. Hill, 1828-01-01
Physical Description
  • 4663 words
  • article
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  • The Australian quarterly journal of theology, literature &​ science.
  • January 1828
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  • THE LATE TOUR OF A. CUNNINGHAM, ESQ. (COMMUNICATED BY THE AUTHOR.) A brief notice of the observations, that were made by Mr. Cv.\ ving:-ia m during the progress of a late Tour, or. the face of the Country, lying between Liverpool Ptains, and the shores of More ton Pay, ill New South Hales t comprehending aportion of the Interior within the paraL lets of <2 B. and 32. South) for the most part previously unexplored* . We are living* in a Land, whose physical constitution tution differs strangely from that of every other portion of our (*lobe, and whose superficial * He congratulate ourselves , that our Journal has become the channel of communication to the Public of the late la- Si extent .although festimatedat more than threefourths fourths of that of Europe, nevertheless tarnishes nishes (as far as a minute examination of its various shores have been effected) no River, by which a knowledge of the capabilities of a distant tant interior might be acquired, or the produce of its soil, wafted to its Coasts. Admitting the non-existence of Rivers in so vast a Country of distant internal origin, or of magnitude, approaching those noble streams, which, rising in the more elevated regions of the Andes, are disembogued oil the shores of the American Continent, we are naturally led to the belief, that no lofty ranges of mountains traverse the central regions of this “ Great South Land” either in the direction of the meridian, or transversely, in that of the parallel, but the borious researches of Mr. A. Cunningham, and we should be wanting in proper feeling, were we not to take this opportunity of returning him our warmest thanks for the honour, which he has conferred upon us, and of expressing oar regret, that, for want of room, wc are unable to give the whole of his valuable MS. (which zee received late) insertion in the present Number. Editor. + Captain de Freycinet, in assigning proportions to the principal divisions of the Globe, estimates the surface of Europe at 501,875 square French leagues, and that of Australia at 381,375, which is to Asia and America as 3 are to 7 or about one-fourth the superficial extent of Africa. Voy. aax Torres Australes, p. 107. rather, as the inference may be drawn from recently acquired date, that large portions of our intertropical interior, will one day be discovered covered to be of low depressed surface, subject to frequent, if not in part, to permanent inundation. dation. Indeed, it has been frequently remarked marked by Travellers, that, so far as their observations servations have extended, the high lands ot this Continent are on, or at no great distance from its shores, and Navigators inform us, that the more elevated ranges occupy its Eastern Coast, which in several parallels they immediately invest, and throughout a space of 500 miles within the tropical circle, are of primitive structure*. Fourteen years have elapsed, since those enterprising terprising Travellers, Messrs. Blaxland, Lawson son and Wentworth, upon surmounting the many obstacles, that lay in the way of internal discovery in their day, passed that formidable barrier, our BlueMouutain ranges,and at once laid open an extensive Western Country, not only to the persevering industry ofthe husbandman man and grazier, but to the no less laudable research of the zealous Naturalist. Almost immediately subsequent to that epoch in the annals of our Colony, expeditions were despatched patched to explore Rivers, then of recent disco* * King's Voy. p, 570. very, in which Mr. Oxley, our able Surveyor-General, veyor-General, to whom their direction was intrusted, was engaged in 181? and succeeding year ; but the results of those journies having tended in no small degree to check that spirit of internal geographical inquiry, which had at those periods manifested itself, no tour of any magnitude, with the view towards the acquirement ment of a further knowledge of our interior has, since those days to the present year, been undertaken taken ; if we except the laborious excursion of M essrs. llovell and Hume from the Comity ot A rgyle, across a portion of our Southern interior to the shores of Port Phillip. Ot the relation of this lengthened journey however, although it was performed three years since, we have yet to learn the details. These, when published will,doubtless, prove highly interesting, not only to the Colonist, but to