Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/95

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South Coast.]



of that reef; and the end of Nuyts' discovery would be between 133° and 134°, to the east of Greenwich.


The South Coast was not known, in 1801, to have been visited Conclusive
by any other than the three navigators, Nuyts, Vancouver, and D'Entrecasteaux.[1] The coast line, from Cape Leeuwin to near the longitude of 139°, was generally so well ascertained, and the charts of Vancouver and D'Entrecasteaux appeared to be so good, that little remained in this space for future visitors to discover. At two places, the country and productions near the sea-side had also been examined; though no communication had any where been obtained with the inhabitants. It was known also from Nuyts, that at 133° or 134° of east longitude, commenced a second archipelago; and that the coast began there to assume an irregular form; but in what direction it trended, whether to the south-eastward for Bass' Strait, or northward for the Gulph of Carpentaria, was altogether uncertain. The great point, then, which required to be ascertained, was the form of the land from longitude 133° to 146° east, and from south latitude 32° to 38½°; comprising a space of two hundred and fifty leagues in a straight line. What rendered a knowledge of this part more particularly interesting, was the circumstance of no considerable river having been found on any of the coasts of Terra Australia previously explored: but it was scarcely credible that, if this vast country were one connected mass of land, it should not contain some large rivers; and if any, this unknown part was one of two remaining places, where they were expected to discharge themselves into the sea. The apparent want of rivers had induced some persons to think, that Terra Australis might be composed of two or more islands, as had formerly been suspected by the Dutch, and by Dampier; whilst others, believing in the continuity of the shores, thought this want might arise from the interior being principally occupied by a


  1. It afterwards appeared, that lieutenant James Grant had discovered a part of it in 1800, in his way to Port Jackson with His Majesty's brig Lady Nelson.