CHAPTER V: THE ISLAND OF KAWAU AND ITS MINES--THE BAY OF ISLANDS...
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THE ISLAND OF KAWAU AND ITS MINES--THE BAY OF ISLANDS--HONI HEKI--KORORARIKA--VOYAGE TO NEW SOUTH WALES--A "BRICKFIELDER"--ARRIVAL AT SYDNEY--VOYAGE TO ADELAIDE--FLINDER'S ISLAND--RETURN TO SYDNEY--PORTLAND BAY--PORT PHILIP HEADS.
I LEFT Auckland towards the close of November, embarking one evening on board the brigantine Coolangatta, a little vessel of only 88 tons. The next morning found us at anchor off the small island of Kauwau; where we were detained several days in order to load the vessel with copper ore: the produce of the mines recently discovered there.
Kawau is a steep, rocky island, twenty-five miles in circumference; distant about thirty miles from Auckland, and about four from the mainland at Matakana. It is one of the numerous islands that stud the gulf of Hauraki. Opposite to where the vessel lay, was the copper-mine, consisting of several lateral borings, or excavations, in the rocky sides of a steep hill,
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ISLAND OF KAWAU AND ITS MINES.
through which runs a broad vein of ore. About twenty miners were at work, breaking up the ore and filling small bags ready for loading the vessel. For eight days we lay at anchor in this open roadstead; during which time the weather was so squally and unsettled that the boats were frequently unable to land.
Kawau belongs to the Scottish Loan Company; and it is anticipated that a profitable speculation will be made of the ores, with which the island abounds. Silver has been met with in several places as well as copper. Although considerably richer than the Cornish ores, this island has yielded nothing to compare in quality with the South Australian ores, or even with some procured on the Great Barrier Island.
Kawau, like most of the surrounding islands, is totally unfit for agricultural or grazing purposes, being of a poor soil, without an acre of level land: the entire island is broken into an infinitude of steep hills and gullies, which are in many places clothed with dense forest or brush. The coast is rocky, and indented with many picturesque and sheltered bays, that terminate in sandy beaches. Nothing can exceed the loveliness of some of these fairy-like bays: the water, sheltered on all sides by the steep hills, is clear and blue, and so transparent that the fish may be seen sporting in thousands through the cool element; and the dark overhanging trees, that spread their shade over the banks, are
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ISLAND OF KAWAU.
there mirrored in the glassy pools beneath. At the head of these bays there is generally a stream gushing out from between the hills, its borders luxuriant to excess with the rank growth of flax and tohi-tohi grass, and embowered with every variety of rich evergreen foliage. The mangrove fringes the margin of these sunny inlets; and splendid pohukatoa-trees, that at this season become covered with a sheet of deep crimson blossom, spread like rugged oaks from the shore. The yellow kowai, too, during the early spring, scatters its golden blossoms in gay profusion over the water's bosom. On the tortuous and decaying branches of some old pohukatoa-tree, along the margin of the more sheltered bays, sit thousands of shags and cormorants, watching their finny prey in the clear shallows beneath; and their social nests occupy the most unapproachable and overhanging branches: as many as twenty being frequently built in the same tree. The wild pigeon and the tui abound here; the latter now revelling amongst the blossoms of the pohukatoa-trees, and extracting, with its long and slender tongue, the honey contained within the crimson clusters. The hum of bees is all around; and their low dreamy murmurings, as they wander from flower to flower, is a pleasant sound, in accordance with the glad sunshine of a southern spring.
During the eight days we lay at Kawau, my two fellow-passengers and myself lived on shore, amusing ourselves with shooting, fishing, and eating oys-
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AROMATIC GUM OF THE COWDIE PINE.
ters. The entire coast is surrounded with rocks, which are uncovered at low water, and afford multitudes of the ostrea cristata, or coxcomb oyster. These afforded us a never-failing supply of food; and the ingenuity required to open them with an iron nail added considerably to their relish: for hours and hours we might have been seen busily employed in gathering oysters; indeed our time appeared wholly devoted to procuring our own sustenance on this island: where, however, we preferred passing the interval employed by the miners in lading the vessel, to remaining on board the brigantine.
