Imagens das páginas

Payan, and the sources of the Colo and Cudgegong. On reaching Cullenbullen, the chain is granitic, and throws off a remarkable basaltic spur to the eastward, the curious sub-ramifications of which, render all that sandstone locality commonly called Blue Mountains, difficult to approach, and yet more difficult to explore. Mount Adine (4050 feet), Mount Clarence (3500 feet), Mount King George (3620 feet), and Mount Tomah (3240), crown the northern branch of that spur. Mount Hay (2400), and King's tableland (2790), surmount the southern. Between these ranges lie yawning chasms, deep winding gorges, and frightful precipices. Narrow, gloomy, and profound, these stupendous rents in the bosom of the earth are inclosed between gigantic walls of a sandstone rock, sometimes receding from, sometimes frightfully overhanging the dark bed of the ravine, and its black silent eddies, or its foaming torrents of water.

Every where the descent into the deep recess is full of danger, and the issue almost impracticable. The writer of these pages, engulfed in the course of his researches, in the endless labyrinth of almost subterranean gullies of Mount Hay and the River Grose, was not able to extricate himself and his men until after days of incessant fatigue, danger, and starvation.

"Some idea," says Sir T. Mitchell, in his work on Australia, "may be formed of the intricate character of the mountain ravines in that neighbourhood, from the difficulties experienced by the surveyors jn endeavouring to obtain access to Mount Hay. Mr. Dixon, in an unsuccessful attempt, penetrated to the valley of the Grose, until then unvisited by man; and when he at length emerged from the ravines in which he had been bewildered four days, without ever reaching Mount Hay, he thanked God (to use his own words in an official letter) that he had found his way out of them."

The ascent of Mount Hay, when these difficulties are once surmounted, repays richly the exertions and fatigues which it entails. From its basaltic top, the distant views to the south and west are somewhat intercepted by King's table-land, and other mountains higher than Mount Hay; but to the east, the sea coast, bordering the interesting basin through which flow the rivers Nepean and Hawkesbury, the vicinity of Paramatta river, together with Sydney and Botany Bay, are distinctly visible. To the north also the prospect is extensive. At the foot of Mount Hay lies, in the foreground, the river Grose, in a sandstone ravine, the perpendicular depth of which is 1500 feet. On the further side of the torrent rise the steep basaltic eminences of Mounts King George and Tomah *, deeply clefted, and beyond in a strong relief, the predominating summits of the Payan and Coricudgy mountains.

* Captain Town's Farm, Mount Tomah, 8th September, 1839.

The current of the river Grose and its precipitous banks frustrated all my efforts to regain Mount King George, on the side of Mount Hay, and obliged me to go round by the source of the river, crossing on the way all its tributary torrents, and plunging anew into those savage solitary defiles which remain in the same state as when the black men first surrendered them to the white.

Some days spent in toilsome climbing and scrambling brought me at length to Mount.King George. Mount Tomah appeared quite close to it; but immense ravines lay between, and torrents of rain in a great measure concealed the view. To proceed onwards was, however, my only alternative. I therefore redoubled my pace; ascended and descended; climbing, sliding, and clinging, until at length I found myself in the midst of a forest of high and thick fern, bending beneath the weight of the still falling rain, and my progress through which resembled the act of swimming rather than of walking. The temperature, however, had hitherto rendered that progress bearable; but on approaching the summit of the mountain it changed; showers of hail began to fall, and were soon succeeded by a frost. My clothes stiffened on my limbs; the latter began to feel numb, and I soon felt it would be necessary to abandon the prosecution of the observations I had wished to make. I therefore began to descend the mountain, anxiously seeking, right and left, for some friendly cavern where I might be able to kindle a fire and dry my clothes. Three hours were vainly spent in search of one — night approached — the heavens lowered—the rain and hail continued to pour. The nearest habitation, as I had been informed, lay

Resuming the survey of the chain at the point

eighteen miles off, in the direction of the river Hawkesbury: fortunately for me, one, of which I had heard nothing, presented itself suddenly before my eyes. To perceive it—to utter a cry of joy—to encourage my exhausted and helpless servant, and to fly towards it, was the act of the same moment. To recognise our state of distress and to relieve it, was a part the owner of the dwelling performed with equal promptitude.

He took off my wet clothes, wrapped me in others from his own wardrobe, placed me before a blazing fire, brought me food, and surrounded me with every comfort, without once asking who I was, whence I came, or what might be my business!! My memory furnishes me with the recollection of few transitions so sudden and so agreeable; few states of discomfort transformed within the space of a few minutes into one of comfort so complete, and still fewer traits of hospitality so truly primitive.

The Evening of the 10th of September.

In a Cavern of Mount King George.

