Across the Blue Mountains



Thursday, 2nd.
Being a wet Morning it was late before I could go forward; one of the Horses having a sore Back we were necessitated to put more weight on the others, in consequence thereof our progress is trifling; on considering the fine Country we have passed over this day, I think it equal to Van Dieman's Land, the River winding through fine flats, and round the points of small Ridges that gradually descend to it, covered with the finest grass and intermixed with the White Daisey as in England. I shall not name the River until I am certain of its real course.

distance, 4¼ Miles.   

Friday, 3rd.
I now find the Memosa in clusters on the Banks of the River; am happy to think it favors me so much as to run the course I wish it; the Country continues good, particularly for grazing, yet it has not been altogether so pleasing to the Eye as before, being in some places rather overrun with a shrub among the Grass, somewhat the same as on the Cow Pastures near the Stone Quarry Creek; The land is still of a light sandy nature, thinly wooded with small Gums. We have not yet seen any Natives but can see their late Tracks.

distance, 5¾ Miles.   

Saturday, 4th.
My Progress is through an exceeding good Track of Country; it is the handsomest I have yet seen with gentle rising hills and dales well watered: the distant hills, which are about 5 Miles South, appear as Grounds laid out divided into fields by edges, there are few Trees on them and the Grass quite green; I still keep the river, and at times I walk a few Miles South or North as seems to me most requisite. The Dogs killed a Kangaroo and the river supplies us with abundance of Fish.

Sunday, 5th.
The Night was very wet; we were uncomfortable having no means to shelter ourselves from it, as the trees will not bark; it has rained most of the day; about 4 o'Clock a violent Thunder Storm came on; since, the Clouds seem to disperce, wind blowing fresh from the West;
We remained near the River as it is Sunday. The Horses are getting fat but am Sorry to observe their backs are sore; the Saddles should have been lined; straw stuffing is too hard to render it easy we put our Blankets under them; I walked out this Evening some Miles; I cannot speak too highly of the Country, indeed I am now at a loss what to say as it exceeds my expectations and daily gets better. We are on an Allowance of Bread having lost so much by the bad Weather on the Mountains, we require little pork in this part, a Kangaroo can be procured at any time, there are also Emu's, we killed some Ducks this day.

Monday, 6th.
The Night was very Bad; I was greatly afraid the weather would continue so; this Morning had a better appearance; the river now forms large ponds; at the Space of about a Mile I came on a fine Plain of rich Land, the handsomest Country I ever saw; it surpasseth Port Dalrymple; this place is worth speaking of as good and beautiful; the Track of clear land occupies about a Mile on each side of the River; I have named it after the Lieut. Governor. "O'Connell Plains", on which we saw a number of wild Geese but too shy to let us near them; the Timber around is thinly scattered, I do not suppose there are more than ten Gum Trees on an Acre, their Bark is amazing thick at least 2 Inches; At 3 o'Clock I stopped at the commencement of a Plain still more pleasing and very Extensive; I cannot see the termination of it North of me; the soil is exceeding rich and produces the finest grass intermixed with variety of herbs; the hills have the look of a park and Grounds laid out; I am at a loss for Language to describe the Country; I named this part "Macquarie Plains". I have walked till I am quite fatigued being so anxious to look about me; there is Game in abundance; if we want a Fish it is caught immediately; they seem to bite at any time; had I brought a quantity of salt we could cure some 100 lbs. of them, I am quite astonished at the number the Men catch every Evening, the Dogs thrive on them; I shall bring one home with me to shew you.

distance, 6 miles.   

Tuesday, 7th.
I proceeded over the Plains following the Water, which I now name the "Fish River"; at about 4 Miles I was brought up by a stream nearly as large from the Southward, and terminates the Plains; I imagine I shall be necessitated to travel up it some distance to find a Ford, I determined upon doing so, and traced it about 2 Miles when we stopped to secure ourselves from an approaching Thunder Storm that came on most severe and threatens a wet Night.

{  Over Plains 4  
{ up river 1¾
5¾ Miles.   

Wednesday, 8th.
We are in Spirits from the good appearance of the Morning, we hope it will be fine, as neither of us have been thoroughly dry these last 3 days and Nights; I see no signs of a Ford at present, therefore am obliged to continue tracing up the Stream; at 2 Miles begins a Plain of rich Land which I call "Mitchell Plains". Observing from a hill the course of the water springs from the S.E., I made up my mind to contrive a Bridge to convey our Luggage over, it was done in the following manner; by driving two forked logs into the Mud as far in the water as we dare venture, and by laying a piece of wood in the Forks, form a Gallows, a party swam across and did the same on the other side; we then fell Trees as large as all six of us could carry, and rolled them down the bank; as soon as one end was carried into the water the stream sent it round, and the ropes secured round the end prevented it being carried too far; we lifted two of these up, which reached from one Gallows to the other, and two from each bank to a Gallows, over which we passed our necessaries; and swam the Horses, first conveying to the other side a Rope that held them, otherwise the force of the water would have carried them a great distance as it did the Men who swam across; I was much pleased at our exertions which took some hours and enabled us to reach the junction of the rivers by sun sett; The Country is beautiful no Mountains to be seen, there are high hills at great distances, but can observe them green to their tops.
I named the last run of Water "Campbell River". Paper No. 3 is a sample broke from a Rock near the West end of "Macquarie Plains".

distance up river, 4½ Miles. 



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