History of West Australia/Chapter 2
THE DISCOVERY OF AUSTRALIA
DAMPIER—RIDDERSCHAP VAN HOLLANDT—DE VLAMING—DAMPIER—VAN DELFT—PROPOSED COLONISATION OF NUYTS LAND—ZUYSDORP—ZEEWYK AND THE ABROLHOS—ST. ALOUARN—VANCOUVER—D’ENTRECASTEAUX—GRANT—FLINDERS—NAMING OF AUSTRALIA—BAUDIN—DE FREYCINET—KING'S VOYAGES.
AND now the connection of England with Australian waters began. English maritime enterprise in the Pacific, Indian, and Southern Oceans had hitherto been small indeed, and beyond irregular voyages by privateers, buccaneers, and merchantmen among the East India Islands, they thought little of countries which in times to come their descendants would inhabit. Practically they had never heard of Australia, and it was not until after that worthy forerunner of English ascendancy in the Southern Hemisphere—Dampier—was, partly against his will, brought to the coast of Western Australia, that the public was made acquainted with such a large continent. Other English navigators have their names enshrined in the patriotic Temple of Recollection, but Dampier was the pioneer of their honourable association with these lands. Dampier was in some respects a hero. His adventures were many, and though a buccaneer by force of circumstance, he collected reliable and valuable information for the benefit of his country. The volumes he published on his voyage round the world contain highly instructive matter, dealing with the divers countries he visited. He describes the fauna, flora, soils, bearings, charts, and the peculiar peoples he met, besides giving other data which would be likely to assist the English Government in their naval policy, as regards these out-stations of the earth. Not only are his volumes didactic, but they are succinctly and uniformly connected, and for the lover of works of adventure he tells many strange stories of bloodshed and war and romantic situations. His references to Australia are specially useful, and, as is now known, are more reliable than could be supposed possible, considering the circumscribed limits he viewed. Taken altogether, perhaps no finer navigator could at that period have been found to establish English association with Australian shores. He was a brave man, a shrewd observer, and a painstaking worker.
It was through a romantic combination of fortuitous adventures that William Dampier landed on the Australian coast. At the beginning of 1679 he sailed on the Loyal Merchant, of London, for Jamaica with merchandise, which he there intended to sell and afterwards secure other goods for trade at Campeachy, whither he designed his voyages to extend to. But at Jamaica he relinquished the latter adventure, and purchased from some local personage a small estate in Dorsetshire, near his native county of Somerset. He now desired to return to England, but was influenced to undertake a voyage to the country of the Mosquitoes, in Central America. Boarding a vessel, he did not get further than the west end of Jamaica, where the crew forsook the ship to join a privateering expedition. Left almost alone, Dampier at last decided to go with the rest. Then followed startling travels by land and sea in the West Indies, on the mainland of South America, round Terra del Fuego, up the west coast of South America to Mexico, across the Pacific to the Ladrones, among the South Sea Islands, to China, to the western coast of Australia, and finally, after many blood-curdling escapes and dangers, he rounded the Cape of Good Hope, went up to the Azores, near Newfoundland, and from there to the south of England. During this extensive voyage, a huge undertaking even in these days of improved vessels, he was associated with several ships and many men of varied characters. Buccaneers had a precarious existence among the then mysterious far-off countries. Completely cut off by distance from their homes in Great Britain, they eat and slept and killed and robbed and moved among peoples quite different from themselves. On the 2nd October, 1684, Dampier met, at the Island of Plata, on the west coast of South America, the ship Cygnet, by which vessel he was brought to Australia. The Cygnet was fitted out by eminent London merchants to trade with the Spaniards and "Indians," as all natives were then called. Captain Swan, who commanded her, had not succeeded in his trade on the voyage, and in consort with the other privateers who took to buccaneering, he, unfortunately for himself, slew and robbed. Dampier took a position on the Cygnet. Thenceforward the buccaneers captured several ships, or "prizes," demolished towns, when demands for ransoms were not met, and committed a great deal of bloodshed. But Swan, the commander of the party, soon tired of such a doubtful life and wished to get back to England. He sedulously watched for an occasion. Dampier, although glad of the opportunity of acquiring so much useful information, also desired to sever his connection with the party and return to his native country. At Mindanao, in the East Indies, the Cygnet remained for a few weeks, and Swan and several of the officers lived principally on shore and enjoyed some hospitality from the inhabitants. Several circumstances here tended to breed discussion among the buccaneers, and while Swan desired to make a somewhat prolonged stay at Mindanao, his crew were restless for more adventures. The quarrel came to a head when, at noon on the 14th January, 1687, the ship's company, of whom Dampier was one, weighed anchor and sailed out of Mindanao, leaving there Captain Swan and about thirty-six men, besides several who had run away to live among the natives. The buccaneers sought for plunder at different islands, and in China and elsewhere had many bloody frays, and met with severe storms. All these experiences caused Dampier the more to wish to escape. The bad weather determined them to steer a course for the East Indian Ocean, by way of Timor, choosing a lonely route south so as not to meet with English and Dutch ships, of whom they were afraid. Contrary winds carried them out of their course, and they at last decided to land on New Holland, "to see what that country would afford us."
On 4th January, 1688, Dampier caught sight of the western coast of Australia, in latitude 16 degrees 50 minutes. The Cygnet approached as close as was wise to the shore, and then coasted south until a point was reached whence the land trended east and southerly. Three leagues east of this point the buccaneers came to a "pretty deep bay, with abundance of islands in it." On January 5 they anchored two miles from shore, at the north-western corner of King's Sound, in which is now the town of Derby, Kimberley Division. "New Holland," wrote Dampier, "is a very large tract of land. It is not yet determined whether it is an island or a main continent: but I am certain that it joins neither to Asia, Africa, America. This part of it that we saw is all low, even land, sandy banks against the sea, only the points are rocky, and so are some of the islands in this bay."
From these lines an inference is obtained of what English knowledge of Australia then was, for Dampier evidently had well worked out charts with him, judging from his criticisms of the positions marked in them. His remarks dealing with Western Australia should be interesting to readers of the history of this colony, and we take this as a reason for publishing extracts from his volumes. He describes the "dry, sandy, soil" as
"destitute of water, except you make wells; yet producing divers sorts of trees: but the woods are not thick, nor the trees very big. Most of the trees we saw are dragon-trees, as we supposed, and these too are the largest trees of any there. They are about the bigness of our large apple trees, and about the same height; and the rind is blackish and somewhat rough…… The other sorts of trees were not known by any of us. There was pretty long grass growing under the trees; but it was very thin. We saw no trees that bore fruit or berries."
They observed no animals, and only once the track of one, "that seemed to be the tread of a beast as big as a great mastiff dog." There were a few small land birds and but few sea-fowl. Fish were scarce, "unless you reckon the manatee and turtle as such." Dampier was not impressed by the natives he met.