Dec. 1st--The morning was passed in rambling through the woods, shooting wild pigeons; and in the afternoon we crossed in a whale-boat to the mainland, at a place called Matakana, where there was a sandy beach, with two or three huts belonging to sawyers' families.
Up a small ravine in the dense forest, we came to a saw-pit, close to which were growing some magnificent cowdie pines; one of which had been felled, and was affording employment for the sawyers, who were cutting it into planks for exportation. At the foot of these trees are to be found masses of gum, which exudes from their trunks; large quantities of this substance are also to be met with beneath the ground, in many spots on which the cowdie-trees formerly grew, but which are now clothed only with fern or peat.
The cowdie gum is a clear resin, having a very
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A FORAGING PARTY.
strong aromatic flavour. It is chewed by the northern natives; and the greatest compliment an old Maori woman can pay to a guest, is to offer him the well-masticated quid of cowdie gum which she takes from her own mouth.
Dec. 3rd. --On the opposite side of the island to where the brigantine lay, was a hut belonging to the superintendent of the mine; here we had been invited to take up our quarters, and it was intimated that the "hut-keeper" would provide for our temporal necessities. No provisions appearing--with the exception of a morsel of salt junk, which was flung out of the window in disgust by one of my comrades --we held a council, and set to work in good earnest to supply ourselves with food. Owen went out fishing in a little dingy, Bicknell gathered oysters and shot tuis, whilst I rummaged the garden; and, to the infinite joy of my companions, I had a dish of green peas, with three other sorts of vegetables, besides salad, to add to the general stock. Although the salmon were unwilling to be caught, my companions brought in a couple of pigeons and some tuis; and we milked a cow that was grazing amongst the fern. We had now nothing to do but to cook our hard earned dinner. The "hut-keeper" had procured some grog, and we found him dancing about as tipsy as possible; so, after shutting him up in an adjoining shed, we made friends with a Maori woman, who resides on this side of the island, to cook our repast, She was an obliging soul, but had no knowledge
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KORORARIKA AND THE BAY OF ISLANDS.
whatever of European cookery: she cut the pigeons in half, fried the lettuces, and put the milk into the tea-pot with the tea.
On the 6th we decamped precipitately from the hut, and, crossing the island, sought refuge at the mine. Here we were little better off; for the miners having completed the loading of the vessel, were mostly drunk, and kept up a dreadful noise all night.
Dec. 7th. --Went on board the vessel. It blew a strong gale; we could not get up the anchors, and were on a lee shore. After narrowly escaping a wreck, at sunset we beat round to the adjoining bay, and the wind moderating, we set sail next morning for the Bay of Islands.
Dec. 9th. --We were becalmed off the "Poor Knights:" several remarkable looking rocks that jut up from the sea, about a dozen miles distant from the main-land.
Dec. 10th. --Off Cape Breand. In the afternoon we cast anchor opposite Kororarika beach, in the Bay of Islands. Nothing can exceed the beauty of the scenery surrounding this harbour: the view from the flag-staff was enchanting. The waters of the bay, indenting the rugged land, formed capes, promontories, and headlands innumerable; the distant hills appeared scattered over with cowdie forest; the blue ocean broke beyond, against the tall, dark rocks that flank the entrance to this sheltered harbour; and around, beneath a bright evening sky,
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CHURCH MISSION STATION AT PAHIA.
appeared the vivid evergreen foliage, the tree-fern glens, and here and there a lofty pohukatoa, stretching out towards the sea its aged limbs, crowned with masses of crimson bloom. It was a gay, glad scene.
At this period, Heki had once cut down the flagstaff, which was re-erected; and beneath the hill the settlement of Kororarika, or Russell, as it was sometimes called, smiled in peace and apparent serenity. Not long afterwards the attack of Heki took place, which was attended by the total destruction of the settlement.
