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Recollections of Travel in New Zealand and Australia

Overland Journey from Sydney to Adelaide in the Years 1838-39

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Overland Journey from Sydney to Adelaide in the Years 1838-39.

I Arrived in Sydney in the month of June 1838, in a ship called the "Coromandel." It was blowing hard from the westward when we beat into Sydney Heads, and the pilot got us so near to the North Head that it was the merest chance we did not lose both our ship and our lives on that abrupt precipice. By the time we reached the anchorage in Sydney Cove the weather had moderated, and I landed with my baggage without any inquiry from the Custom House, and took up my temporary quarters at Petty's Hotel.

It is a favourite fancy of the natives of Sydney to compare their harbour to that of Rio Janeiro, but the two things being totally different, the idea of a parallel is absurd; they can only be contrasted. The difference of the geological formations alone precludes comparison. Sydney is situated on sandstone rocks belonging to certain coal measures, which almost of necessity points to a horizontal aspect. I am not page 2aware what is the geology of Rio Janeiro, as I have not been there since I was a boy, but the rocks are certainly not sandstone, and the outline is inclined and vertical. The vegetation of Rio Janeiro is rich and varied, while that of Sydney is flat and uniform. Rio Janeiro has a background of snowclad mountains, while the Blue Mountains make little show from Sydney. The atmospherical colouring of Rio Janeiro is superb, while that of Sydney is frequently dull and poor. Altogether, in point of scenery Sydney is far behind Rio Janeiro, although the numerous bays with which each harbour is indented may offer a point of resemblance, at least as close as that between Monmouth and Macedon. Sydney has, however, points of beauty of its own. It has a bright sky, and beautiful villas and gardens, the latter adorned with a mixture of temperate and tropical vegetation. For the shelter of shipping the port is unsurpassed, and, with deep water close to the shore, there are special facilities for berthing vessels.

A few days after reaching Sydney I bought a horse and proceeded up the country in the direction of Braidwood. My first night I spent at Camden with Mr. James M'Arthur, a fine residence with a large vineyard near the house. The M'Arthur family and their estate are well known. Passing through Picton and Berrima, I reached Goulburn, leaving the Sydney sandstone and getting on the granite. On the following day I took a wrong track late in the course of it, and instead of reach-page 3ing Braidwood, found myself about dusk at a place called Modbury, the farm of a Dr. Anderson, at that time managed by a Mr. Coutts. It was too late to go on to Braidwood that night, so I accepted Mr. Coutts' hospitality and remained at Modbury. During the evening Mr. Coutts informed me that he was about to leave his situation, and thought of going to South Australia; and the result of the conversation that ensued was that I agreed to buy a herd of cattle for the Adelaide market, and engaged Mr. Coutts to act as overseer of the party. The next morning I rode on to Braidwood to visit Dr. Thomas Braidwood Wilson, who was the owner of the farm and run, and to whom I had a letter of introduction. He had sailed as surgeon with a relation of mine, who was captain of H.M.S."Liffey." I had an hospitable reception, and remained for about a week, riding about, shooting snipe, and seeing the country. Snipe-shooting I found rather hazardous along the banks of the Shoalhaven, as every now and then I would disturb a snake, which would rush past me into the river. The platypi were numerous in the pools, but very difficult to shoot, as they dive quickly; I do not remember having shot one. The bustard or wild turkey was frequently met with, but being very wary, the only plan to get within shot was to approach them on horseback, which I adopted; but I got a fall in consequence of firing at one from my horse, the animal not being accustomed to such amusement.

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I saw something also of the administration of justice then common in New South Wales. The farm servants were or had been all convicts, and flogging was the general punishment. A master could not order his own men to be flogged; this was done at the instance of a neighbouring justice. A road gang was also employed in the vicinity under the control of a party of military.

From Braidwood I returned to Sydney and commenced making preparations for my journey to South Australia. Some of my friends tried to dissuade me, as I had been so short a time in the country; and I was referred to the eminent explorer, Captain Sturt, who had made the overland journey the previous year. I rode out to his farm near Campbeltown, and he too advised me not to make the attempt without more colonial experience. However I had great confidence in Mr. Coutts' capabilities to assist me, and I determined to follow out my plans.

It is difficult to give a full description of this journey after an interval of over forty years and without any notes to guide me, but what I give from recollection may be of interest.