"The inhabitants of this country are the miserablest people in the world. The Hodmadods of Monomatapa, though a nasty people, yet for wealth are gentlemen to these; who have no houses and skin garments, sheep, poultry, and fruits of the earth, ostrich eggs, &c., as the Hodmadods have: and, setting aside their human shape, they differ little from brutes. They are tall, straight-bodied, and thin, with small long limbs. They have great heads, round foreheads, and great brows. Their eyelids are always half closed, to keep the flies out of their eyes; they being so troublesome here that no fanning will keep them from coming to one's face; and without the assistance of both hands to keep them off they will creep into one's nostrils, and mouth too, if the lips are not shut very close. So that from their infancy, being thus annoyed with these insects, they do never open their eyes as other people, and therefore they cannot see far, unless they hold up their heads, as if they were looking at somewhat over them.
"They have great bottle noses, pretty full lips, and wide mouths. The two fore-teeth of their upper jaw are wanting in all of them, men and women, old and young. They are long-visaged…… Their hair is black, short and curled.
They have no sort of clothes, but a piece of the rind of a tree tied like a girdle about their waists, and a handful of long grass, or three or four small green boughs, full of leaves, thrust under their girdle to cover their nakedness.
"They have no houses, but lie in the open air without any covering; the earth being their bed and the heaven their canopy…… They do live in companies, 20 or 30 men, women and children together. Their only food is a small sort of fish, which they get by making weirs of stones across little coves or branches of the sea, every tide bringing in the small fish, and there leave them a prey to these people, who constantly attend there to search for them at low water. This small fry I take to be the top of their fishery: they have no instruments to catch great fish should they come; and such seldom stay to be left behind at low water.… In other places, at low water, they seek for cockles, mussels, and perriwinkles. Of these shell fish there are fewer still; so that their chiefest dependence is what the sea leaves in their weirs; which, be it much or little, they gather up, and march to the places of their abode. There the old people that are not able to stir abroad, by reason of their age, and the tender infants wait their return; and what Providence has bestowed on them they presently broil on the coals, and eat it in common. Sometimes they get as many fish as makes them a plentiful banquet; and at other times they scarce get everyone a taste; but be it little or much that they get, everyone has his part, as well the young and tender, the old and feeble, who are not able to go abroad, as the strong and lusty. When they have eaten they lie down till the next low water, and then all that are able march out, be it night or day, rain or shine, 'tis all one! they must attend the weirs, or else they must fast, for the earth affords them no food at all. There is neither herb, root, pulse, nor any sort of grain, for them to eat that we saw: nor any sort of bird or beast that they can catch, having no instruments wherewithal to do so.
"I did not perceive that they did worship anything. These poor creatures have a sort of weapon to defend their ware, or fight with their enemies, if they have any that will interfere with their poor fisheries.… Some of them had wooden swords, others had a sort of lance. The sword is a piece of wood, shaped somewhat like a cutlass. The lance is a long straight pole, sharp at one end, and hardened afterwards by heat. I saw no iron, nor any other sort of metal."
Excursions were made in boats to the neighbouring islands. These islands were fairly largely inhabited, and on one of them when the buccaneers were landing the natives threatened them with spears and swords, but the firing of a gun frightened them so that they rushed away and tried to hide themselves. Women snatched their babies to their arms and, howling, joined in the flight, while those who were not able lay by their fires moaning dolefully. On this island water was discovered, and the barrels were filled. The white men desired that their black neighbours should carry these, and after making friends with them and presenting "to one an old pair of breeches, to another a ragged shirt, to the third a jacket that was scarce worth owning," and themselves putting the garments round the astonished recipients, they placed a barrel on the shoulder of each native, and signified that they were to be carried to the canoe. It was to no purpose; the aboriginals stood like statues, and "grinned like so many monkeys, staring one upon another," and perforce the buccaneers had to carry the barrels themselves. The natives took the garments off and threw them to one side, "as if clothes were only to work in," and seemed to like them but little. But they greedily devoured what boiled rice, turtle, and manatee were given them, yet they saw nothing of interest in the ship. They swam from island to island, having no boats. On the mainland one day a company of them gathered on a high bank near the ship, and threatened the intruders with swords and lances. "At last the captain ordered the drum to be sounded, which was done of a sudden with much vigour," and the apparently brave warriors of a moment before scurried away in much haste making a great noise. After about a week the vessel was careened in a sandy cove at low tide, and cleaned, and her sails were mended. While doing this the buccaneers lived on shore in a tent, subsisting on manatee and turtle. Dampier sought to influence his companions to "go to some English factory" then established in the East Indies, and retire from their irregular life, but they threatened to put him on land and leave him there if he did not desist. He apparently passed his time to the best advantage during his sojourn on the Australian coast, for though his remarks on Australian aboriginals only applies to one tribe, it will easily be seen that his descriptions are excellent and substantially true. On the 12th March the Cygnet sailed away from New Holland, after spending two months at King's Sound. She reached the Nicobar Islands, where Dampier and two other men left the ship. Dampier procured a canoe, and after successful encounters with natives, and meeting cannibals, he proceeded to Achin, where he had a long illness. He was at last taken on board an English ship, the Defence, and arrived in his native land on September 16, 1691. The Cygnet finally sank in Augustin Bay, Madagascar. Captain Swan had a tragic fate, for he was murdered by natives at Mindanao.