But few vessels lay at anchor in the bay; for the days of its prosperity were already gone. The Maori pahs on Kororarika beach are ruined and deserted, and even the grog shops along shore are doing but a slender business; owing to the whaling vessels, that formerly resorted to the Bay of Islands for refreshments, now finding the Navigator's Group, and many other places, more desirable for that purpose. On the opposite shores of the bay, Pahia, the head-quarters of the Church Mission in New Zealand, is seen like a little oasis, nestled at the foot of high fern hills. It appears a lovely spot: there are about a dozen neat dwellings, almost embowered in green, and surrounded by gardens, in which the banana and the loquat thrive beneath the mild climate of this portion of the island. Further to the right is the dwelling of Mr. Busby, late Government resident: this is the prettiest place about
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HISTORY OF HEKI.
the bay, and is situated near the mouth of the Waitangi River (Weeping of the Waters), where there are fine horse-shoe falls.
At Kororarika, no just estimate can be formed of the native character by a person visiting New Zealand. Here he sees it in its worst form: long contact with the lower classes of Europeans, and the influx of whalers, that constantly resort to the bay, have rendered the Nga Puis one of the worst and most troublesome tribes in the island. Pomare, the principal chief of the Nga Puis, is, unlike the natives generally, a reckless and drunken character; and his pah is the resort of all manner of bad characters, presenting scenes of low debauch.
John Heki, who has lately rendered himself so conspicuous as the leader of the late war against the British in conjunction with Kowiti, has no claims to chieftainship excepting his personal tact and courage; and until the late insurrection but little was known of him. When a youth of seventeen, he was mission lad to Archdeacon Williams, at Pahia; and, after leaving his employ, he achieved several daring exploits. On one occasion, a woman belonging to his tribe having been ill-used by another chief, Heki deliberately walked after and tomahawked him, bringing back the offender's head in his hand. Eventually, Heki became E Hongi's fighting man, and, during E Hongi's decline, conducted his fighting expeditions. Having married E Hongi's daughter, Heki succeeded to that chiefs pah; and has ever
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PASSION OF REVENGE.
since been regarded by his people as a leader of daring courage and skill.
The following anecdote, showing the insanity of the passion for retributive vengeance that actuates the feelings of the New Zealander on certain occasions, may be interesting in connection with the family of the celebrated Heki: --The wife of E Hongi had a little slave-girl to attend upon her, towards whom she evinced a strong attachment; the little creature was interesting and good-tempered, and her mistress was apparently so fond of her, that she was spared the experience of the misery of slavery: she was only a favourite. Hongi returned from one of his successful expeditions of war, but had left a son upon the field of battle, and the lamentation was great. The petted slave child laid her head upon the lap of her mistress, and poured out her share of the general sorrow. But the spirit of vengeance--of insane retribution-- came over the heart of the bereaved mother; and she carried the child to the water, and cruelly suffocated her in satisfaction of her selfish sorrow. Hongi afterwards went to war again, and his wife accompanied him, but after travelling three or four days, the poor creature was disabled by sickness from proceeding; when, according to native custom, she was abandoned to the protection of a patuka, or little shed built upon poles: food being left on the chance of her recovery. It is supposed that the wind blew down the frail structure, and that she perished. On
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LETTER FROM A FRIENDLY CHIEF.
the return of her husband, he found that native dogs had stripped the bones of his wife, which he found whitened upon the spot: and thus the punishment of a second Jezebel fell upon her. However we may judge that these practices have quenched a genuine humanity in the heart of the native, there is yet a noble nature for benevolence, humanity, and forbearance, to appeal to, --and are we not all erring creatures alike?
That very many of the chiefs were opposed to Heki is evident from the public expression of their feelings by several of them, in addressing letters to Captain Fitzroy, the then Governor of New Zealand; and it is probable that, had it not been for their opposition, Heki would at once have marched to the capital at Auckland, and would perhaps have demolished it before a sufficient force could be obtained for its protection. The following letter from Paikea, one of the chiefs of the Nga ti Whatua tribe, to the Governor at Auckland, is expressive of much friendly feeling:--
Kaipara, March 2l, 1845.
