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1-131 (Original)

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addressee author,male,Evans, George William,35
Narrative Discourse
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Private Written
Fitzpatrick, 1958
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WEDNESDAY, [November] 24th. [1813] - We all rested well, which was a preservation to us, not having done so since our departure, and which we felt the effects of, as nothing could be procured for shelter but green Boughs, that was not sufficient to screen us from rain; we start quite refreshed; at 9 o'Clock came to the end of the Range from which the Prospect is extensive and gives me sanguine hopes; the descent is rugged and steep; I stowed away here a week's provisions in some hollow Cliffs in hopes of it being sufficient for our use back from this place; it was 12 o'Clock when we got into a Valley of good feed and appears a fine part of the Country; I have no doubt but the points of Ridges or Bluffs to the N.W. and S. (the Country seems to open in the form of this Angle) are the termination of what is called the Blue Mountains and that we are now over them. 
Friday, 26th. - My Course is along the Stream; the banks are sandy and appear to be overflowed at times by heaps of Timber being lodged at the foot of some of the Trees; when I had proceeded about 2 miles the Forest ground rises and forms a steeper Bank; in places the Water has a great fall over Rocks; the numerous Valleys carry off the Water in rainy seasons into the riverlett; on one of the small ridges is a Rock resembling White Marble with Yellow Veins; we could not break it but from small Crivices I scraped out small pieces much like Crystal. [40] [...] ; at 4 Miles the stream alters its direction to the South, at which place the main Run joins from the West forming a considerable rapid Riverlett; the land here gets better and the Country has a fine appearance; it resembles the hills to the Eastward of the Cori Linn at Port Dalrymple, and put me in mind particularly of that part; the Trees being thin and light, the flats clear of Timber, a few Honeysuckles on the Banks of the Ridges, the Lockett Bird singing, and the seed of the wild Burnett sticking to our legs, neither of the two last are to be seen on the East side of the Mountains; the soil still continues sandy but the feed is good, and better than any I have seen in New South Wales; I stopped this evening near the foot of a very handsome Mount, which I take the liberty to call Mount Blaxland, also two Peaks rather North of it, and which the Riverlett separates Wentworths and Lawsons Sugar Loaves. I am at a loss to describe the pleasant appearance of this place, the Grass being quite green and good makes it look a pleasing scene, this is the termination of the excursion of the above named Gentlemen; be assured it was not without much labour, perseverance and fatigue that enabled them to reach thus far; I am certain that it is at least 50 Miles, and as the present track is, no person in the Colony on the Choicest Horse could reach this and return to the Nepean in four days; you may rely on what I say in this respect; the Mountains being covered with sharp Granite, would be dangerous to put any Horse out of a walk, and impossible so to do through the Brushes; Kangaroos are numerous, we caught one this day altho' the dogs are so much hurt.
Monday, 29th. - I stopped in very bad Spirits, not being able to get on, being completely entangled among the hills, and our Course being so little Westing; were it not for the Horses the difficulty to ourselves would be nothing; they are sometimes bad to manage, and soon tire among the high Lands; when so they will not move; after travelling 2 1/2 Miles we were on a lofty hill, from whence the Country N.W. is all Forest hills as far as I could see, which I suppose about 15 Miles, every other direction was obscured by high Ranges; impossible there can be a better grazing Track of land, and has the same good appearance as far as I have been able to get a sight of it to the Westward; I hope I will be able to do better tomorrow, and that in a few days my account will be more interesting. [41] [...] 
Tuesday, 30th. - I have at length reached the Ridge I so much wished to do after walking about 2 Miles, where I had a prospect to the North for a great distance; A Mist rises from a part I suppose to be a River or a large Lagoon about 20 Miles off; the Country in this direction has a fine appearance, the Trees being thin and the hills covered with Grass; A 1/4 of Mile farther along the Range, I came to a very high Mount, when I was much pleased with the sight Westward; I think I can see 40 Miles which had the look of an open Country. To the South of me there are large hills much higher than the one I am on, with pasture to their tops; This Range is rather overrun with underwood and larger Timber growing thereon, but the sides are as green as possible; in descending for 2 Miles the verdure is good; the descent then becomes steep for a 1/4 of a Mile, leading into a fine valley at the end I met a large Riverlett arising from the Southern Hills. We shot Ducks and caught several trout weighing at least 5 or 6 Pounds each. [...] 