The wreck of a Dutch vessel, the Ridderschap van Hollandt, in 1684 or 1685, was the cause of another special visit of a Dutch navigator to this coast. The lost ship left the Cape of Good Hope and was not again heard of. In 1696 Wilhelm de Vlaming, with the ships Geelvink, Nyptang, and Wezel, was ordered to search for the wreck at New Holland on its way to the East Indies. He duly left the fatherland, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and held on a southerly and easterly course. At 2.30 on the morning of December 29, 1696, he sighted the South Land, which proved to be Rottnest Island and her neighbouring sisters, off the Swan River. Making close for the shore of Rottnest he anchored, and spent a few days examining the island. On the beach he found a piece of wood in which were nails,
probably from some wrecked vessel, but bearing no distinctive signs of the Ridderschap van Hollandt. The island was mainly composed of white rocky sand, and upon it he saw several sorts of herbs, also rats, and a variety of trees. He went up into the island, amid the primal silence of the stunted trees, and came upon "several basins of excellent water, but brackish, and six or seven paces further a fountain of excellent water, fit to drink." The appellation "Rottnest" was awarded to the island because of the number of "rats" (wallabies) nests they found on it. From the rising ground the party described to the east the mainland of New Holland, and they knew that natives were there because of the smoke which daily rose from amid the woods. On the 4th January, 1697, a boat went over to the mainland, and on the 5th other boats put off, containing 86 fully armed strong men. Among the first sights they observed was a native hut, "of a worse description than those of the Hottentots." That day the Swan River, on whose banks the thriving cities of Perth and Fremantle are now established, was discovered, but they then considered it to be a series of salt lakes. They looked about them all day long but saw no natives, merely their foot-prints on the banks of the river. When night came they determined to sleep on shore, and finding a native fire still burning they camped by it. Next day the men divided into three companies, and explored in different directions, one north, another east, the third south. They were hidden by the woods in their curious exploitation, and at night they again met without having discovered anything worthy of note. On the 7th some of the party who had eaten fruits and nuts found on bushes in the silent forest, began to vomit so severely that all were afraid they were poisoned. They now went on board. But they had determined that the salt lakes were a large inland river, which rose and fell with the tide and they saw upon its surface a surpassingly strange sight in that rarity of Nature, black swans, young ones of which they caught and took on board with them. The vessels were sailed on the following day closer to the mainland, and on the 10th De Vlaming, with three boats full of men, supplied with guns and ammunition, rowed over the mouth of the river to view the country along its course. This river up to that time was certainly the most encouraging feature discovered in Terra Australis. They did not go far that day, but made a longer excursion on the 11th, when the recorder tells us that the swans were so numerous that "our boats knocked over nine or ten." Not yet were they able to meet the shy, retiring natives; but they saw parroquets, cockatoos, rotganzen, geese, and divers, and no doubt were pleased when they "also heard the song of the nightingale." The river was named the Black Swan (Zwaanen) River, and besides catching there several of these rare birds, and taking two of them to Batavia, they secured fish from its depths, particularly smelts. After subsequently taking soundings in the locality of their anchorage, and recording that they saw no good country thereabouts, on the 15th they sailed northwards. At different places along the coast they anchored and went inland to see what advantages were presented, but beyond finding a lake, seeing the footprints of dogs, and taking on the beach oysters and turtles, they were disappointed. On the 3rd February they reached Sharks Bay, and found Hartog's old tin plate. During that month they worked up the coast, landing where they could, and acquiring all the know1edge in their power. In many places they sank wells, but obtained little fresh water. They tell us that the weather was exceedingly hot; that they ascended mountains; ran up supposed rivers; and met with severe storms of thunder, lightning, rain, and wind. In one of these a shallop was capsized and the carpenter was drowned. The coast was somewhat treacherous, and often they had to round banks jutting into the sea. When near the North West Cape, on 21st February, they fired cannons, "as a signal of farewell to the miserable South Land," and steered for Batavia. De Vlaming had thus discovered the Swan River, and anchored in the harbour of Fremantle.
In the meantime Dampier, the returned buccaneer, and the first Englishman to visit Australia, had arranged his book of travels. In 1698 this work, entitled A New Voyage Round the World, was published. It gave to the English public an extensive acquaintance with the southern seas and their many islands. It was the first authentic work dealing with Australia printed in English, and its romantic contents attracted the attention of those in high places. Dampier's remarks on the dimensions of New Holland made the English Government desirous of a further knowledge of its potentialities, and King William III., through the Earl of Pembroke, caused the Admiralty to fit out the Roebuck for an expedition. Dampier was given command as a just reward for his other services, and was entrusted to prove whether New Holland was a succession of islands or a continent, and also to examine parts of the north-west coast. Dampier was eager for the voyage, and the Roebuck, after being supplied with 12 guns, 50 men and boys, and 20 months' provisions, sailed from the Downs on the 14th January, 1699. The mission was esteemed so important that several King's ships escorted the Roebuck as far as Dungeness. Then Dampier sailed away from civilisation, and was for many months unheard of. Instead of giving a tiresome account of his voyage we will begin the narrative of his adventures when he was approaching Australia. After passing the Cape of Good Hope, Dampier, who must have possessed a comparatively extensive knowledge of winds and currents, distinctly mentions that he bore east south-east, as by keeping to the same parallel he could make better sailing. He was thus served by the prevailing west winds. Then when he considered it necessary he steered more northerly and weathered a somewhat trying storm. He now judged he was nearing the coast of New Holland from the amount of seaweed floating past his vessel, from birds and coral, and because of "small round things like pearl, some as big as white peas; they were very clear and transparent, and upon crushing any of them a drop of water would come forth."
On August 1, 1699, at nine in the morning, land was observed from the mast-head, ten leagues away. The coast was low and even, with steep red and white cliffs at the water's edge. An opening was before him, but not liking the anchorage, it being rocky, he stood out. This was slightly north of the Abrolhos. After beating about for a day or two he went further north, and on the 6th August anchored in a sound which he named Sharks Bay, because of the many sharks sporting there. Men were immediately sent on shore to search for water, but at night they returned on board without finding any. Further efforts were made by Dampier amid his men next day, but unsuccessful, they merely secured wood. The land had many gentle risings, and the shore was steep. The mould by the sea-side was sand, and there a samphire, bearing a white flower, grew; further in was a reddish sand mould, producing grass, plants, and shrubs. The grass grew in thick tufts, "as big as a bushel, here and there a tuft," being intermixed with much heath. None of the trees were more than 10 feet high. The colour of the leaves was whitish on one side and green on the other. "The blossoms of the different sorts of trees were of several colours, as red, white, yellow, &c., but mostly blue; and these generally smelt very sweet and fragrant." Tall and small sweet and beautiful flowers abounded, the like of which Dampier had not before seen. There were no large land fowls except eagles, and a few sorts of small birds. Among the waterfowl were ducks, "curlews, galdens, crab-catchers, cormorants, gulls, pelicans," and pictures were carefully drawn of some of these by the versatile navigator. Dampier gives the first description ever written of the kangaroo:—
"The land animals that we saw here were only a sort of racoons, different from those of the West Indies, chiefly as to their legs; for these have very short fore legs; but go jumping upon them as the others do (and like them are very good meat)."
He quaintly describes
"A sort of guanos, of the same shape and size with other guanos described, but differing from them in three remarkable particulars; for these had a larger and uglier head, and had no tail, and at the rump, instead of the tail there, they had a stump of a tail, which appeared like another head, but not really such, being without mouth and eyes. Yet this creature seemed by this means to have a head at each end; and, which may be reckoned a fourth difference, the legs also seemed all four of them to be fore legs, being all alike in shape and length, and seeming by the joints and bending to be made as if they were to go indifferently either head or tail foremost."
