EVANS'S FIRST JOURNAL: JOURNEY TO THE BATHURST PLAINS
My Course is along the Stream; the banks are sandy and appear to be overflowed at times by heaps of Timber being lodged at the foot of some of the Trees; when I had proceeded about 2 Miles the Forest ground rises and forms a steeper Bank; in places the Water has a great fall over Rocks; the numerous Valleys carry off the Water in rainy seasons into the riverlett; on one of the small ridges is a Rock resembling White Marble with Yellow Veins; we could not break it but from small Crivices I scraped out small pieces much like Crystal (Paper No. 1); at 4 Miles the stream alters its direction to the South, at which place the main Run joins from the West forming a considerable rapid Riverlett; the land here gets better and the Country has a fine appearance; it resembles the hills to the Eastward of the Cori Linn at Port Dalrymple, and put me in mind particularly of that part; the Trees being thin and light, the flats clear of Timber, a few Honeysuckles on the Banks of the ridges, the Lockett Bird singing, and the seed of the wild Burnett sticking to our legs, neither of the two last are to be seen on the East side of the Mountains; the soil still continues sandy but the feed is good, and better than any I have seen in New South Wales; I stopped this evening near the foot of a very handsome Mount, which I take the liberty to call Mount Blaxland, also two Peaks rather North of it, and which the Riverlett separates Wentworths and Lawsons Sugar Loaves.
I am at a loss to describe the pleasant appearance of this place, the Grass being quite green and good makes it look a pleasing scene, this is the termination of the excursion of the above named Gentlemen; be assured it was not without much labour, perseverance and fatigue that enabled them to reach thus far; I am certain that it is at least 50 Miles, and as the present track is, no person in the Colony on the Choicest Horse could reach this and return to the Nepean in four days; you may rely on what I say in this respect; the Mountains, being covered with sharp Granite, would be dangerous to put any Horse out of a walk, and impossible so to do through the Brushes; Kangaroos are numerous, we caught one this day altho' the dogs are so much hurt.
distance measured 7¼ miles.
Altho' I have travelled but a short distance we were very tired, the Horses were troublesome; we ascended a very high hill which appeared to lead us on the main Range, but was disappointed, and shall find it an arduous task to reach it, the hills being so very steep that the Cattle are unable to proceed; I therefore halted in a Valley of fine Grass, which the high lands also produce, the Country continues to have a good appearance; I have not seen a Memosa this side of the Mountains or on them.
distance 3 Miles.
Left the Horses in the Valley, and three persons went to find a good track for them in the Morning; I crossed to the North side of the Riverlett; the banks are steep but covered with grass; the Country has the same aspect as far as I went, which was about 3 Miles; I returned at one o'Clock; the party arrived soon after, having found a passage that the Horses could ascend.
I stopped in very bad Spirits, not being able to get on, being completely entangled among the hills, and our Course being so little Westing; were it not for the Horses the difficulty to ourselves would be nothing; they are sometimes bad to manage, and soon tire among the high Lands; when so they will not move; after travelling 2½ Miles we were on a lofty hill, from whence the Country N.W. is all Forest hills as far as I could see, which I suppose about 15 Miles, every other direction was obscured by high Ranges; impossible there can be a better grazing Track of land, and has the same good appearance as far as I have been able to get a sight of it to the Westward; I hope I will be able to do better tomorrow, and that in a few days my account will be more interesting. Paper No. 2 is a specimen found near where we stopped.
distance, 3½ Miles.
I have at length reached the Ridge I so much wished to do after walking about 2 Miles, where I had a prospect to the North for a great distance; A Mist arises from a part I suppose to be a River or a large Lagoon about 20 Miles off; the Country in this direction has a fine appearance, the Trees being thin and the hills covered with Grass; A ¼ of Mile farther along the Range, I came to a very high Mount, when I was much pleased with the sight Westward; I think I can see 40 Miles which had the look of an open Country. To the South of me there are large hills much higher than the one I am on, with pasture to their tops; This Range is rather overrun with underwood and larger Timber growing thereon, but the sides are as green as possible; in descending for 2 Miles the verdure is good; the descent then becomes steep for a ¼ of a Mile, leading into Southern Hills. We shot Ducks and caught several trout weighing at least 5 or 6 Pounds each.
distance, 5½ Miles.
Wednesday, Decr. 1st, 1813.
My Course is down the Riverlett; it appears to lead me North of West; on the North side of it at this place is a remarkable Sugar Loaf Hill having a Stone on the Peak of it, which I have named after myself; I am more pleased with the Country every day; It is a great extent of Grazing land without being divided by barren spaces as on the East side of the Mountains, and well watered by running streams in almost every Valley; I took a walk to the top of a very high Mount where I can see at least 50 Miles West, which gives me great Spirits.
distance, 5¼ Miles.