Wednesday, Decr. 1st, 1813. - My Course is down the Riverlett; it appears to lead me North of West; on the North side of it at this place is a remarkable Sugar Loaf Hill having a stone on the Peak of it, which I have named after myself; I am more pleased with the Country every day; it is a great extent of Grazing land without being divided by barren spaces as on the East side of the Mountains, and well watered by running streams in almost every Valley; I took a walk to the top of a very high Mount where I can see at least 50 Miles West, which gives me great Spirits. [...] 
Saturday, 4th. - My Progress is through an exceeding good Track of Country; it is the handsomest I have yet seen with gentle rising hills and dales well watered; the distant hills, which are about 5 Miles South, appear as Grounds laid out divided into fields by edges, there are few Trees on them and the Grass quite green; [42] I still keep the river, and at times I walk a few Miles South or North as seems to me most requisite. The Dogs killed a Kangaroo and the river supplies us with abundance of Fish.
Sunday, 5th. [...] We remained near the River as it is Sunday. The Horses are getting fat but am Sorry to observe their backs are sore; the Saddles should have been lined; straw stuffing is too hard to render it easy we put our Blankets under them; I walked out this Evening some Miles; I cannot speak too highly of the Country, indeed I am now at a loss what to say as it exceeds my expectations and daily gets better. We are on an Allowance of Bread having lost so much by the bad Weather on the Mountains, we require little pork in this part, a Kangaroo can be procured at any time, there are also Emu's, we killed some Ducks this day.
Monday, 6th.. [...] the river now forms large ponds; at the Space of about a Mile I came on a fine Plain of rich Land, the handsomest country I ever saw; it surpasseth Port Dalrymple; this place is worth speaking of as good and beautiful; the Track of clear land occupies about a Mile on each side of the River; I have named it after the Lieut. Governor, 'O'Connell Plains,' on which we saw a number of wild Geese but too shy to let us near them; the Timber around is thinly scattered, I do not suppose there are more than ten Gum Trees on an Acre, their Bark is amazing thick at least 2 Inches; At 3 o'Clock I stopped at the commencement of a Plain still more pleasing and very Extensive; I cannot see the termination of it North of me; the soil is exceeding rich and produces the finest grass intermixed with variety of herbs; the hills have the look of a park and Grounds laid out; I am at a loss for Language to describe the Country; I named this part 'Macquarie Plains.'. [...] 
Thursday, 9th. - I have called the Main Stream 'Macquarie River.' At 2 1/2 Miles commences a most extensive Plain, the hills around are fine indeed; it requires a clever person to describe this Country properly, I never saw any thing equal to it; the soil is good; I think the lower parts of the Plains are overflowed at times, but do not see marks to any height; the small Trees on the lower banks of the River stand straight, not laying down as you see them on the banks of the river and Creeks at Hawkesbury. [43] The grass here might be mowed it is so thick and long, particularly on the flat lands. [...] 
Friday, 10th. - Yesterdays trace led me much North of West; today it is South of it. The extent of the Plain following the River is 11 Miles and about 2 wide on each side, the whole excellent good land, and the best Grass I have seen in any part of New South Wales; the hills are also covered with fine pasture, the Trees being so far apart must be an acquisition to its Growth; it is in general the sweetest in an open Country.
At the termination of the Plain is a very handsome Mount; I named it 'Mount Pleasant' from the Prospect it commands to the N.E. The River now winds itself round the Points of Forest hills nearly the same as described some days since.
Emues are numerous; the Dogs will not give chase; I imagine they are bad ones; we have not been able to get a shot at any of the Geese, altho' plentiful, they are so shy; but frequently shoot Ducks. Nothing astonished me more than the amazing large Fish that are caught; one is now brought me that weighs at least 15 lb., they are all the same species. I call the Plains last passed over 'Bathurst Plains.'. 
Saturday, 18th. - We departed for our Journey homewards, keeping as far from the River as we conveniently could, and find the feed for Stock exceeding good; the farther back among these hills the better it is; the Valleys are beautiful, as also the intervening ridges that divide them, being thickly covered with herbage; Grazers may keep stock here to great advantage, particularly sheep, as they like dry healthy parts. [...] 
