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seeing you again, and I hope in good health. I am afraid my body is so accustomed to the moving life, that close studies will not agree with it. If my friend (in England) send me the mountain barometer, I shall be a made man.
To these interesting extracts I shall add the following copy of a letter addressed by Dr. Leichhardt to Professor Owen of London, and embodied in Professor O.'s Second Report on the Extinct Mammals of Australia, read at the Annual Meeting of the British Association, July, 1845 :
SYDNEY, 10th July, 1844. My Dear Sir,—You have probably forgotten the German student to whom you were so kind as to give a letter of introduction to Sir Thomas Mitchell, in Sydney. I am desirous of rivetting my name niore deeply into your memory; and, in order to do so, I take the liberty of sending you one or two specimens of the collection of fossil bones I made in Darling Downs. It is one branch of the lower jaw of the young gigantic pachyderm which once lived near, and in the swamps and lagoons, which must have covered these rich plains.
These plains are covered by broad shallow valleys, without trees, covered only with grass and herbage, which grow luxuriantly on the rich black soil, in which concretions of carbonate of lime are frequently found. Ranges of low hills forming long simple lines, with sudden slopes, and flat-topped cones, accompany these valleys, and bear an open forest, formed of various species of rather stunted Eucalyptus.
All these hills are formed by a basaltic rock, containing frequently crystals of peridot, and being often cellular, sometimes real scoriae. The base of the rock is, however, feldspathic, and as the peridot is frequently absent, the rock becomes uniformly grey, forms a white globule before the blow-pipe, and is therefore to be classed among the trachytes or pheriolithes. The plains are filled by an alluvium of considerable depth, as wells dug 50 or 60 feet deep have been still within it. The plains and creeks in which the fossil bones have been found, are Mr. Hodgson's creek, Campbell's creek, and Oaky creek. They pass all into and through immense plains on the west side of the Condamine, into which they fall. The bones are either found in the bed of the creek, particularly in the mud of dried up water-holes, or in the banks of the creeks, in a red loamy breccia, or in a bed of pebbles, containing many trachytic pebbles of the Coast Range, from the west side of which these creeks descend.
In the banks of the creeks you find at first the rich black soil of the plain, about three feet" thick ; then layers of clay and of loam, here and there, particularly at Isaacs' creek, with marly concretions of strange irregular forms.
The masses of these concretions are often of considerable thickness, though not extending far horizontally; the loam contains small broken pieces of ironstone, (breccia,) and is equally local. Below these the bed of pebbles lies ; the bones are found in the breccia, generally near the concretions, but not with them ; or they occur amongst the pebbles. A very interesting fact is the presence of univalve and bivalve shells, which live still in the neighbouring water-holes, in the same beds in which the bones are found ; they are either intimately united with the bones by a marly cement, or they occur independently. The greatest depth in which bones are found is twelve feet ; at Oaky creek we find them at the surface. Besides the bones of the gigantic animal, there are lower jaws and different parts of the skeleton of four other kangaroos, many of them little different from the living ones, and probably identical with those of Wellington Valley.
It seems to me that the conditions of life can have very little changed, as the same shells live still in similar water-holes ; the want of food can scarcely be the cause of their disappearing, as flocks of sheep and cattle pasture over their fossil remains. But as such an herbivore must have required a large body of water for his sustenance, the drainage of these uplands, or the failing of those springs, the calcareous water of which formed the concretions in the banks of the creeks, has been probably the cause of their retiring to more favourable localities, and I should not be surprised if I found them in the tropical interior through which I am going to find my way to Port Essington. I have put a caudal vertebra into the little box, more in order to fill it, than as valuable to you, as Sir Thomas Mitchell told me that he has sent you a fine collection of almost every part of the body.
Living here as the bird lives, who flies from tree to tree, living on the kindness of a friend fond of my science, or on the hospitality of the settler and squatter, with a little mare, I travelled more than 2500 miles, zigzag, from Newcastle to Wide Bay, being often groom and cook, washer-woman, geologist, and botanist at the same time, and I delighted in this life; but I feel too deeply that ampler means would enable me to do more and to do it better. When you hear next of me, it will be either that I am lost and dead, or that I have succeeded to penetrate through the interior to Port Essington.—Believe me ever to be,
MY DEAR SIR,
Yours most truly,
A VISIT TO MORETON BAY.