every well-wisher of the Countrv, since it has been affirmed, that these Travellers, in the progress of their expedition, passed through an undefined extent of beautiful Country, the richest that had been discovered at that period, " the finest in point of soil and incomparably the most Engtish-Hke in point of climate. ■’ Inhabiting, as we have, for many years, the shores of so vast a Country, where natures operations rations in her animal and vegetable products piore especially, form so many striking peculia, rities, inducing 1 not merely to excite our surprize, prize, but sufficient to keep perpetually alive within us a laudable inquiring 1 curiosity, it is singular,that,at this advanced age of our Colony, we should be found in possession of so little well-grounded information in respect to the structure of our distant interior, since, iu our limited range of inquiry, although the surface of the Country has been found in parts made up ot brushy waste, or noisome swamp,we have, nevertheless, been abundantly encouraged to advance, on meeting with the verdant glade amid the desert—been gladdened, at length, to discover,beyond the confines of regions scarcely tenantable by man, extensive tracts of rich pasture land, possessing all the physical conditions, tions, requisite for the well-being of civilized society. To furnish some accession to the knowledge, we have already acquired of the internal parts of this Southern Continent, Mr. Cunningham respectfully submitted to the Colonial lonial Government the following plan of a journey to explore a portion of the unknown interior lying North from the latitude 31. to which parallel the Country had been seen by Mr. Oxley, so far back as tiie year 1818. To proceed, in the first instance, by the most direct and eligible route from the Colony to Peel’s River, in the Country, situated on the North eastern skirls of Liverpool Plains, be ivveen the meridians of 150 and 151 in or about the above-mentioned parallel. Thence to penetrate trate North, towards the shores of Moreton Bay, in with the view of ascertaining the general features of the interjacent Country, the character of its vegetation, the nature of its soil, as well as the number, magnitude, and direction of the streams,by which it was reasonable able to conclude, a region, comprehending more than three degrees of latitude, is doubtless watered. From the northermost point, to which he might be enabled to penetrate, his design was, should the condition of his horses, the state of his provisions, and, moreover, the aspect of the weather justify it, to employ a limited period (previous to the prosecution of his journey southerly) in an excursion direct into the interior, rior, with the expectation of being able to make a few interesting remarks on the character and Northern limit of those great marshes into which all our Western rivers How, and to whose Eastern margin (in about 30|. South) Mr. Oxley had descended in 1818. Should circumstances stances prevent this digression to the westward, from that advanced stage of his expedition, he then proposed to pursue his journey towards the Colony, through that considerable range of Country, lying East of the meridian of 151. intermediate between his projected line ot outward route, and the sea Coast; and in his progress to the southward, hoped to make such observations on the general capabilities of that extensive tract, as would doubtless interest the Colonist, and gather, at the same time, every material, to embody more fullv the Chart of the Country. As this plan of a proposed Tour to the Northern interior met with the entire approbation bation of His Excellency General Darling, the most ample means were furnished Mr. Cunningham to carry the same into effect; and, early in the month of April last, he set out from the Colony for Segenhoe, an estate of T. P. Macqueen, Esq. M. P., on an upper Branch of Hunter’s River, whence it was his intention to takehisfinal departure. Desirous of preserving the fresh condition of the horses in this first stage ofhisjourney, to enable them the better to meet its after labours, they were despatched overland without their loads, whilst the baggage, stores, and provisions for the use of the expedition, were conveyed round by sea to Hunter’s River. Arriving at Segenhoe on the 26th of the month, Mr. Cunningham was most hospitably received by Mr. Macintyre, the highly respectable agent, and director of that extensive and valuable estate, whose residence, together with the village-like groupe of habitations of the farming servants, were found eligibly situated on a tributary stream to Hunter's River, named tiro