Tuesday, 21st. - Fine weather very warm; halted at the commencement of Bathhurst Plains early, as I was desirous to examine this part; I ascended Mount Pleasant, the West end led me on a Ridge of Beautiful hills, along which I travelled about 3 Miles, a small stream of Water forming ponds run at their foot; I was gratified with a pleasing sight of an open Country to the S.W. of them; at the space of 7 or 8 Miles I could discern the Course of a River winding to the West; I saw three or four large Plains; the first of them I was on, the Chain of Ponds before mentioned running. through it; I feel much regret I am not able to Travel a week or more in that direction; [44] I imagine the flat open Country extends 30 or 40 Miles; at the termination I can only discern one Mountain quite Pale with three Peaks; I suspected an open Country lay about the S.W. point, as I passed, the Range of hills then obscured it from me, nor had I time to examine it; I cannot speak too much of the Country, the increase of Stock for some 100 Years cannot overrun it; the Grass is so good and intermixed with variety of herbs. Emu's and Geese are numerous, but cannot get any; we counted 41 Emu's this day; our dogs will not follow them. Returning we saw smoke on the North side of the River, at Sun sett as we were fishing I saw some Natives coming down the Plain; they did not see us until we surprized them; there were only two Women and four Children, the poor Creatures trembled and fell down with fright; I think they were coming for Water; I gave them what Fish we had, some Fish Hooks, Twine and A Tomahawk, they appeared glad to get from us; two Boys ran away; the other small Children cried much at first; a little while after I played with them they began to be good humoured and laugh, both of the Women were blind of their Right Eye.
Saturday, May 13th, 1815. - I should have left Bathurst yesterday; when near ready to go, one of my Horses threw his Load, which damaged some of his tackling; repairs being necessary caused my delay until this Morning; my Course was S. 300 W; or thereabouts along the fine flat, named Queen Charlotte Vale. I halted near the junction of it with the Main Creek, which bears S. 20 W., having plains on both sides; the Vale is also clear of Timber; this day's journey is over exceeding good Land, well watered.
Sunday, 14th. - I follow the Vale, which still continues very good; at about 5 Miles, a fine Valley comes into it, bearing up S. 20 W., which is well watered; at 6.5 Miles, the Valley is rather contracted, and remains so a short distance, when it again opens, producing the rankest of Grass with ponds as before alternately; the Land is of the strongest nature; the hills that gradually rise on each side are covered with good pasture; the steepest of them grow serviceable Timber, namely Stringy Bark, which is a Tree most used in this part of the World. [45] 
Tuesday, 16th. - The first half hour's Chaining was tolerably good; but, for six Miles afterwards, it was extremely fatiguing along a Rocky and Bushy Ridge, which led me to the Centre of the three hills, I shewed you in our long Ride and which I have named 'Mount Macquarie' ; the three range in a direct line, bearing N.W. and S.E.; that to the S.E. measuring of a Mile from Mount Macquarie, I call 'Maclaine's Peak'; the N.W. one is seperated from the others by a small Gully, and at a distance of about 2 Miles from Mount Macquarie, I have named 'Antill's Peak'; they are most remarkable and conspicuous hills; I see no other in any direction of their shape; from these lofty eminences, I had a clear and perfect View of the Country. The S.W., West and N.W. is a series of high Mountainous hills, their tops shewing themselves at a great distance; in the direction of E. 200 S., about 15 Miles is a fine looking Country; there are plains, I suppose it, towards the head of Campbell River, as I can trace it down some distance; it continues round to S.E. If I cannot do better, or see a more satisfactory prospect Westward tomorrow, I shall travel South for 10 or 12 Miles, where, from present appearances, I think I may be able to wind round some hills again to the West; the hill at the end of my last journey is W. 12° N. about 14 Miles. I was convinced, when there, I could not make further in a S.W. line, all my dependance is in getting South about; I halted at some Water holes running N.E.; they empty themselves into the River by way of Queen Charlotte Vale.