The host who so generously received me the day before yesterday, and with whom the state of the weather obliged me to remain until to-day, is a true son of the glebe. He was born in the fields, took root there, and has there flourished.

He arrived in the colony ten years ago as a simple labourer, and is now the successful cultivator of two farms, sorrounded with all the rude abundance of rural life, and having servants under him; though he by no means aims at playing the part of a master; but, on the contrary, eats at the same table with his dependents, accompanies them to the field, and sows and reaps with them as in former times, whether from an innate love of the occupation or as a grateful recognition of the prosperity with which he has been blessed.

The attentions he showed me, though somewhat empresses, were as benevolent and as simple as is the nature amongst whose works he dwells. His language was characterised by the unerring signs of that simplicity. I can fancy that I see him now, as he appeared yesterday entering my room, his head covered with an old hat, carelessly worn on one side, and broken in at the crown; the sleeves of his shirt tucked up, and holding in one hand a knife, in the other a fine piece of pork, fresh killed, while he good-humouredly addressed me : —

"There's going to be more rain —it already falls in the mountains — so I just killed a pig; for I thought to myself, our stranger can't leave to-day. Come, you'll stay — Yes! yes ! you must stay !— Shall we boil or roast this piece?" Whereupon, without waiting for any reply, he called out to his wife, " I say, mother ! he'll stay—get dinner ready!"

To-day 1 left his house—my knapsack completely stuffed with fresh provisions, and both myself and_ servant entirely recovered from our

where this spur composing the Blue Mountains branches off, we see it composed of sienite and granite, and stretching for a few miles to the S. W., where it gives rise to Cox's river, and forms the Walerawang and Clywd valleys.

Proceeding further, where it is known by the name of Honeysuckle range, its direction is S. E., and the mean elevation of its greenstone crest is 4050 feet; twenty-five miles beyond, bending again to the S. W., it attains a height of 4500 feet, and its character alters. The hitherto richly wooded greenstone tops are exchanged for naked, barren, and fantastically shaped sienitic peaks: the whole extent of Westmoreland country, including the Balangola and part of the Wollondilly valleys, is also rugged, and intricately broken. To the southward of Balangola shoots off in a northward direction a spur, which separates in its windings the river Macquarie from the Abercromby. This spur has been traced for 120 miles: at eighty miles from the chain, its basaltic ridge forms Mount Canoblas; at fifty more, Mount Contumbus. Both these elevations carry the eye far and wide, over the interminable extent of the western country, and afford also a fine view of the Wellington, Macquarie, and Lachlan valleys.

The chain itself to the southward of the two spurs above described assumes, in its S. W. bend, a more smooth, rounded, and wooded aspect, less elevated, and less intersected by ravines.

At Mount Fitton, about the source of the Wollondilly, and at the head of Lake George, this character again somewhat alters. At the last-named locality, a westerly spur, composed alternately of serpentine and porphyries, and which divides the tributaries of the Murrumbidgee from those of the Lachlan river, winds its course through a very broken country. Further on, beyond Lake Bathurst, another spur branches off to the north-east, and stretches over Cambden and Cumberland, to the neighbourhood of Illawara and Shoalhaven, localities which possess the most picturesque, and the most gloomy and savage scenery. Sixty miles further south, where its previous southern course changes again to S. W., the chain in its elevation and general features becomes bolder. Its greenstone and sienitic crest at times assumes the appearance of Alpine table-land; at times rises, and breaks into sharp-edged and dentiform summits, capped here and there by snow, in the midst of summer, while the spurs which at that locality shoot from both sides of the ridge, carry with them throughout the same bold features.

fatigue and sufferings. The debt of hospitality alone remains to be settled; for every effort to induce my host to accept a pecuniary recorapence failed. He belongs to a class often calumniated; most frequently poor, and everywhere considered at the foot of the social ladder; but amongst whom—be they Pagan or Christian, idolaters or true believers—hospitality and charity are viewed as one and the same thing, and are practised as the most sacred of duties.—MS. Journal of the Author.


That spur which to the eastward traverses Moneiro, and flanks the river Shoalhaven from its source to its mouth, renders the whole track over which it stretches a most intricately broken one. The locality of Deuna river, Mount Currumbilly, Budawang, and Pigeon's House, and the vicinity of Jarvis Bay, are intersected in all parts by precipitous and impassable gullies.

The spurs which run to the westward are not less imposing in their aspect. The forked one, which, at Mount Garangoora, winds between the rivers Murrumbidgee, Coodradigbee, and the Doomut, presents in its different parts features which, in boldness, are not surpassed by any hitherto observed. The cluster of broken peaks which mark the sources of the above rivers; the ridges which form walls as it were for

« AnteriorContinuar »