by Ida Lee
F.R.G.S and Hon. F.R.A.H.S
From the Log-Books and Journals
with maps and illustrations
First Published 1925 by
Methuen & Co Ltd
36 Essex Street WC London
Transcribed to eText by
Permission to use eText given by
Col Choat of Project Gutenburg Australia 2003
Converted to Web Enhanced eText by
J&DChallenor of The Allan Cunningham Project 2009
THE FIVE ISLANDS AND ILLAWARRA
19 October – 19 November, 1818
1818 October 19th Monday. At an early hour (6 a.m.) I left Parramatta with a laden cart of luggage and provisions, intending to make good an 18-mile stage before I halted for the day, travelling leisurely in order the better to make an observation on the botany as I passed along. In my route towards Liverpool, on a line of road, about 9 miles, bounded by open forest-land and confined dense brush, many interesting (already described) plants were in flower, among which I gathered the following Pomaderris betulina, flowers panicled axillary and terminal. Diosmeae, habit of Correa, a shrub with white flowers, also a genus of this order allied to Eriostemon, stamina smooth, leaves oblong, narrow, obtuse. Dampiera undulata, a suffruticose blue flowering plant. Colletia sp., a small tufted leaved, spinous shrub, suspected to be allied to Cryptandra, and sent to England per “Harriet,” is now frequent, in flower and fruit, in the vicinity of the town of Liverpool. In moist situations I gathered a small plant of the order Gentianaceae, Erythraea australis. To the southward of Liverpool the country is an open forest-land of common Eucalypti, in which Exocarpus cupressiformis, and the papilionaceous tree Jacksonia scoparia, at this period laden with yellow flowers, are very conspicuous. Pimelea spicata and P. glauca of Mr. Brown; a small Daviesia with cordate leaves (D. squarrosa, Smith); with a Helichrysum, allied to H. papillosum and prevalent in this description of country. And on the banks of George’s River, which empties itself into Botany Bay I gathered flowering specimens of Casuarina sp., a tree of moderate size, with smooth bark. In situations on the roadside, more or less subject to inundation, a delicate, tufted small Lobelia (L. inundata) is in flower, and[p408] Ruellia australis is common in grassy dry spots, decorating our path throughout this day’s route. I halted at the farm of a settler, an old resident, who liberally allowed me to put up at his house.
1818 October 20th. Tuesday. We commenced our journey from the farm we had stopped at during the night, travelling over the high beaten road, bounded by forest-land of fine grassy rich appearance, but by no means profitable to the botanical collector.
Finding myself obliged to make arrangements for the charge and care of my Government cart, which I intend shall convey the whole of my luggage to the verge of the Mountain Range bounding the fertile country, in the vicinity of the Five Islands, I stopped at the last farm, previous to entering upon the rocky, sterile or damp, morassy country, extending southerly 15 miles to the mountain. Rather than leave the cart 4 weeks on its summit (beyond which I can only avail myself of pack-horse carriage), and subject it to be burnt or destroyed otherwise for the sake of the iron work, I have determined to send it back to this farm, whose proprietor has kindly promised to take charge of it till I might send for it on my return from the excursion.
In a rocky creek which waters this little farming establishment I employed myself for a few hours in the afternoon, in which I gathered the following: Xerotes aemula (Br.) which is frequent, with another species of the same genus X. flexifolia. Senecio sp., with laciniated leaves, large yellow flowers, and of gigantic herbaceous growth. Notelaea longifolia (var.), in fruit, of which I gathered ripe seeds. Haloragis sp., extremely abundant beneath rocks. Pleurandra acicularis of Labillardière. The rocky bed of the running water gully is in many places choked up with large tufts of Xerotes. A dense low branching shrub of the Epacridae, now in fruit, appears either to be the Leucopogon setiger or Lissanthe strigosa of Mr. Brown. I likewise gathered specimens of Leptomeria acida in fruit. Dampiera sp., allied to D. stricta. Logania Pusilla (Brn.); and the following two ferns, Schizaea bifida (Brn.) and Blechnum striatum. Among the many plants prevalent on the margins of the creeks throughout the colony, the Stylidium discovered on the Liverpool Road, and of which I forwarded ripe seeds to Kew per “Harriet ” last year, is now most rich in flower; and the[p409] rocks are covered with the delicate white-flowering Dendrobium linguae forme. Podolobium heterophyllum of the Blue Mountains, and Stypandra glauca, prevail in the dry rocky brushes on the verge of this line of creek.
1818 October 21st. Wednesday. Leaving the little farm we resumed our journey at an early hour, continuing our route southerly about 2 miles, when the road abruptly terminates, or rather continues by paths or partially beaten ways, striking east and west. Taking the former, we arrived at once upon an entire change of country, of a rugged sandstony character, alternated by extensive tracts of spongy bogs. Crossing a run of water, the drainings of a morass called King’s Fall, which empties itself into Botany Bay, we pursued our course generally S.S.E. over this diversified bad country, affording me much variety of common Port Jackson plants. Bauera rubioides and Sprengelia incarnata are particularly attractive on the margins of the Fall.
