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the science of the most scientific art of the army, it was moved from the fort down to the ghauts, close under the Shah Boorje, in progress to Calcutta, but the science failing, here it rests, and is likely to remain, until the river cuts away the bank from under it. Of the Taujit is unnecessary to say any thing, so many plans and descriptions have been circulated. Suffice it then to say, that upwards of a lack of rupees has been expended in putting it into a perfect state of repair, and that it looks now as beautiful as when first erected.
DISCOVERIES IN NEW SOUTH WALES.
Sydney—Civil Department—General Orders by the Governor— Government House, Parramatta, 5th December, 1818.
The sanguine hope which his excellency the governor was induced to entertain, that by pursuing the course of the Macquarie river, which had been discovered running in a north-west direction, by John Oxley, esq. on his return last year from tracing the course of the Lachlan to the south-west, would have amply compensated for the disappointment sustained on the occasion; and his excellency having in consequence accepted the further services of Mr. Oxley, on a second expedition, the party, consisting of John Oxley, esq. surveyor-general; John Harris, esq. late surgeon of the 102nd regiment (who most liberally volunteered to accompany the expe
dition); Mr. Evans, deputy surveyor-general; and Mr. Charles Frazier, colonial botanist; together with twelve men, having eighteen horses and two boats, and provisions for twenty-four weeks, took their final departure, on the 4th of June last, from a depot prepared for the occasion in the Wellington Valley, at about ninety miles west of Bathurst. And those gentlemen, and the entire party, having a few days since arrived at Port Jackson, by sea, from the northward, his excellency is happy in offering his most cordial congratulations to John Oxley, esq. the conductor of this expedition, and to James Harris, esq. Mr. Evans, and Mr. Frazier, on their safe return from this arduous undertaking. The zeal, talent, and attention manifested by Mr. Oxley, considering the perils and privations to which he and his party were exposed, in exploring a tract of country so singularly circumstanced in its various bearings, are no less honourable to Mr. Oxley, than conducive to the public interest; and although the result from the principal object, namely, that ..” tracing the Macquarie river to its embouchure, has not been so favourable as was anticipated, yet the failure is in a great degree counterbalanced by other important discoveries made in the course of this tour, which promise, at no very remote period, to prove of material advantage to this rising colony. Whilst his excellency thus offers this public tribute of congratulation, he desires to accompany it with expressions of high :; Sense sense and approbation of Mr. Oxley's meritorious services on this occasion; which his excellency will not fail to represent to his majesty's ministers by the earliest opportunity. The personal assistance and support so cheerfully and beneficially afforded to Mr. Oxley b the gentlemen associated .# him on this expedition, demand his excellency's best acknowledgments, which he is happy thus publicly to request them to accept. The following letter reeeived from Mr. Oxley on his arrival at Port Stephens, on the 1st November last, is now published for general information on the interesting subject of this tour.—By his Excellency the Governor’s command. J. T. CAMPBELL, Sec. Port Stephen, Nov. 1818.—Sir; —I have the honour to inform your excellency that I arrived at this port to-day; and circumstances rendering it necessary that Mr. Evans should proceed to Newcastle, I embrace the oportunity to make to your excelency a brief report of the route pursued by the western expedition entrusted to my direction. My letter, dated the 22nd June last, will have made your excellency acquainted with the sanguine hopes I entertained from the appearance of the river, that its termination would be either in interior waters, or coast ways. When I wrote that letter to your excellency, , I certainly did not anticipate the possibility that a very few days further travelling would lead us to its termination as an accessible river.
On the 29th of June, having traced its course, without the smallest diminution or addition, about seventy miles further to the N.N.W., there being a slight fresh in the river, it overflowed its banks; and although we were at the distance of near three miles from it, the country was so perfectly level, that the waters soon spread over the ground on which we were. We had been for some days before travelling over such very low ground, that the people in the boats finding the country flooded, proceeded slowly, a circumstance which j me to send them directions to return to the station we had quitted in the morning, where the ground was a little more elevated. This spot being by no means secure, it was arranged that the horses with provisions should return to the last high land we had quitted, a distance of sixteen miles; and as it appeared to me that the body of water in the river was too important to be much affected by the mere overflowing of its waters, I determined to take the large boat, and in her to endeavour to discover their point of
discharge. On the 2nd of July I proceeded in the boat down the river, and in the course of the day went near thirty miles on a N.N.W. course, for ten of which there had been, strictly speaking, no land, as the flood made the surrounding country a perfect sea; the banks of the river were heavily timbered, and many large spaces within our views, covered with the common reed, were also encircled by large trees. On the 3rd, the main channel of the river was much contracted but very deep, the banks being under water from a foot to eighteen inches. The stream continued for about twenty miles on the same course as yesterday, when we lost sight of land and trees, the channel of the river winding through reeds, among which the water was about three feet deep, the current having the same direction as the river. It continued in this manner for near four miles more, when without any previous change in the breadth, depth, and rapidity of the stream, and when I was sanguine in my expectations of soon entering the long sought for lake, it all at once eluded our further pursuit, by spreading on all points from N. W. to N.E. over the plain of reeds which surrounded us, the river decreasing in depth from upwards of twenty feet to less than five feet, and flowing over a bottom of tenacious blue mud, and the current still running with nearly the same rapidity as when the water was confined within the banks of the river. This point of junction with interior waters, or where the Macquarie ceased to have the form of a river, is in latitude 30° 45' S. and longitude 147° 10' E.