Friday, 19th. [...] I had asscended a very high Conical hill; the sight from it quite astonished me; the whole Country I suppose from 30 to 40 Miles from S.E. to S.W. is covered with Conic hills, which are lost to me in distant Mountains. I took a Man to examine a few Miles, and found that between each Chain of these pointed hills are ponds; in one of the Gullies is a small stream; with much difficulty I travelled down into a Main one from the S.E.; to climb up the hills we were obliged to crawl upon our hands and knees; the whole of them are thinly wooded with small Crooked Gums and covered with good Grass; but the sharp Rocks render travelling disagreeable and bad. [46] I went among them, so far as to convince me that the principal Stream runs through a break, bearing near West; the last two Miles Chaining took me close upon three hours, nor could the Horses travel faster from sliping about; besides this is not half the difficulties, that appears before us, which I unavoidably experienced to make myself certain of the direction the Stream led. Appledore and myself returned much fatigued, I never was more so in my life; from a sudden slip in climbing the hills, I am quite unwell with a pain in my left side; I thought it would be labour in vain to penetrate into a Country, where I could not see a possibility for a Road to be made, or Horses to travel with loads in safety.
Monday, 22nd. - I took a W. 20° S. direction through a fine Grazing Country, most part a thick Forest of various description of good grown timber; at five Miles is a Valley, which bears down West. [...] A remarkable round top'd hill is now North of me, about 4 Miles, I have taken the liberty to name it 'Mount Lachlan.'
Tuesday, 23rd. - There are hills a head, I thought a West Course would avoid them, but found I was necessitated to asscend, and the Ridge led me onward for Four Miles, when a prospect appear'd at which I was highly gratified. I never saw a more pleasing Country. I cannot express the pleasure, I feel, in going forward; the hills we have passed are excellent land, well wooded; to the South distant objects are obscured by high hills; in the S. W. are very distant Mountains; under them appear a Mist as tho' rising over a River; it has the like look round to West; but, beyond, the loom of low hills are very faintly distinguished; in the N.W. are high distant Mountains; one with a flat top bearing N. 700 W., I name 'Jamison's Table Mountain.'
The intermediate space is a grassy Country, thinly wooded; there are hills and dales; between some, appear Valleys clear of Timber; at a great distance is a remarkable Peaked hill standing alone, as it were, in the Centre of an immense flat Country. Finding a Valley with ponds led near N.W., my anxiety obliges me to deviate from the intended course to follow them; at a Mile and half is a clear hill on my right hand, which I have named 'Mount Mole,' and the fine Valley under it 'Redfern Valley'; at the end of Four Miles ponds form a junction from an E. 200 S. point down a spacious flat, I have called it 'Meehan Valley.' [47] I then travel near West; at about a Mile other Ponds join the Main ones from the N.E., and at the end of today's journey they have almost the appearance of a River; there is no perceptible Stream, but some of the ponds are a half and a Mile long.
Wednesday, 24th. - My Course was West for three Miles; it led me to the top of an high hill; the Water shewed itself about 4 Mile North of me; on the South is an extensive flat; from the hill I travelled W. 200 S. two Miles; at. one and half, I crossed a small Creek coming from the South leading to the Ponds; I then went on again West for 5.5 Miles, which brought me on a second hill; in following it down, I was rather North of West for upwards of a Mile, and there found a Creek bearing up South; I resolved on tracing it, which I did for three Miles North; here the points of the hills end in perpendicular heads 30 or 40 feet high, which is pure Lime Stone of a Misty Grey Colour; this Creek joins the bed of a River, rising in a N. 30° E. direction, now dry except in hollow places; it is full 70 ft. wide, having a pebbly bottom; on each side grow large swamp Oaks; I travelled down in the bed of it of a Mile near West, and halted greatly fatigued. The open Country and falling on the Water courses encouraged me so much that I made every exertion to push forward, besides being full of anxiety hoping soon to reach a River of some consequence. Every steep hill, between the Lime Rocks and Bathurst, may be avoided except two, and they are not worse than that at the Fish River. An handsomer and finer Country I never saw than what I have been over these last two Days; greatest part of the Land is good; Timber is its worst production; Kangaroos Emu and Wild Ducks are very numerous. [...] 
Thursday, 25th. - The Lime Cliffs having the appearance of being very steep down the run, I thought it prudent to let the Horses have a day's rest; in the mean time I took Appledore with me to examine the Country; large Ponds of Water are now in the River Bed; they connect with each other by a small stream that I distinctly see to rise up between the Stones; its general course is W. 15° N. [48] I walked down about Five Miles; it was impossible to proceed further as perpendicular Cliffs of Slate Rock prevents me; with much difficulty I got so far. The Stream is now equal to Macquarie River.. [...] On leaving the Water, I made for the high Peak, which bore S. 400 E. about three Miles; it was a fatiguing matter to reach the top and feel happy I did so, as it convinced me I could not go on in a West direction, as I should be impeded by high head lands and Gullies.. [...] I named the Peak 'Mount Lewin.' [...] 