It was necessary to lay in provisions for at least three months and to provide means of carriage for the same. Mr. Coutts joined me in Sydney, and we proceeded to purchase two drays and two teams of bullocks, eight for each team. We loaded the drays with the necessary provisions, plus a few luxuries, together with two tents, one for the overseer and page 5myself, the other for the men. I did not intend to take a boat, but an old shipmate of mine, Mr. John Blackett, who was then in Sydney, insisted on my taking one. He hunted about until he found a suitable dingy, the price of which was, I think, £9, which I purchased and placed upon one of the drays. During an ordinary season this would have proved of great use; but as we travelled in the middle of a drought, we had no occasion to use it for crossing rivers. It proved of service, however, to put calves in.

Our arrangements having been completed and our men engaged (seven of them, exclusive of Mr. Coutts), we yoked up and made a start. The bullocks at first proved very refractory, so that at the end of the first day the drays had only got a mile or two out of Sydney. However in a day or two they had settled down to their work, and Mr. Coutts and myself were able to ride ahead on horseback to arrange for the purchase of cattle. At Campbeltown we found one Fennell, of the firm of Hurley & Fennell, who had cattle for sale on our line of road, about thirty miles beyond Yass, and with him we made a conditional bargain. We rode on, and at a place called Gunong fell in with two gentlemen from South Australia, Messrs. M'Leod and M'Pherson, who were about to travel with sheep in the same direction as ourselves. The drays came on and encamped some distance beyond Yass, at a point conveniently near to Messrs. Hurley & Fennell's run. Arrived at the said page 6run, we next day proceeded to muster the cattle, and after a few days' drafting I got as many of them as I required. It was my first experience in mustering cattle.

About this time I had occasion to go to Yass, and on my return was, as they say, "stuck up" by two bush-rangers. I was riding slowly on a very sluggish mare, when I was startled by the order to stand. I then observed two men close to me with masks made of striped shirting over their faces, the front rank standing, the rear rank kneeling, contrary to the usual habit of the military. Both had muskets pointed at me, and the standing man was close to my horse's head. He said, "Dismount." So, as I had no time to consider, and my mare, if I had put spurs to her, was too sluggish to answer to the appeal, I did as I was bid. The man then said, "Walk on this way," and he guided me behind a low ridge, the other man keeping his musket pointed at me all the time. Having got out of sight of the road, the spokesman then proceeded to rifle my pockets. He took my watch and some money which I had on me, about £5. My compass, knife, &c, he returned to me, although his mate asked for the former. I tried to get my watch back, but the man merely winked and made a grimace, and put it in his pocket. When they left me, I rode on to my camp, only a few miles off. I armed and mounted my men and went in search of the bushrangers, but without success. When I afterwards considered the inconvenience and loss to which I page 7might have been put by pursuing them, I took no further trouble in the matter, except to inform the police.

We started at last with about seven hundred and twelve cattle, though before doing so I had the misfortune to lose a very fine horse, for which I had paid £60. I had sent him over from the cattle station to my camp. He got into the river with his hobbles on and was drowned.

At Gundagai on the Murrumbidgee we took our leave of the last hostelry on the road. In fact, the hotel at that time constituted almost all the township. I cleared out their whole stock of porter, consisting of two bottles, for which I paid five shillings each. As a fierce hot wind was blowing, I soon repented my extravagance, for the glass of porter which I drank, with the state of the weather, caused a severe headache. At Gundagai we crossed the river to get a better road than that on the north bank, re-crossing some distance lower down. The country had been falling in level ever since we left Yass, or rather from between Goulburn and Yass the ranges decreased in height, and we were daily approaching the great plain which extends to within sixty or seventy miles of Adelaide. At a station on the Murrumbidgee my overseer bought some cattle on his own account, very large bullocks, but very wild. There were only a few stations at this time lower down the river than Gundagai.

Only two expeditions had descended the line of the Murrumbidgee previously—that of Sir Thomas page 8Mitchell many years before, and the previous year that of Mr. Eyre, the same who was afterwards well known as Governor of Jamaica. Sir Thomas Mitchell's expedition was for purposes of exploration, and under Government: it was the one in which he discovered Australia Felix. Mr. Eyre drove overland a herd of cattle to Adelaide. I had met him at Petty's Hotel in Sydney, and obtained from him information as to the route.

