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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 85



This densely timbered and mountainous tract of country it intersected by largo rivers flowing from the interior, which, after passing through lofty precipitous gorges in the Coast Ranges, traverse the lower-lying country in deeply cut channels and ravines. All the entrances to these streams, with the exception of the Gordon River, are obstructed by sand bars. The Arthur and Henty rivers at certain seasons are so completely blocked by these treacherous barriera that a traveller with sufficient caution can cross dry-footed, yet not without experiencing the feeling that he is sinking to eternity. The Gordon and Pieman are the only navigable streams; the latter, emptying its waters into the Indian Ocean, is exposed to the prevailing westerly and north-westerly winds, it has also the disadvantage of a difficult entrance, with a bar covered by only two and a-half fathoms of water, over which in boisterous weather it is impossible for vessels to pass; but this, dangerous obstacle once over there come deep reaches, in places one-quarter of a mile wide, extending inland for twenty miles, where ships of any tonnage might safely float.

Further along its course, its channel being shut in by precipitous banks from two to four hundred feet in altitude, the flood waters caused by torrents of rain and thaws of snow on the inland mountains have no outlet, there by raising this river, and many others on the coast so situated, sixty feet above the ordinary level, and sometimes leaving the boat of some unhappy prospector thirty or forty feet high and dry in the fork of a tree. The Gordon flows into the south-east corner of Macquarie Harbour, and is navigable for thirty miles. It is, without exception, the grandest and most picturesque river in the island, for the monotony of the densely timbered high hanks of the other streams is varied by large pine and blackwood covered Hats, beautiful cliffs of black limestone intersected by veins of calcspar, small wooded islands, and lovely views of distant mountains.