The swamps afforded me some specimens of Euphrasia speciosa. The dwarf Banksia latifolia abounds in these bogs, of which it is difficult to discover fruit with ripe seeds; and the whole was bespangled with Utricularia uniflora, and the common Xyris. Large clumps of the stately Doryanthes excelsa presented themselves on the roadside, generally in a sub-humid situation, bearing at this period the remains of last year’s flowering stems, varying from 10-15 feet high. The Government horse, afforded me by His Excellency’s order, not caring to face the rugged boggy country in this day’s stage, could not be induced to proceed from the King’s Fall onward. It obliged me to avail myself of the fortunate circumstances of an empty cart passing to the mountain for red cedar, which I hired to carry my luggage 14 miles, sending my servant back with the Government cart to the little farm I left this morning, with directions to follow me with the horse as speedily as possible.
About 2 o’clock we arrived at what is termed the Mountain Top, along the ridge of which the road runs before it strikes down to the sea coast and country in the vicinity of Five Islands,[*] of which we have a bird’s eye view from the immediate edge of the mountain summit. A sudden change again takes place, for, in an instant, upon leaving the morass[p410] with stunted small Eucalypti, we entered as it were, within the dark shades of a tropical forest, composed of very lofty timber of the red cedar Tristania albens [= Syncarpia laurifolia] or Turpentine Tree; large Eucalypti, of the species called Blue Gum, and many other trees–only existing in such situations. Epacrideae (Trochocarpa); with large specimens of Corypha australis and Alsophila, a tree-fern of New South Wales; the whole being strongly bound together with immense scandent and volubilous plants, that cannot fail to arrest the attention and admiration of the most indifferent observer.
[* The Five Islands being the Red Point and Tom Thumb’s Islets (five in all), which are to be seen off the coast.]
After settling myself beneath a hut of cabbage tree thatch (Corypha), where we intend passing the night, and having secured my plants in paper, I took a walk down the side of the mountain, by the little beaten steps of the Government sawyers, and was much struck with the abundance of the Filices, whose great exuberance is wonderfully promoted by the perpetual humidity that exists in these deep woods, which the solar ray never has any direct chance to exhaust. I gathered some very fine specimens of a species of Pimelea with a conical capitulum of flowers, whose involcrum consists of 8 leaves; a shrub 6-8 feet high. Aster viscosus, Labill. [= Olearia viscosa], having smooth elliptical leaves and terminal corymbs of flowers, with a shrubby stem, I discovered growing on the overhanging rocks, in flower. An aculeated shrub, perhaps of Pittosporeae of Mr. Brown, of slender habit, with subrotund or cuneated leaves, toothed at their points, with pentandrous solitary axillary flowers, is in these shades a frequent plant. Rubiaceae, a spreading branched tree, with dark green serrulated leaves, racemes of green tubular flowers, and purple angular drupes, appears to be a nondescript. I discovered another strong plant of the habit of Cunonia, probably a Weinmannia. Myrtus trinervia [= Rhodamnia trinervia]; Eugenia elliptica of Smith; and Pittosporum fulvum of Rudge (scarcely distant from P. revolutum H. K.), are very common shrubs, in flower or young fruit. A plant of the Iridaceae, with white flowers, and a flat-stemmed plant of Aroideae, which I have not seen since I left England. Gymnostachys anceps abounds in these leafy damp woods, and some little parasitical plants of Orchidaceae, Sarcochilus falcatus and Dendrobium rigidum are rare, adhering to the bark of the trees, of which I gathered some specimens.
[p411] About the time I returned to my hut my servant arrived with the Government horse, when we made up a good fire for the night.
1818 October 22nd. Thursday. Early this morning I sent the packhorse down the mountain to a small farming establishment at its base, with as much of the luggage as the beast could conveniently carry, and I kept with the remainder till the return of my servant and horse. I was not a little agreeably surprised to discover Aster argophyllus of Labillardière, accompanying an Acacia with much the habit of A. sauveolens. This Aster is of arbusculous growth, from 10-16 feet in height, with a stem, in some aged specimens, 7 and 8 inches in diameter. It is now in flower, which are disposed in a terminal corymb, and more remarkable for the musky scent of its foliage than others of its shrubby kindred, or Australian Gnaphalia of that savour. I gathered a quantity of the ripe fruit of Podocarpus sp. and some of Eustrephus latifolius, whose diversified foliage led me to suspect I had detected the tropical species of this, but its aggregated monadelphous flowers determined the plant. I discovered a slender tree with alternate veinless coriaceous leaves, in fruit, allied to Diospyros, which proves to be Mr. Brown’s Cargillia australis.
At noon the man and horse returned to me, having left part of the luggage in the charge of a new settler, who had erected a temporary hut on the sea-shore, about 2 miles east of the mountain’s foot. Finally, leaving our encampment with the remaining part of the luggage, we followed the beaten horse road about a mile through the same continuance of thick matted forest of various descriptions of timber till we arrived at the pitch of the descent down the mountain, which is at present, in many parts, very abrupt, steep and rugged. Corypha australis, now laden with large bunches of ripe black fruit, and Alsophila australis, with other of the Filices, are very luxuriant on the roadside down the mountain. On my way I gathered specimens of a small tree of Celastrus, flowers pentandrous, in terminal panicles. Prostanthera incisa (Br. Prod). The Passiflora of New South Wales, which frequently abounds in deep shaded situations a few miles north of Parramatta, decorates the wooded descent with a profusion of its orange and green flowers, having its slender scandent branches laden with young fruit. About 5 p.m. we had descended to the base of the mountain, which is abundantly indicated by[p412] the marshy grounds and runs of limpid water we crossed a little elevated above the level of the sea, but not before the horse was completely worn out with the severe exercise of the day. Arriving at the palm-thatched hut of the settler, who very liberally offered me a part of the same, we halted for the night, intending to reach our ultimate headquarters early on the morrow. In the sandy open arid spots near the sea, Dillwynia glaberrima and others were in flower, and in open forest land I detected a small plant Schelhammera undulata (of Mr. Brown), of which I gathered specimens. Rain at close of evening (8 p.m.), which the slight roofing of our hut, without the aid of my tarpaulin, would barely keep out.
