Account of the Country intervening between Augusta and Swan River
ACCOUNT of the Country intervening between Augusta and Swan River.
About 6 a.m., in the morning of the. 15th March instant, we set off from Augusta without any compass; our party consisted of John Dewar and Andrew Smith.
Our provisions were, for the whole party, 10lbs. of bread, 4lbs. of beef, one canteen of water (half a gallon), 41bs. of sugar, and 1⁄2lb. of tea. We had guns and ammunition by us. Our course, at first, was over the Conical Hills; from these to Swan River we kept constantly in sight of the sea. On the evening we encamped on a small fresh water lake, about four acres, having very inferior land round it. This day's march we reckoned from twenty-five to twenty-seven miles. On the second morning, as also on every succeeding morning, we started before sun-rise, continuing our march sometimes by moonlight. This day we passed over better land, the country rather hilly, consisting of a good brown loam. This district had been lately burnt. We crossed several burns or brooks running towards the sea, containing excellent water; we occasionally killed some sea birds; for during the first and second days we walked mostly on the sea beach. We found the head and part of the body of a sea-horse. We did not see any seals, but saw one whale with the flesh still on, but the blubber cut off. On the third day we struck inland to cut off some projecting points, but never went further than five miles from the shore. In the ing we struck towards the shore again, and came upon a deep bay, with a heavy surge on the shore, and many rocks and breakers, extending from the bay out to six or eight miles, to sea. We here found the jolly boat of the Cumberland, with the ship's name on her stem, and other parts of the Cumberland. Between this bay and Cape Naturaliste we found the best land in the whole of our route. We reckoned our march on this and the succeeding days at an average of twenty-five miles. The land passed over to-day was still superior to that of yesterday. The country generally between this and our first day's encampment was undulating with fine valleys, well covered with a silky grass, not the kangaroo grass; and with plenty of capital springs. The ground is not flooded ground—it contains many excellent situations for farms, well cleared of timber. On the evening of the third day, two or three miles from the boat, we came to a river about thirty or forty feet wide at the mouth, but much wider about one hundred yards upwards; there was a naked sand-bank all across the mouth, over which we passed; this bank or bar was forty yards from the sea. The black boys, growing in the country we had hitherto passed over, were the underground ones, the rushes of which are not brittle. On the fourth we traversed the same description of country as on the third; we kept at the distance of from three to five miles from the sea-shore. On the fifth day we encountered some very brushy country, and very rough and rocky; they were decidedly lime-stone rocks,—I know them to be so from having wrought at a lime-stone quarry—their quality was very good. We found plenty of good water, in the shape of springs, in the hollows of the rock sloping down to the sea; this day we did not exceed ten miles. On the sixth day (Sunday) we went round Cape Naturaliste, keeping the sea-shore the whole of the sixth day. We met a single native, who led us to a spring in a swamp, close to the shore, the water very bad and brackish. This native was very troublesome, trying to push us off the rocks, and steal from us. On the first part of this day we could find no water among the rocks. From Cape Naturaliste to Port Leschenault we kept along the shore. From the Conical Hills near Augusta to Cape Naturaliste we kept at from three to four miles from the shore, on a ridge of low hills. Inland the country to our right consisted of a deep extensive valley, immediately on the right of the ridge we were walking upon; beyond this valley, further inland, the country rose gently, being moderately covered with lofty fresh looking trees, gum and mahogany. Beyond this gentle rise we could not see further inland. In the large valley we found fresh water of excellent quality, standing in little pools; it appeared to be the bed of a stream. The whole of the country, between the Conical Hills and Cape Naturaliste, has been burnt. On the ridge upon which we walked there was not a large tree in a whole day's walking; there was scarcely any thing else but the ground blackboys, with an occasional bush and creepers. On the evening of the fourteenth day we fell in with a bush growing on the rocks, overhanging the sea, having a fruit growing in clusters, consisting of berries about the size of a grape, of yellowish white colour, with a brownish tint on the top. We eat great quantities of this berry, and found it very pleasant; it was agreeably acid. On the evening of the sixth day (having been on short allowance two days before) the provisions we brought with us from Augusta were finished. From the 6th to the evening of the 8th, we had nothing to eat but the Hottentot fig, and a sturgeon which we killed with a ramrod. We got to Port Leschenault on the eighth day, but lost a day and a half in trying to head the river, and in making a raft, on which we crossed, and then picked out some doll and Indian corn from the remains of the provisions left there. Between this and the Murray we shot some birds. We crossed the Vasse by fording, near the mouth, under the guidance of two natives. Between Augusta and Cape Naturaliste we only shot some sea birds. We found great quantities of periwinkles, of a large size, which we boiled, and found excellent eating; we did not find a single oyster; we did not see any kangaroos, but heard numbers in the night, and found numerous traces of them; we did not see any remarkable bird or beast. Parts of the wreck of the Cumberland were scattered along the whole coast. Shortly after we had rounded Cape Naturaliste, we were led, as above-described, by the single native, to a spring in a swamp, which had a very bad taste, and physiced all our party; it had a milky brownish colour, and tasted just like Thompson's mineral water at Cheltenham. From this spring to within three miles of Port Leschenault we could not get a drop of water. On reference to the chart, we have no doubt that this spring is the mineral spring marked down in the chart just inside of Cape Naturaliste.