Friend the Governor, --Saluting you; great is my regard for you. This is my sentiment to you. I return hence, and shall not come to see you (now) on account of letters which have reached Auckland about Heki. His message has also reached us, to ascertain whether he and his evil may come this way. There are some secret designs for his wishing to come by the Waiora; but should he make this the path of war (let him remember), I have not had satisfaction for my dead, slain by him. Should he urge his way hither, I shall rise against him, to fight with John Heki. This is the reason why I said he should not come this way. You must think of me; I have no
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confidence in him (Heki); therefore I said, let him go by the Bay of Islands, the path of evil; but should he come this way, I shall certainly rise. Do not consider that my sentiments are like those of John Heki. No! my sentiments are like those of my own people, Ngatiwhatua, and are with you, O Governor! Te Tawa, Te Ara, and Ngatipaoa. My considerations are these: these are to be your parents, to protect you. This is all--the ending of these sentiments. Friend the Governor, --I wish you to give me a flag, as a badge or sign let it be a Jack. If you answer this, write and let me know your mind. Do it quickly. This is all. Would it not be well for you to have this printed in the newspapers?--From me,
Your affectionate friend,
Kororarika is the head-quarters of the Jesuit mission. A conspicuous, ill-planned building which stands on the rise of a hill behind the flat occupied by the town, is the Catholic chapel of the Bishop Pompalier. Although the zealous Jesuits even pay their followers for attending upon their services, yet, with few exceptions, the Maories are not so easily to be gained over in religious matters, and they readily detect the mummery of the pikopos.
Until the customs duties were levied here, numbers of American whalers put into the bay for water and refreshments, and in return for the pigs and potatoes supplied them by the natives, they gave muskets and tobacco; hence the Nga Puis long possessed more fire-arms than any other of the New Zealand tribes. An old wreck, once converted into a floating grogshop, now lies reversed upon the shore at high-water mark.
On the evening of the 12th, we weighed anchor,
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LORD HOWE'S ISLANDS.
and set sail for New South Wales. At the north entrance to the bay, the spot was pointed out where the first missionaries to New Zealand landed twenty-five years ago: here they had to fortify themselves upon the summit of a small hill, to protect their property, and even at times their lives, from the savage inhabitants.
Dec. 25th. --Another Christmas-day at sea. Early this morning, Lord Howe's Islands were in sight, with the Pyramid Rock, bearing north-west, about twenty miles distant from us; these islands are very high, and the Pyramid exceedingly precipitous. A Captain Poole and his family reside on the largest of the two islands; they possess a store of general articles and an excellent garden, with the produce of which, whalers touching there are supplied, giving oil in return. The climate of these islands is delicious, being said to resemble Madeira. A comet was visible this evening, bearing south-west by west.
Dec. 28th. --For three preceding days, we have had hot winds from the north. The sirrocco continued until sunset, when the sky assumed a strange and lurid aspect; smoky-looking clouds rose rapidly from the southward, and a dirty scud came flying very quickly from the south and west. The sun went down in a heavy bank, flashing dull rose-coloured rays from the blue and leaden mass that obscured the western horizon. Then there was a lull; the foaming crests of the northern waves gradually sank into repose, and a dead and breathless calm followed.
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HURRICANE AT SEA.
The gray hour of twilight was rendered far more gloomy by the sky all round to the south and west becoming intensely black; the clouds rising like a wall, slowly and gradually, until they reached our vessel now becalmed on the sullen bosom of the ocean, enveloped us in an almost Egyptian darkness. The awful stillness and gloom, portending a tempest, was rendered more fearful by the sudden oppressive heat that came over us, like the breath of an oven. The sails that flapped in the calm were quickly stowed, and the men, just discernible as black masses in the rigging, were busily engaged in preparing the vessel for conflict with the approaching storm.