Page; about a mile and a half above their confluence, and within twenty miles of those northern mountains, the elevated points of which constitute so striking a feature of the Landscape of this most beautiful part of the Coal River Country. The adjustment of the several pack horse loads, and general preparation for his departure being effected in the short period of his stay at this station, Mr. Cunningham commenced his journey ney to the North on the 30th with an establishment ment of six servants, eleven horses (of which eight were the property of the Crown) and provisions for 14 weeks, having from the information, he had obtained of its practicability, lity, determined to attempt his passage over the dividing range at the head of Dart Brook,—a stream of Hunter’s River, rising in a part of those mountains bearing about 30 miles to the North West. The situation of Mr. Maclntyre’s house on Pages* River, was found by observations as follows : Latitude by meridional altitudes tudes of the sun, taken in an Artificial Horizon, and observed with an excellent Sextant; being the meari< of 8 Observations taken chiefly on the return of the Expedition to this Station in August, L 3L 00. Ji b. Longitude l>v a sot of Lunar i;. f , m _ • r Ulatliuces, d ~ ~ IjO. ji. 1 j.E. \ ariatioa of the Needle, de- t dueedby the mean ofseve- 2 ral Sets of Azimutlisf,.. . f 7.24. E. And mean elevation above r the level of the sea, being the result of 21 distinct Observations of the Mercurial curial Column,taken morning ing and evening, 597 Feet; Oil the 2d of May, having 1 traced the narrow * As this result accords nearly with the meridian deduced duced by the Survey of the Country from Newcastle, viz. 150. 58.45. which (there is reason to apprehend) places Srgenhoe genhoe somewhat to the eastward of its real position , it may be considered about its true longitude. + The instruments used in the late Journey, were a sectant tant of superior construction, divided to 10 seconds ;an artificial horrzan ; apocket chronometer ; a schm ale alders' pocket compass ; an odometer or improved perambulator , and a mountain barometer, by Jones, which latter zcas compared, previous to the departure of the Expedition, with others in the possession of J. Mitchell, Esq. of the General Hospital, who very obligingly furnished Mr. Cunningham ningham upon his return to the Colony, with daily observations vations on the range of the Mercurial column made in Sydney, ney, during his absence in the interior , the difference of which and his own simultaneously noted, have furnished dutu for the computation of the mean elevation above the level of th, sea, of the several stations or encampments of his Journey. L Valley. through which Dart Brook ft o\¥s, to it 3 head immediately at the base of the Mountains, Mr. Cunningham was joined by Mr. Mackintyre tyre (accompanied by a friend) who had, with the most disinterested desire to advance the objects of the Expedition, obligingly tendered bis services to conduct the Party over the more difficult points of the Range, at a part, by which lie had himself on a former occasion crossed those mountains to Liverpool Plains. From the grassy hills immediately at the head of the Valley, the Party gained by great exertion tion the higher parts ol the dividing Range, by climbing a narrow lateral ridge of so abrupt an acclivity,that repeatedly it became necessary, rather than endanger the lives of the horses, to disburthen them ot portions of their loads. Traversing the extreme summit of the range about two" s miles to the Westward, at a mean Elevation of 3080 feet above the level of the sea, a sloping grassy ridge enabled the people and horses to descend to the upper part of a Valley at the Northern base of the Mountains on the afternoon of the 4th, where the Tents were pitched until the morning of the following day. This encampiug-ground, which was found by observation to bein latitudes!. 50. S. and longitude (by account) 150. 35. E., was ascertained by barometrical admeasurement to be 1221 feet lower than the summit of the Range, or about G7O feet above the head of the O J Valley of Dart Brook. On the sth of May, Mr. Cunningham conl inued nued his journey to the North along the Eastern skirts of Liverpool Plains, nearly under the meridian of 150. 