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The Country between Hamilton and Frenchman's Cap

DURING the past season, circumstances which I need not detail rendered it necessary for me to undertake a journey from Hobart to the Valley of the Loddon River, which lies at the base of the mountain called the Frenchman's Cap. Long, however, ere we reach this eminence, the districts we have to pass through are very imperfectly known. As some account of the same may be interesting to the readers of the Courier. I have compiled the following narrative from notes made during my excursion, and which I offer you for publication.

On a morning of February last I left Hobart, and the same night I slept at the Woolpack Inn, which is distant from hence about 34 miles. It is not necessary that I should describe the well-known tract intervening between this city and Hamilton, which place I reached next day (44 miles from town). Before sunrise of the following day I resumed my walk, hoping by this early start to sleep at night at the foot of the Native Tier. The first ten miles of this day's march lay through the beautiful estate of Lawrenny,—considered by many to be the finest in the island ; though there are certainly others quite equal to it. Such, I believe, is Dry's ; such is Cressy, and others. The road through here, though only an unmade cart track, is nevertheless a very agreeable piece of travelling. Much of the surface of Lawrenny is occupied by moderately high hills, thinly coveted with trees. Between these beautiful rises is a great deal of level land, nearly all of which is of excellent quality, and a huge portion of the same is laid down in grass.

To the northward of this princely domain is seen much thinly-wooded hilly land, farmed also for the excellence of its pasture ; but turning to the southward the landscape presents a very different aspect. A long succession of hills, coveted with the gloomy-looking forests of Tasmania, stretch far away in this direction till they are met by the great mountain chain which separates the waters of the Derwent from those flowing to the western coast, the distant peaks of which are seen well from here, the distant peaks of Hamilton, or 54 from Hobart, we reach the Ouse, or Big River Bridge.

After crossing the Ouse, the road for a considerable distance leads up the valley of the river, and it may be interesting to a stranger travelling here to know that almost all the way to Shawfield (7 miles further) it is fenced on both sides. Shortly, however, after crossing this stream another road, equally wide, and fenced also on both sides, turns off to the left. In travelling to Marlborough. &c. one must take care to avoid this latter track and keep straight on in the direction of a brick building, standing on an eminence, about half a mile ahead ; the same is either a school or chapel. The soil of this part is mostly good. At Shawfield there is an inn,— this is 51 miles from town. The road now for several weary miles leads us through a very uninteresting country, where the soil is poor, the herbage thin, and the surface (which is very undulatory) everywhere covered with trees. A small open plain at the foot of the Native Tier (about six miles from Shawfield) for a moment indeed interrupts the monotony of the dismal forest scenery by which we have for several miles been surrounded. We now commence the ascent of the once formidable Native Tier,—formidable from the excessive steepness of that part of its face up which the old road to Marlborough was directed. This impediment to reaching Victoria Valley and the great pasture lands beyond has of late been obviated by the construction of the road laid out about eight years ago. The Native Tier, formerly the principal drawback to travelling into the New Country, is now as easily mounted as the Grass-Tree Hill, and on reaching the summit we find ourselves landed on the great central table land of the island, with scarce apparent ascent.

There is a good deal of dreariness in bush travelling in Tasmania, produced by the almost everlasting sameness of our forest scenes ; and the walk up the Native Tier would form no exception to this, were it not in one place a little disturbed by the welcome intervention of a small but handsome cascade of about 80 feet high, in the Kenmere Rivulet, and at a short distance from the road. Near at hand is a still higher one, but which we do not see. All waterfalls are beautiful objects, but we fancy them doubly so when we stumble on them in the bush ; this occurs near the summit of the Native Tier. Shortly after some unsightly wigwams, which once formed the Victoria Valley Probation Station, are seen, and their dismal appearance is the more striking from the contrast of the rich and beautiful savannah on the borders of which they are planted. (70 miles from Hobart.)

Victoria Valley is a fertile grassy level, the open land of which extends over an area of about 700 acres. The soil, which is deep and black, produces most excellent pasture. This magnificent alluvium is almost wholly encompassed by hills of rather a gentle character. They are wooded, and those on the west side very much so, for the soil on them is particularly rich, though often stony, and the trees consequently attain a very perfect development here. A portion of this valley was cultivated by the Government some years ago, but was speedily abandoned, after an occupation of three or four years.

