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Castaway on the Auckland Isles

II. — A Short Account — of — The Auckland Islands.*

page 151

A Short Account
The Auckland Islands.*

Our first knowledge of this group of islands is due to the commercial enterprise of British merchants. They were discovered by Captain Abraham Bristow, in the ship 'Ocean'—a vessel belonging to the late Samuel Enderby, Esq.—during a whaling voyage, August 16th, 1806. This was in his third voyage round the world, and the following extract from his log-book, quoted by Sir James Ross, announces the discovery:—'Moderate and clear; at daylight saw land, bearing west by compass, extending round to the north as far as N.E. by N., distant from the nearest part about 9 leagues. This island or islands, as being the first discoverer, I shall call Lord Auckland's (my friend through my father), and is situated, according to my observation at noon, in lat. 50° 48′ S. and long. 166° 42′ E., by a distance I had of the sun and moon at half-past ten a.m. The land is of a moderate height, and from its appearance I have no doubt but it will afford a good harbour in the north end, and I should suppose lies in about the latitude of 50° 21′ S., and its greatest extent is in

* See further Findlay's 'Pacific Directory,' a book no navigator in these seas should be without, though it is not to be got in the ports of Melbourne or Sydney. The books from which this account has been compiled are all to be found in the Melbourne Public Library.

page 152a N.W. and S.E. direction. This place, I should suppose, abounds with seals, and sorry I am that the time and the lumbered state of my ship do not allow me to examine it.'

Captain Bristow visited them in the following year (1807) in the 'Sarah,' also belonging to the Messrs. Enderby, when he took formal possession of them for the British Crown, and left some pigs there, which afterwards increased to a surprising extent, but seem, by Captain Musgrave's account, to have since become quite extinct.* The islands remained untenanted during the subsequent years, being visited occasionally by vessels in search of whales and seals—the former coming into the bays to calve during the months of April and May, and the latter consisting chiefly of sea lions. Among those who came hither in 1829 was Captain Morrell, an American navigator, to whom, among other things, we owe the discovery of the deposits of guano at Ichaboe, and whose description of the port of Carnley's Harbour is given presently.

In the year 1840 the island was visited by the vessels of three nations—the English ships 'Erebus' and 'Terror,' under Sir James Clark Ross and Captain Crozier; the French corvettes 'L'Astrolabe' and 'La Zelée,' under Dumont D'Urville; and the United States Exploring Expedition, under Captain Charles Wilkes. From the narratives of these voyages we have chiefly derived the subsequent particulars.

The islands were without permanent inhabitants during all the periods of the above visits; but, subsequently, a body of New Zealanders, about seventy in number, came over from Chatham Island in a whale ship, and were landed on the N.E. or Enderby Island. Bringing with them their warlike spirit, their quarrels soon led to an

* A few pigs of a very small breed appear to have been seen by the shipwrecked crew of the 'Invercauld' in the north part of the island.

Afterwards lost whilst commanding the same old ship in the Franklin expedition to the Arctic regions.

page 153outbreak, and some fighting and loss of life ensued. They then divided into two separate bodies, under different chiefs, about thirty remaining in their original locality, twenty-five more going to the southward, the remainder maintaining separate independence. Neither Maori nor European has, however, trodden these desolate shores for many years prior to Captain Musgrave's visit.

From the eminent services rendered to geographical science, and to farther those commercial enterprises in which the Messrs. Enderby for several generations had so largely engaged, the group was granted by the British Government to Messrs. Charles, George, and H. Enderby, and on the formation of the Southern Whale Fishery Company they undertook the establishment of their principal centre of operations here. Accordingly, Mr. Charles Enderby, with an efficient staff of assistants, took possession of his domain in the early part of 1850, finding the New Zealanders before mentioned in possession of a portion of the land. Their claims were soon adjusted, and they became great auxiliaries to the infant colony. This, then, is the brief history of this remote island. It promised to become a most conspicuous point in the wide world of waters. With every advantage of insulation, the possession of numerous and excellent harbours, with every means at command for the relaxation of whale and other fisheries in these seas, it was not unreasonably thought that it must some day become the centre of much trade, and that, too, of a very different character to almost every other part of the South Pacific. But in less than two years the whole scheme of the 'Great Southern Whale Fishery' fell through. It does not fall within our province to go into particulars, although the story is both curious and instructive. It is sufficient to say that the whole settlement was abandoned in 1852, and the business details became the source of infinite legal difficulties.