37. S.upon quitting'the Valley, and leaving the Creek by which it is watered, to wind its way to the lower of the Plains, he passed through an extent of ten miles of barren forest, wooded with stunted Box and Iroubark, frequentlv interspersed with Brush, and from the languishing state of its scanty vegetation generally, had evidently been without water for several months. Crossing a branch of the Plains (in 3 1.38.) stretching to (he 8. E. through which a small rivulet meandered, the Country to the North was found to rise to forest-hills of ordinary elevation, lightly wooded with Box, and frequently very stony on their summits. The Vallies, which were very confined fined and occasionally disposed to be brushy, * The Barometer has shozcn us y hozc much the surface of the southern sides of Liverpool Plains , zchie/​t has hern raised by the washings of the soil from the adjacent boundary dary Range is elevated above that of the central parts or northern margin. The results of the several observations , were as follows :—The southern sides are 1120 feet; the central surface is about QbOfeetj whilst the northern limits arc from 800 to 8 40 feet of perpe ndieular height above the level of the ocean « as well as somfc intermediate patches of level ground, furnished timbers of large dimensions, chiefly of the Appletrec and Gum. Immediately ately to the westward of the line of route, a chain of low thinly wooded forest-hills, stretched northerly, and interrupted the view of the main body of the Plains, whilst to the East, the ridges were lofty and precipitous, assuming in some parts a bold and mountainous character, whence issue several streams, which after watering tering the narrow valleys, escape westerly to the margin of the Plains, where eventually uniting in their course to the North, form Field's River of Mr. Oxley, by which the eastern sides of these considerable levels are drained. The hills are composed of sandstone, and in the valleys leys and beds of Creeks was remarked a breccia, or puddingstone, on which the former reposed. On the 11th the Party passed the parallel of 32 02. in which Mr. Oxley had crossed Peel's River, in his Journey to Port Macquarie, in 1818, and from which particular point Mr. Cunningham ningham had originally designed to commence his tour to the North. The Country,however* at East and North-east, in which that stream was originally discovered, flowing northerly, proving on examination to be by far too broken, mountainous and rocky, to permit his heavy laden pack-horses to penetrate to its channel, their feet having already sustained injury in their journey over stony hills from the dividing’ Range, Mr. Cunningham determined to continue nue his course to the North in the meridian, at which he had arrived on reaching the above parallel, (about 150~), being satisfied, that, as the waters of that River doubt less fall eventually into the internal marshes, his course would intersect tersect its channel, whenever the chain of lofty hills to the eastward, which appeared to stretch far to the North, should either terminate, or becoming broken allow of its escape to the lower North-western interior. Prosecuting a course to the northward, on the 12th, the Party, upon passing over patches of Plains parched by long drought, entered a forest of Appletree, of unusually large growth, in which the marks of floods were perceived to the height of five feet, and immediately came upon the left bank of a River, bending its course westerly, round the southern extremity of a ridge of Hills, along the base of which it flowed from the more elevated Country to the North-east. This stream, which had not been previously seen by Europeans, was named Mitchell's River, as a compliment to the Medical cal Officer, to whom Mr. Cunningham is so considerably indebted for the valuable detail of Barometrical observations, that were taken in Sydney during his absence in the interior. The situation of that part of Mitchell’s River on which the Exploring Party rested, w'as ascertained certained as follows : Lat. observed 30. 57. 12. S. Long, reduced from the meridian of Segenhoe 150. 25. 15. E. The mean elevation of the bed of the River, above the level of the sea, being about 840 feet, which is about the height of the northern margin of Liverpool Plains. Upon passing Mitchell’s River by a gravelly ford,w here the channel was IGO yards m breadth, Mr. Cunningham again advanced on his Journey ney to the North, through a barren, uninteresting ing forest Country, broken by low stony ridges of argillaceous Ironstone and Clay slate, in which the water channels appeared to have been dry for many w r eeks. Among the Timbers, which were of the usual kinds and of very ordinary dimensions, were interspersed the native Cypress, or Callitris, and of the herbaceous vegetation, which was suffering much from the drought ot the season, nearly the whole proved to be ot plants, very generally to be met with on the extensive lands To the southward, occupied by the Colonists. In about the parallel of 30. 