The road to Marlborough passes across the southern edge of this valley ; it is then directed through a succession of forests, and beautiful little marshes, (amongst the latter are the Duck and Boggy Marshes) all of which are very fertile. The excellence of most of the pasture, and the frequent occurrence of these handsome plains or marshes in the midst of the woods, give a pleasing character to the bush here, which is always welcome. A walk of about 6 miles from Victoria Valley places us on the bridge of the Dee, which is in this part a rather sluggish river, perhaps twenty yards wide, formed by the overflowings of Lake Echo.

It is at this part of the journey that we catch the first sight of the effects of the rigorous winter of 1837, a season of extraordinary severity, and which in a few weeks struck with death the forests throughout the valleys of well near all the highlands of this part of Tasmania. Here, however, it ceased its ravages and its withering march from the westward was stayed. The storm moderated, and when it reached this river it seems to have wholly died away, but not before its task was finished, its work of demolition fully completed ; for the destruction of the forests of all the low lands of this extensive district could not have been more perfectly accomplished if even a simoom had passed over them. This extraordinary season destroyed the timber of almost every valley on the vast plateau lying between this quarter and the mountains terminating at the verge of the Westbury and Norfolk Plains districts. The havoc has been indeed tremendous, but wholly incalculable.

It is impossible to witness the effects of this winter without emotion, and the traveller unaccustomed to such a picture of desolation is startled at the amazing scene of ruin which now presents itself. The bush is one interminable mass of dead trees. Except on the hill tops everything around him is dead. Whichever way he looks he sees hardly anything but dead forests, one apparently endless expanse of dead trees. The farther he advances beyond the Dee, the more perfect has been the destruction. About this river, where the tempest seems to have slackened, nearly half the trees have perished. or are only now recovering the shock they received thirteen years ago. But it is around the incipient town of Marlborough that the winter seems to have put forth its full strength, for here (the hill tops always excepted) the annihilation of life is almost universal ; * for miles every tree on the lower lands has died.

* It is a very extraordinary fact, that within the last year or two about four of the trees in this township have put forth leaves after an apparent suspension of vitality of ten or eleven years duration.

A person writing of the districts I have undertaken to describe will not be accused of digressing in pausing to attempt the investigation of the cause which led to the demolition of the forests here. The subject is interesting, and that task can never be considered an unprobable one which has for its object the exposition of the truth ; and, if possible, the correction of the vague hypothesis by which some have endeavoured to account for their decay — I believe, more with the view of establishing new theories than of coming at the truth. According to some, this was occasioned by disease ; to others, by lightning ; while another class ascribe the calamity to extensive bush fires. But these persons are either ignorant of the true cause, or they belong to that class of men who will never adopt a common-sense view of anything whatever.

I was a traveller in these districts as long ago as 1835. At that time the trees were everywhere fresh and vigorous. In the beginning of 1838 I passed this way again, only a few months after the destruction of these forests had been effected. The ground was then covered with dead leaves, (the effect of the simultaneous decay of the millions of trees which had just perished), and the bark was hanging in shreds from every bough. A most severe winter had occurred not long before, and a deep snow bad fallen which lay on the ground for many weeks, by which (the grasses excepted) vegetation on the lower lands was perfectly annihilated. The kangaroos, which swarmed here in '35, were all but extinguished ; and one of a party of men who was up here then assured me that by taking advantage of the helpless condition to which the poor animals were reduced by hunger and long-continued cold, he and some others killed, in one afternoon, no less a number than sixty-seven judging from the quantities of their bones which I found scattered everywhere, (I am speaking of '38), they must have died by thousands.

If we did not know that the destruction of the trees took place with the occurrence of this terrible winter, an examination of the district would lead us to infer that cold was the agent, from the simple fact, that on the top of every hill and every ridge the trees never died. This is to be seen even everywhere, even around Marlborough, about which place the winter appears to have poured the full storm of its strength. It is not on one hill top alone that the trees are still green and vigorous but on every hill throughout the district. If, then, fire were really the agent, how came the trees to have escaped death in these situations, and that invariably ? Are its effects less destructive on the hills than elsewhere ? The answer of every one will be, certainly not. Again, do bush fires destroy the forests, or even seriously injure them ? We see the contrary in five hundred cases every summer ; and if such were the case, there ought not to be a tree left us in all Tasmania. But the notion is absurd. Moreover, the trees in these districts do not exhibit any extraordinary marks of fire as would certainly be the case had they been destroyed by it. But I believe we might as well impute the devastation to the Mosaic deluge as to either fire or disease.