Procedo, et parvam Trojam, simulataque magnis
Virg. AEN. III., 35).
ALTHOUGH I had had much epistolary communication with persons residing in the district of Moreton Bay, for many years previous, I had never visited that part of the territory till the month of November, 1845. Desirous, however, of ascertaining its capabilities in person, previous to my intended voyage to Europe, I embarked for Brisbane Town, in that month, on board the steamboat Sovereign, Captain Cape, which was then plying regularly between Sydney and Moreton Bay, although since superseded by a larger vessel. We took in a supply of coals for the outward voyage, on the morning after our departure from Sydney, at the Port of Newcastle, situated at the mouth of the river Hunter, about seventy miles to the northward of Sydney, coals for the return voyage being procurable at Moreton Bay; and after rather a long passage of six days, during one of which we were wind-bound at Newcastle, we reached the Flat Rock, near the southern entrance of Moreton Bay, during the night, and cast anchor till the turn of the tide should enable us to cross the bar at daylight. In the morning, before we weighed anchor, the mariners caught nearly a cart-load of excellent fish, of various species, and many of them very large, on which all on board both breakfasted and dined, the rest being reserved as presents for the good people of Brisbane Town.
There is no place near Sydney where fish are in such abundance, or of such excellent quality, as at Moreton Bay; and in the event of a large free immigrant population being settled in that part of the territory, a fishery
could be established in the Bay with great facility, not only for the supply of a large commercial town, but for curing and exportation. The species of fish that are commonest in the Bay are mullet, bream, puddinba, (a native name, corrupted by the colonists into pudding-ball,) kingfish, jewfish, blackfish, whiting, catfish, (a fish with a large head, resembling a haddock in taste,) &c., &c. The puddinba is like a mullet in shape, but larger, and very fat; it is esteemed a great delicacy. Cod and snapper are the species most frequent at the Flat Rock outside the entrance.
Turtle are very numerous in their proper season, particularly at Kaneipa, the southern extremity of the Bay, where small coasting vessels take in cedar for Sydney. An intelligent black native whom I met with on the Brisbane River, about the middle of December, when asked when the turtle would come to the Bay, held up five fingers in reply, saying, “ that moon;" signifying that they would come about the middle of May. The greatest excitement prevails in hunting the turtle, (for it can scarcely be called fishing,) black natives being always of the party, and uniformly the principal performers. The deepest silence must prevail, and if the slightest noise is made by any European of the party, the natives, who assume the direction of affairs, frown the offender into silence. They are constantly looking all around them for the game, and their keen eye de
tects the turtle in the deep water, when invisible to Europeans. Suddenly, and without any intimation of any kind, one of them leaps over the gunwale of the boat, and dives down in the deep water between the oars, and perhaps, after an interval of three minutes, reappears on the surface with a large turtle. As soon
appears with his prey, three or four other blackfellows leap overboard to his assistance, and the helpless creature is immediately transferred into the boat. A black-fellow has in this way not unfrequently brought up a turtle weighing five hundred weight. Great personal courage, as well as great agility, is required in this hazardous employment, the black-fellows being frequently wounded by the powerful stroke of the animal's flippers.
Large crabs, frequently of three pounds' weight, are plentiful in the Bay. They are of a flatter form than the European species, and have an additional forceps. Shrimps are also found in great numbers.
But the fish, or rather sea-monster, peculiar to Moreton Bay, and the East coast to the northward, is a species of sea-cow or manatee, called by the black natives yungan. It frequently weighs from twelve to fourteen hundred weight, and the skeleton of one of them that was lately forwarded to Europe, measured eleven feet in length. The yungan has a very thick skin, like that of the hog with the hair off. It resembles bacon in appearance very much, (for I happened to see a flitch of it myself in the hands of a black native, although I did not taste it, which I rather regretted afterwards,) and while some parts of the flesh taste like beef, other parts of it are more like pork. The natives are immoderately fond of it; it is their greatest delicacy; and when a yungan is caught on the coast, there is a general inyitation sent to the neighbouring tribes to come and eat. The man who first spears the yungan is entitled to perform the ceremony of cutting him up, which is esteemed an office of honour; and the party, whatever be their number, never leave the carcase till it is all gone, eating and disgorging successively till the whole is consumed.