Though the group has been visited by the four principal navigators above mentioned, Morrell describing a southern page 154harbour which he calls Carnley's Harbour, and the three others all having confined their remarks to the northern or Laurie Harbour, we had but an imperfect notion of the entire group, even as regards its dimensions, until the recent visit of Captain Musgrave.

From the cursory examinations made by Mr. Enderby, it would appear that the island must be considerably broader than is represented on D'Urville's chart. Of course the very imperfect sketch given by Bristow cannot be taken as giving a correct idea of the island.

The following imperfect notices of the group are collected from the Narrative of the 'Voyage of Discovery, &c, of H.M.S. "Erebus" and "Terror,"' vol. I.; the 'Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition,' vol. II.; 'Le Voyage de "L'Astrolabe" et "La Zelée,"' par M. Dumont d'Urville; and the 'Narrative of Four Voyages,' by B. Morrell. These sources have been also combined in a brochure, by C. Enderby, Esq., F.R.S., 'A Short Account of the Auckland Islands,' &c., London, 1849; and see also the 'Quarterly Review' for June, 1847.

Mr. M'Cormick, the naturalist to Sir James Ross's Antarctic Expedition, remarks that the formation of the Auckland Islands, as well as Campbell Islands, is volcanic, and constituted chiefly of basalt and greenstone. He also calls attention to Deas Head, in Laurie Harbour, north of Shoe Island, as being of great geological interest, exhibiting fine columns 300 feet high, which are highly magnetic. The loftiest hill, Mount Eden, at the head of Laurie Harbour, attains an elevation of 1,325 feet, is rounded at the top, and clothed with grass to its summit. Another hill in the west rises to nearly 1,000 feet.

Productions.—Dr. Hooker, whose observations have been published in connection with the voyage of the 'Erebus' and 'Terror,' under the title of 'Flora Antarctica,' remarks that, 'Perhaps no place in the course of our projected voyage in the Southern Ocean promised more novelty to the botanist than the Auckland Islands. Situated in the page 155midst of a boisterous ocean, in a very high latitude for that hemisphere, and far removed from any tract of land but the islands of New Zealand, they proved, as was expected, to contain amongst many new species some of peculiar interest. Possessing no mountains rising to the limits of perpetual snow, and few rocks or precipices, the whole land seemed covered with vegetation; a low forest skirts all the shores, succeeded by a broad belt of brushwood, above which, to the summit of the hills, extend grassy slopes. On a closer inspection of the forest it is found to be composed of a dense thicket of stag-headed trees, so gnarled and stunted by the violence of the gales as to afford an excellent shelter for a luxuriant undergrowth of bright green feathery ferns, and several gay flowered herbs. With much to delight the eye, and an extraordinary amount of new species to occupy the mind, there is here a want of any of those trees or shrubs to which the voyager has been accustomed in the north; and one cannot help feeling how much greater the pleasure would be to find new kinds of the pine, the birch, willow, or the oak, than those remarkable trees which have no allies in the northern hemisphere, and the mention of which, suggesting no familiar form to compare them with at home, can interest few but the professed botanist. Eighty flowering plants were found—a small number, but consisting of species more remarkable for their beauty and novelty than the flora of any other country can show, no less than fifty-six being hitherto un-described, and one-half of the whole peculiar to this group, as far as is at present known.'