Those who have not reflected sufficiently on the subject will at first be startled at the fact of the winter having wholly spared the forests on the hills, where the destroying angel passed by. Such persons may advance the supposition that in these spots the cold must have been the most severe. But these I would remind of the well known fact, that heat, in all its modifications, is less intense on the hill than in the valley,— and here sound theory will, for the ten-thousandth time, be found agreeing with ascertained fact, which in this case is, that cold, and not fire or disease, destroyed the fine forests which only a few years ago flourished in these valleys.

If any other fact be wanting to confirm the statement I have advanced Lake St. Clair (about 16 miles west of Marlborough) offers itself as the witness of truth. This handsome sheet of water is placed at an elevation (according to Strzelecki) of about 3300 feet. It is nearly enclosed by steep and densely wooded mountains, and it has been ascertained to be of amazing depth ; for in parts of it no soundings could be obtained, even with a line of 1000 feet (170 fathoms). Such a mass of water could hardly have its temperature changed by anything less than the frosts of an arctic winter ; and when the cold of the surrounding atmosphere fell below that of the lake, it naturally gave out its warmth, and thus lessened the intensity of the frost. Theory informs us that this ought to be the case, and actual observation proves that it was so ; for in the immediate neighbourhood of this lake forests of a more vigorous growth were never seen than are flourishing at this moment, and for two or three miles around the living trees altogether outnumber those that have perished.

The elevation of the districts in which the winter of '37 so fearfully exerted its power ranges between 2000 and 5000 feet. Some remarkable points are, in round numbers, about as follows :— Marlborough, 2800 ; Lake St. Clair, 3300 ; Great Lake, 3800 ; Nineteen Lagoons, 4000 ; Fatigue Hill, 4000 feet. It is worth the remark that in following the direction of the track to Macquarie Harbour, we observe that the ravages of the winter extend little more than five or six miles south west of Lake St. Clair, or about thirty-five miles from the River Dee, where we first encounter dead forests.

After leaving the Dee River, the road passes near the edge of a long marsh, for about three miles, called the Dee Marsh, which lies very near, and on the right hand. We then cross a rather poor and uninteresting tract, affording little worthy of notice. At one point we pass the old probation station of the Seven Mile Creek, at present occupied by some servants of Mr. Sharland, to whom the buildings are leased, be having an extensive "run" in the neighbourhood, at a place called the London Marshes. We are now somewhat more than five miles from Marlborough. A little further on, we enter on the fine lands of the Bronte Estate, which contains a large proportion of excellent soil and pasture. At a roadside cottage here the traveller can be provided with lodging, it being nothing less than an eating-house. * Leaving Bronte, we enter on what is called the township of Marlborough, which, however, is little more than a mere Government Reserve, for as yet it boasts of no buildings, except such as belong to a police station, and the barrack, &c. of a small gang of convicts, employed in erecting a bridge across the Nive River, a large stream, eventually falling into the Derwent, and which flows through Marlborough. This place is about 89 miles from Hobart. Having reached it, I devoted the following day to rest, and to recruit the energies of the tired and foot-sore men who accompanied me up.

* I omitted to mention the existence of a similar establishment at Victoria Valley.

Whatever one has to put up with in travelling the bush of Tasmania, inhospitality in the people he meets will never be found enumerated in his long list of grievances. At Marlborough I was received in the friendly style in which a respectable person always is, in all parts of this island, by Mr. Lascelles,—that is, in a manner which makes you know you are at home in five minutes. Marlborough is one of the most fertile spots in the world, and the grass produced on its low lands is second to nothing. I never heard any person speak of the qualities of its soil except in terms of the highest praise.

Having nothing to do while here, I strolled up the Nive to a point about three miles above Marlborough where a small rivulet, called the Serpentine joins it. My excursion was made with the view of ascertaining whether the rocks of this quarter afforded anything worth adding to a small collection of minerals I have gathered together. According to Strezlecki, Marlborough is something more than 2800 feet above the sea, and the Serpentine being about three miles higher up the stream, the point of their junction may be safely assumed to be 3000 feet. At this height I found many fossil shells of the same species with some of the commonest in the rocks on our coast, — such as spirifer subradiatus, sp. Stokesii, in company with many snail-like shells and small spiral ones.