• To assert positively that we were on the margin of the lake or sea, into which this great body of water is discharged, might reasonably be deemed a conclusion that has nothing but conjecture for its basis; but if an opinion may be hazarded from actual appearances, which our subsequent route tended more strongly to confirm, I feel confident we were in the immediate vicinity of an inland sea, most probably a shoal
one, and gradually decreasing, or being filled up by the immense depositions from waters flowing into it from the higher lands; which on this singular continent, seem not to extend a few hundred miles from the sea coast, as westward of these bounding ranges (which, from the observations I have been enabled to make, appear to me to run parallel to the direction of the coast) there is not a single hill, or other eminence, discoverable on this apparently boundless space, those isolated points excepted, on which we remained until the 28th July, the rocks and stones com* which are a distinct species from those found on the above ranges. I trust your excellency will believe that, fully impressed with the great importance of the questions as to the interior formation of this great country, I was anxiously solicitous to remove all ground for further conjecture, by the most careful observation on the mature of the country; which, though it was to me a proof that the interior was covered with water, yet I felt it my duty to leave no measure untried which could in any way tend to a direct elucidation of the fact. It was physically impracticable to gain the edge of these waters by making a detour round the flooded portion of the country on the S.W. side of the river, as we proved it to be a barren wet marsh, overrun with the species of polygonum, and not offering a single dry, spot to which our course might be directed; and that there was no probability of finding any in that director i ha
had a certain knowledge, from the observations made during the former expedition. To circle the flooded country to the N.E. yet remained to be tried; and when, on the 7th July, I returned to the tents, which I found pitched on the high land before-mentioned, and whence we could see mountains at the distance of eighty miles to the eastward, the country between being a perfect level, Mr. Evans was sent forward to explore the country to the N.E., that being the point on which I purposed to set forward. On the 18th July Mr. Evans returned, having been prevented from continuing on a N.E. course beyond two days’ journey, by waters running north-easterly through high reeds, and which were most probably those of the
Macquarie river, as, during his .
absence, it had swelled so considerably, as entirely to surround us, coming within a few yards of the tent.—Mr. Evans afterwards proceeded more easterly, and at distance of fifty miles from the Macquarie river, crossed another much wider, but not so deep, running to the north. Advancing still more easterly, he went nearly to the base of the mountains seen from the tent, and returning by a more southerly route, found the country somewhat drier, but not in the least more elevated. The discretionary instructions with which your excellency was pleased to furnish me, leaving me at liberty as to the course to be pursued by the expedition on its return to Port Jackson, I determined to attempt making the seacoast on an easterly course, first
proceeding along the base of the high range before-mentioned, which I still indulged hopes might lead me to the margin of these, or any other interior waters which this portion of New South Wales might contain, and embracing a low line of coast, on which many small openings remained unexamined, at the same time that the knowledge obtained of the country we might encircle might materially tend to the advantage of the colony, in the event of any communication with the interior being discovered. We quitted this station on the 30th July, being in latitude 31° 18° S., and longitude 147° 31' on our route for the coast, and on the 8th August arrived at the lofty range of mountains to which our course had been directed.
From the highest point of this
range we had the most extended prospect: from south by the west to the north, it was one vast level, resembling the ocean in extent, but yet without water being discerned, the range of high land extending to the N.E. by N., elevated points of which were distinguished upwards of one hun
dred and twenty miles. From this point, in conformity to the resolution I had made on quitting the Macquarie river, I pursued a N.E. course, but after encountering numerous difficulties, from the country' being an entire marsh, interspersed with quicksands, until the 20th August, when finding I was surrounded by bogs, I was reluctantly compelled to take a more easterly course, having practically proved that the country could not be traversed on any
point deviating from the main range of hills which bound the interior, although partial dry portions of level alluvial land extend from their base westerly to a distance which I estimate to exceed one hundred and fifty miles, before it is gradually lost in the waters which I am clearly convinced cover the interior. The alteration in our course more easterly soon brought us into a very different description of country, forming a remarkable contrast to that which had so long occupied us. Numerous fine streams, running northerly, watered a rich and beautiful country, through which we passed, until the 7th September, when we crossed the meridian of Sydmey, as also the most elevated known land in New South Wales, being then in latitude 31° 03' S. We were afterwards considerably embarrassed and impeded by ver lofty mountains. On the 20t September we gained the summit of the most elevated mountain in this extensive range, and from it we were gratified with a view of the ocean, at a distance of fifty miles, the country beneath us being formed into an immense triangular valley, the base of which extended along the coast, from the Three Brothers on the south, to high land north of Smoky Cape. We had the further gratification to find, that we were near the source of a large stream running to the sea. On descending the mountain, we followed the course of this river, increased by many accessions, until the 8th October, when we arrived on the beach near the entrance of the port which received it, having passed
over, since the 18th July, a tract of country near five hundred miles in extent from west to east. This inlet is situated in latitude 31° 23'30" S., and longitude 152* 50' 18" E., and had been previously noticed by capt. Flinders; but from the distance at which he was necessarily obliged to keep from the coast, he did not discover that it had a navigable entrance. Of course, our most anxious attention was directed to this important point; and although the want of a boat rendered the examination as to the depth of water in the channel, incomplete, yet there appeared to be at low water at least three fathoms, with a safe though narrow entrance between the sand rollers on either hand. Having ascertained thus far, and that by its means the fine country on the banks, and in the neighbourhood of the river might be of future service to the colony, I took the liberty to name it Port Macquarie, in honour of your excellency, as the original
promoter of the expedition. On the 12th October we quitted Port Macquarie on our course for Sydney, and although no charts can be more accurate in their outline and principal points, than those of captain Flinders, we soon experienced how little the best marine charts can be depended upon, to show all theinlets and openings upon an extensive line of coast. The distance his ship was generally at from that portion of the coast we had to travel over, did not allow him to perceive openings, which, though doubtless of little consequence to shipping, yet presented the most serious difficulties to travellers