Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/129

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East Coast, & V.D.'s Land.]
cvii
INTRODUCTION.

Bass.
1797.

Point Bass; after which it turns north-westward. In the direction of west from Shoals Haven, and in all the space to the south of that line, was an extensive, flat country, where a party desirous of penetrating into the interior might reasonably hope to avoid those impediments which, at the back of Port Jackson, have constantly proved insurmountable.

In an excursion from the boat towards the southern end of the mountains, Mr. Bass fell in with a considerable stream, which he traced down to the shore, about three miles north of Shoals Haven: this is the first inlet of the long bay, which had been observed from the sea, with a bar running across the entrance. The soil on the southern bank of this stream he compared, for richness, to the banks of the Hawkesbury; and attributes this unusual fertility to the same cause: repeated inundations. In fact, the stream has since been found to descend from the mountains at twelve or fifteen miles from the coast, and to run along their southern extremity to the sea; so that it performs the same office here that the Hawkesbury does further north—that of being a channel for the waters which descend from the high back land; but as, in the heavy rains, it is also unequal to the task, the banks are overflowed, and the low country to the south and west is inundated and fertilized. There are, however, at the back of Shoals Haven, many thousand acres of open ground, whose soil is a rich vegetable mould, and now beyond the reach of the floods.

Dec. 10. The boat left Shoals Haven and entered Jervis Bay, a large open place of very unpromising appearance. On the north side of the entrance, between Point Perpendicular and Long Nose, there is a small cove, where a ship's boat might lie at half tide; and with a hose fill water from the back of the beach, at two pits which appeared to be always full. The best anchorage for ships seemed to be on the east side of the bay, between Long Nose and the northern beach, though they would not, even there, be entirely

land-locked. Bowen's Island lies a quarter of a mile from the south