As showing the dry character of the climate, it was observed that the tracks of Sir Thomas Mitchell's dray wheels were still generally quite visible. Of course Mr. Eyre's tracks were perfectly distinct. It was my duty to look after the course of the expedition, which I did with a sharp eye on my compass, to keep the caravan in its proper direction, as well as to select good camping-places for the night on the banks of the river. I hoped that by following the preceding tracks I should be relieved of a good deal of bother in this matter, but I soon found that this plan led us into trouble, and sometimes made it difficult to get to water before night. I was therefore obliged to continue to look carefully to the main direction and to disregard tracks. We soon lost sight of mountains and high land of every kind, and travelled on over dry plains thinly clad with a salsolaceous vegetation. At intervals sand ridges appeared across our course, covered with a tree locally called pine, but which is in reality a cypress.

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The banks of the Murrumbidgee were always pretty, fringed as they were with a casuarina, which goes under the name of the river-oak, and is a graceful tree, although somewhat funereal in hue. The water was bright and clear, although as we descended we found long stretches of river-bed without any water at all, and it surprised me years afterwards to hear that the Murrumbidgee was navigable for steamers.

At length we reached an apparently interminable sea of reeds. This was the locality of the marshes of the Macquarie. The reeds were so high that a man on horseback could barely see over them. They went down "like reeds" before the drays, which now led the way to make a road for the cattle. We travelled for days through this sea, and although we passed several dry water-courses, we could never fairly determine which was the bed of the Macquarie, for we crossed no water. The blacks hereabouts were numerous and rather troublesome. They speared several head of cattle.

About this time Messrs. M'Leod and M'Pherson, previously mentioned, known to us as the "clans," overtook us with their flock of sheep and succeeded in passing us. The party were mostly Highlanders, and one Roderick or Rory was head butler and gillie. We had some friendly entertainments in each other's tents. My overseer having remarked to me that it would never do to let the flock of sheep remain ahead of our cattle, and that we must pass them, we made an early rush one page 10morning, passed them, and kept ahead always afterwards, although we were never far distant. We were together, when a sad and fatal accident happened to their bullock driver on the banks of the Murray. It happened thus. The camp was being formed for the evening, the bullocks were unyoked, and this poor fellow had got on the top of his dray to unload. I was sitting on a log close by, with my back to the dray, when I heard a shot fired. I turned round and saw the lad get down from the dray, at the same time exclaiming, "God have mercy on my soul!" I ran to him, and, helped by others, laid him on the ground. He expired in a few minutes. It appeared that he had taken his own gun by the muzzle and pulled it towards himself, when it exploded and shot him through the heart. The slugs had penetrated to the back, but had not gone through the skin. He was a nice, fresh-looking young fellow, lately from England, and his melancholy end threw a cloud over all. We buried him the next morning, and ran cattle and sheep over the grave in hopes that the remains might not be disturbed by the blacks.

After emerging from the reeds of the Macquarie, we passed over the usual flat country for many days. At length we approached the junction of the Murrumbidgee with the Murray. As a known landmark in our journey, this was a point of considerable interest, and I was on the look out for it. One day I was a good way ahead of the party when I saw river-trees still farther on and out of the line page 11of the Murrumbidgee. I rode on, and soon found myself on the banks of the Murray, a fine, broad, clear river. I gave three cheers to allay my own excitement, and rode back to the party, which I brought on to the river, on the banks of which we encamped for the night.

There seems to be a law in the meandering of rivers through level countries. The course of the Murrumbidgee was in short curves of half circles alternating in opposite directions. The Murray, on the other hand, formed bends in which the convexities more nearly approached each other, so that by placing our camp between the extremities of two curves, the enclosed space formed a sort of natural stockyard for our cattle. A sort of circular backwater was generally thrown off from each bend, and the bottoms of these were sometimes soft and boggy, and caused us some trouble in getting the drays across.

After descending the Murray for a considerable distance, the bed of the river, which was superficial before, began to cut deep into the tertiary limestone which is found in that quarter. This gives rise to a distinct valley, bounded by the limestone cliffs, the river meandering from side to side of it; it is composed of alluvium, and no doubt subject to floods. The soil of the upper country is poor and sandy, and covered with spinifex and mallee scrub (Eucalyptus dumosa), a vegetation the aspect of which is the most dismal in existence. Sometimes there are fine views down the valley of the river, particu-page 12larly when the tints of sunset are upon it, but the aspect of the upper country is dreary in the extreme, without a hill or elevation of any kind on which the eye can rest.