The Trees on the island have been stated by some as rising to 70 feet in height, by others only to 30 feet. Captain Musgrave gives the latter. Both may be right, for they are most generally found to have been overturned by the strong gales, which is readily done, from the nature of the soil they grow in—a very deep, light, peaty earth, which affords but little support for the roots. The trunks attain a diameter of four and five feet at times, but, from page 156the above-mentioned cause, the stems are seldom straight enough to afford timber of any magnitude. For knees, or such purposes, it may be very valuable. Abundance of fuel from this source, then, may be relied on. The peat, too, which covers the greater portion of the land, might be made available for this purpose, but not perfectly so, by the usual mode adopted in Ireland.*

Water, as an article of consumption, is very abundant. The stream which falls into the head of Laurie Harbour had sufficient water to form a noble cataract after a month's dry weather, and, indeed, abundance of streams are to be met with in all parts. The nature of the soil is such that, whatever quantity of rain falls, it very quickly sinks below the surface, and then, probably, percolates away on the volcanic and impervious rock beneath. From the moisture of the climate, and the igneous character of the rock, this peaty formation arises. This vegetable formation is found to be several feet in thickness, and consists of a mass of decomposed black vegetable fibre, which, if properly compressed, makes good fuel. Great difficulty was experienced in forming a foundation for the observatory, at the time of the 'Erebus' and 'Terror's' visit; they had to dig twelve feet through the peat to gain the solid rock on which to erect the instruments. The magnetic observations made here were found to be singularly affected by the nature of the island. Some of the magnets were found entirely to depend for their direction of the north and south poles on the fragments of rocks around them. The compasses in the 'Terror' were so much affected by Shoe Island as to mask the local attraction of the iron in the ship. These phenomena led to the opinion that the island may be taken as one great magnet itself.

* As an evidence that the wood will burn—a quality not always found in these latitudes—it is mentioned by Sir J. C. Ross that some of his officers set fire to the dense brushwood to clear a path for their explorations of the interior.

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Respecting the Zoology of these islands, Mr. McCormick observes 'there is no species of land animal, with the exception of the domestic pig introduced several years ago in the island by Captain Bristow.' Their food consists of the arabia polaris, described by Dr. Hooker as 'one of the most beautiful and singular of the vegetable productions of the island it inhabits; growing in large orbicular masses on rocks and banks near the sea, or amongst the dense and gloomy vegetation of the woods. Its copious bright green foliage and large umbels of waxy flowers have a most striking appearance.'* 'The whole plant,' he adds, 'has a heavy and rather disagreeable smell, common to many of its natural order, but it is nevertheless greedily eaten by goats, pigs, and rabbits. It is so abundant in marshy spots that these animals frequently live entirely amongst it, particularly when it grows near the margin of the woods, where they form broad tracks through the patches, grubbing up the roots to a great extent, and, by trampling down the soft stems and leaves, make soft and warm places for themselves to litter in. One of these animals was shot by Mr. Hallett, and, although in poor condition, its flesh was considered well flavoured, though by no means equal to that of our own well-fed pigs.'

Laurie Harbour and the north part of the island are thus described in the narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition in the ship 'Porpoise,' dated 7th March, 1840:—

'On the 7th we anchored in the harbour of Sarah's Bosom, in twelve fathoms water. During our brief stay here, all were actively employed wooding and watering, for which this harbour affords a fine opportunity. Assistant-Surgeon Holmes made several excursions on the largest island, of which he gives the following account:—"I found it very thickly covered with trees in its less elevated parts. As few of them were of any size, I found no small page 158difficulty in penetrating and making my way through them; in many places it was absolutely impassable. It was only after a long and fatiguing walk that I succeeded in reaching the summit of that part of the island near which the brig was anchored, when I found the trees less numerous. A thick growth of underwood and dwarf bushes, intermingled with ferns, concealed the surface, rendering it difficult to walk. Even in the places apparently most level, the ground was very unequal, and a single step would sometimes send me nearly up to the neck into a hollow filled with large fern fronds.

'"On the highest parts, the small level spots were covered only with moss and a description of tall grass, and in places also a kind of grain grew abundantly. The ground was dry everywhere, all the water being found in the streams, which were numerous and pure.