36. the Country had risen, upwards of a thousand feet above Mitchell’s River, and in the midst of a barren brushy forest, the Party intersected a small rivulet, running briskly to the eastward over abed ofschistus rock. As it was evident tt could not flow long’ in that direction, in consequence quence of the chum of high lands, continuing to the northward, it doubtless winds its course to the southward, and eventually falls into j Mitchell's River. Northerly, beyond the channel of this brook , on the banks of which verdant grasses were remarked, the forest-grounds,rising to upwards of 2000 feet above the sea, again assume a rocky, barren character, furrowed by inillies for the J J O most part without water. On the 17th of May, at noon, when the observed served latitude was 30.22. theTravellers reached the bank of a stream, which received the name of Buddie’s River, and although there was but little water in its channel, which was 30 yards wide, it bore evident marks of being, in seasons of heavy rains, swollen to the height of 20 feet. This small River dipped to the E. N. E. and as the Country appeared at length to be much more open in that direction, than had been observed served in the progress of the Expedition, it is withoutdoubt a tributary to Peel’s River, which, it was concluded, was winding its course north - erly, parallel with the line of route, pursued by the Party, and at a lower level. It was on the bank of Buddie’s River, that Natives to the number of five persons were seen for the first time during the tlourney; but the precipitous flight.cf these savages, immediately on seeing the Pack-horses, did not afford the Party a moment to communicate with them. Continuing his course to the North, Mr. Cunningham passed the parallel of 30. S. on the 20th May,at the head of a Valley, which he had much pleasure in naming after his esteemed friend, Lieut. Charles Stoddart, of the ltoyal Staff Corps. Tracing a small creek (whosepebbly channel was shaded by swamp Oak) throughout the length of this rich, grassy Vale, which stretched to the North about 16 miles, it led the Party to the very ample channel of Peel's River of Mr. Oxley, which having pursued its course from the southward, through probably a gradual dual fall of Country, to a level, little more than 900 feet above the level of the sea, at length finds a passage through the eastern Hills, and passing the northern extremity of Stoddart's Valiev”in lat. 29. 51. escapes along the eastern base of some lofty forest-hills in the neighbourhood, hood, named Drummond's Range, to a very open declining interior, observed beyond it at North-west. The channel of Peel's River at the ford, by which the Party passed it, exhibited a bed of gravel exceeding 250 yards in breadth, which, in seasons of great rains, is entirely occupied cupied by floods to the depth of 12 and 15 feet, as was obvious from the marks of these waters on its upper.banks. The long continuance ot dry weather, beneath the devastating’ effects of which an undefined extent of the interior appeared peared to be suffering, had, however, diminished the waters of the Peel to a breadth of not exceeding 50 yards, and to a depth so trifling, that it was fordable with safety in many places, other than at its rapids, where it did not exceed 12 inches. It was with no small surprize, that the Party observed at the head ofStoddart’s \ alley, so remote from any fanning establishment, ment, the fceces of Horned Cattle, two or three days old, as also the spot, on which from eight to a dozen of these animals had reposed at a period so recent, that the grassy blade, which was of long luxuriant growth, had not recovered vered its upright position. From what point of the Country these Cattle had originally strayed, appeared at first difficult to determine ; on consideration, however, it was thought not imp robable, that they were stragglers from the large wild herds, that are well known to be occupying plains around Arbuthnot’s Range, which by a reference to the Chart, proved” o' be distant from the Vale about 175 miles to the South-west. Quitting the right bank of Peel’s River, Mr. ( unmngham pursued his Journey to the'North, through a brushy barren tract of forest-land bounded immediately to the eastward by a continuation tinuation of the rocky Range,which had stretch- M ed almost in one uninterrupted chain of Hilts from Liverpool Plains. At a distance of about 14 miles, the Country materially improves, being less encumbered with useless timber, and consequently more open to the action of the atmosphere ; and the soil, which was of a darker colour, had induced a considerable growth ot grass. On the 23d the Party crossed (in 29. 