After waiting for about ten minutes in breathless anxiety, the fury of the tempest burst upon us. It came sudden as thought, rushing up from the south, black and awful, with a noise like the blast of a trumpet; and, laying the vessel over on her side, the wind whistled through the cordage till every mast shook, and every strong rope trembled. The violence of the wind on the water, meeting the northerly swell, sent the foam drifting along like sand; and the dead silence of the preceding moment was followed by a loud and deafening noise, that grew more terrible as the tempest waxed stronger. The sudden rushing of the storm--the sweeping foam--the roaring of the wind, howling and moaning through the rigging -- the broad flashes of lightning that lit the gloom, followed by hoarse peals of thunder, audible even above the voice of the elements, and the big
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drops of rain -- the tears of the tempest, --all combined to render the scene truly grand and terrific. These hurricanes, which occur periodically on this part of the New South Wales coast, are termed "Brickfielders," and are occasioned by the air being greatly heated by the northerly winds that blow from the tropic, rising and causing a vacuum, into which the cold south wind then rushes in with great violence. The fury of the storm generally abates after the first two hours; and it seldom lasts more than six or eight.
The vessel was "hove-to" until four o'clock the next morning, when she was put under short sail, the wind having greatly moderated, though the sea continued to run mountains high. Awful--sublime as is a tempest, it inspires one with a wild and fearful joy: the terrible majesty of the combined rage of the elements is apparently augmented by the excitement and sense of danger. How insignificant man appears in such a scene! Even the ocean-cradled albatross, whose home is on the lone mid sea, on that night buffeted in vain with the strife of the waters; and the blue Sabbath dawn, as it awoke, saw the white pinions of the noble bird floating lifelessly on the subsiding waves. At 10 P. M. the tempest was at its height; the seas, gemmed with pale fires, rolled up from the south in mountains of foam. Most happily, not a sea struck us, and our little vessel rode out the storm nobly. One breach of such a sea would have buried us in foam.
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ARRIVAL AT SYDNEY.
Lightning flashed all round the horizon; and about 9 P. M. a large and very brilliant meteor passed swiftly along the sky from the westward, leaving a train of sparks surrounded by a black nimbus like a wreath of curling smoke. We saw it burst, falling into a shower of blazing stars. The comet was also visible at intervals during the storm.
Sunday, Dec. 29th. --A bright and lovely morning, --fit emblem of the day of rest. There was a heavy swell, with drifts of scum-like matter on the edge of the waves, that told of last night's tumult. With the exception of loss of bulwarks, and having our decks swept by the sea, no injury was sustained by the vessel. "Land a-head!" was the cry at 4 P. M.; and from the "cross-trees" the coast of New South Wales was visible, --a long line of pale blue, just indenting the western horizon, --a welcome sight to all on board. By sunset it had become very distinct; and before 10, Sydney light was descried---to our infinite joy.
Dec. 30th. --We cast anchor in Sydney cove; and on landing, found that the storm of the 28th was the leading topic of conversation. The meteor that we had observed was also seen in Sydney, where it had caused great astonishment, from its unusual size and brilliancy.
On the afternoon of New Year's Day, I embarked on board the Emma brig for Adelaide. As my stay in Sydney on this occasion was limited to a couple of days, I shall reserve my remarks on New South
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NARROW ESCAPE OFF FLINDERS' ISLAND.
Wales for a future chapter: the result of a more lengthened visit to that country at a subsequent period.
After encountering violent weather from the westward for eight days, we beat under the lee of Kent's group in Bass's Straits; and, the gale increasing, we ran for Great or Flinders' Island, to seek anchorage on its leeward shore. The "Sisters," lying off the northern extremity of Flinders's Island, are two rocky isles, very similar in appearance, scattered with scrub and casuarina trees; and between the islands is a passage about two miles across, which is very dangerous, being full of sunken reefs. We ran till we were fairly under the lee of Flinders' Island. A singularly broken ridge of land, presenting peaks and mountains of the most picturesque forms, stretches through the island; and a low sandy shore faces the eastward, off which we sought shelter. The lead-line was heaved rapidly, yet we narrowly escaped being cast away upon a sand-bank about two miles from the shore, which was not laid down in the chart: the man heaving the lead cried "seventeen;" at the next heave, "and a half ten;" then, suddenly, the cry of "and a half four!" startled the seamen's ears: in another ship's length the sandy bottom was seen, and just beyond the surf broke upon a sand-bank! The vessel was put about with all possible speed, and she just shaved the edge of the sand-bank; we stood out to sea again, and rode out the gale under very short canvass. To the east-
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NATIVES OF VAN DIEMEN'S LAND.
