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Conclusion.

The employment of convicts on useful public works was, twenty years ago, a primary object with the government of New South Wales. The location of settlers on their grants by the measurement of their farms, then much in arrear, and the division of the territory into counties, hundreds, and parishes, in order to complete the deeds of grant to settlers, altogether rendered necessary a general survey of the


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colony, which work I commenced in 1827, ex officio, and, pursuant to Royal Instructions, sent to the colony in 1825. The time between the years 1827 and 1837 was the most prosperous in the history of the colony of New South Wales, when convicts made good roads, farms were measured up, and the country was surveyed and divided into countries. Colonization extended rapidly to the shores of the southern ocean, and Australia Felix was made known to the British public.

The survey touched the limits of the then unknown country, for the direction of great roads from a centre could not be considered permanent, however limited the colony, without such consideration of their ultimate tendency as could only be given with a knowledge of the whole intervening country. My plans of exploration have been governed by these views and objects, and the journey recorded in these pages was intended to complete the last of three lines radiating from Sydney. One led across the Blue mountains to Bathurst and the western interior as far as the land seemed worth exploring; another by Goulburn to Australia Felix and the southern coast; and, lastly, this, the third general route, to the northern shores at the nearest point, the head of the Gulf of Carpentaria,—from which I trust that by this time my assistant Mr. Kennedy will have returned to Sydney.

Held responsible by the Government for the performance of such a dutynote, I have endeavoured to work out its views with that unity of plan which must result from a mathematical principle, and which


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has enabled me to bring to a satisfactory conclusion, after the lapse of many years, and in the face of considerable difficulty, an undertaking commenced at the command of my Sovereign, and under the auspices of the British Government. That the Royal Instructions were originally intended for the benefit of the colony of New South Wales is best evinced by the fact that this journey of survey and exploration has been undertaken on the petition of the Legislative Council of the Colony, and performed wholly at the expense of the colony of New South Wales.

It now remains for me to submit my final “Report,” or, in other words, to point out how the geographical knowledge thus acquired may be available for the economical extension of that colonisation which the expansive energies of this great nation seem to require. New South Wales may be benefited, it is true, by the establishment of any additional market on the eastern coast, for her produce; and by a road to the Gulf of Carpentaria; but a timely knowledge of the structure of the interior was necessary to enable the Government to determine on the sites most eligible for centres of colonisation required along the coast.

It is now ascertained that a great range separates the coast settlements from the open pastoral country of the interior, as far as the parallel of 25° south. That there it breaks off at the lofty plateau of Buckland's Table Land, which overlooks a much lower country in the north;—a country but lightly wooded, watered by good rivers, and which affords an easy access to extensive pastoral regions in the interior, without the intervention of any such formidable


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barrier between that interior open country and the coast, as the great range nearer the actual colony.

Precisely on that part of the coast, to which the united channels of the water lead, a harbour has been surveyed and approved of by competent naval officers. These geographical facts, therefore, render it easy to define one situation more favourable than any other that might be found along that coast, for the nucleus of a colony, and which would divide almost equally the whole coast line between Sydney and Cape York. I allude to Port Bowen, near Broad Sound; and the river Nogoa, which has been (I believe) called lower down, the Mackenzie. A port on that part of the coast, at the entrance within the reefs, would be advantageous to steam navigation. The occupation of the fine country on the rivers Victoria, Salvator and Claude, must depend on some such sea-port for supplies; and on the occupation of that back-country must again, in a great measure, depend the establishment of a direct line of communication between Sydney and the Gulf of Carpentaria.

At the head of that gulf, admitting that a practicable and direct line of route can be opened to it, the country, and the sea adjacent, may soon require attention. By timely examination and good arrangement, a commodious place of embarkation may be established there, which might, by degrees, become an important town; where horses might be shipped and conveyed by a short passage to India, free from the hazards of Torres Straits. It would appear from the brief but intelligible description by Captain Flinders, that Wellesley Islands, or Sweer's Island, being both higher than the main land, might be connected with it, by some permanent work, and thus


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afford a good port for steamers, and shelter and anchorage for other ships. According to the interesting narrative of Captain Stokes, the temperature is remarkably low, and convict labour might there be very usefully employed upon such works.

The head of the Gulf of Carpentaria, being that part of the Indian Ocean nearest to Sydney, has appeared of more importance to the colonists, since steam navigation became regular between England and the Indian archipelago. Then it became more desirable for the colonists to know the nature of the interior country between their capital and that northern coast. The interior has been found very open and accessible; the fine country at the head of the Victoria must soon be occupied, and thus divide the whole distance into two equal parts, each of these not much exceeding the distance between Sydney and Melbourne, in Australia Felix; between which places mail-carriages now run twice a week.

Thus, while, by the extension of geographical research, the proper fields for colonization are laid open for selection, and prepared for timely arrangements on the part of the Imperial Government; the colonists of New South Wales have promoted the general interests of their fellow subjects at home, by the developement of the resources of the territory around them.

He “who measured out the sea in the hollow of his hand, and weighed the earth in a balance,” has determined, by the condition of these two elements, the situation of the Gulf, and that of the great break in the East Coast range—the one affording the nearest access to an important sea, the other the easy way to a rich interior land. I would, with


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deference to Him, “who led Israel like a flock,” and me in safety through the Australian wilds, distinguish the two regions by timely descriptive names on the map I now lay before the public; Capricornia, to express the country under the tropics, from the parallel of 25° South, where nature has set up her own land-marks, not to be disputed: Australindia, the country on the shores of the most southern part of the Indian archipelago; which two regions may be made conterminous according to natural limits, when such limits can be accurately ascertained.

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