Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/85

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Western Coasts.]
lxiii
INTRODUCTION.

Dampier.
1699.

Next morning he saw the main coast, and ran northward along it; discovering, in 26° 10', an opening two leagues wide, but full of rocks and foul ground. Aug. 6, he anchored (in Dirk Hartog's Road) at the entrance of a sound, which he named Shark's Bay, in latitude 25° 5' south. He remained there eight days, examining the sound, cutting wood upon the islands, fishing, &c.; and gives a description of what was seen in his usually circumstantial manner.[1]

An animal found upon one of the islands is described as "a sort of raccoon, different from that of the West Indies, chiefly as to the legs; for these have very short fore legs; but go jumping upon them" (not upon the short fore, but the long hind, legs, it is to be presumed), "as the others do; and like them are very good meat." This appears to have been the small kanguroo, since found upon the islands which form the road; and if so, this description is probably the first ever made of that singular animal.

Leaving Shark's Bay on Aug. 14, captain Dampier steered northward, along the coast; but at too great a distance to make much observation upon it, until he got round the North-west Cape. On the sand, he saw an extensive cluster of islands; and anchored, in latitude 20° 21', under one of the largest, which he called Rosemary Island. This was near the southern part of De Witt's Land; but, besides an error in latitude of 40', he complains that, in Tasman's chart, "the shore is laid down as all along joining in one body, or continent, with some openings like rivers; and not like islands, as really they are."—"By what we saw of them, they must have been a range of islands, of about twenty leagues in length, stretching from E. N. E. to W. S. W.; and for ought I know, as far as to those of Shark's Bay; and to a considerable breadth also, for we could see nine or ten leagues in amongst them, towards the continent

or main land of New Holland, if there be any such thing

  1. For the full account of Dampier's proceedings and observations, with views of the land, see his Voyages, Vol. III. page 81, et seq.