These guanos were speckled black and yellow like toads, had scales or knobs on their backs like crocodiles, were slow in motion, and their livers were spotted black and yellow, "and when opened hath a very unsavoury smell. I did never see such ugly creatures." He had eaten snakes and crocodiles and alligators, and many other ugly creatures, but no matter how hungry he did not think he could eat this harmless Australian lizard. Then Dampier goes to much trouble to clearly describe the sea-fish—the "mighty whale," the oysters, the turtles, and the "strange and beautiful shells." Of oysters there were two varieties, the eating oyster and the "pearl kind," which is the first mention we have of the pearl beds which have been such a source of wealth to Western Australia. The company refreshed themselves on fish, fowl, and kangaroo, cruised round the bay and the islands at its mouth, but finding no water, on the 14th August sailed north-east to discover a more fertile shore. In starting they saw three yellow, dark brown, spotted, water serpents, about four feet long and the size of a man's wrist, which they were greatly interested in at first, but the numbers they afterwards observed made them a common sight. Constantly taking soundings and observations, they kept near the coast, passing large shoals of whales and dolphins; the dismal noise made by the former in blowing and dashing the sea with their tails "was very dreadful." Their next anchorage was on 21st August, near rocky islets outside Nickol Bay and Cossack. They coasted round some of the islands, wishing to come upon a suitable place where the men could land and seek water, but the country both on the mainland and on the islands appeared inhospitable and barren indeed.
Here Dampier prophetically foreshadows the gold that was found a few miles inland some years ago. He sought out a course among these islands for water and other refreshments, "besides, that among so many islands we might have found some sort of rich mineral or ambergris, it being a good latitude for both these." Just here it is well to mention that a misconception exists that Dutch charts of the sixteenth century, containing the words, "Beach," Provincia Aurifera, applied to a portion of the Northern coast, suggest that gold must have been found there. That talented man, Mr. C. H. Coote, who has charge of the Department of Maps and Drawings in the British Museum, has been applied to for a solution of the question, and he replies that—
"The legend of 'Beach,' Provincia Aurifera, does not occur on the Chart No. 90,056 (1) Dampier's, but amongst others on the Map of the World, by Peter Plancips, the Dutch geographer, 1594.
"The whole thing is a myth and a geographical blunder of the first half of the sixteenth century.
"You will find it on the Mercator's large Chart of 1569, and on his earlier Earth's Globe of 1541.
"It arose from a misreading of Marco Polo's De Regionibus Orientalibus, lib. 3, caput 2, inserted in Grynæus' (S.) Novas Orbis 1537 (Yule's' Marco Polo, bk. 3, chap. 7, note 3). 'Beach,' or 'Bolach,' is a misprint for 'Locack' (Lokok, the Chinese name for a former province of Lower Siam). This was ignorantly transferred by the early sixteenth century geographers to an imaginary great Southern Continent, the N. W. corner of which was supposed to be the two provinces of 'Beach, Provincia Aurifera'—'Maletur regnum' with 'Lucack regnum' repeated, in ignorance of the latter being the correct reading of 'Beach.'"
Dampier landed on one of these islands, now included in Dampier Archipelago, and because of a shrub he found resembling rosemary, he named it Rosemary Island. The men could there obtain no water, but were gladdened with oysters and turtle, and the sight of several kinds of beautiful flowers. They left the locality on 23rd August, and sailing north anchored on the 30th somewhere near the boundaries of the Kimberley and North West Divisions. Much smoke was discerned rising from the shore, and Dampier assumed fresh water must be obtainable. While anchored that night the mariners witnessed an eclipse of the moon. In the morning Dampier with several men armed with muskets and cutlasses for defence, and pickaxes and shovels to dig wells, went ashore. Three "tall black naked men" stood watching their approach, but made off when the whites came to close quarters. The natives ascended a small hill, and were there joined by several others, and from its apex looked down upon these white-skinned visitors, whose descendants were destined to dispossess them of their land, yet again when Dampier went towards them they retreated down the other side. From this hill-top Dampier saw "things like haycocks," which he at first believed were huts, and afterwards assumed they were huts. In this he was probably mistaken, for they were more likely to be ant-hills. Then the navigators searched for water, but found none, and they began to dig wells. The natives evidently watched from their hiding-places, when more emboldened, nine or ten of them at last approached until they came to a hill-top, where they stood menacing and threatening with great noise. One of them, leaving the rest, drew nearer, and Dampier went to meet him. The other natives now followed their companion at a distance, and when Dampier was within some yards of the sable warrior he made all the signs of peace and friendship he could. The native was apparently astonished at the demonstration and took to flight nor could Dampier approach close to any of them for some time. In the afternoon he took two of his men with him and walked along the shore hoping to catch a native and question him as to fresh water. About twelve aboriginals watched his movements, and cunningly followed at a distance. Dampier and his men hid themselves behind a sandbank, and the natives, intending to seize them, dispersed around the sand-hill so as to intercept their enemy. One of Dampier's men, with a cutlass in his hand, ran towards some of them, and they, at first running away, drew him over the sandhills and stopped and fought him with their wooden lances or spears. Dampier fearing what would happen, gave chase, and when on the hill-top witnessed the encounter. One native turned and hurled a spear at him, which narrowly missed its object, and he thinking to frighten them away, fired his musket. At first the report startled them, but they soon "learnt to despise it, tossing up their hands and crying pooh, pooh, pooh, and coming on afresh with a great noise." Dampier, seeing the young man was in some danger, shot at and wounded a native, whereupon the two of them hurried back to the shore, Dampier exceedingly "sorry for what had happened." The young man was struck through the cheek by a lance, but recovered after a few days. The natives carried away their wounded companion. Dampier wrote:—
"Among the New Hollanders, whom we were thus engaged with, there was one who by his appearance and carriage, as well in the morning as this afternoon, seemed to be the chief of them, and a kind of prince or captain among them. He was a young brisk man, not very tall, nor so personable as some of the rest, though more active and courageous. He was painted (which none of the rest were at all) with a circle of white paste or pigment (a sort of lime, as we thought) about his eyes, and a white streak down his nose from his forehead to the tip of it, and his breast and some part of his arms were also made white with the same paint; not for beauty or ornament, one would think, but as some wild Indian warriors are said to do, he seemed thereby to design the looking more terrible; this his painting adding very much to his natural deformity; for they all of them were of the most unpleasant looks and the worst features of any people that ever I saw, though I have seen great variety of savages."
These natives also blinked as if much troubled by flies. Dampier believed that there was some strait between his then location and Rosemary Island, which went eastward through the continent, though, as he was in great need of water, he did not essay to discover it. His men were able to get some brackish water from the deepest wells on the following day, but the flies, as on his previous voyage, were very troublesome. The land was also of a similar character; and, finally, after observing the herbage, trees, flowers, fowl, fish, and animals, including "two or three beasts like hungry wolves, lean, like so many skeletons," in the beginning of September he set sail for Timor. His observations with regard to the coast, his soundings, and general information, have been proved remarkably reliable, and though the voyage was not a successful one, so far as discovering rich countries went, he placed before the Admiralty charts and maps which have since been found highly useful. On the return voyage to England the Roebuck was wrecked at the Island of Ascension, west of Africa, but the redoubtable navigator came through all his perils in safety, and in 1703 published a volume dealing with this voyage. His descriptions of the barren coasts and half-starved inhabitants were not likely to encourage the English Government to send out more navigators, and thus no more voyages were made to Australia by English mariners, until the famous exploits oflate in the eighteenth century.