Occasionally we picked up stray cattle which had been left by previous parties, and, when not too wild, drove them on with our herd. One day, however, we came in sight of three horses; and as our own were poor from constant work, we regarded these fresh ones as quite a God-send, and determined to try to catch them. I forget the exact point of the journey at which this happened, but it must have been below the junction of the Murrumbidgee. We halted the drays and cattle. My overseer and I then got on the other side of the horses, and, after a hard but short gallop, succeeded in driving them towards the camp. They took refuge in the midst of the herd of cattle, and we then managed to secure them without difficulty. They were not particularly good horses, but they served the purpose of resting our own. They were claimed as soon as we reached Adelaide.

On one occasion I had a small adventure. The day was very sultry, and towards evening I got anxious about the camping-ground, as the cattle were distressed with the heat and the river-trees were not in sight. I rode on with my overseer for a mile or two, when we saw the river-trees at no great distance. I told him to go back and bring the cattle on, while I looked out for a good place to camp. I soon reached the banks of the river at a suitable page 13place, and sat down upon a log to have a smoke and wait for the cattle. It became dusk and soon afterwards dark. I heard the cattle all about, but for the life of me I could not find the men and the tents. After many ineffectual attempts, I thought it best to wait for daylight, so I hobbled my horse with a stirrup leather, unsaddled, and made myself as comfortable as I could inside a hollow log. I slept pretty well, and was just preparing to get up at daylight when I heard voices. I then saw my overseer with several of the men. He had tracked me to the log, for indeed he was a magnificent tracker, and would follow the "spoor" of a mob of cattle at full gallop. He told me that I had followed the usual course in such circumstances of going round in a circle. He made sure that I had been speared by the blacks, and told me that he had kept big fires lighted and fired guns all night as signals. I never heard the guns, which was curious.

Having had to go supperless to bed, I was glad to get to the tents and have some breakfast. As there was good feed, we halted for the day, and gave the cattle a rest. We continued to see a good many blacks, and sometimes they were inclined to be troublesome. We never allowed them into the camp, and when they seemed likely to be dangerous, always succeeded in making them retreat by showing front and waiving them off. I observed a curious mode they had of fishing. A mob of blacks would dive together in a deep pool, each armed with a short pointed stick. Every now and then one of them would page 14be seen to rise to the surface with a Murray cod in his left hand, hit it over the head with his stick, throw it on shore, and dive under again. The water was deep, and one could not see how the fish were caught, whether they were speared with the stick or caught by the hand. It was pretty sport, however, and must have required great dexterity. We got tired of the Murray cod. It is a fish which palls upon the appetite. After reaching the Murray Cliffs we generally travelled on the plateau, but required to descend every evening to encamp, as there was no water above. Sometimes the ascent of the cliffs was very steep. On one occasion we had to double the teams and take each dray up with sixteen bullocks. An Australian bullock team will go almost anywhere.

Arrived at the great river Darling, now navigable for some 2000 miles, we found a gravel bar almost across the mouth, with a run of water on the lower or western side so small that I jumped across it standing. Immediately above was a great deep reach that would have floated a line-of-battle ship. We crossed the outlet of Lake Bonny, finding only a boggy place without running water, and consequently the small stream of the Darling was the only running water that we passed during the whole journey from New South Wales. No doubt we sometimes crossed both the Murrumbigsee and the Murray for convenience of feed, but this was not on the line of journey.

As we approached the north-west bend, I one day page 15ascended a tree rather higher than the rest, and, to my great delight, caught sight of the blue hills of South Australia. It was like catching sight of land after a voyage from England to the colony. From this time the hills were often in sight, cheering us on with the view of a goal to steer for. Arrived at the north-west bend, we turned to the south for some days, the plateau being more open, with grassy spaces interspersed through the scrub. We encamped at a bend of the river called "The Paddock," being the point at which the road leaves the river and turns west to the hills.