I afterward found many very perfect shells at a much greater elevation, and about 7 or 8 miles S.W. of Lake St. Clair, at the edge of the immense ravine of Lake Dixon. This cannot be less than 3500 feet high. The impressions were much more beautiful than those obtained at the Serpentine. One specimen I believe to be very uncommon, if not new.

Leaving Marlborough for the westward, the road for three or four miles leads us through a rich country, producing very fine grasses ; after this it becomes some-what inferior, though a good many sheep run on it. There is now little worthy of notice till we reach the Derwent Bridge. The road continues level, and crosses several small rivers, the largest of which is called the Clarence. We also pass over some plains or marshes, the principal of which was formerly called Bethune's Marsh ;—a name now supplanted by one which, I suppose, the few inhabitants of this quarter consider to be more euphoneous—namely, Laughing Jack's Marsh. After a journey of fourteen or fifteen miles from Marlborough, we reach Gell's Bridge, which has been thrown across the Derwent about seven or eight miles below the point where that river flows out of its "parent lake." This is probably 104 miles from Hobart.

Immediately beyond lie those large morasses, called by Mr. Frankland, who discovered them, King William's Plains. A considerable extent of open country now stretches from the Derwent in a westerly and south-westerly direction for nearly a dozen miles—that is, to the crown of Fatigue Hill, and lying between the two picturesque eminences called King William's Mountain and Mount Hugel. These marshes are, however, for several miles, intersected with low stony rises, the soil of which is of a lighter colour, and a different character, from that of the plains, which is rich, and black. These spots, denominated by the shepherds the "Forest Banks," were once covered with living trees, which the fatal winter of '37 partly destroyed. They are, indeed, still standing, but are mostly dead. New forests are, however, fast springing up to replace those which formerly flourished here. Such are the provident ways of Nature that, ere half a century shall have passed away, the surface will probably restored to its primitive condition, and no trace of so strange a calamity will remain.

So named by Mr. Frankland—the latter after the Baron Hugel, who visited this island about sixteen years ago. Our shepherds (the only dwellers on these plains), who never will style things aright, persist in calling it Mount Fugel. In the same spirit they have perverted the name of the neighbouring height, Mount Olympus, into Mount Lampus.

The surface of the open ground is very wet, and to cross it dry-footed is an achievement I could never reach. Abundance of herbage is produced here. It is observed of the sheep that they resort but little to the open ground, except in fine weather ; at other times they frequent the warm forest banks, where the feed, though more scanty, is very sweet. In these places they also find shelter from ordinary cold. They do pretty well here—at least in some seasons.

Numberless small runs of water traverse these plains, which, united, form a good-sized river, to which Mr. Frankland gave the name of the Traveller's Rest, as he and his party, after a weary day's march, pitched their tents by this stream. It is the first of the many affluents of the Derwent which fall into it on its western bank ; but the name bestowed on it by its first visitors, like that of many a place in Tasmania, is now forgot all, and it is at present known as the Navarre—a name also given to the marshes through which it first passes, which are called the Navarre Plains.

It is always with feelings somewhat akin to regret that one hears of new names being given to places, where no very good cause exists for the change—as in the case of this stream. If, however, an alteration is to be made, there is at least some merit in avoiding the prevalent custom of Tasmania of assigning such as are either grossly vulgar or altogether inapplicable. How much more agreeable, then, is the designation of the Navarre than such as are too often bestowed on places in this island ? Who can hear of Mother Lord's Plains, Molly York's Nightcap, Joe Wright's Sugarloaf, Laughing Jack's Marsh, Tin-pot Marsh, Tin-dish Holes, Jerusalem, Bagdad, No-where-else, and about ten thousand et ceteras, without feeling contempt for those who conferred them ? Most places present some peculiarity which may suggest a fitting appellation, without our having recourse to a vulgar or even a complimentary style of nomenclature, which argue a grossness and poverty of conception which are rather disgraceful, and always disagreeable.

