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the colony were administered with skill and integrity until the unfortunate measure was adopted of committing them to the management of Capt. Bligh, whose formerly proved violence of character pointed him out as precisely the most unfit person imaginable for a post requiring extraordinary self-command.
Previously to the extension of agriculture, the resources of the Settlement for food were dependent on supplies which were sometimes delayed so long that the apprehension of absolute want reached a formidable height; but this danger was speedily removed by the increase of cultivation, and the enlightened efforts of some of the settlers to enlarge the stock and improve the breed of domestic cattle. The soii in the range of country round Port Jackson is of various quality : a breadth of five or six miles from the coast, consists of a barren sand, mingled with rocks, on which grow, in the more productive portions, trees and underwood of dwarf proportions and stunted growth ; but the greater portion is covered with a various and unprofitable herbage, whose infinite diversity,' in the words of Mr. Wentworth, and extraordinary beauty, render this wild heath the 'most interesting part of the country for the botanist, and ' make even the less scientific beholder forget the nakedness ' and sterility of the scene. The tract beyond this, to the distance of about ten miles, changes for the better : it is covered by a thin layer of vegetable mould, and is shaded by trees, whose gigantic elevation leaves far behind the feebler growth of the English forests. Still, there is no soil which can properly be considered as fertile until this belt be passed, when the interior country appears in all the variety of bill and dale, and all the glow and richness of exuberant fruitfulness. The most productive tracts lie along the banks of the Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers, or more properly, river: a great portion of these are frequently flooded, and the fertilizing deposites are a sufficient manure. But this grand stream, which was not discovered till some time after the settlement was made, is subject to such tremendous inundations as to place all the property on its banks in a state of perpetual insecurity. Two of its principal feeders issue directly from the mountains which skirt the colony, and its main originating branch, the Nepean, runs along their base for a considerable distance, serving as-a drain to all the torrents which rush froin them in rainy seasons, When, in addition to this, we state that the rivers of the Colony have very little fall, and consequently are languid in their current, our readers will be already aware that the swellings of the Hawkesbury are sudden and destructive. The average height of its bauks above the usual level of the current, may be about thirty feet, but the rise is not unfrequently seventy or eighty, and in one appalling instance, it rose ninety-three feet
above low water mark. The climate is described as healthy, but during part of the summer months of December, January, and February, the heat is excessive, though tempered by the north-easterly sea breeze.
Van Diemen's Land is a large island south of the main, and was always supposed to form part of New Holland, until the adventurous explorations of Messrs. Bass and Flinders ascertained its insularity. It is in all respects highly distinguished by its natural advantages : it contains several noble harbours; its climate is much more steady than that of Port Jackson
i and it is well supplied with rivers whose inundations are sufficient to fertilize their banks without attaining an alarming elevation. The facilities of communication are very great : it is a sufficient illustration of this, that Lieut. Jeffreys traversed nearly the whole extent of the Island, ' from Hobart town to
Launceston and Port Dalrymple on the Tamar, a distance of one bundred and twenty-five miles, in a barouche, with three, and sometimes four, horses in hand, and yet had not more
than twenty miles of what could possibly be called a road; " the whole being a beautiful level pasture, with but few trees
to obstruct the view or the passage.' The Island, as well as the continent, is infested by venomous reptiles, and, in addition, is liable to the predatory ravages of the bush-rangers; a banditti consisting of such of the colonists as prefer a lawless, unsheltered, and roving life to the quiet comforts of social and civilized existence. Of these, Michael Howe seems to have been the most atrocious. They are, however, said to be now subdued.
In New Holland and its dependencies, nature seems to take pleasure in deserting her usual track, and, if the following statement be correct, has been unusually magnificent in the formation of a grand spring-head for several of the principal rivers of Van Diemen's Land.
• The great lake, on the summit of the Western Mountains, which are supposed to be somewhere about four thousand feet above the level of the sea, and sixty-five miles west of Hobart Town, is said to be upwards of fifty miles in circumference, but its depth has not yet been fathomed : it is described as a most beautiful sheet of water, of an oval form ; abounding with variety of fish; the banks moderately covered with wood, and the opposite sides but indistinctly seen from any part. The accounts of its dimensions do not agree : some state that it is much larger than here mentioned. It is much to be lamented that no person whose representations can be perfectly relied upon,
has hitherto found to visit this great wonder of nature...... Those who have seen it, inform us, that at all times there, are great overflowings of water from different parts of this lake, but, that in wet weather, the food is tremendous. It has been already stated that the rivers Derwent, and those emptying themselves into
Macquarrie's Harbour and Port Davey are supposed to have their' m respective sources in this lake.' (Jeffrey.)
This origination of rivers, however, is not witbout a parallel ; e but in many of the animal productions of New Holland, there tu appears to be an apparently capricious blending of the peculiarities of distinct species. Capt. Hunter bad already described birds with the head, form, and plumage of the parrot, and the long slender legs of the sea-gull ; and others with • the legs and feet of a parrot, the head and neck made and ( coloured like the common sea-gull, and the wings and tail of <a hawk.' He also states himself to have seen trees bearing
three different kinds of leaves ;' and to have' frequently found ( others, bearing the leaf of the guin-tree with the gum exuding, ' and covered with bark of a different kind.'
Nature may be said to have in this country indulged in whim. She sometimes mimicks herself in giving to smaller animals, such as the native rat, the general form and characteristics of the kangaroo ; she gives to a great variety of species, the false belly of that animal; in numerous instances, animals were discovered which might at first sight be considered as monstrous productions, such as an aquatic quadruped, about the size of a rabbit, with the eyes, colour, and skin of a mole, and the bill and web-feet of a duck, a parrot with the slender legs of a sea-gull, a skate with a head like that of a shark. The whole animal creation appeared to be different from that of every other region : nor less so the vegetable ; every tree and shrub, perhaps without exception, was of a species peculiar to the soil, and another Flora diffused an endless variety of unknown tints and forms.' (O'Hara.)