ward of Flinders' Island is a small rock called Babel Island, so named by Flinders, from the confused cries of innumerable multitudes of sea-fowl, of various species, that rose in myriads upon being disturbed.
Next day we came to an anchor about two miles from the shore, the wind having moderated considerably. Here the "Sisters" bore south-west, distant one mile; and the "Patriarchs,"--three high mountain peaks or hummocks in the interior of Flinders' Island, --were visible beyond the low land of the coast.
Upon this island dwell the miserable relics of the aboriginal inhabitants of Van Diemen's Land, amounting to about a dozen or twenty families: here they were banished by the Government, to prevent their interfering with the settlers. Although they are daily supplied with rations, and have the range of the island entirely to themselves, their numbers are fast decreasing; and in all probability, ere long, the former natives of Tasmania will be an extinct and a forgotten race.
Whilst the vessel lay at anchor, we landed upon the island, in a little sandy cove, sheltered by masses of red granite rock; the only spot we could discover which was free from the violent surf that dashed against the shore, and broke over the rocky promontory to our right. Whilst Captain Fox and the doctor ascended the hills through thick bushy scrub, making enormous bonfires by lighting the dry bushes,
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I amused myself by gathering shells along the seashore: our boat's crew commenced setting the scrub on fire to the southward, and presently we saw our fires answered by a dense column of smoke rising inland about six miles distant. Remains of native encampments were scattered along the shore, and some bore the appearance of having been very recently occupied by the blacks. We put up a wallaby or two, which were the only quadrupeds we observed upon the island: there were black swans upon a lagoon that ran parallel to the shore for about a mile and a half, and large flocks of redbills and shags were sitting on the rocks. The herbage here partakes of the same character as most of the Australian islands; the she-oak or casuarina being most abundant upon the hills. The lagoon before mentioned, which from the cross-trees of the vessel appeared like a harbour, had a sea-mouth perhaps eighty or one hundred feet in breadth, out of which the tide was setting at the rate of eight knots an hour, and meeting the surf-rollers, caused a tumultuous sea at the entrance, resembling the sea-mouth of the Murray, but on a smaller scale. Enormous limpets (patella) covered the granite rocks above low water.
By the time our party had re-assembled to launch the whale-boat for our return to the brig, we found the tide had receded so far from the cove, that the passage through which we had entered, and the only spot free from the surf-rollers, was now white with breakers like the rest of the shore. Seizing the
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moment of time between the rollers, we turned the boat's head to it, and dashing through, got beyond the surf before the next rollers set in. During the night the wind shifted to the eastward, and we again set sail with a fair wind; the surge breaking as we rolled along, with that crisp, hollow sound that whispers we are nearing the desired haven.
From the 14th to the 20th of January, we had to bear up against a violent gale, "dead on end," the wind veering from W. N. W. to W. S. W., with a tremendous sea running. On the 21st, the wind chopped round to the opposite quarter; the same night we sighted Kangaroo Island, and next morning at daybreak we saw the red sun come up from behind Mount Lofty and gild the placid waters of St. Vincent's gulf.
In the month of July following, I again left Adelaide for Sydney, in the Vanguard, visiting Portland Bay and calling at Port Philip heads on the way thither.
The approach to Portland Bay, after rounding Cape Northumberland, is past the Lawrence Islands, entering the bay between them and Lady Julia Percy's Isle. The former of these islands consists of a group of rocks, which are covered with guano, and are the resort of innumerable gannets; the latter is a low flat island, on which several vessels have been lost in thick weather. We landed in the surf; which perpetually rolls into Portland Bay, from the swell of the Southern Ocean, to which it is exposed.