The continued unpromising reports of Dutch navigators, and the probable belief of the authorities of the East India Company that New Holland was a huge, hopeless, hungry block of continent, caused them to send but one more expedition to specially explore the coast. This was in 1705, when, with the vessels Vossenbosch, Wayer, and Nova Hollandia left Batavia, and then Timor, and visited portions of the north-west coast. He carefully examined the coast, looked over the neighbouring land in search of some indication of wealth, and had communication with the natives. "The coast," he said, "was marked by sandbanks and reefs, the country was without attractive features, and the natives were foul and treacherous." After Van Delft hospitably entertained the aboriginals on board his ship, and fed them well, and gave them many presents, they attacked a boat-load of sailors putting off the ship, and wounded two of them. Not yet did the Dutch know whether Australia was a series of islands or a continent, and Van Delft expressed the opinion that, because of the untrustworthy character of the people he met, the South Land was made up of islands, in which natives are always more unreliable.
A final effort to make some use of Australia was made in 1718 by, of Neufchatel, who published a work proposing the establishment of a settlement at Nuyts Land, in the South-western corner of Western Australia. The proposal was "submitted to the Governor-General, , at Batavia, but was discountenanced. It subsequently met the same fate when laid by its author before the directors of the Dutch East India Company at Amsterdam." The West India Company was next tried with a like result.
Then the Scylla of the Western Australian coast again caused distress among unfortunate mariners. In 1711 a Dutch ship, the Zuysdorp, is reported to have been wrecked on the Abrolhos. Four vessels were believed up to this date to have suffered shipwreck there. These were the Batavia in 1629, the De Vergulde Draeck in 1656 (improbable), the Ridderschap van Hollandt (problematical) in 1693, and the Zuysdorp in 1711. From 1720 to 1730 many disasters befell the East India Company, which had done so much towards the discovery of the Terra Australis. Several ships were wrecked and many men lost, and the affairs of the company were somewhat crippled thereby. Among the vessels was the Zeeland (ship), the Zeewyk (Jan Steyns, captain), which on the 9th June, 1727, struck an Abrolhos reef. The Zeewyk contained much specie intended for the pay of the civil service on the islands. After some days the people were got on a neighbouring island. The upper steersman and a crew went away in a boat to try and reach a settlement, but were never again heard of. Eighty-two of the crew and the captain were saved by means of a boat constructed, during nine months of weary waiting, out of the wreck fragments and named the Sloepie. Taking with them ten chests of recovered treasure, valued at 315,836 1-8 florins, these men reached Batavia after undergoing many hardships. There the captain was arrested and accused of bringing about the wreck by keeping too near these dangerous rocks.
In 1840 them away as of no more value. While a few of the relics, rusted and weather-beaten, lay on the surface, others some distance away had come within the range of sand-drifts and lay five and more feet beneath the surface. By digging, Mr. Broadhurst believes still more of these antique things may be unearthed. In his collection, most of which is now in the Perth Museum, are silver buttons for officers' capes, pieces of ordnance, fifteen flagon-shaped bottles, ten square (gin) bottles, an earthenware jar, lead sinkers, large numbers of clay pipes, copper fish-hooks, corroded knives, brass buttons, pieces of lock-flint, pistol bullets, two copper kettles, a glass demijohn, a lead ink-pot, coloured tumblers, wine-glasses, one silver coin of Philip IV. of Spain (1633), three copper coins of dates between 1702 and 1724, three large silver coins of Philip IV. of Spain, dated 1633 and 1638, one Chinese copper coin of the reign of Hon Lute of 335 years ago, various silver coins of various dates from Utrecht and Frizia and Zeeland, some copper coins of Hollandia and the East India Company, the British halfpenny of George I. (1720), remains of lignum vitae sheaves, several lumps of pitch (one lump still bearing the proportions of the barrel in which it was originally placed, found five feet beneath the surface), quaint Dutch inscribed tobacco boxes, two copper pieces of muskets (one inscribed "Kamer Zeeland" and the other "Cameer Zeeland"), spoons, curtain-rings, seaman's hanger-guard, razor handles, two shells for ordnance, one of them with black matter resembling powder adhering to it, and many other articles. They make a remarkable collection, and are the spoils of this Circe of the deep, gleaned from Dutch vessels she has wooed to her rocky sides. No more did the brave Dutch seek to fathom the mysteries of the Australian coast and country. They had well done their work, but though they had won no prizes here, they gained them in the islands north of these boundaries. So far as Australia is concerned, Dutch navigators have the glory of first making her considered by civilised peoples.discovered many wreck-relics at Houtman's Abrolhos. With he landed on the largest island in the North-west of Pelsart Group. There he found a brass gun of about three pounds calibre, and an iron swivel with vermilion paint still adhering to it, but the muzzle of the cannon was nearly corroded away. Captain Stokes named this Gun Island, and the passage between the Easter and Pelsart's groups of islands he called Zeewyk Channel. There were other relics which caused him to believe that more than one vessel had been wrecked on Gun Island, particularly coins bearing widely separated dates. Among the momentoes of long past tragic occurrences was a coin dated about 1707, and of those which almost certainly came from the Zeewyk, was a coin dated 1720, what appeared the beam of a ship with an iron bolt through it, glass bottles, small clay pipes, and numerous other survivals of days that are gone. The bottles when found were set in rows, as if for collecting water, and were partly buried in sand. The glaze had been eaten away by a white substance. On an adjoining islet Stokes surmised the people had built their boat. About thirty years ago, , first Surveyor-General of Western Australia, visited the islands and found relics of the Zeewyk, and , in 1882, also obtained some clay pipes and other articles from there. In 1883 obtained a lease of the Abrolhos for guano purposes, and he and his son, , have since secured a valuable collection of relics. On Gun Island the latter gentleman was astonished to observe the site where the people from the wrecked Zeewyk made their camp. It was near to the ship, and there Mr. Broadhurst found the traces of two distinct camps, which nearly a century and a half had not obliterated. Indentations were still apparent in the ground made by the feet of the company while moving, in the form of a half circle, round the camps. Captain Stokes saw the bones of seals which had evidently been killed for subsistence, and these Mr. Broadhurst also found. Nature, in thoughtfulness, had not rudely obliterated these traces of such remarkable occurrences, and in the neighbourhood, amid sad memories, Mr. Broadhurst's quest disclosed a varied selection of articles. Some of them, in his opinion, were apparently prized articles carried in the pockets of the castaways, who, when appreciating their desperate, hopeless position, tossed
Dutch naval enterprise removed from Australia, she continued locked in the comparative unknown for many years. Her inhabitants wandered idly and ignorantly to and fro over the great continent, and pursued their simple way without molestation, and her wonderful latent wealth of soil, woodland, and mineral was nothing to them. After 1705 no navigator specially visited the coast until late in the century. In 1772 Captain De St. Alouarn, in the Les Gros Ventre, saw some parts of the coast, but the particulars are not published, and are of little importance. He is said to have anchored near Cape Leeuwin, where his visit is rendered immemorial by the naming of the St. Alouarn islands after him.