'"Near the summit the ground was perforated in all directions, probably by birds who rear their young in these holes. Many of the birds, principally procellaria, were sitting on the ground; they made an effort to escape, but suffered themselves to be taken without any attempt at resistance.

'"The forest was fall of small birds, of three or four different species, which were perfectly fearless. One little fellow alighted on my cap as I was sitting under a tree, and sang long and melodiously. Another, and still smaller species, of a black colour, spotted with yellow, was numerous, and sang very sweetly; its notes were varied, but approximated more nearly to the song of our blackbird; occasionally a note or two resembled the lark's. Hawks, too, are numerous, and might be seen in almost all the dead trees in pairs. Along the sea coast were to be seen the marks of their ravages upon the smaller birds. The sea birds were very numerous on the opposite side of the island, sitting upon the cliffs or hovering over the isles. On the western side of the Auckland Island the underbush and young trees are exceedingly thick."

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'Dr. Holmes remarks that he was occupied folly an hour in making his way for 100 yards, where to all appearance a human step had never before trodden. There was not a vestige of a track; old trees were strewn about irregularly, sometimes kept erect by the pressure from all sides. Some trees were seen upwards of 70 feet in height, although they were generally from 15 to 20. Every part of the island was densely covered with vegetation. The soil, from the decomposition of vegetable matter, had acquired considerable richness. Specimens of all plants were collected; some resembling the tropical plants were found here.

'These islands have in many places the appearance of having been raised directly from the sea.

'The whaling season occurs here in the months of April and May. Near the watering-place a commodious hut has been erected by a French whaler. Near by there was another in ruins, and close to it the grave of a French sailor, whose name was inscribed on a wooden cross erected over it. Some attempts at forming a garden were observed at one of the points of Sarah's Bosom; and turnips, cabbages, and potatoes were growing finely, which, if left undisturbed, will soon cover this portion of the island: to these a few onions were added.

'Many of the small islands in this group were visited. They closely resemble the larger ones. The cliffs consist of basalt, and are generally from 50 to 60 feet perpendicular.

'These islands have a picturesque, wild, steep, and basaltic appearance. The highest peak was estimated to be 800 feet; the smallest has a less elevation. The general aspect of the land resembles the region round Cape Horn.'

Climate.—No very accurate knowledge of the general climate of the group is as yet acquired, though the fall and exact observations made by Captain Musgrave during his twenty months' stay are valuable on this head. It has been supposed to be similar to Chiloe, but in one par-page 160ticular the climate differs from that of Chiloe, viz., in the strong winds which it would appear the islands are subject to. The trees are evidence of this, as they bend from the general westerly direction of the violent squalls. Mr. Enderby experienced one very remarkable phenomenon in the early part of 1850, at the station in Port Ross. A most violent gust of wind struck, with the force of a solid body, the spot near where he was, and this not for any continued period, or over an extended space, but only for about five seconds of time, and a few yards in diameter. After passing onward, the percussion of the repeated shocks could be heard at short intervals as it went. There was no apparent cause for it, and the intervening spaces were comparatively calm. This would form an important consideration with vessels unprepared for such a visitation when at anchor.

The Auckland Group, according to Sir James Ross, consists of one large and several smaller islands, separated by narrow channels. The largest island he states to be about 30 miles long and 15 miles in extreme breadth; but this cannot be considered as exact. It contains, he continues, two principal harbours, whose entrances are both from the eastward, and whose heads or termination reach within two or three miles of the western coast.

Enderby Island is the north-eastern island of the group; it forms the northern side of the entrance to Laurie Harbour, or Port Ross. It was upon this island that the principal portion of the stock landed by the Whale Fishery Company was kept. They immediately began to improve in their new position—an evidence of the good quality of the land. The island, two or three miles in length, is capable of sustaining a large quantity of cattle It is covered with peaty mould, which is capable of being rendered very productive. The New Zealanders, who were established here, raised vegetables, turnips, potatoes, cabbages, &c.—the first of excellent quality, excelling most others; the latter equal to any European pro-page 161ductions. This augurs well that other fruits and plants may flourish. The island is not high, and is well supplied with water.