1818 October 23rd. Friday. My specimens, prior to our departure, having been slightly injured by the rains of the preceding night, I placed the whole into dry papers, packed up all my luggage, and proceeded forward to my ultimate destination at Mr. Allan’s farm, Illawarra, 10 miles to the southward. The horse road continues along the lengthened beach, which is broad, and bounded by brushes or small woods, in which Banksia integrifolia and Fabricia Lawvigata at this period in flower and young fruit, are particularly remarkable. Scaevola suaveolens (Brown), Hibbertia volubilis, and a tufted plant of the genus Stackhousia, with thick succulent leaves and spikes of pale straw-coloured flowers, decorate the dry scorching sands. With the latter, I gathered other specimens of the following. Hibbertia sp., an erect shrub. Phyllanthus sp. with elliptical leaves; and a large dense shrub of Epacrideae in flower and fruit. On the several projecting rocky points in the coast line (exposed to the sea), I observed abundance of Westringia Dampieri, Samolus littoralis, and a dwarf shrub of Casuarina, in fruit. Having passed several lagoons, formed of waters from the mountains, and two salt-water inlets, one of which is connected with Tom Thumb’s lagoon, visited originally by the late indefatigable Bass, in his voyage to the westward, we arrived at the farm about 3 p.m. In the environs of this I intend to employ myself for about three weeks, in the examination of the botany around. This farm, for which the native name Illowree or Allowree is retained, is the property of David Allan, Esqre., Deputy-Commissary-General, and comprises 2,000 acres of fine grazing land, whose western boundary or extremity is the Red Point of Cook and the[p413] charts. The good land extends inland from the sea westerly 10 miles, till it terminates at or near Point Bass, southerly towards which, in either direction from Illawarra, the land gradually decreases in breadth.
1818 October 24th. Saturday. I destined the whole of the day to the examination of the country around me, and especially to the westward, inland. From thence alone it appeared I would be most likely to meet with botanical novelty, and accordingly we left the farm-house in a north-westerly direction, taking with us an assistant and guide, the nephew of the chief of the Lake Allowree,[*] whose services I purchased for the day, for a small piece of tobacco.
[* Flinders’s name for Illawarra.]
We passed through a large portion of very fine rich forest, but very unprofitable botanical land, about 2½ miles before we reached a thick wooded bottom, about half a mile in diameter, having a running stream passing through it, where I noticed several trees of various dimensions, very different from any seen before, and although few were in flower or fruit, I gathered some specimens.
On the margins of these woods I observed a slender tree of the habit of Taxus, a Podocarpus, with long lanceolate leaves; it was, however, not in flower or fruit; and in a like state I detected a slender tree (a Bombax), 20-30 feet high, having the leaves and habit of a Gossypium. In these very damp hollows I discovered a Caladium with large cordate leaves acute at the point, with rounded lobes at the base, and many strong nerves. I could not find any appearance of flower or fruit on the many plants I examined, some of whose clear stems were 3 feet high. Ferns abound in these situations, but are by no means numerous in species; of those I found in fructification I collected specimens. A robust habited tree (in stature) having a very soft woody stem, large cordate leaves, and densely covered with stinging spines or soft herbaceous aculeae, evidently allied to Urtica, forms thick and dangerous woods to attempt a passage through, of which I regret I was unable to discover either flowers or fruit, and that it produces abundance, appears to be sufficiently demonstrated by the many small plants of all sizes and ages in the boggy bottoms, where among the superabundance of scandent and volubilous plants (unknown to me) I gathered duplicate seeds of Eustrephus latifolius, while my native guide was[p414] furnishing himself with long pieces of the tough stringy bark of Currajong (Hibiscus heterophyllus), for fishing lines.
About 3 p.m. we took a circuitous route southerly, towards the sea coast, with little or no further success, for, having once left these shaded hollows, the forest land commences, which carried us to the sandy beach. On the bounding ridge I gathered seeds of Persoonia sp., hardly distinct from P. lanceolata, the leaves however are scarcely smooth. In these exposed dry situations Pimelea glauca and Dianella revoluta abound, with Eriocalia major [= Actinotus helianthi], Correa alba, Stylidium graminifolium and Rhagodia hastata. During my return to Headquarters, on the immediate shores, I gathered specimens of Spinifex (= S. hirsutus), with dioecious flowers, growing luxuriantly in the sand, with a species of Convolvulus, closely allied to C. soldanella (Calystegia reniformis of Mr. Brown).
25th. Sunday. Visited the last farm southerly, in this range of country, about 10 miles from Illawarra, situate on the small river called Merrimorra by the natives.
[* The Minumurra of modern maps.]