It is not our intention to refer to those famous navigators who thenceforward visited and founded parts of the Australian northern, eastern, and southern coasts, except so far as they have to do with Western Australia. The most notable of those, whose voyages we shall not describe, were Cook, McCluer, Bligh, Bass, Furneaux, Edwards, Bampton, Alt, and Marion. Captain Cook had planted the British flag on the eastern part of the continent before Western Australia was next visited. In the meantime no more was known of the west than that ascertained by Dampier and the Dutch. The next visitor was an Englishman, George Vancouver, who had served as midshipman under Cook. On the 1st April, 1791, Captain Vancouver left England on H.M.S. Discovery, accompanied by Captain Broughton on H.M.S. Chatham, bound for North-West America via the Cape of Good Hope and Australia. Vancouver sighted on the 26th September the southern coast near Cape Leeuwin by an island, which was thereupon named Chatham Island. He sailed near the coast, and on the 28th September anchored in King George the Third Sound, named by him. This sound, which is one of the prettiest among many beautiful harbours in Australia, greatly interested Vancouver. His journal portrays the scene as "agreeably variegated in form;" but the soil was more barren than fertile, yet with many spots capable of cultivation. He remained there several days, and found ample grass and woodlands and abundance of fresh water. The climate was healthy and the temperature agreeable. Of animals, the kangaroo was not scarce, while the woods were tenanted by numerous feathered tribes. The chief aquatic birds were black swans and wild ducks. Archibald Menzies, the naturalist and botanist on board the Discovery, searched the woods and uplands for choice specimens, and his search was not in vain. Vancouver left a bottle containing parchment at King George's Sound (found in 1800 by one Chas. Dixon, of the ship Elligood, whose voyage is not chronicled), and after enjoyable and useful study he sailed out on 10th October to further examine the coast to the east. Variable winds prevented his ranging close in shore, and hence his further report is of little interest. Vancouver lost sight of land in this part of the continent at Termination Island, off Esperance Bay. Several points were named by this navigator. Vancouver, it is believed, watered his ship on the island by the channel connecting Middleton Bay and Oyster Harbour. He there dug a well, which, although fallen in, still exists. It is covered with high reeds and shrubs, and over it Sir William Robinson, the Governor of Western Australia, caused to be erected in February, 1883, a wooden tablet, marking where Captain George Vancouver, RN., an illustrious navigator, watered His Majesty's ship "Discovery," in October, 1791.
The fate of La Perouse, the clever French navigator, who after many adventures left Botany Bay, on the east coast, in the ships Boussole and Astrolabe, to continue his discoveries, and who was never again seen alive by white men, was the cause of a French expedition in 1792. The ships La Recherche and L'Espérance, in charge of Rear-Admiral Bruny D'Entrecasteaux, left France, and on December 5, 1792, came within hail of the south coast at a point north-west of Chatham Island. This point was named D’Entrecasteaux Point. The expedition explored the coast to Termination Island, and kept closer to shore than Vancouver. They named some leading features of the coast, and praised the charts of Nuyts. They obtained good shelter from a storm on 9th December by one of the islands north of Termination Island. The naturalist, Monsieur Labillardière, exploited the islands, and the surveyors took soundings. No fresh water was obtained, but seals, penguins, and kangaroos were numerous. The surrounding islands were named the Archipelago of the Recherche. On January 3, 1793, they abandoned our coast and went further east.
In 1800 Lieutenant James Grant, in His Majesty’s brig Lady Nelson, saw part of the south coast while on his way to Sydney.
English naval glory in Australian waters was now in its hey-day, but the French were becoming strong competitors. English association with the Great South Land had fairly begun, and among the naval heroes the name of Matthew Flinders is not the least honoured. As with many great men, the life of Flinders was not altogether a happy one, and he had to pay an onerous penalty for his contribution to these explorations. In some respects he was not unlike Dampier; and his sage observations, carefully detailed research, and ability in describing his adventures, distinguish his useful books. He, too, was shrewd and painstaking, and he went out to meet obstacles and wrestled till he overthrew them. No labour frightened him so long as he could throw more light on these unknown regions. Perhaps he was a little too eager, but the dangerous situations he sailed into may be explained by his desire to add to the knowledge of his country and the greatness of the English name.
King George III. despatched Captain Flinders in 1801 on a voyage of discovery to Australia. The sloop Xenophon, of 334 tons, was fitted up specially for this expedition, and appropriately rechristened the Investigator. On July 18, 1801, Flinders left Spithead, and on Sunday, the 6th December, reached the south-western corner of Leeuwin's Land. He sailed along the south coast on his way to Sydney, and made a flying survey. He named various points, and on the 9th December entered King George’s Sound, where several days were passed in rambles in the woods and in surveying the sound, especially Oyster and Princess Royal Harbours. His party was a notable one. John Franklin, his lieutenant, became the great Franklin, whose fame in Arctic explorations will never be dimmed; the botanist, Robert Brown, had already made a great name; and William Westall, the famous painter, was a fellow voyager. Small inland lakes were visited, floral specimens were secured, and romantic scenes were viewed. In one of their journeys, when they had gone an unusual distance among the hills, Westall became so weary that it was with difficulty he was taken back to the boat. This pleasant party made valuable researches among the blacks, many of whom they met. They compiled a short vocabulary of their language, and gave some information as to their habits, while the surgeon took anatomical measurements of one aboriginal. Flinders described "the manners of these people" as "quick and vehement, and their conversation vociferous, like that of most uncivilised people. They seemed to have no idea of any superiority we possessed over them; on the contrary, they left us, after the first interview, with some appearance of contempt for our pusillanimity which was probably inferred from the desire we showed to be friendly with them." While each officer was attending to his own special work, and excursions were made into the solemn silent forests, the sailors mended the sails, obtained fresh provisions and water and wood, and on the 5th January, 1802, Flinders left King George's Sound to push on to his more important work east and north. He made a running survey of the coast, and remained at the Archipelago of the Recherche some days, taking soundings and acquiring general information through his various officers. He then went further east and discovered many parts hitherto unknown.
Among other things, Flinders will long be remembered for having awarded her present name to Australia. The continent had been known as Magellanica, Terra Australis, Great Java, and Great South Land, until after Tasman's second voyage in 1644, when New Holland was given to it. Then after Cook the eastern portion received the name of New South Wales, and the western remained New Holland. Flinders ascertained that these two parts were not bisected by Nature—that they were one continent,—and he re-adopted, with the "concurrence of opinions entitled to deference," the term "Terra Australis." But, going further, he preferred Australia, "as," in his own words, "being more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth." His suggestion was adopted, and henceforth the Great South Land became the island-continent of Australia.