As there was a doubt whether we should find water, we determined to make an early start next morning. I was, however, disagreeably aroused on the said morning by an alarm that the blacks were among the cattle. I rushed out of my tent, rifle in hand, just in time to see a large mob of them making off. After this interlude we got under weigh, and when fairly started I rode on to the hills, as near as I can remember, about eight or ten miles distant, to look for water. I reached the hills, and passed the whole day running up a succession of slate gullies, the most likely places that could be conceived, but not a drop of water could I find. Disappointed, I retraced my steps, and found the caravan in the midst of the scrub. It was now nearly dusk, so we rounded the cattle up, lit fires on all sides of them, and watched them during the night. The next morning we made an early start, travelling all day in a line parallel with the hills; and though I page 16searched every gully that we came to, no water could be found. The day was hot and the cattle and horses much distressed; the men also began to give in. Strange to say, I felt little inconvenience from the want of water. I could not eat, however; I felt that I had not enough of moisture to masticate my food. Towards evening my overseer found about a pint of water in a hole in a rock, which he brought me to, and we drank it. Soon afterwards a pool was found by the cattle, into which they immediately rushed, and there proved to be a sufficient supply of water, which, however, was brackish for all hands. I think we remained at this place all next day, picking up stragglers that had been left behind the day previous. One of the horses that we had picked up on the road I found in a very dismal condition, and brought him into camp. Horses have not nearly the sagacity of cattle in finding water, nor, I think, in other respects. This stupid horse was standing in a hole, and had given up all thoughts of a further search for water.

We were now on a regular track and began to ascend the ranges. The country had been burnt, but the grass had sprung again and was looking beautifully green. After passing over a rough country we reached Mount Barker, and found there the residence of Mr. James M'Farlane. The country was very pretty, showing rich grassy flats interspersed among the ranges. After a journey of twelve weeks from the residences of white men, page 17we now again found ourselves within the precincts of civilisation.

I left my overseer to look out for a place on which to form a temporary station for the cattle, and rode myself into Adelaide, which was distant about forty miles. I came upon a German village, called, I think, Hahnsdorff, and was struck with the costume of the people and the quaintness of the architecture, the gables being turned to the street. The first hotel I came to was one Crafer's, on Mount Lofty. From the western side of the Mount Lofty range, one has a fine view over the plains of Adelaide, with the sea beyond. I descended the range, rode over the plain, and took up my quarters at the principal hotel, called, I think, the "Southern Cross," and kept by one Allen. Adelaide was then a town of no great size, but, such as it was, it contained the greater part of the white population of the Colony. No cultivation of any kind appeared to be going on, except by the Germans, who grew radishes, which they sold at one shilling a bunch. A few individuals had formed sheep and cattle stations, but these were very few.

After passing a few days in Adelaide and making the necessary inquiries, I returned to Mount Barker, to find out where the cattle had been placed. I found that Mr. Coutts had chosen a run about thirty miles, I think, to the northward, at a place afterwards called Mount Crawford by Captain Sturt. It was well grassed and had some good flats upon it; and here the cattle remained until they were sold.

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I had an adventure there, one day, which luckily terminated without disaster. My overseer was out with the stockmen, going round the cattle, and I was left at the tents with one man only, the cook, who was sick. A black man had lately been hanged for murdering a white, and it was rumoured that the blacks intended to have revenge. I was lying in my tent reading Shakespeare, when a very big black fellow made his appearance, then another, and then a third, until they might muster about a dozen, all armed with spears and waddies, and with no women or children. I had been warned by a gentleman, well acquainted with the blacks, that when they appear armed and without their women, they mean mischief, and that the safest plan in that case was to fire into them at once. The cook, moreover, had told me that they were getting very troublesome, demanding things. I did not like the look of affairs, so I told the cook to go back to the fire and keep them in play till I was ready. I loaded all the muskets, about eight, and put them in a row. I also loaded my fowling-piece and rifle. I took the rifle in my hand, and placing the fowling piece beside me, stepped out in front of the tent. I then called the cook to come and take a musket and fall in behind me. Then I ordered the black fellows to clear out. After a little hesitation they did so, and walked off leisurely. It was with a great feeling of relief that I saw them depart. The idea of being murdered, and having one's kidney fat taken out, is not a pleasant one.

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We had used the road from Mount Barker to ride into Adelaide, but this was a very roundabout way. An excellent bushman and explorer, Mr. Charles Bonney, was with me at Mount Crawford one day, and we decided to look for a shorter route to the capital. Mr. Bonney undertook to act as guide, and he hit at once upon a leading spur, which took us to the plain. I was never afterwards able to improve upon this line.

Colonel Gawler was then Governor of South Australia; a very worthy man indeed. Government House was a small affair compared with what I suppose it is now, and there were no representative institutions. A considerable number of overlanders were then in Adelaide, mostly from the Port Philip side. They had descended the Murray, but not the Murrumbidgee. Mr. Eyre was staying at the hotel, and soon afterwards commenced the explorations which have made his name famous. The weather was beautiful—bright and clear. I think it must have been winter, because there were sometimes frosts at night. I remember this fact because one night I camped upon the plains, and nearly burnt my boots off, from a natural instinct to get close to the fire.