1818 October 26th. Monday. We were prevented from returning to Mr. Allan’s farm last evening in consequence of the high tide, its great depth and strong current of water at the mouth of the Lake through which our route ran. I therefore availed myself of this detention and took a range over the forest grazing lands westerly, to the shaded hollows under the mountain belt, the plants of which I found, however, were for the most part of the same description as those already observed in similar situations. Rhipogonum album, with its variously inserted foliage; and the slender shrub of Pittosporeae, being the most predominant. I collected specimens of the following:–Ficus sp., forming a slender tree; leaves scabrous, oblique; fruit being calyptrated. Asclepiadaceae, Tylophora barbata Br., a twining slender plant. Anonaceae allied to Eupomatia, a small tree with glossy serrulated leaves; flowers in axillary racemies, scarcely open. Commelineae, Aneilema crispatum (Br.), this plant is very abundant, but rare at this time in a flowering condition. Gymnostachys anceps is exceedingly common. I gathered from one plant a ripe seed. Renealmia paniculata [= Libertia paniculata], noticed on the mountain top, and Crinum pedunculatum of Mr. Brown, with the caulescent Caladium and arborescent[p415] Urtica are prevalent plants in these shades. I was not successful in procuring specimens in flower or fruit of a climbing plant, which I suspect, from its knotted stem and large, reniform, glossy, strong-nerved foliage, of a warm pungent taste, may belong to the Piperes or Cissi.
Amongst a group of fourteen natives from Shoalhaven who were encamped near the Merrimorra River Farm, I observed they had their fresh water in baskets made of the leaf-sheaths of some palm, which they called Bangla, and which they informed us grew under the mountain range. With a view of ascertaining the point whether or not any palm exists in New Holland–without the Tropics–beside Corypha australis, I persuaded one of these people to become our guide (under the promise of tobacco on his return), and conduct us to the woods where this doubtful tree existed. We travelled about 4 miles over forest land, in which I gathered specimens of Croton sp., a tall shrub, with subrotund cordate serrulate leaves, and axillary racemes of flowers; and a parasitical Loranthus with obovate leaves, growing upon Casuarina totulosa. We passed through some low swampy grounds covered with Arundo phragmites as we approached the mountain base, and entering some dark moist woods, some few plants of the palm presented themselves. Its fronds are pinnated and large; it has all the habit of some smooth Areca or cabbage tree, and appears to be the identical species of palm of which I obtained seeds on the North Coast, during the late voyage of discovery, which I suspect is Seaforthia elegans of Mr. Brown. Their stems are very slender, and some I observed were 50 ft. high, without any signs of fructification. The Banglas or lower part of the petioles, which embraces the stem at the head of the palm, are very large, and some of them that had fallen to the ground were 5 feet long and 3 ft. broad, of sufficient dimensions to make small catamarans. Alsophila, a tree fern, and the common fan palm (Corypha australis), are companions of this tropical species. In our course direct for our Headquarters, after discharging our guide, I fell in with brushes of the tree before noticed, of the same order as Melaleuca; and perhaps a Turraea, in fruit, in which state I gathered specimens, but met with nothing else particularly interesting.
1818 October 27th. Tuesday. The greater portion of the afternoon was employed on the margins of Tom Thumb’s Lagoon, and in[p416] shaded woods in the vicinity, with very small success; Crinum pedunculatum of Mr. Brown is common in all situations and exposures, while Salicornia indica and Mesembrythemum aequilaterale skirt the margins of the water. In the woods I gathered a few seeds of Tylophora barbata of Mr. Brown, specimens of a small tree in fruit (Myrsine), and some ferns. A repent plant adhering to the bark of trees, with cordate oblong leaves, I suspect to be of the Asclepiadaceae, on account of its habit and lactescent character. I could not discover it in any stage of fructification. At dusk we returned to the farm hut, having met with no other plants of any moment.
1818 October 28th. Wednesday. I have examined the shaded hollows or bottoms westerly, towards the mountain belt. On land occupied by various settlers, for the most part as runs for cattle, I find I am generally a month too early for flowering specimens. I have, however, procured a few in rather an unexpanded state, and others have afforded me ripe fruit. I now purpose to spend two or three days on or immediately under the range; and this morning I removed my headquarters to the stock-keeper’s hut near the mountain, taking with me a sufficiency of salt provisions and abundance of paper for the limited time I intend being absent. About 8 a.m. we left the hut, with an intention, if possible, to reach the summit of Hat Hill, bearing about 8 or 9 miles (apparently) W.N.W., and as a guide through the more intricate woods, I had induced an intelligent native to accompany me. About 11 a.m. we had penetrated through much confined thicket and small patches of clear open forest-land alternately, when my native guide, seeing the more rugged and difficult part of our route before us (and in truth not caring to be absent long from his wives and children), complained of sickness and finally abandoned us, returning back to the hut with all possible speed.
The botany of these thickets varies in nothing from what I have of late so frequently observed. Rhipogonum album is by no means a trifling ornament in these woods, being laden with a great profusion of its white flowers on a smilacine plant. I gathered duplicate seeds of Eustrephus latifolius, and of the aculeated slender plant of Pittosporae. With some difficulty we descended to the rocky bed of a water gully, which is supplied by springs in the belt, particularly from one that has its rise near Hat Hill, which, failing over rocks,[p417] passes through this channel into lagoons at the foot of the range.