Flinders, before he returned to England, was imprisoned at Mauritius by the French Governor, where he toiled and languished as a common felon. He did not waste his time, for it was there that he arranged much of the matter which upon his release was published to the world. In his book he not only describes his own voyages but recounts the history of the discovery of Australia.
A second French expedition was now fitted out to search for traces of La Perouse. In 1801-2 the Geographe, commanded by Commodore Nicholas Baudin, the Naturaliste, by Captain Hamelin, and the Casuarina, a smaller vessel, by Captain De Freycinet, proceeded along considerable Western Australian coast-line. Some English authorities say that Baudin showed want of zeal in his coastal explorations; for, instead of making exhaustive researches with his splendidly-equipped expedition, he hurried over his work, and sought credit for many new discoveries which had already been made by other navigators, particularly by Flinders. Baudin awarded names to the chief features on the north-west coast, from Cape Leveque to North West Cape, and discovered a new opening to Sharks Bay, which he termed Geographe Channel. It was at this period that Captain Hamelin found the tin plate last seen by De Vlaming on Dirk Hartog Island. The expedition sailed up and down the west coast, touched parts of the southern, and then voyaged to the eastern shore. Naturaliste Channel, Heirrison Islands, Port Leschenault, Capes Hamelin, Freycinet, Clairault, and many other points were named by this party. M. Heirrison was one of the officers, and M. Leschenault the naturalist, and M. de Peron the historian to the expedition. Rottnest Island and Swan River were carefully explored by Baudin. The course of the latter was explored to above Perth, and small islands in the stream near the causeway were named. It is said that night coming upon them while exploring near these islets they were compelled to camp on one of them. It was a night of horrors. Strange, unusual sounds coming out of the samphire and bush on the banks greatly disturbed their rest, and they feared that wild beasts or wilder men were waiting to prey upon them. These sounds continued all night long, and when morning broke and no harm had been done they hurriedly left the place. During nearly every night they spent on land the same noises filled them with terror. It was the solemn, weird croakings of frogs which burdened the air.
Still another French expedition was the next in order to visit Western Australia. For some years Captain de Freycinet had been voyaging in different parts of the world, and particularly in southern seas. On September 17, 1817, he again left Toulon in the corvette Uranie to make scientific and general investigations. He anchored in Dampier Bay in 1818, skirted the north-west coast, and also visited the eastern. From letters of the draftsman to the expedition, M. J. Arago, are culled some interesting extracts. The north-western "coast exhibited nothing but a picture of desolation; no rivulet consoled the eye, no tree attracted it, no mountain gave variety to the landscape, no dwelling enlivened it, every where reigned sterility and death…. Threatening reefs, sometimes rising to the height of 40 or 50 feet, seem desirous of opposing the audacity of the mariner, and forbidding his approach to this land abandoned by nature." As in the case of Dampier, the navigators were attacked by innumerable flies, and were thereby caused much inconvenience until "the sun sets: everything is dead. The myriads of flies that devoured us have disappeared; no insect wings through the air; no voice disturbs the silence of this melancholy solitude; a sharp cold benumbs the limbs. The sun reappears: the air is again populated; a consuming heat oppresses us; we seek repose, and find nothing but fatigue. What a frightful abode!" The writer, judging from his journal, had no taste for life in Western Australia. The party met the natives, but could not approach them until an officer, happily taking castanets from his pockets, rattled them briskly, and the old man, or chief of the assembled natives, rose and "fell to dancing in such a manner that we were ready to die with laughing." De Freycinet made flying surveys during his voyage along the coast.
In 1817 the English Admiralty determined on sending out an expedition to complete the survey of the north and north-west coast of Australia. Lieutenant Philip P. King, RN., F.R.S., F.L.S., was given command, and among the officers was Lieutenant John Septimus Roe, who subsequently held so honourable a connection with the colony of Western Australia. A. Cunningham was the botanist. King was specially instructed to examine the cluster of islands surrounding Rosemary Island, and the chief motive for his survey was "to discover whether there be any river in that part of the coast likely to lead to an interior navigation into this great continent." The opinions expressed by Dampier, that the continent was probably bisected near the North West Cape by a passage of water were still believed in. The outfit for the expedition was obtained in Sydney, and among the company was Boongaree, chief of the Broken Bay (New South Wales) tribe of natives, who had accompanied Flinders in some of his explorations, and thus had the opportunity of sailing round a continent his ancestors had inhabited. The Mermaid, of 84 tons, with King on board, left Sydney on 22nd December, 1817. For different reasons King decided to begin his surveys at the North West Cape, and he sailed through Bass Strait to King George's Sound, which was reached on January 20, 1818. In the evening the party landed on Seal Island in the sound, and there they found, besides seals, the skeleton of a goat's head, and the remains of a glass case bottle left there by Lieutenant Forster, R.N., who it appears put into the harbour in 1815, outward bound on the hired transport Emu from Port Jackson to Europe. The mainshore was then visited, and the sight of the beautiful flowers and plants which dotted the adjoining hill well repaid them the exertion of ascent. Two rivers, connected with Oyster Harbour, in which they anchored on the following day, caused great inconvenience to Mr. Roe, who while out walking waded one, and was in some danger in the second, that of the "Riviere de François," discovered by Captain Baudin. Mr. Roe counted eleven weirs, constructed of crescent shape by natives, for catching fish. Great numbers of sea-fowl and land birds were observed, and Mr. Cunningham "made a large collection of seeds and dried specimens from the vast variety of beautiful plants and flowers with which Nature has so lavishly clothed the hills and plains of this interesting country." Culinary seeds were planted here, as elsewhere, as instructed by the Admiralty, but visiting the place more than three years later, King found no signs of the garden remaining. After taking in water and wood, the Mermaid sailed along the south coast and rounded the Leeuwin. Owing to sickness on board, Lieutenant King found it impossible to examine any part of the west coast as he desired, until he came near to North West Cape. Their first anchorage was not a good one, for the swell on the coast broke their anchor chain and they drifted towards a rocky island, but they circumvented the danger. After passing the cape, they came to in a good bay, where they remained for three days, and being exceedingly fatigued, they not inaptly named it the Bay of Rest. Elaborate examinations were made of the coast and islands by the officers. The weather was excessively hot, while the country presented few pleasing features, and contained numerous ant—hills. On the 18th February they sailed into a gulf, which was named Exmouth, after Viscount Exmouth. A small river was found in this gulf. The shore was lined with mangroves and a species of eucalyptus, and native fishing weirs were also seen. Sand dunes prevented the inroads of the sea to the coast, and on these grew a sort of convolvulus. From the hot winds which blew off the land, King judged that the interior of Australia was occupied by vast sandy deserts. Cape Locker, Cape Preston, and Enderby Island were named after friends of King's, and more of the coast was examined and found to be chiefly backed by sand dunes, with