There is a narrow entrance to Laurie Harbour, between the west end of Enderby Island and Rose Island, which is only a channel fit for boats. The sea was breaking right across the opening when the 'Erebus' passed; but in calm weather it might be mistaken by strangers for a safe passage.

As is frequently the case, the tidal currents meet off Enderby Island, and on this Sir James Ross says:—'On rounding the north-east cape of Enderby Island, we passed through some strong whirlpools occasioned by the meeting of the tides off the Point, and although we did not at first find soundings with our ordinary hand lines, it is by no means improbable that some shoals or rocky patches may have some influence in producing these strong and dangerous eddies.'

Laurie Harbour, or Port Ross.—Captain Bristow, the discoverer of these islands, who also drew the first sketch of the group, named this, the principal harbour, Laurie Harbour, after the gentleman who first issued this knowledge to the world, in 1810. On a chart of the Western Pacific, by Captain Butler, and published by Mr. Laurie, this sketch will be found. A copy of this chart, by the late Mr. Purdy, presented to Captain Hurd, R.N., was published by the Admiralty in 1823, and these composed our entire knowledge of them until the visits of Captain Sir James Ross and Admiral Dumont D'Urville.

D'Urville has given a rough survey of them, and Captain Sir James Ross has given a survey of the harbour in question, under the name of Rendezvous Harbour; but, following the recognized principle, we have retained the name applied by its discoverer in 1806. Mr. Enderby has given a third appellation, that of Port Ross, which, as it may be in some use, we have also retained. The other names are chiefly as given by Captain Bristow.

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There are two surveys of this excellent harbour, the one by Sir James Ross, the other by Admiral D'Urville. That of the latter is the most complete, and exhibits more in detail the character of the locality.

The entrance to the harbour is between Enderby Island on the north side, on which was once a pilot station, and Green Island, or Ewing Island of Sir James Ross, their distance apart being little above a mile. Ocean Island is three-quarters of a mile west of Green Island, and is connected by shoal water to the S.E. point of the harbour. Rose Island, which forms a continuation of the north side of the entrance, lies to the N.W. of Ocean Island, and from between these the harbour runs 2½ miles to the S.W., having a depth of ten to twenty fathoms over it, and the shores bold-to.

Deas Head, to the S.W. of Rose Island, is an interesting feature, formed of basaltic columns 300 feet high.

Shoe Island, in the middle of the harbour, and three-quarters of a mile south, true, of Deas Head, is a bold and picturesque island; it is highly magnetic, and is bold-to.

Terror Cove is to the west of this, and is separated from. Erebus Cove, to the south of it, by a projecting point of land.* Sir James Ross's observatory was in Terror Cove. In the former charts this is called the Harbour of Sarah's Bosom, being thus named by Captain Bristow when he came here on his second visit in 1807. He anchored here in the 'Sarah;' hence its appellation. In his brief account he states that 'ships may be safely land-locked all round. Here may be had plenty of fine water, wood in the greatest abundance, winged game, &c. The

* By the side of a small stream of water, and on the only cleared spot we could find, the ruins of a small hut were discovered, which I have since learnt formed for several years the wretched habitation of a deserter from an English whale ship and a New Zealand woman.—Sir James Ross.

Captain Musgrave, not having any accurate particulars of localities, in compiling his charts and journal, fell into the error of calling the Carnley's Harbour' of Morrell by the name of 'Sarah's Bosom.'

page 163islands are annoyed by the most powerful gales in winter.'

The result of the observations made by Sir James C. Ross at Sarah Harbour, or Terror Cove, gave for the observatory, lat. 50° 32′ 30″ S., long. 166° 12′ 34″ E.; variation 17° 40′ E.; dip, 73° 12′. High water, full and change, at 12h.; the highest spring tides scarcely exceed 3 feet.