The principal rock of this quarter is the everlasting green-stone, or iron-stone, as it is mostly called, which includes every variety of trapp and basalt, a description of mineral predominating through the extensive tract which is included between the South Cape and the extreme Western Bluff at least. Many other rocks are of course found abundantly between these distant places, but the green-stone prevails. After crossing Gell's Bridge, and proceeding south-westerly for eight or ten miles, we find the same still abounding ; and all the mountains lying on the west bank, and within a few miles of the Derwent, are basaltic. Such is Olympus, such is Hobhouse, and such King William. But soon, after passing the Derwent, one cannot help noticing the frequency he meets with fragments of quartz, which seems to indicate that a change is about to take place, and that he is approaching a country the rocks of which are of a different description from what he has previously seen. Accordingly, as he advances toward the eastern slopes of Fatigue Hill, quartz almost entirely supersedes the green-stone, and a poorer soil (producing an inferior herbage) succeeds that of the plains he has been travelling over. We also discover abundance of talc in a large ravine, lying to the north of the Macquarie Harbour track. In the same ravine is an inconsiderable and uninteresting lake, called after Mr Dixon, of Norton Mandeville—surely unworthy the name of the first occupant of this quarter.

The land now before the traveller is no longer level, but he commences the ascent of a succession of moderately steep open rises, called collectively the Sisters, the last of which surmounted, he finds himself stationed on the crest of Fatigue Hill, and at an elevation of about 4000 feet above the sea. This name has been given it from the steepness of its western side, where, in a distance hardly exceeding a mile, there is a fall of 1750 feet, which is about a foot in a yard. A most extensive and diversified scene is suddenly presented us from this height, quite unequalled, so I believe, in Tasmania. Extravagant and romantic must be his imagination who would not be content with the magnificent prospect which is now spread around him.

The general character of our landscape is, to my taste, displeasing ; for, notwithstanding the diversity of surface a mountainous country ever presents, it acquires in Tasmania a disagreeable monotony, from the unvarying hue of our black and interminable forests. Many a scene has its beauty half marred by the constant intervention of these gloomy-looking woods, the trees of which, though individually often handsome, are, in the mass, anything but an agreeable adjunct to our wild scenery ; and the extent of the woodland is mostly so disproportioned to that of every other object within the scope of vision, that it is only here and there that the forest becomes unobjectionable ; as, for instance, on some parts of the southern shores of the island, where an ever-varying coast line and a boundless ocean interpose an agreeable counterbalance, or from certain inland eminences, where we obtain a good view of the great and comparatively open pasture field which lies between St. Peter's Pass and Epping Forest in one direction, Miller's Bluff and Ben Lomond in another.

It is, however, well worth the walk from the Derwent to peep into the wild country which lies beyond Fatigue Hill ; and the traveller who has got as far as Gell's Bridge should strain a point to reach this eminence, from which, on a clear day, he views, if not the fairest, at least the sternest landscape in Tasmania. So varied is the immense panorama which lies before him, that his feelings must indeed be obtuse if he can contemplate it without excitement ; and it is not till his first emotions have somewhat subsided, that he observes its principal defect, in the entire absence of visible water. In almost every quarter of the horizon, immense mountains form the back-ground of the picture ; and nothing can exceed the ruggedness of the outline of these stupendous barriers. Conspicuous from its comparative proximity and its excessive abruptness, is the mountain called the Frenchman's Cap,—a striking object indeed, and one of very peculiar contour. Its most prominent feature is the cone forming its highest point, and which, as yet, has hidden defiance to the very few who have essayed to reach its summit. From a supposed resemblance this cone bears to a helmet, the mountain, it is said, has derived its name. But if so, this likeness is more fancied than real, and I have heard it compared with greater propriety to a common Glengarry cap. Between Fatigue Hill and the great eminences which skirt the horizon from south-west to north-west, the surface swells into many lesser but still very lofty hills, partly open and partly wooded, and between them lie some considerable morasses. The principal objects of the landscape are immense, and deep ravines and numbers of rocky mountains, even now (March) partly covered with snow, rising like islands from a black and interminable sea of forests. The landscape everywhere exhibits a wonderful irregularity of surface, and irresistibly forces the comparison of a boisterous ocean which has suddenly stood still at the very height of the storm.

An irrepressible feeling of regret involuntarily overcomes us as we survey the tract now in view, and reflect that all this immense waste is without a single inhabitant. Not the faintest trace of its occupation by man is apparent. No homesteads or roads, no enclosures or cultivation, attest his presence ; but, on the contrary, the country could not look more void of animation, even were it like the celebrated city of the Chaldees, (Isalah ch. xiii. ) doomed to perpetual abandonment. We look in vain for the smoke of the solitary savage, but his generations have passed away—the destinies of his race are fulfilled—"and the places that knew him shall know him no more for ever." And we listen for those sounds of industry which are inseparable from the abodes of men ; but all is silent. Such a scene of utter lifelessness is, I believe, to be found in no other country habitable, in the common acceptation of the term, except Tasmania. But though the aspect of this quarter is not inviting, we may hope its present condition is not immutable, and that its partial occupation may hereafter be effected (when its productions are better known) by enterprise, and the general spread of settlement.