In an opening through the trees we could clearly distinguish the bold rocky summit and perpendicular face of the hill, which we intend to ascend, although the densely wooded and brushy rising grounds, broken with ravines, between us, are no small barriers against the attempt. After crossing two deep water-channels, and passing over several minor elevations, we arrived at the back of the lower part of the range considerably to the left or southward of Hat Hill, and tracing it continually upon the ascent we at length reached the rugged summit of this flat-topped mariner’s landmark at 3 p.m.[*] I cannot state otherwise but that I was much disappointed upon finding this eminence entirely covered with very common Port Jackson plants, affording me nothing interesting. The plants were Banksia serrata; Epacris obtusifolia, E. grandiflora; Lomatia silaifolia; the common Tetratheca; Tristania albens, and some common Eucalypti of stunted growth. Comesperma sp., and a Polygala with large purple flowers, common at Parramatta.
[* Mount Kembla.]
From this elevation we had a very extensive view to the seaward, of the whole of the farmed land occupied by various settlers, and bounded by the ocean, comprising from north to south an expanse of near 40 miles. The view westerly on the contrary, is very confined, the country being a succession of lofty ranges behind each other, from among which, large smokes of native fires were observed ascending. The rocks are of sandstone, much excavated by the weather, and the general rugged aspect much the same as that presented to the traveller on each side of the road over the Western or Blue Mountains. After a range of full one hour on this summit, I thought it advisable to descend, and make the most of the daylight and sun, which was much obscured by the dark clouds blowing from the eastward and enveloping the summit of this lofty hill. About 5 p.m. we descended to some rocky holes of water, and being surrounded by Corypha australis, I determined to halt for the night till daybreak, and while my servant was constructing a hut or gunya of its fan leaves, I kindled a fire to prepare us a meal, which at this time of the evening we found very acceptable. We experienced some disagreeable annoyances by being obliged occasionally[p418] to pass through large bodies of Urtica dioica, and large clusters of sharp edged Restiaceae. In this route through damp woods, filled with some few ferns, I detected a slender tree about 16 feet high, bearing flowers in panicles, axillary and terminal, scarcely distinct from Cryptocarya obovata of Mr. Brown; also a parasitical plant, Dendrobium aemulum, with a quadrangular stem.
1818 October 29th. Thursday. At an early hour we left our fire and followed the descents from the mountain, in a direction to the northward of east, that enables us to avoid all the deep creeks intersecting our route yesterday. In this course I gathered specimens of the following:–Crotalaria sp., a slender tree having the habit of Coronella. Glycine clandestina. Ornitrophe sp., a large spreading tree; the red arilloe of the seeds of the tree are eaten by the natives. Croton sp., (or Aleurites ?), specimens in flower, observed in fruit in the vicinity of Port Jackson. Melaleuca sp., closely allied to M. viridiflora (H.K.), a slender tree 20 feet high; with some ferns, particularly a Polypodium allied to P. tenellum, scandent on trees; and Davallia caudata (Brown). The Taxus, a Podocarpus habited tree. Crinum pedunculatum, and the caulescent Caladium, are common in these woods, which are matted together with Rhipogonum album, Smilax australis, and other volubilous and scandent plants. I gathered specimens of a species of Rubus, growing with the British Urtica in large bodies. We saw numbers of the lyre-tailed pheasant, but they were very shy, not allowing us any chance of shooting them. My servant, however, ran down a young hen bird unable to fly. I set out with my servant and a native as a guide and assistant from the hut at 7 a.m., for another remarkable eminence on the ridge of the mountain belt, called Cap or Molle Hill, which has a round top from a near land view of it, but at a distance out at sea appears at particular bearings perfectly flat, and has been frequently taken for the Hat Hill of Captains Cook and Flinders. Our guide directed our route over a large portion of rising rich pastureland, thinly wooded with common Eucalypti, till we entered the brushes conducting us to the base of the hill, comprised for the most part of plants already observed.
In the steep ascent many interesting specimens made their appearance, particularly Aster argophyllus of Labillardière [= Olearia argophylla], of large growth, in an abundant[p419] flowering state; and a tall gigantic shrub with long terminal branches, panicles of pentandrous flowers, and woolly petioled oblong leaves, observed elsewhere in New South Wales.
A spreading tree, 20-25 feet high, of Laurinex of rare appearance, in young fruit, with large broad elliptical triple-nerved leaves, glacuous beneath, proves to be Tetranthera dealbata of Mr. Brown [= Litsea dealbata], (the Laurus myrrha of Father Loureiro), figured by Plukenet from specimens sent him probably by Mr. James Cunningham, a surgeon in the East India Company’s Service, resident at Canton, of whose extensive knowledge in botany that author makes frequent mention in his “Amaltheum Botanicurn.” Throughout the whole ascent Bignonia australis [= Tecoma australis] overruns the tops of the other shrubs, to whose dark foliage its clusters of flowers give an air of lightness.
