Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/87

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Western Coasts.]


there were several things like haycocks, standing in the savannah; which, at a distance, we thought were houses, looking just like the Hottentots' houses at the Cape of Good Hope; but we found them to be so many rocks.[1]

The land near the sea-coast is described as equally sandy with the parts before visited, and producing, amongst its scanty vegetation, nothing for food. No stream of fresh water was seen, nor could any, fit to drink, be procured by digging.

Quitting this inhospitable shore, captain Dampier weighed his anchor on September 5, with the intention of seeking water and refreshments further on to the north-eastward. The shoals obliged him to keep at a considerable distance from the land; and finally, when arrived at the latitude 16° 9', to give up his project, and direct his course for Timor.


With the voyage of Dampier terminates the information gained of Conclusive
the Western Coasts, previously to the year 1801. Monsieur de St. Alouarn had, indeed, seen some points or islands, in the year 1772, when he commanded the French flûte Le Gros Ventre; but the particulars are not generally known, being, in all probability, of little importance.

The summary of the knowledge possessed by the public, and the objects to which investigation might be usefully directed in these parts of Terra Australis, were as follow. The outline of the northwest coast was known upon the authority, as generally believed, of Tasman; with some points corrected by Dampier. The accuracy of Tasman's chart was, however, very much called in doubt: instead of being a continued shore, as the Dutch chart represented it, Dampier found the southern parts of De Witt's Land to consist of a range

of islands. And he gives it as his opinion, that the northern part of

  1. Dampier could not have, examined these rocks closely; for there can be little doubt that they were the ant hills described by Pelsert as being "so large, that they might have been taken for the houses of Indians."