mangroves as the principal vegetation. In the centre of a strait, towards Lewis Island, three natives perched on logs were observed in the water propelling themselves by paddling with their hands. One of them was seized and taken on the Mermaid, notwithstanding his strong resistance. About forty natives congregated on the shore and watched this capture with consternation, and the women cried loudly in their grief, and rolling on the ground, covered their bodies with sand. To pacify the captured man, beads and a red cap were placed upon him, which at first he viewed with satisfaction, but soon he looked vacantly about him, probably awaiting anticipated doom. Biscuit was given him to eat, which tasting he spat out of his mouth, but he so enjoyed sugar that he licked the saucer upon which it was given him. The poor fellow was then released, He was given a red cap, beads, an axe, and food, was placed on the log and paddled back to his companions. It was probably the first time this tribe had seen white men and their ships, and they were terrified beyond measure. They huddled together when the native landed, and with poised spears ordered him to throw away his presents, and apparently made him answer many questions. "The women were kept away, but their curiosity was so much excited that, although they were more terrified than the men, they were seen peeping over the bushes and rocks which concealed them, and attentively watching what was going on. Our friend stood in the position of, and as motionless as, a soldier at drill, and answered all their interrogations and enquiries without making the least movement. He was soon allowed to approach nearer, and then the whole party cautiously advanced, with their spears still poised, and surrounded him. His body was then carefully examined, and upon the women and children being allowed to approach, they seated themselves in a ring and placed him in the middle when he told his story which occupied about half-an-hour. Upon its being finished they all got up, and, after shouting and hahooing to us, they went to the opposite side of the island, leaving our presents upon the beach, after having carefully examined them. This pathetic story may be an instance of that unconscious terror which tells of coming doom, but while some at the first sight of white men sank back in abject fear, others stepped forward and with spears and other primitive weapons threatened the invaders, until the report of a gun, the loud beating of a drum, or some other unusual sound not understood by them, struck terror to their hearts, and they flew away in unmistakable horror.
In this case King made friends with the natives, and treated them with the utmost kindness. The captive was a well-made man six feet in height, and the upper part of his body was scarified at every three inches, "the cicatrice of which was at least an inch in diameter, and protruded half an inch from the body." Their huts were miserable, being composed of bushes stuck in the grounds and afforded meagre shelter. The surrounding islands seemed to be fairly thickly inhabited, and on some the natives so objected by menaces to King's landing that he did not persist and left them masters of their domains. In remembrance of his communication with the natives he named the group of islands between Lewis Island and the mainland the Intercourse Islands. On the 4th March he anchored in a bay called, at Mr. Roe's request, Nickol's Bay, and made many researches in the neighbourhood. He then continued his voyage and soon got beyond Western Australian limits. Parts of the north coast were examined, then the vessel went to Timor, whence it sailed down the west coast, but quickly made its way south and round to Sydney. Replenishing the stores, King again visited Cambridge Gulf in September, 1819, which he called after the Viceroy of Hanover, the Duke of Cambridge. There the party discovered Mt. Cockburn, named after Sir George Cockburn, G.C.B., one of the Lord Commissioners of the Admiralty, and spent some interesting days in exploring and giving names to numerous points. A group of islands was afterwards surveyed and named Sir Graham Moore's Islands, after a member of the Admiralty Board, while the Eclipse Islands, Vansittart Bay, Admiralty Gulf, and Port Warrender, were all surveyed and named. Relics, probably of Malay intrusion, especially an earthen pot and the broken wood of boats, were found on the Eclipse Islands—named because of an eclipse of the moon which took place while they were there—and they had an encounter with natives in Vansittart Bay, the precise locality being now known as Encounter Cove. The reconnoitre was a mild one, for after a hostile native demonstration a volley of muskets fired by King’s party frightened them away. The natives here appeared more nimble than others seen on the coast, and possessed better means of earning a livelihood. Vansittart Bay was named after a late Chancellor of the Exchequer. Owing to sickness they finally left the coast and bore up to Savou, after which they returned to Sydney. In September, 1820, the Mermaid visited the north-west coast a third time, and extended the surveys. York Sound was christened in honour of the Duke of York. At Careening Bay the vessel was beached and certain damages were repaired, and Mr. Cunningham took the opportunity of meanwhile examining the indigenous trees. Among these were the mountain ebony, acacia-podded inga, panicled-flowering olive, laurel-leaved date-plum, limetree-leaved hibiscus, tropical native cherry, and the Australian cycas, or sago palm. The country thereabouts bore a barren appearance. Prince Regent River, where a picturesque cascade was visited, was next examined. In December, 1820, they anchored at their basis of operation in Sydney.
King left Sydney a fourth time on 26th May, 1821, to complete surveys and elaborate his information. On this occasion the brig Bathurst was acquired for the work, and sailing through Torres Strait the Eclipse and Sir Graham Moore's Islands, near Cape Londonderry, were seen on the 12th July. Prince Regent River was again visited. At Hanover Bay the surgeon was speared during an encounter with the natives. The coast was now examined to Cape Latouche Treville, whereupon King went over to Mauritius to refit. From there he returned to the south-west coast, and in December, 1821, anchored in King George's Sound. Wood and water were obtained and varied information gleaned, and on the 6th January, 1822, the Bathurst left the sound, rounded Cape Leeuwin, and much attention was devoted to the south-west coast. Passing to Bathurst Island, the expedition landed and explored it; and then they went to the neighbourhood of the Abrolhos taking soundings, afterwards going to Dirk Hartog Island. There they landed to search for the tin plate of De Vlaming, but to their regret they saw only two posts where the memorial had been affixed. Observations were taken right up the coast, and finally King sailed to Sydney, and from there to England in September, 1822.
King in his contributions to science, his charts and sailing directions (which form the basis of those at present in use), and his exhaustive explorations in the northern and western coasts of New Holland, nearly finished the work of the navigators. He presented to the English Government such a comprehensive report that they possessed all the data they required of Australian coasts. What Cook and Bass and Flinders and others had done in the east and North and south, this navigator did in the west. Through his instrumenta1ity, and that of French navigators, a very general knowledge was obtained of the Western Australian coast-line, and many old existing doubts were removed. And the long list of great navigators, so far as Australian exploration is concerned, may be said to end with King. His works are an invaluable source of information, and best show what class of navigator he was. All that remained in after years to be completed in the work of all these navigators was the thorough, comprehensive survey of passages for coastal vessels to carry on a rapidly growing trade. The other colonies have largely had this work completed, while in Western Australia the English Government have not been idle, and vessels, notably the Beagle, have run up and down the huge coast-line.