none which he had not been able to pass, either at the sea side, or by going a few miles round, into the country. A journal of his route was published in the Calcutta newspapers, some time in 1798.
The colonial schooner Francis had made one voyage to Furneaux's Islands, and brought from thence captain Hamilton, and part of his people and cargo. The same vessel was about to proceed thither a second time, and I was anxious to embrace that opportunity of exploring those extensive and little known lands; but the great repairs required by the Reliance would not allow of my absence. My friend Bass, less confined by his duty, made several excursions, principally into the interior parts behind Port Jackson; with a view to pass over the back mountains, and ascertain the nature of the country beyond them. His success was not commensurate to the perseverance and labour employed: the mountains were impassable; but the course of the river Grose, laid down in Plate VIII,, resulted from one of these excursions.
In September, a small colonial vessel having been carried off by
1797. convicts, lieutenant John Shortland, first of the Reliance, went after them to the northward, in an armed boat. The expedition was fruitless, as to the proposed object; but in returning along the shore from Port Stephens, Mr. Shortiaod discovered a port in latitude 33°, (Atlas,
Pl. VIII.) capable of receiving small ships; and what materially added to the importance of the discovery, was a stratum of coal, found to run through the south head of the port, and also pervaded a cliffy island in the entrance. These coals were not only accessible to shipping, but of a superior quality to those in the cliffs near Hat Hill. The port was named after His Excellency governor Hunter; and a settlement, called New Castle, has lately been there established.
The entrance is narrow, and the deepest water (about three fathoms)
- Afterwards captain of the Junon. He was mortally wounded, whilst bravely defending his Majesty's frigate against a vastly superior force; and died at Guadaloupe.