We feel exceedingly disinclined to enter upon the question of emigration in its application to the different regions of our Australian possessions. Its correct solution depends on so many and sometimes so minute peculiarities, so much is to be allowed for partiality, and so large deductions or additions are to be made for personal circumstances, that we feel ourselves treading on ground too uncertain and insecure to adınit of our adventuring ourselves as the guides of others. Lieut. Jeffreys draws a very attractive picture of Van Diemen's Land. His book is by no means uninteresting; it is well printed, and low in price, and it contains much useful information on various matters connected with emigration and settling. Mr. Wentworth’s volume is, in great part, written for the information of settlers: although composed in a very loose and wordy sort of style, avd capable of great and advantageous compression, it is altogether creditable to the Author's talents. He strongly points out the necessity of many salutary reforms in the administration of the Colouy, dwelling with great force on the want of security arising from the irregular and uncertain administration of the law, and ou
the injurious effects of impolitic and oppressive duties on com, di merce; he suggests various alterations and modifications of the
present system, and, we think, very satisfactorily establishes the expediency of conceding a colonial legislature as the only effecH: tual way of ensuring the prosperity of the settlements. He 2 stoutly maintains the superior advantages of Australia in com. * sparison with America; and he reasons on this point, if not fairly,
at least shrewdly ; but we conceive that this is so much a ques
tion of circumstances and partialities, as hardly to admit of a j: general application. Mr. O'Hara's book is a very respectable Se compilation from the various publications relating to New South
Wales : it is fairly written, and is altogether an acceptable work. It contains, moreover, a large selection of extracts from the Sydney Gazette; a paper which seems to vie with some of our own journals in making the most of every little occurrence, and describes the levees of Governor Macquarie, and the parties of his Lady, in a style which would not disgrace the finished productions of the court reporter' of Carlton Palace. We give Mr. O'H. some credit for this, since he has by this means furnished us with a better notion of the general trim of Port Jackson society and habits, than we could have obtained in any other way. From these three volumes, on the whole, persons desirous of information will obtain it more completely than from any other commonly accessible source.
The great poveliy, however, remains bebind ; and we have purposely avoided referring to Mr. Oxley's work, that we might reserve it for an entire and uninterrupted analysis.-At a distance from the sea boundary of the colony, varying froin
forty to sixty miles, rises a range of lofty and broken elevations in which have received the name of the Blue Mountains. Various
attempts bad been made to pass these, in order to ascertain the nature and aspect of the interior, but without success, till, in 1813, an effort was made wbich proved that at least no insur
mountable obstacle to a further progress existed. Governor - Macquarie, who seems to have been always on the alert to
improve the condition and prospects of the colony, despatched in the same year, Mr. Evans with a party, to follow the opening thus made, and if possible to push fairly across the range, This was effected : streams running in the westerly direction of the interior, were discovered and traced downward until they united in a river of considerable promise, flowing towards the north west through a rich and open country, and offering every possible advantage to the grazier by the fertility of its banks, and the abundance of its supply; it received the name of the Macquarie. A road one hundred miles in length, not quite so level as the Bath-road, but yet tolerably practicable, having been made, the Governor determined to visit in person the newly VOL XIV. N.S.
discovered tracts : accordingly, in 1815, accompanied by Mrs. Macquarie, he crossed the mountains, and fixed on a site for a town to be called Bathurst, in honour, as the phrase is, of the secretary for colonial affairs. While he remained bere, he sent Mr. Evans on an exploratory tour to the south west; and this enterprise issued in the discovery of the Lachlan river, holding a westerly course with a less deviation to the north than that taken by the Macquarie. The results of this journey encouraged the Governor to prosecute the attempts which had been so successfully made to explore the interior. In 1817, a well equipped expedition was placed under the direction of Mr. Oxley, with instructions to follow the course of the Lachlan, which had been supposed to unite with the Macquarie, and to fiod its way to the sea between Spencer's gulf and Cape Otway, on the southern coast of Australia. Boats were provided to accompany the party; and to relieve the horses from part of their burden. The first movements of the march lay along the right or northern bank of the stream, through a country of course varied, but generally unprofitable, partly from poverty of soil, partly from the prevalence of swamp, and partly from the frequency of inundation in wet seasons : in fact, it was only in consequence of long continued drought, that the party was able to proceed so far. The tract bordering on the Lachlan is remarkably level, and, in Mr. O.'s opinion, was once under water, until drained by the present channel, the banks of which are still remarkably low. Without any apparent cause, since no rain had fallen, and this singular river has no tributaries, the water had been for some days rising, and so small was the elevation of its margin, as to awaken considerable apprehension in the minds of the travellers, entangled as they were among marshy flats, and in danger of being irretrievably swept away by a further rise of only four feet. At length, the stream separated itself into branches, and these on investigation were found to terminate in immense marshes' which seemed to form a 'vast concavity' to receive the great body of water thus continually supplied. Here then, in latitude 33. 15. 34. S. and longitude 147. 16. E., Mr. Oxley determined, though intercepted in this quarter, to cross the country to the south west, and to make for the coast in an oblique course, with the view of intersecting any river which might run towards the sea in that direction On the 17th of May, leaving the boats and such heavy articles as the horses were unable to carry, the
party commenced their journey toward the coast; but after persevering for more than three weeks in this purpose, through a barren and desolate region nearly destitute of water, two of the horses having failed, and the rest being much debilitated, it became necessary either to return or to change the track. The last step being preferred,