Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/212

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159
ON THE QUEENSLAND COAST

by his younger brother, Samuel Flinders. He also took with him an aboriginal named Bongaree, "whose good disposition and manly conduct had attracted my esteem."

He sailed on July 8th. The task did not occupy much time, for the sloop was back in Sydney by August 20th. The results were disappointing. It had been hoped to find large rivers, and by means of them to penetrate the interior of the country; but none were found.

Flinders missed the Clarence, though he actually anchored off its entrance. Nor did he find the Brisbane, though, ascending the Glasshouse Mountains, he saw indications of a river, which he could not enter with the Norfolk on account of the intricacy of the channel and the shortness of the time available.

Uneasiness of mind respecting the condition of the sloop must have had much to do with the missing of the rivers. She sprung a leak two days out of Port Jackson, and this was "a serious cause of alarm," the more so as grains of maize, with which the Norfolk had been previously loaded, were constantly choking up the pump. Weather conditions, also, did not favour taking the vessel close inshore on her northward course, and it would have been almost impossible to detect the mouths of the New South Wales rivers without a close scrutiny of the coastline. Those considerations are quite sufficient, when duly weighed, to account for the omissions. It certainly was a rash statement, after so imperfect an examination, that "however mortifying the conviction might be, it was then an ascertained fact that no river of importance intersected the east coast between the 24th and 39th degrees of south latitude." But it is equally certain that he could not have found these rivers with the means at his disposal. They could not well have been observed from the deck of a vessel off