About one p.m. we arrived at the summit of Molle Hill, which, by no means so elevated as Hat Hill, nevertheless commands an extensive view to the seaward. Being much more to the southward, the true formation of Lake Illowree can be well traced from the sea to the westward, and presents from this elevation a beautiful sheet of water. As on Hat Hill, this mount has little novelty, being chiefly clothed with the vegetation of Port Jackson. The declivities and overhanging rocks furnished me with specimens of Blandfordia grandiflora (Brown). Xanthorrhoea sp., with a few seeds. Epacris crassifolia (Bn.), a beautiful flowering plant; and another rigid plant of the same kindred family, Dracophyllum secundum, of which I sent seeds to England per “Harriet.” Xerotes tennifolia. A purple-flowered Solanum, a suffruticose plant. With a few ferns, particularly Gleichenia speluncae of Mr. Brown. I again noticed the Podocarpus-looking plant. Some trees we passed this day were 35 and 40 feet high. The rocks on the summit of Molle or Cap Hill are bold and bluff to the northward and eastward, and are of the prevailing sandstone of Sydney. About 4 p.m. we had descended and had returned to our temporary quarters, the thunder from the mountains hastening our despatch.
1818 October 31st. Saturday. I took a walk in the confined brushes in the environs of the farm, but found, in consequence of the quantity of rain that had fallen this morning, it was vain to collect flowering specimens, and in reality the route I took furnished me with nothing but what I had seen before, excepting a[p420] twining shrub, perhaps of Urticaceae. About 2 p.m. I packed up all my specimens and returned to my original headquarters at Illawarra, or Five Islands farm.
1818 November 3rd. Tuesday. This day I visited Lake Allowree, on the margins of which I expected to make some further discoveries in botany. The woods and close-shaded bottoms we passed afforded me little variety or deviation from the individual specimens of which frequent mention has been made. The following few interesting plants, however, are the results of this day’s investigations. Achras australis of Mr. Brown, a slender timber, beneath which I gathered a quantity of the seeds. A twining plant of Asclepiadaceae, Marsdenia rostrata of Mr. Brown. The Podocarpus so often examined, I found to-day bearing last year’s male flowers upon it, of which I gathered specimens. Hibiscus heterophyllus skirts these woods, also the Gossypium-habited tree, and another with ternate, oblong leaves, having much the appearance and character of Mr. Brown’s Flindersia; I saw but a single tree, but that without any appearance of fruit or flower to determine its genus. Descending through a brush of dwarf sapling Casuarina, the ground being covered with the native Viola sp., we came out upon the margin of the Lake, which is extensive, but very shoaly on its expanded surface, Pelicans, ducks, teal and some other aquatic birds were swimming, and in detached parties I observed natives of the Lake–their hereditary property in possession–in canoes, spearing fish, which is said to be abundant. The most moderate calculation of the dimensions of this lake is, from east to west 12 miles, and from north to south about 16 miles. Its supply from the sea is over a flat low part of the beach not exceeding 100 yards wide, whose channel has about 9 feet of water at the flood tide, sufficient to allow some small shark and an abundance of porpoises to pass to the lake. Its margins are covered with a dead seaweed and Salicornia indica, with a delicate plant in tufts, the Mimulus repens of Mr. Brown.
On the more elevated grassy lands I gathered specimens of some small plants of Melanthaceae and Asphodeleae, viz. Burchardia umbellata, and Tricoryne elatior of Mr. Brown, with a small flowering Craspedia Richea (Labillardière). Approaching rain with thunder warned us to return, which we did by shaping our course along the sea shore, where I[p421] gathered specimens of an Acacia in fruit, a shrub of depressed growth, frequently procumbent on the sands. A genus of Solanaceae (Duboisia of Mr. Brown), I found in flower, of which I gathered specimens. Myoporum ellipticum and M. acuminatum, the latter a small tree, furnished me with ripe seeds. Barely outside the high water mark, Calystegia reniformis of Mr. Brown, Atriplex halimus and Spinifex sericeus, clothe the beach, the former bearing abundance of its purple flowers. In some low boggy grounds on the western side of the boundary ridges, Menyanthes exaltata or Villarsia parnassifolia was noticed, and I detected a new species of Stackhousia, with slender filiform leaves and small yellow flowers.
4th. Wednesday. In a walk I took southerly in the afternoon, on the beach, I added some few specimens and seeds to my gradually augmenting collection:–Dolichos reliculatus (H.K.) Apium prostratum of Ventenat and Labillardière. Spinifex sericeus, female flowering specimens. Croton sp., leaves linear, male flowers, large white seeds. Leontodon sp., specimens in flower, and ripe seeds; on rocks. On the rocky points besides Correa alba, Westringia Dampieri, Scaevola suaveolens, Plectranthus australis, I gathered seeds of a dwarf stunted shrub of Casuarina.
1818 November 5th. Thursday. Repeated observations prove the necessity of leaving the immediate shores to seek for botanical novelty, which appears only to exist in the deep recesses of dark woods under the mountain range, where the most luxuriant vigour of vegetation is contrasted with its final dissolution, and where the mind is presented with a striking picture of the operations of nature, who, when thus left to herself, never destroys but that she may again create. I have now determined to spend 5 or 6 days in these shades as profitably as possible, and intend therefore to make my headquarters at the bark hut of a friend, whose frequent kind solicitations to be allowed to assist and forward me in my pursuits, I am happy now to afford the pleasurable occasion. Having therefore made arrangements relative to the airing of my green specimens on hand, which I leave at the Five Island farm till my return, I set out with my servant and packhorse, laden with paper and other necessaries for the period I propose being away.
