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rumbidgee, and Murray, to their junction with the Darling, turned off to the south, and tracing the Murray towards its source, discovered the fine country which, from its beauty and fertility, he named Australia Felix, and in which the flourishing colony of Victoria is now established.
In 1840, Mr. Tyers added to our knowledge of the hydrography of the country between Port Philip and the river Glenelg, as did also Mr. Dixon, at Moreton Bay, and Count Strezelecki at Gipp's Land. In the same year, Mr. Eyre proceeded from Adelaide in South Australia to explore the interior. Lake Turrens, at the head of Spencer's Gulf, he found to be an immense salt lagoon, girdled by sand-beds, and situate in a barren waste, incapable of supporting man or beast. Relinquishing the hope of penetrating the interior, he proceeded to the westward, and examined the country lying between Port Lincoln and King George's Sound, which proved scrubby, badly watered, and generally unfit for pastures or cultivation.
In 1844, Captain Sturt left Adelaide to ex
plore the interior, and he succeeded in penetrating to the very heart of the country in 29° 40' 14" S. lat., and 141° 30' E. long. He thus describes this sterile region:
“The principal features of the interior are the sandy ridges or dunes, by which it is traversed from south to north, and the Great Stony Desert. That the whole region traversed was once submerged, there cannot, I think, be a doubt. Its salsalaceous productions, its sea level, its want of trees of any size or growth, except on the banks of the creeks, sufficiently attest this; but whether the sandy ridges were thrown up simultaneously, or were successively formed by the joint effects of winds, and a gradually retiring sea, or of winds alone, it is impossible to say. When I first crossed the Stony Desert, it appeared to me to have been the bed of a former current, and I felt satisfied that that conclusion was just, when I crossed it at another point more than a degree from the first, and noticed the strong proof it exhibited of waters having at one time or other swept over it with irresistible fury. Whether the Stony Desert continues to any distance, I cannot say ; but my opinion is that it does, and that, as the lowest part of the interior, it receives all the waters falling inward from the coast. Whether those waters are gradually lost by evaporation, or carried to some still undiscovered sea remains to be proved; but as it is difficult for others to elucidate these things, I have thought myself called upon to throw every light I can on the probable character of the interior. All I can say is, that after having traversed a desert for 400 miles, and failed to reach its northern limit, and after having found that it continued unaltered for four degrees of longitude, I cannot hope that it speedily closes in, either to the east or west.”
In 1844, Dr. Leichardt, a scientific and enterprising German, explored the country from Moreton Bay to Port Essington.
He traversed fine rich district, watered by numerous expansive rivers, and succeeded in
discovering a route from the east to the northwest coast. In 1848, this ill-fated gentleman headed a party, and started from Moreton Bay with the intention of reaching Swan River, by crossing the country from east to west; but as up to the present time nothing has been heard of the expedition since their departure, they must have fallen a sacrifice to their love of enterprize. In 1846, Sir T. Mitchell headed an ex
, ploring expedition, and succeeded in discovering the Fitzroy downs, the Victoria river, and several fertile and enchanting spots to the north-west of the Darling downs. On the return of the expedition to Sydney, the Government dispatched Mr. Kennedy, assistant-surveyor, to trace the Victoria to its sea mouth, it being presumed that the river flowed into the Gulf of Carpentaria. But after following the stream for more than 100 miles, Mr. Kennedy was compelled, by a total failure of water and vegetation, to abandon further research in 26° 15' 9" S. lat., 142° 20' E. long. On returning, he discovered an extensive, beautiful and well-watered country lying immediately to the westward of Sir T. Mitchell's previous discoveries.
The melancholy fate of this brave, but unfortunate gentleman, is to be deplored. While surveying the country between Rockingham Bay and Cape York the stock of provisions became exhausted, Mr. Kennedy was killed by the spear of a native, and the whole party, save one man, perished in the wilderness.
The foregoing is a brief account of the most remarkable explorations in Australia. The discoveries by a host of other enterprizing individuals, which from want of space I cannot particularise, have been productive of permanent benefit to the Australian squatters, and have added materially to our knowledge of this vast, but singular land.
As the gold discoveries will be detailed in another place, we shall merely mention here, that the precious metal has, up to the present