The Australian explorers
LABOURS, PERILS, AND ACHIEVEMENTS
BEING A NARRATIVE OF DISCOVERY FROM THE LANDING OF CAPTAIN
COOK TO THE CENTENNIAL YEAR
GEORGE GRIMM, M.A.
MINISTER OF ST. PAUL'S, BALMAIN WEST, SYDNEY; AND TUTOR IN
APOLOGETICS AND SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY TO THE PRESBY-
TERIAN CHURCH OF NEW SOUTH WALES
GEORGE ROBERTSON & COMPANY
MELBOURNE AND SYDNEY
TO THE MEMORY
OF THE LATE
JOHN DUNMORE LANG, D.D.
IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE
OF MUCH PLEASANT INTERCOURSE
THIS VOLUME IS AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED
The Story of the Exploration of Australia is one which we cannot willingly let die. There are many reasons for keeping alive the remembrance of such heroic deeds. It is due to the memory of those men who took their lives in their hands, and, in many cases, laid their bones in the desert; it is an act of gratitude on our part, who have entered on their labours; and it is a kind of information indispensable to every Australian who desires to know the history of his country. And yet there is great danger of their being practically forgotten. The time when the harvest of discovery was reaped has faded into the past, and a generation is growing up not well informed on these most interesting adventures and achievements. Nor are the sources of information easily obtainable by those who purposely put themselves on the search. The journals of the explorers, never too plentiful, have now become scarce. They are only occasionally met with in private hands, where they are, for good reasons, held as a treasure. A considerable number of these works are to be found in the Sydney School of Arts, but they have been withdrawn from circulation, and are now kept for special reference only, in a glass case, under lock and key. The Government Library contains the best collection extant, but even there it has been deemed necessary to adopt restrictive regulations, with the view of giving the books a longer lease of existence. This scarcity of the sources of information, and these restrictions which fence in the few that remain, may be accepted as a sufficient plea for the effort here made to popularize the knowledge they contain. But I would warn the reader not to expect from this small volume what it does not profess to give. In no sense does it pretend to be elaborate or exhaustive. I have had to study brevity for another reason than its being the soul of wit. It would have been a pleasant task to write long descriptions of Australian scenery, and to follow the explorers even into the by-paths of their journeys; but the result would have been just what I have had to avoid—a bulky volume. Yet, such as it is, I hope the book will be found acceptable to the man of business, who can neither afford to be ignorant of this subject nor find time to enter into its minutiæ; to the youth of our country, who cannot obtain access to the original sources; and to the general reader, who desires to be told in simple, artless language the main outlines of this fascinating story.
Having written on a subject in no way connected with my profession, I may be allowed to say, in a word, how my thoughts came to be diverted into this channel. Probably they would never have been so directed to any great extent had it not happened that the path of duty led me into the tracks of several of the most eminent explorers. In earlier days it was my lot to travel, in the service of the Gospel, most extensively in the interior of Queensland, principally on the lines of the Condamine, the Dawson, the Balonne, the Maranoa, and the Warrego rivers. In these situations it was natural to wish for information as to the way and manner in which those pastoral regions had been opened up for settlement. Not much was to be gleaned from the occupants themselves; but it fortunately happened that Sir Thomas Mitchell's journal fell into my hands when amidst the scenes of one of his most splendid discoveries, the Fitzroy Downs, and almost under the shadow of his well-named Mount Abundance. The taste then obtained was sufficient to whet the appetite for more, and the prosecution of this favourite study has issued in what I may be permitted to call a tolerable acquaintance with the exploration of Australia. About seven or eight years ago I wrote a series of papers on this subject for the Sydney Mail, bringing the history down to the expedition of Burke and Wills. The proprietors of that journal have kindly permitted me to make use of my former articles in the preparation of this work; but of this permission, for which I would here record my thanks, I have availed myself only to a moderate extent. The whole has been rewritten, some inadvertencies have been corrected, and the history in its main outlines brought down to the present time. Although my principal concern has been with the land explorers, I have, in the introduction, given a sketch of the discoveries made on our coasts by the navigators. So much was necessary to the completeness of my plan, and also because the achievements of both to some extent dovetail into one another. In the arrangement of the succeeding chapters I have followed the chronological order, except in a very few cases where a more important principle of classification will be obvious to the reader.
As regards authorities, I have spared no pains to get at the original sources of information, and have succeeded in all but a few unimportant exceptions. In these cases I have derived some help from interviews with surviving relatives of the explorers and several very old colonists. I have also been indebted for further light to works of acknowledged merit which have been for some time before the public—notably, to the Rev. J. E. Tenison Woods's "Exploration of Australia," and to Mr. Howitt's "Discoveries in Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand." My best acknowledgments are also due to the Honourable P. G. King, Esq., M.L.C., for the excellent notes he has written on the discoveries made by his distinguished father, Admiral King.
That this small volume may be found to afford pleasant and profitable reading is the earnest wish of
Balmain West, Sydney,
18th May, 1888.
|Introduction—The Australian Navigators||1|
|The Pioneers of the Blue Mountains||25|
|Evans's Discovery of the Lachlan and Macquarie||34|
|Oxley's Expedition to the Lachlan and Macquarie||37|
|Hume and Hovell's Expedition from Lake George to Port Phillip||45|
|Allan Cunningham's Explorations||53|
|Captain Sturt's Three Expeditions||66|
|Eyre's Adventurous Journey along the Great Australian Bight||96|
|Sir Thomas Mitchell's Four Expeditions||110 |
|Kennedy's Disastrous Expedition to Cape York||144|
|Leichhardt's Expeditions to Port Essington and into the Interior||152|
|Mr. A. C. Gregory's Expedition to the North-west Interior||163|
|Burke and Wills's Expedition Across the Australian Continent||167|
|Search Expeditions in Quest of Burke and Wills||182|
|John M'Douall Stuart's Expeditions in the South to the Centre, and Across the Continent||194|
|Colonel Warburton's Journey across the Western Interior||210|
|The Hon. John Forrest's Explorations in Western Australia||219 |
|Mr. Ernest Giles's Explorations in Central and Western Australia||228|
|Other Explorers in Western Australia—Conclusion||237|