About three months after my arrival I sold my herd of cattle at a good profit. The other over-landers had done the same, and before leaving we decided to give an entertainment to the Adelaide people. This was given and was well attended.

Soon after this, several of us took our passage page 20to Sydney in the brig "Porter," belonging to Captain Porter, a name once well known in Liverpool. He afterwards settled in Auckland. Among the passengers were Dalmahoy Campbell, who had been reared in New South Wales, of Scotch parentage, the strongest man I ever met; Evelyn Sturt, brother of Captain Sturt, the explorer, and who has been long police magistrate in Melbourne; James (commonly called Jamie) Stein, and others. I brought with me Archibald Gillies, whom I afterwards took to New Zealand, where he became a large landed proprietor. Mr. Coutts also went on to Sydney, to make another overland journey. A curious occurrence happened to him on this second journey. I have mentioned that he bought some very large bullocks on the Murrumbidgee. A few days after our arrival at Mount Crawford, he missed a number of these animals. He tracked them as far as the Murray, but after some trouble was obliged to give up the chase. On arriving on his second trip at the station where he bought the bullocks, he found his mob in the stockyard. They had apparently returned to their natal home on that very day, a distance of perhaps some eight hundred miles from whence they started. He drove them on, but did not give them a second chance of escape, for he took them at once into Adelaide and sold them.

We had a somewhat boisterous passage through Bass Strait, but in due time reached Sydney.

An incident, amusing to the overlanders, occurred page 21during our stay in Adelaide. A gentleman, not long arrived from England, was about to form a sheep-station in company with his brothers. He had brought from England a heavy four-wheeled waggon, well suited for the good roads of the old country, but of no use in the bush roads of Australia. The day arrived for his departure, and the waggon was drawn up in front of the hotel and loaded with about three tons of goods. A variety of lockers on each side was stored with provisions; fowling-pieces and rifles were hung on both sides. The team of eight bullocks was yoked up, the squatter, a splendid fellow, of magnificent physique, arrayed in the garments which London tailors think suitable for the Australian bush, took the whip in his hand, and amidst the cheers of the spectators, swung it overhead with a flourish, and called out "gee hup." It was of no use, however; the team could not start the waggon. The regular bullock-driver came to assist with another whip, volunteers seized sticks and shouted. It was all of no avail. A considerable amount of cargo was discharged, and at length the waggon moved off; but I heard that it had stuck shortly after on the banks of the river Torrens, that its use for station purposes had been abandoned, and that the squatter had to revert to the ordinary two-wheeled dray of the country, an admirable machine for going over bad roads.

It is an interesting question what is to be the ultimate fate of the great plain extending from the highland of New South Wales to that of South page 22Australia. A cursory view very often gives incorrect ideas. When I descended the Murrum-bidgee and the Murray, the country was suffering from a long-continued drought, and except on the banks of the rivers, was almost as bare as a high road; notwithstanding, my cattle improved in condition on the journey. I little thought that much of this country, now called Riverina, would be highly valued for sheep and cattle stations, and that on it large fortunes would be made. At the same time there had been heavy losses from overstocking the runs in good seasons, so that when droughts set in, the deaths were enormous. Can this country emerge from a mere grazing stage? Much of it has a very rich soil (although the mallee scrub land is very poor), the chief drawback being the want of water. Much has been done to store water for stock by making drains; but can water be found on the plateau for purposes of irrigation? This is a question which can be answered only by experiment, viz., by boring to find if water can be got in Artesian wells, and if, when found, it is fresh or brackish. The rivers, no doubt, may be used for irrigation purposes, but only at a certain distance from their banks, as these being subject to floods, the irrigation works would be liable to be carried away. The climate is one in which anything might be grown by the use of irrigation. Large areas in South Australia, which looked very barren, have proved to be wheat-land of the best description; and although the average yield is very page 23small, this is probably owing more to poor cultivation than to defect in the soil.

The great Cordillera of New South Wales runs in the main north and south, the much smaller chain of South Australia having the same direction. One leaves the granites, porphyries, diorites, and slates of the former colony, to pass over immense plains of alluvium and of tertiary rocks (miocene, I believe), and then reach the slates of the South Australian range.

By the way, what poverty of invention there seems to be in calling a country South Australia. Australia itself meaning south land, it seems a curious idea to call a country South Southland, particularly when the country so named is not the most southerly part of the continent, and actually now extends to the northern coast, well within the tropics.