Page:The new British province of South Australia.djvu/68

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49
SOUTH AUSTRALIA.

son of the year, and we, nevertheless, upon digging a few holes in the little Anse des Sources (Freshwater Bay) were enabled to procure a sufficient quantity of water for our daily consumption. It is not only the coasts of the Island which, at the period I speak of, were destitute of fresh water. There is a remarkable fact in the history of the animals inhabiting it, which seems to lead to the inference that this deficiency prevailed at that time, if not absolutely, at least generally, throughout the interior of the country. In fact, as soon as the heat of the day began to abate, we observed large herds of kangaroos and emus repairing from the depths of the woods to demand of the ocean that beverage which the earth doubtless denied them. This scarcity of water, the little elevation of the ground, and the general feebleness of the vegetation, must all concur in increasing the heat of the atmosphere upon these coasts; and it is therefore very surprising that the mean of our thermometrical observations at noon should have been 18°[1]."

"At the bottom of the great bay (Nepean Bay) we are now upon, are found forests which appear to extend a considerable distance into the interior of the country, and which consist, like all others in these remote regions, of different species of eucalyptus, Banksia, phebalium, mimosa, casuarina, metrasideros, leptosperraa, styphelia, conchicum, diosma, Hakea, embothreum," &c. &c.

Page 131.—"No traces of the abode of man are to be observed here, and we saw but three species of the mammalia; one of these belongs to the handsome genus dasyurus; the other two are new species, and appear to be the largest of the kangaroo tribe. Many of these animals are here of the height of a man, and more; when sitting on their hind legs and tail, they hold their body erect. From the favourable circumstance of the

  1. Réaumur.