A remarkable oscillation of the tide, when near the time of high water, was observed; after rising to nearly its highest, the tide would fall 2 or 3 inches, and then rise again between 3 and 4 inches, so as to exceed its former height rather more than an inch. This irregular movement generally occupied more than an hour, of which the fall continued about 20 minutes, and the rise 50 minutes of the interval.*

The establishment of the Southern Whale Fishery Company was fixed at the south side of Erebus Cove. This cove is bounded on the south side by a small peninsula projecting in an E.N.E. direction, and connected by a narrow isthmus. This beach allows of easy landing, and the land, being level, is suitable for the purposes of wharf-age, whaling stores, &c.

From this part the head of the harbour extends nearly two miles farther in a W.S.W. direction to its head, into which a fine and copious stream of fresh water falls. In its upper part Mr. Enderby found a large and valuable bed of cockles, little inferior to oysters. The southern side of the harbour does not require any particular notice.

The following is Sir James Ross's account of the harbour:—

'Rendezvous Harbour, which is at the north extreme of the island, contains several secure anchorages. The outermost of these, though convenient for stopping at a short time only, is a small sandy bay on the south side of

* Voyage of Discovery, vol. I., p. 153.

Pig Point of Bristow.

page 164Enderby Island, and about one and a half miles from its N.E. cape.

'It is well protected from all winds except those from the S.E., and the holding ground is a good tenacious clay. It is probable that there may be found good anchorage also to the west of Enderby Island. After passing Ocean and Rose Islands, a ship may anchor in perfect safety in any part, but the most convenient will be found to be between those islands and Erebus Cove, where abundance of wood and water may be obtained, as also at Terror Cove.

'The upper end of the inlet, called Laurie Harbour, is the most suitable for ships wanting to heave down or to undergo any extensive repairs. It is perfectly land-locked, and the steep beach on the southern shore affords the greatest facility for clearing and re-loading the vessel.

'I was so struck with the many advantages this place possesses for a penal settlement over every other I had heard named, to which to remove convicts from the now free colonies of New South Wales, New Zealand, and Van Dieman's Land, that I addressed a letter on the subject to Sir John Franklin on my return to Hobart Town, recommending its adoption.

'This letter was forwarded to the Secretary of State for the Colonies; but I believe Chatham Island, as being seated in a milder climate, has been preferred, although I am not aware of any other advantage it possesses, whilst the want of good harbours will be found a great drawback; and the two tribes of New Zealanders, from Port Nicholson, who took possession of it in 1835, after eating one half of the aborigines they found there, and making slaves of the other half, will prove a difficult people to dispossess of the land they have gained by conquest.

'Laurie Harbour is well calculated for the location of an establishment for the prosecution of the whale fishery. Many black, and several sperm whales, came into the page 165harbour whilst we were there, and from such a situation the fishery might be pursued with very great advantage.

'We arrived there in the spring of the year, November being equivalent to the latitude of Hobart Town. We found a very great difference in the temperature, amounting to about 10° of the thermometer, but still greater to our feelings, owing to the increased humidity of the atmosphere, the temperature of the dew-point being nearly the same in both places. It cannot, however, be considered severe, when we remember that in England, which is very nearly in the same latitude, the mean temperature for April, the corresponding month, is 46°.* Our stay was too short to justify any further remarks on the climate of these islands; but a series of well-conducted observations, continued for two or three years, could not fail to prove highly interesting and important to the advancement of meteorological science.'

Sir James Ross made the islands during a fog, and had some difficulty in rounding to the northward. 'As we opened the harbour the squalls came down the western hills with much violence, threatening to blow us out to sea again, and it required the utmost vigilance and activity of the officers and crew in beating up at times to maintain the ground we had gained. There is, however, ample space, and no concealed dangers. The belts of sea-weed which line the shore and rocks point out the shallow or dangerous parts. After five hours of hard contending with the fierce westerly squalls, we anchored at 1 p.m., November 20th, 1840, in a small cove on the west shore, in 10 fathoms.'