34.) the wide but shallow reedy channel of a River, containing at that period simply a number ber of small ponds, which in wet seasons evidently dently join, and fall into Peel’s River. A succession cession ot open forest-hills of moderate elevation, tion, with narrow intermediate valleys, and patches of open plain, characterize the line of Country to the North, through which Mr. Cunningham ningham advanced, and although the land was generally rich and productive of much grass, and esculent plants, it was nevertheless distressing tressing to find a tract exceeding 20 miles in extent almost wholly without water. On reaching the latitude of 29. 10. S. all the hills to the westward of the line of route, which was in the meridian of 150. 30. terminated, and a level open Country,bounded on the N. W. and N.by the distant horizon, broke upon the view. On the morning of the 26th of May, the Travellers vellers continued their Journey, from an Encampment campment about 1228 feet above the sea, and, having penetrated through a barren forest Country, wooded with a blighted Ironbark scarcely 25 feet high, and interspersed with dense brushes of plants formerly observed on the western margin of Liverpool Plains, they crossed the dry sandy bed of a River, fifty yards wide, which in periods of great rains is filled to the depth of ten feet. The drought of the year, with which the vegetation of these northern regions have so long struggled for an existence, appeared sometime since to have depiived this ample channel of its waters, and as this was in part occupied by a thicket of woody plants, which usually affect arid desert situations, it appeared evident that this water-course had been dry several months. Immediately on passing the parallel of 29. in about the meridian of 150. 40. Mr. Cunningham arrived on the left bank of a considerable stream, which, although much reduced by the prevalent dry weather, presented a handsome reach, half-amile mile in length, about thirty yards wide, and evidently very deep. Upon the branches of the lofty swamp Oak on its lower banks, the traces of hoods were observed at least twenty feet above its gravelly channel; when therefore its waters are swollen to that height, it forms a River from 80 to 100 yards in breadth, as was ascertained by the admeasurement of its bed. This Stream, which received the name of Dumaresq’s resq’s River,in honor of the Family, with which His Excellency The Governor is so intimately connected, rises in a mountainous Country to the N. E. at an elevation (determined in the progress of the Expedition southerly) of nearly 3000 feet above the sea, and after pursuing a western course for about one hundred miles along a considerable declivity of Country, falls in its progress North-westerly, upwards of 2100 feet to the spot, at which the Party had crossed its channel, where the perpendicular height above the sea-shore* was found by Barometrical rometrical admeasurement to be only 840 feet, which is about the mean level of the northern sides of Liverpool Plains. The great debility, to which the whole of the Horses were reduced by the labours of their journey through a line of Country,suffering generally from a protracted season of drought, obliged Mr. Cunningham to pursue his route on a more eastern course, w ith the fullest hopes of meeting with a better pasture ture on the higher lands in that direction, than that,on which they had for some time subsisted. A flat sandy desert tract of Country, continued to the N. N. E. from Dumaresq’s River, almost without interruption for the space of 20 miles, clothed with a diminutive timber of Gum, and a brush, in patches so dense, that it was with the. * The Coast-line is distant from, this particular part of pmnuresq'sßiver about 170 statute miles * utmost difficulty, the Pack-horses were led through it to more open forest-ground. In the midst of this expanse of arid waste, it was no small relief to the wearied Party, to meet with a rivulet, (in lat. 28. 44. S. and long. 150. 48. E.) winding its course from the eastward ward to the North-west through a strip of open forest flat, on which was observed a richer and more luxuriant growth of young grass, than had been met with in any stage of the Journey from Hunter’s River. To this beautiful stream, which was found to be even at a somewhat lower level than the bed of Dumaresq’s River, Mr. Cunningham gave the name of Macintyre's brook, after his esteemed teemed triend at Segeidioe. — r Fo be continued..
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