Across the Blue Mountains



[Enclosure No. 4., Macquarie's Despatch No. 3/1814]

To His Excellency Governor Macquarie.
Friday, November 19th, 1813.

I DIRECTED the Provisions and other necessarys to be conveyed across the Nepean to the N.E. Point of Forest Land, commonly called Emu Island, which was done, and by the time every thing was arranged Evening approached.


Saturday, 20th.
The Night was most uncomfortable, and the Morning being wet prevented our departing so early as I meant; feeling anxious to proceed. I made up my mind to make the best of our way to the end of the Mountains, and on my return to measure the distance of Messrs. Blaxland's, Wentworth's and Lawson's recent excursion; it appeared to me that while the Horses were fresh it was a plan likely to meet with your approbation, as I could then refresh them on good grass, and take my time in exploring to the Westward, which I conceived the object of the greatest importance; on returning should I not have sufficient provisions to subsist on to complete measuring the track of the above named Gentlemen, I could send in a Man and Horse to meet me with a small supply. On halting this day I was happy I arranged it so, as my labour would have been lost, in consequence of James Burns having several times mistaken his former track; I cannot maGeorge Evanske any estimate of the distance, therefore shall defer entering into particulars with respect to the nature of the Country, except that the two last Miles, as near as I can form an Idea, was through a ridge of Forest land, good grass, and found some Water where I mean to remain the Night, all much fatigued.

Sunday, 21st.
The Morning very much overcast, with a thick fog, however I had the Horses loaded, and travelled on mostly on Ridges overrun with Brush; at about 11 o'Clock I passed the Pile of Stones alluded to by the former party; soon after we were on a very high hill, which was clear of Mist, but to my great disappointment the Country to the Eastward being covered with Vapour I could not be satisfied with the Prospect, which must have presented itself had the weather been clear; we made the best of our way on and halted at 2 o'Clock.

Monday, 22nd.
The Weather bad; determined to proceed we loaded the Horses, when one of them turned stubborn having laid down and rolled several times over his load; he at length became steady; our track was through a thick brush; at 9 o'clock we were on a very high Mountain but could not see any of the low Country; it is now disagreeable travelling; the Brush is so very thick, and the surface of the ridges are covered with pieces of sharp Granite intermixed with Quartz; the Horses seemed to step with caution; we stopped at 1 o'Clock, where there was a spacious Valley covered with grass and Rushes, a stream of water running through it. On opening our luggage I found the Bottles of Medicines broke.

Tuesday, 23rd.
The Night was excessive wet and continues so: I was necessitated to move as we could not keep in a fire or get Bark to make a hutt; it rained hard most of the day; am much afraid some of our Bread will be spoiled; the track is still through a brush much the same as yesterday; the Valleys on my right, which are numerous, lead to ravines; they are clear of Trees and covered with Rushes: the holes or drains in the centre are full of good Water; at 3 o'clock we halted, the weather rather clear; no sooner were we comfortable and dry, than one of the most severest Storms came on I ever witnessed; it put out our fire in an Instant, and beat in over our Hutt upon us; at 5 o'Clock the Wind became strong and cleared the Elements.

Wednesday, 24th.
We all rested well, which was a preservation to us, not having done so since our departure, and which we felt the effects of, as nothing could be procured for shelter but green Boughs, that was not sufficient to screen us from rain; we start quite refreshed; at 9 o'Clock came to the end of the Range from which the Prospect is extensive and gives me sanguine hopes, the descent is rugged and steep; I stowed away here a week's provisions in some hollow Cliffs in hopes of it being sufficient for our use back from this place; it was 12 o'Clock when we got into a Valley of good feed and appears a fine part of the Country; I have no doubt but the points of Ridges or Bluffs to the N.W. and S. (the Country seems to open in the form of this Angle) are the termination of what is called the Blue Mountains and that we are now over them; at 1 o'Clock I stopped on the bank of a Riverlett, which is a rapid stream from the N.E., its source springing from very high Mountainous; the two dogs went off after game without success and came to us severely cut.

Thursday, 25th.
The Horses appeared fatigued; therefore determined on remaining this day where we are, being abundance of Grass for them; I went with a party to shoot and look at the Country; there are small Meadows clear of Trees and good Soil, with chains of holes of water; in wet weather they are connected with each other by small Streams, which lead to the riverlett; the Forest land is much overrun with a scrub of young Trees; between it is good Grass in some places; at others are thick iron Bark Brushes, the Soil is of a Sandy Nature; On our return found the Kangaroo the dogs must have killed yesterday, on which we enjoyed ourselves; We have not seen any Natives but hear them shouting around us; Dried our Bread and find a great deal is spoiled.



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