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TOWN OF PORTLAND.
Several whalers lay at anchor in the bay; and smoke from the fires over which they were "trying out" the oil, rose from the vessels.
The same white coral limestone which occurs at Mount Gambier also appears here; and the country bears similar marks of having been raised by volcanic action from beneath the ocean. The aspect of the land greatly resembles that about Cape Northumberland; and it is evident that the same belt of country extends in this direction. Immediately in the vicinity of the bay is a thickly wooded district, consisting of stunted eucalyptus, blackwood, and the mimosa wattle, with the cherry (exocarpus) and a little underwood. The soil is rich; and at this season of the year (mid-winter) the country looked very green, and the ground was wet and swampy.
About fifteen miles distant, towards Cape Bridgewater, there are several lakes, and some caverns similar to those near Mount Gambier. All the intervening country is a succession of swamps and wooded plains.
The town of Portland is a neat place, built on a slightly rising ground from the water's edge. The population does not at present much exceed five hundred persons; but as it is the only port to a large district, everything is pretty brisk as regards trade.
The Messrs. Henty are the principal stockholders here; and the settlement of Portland Bay has grown up as it were around their establishments. Sub-
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PORT FAIRY TRIBE.
stantial stone houses are in the course of erection, and several new stores are being built in the town. A jetty is also nearly completed, for the facility of landing.
The natives of this district are in a miserable state; they are still numerous, and their miam miams, or huts that resemble bee-hives, are clustered on the green sward beneath the gum trees. A party of the Port Fairy tribe, who had built their huts amongst the woods in the neighbourhood of the settlement, happened to be at the bay during the period of my visit, and more attenuated or wretched-looking beings I never witnessed. It appeared unaccountable, that a race of people living a primitive life, amidst the aromatic fragrance of these woods, with their dwellings upon the green and flower-spangled turf--breathing the pure transparent air of this part of Australia, and enjoying one of the finest possible climates--should be so low in the scale of humanity as are these degraded creatures, when all around is fair and beautiful. I made several sketches of these people--miserable beings whose filth was beyond description. At one of their miam miams, or huts, was a man who called himself "Mr. Cold Morning," with a numerous family of dirty, naked, little "Cold Mornings" about him; one man was lying on the wet ground, stretched upon his kangaroo skin, dying of pulmonary consumption; another poor wretch was suffering from a broken leg; and many more were almost devoured
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by disease. But the most extraordinary and revolting spectacle was the group that I have sketched below, in order to give an idea of the physical appearance of these people. It was an old woman, reduced to a mere skeleton, with an idiotic child-- apparently four or five years old, but unable to stand erect--to which she was attempting to supply nourishment from her shrivelled and flaccid breast. Both
were utterly destitute of clothing; and the spectre-like form of the aged hag, as she sat in the ashes before the hut, was loathsome: one of my companions actually turned sick and vomited at the sight. On my examining the child, the old woman took it up in her bony grasp, and holding it out at arm's length, uttered a wild hysterical laugh that rang through the still woods; and then stretched out her hand for a morsel of tobacco.
The climate of Portland is cooler than that of South Australia: the thermometer, even on the
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MELBOURNE, PORT PHILIP.
hottest days, seldom rises to 90 deg. in the shade; and the abundance of rain that falls during the year, causes the verdure to look remarkably fresh and green.
Leaving Portland Bay, a run of two days brought us to Port Philip heads; and at the mouth of this vast harbour we encountered a strong tide running out, and a violent cross sea. We entered the harbour of Port Philip to land some passengers, and cast anchor inside the lighthouse; which is a neat stone building on the westernmost cliff, marking the entrance to the harbour. The town of Melbourne is situated at the further extremity of this extensive sheet of water, on the banks of the Yarra, and about forty miles from the sea entrance. The view from the heads towards the direction of Melbourne commands the distant prospect of Mount Macedon, with Mount Martha and Arthur's Seat to the right.
After encountering strong northerly winds for ten days, we reached Sydney on the 21st July.