Page:Australia, from Port Macquarie to Moreton Bay.djvu/30

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tation of Australia; and he observes, that this connection was so strong, that he had little difficulty, after a short experience, in judging of the rock that formed the basis of the country over which he was travelling, from the kind of tree or herbage that flourished in the soil above it.

Begging the reader to pardon this long digression, I will now continue the description of the MacLeay river. It is navigable for vessels of fifty or sixty tons, to a distance of thirty-four miles from its bar, the water being of a good depth, except at Shark and Pelican islands, where sand flats extend across the river, which can be passed by vessels only at high water. The reaches of the river are long and straight, averaging about a quarter of a mile in width, and flanked on both sides by huge walls of the dense brush I have just now described. These borders of alluvial brush land on the banks of the river, are generally half a mile, or a mile wide, and are then backed by extensive swamps of many thousand acres in extent, whose verdant sea, of high waving reeds and sedge, stretches away to the base of the distant forest ranges. There are several lagoons in these swamps, and stagnant water is very generally diffused over their surface. Their soil is very good in some parts, and rice would probably grow in them very well; for Richard Oakes, Esq. the late Commissioner of Crown Lands for the MacLeay river, planted a small quantity of rice at his station, situated on the