My intended headquarters is on the south west side of[p422] the Lake, distant about 12 miles from Illawarra, towards which we commenced our journey at 9 a.m. Nothing can exceed the rich luxuriance of the grasses of the fine grazing land we passed over in the first 4 miles, the great nourishment of which is abundantly demonstrated by the many head of large well-bodied cattle grazing thereon. Arriving at a small rivulet that intersected our course, running easterly from the range, we forded it and passed through an intricate but interesting brush, where I observed some shrubs not in flower or fruit different from any previously detected. From these thickets southerly, the forest grazing grounds continue, occasionally interrupted by small brooks or creeks of running water. The many well-beaten cross-paths of cattle intersecting one another, having led us imperceptibly off our own true course, it was late before we even reached the borders of the western extremes of the Lake, and being overtaken by a heavy drenching rain, with thunder and lightning, I thought it advisable to halt for the day, 5 miles short of my ultimate destination, at a temporary hut on the lake.
1818 November 6th. Friday. Wishing to examine some close confined thickets in the neighbourhood of the hut, I did not change my headquarters this day, which was for the most part occupied in the investigation of the botany around. Among the many valuable trees already made mention of, I discovered the following:–Asclepiadaceae, Lyonsia straminea (Brown), a large twining shrub, in fruit. Xylocarpus sp., a tree of moderate size. Acalypha sp., a shrub. Logania sp., allied to L. Longifolia, the plant agrees with L. revoluta in habit, but has no perceptible pubescence about it; a slender shrub. Rhamnus sp. Cissus sp., very nearly related to C. antarctica, of which I gathered seeds. Myrtus trinervia [= Rhodamnia trinervia] in young fruit. Eugenia elliptica forms a large tree in these woods, and Sterculia heterophylla, very frequent in the Western Interior, I found full of fruit, from which I gathered ripe seeds. A large twiggy shrub with ovate attenuate toothed scabrous leaves, but in no stage of flower or fruit; its acute terminal bud and bleeding character when broken, would indicate its genus to be Ficus. A twining shrub of Cunoniaceae, intermediate between Weinmannia and Ceratopetalum, afforded me very handsome flowering specimens. Its branches, with Clerodendron tomentosum, of very luxuriant growth, and Bignonia australis = Tecoma australis][p423] top all other plants, frequently climbing over the robust lofty arms of the Red Cedar trees, and reclining on the heads of the smaller arbusculae. Nicotiana undulata, Myosotis australis, and a plant with a small single seeded fruit in small clusters,[*] are common plants on the verge of these thickets.
[* This climbing plant agrees with Sicyos angulata (Linn.), originally figured by Hermann.]
1818 November 7th. Saturday. About the hour of 8 we departed from the hut on the lake, directing our course over fine forest land to our intended headquarters with more than ordinary caution, to prevent being led a second time out of our road by the many paths leading to all points of the compass. At 11 a.m. we arrived at our destination, after a long route through much rising uneven ground, and taking possession of a comfortable spare apartment recently attached to the bark hut, I prepared myself to visit the woods near the farm. About half a mile to the westward of this Australian farm house, some extensive confined thickets, to which I directed my attention, employed us during the remaining part of the day. I gathered the following:–Tetranthera dealbata (Brown), a tree 25-30 feet high, in young fruit. Duboisia myoporoides, some finer specimens than I have before possessed; this tree which varies from 12-20 feet in height, has a remarkably thick corky bark. Buettneriaceae, a subvolubilous plant with a terminal raceme of yellow flowers; leaves alternate, minutely denticulated, and smooth. On the banks of a muddy stream I gathered a small plant which appears to be Mr. Brown’s Heliotropium asperrimum. A large volubilous plant of considerable length, which I suspect is related to the Menispermaceae, is common in the dark forests to which we penetrated, wherein the tropical palm Seaforthia elegans, Corypha australis, and the arborescent Urtica in all stages, are very abundant. Of the latter I could discover no traces of fructification, but I gathered a quantity of the Fan Palm (Corypha australis). Of the ferns, of which these humid shades are productive, I collected the following:–Pteris nuduiscula, P. falcata (Br.), P. umbrosa (Br.), Adiantum hispidulum (Br.), Lindsaea microphylla (Br.), Asplenium flabellifolium, Dicksonia davalloides Br., and Doodia caudata Bn.
1818 November 8th. Sunday. Particularly fine and favourable weather for drying my specimens.
9th. Monday. I prepared this day to visit (if possible) the[p424] summit of the main range overhanging the extreme boundary of the farm, although from the elevated, bluff, perpendicular appearance of its rocky face, I had little hopes of reaching this lofty part of the ridge. To ensure the most practicable ascent I secured, for a little tobacco, the most useful assistance of a native, with whom we started at 8 a.m. on a south-westerly course for the eminence in view. At 11 a.m., having passed over much hilly fine grazing forest land, we arrived at the base of the range, where on rocks in the bed of a running creek, taking its rise in the mountains, I commenced collecting the few interesting plants detected in this day’s route. Urticaceae. Boehmeria sp., a succulent plant with procumbent radicant herbaceous stems, appears allied to Forster’s Elatostemma. A species of Piper, the first I have observed in Australia, very abundant on the mossy decayed stems of trees, with a species of Pteris. The pepper appears to be the same as Piper reflexum of Linn. and Swartz, already found on islands in the Pacific Ocean, as well as in the West Indies, and at the Cape of Good Hope.