Captain Wilkes says—'The harbour of Sarah's Bosom is not the most secure. That of Laurie's is protected from all winds, and has a large and fine streamlet of water at its head. The rocks are covered with limpets, and small

* At the Auckland Islands, during Ross's stay, the average temperature was 45° 27′.

page 166fish of many varieties are caught in quantities among the kelp. The crew enjoyed themselves on chowders and fries. No geese were seen, and the only game observed wore a few grey ducks, snipe, cormorants, and the common shag. The land birds are excellent eating, especially the hawks. On the whole, it is a very desirable place in which to refit.'

Some officers of the French expedition, under Admiral D'Urville, made a boat excursion to Laurie Harbour. They thus speak of that part of the east coast lying between the two harbours:—

'These banks are very full of fish. The bottom is regular, varying from fifteen to twenty fathoms. The coast is indented with numerous creeks, surrounded by basaltic rocks, where boats can easily approach.'

'If ever,' says M. Dubouzet, one of the French officers, in his journal, 'the fine harbours of these islands should attract colonists thither, Laurie Harbour would be the most suitable point for the site of a town.'

Another, M. Jacquinot, says—'The vast bay is encircled everywhere by elevated land, clothed with trees from the sea-board to the summit. The soil, of volcanic formation, is covered with a thick layer of vegetable débris, producing a vigorous growth of large ferns.'

The eastern side of the island is but little known as yet. From the chart by Admiral D'Urville, it has several most excellent harbours, a fact confirmed during some of the visits made by Mr. Enderby. That one will be found superior to Laurie Harbour is not likely, but they may prove of great service. One of them was named Chapel Bay, from a rock, the form of which gave its appellation, near its entrance.

Adam Island appears on Bristow's Chart, and to the northward of it must be Carnley's Harbour, of Captain Morrell (the Sarah's Bosom of Captain Musgrave).

Carnley's Harbour makes in about four miles to the eastward of the South Cape, and the entrance is formed by page 167two bluff points, from which, to the head of the lagoon, the distance is fifteen miles. The passage is above two miles wide, and entirely free from danger, within twenty-five fathoms of each shore.

'It runs in first N.N.W., then N.N.E., forming at the head of the lagoon a beautiful basin, with sufficient room for half a dozen ships to moor; the least water from the entrance, until we came near the anchorage, was twenty-five fathoms mid-channel. We anchored in four fathoms, clay ground.

'The western side of this island is a perpendicular, bluff, iron-bound coast, with deep water within 100 fathoms of the shore, while the eastern coast is principally lined with a pebbly or sandy beach,* behind which are extensive level plains, covered with beautiful grass and refreshing verdure, extending back about five miles, and then rising into elevated hills.

'All the hills, except a few of the highest, are thickly covered with lofty trees, flourishing with such extraordinary vigour as to afford a magnificent prospect for the spectator.

'The large trees are principally of two sorts; one of them is of the size of our large firs, and grows nearly in the same manner: its foliage is an excellent substitute for spruce in making that pleasant and wholesome beverage, spruce-beer. The other resembles our maple, and often grows to a great size, but is only fit for ship-building or fuel, being too heavy for masts or spars of any dimensions.

'The quality of the soil in this island is sufficiently indicated by the uniform luxuriance of all its productions. Were the forest cleared away, very few spots would be found that could not be converted to excellent pasturage or tillage land.

'The valleys, plains, hill sides, and every spot where

* This description entirely agrees with the accounts of D'Urville and his officers.

page 168the rays of the sun can penetrate, are now clothed with a strong, heavy, luxuriant grass, interspersed with many natural specimens of the countless beauties of Nature's vegetable kingdom. This extraordinary strength of vegetation is, no doubt, greatly assisted by the agreeable temperature of the climate, which is very fine.