Sunday, 28th. - Being determined to see the Plains, I started at day break with a Man; in the space of an hour, we arrived on one this side of the River; it reached about a Mile, and is at least 1.5 deep. I suppose I went up the River six Miles; the Plains are alternately on each, and nearly the same size; opposite to the Plains are Woodlands, and appeared to continue so for a great distance S. 30° W.; the River comes from about that point, and to the best of my Judgment the Stream empties into it that I mention on the 19th Instant; the Soil on the plains is very rich, and the woodlands are equally so; when about to return we saw a number of Natives; on making towards them, they run from us; all that I could do had no avail in having communication with them; it was past One O'Clock when we got back, and I was too fatigued to go down the River any distance, therefore remained to wash and clean ourselves; I have named the Plains 'Oxley's Plains.' 
Wednesday, 31st. - The River took the direction I supposed N.W.; points of Rocky hills, every Mile or Mile and half, lead down to it; the flats continue rich Soil; on the S.W. side are no hills, but a continued space of level Rich Land, thinly wooded, except near the Water's edge, where the timber is good and very large; they are what is called Black Butted Gums; some of them are 8 and 10 feet in diamiter.
We see Natives two or three times a day; I believe we are a great terror to them; a Woman with a young Child fell in our way this afternoon, to whom I gave a Tomahawk and other truffles; she was glad to depart; soon after we suddenly came upon a Man, who was much frightened; he run up a Tree in a moment, carrying with him his Spear and Crooked throwing Stick; he hallowed and cryed out so much and loud, that he might have been heard half a Mile; it was useless entreating him to come down, therefore stuck a Tomahawk in the Tree, and left him; the more I spoke, the more he cryed out. [49] 7 Miles.
Thursday, 1 St June, 1815. - The River today is near West, and am clear of the points of hills; the Country is good indeed; these fine flats are flooded; there are rising Lands clear of it as I before stated, but no bill that will afford a prospect; tomorrow I am necessitated to return, and shall asscend a very high hill, I left on my right Hand early this Morning. I could leave no mark here more than cutting Trees; on one situated in an Angle of the River and a wet Creek, bearing up North, I have deeply carved 'Evans 1st June 1815.' The Country continues good, and better than ever I expected to discover.
Friday, 2nd June. - In travelling back, I left the River; at about a Mile from it, the Land is not so Rich; the Soil changed to red loom, as deep colour'd as a burnt Brick, wherein the Grass is poor and the Box Trees small. I am glad to observe that the deficiency is made up by useful Pine Trees from one Inch to three feet in Diamiter, as straight as Arrows, some of them at least 40 feet high before the Branches begin to shoot out; those, growing on what I term' Pine hills, are stinted; the trunks of them rise but a few feet from the Ground before their Branches spread, which I think may be accounted for by those hills being chiefly a mass of Granite Rock. I asscended the Height; no Country can possibly have a more interesting aspect; so much so that, if a further trace into the interior is required at a future period, I respectfully beg leave to offer myself for the Service. I see no end to travelling. I am deficient in abilities to describe it properly, but shall endeavour to do so by compareing the Country to an Ocean, as it is nearly level, with the Horizon from N.W. to S.W.; small Hillocks are seen at great distances of a pale Blue, shewing as Land appears when first discovered at Sea; Spaces clear of trees may be imagined islands, and the Natives Smokes, rising in various points, vessels; it is a clear calm Evening near Sunsetting, which shewed every part advantageously. [50] 
The River I can distinctly discover to continue near due West, and rest confident that, when it is full, Boats may go down it in safety; my meaning of being full is its general height in moderate Seasons, which the banks shew, about Five feet about the present level; it would then carry Boats over Trees and Narrows that now obstruct the Passage; no doubt the Stream connects with Macquarie or some other River further West; the Channel then sure is of great magnitude; I should think so to carry off the body of Water that must in time of Floods cover these very extensive flats. [...] 
'Monday, 5th June. - Left the River, which I have now called 'The River Lachlan.'