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swamps and a shallow lagoon. The river then flowing from S.S.E. to W.S.W., is navigable for loaded boats about 30 miles, the average depth at high water being 9 feet. It then separates to N.W., where the navigation is stopped by a narrow gravel bank dry at low water ; and 2} miles to the S.W. it is impeded by an island with a shallow passage on each side, choked with dead timber. In both arms the water again deepens, after passing these obstacles. The banks are generally very high on rocky foundations, covered with thick forest,-Moreton pines, cedar, fig-trees, palms, and a variety of gum trees, in many places impenetrable from the thick foliage of the native vines. The adjacent country ranges of thickly wooded hills are backed to the west and S.W. by lofty mountains. Mount Warning is very conspicuous --S.W. & S.(compass bearing) at least 20 miles farther inland than the place allotted to it in the maps ; under whose base, it is probable that this river derives its source.
The Clarence is 380 miles from Sydney; the Richmond 420; and the Tweed 465; while the Tweed is only 60 miles distant from the northern entrance of Moreton Bay, and the spot I have indicated for the future commercial capital of Cooksland ; the Richmond 100, and the Clarence 140. It is evident, therefore, that it would be incomparably more conducive to the convenience, the comfort, and the benefit of the future population of these three rivers, which, there is every reason to believe, will at no distant period be very numerous, to be bound up, so to speak, in one volume with the community of Moreton Bay, than with that of Sydney. Small steam-boats, of 100 tons or thereby, could ply between the northern capital and each of these rivers, with the same facility as the passage is now made by such steam-boats between Sydney and Hunter's River; performing the ocean part of the voyage during the night, and running up and down the rivers during the day. But the voyage to Sydney would be a serious affair, and would not be thought of but on occasions of great emergency. There is another consideration, however, of still greater importance, in such a question, than mere distance. The coast, for nearly three hundred miles of the whole distance to Sydney from the Clarence River, is an iron-bound coast, presenting no place of refuge, no available harbour in cases of distress, as from a violent gale blowing dead in upon the land. In such cases the unfortunate vessel must either keep the sea at all hazards, or be wrecked. But there is much less reason to apprehend being caught in such gales on the comparatively shorter voyages between these three rivers and the northern capital ; besides, there is safe anchorage under Cape Byron, close to the entrance of the Richmond River, and also under Turtle Island, close to the entrance of the Tweed.
The reader may perhaps suppose that I have argued this point more minutely and at greater length than the case requires ; but as the most determined opposition was shewn very recently in New South Wales, both in the Legislative Council of that colony and out of it, to the separation of Port Phillip, although every consideration both of reason and justice was strongly in favour of that measure, I deemed it advisable to set the case in its proper light from the first, as I anticipate precisely the same opposition in the same quarters to any attempt, however accordant with reason and justice, to separate the Clarence, the Richmond, and the Tweed Rivers from that colony, and to constitute the territory of Cooksland a separate and indepenent colony.
THE BRISBANE RIVER.
Ille terrarum mihi praeter omnes
Bacca Venafro ;
HORAT. Op. II. 6.
Fair land ! where smiling Summer reigns
Throughout the livelong year,
Of frosts and snows appear;
HORACE IN AUSTRALIA.
On his return to Sydney from his examination of Port Curtis, and his discovery of the Boyne River, in the month of November 1823, Mr. Surveyor-General Oxley anchored in Bribie's Island Passage, the Pumice-Stone River of Captain Flinders. "Scarcely was the anchor let go,” observes his fellow-traveller, Mr. Uniacke, when we perceived a number of natives, at the distance of about a mile, advancing rapidly towards the vessel; and on looking at them with the glass from the mast-head, I observed one who appeared much larger than the rest, and of a lighter colour, being a light copper, while all the others were black. This I pointed out to Mr. Stirling, so that we were all on the look-out when they approached; and to our surprise and satisfaction, when opposite the vessel, the man hailed us in English. The boat was immediately launched, and Messrs. Oxley, Stirling, and I went ashore in her. While approaching the beach, the natives shewed many signs of joy, dancing and embracing the white man, who was nearly as wild as they. He was perfectly naked, and covered all over with white and red paint, which the natives make use of. His name, it appears, was Thomas Pamphlet: he had left Sydney on the 21st March last in an open boat, to bring cedar from the Five Islands, about fifty miles to the south of Port Jackson. There were three others with him ; but the boat being driven out to sea by a gale of wind, they had suffered inconceivable hardships, being twenty-one days without water, during which time one of them died of thirst, and they had at length been wrecked on Moreton Island, which forms one side of Moreton Bay, in the upper part of which we were now lying. He was so bewildered with joy that we could make very little out of his story that night; so having distributed a few knives, handkerchiefs, &c., among the friendly blacks, we returned on board, taking him with us. He now informed us, that his two surviving companions, Richard Parsons and John Fin negan, after having travelled in company with him to the place where we found him, had, about six weeks before, resolved to prosecute their way towards Sydney; that he had accompanied them about fifty miles, but that his feet becoming so sore that he was unable to travel further, he had resolved to return to the blacks, with whom we found him, and who had before treated him with great kindness; that a few days after they parted, Parsons and Finnegan having quarrelled, the latter also returned, and had since remained with him, but had been absent the last fortnight with the chief of the tribe on a hunting expedition, and that Parsons had not been heard of since his departure. Mr. Oxley, on hearing that Finnegan was gone towards the south end of the bay, resolved to seek him on Monday morning, and hoped, by keeping along the shore, and occasionally firing a musket, to be able to find him.
But on Sunday afternoon, at low water, a man was observed walking out on a sand-bank, from the opposite shore towards us, and holding in his hand a long stick with a skin on it; upon which, I took the whale-boat and pulled towards him, when it proved to be Finnegan. Both he and Pamphlet concurring in a story they told us of A LARGE RIVER which they had crossed, falling into the south-end of the Bay, Messrs. Oxley and Stirling started next morning in the whale-boat, taking Finnegan with them, and four days' provisions, in order to explore
It was scarcely fair in Mr. Oxley to take no notice of this very important fact, in the following account of his discovery, forsooth, of the Brisbane River, contained in his Report to His Excellency Sir Thomas Brisbane. It was in reality not Mr. Oxley, but these two poor unfortunate shipwrecked men who discovered it, and reported their discovery to him. He only verified that report, and followed it up. But Mr. O. is not the only geographical explorer in Australia who,
Turk-like, could bear no brother near the throne.
It seems to be a family-failing.
“ I sailed from this port (Sydney) in His Majesty's cutter Mermaid, on the 23rd of October, 1823 ; and early on the 2nd day of December following, when examining Moreton Bay, we had the satisfaction to find the tide sweeping us up a considerable inlet between the first mangrove island and the mainland. The muddiness and taste of the water, together with the abundance of fresh water mulluscæ, assured us we were entering a large river; and a few hours ended our anxiety on that point, by the water becoming perfectly fresh, while no diminution had taken place in the size of the river after passing what I called Sea Reach.
“ Our progress up the river was necessarily retarded by the necessity we were under of making a running survey during our
* Uniacke's Observations, ubi supru.