'The climate is mild, temperate, and salubrious. I have been told by men of the first respectability and talent, who have visited the island in the month of July—the dead of winter in this island, corresponding to our January—that the weather was mild as respects cold, as the mercury was never lower than 38° in the valleys, and the trees at the same time retained their verdure as if it was midsummer. I have no doubt but that the foliage of many of the trees remains until pushed off in the following spring by the new crop of buds and leaves.

'At the time we were there the mercury seldom rose higher than 78°, although it answered to our July. The weather is generally good at all seasons of the year, not-withstanding there are occasional high winds, attended with heavy rains.'*

The Western side of the Island, according to Captain Bristow, is very high and precipitous, and may be seen, in clear weather, 16 or 17 leagues off. Towards the northern part are two remarkable natural pyramids or columns, called the Column Rocks.

The N.W. Cape is a very remarkable headland, with a rocky islet, and a curious conical rock just off it. Just to the east of it is a dark-looking promontory, called Black Head, with a deep cavernous indentation at its base. This was afterwards found to be only a short distance from the westernmost part of Laurie Harbour. It was reached by Mr. McCormick, and some other officers from the 'Erebus' and 'Terror,' by following the stream which

* Narrative of Four Voyages, by Capt. B. Morrell, 28th Dec., 1829.

Purdy's Tables, p. 89.

page 169empties itself into the head of the harbour, and whose source is in the hills above Black Head. These hills are from 800 to 900 feet high.*

Disappointment Island lies off the western side of the Island, and is shown on Bristow's Chart.

Bristow Rock, which must be very dangerous, is also given from the same author as lying 8 miles north of Enderby Island, and is just even with the water's edge. It was not seen by Sir James Ross, and therefore requires great caution.

Campbell Island.—This island was discovered by Captain Fred. Hazelburgh, of the brig 'Perseverance,' belonging to Mr. Robert Campbell, of Sydney, in 1810. According to his account the island is 30 miles in circumference, the country is mountainous, and there are several good harbours, of which two on the east side are to be preferred. The southernmost of these two he named Perseverance Harbour, and in it Sir James Ross anchored in the 'Erebus' and 'Terror,' December, 1840.

The highest hill seen from the harbour is on its north side, and has an elevation of 1,500 feet.

The shores on either side are steep, and rise abruptly to between 800 and 900 feet. The hills, from being less wooded, have a more desolate appearance than those of the Auckland Islands; and though there is abundance of wood in the sheltered places, the trees are nowhere so great as in those islands. These trees especially indicate, by their prostrate position, the prevailing power of the westerly storms. This occurrence of sudden and violent rushes of wind is a remarkable characteristic phenomenon of all the islands about this latitude. This is observed at Kerguelen Land, at the Aucklands, and especially here.

Sir James Ross had been advised, when at Hobart Town, to take his ships into the harbour near the north-east point, but, from the entrance, it appeared so exposed

* Sir James Boss.

page 170to winds from that quarter that he bore away for the southern harbour.

Perseverance Harbour is about four miles in depth, running for more than two miles in a W.N.W. direction, and thence, after passing a shoal point, with a warning bed of sea-weed off it, on which the 'Terror' grounded, about W.S.W. to its head. In the outer part of the harbour the water is too deep for convenient anchorage, but in the upper part, which is completely land-locked, there is abundant room for a hundred ships to lie in the most perfect security, and excellent water can be had in any quantity. The remains of some huts were found on each side of a cove, to the north of the 'Erebus' anchorage, as also the graves of several seamen, and one of a French woman, accidentally drowned. There had been also an establishment at the side of a stream in the north-west corner of the harbour, but the position was not so good as that of the cove. The observation spot on the beach, near the shoal point, was found to be in lat. 52° 33′ 26″ S., and long, 169° 8′ 41″ E.; variation, 17° 54′, E.; mag. dip. 73° 53′. High water, full and change, at 12 h., but presenting the same irregularities as at Laurie Harbour, Auckland Isles. The rise and fall at neaps was 43 inches.*

* Sir James C. Ross: Voyage of Discovery, &c., vol. I., pp. 154 et seq. A detailed account of its productions will there be found.