Ascending the steep sides of the mountain through thick brushes of Croton and the same description of plants as observed on the sides of Molle or Cap Hill (particularly Aster argophyllus and Bursaria spinosa) we reached the summit early in the afternoon, and found scarcely any other than the common plants of New South Wales, presumptive proofs that the whole ridge is of the same character, and that the most rare, desirable and valuable plants are inhabitants of the shaded ravines at its base, I gathered some papers of seeds of the following:–Deeringia celosioides, a genus of Amarantaceae. Ficus rubiginosa, a large tree 60-80 feet high, with very extraordinary alated base. Trochocarpa laurina. Pimelea sp., allied to P. ligustrina, capitulum of flowers conical. And Helichrysum sp., a tall suffruticose plant.
The native, our guide, espied, on a tree, an opossum (Didelphis), having many of the habits of the ring tailed species (caudivolva). It was a female and her cub. They were asleep, hanging by the claws, among the topmost shoots of a slender Eucalyptus piperita. It has no tail; it has the thick bluff head of the wombat, with strong incisor teeth, but does not burrow in the earth as that harmless, easily domesticated animal.[*] The length of the mother was[p425] 28 inches, and its weight upwards Of 30 lbs.; the cub was about half grown, its length not exceeding a foot; it was covered with a fine thick grey fur. The Australian killed the parent in order the better to carry her down the range, but the young one, at my suggestion, and request, was suffered to live, and was carefully brought to the Farm hut. The heat of the day had brought out snakes from their retreats in the hollow trunks of fallen timber, and it required the utmost caution to avoid treading upon them as they lay basking in the beaten paths among the high grass. At dusk we returned to the Farm hut, having had a fine day for the ill-paid excursion we had made.
[* This seems to have been a native bear.]
1818 November 10th. Tuesday. I employed myself in some gullies under the range, with a view of collecting any few remaining flowering specimens that might be worth attention. I gathered the following:–Cryptocarya glaucescens, a tree 40 feet high. Cynoglossum latifolium (Br.), a small plant, on the banks of fresh-water streams: Gratiola latifolia (Br.), in similar situations. Prostanthera caerulea (Br.), a large strong scented shrubby plant. Tetranthera dealbata, I observed to-day in young fruit; and I gathered another paper of the seeds of Eustrephus latifolius, with finer specimens of the aphyllous twining shrub of Urtiaceae, having monoecious succulent racemes of flowers, first discovered on the 31st ultimo.
1818 November 11th. Wednesday. At an early hour we left the farm, with all my luggage, for my original headquarters at Illawarra, which I hoped to reach at midday, in order to pack up all the plants and prepare for taking my departure for Parramatta early to-morrow morning. In the rich grassy lands I gathered specimens of Xerotes mucronata and Daviesia sp., allied to D. acicularis, in young fruit. In some dark woods I detected a small tree of Cryptocarya sp., differing from C. glaucescens in having a tomentum on the under surface of the foliage. About one p.m. I halted for an hour at the bark hut of another settler, having heard I might possibly procure good seeds of a species of palm (Seaforthia elegans), the Bangla, very frequent in the moist woods in the neighbourhood, and of which I had made much inquiry during my stay at the Five Islands. With the assistance of some people on the farm with axes, I caused several specimens 40-50 feet high to be fallen, laden with fruit, which I, however, found far from being ripe. They afforded me specimens that may prove[p426] the identity of the plant as being the same observed by me on the north coast on the 14th April last. It would seem, from the present state of the fruit, that it ripens about March next, and that as they arrive at maturity they fall off and furnish a substantial aliment to the numerous large birds (particularly pigeons) inhabiting these woods.
1818 November 12th. Thursday. I sent off a pack-horse, laden, to the foot of the mountain, about 10 miles north of the Five Islands, with directions that the man and horse should return to me early in the afternoon, in order to be ready to take off the remaining load of my luggage and collections early in the morning. I gathered Myostis australis in flower and fruit.
1818 November 13th. Friday. At 5 a.m. I finally left the Five Islands Farm, with the remaining part of my collection, for the foot of the mountain, and arrived at the settler’s hut there early in the forenoon. Having made some necessary arrangements relative to the conveyance of my luggage up the mountain on the morrow, I took a walk into the shaded woods at its base, of which the plants, although very interesting, are uniformly the same as those in similar situations, of which frequant mention has been already made. I gathered duplicate flowering specimens of Rubus sp., Oxalis sp., a small creeping pubescent plant; and duplicate specimens in fruit of a large twining shrub, Lyonsia straminea. In grassy exposed situations of the beach I detected an annual Hibiscus in flower and fruit.
1818 November 14th. Saturday. The whole of this day was occupied in carrying up my luggage to the hut on the mountain top.
1818 November 17th. Tuesday. At 6 a.m. we left the temporary hut on the mountain top for the farmhouse of Mr. Middleton where my Govt. cart was left in charge . . . I made no discoveries of any moment.
1818 November 19th. Thursday. The rugged stage of 15 miles from the mountain top to this farm had so worn off the shoes of my poor horse as to render re-shoeing indispensable. . . . I therefore determined to lose no time but to proceed with my cart together with the whole of my collection towards Parramatta where we arrived at the close of the afternoon.[*]
[* End of journal.]