If the traveller be disposed to penetrate into the country before him, he must at once commence the descent of the western slopes of Fatigue Hill ; and to call the trip down it "a walk," would be a misapplication of the word. To walk down would be out of the question ; and the pedestrian must make up his mind at starting for a run, or rather rush to the bottom. It is very steep, but only enough to make the leap down exciting, rather than disagreeable. On reaching the bottom, we find ourselves placed in a small open and nearly level marsh, of about an hundred acres, to which the name of Wombat Glen has been applied. The herbage produced here is coarse, the plant which prevails being the Gymnoschoenus adustus of botanists. To the westward this plain is shut in by a forest of beautiful myrtles. In fine weather this marsh is a very pleasant place ; and it would be difficult to find a spot where our ideas of agreeable seclusion are more perfectly realised than by this wood-encompassed glen.

Immediately after quitting this marsh, the road to Macquarie Harbour leads us through the close-planted but beautiful myrtle-grove noticed in the preceding paragraph. Two fine rivers, the lesser of which has been called the Surprise, unite their waters in this forest, at about a mile from Wombat Glen. This river must be forded exactly at the spot where the currents of the two meet. I always noticed the waters of the Surprise to be uncommonly clear and pure. This point of junction may be pretty safely stated as distant from Hobart 120 miles. I must not omit to mention, that between the glen and river the rocks enclose a small quantity of metal probably lead.

The same close forest continues for a mile and a half further, but there is here a little difficulty in following the track—that is, where it has been directed through some tea-tree bottoms, in which places it is now much overgrown. In one of these detestable spots it cost me four hours to recover the path ; but as I then cut much of the scrub out of the way, and marked the trees anew, it will for a year or two be discernible.

Emerging from these thickets the road leads us across an inconsiderable marsh, called Painter's Plain, which has nothing to recommend it ; its soil is indifferent, and the herbage coarse. From this plain we again plunge into a close myrtle forest ; and a further walk of less than a mile places us on the large plain (3500 acres) which lies immediately beneath the eastern ridges of the Frenchman's Cap. This is the valley of the Loddon River. The first part of the plain I called Long-grove Marsh, from the long and handsome grove which lies on the left hand, through which a large branch of the Loddon flows. The plant spoken of in describing Wombat Glen grows everywhere. There is a great deal of freestone about the hills of this plain ; and I may mention that I found the bush kangaroo plentiful in a corner of the valley, to which I gave the name of the Green Glens, from the very green appearance of the surface, which here has lately been burned.

The Frenchman's Cap rises from the valley of the Loddon, and appears to offer no remarkable difficulty in its ascent ; but I have heard it stated by the leaders of two parties that a deep chasm prevented them reaching the Cap. The height of this mountain is stated by Strzelecki to be 3801 feet, but this must be a mistake ; for to Fatigue Hill (which he calls Mt. Arrowsmith) he assigns a height of 4075 feet, or 274 feet more than the Frenchman's Cap. These two eminences are about a dozen miles apart. Now, from the crest of Fatigue Hill, I always observed that the apex of the cap was elevated 15 15' ; but it is known to the writer that Count Strzelecki visited this quarter, and ascended the Frenchman, during very stormy weather : and I suppose that on reaching what may in general terms be called the mountain top, he fancied himself on its highest point, and took the observations which led to an erroneous result. But there is nothing more difficult than finding one's way on the top of a rocky mountain in stormy weather, (such as the Count experienced here,) when everything is enveloped in clouds. I feel great regret in this furnishing the detractors of Strzelecki with the above fact ; for I feel convinced that some of those who have assailed his table of heights would, if circumstanced as he was, have produced something much worse.

My journey terminated at this hill-encompassed plain, and after a ten weeks' stay beyond the Derwent I retraced my steps to the settled districts ; and though I found much to interest me in this quarter of the island, I was not at all sorry when I again crossed the Derwent ; for while here, I was so continually wet-footed, that this circumstance made my sojourn very disagreeable, and I left the western districts with pleasure rather than regret. J. 1

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