Robert Logan Jack.

Northmost Australia; three centuries of exploration, discovery, and adventure in and around the Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, with a study of the narratives of all explorers by sea and land in the light of modern charting, many original or hitherto unpublished documents, thirty-nine illustrations online

. (page 1 of 43)
Online LibraryRobert Logan JackNorthmost Australia; three centuries of exploration, discovery, and adventure in and around the Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, with a study of the narratives of all explorers by sea and land in the light of modern charting, many original or hitherto unpublished documents, thirty-nine illustrations → online text (page 1 of 43)
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ORIMOST AUSTRALIA



R.LOGAN JACK



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
AT LOS ANGELES




NORTHMOST AUSTRALIA




ROBERT LOGAN JACK, I92O.



[ProUlisPiece



NORTHMOST
AUSTRALIA



THREE CENTURIES OF EXPLORATION,

DISCOVERY, AND ADVENTURE IN AND

AROUND THE CAPE YORK PENINSULA,

QUEENSLAND



A STUDY OF THE NARRATIVES OF ALL EXPLORERS BY SEA
AND LAND IN THE LIGHT OF MODERN CHARTING, MANY
ORIGINAL OR HITHERTO UNPUBLISHED DOCUMENTS,
THIRTY-NINE ILLUSTRATIONS, AND SIXTEEN SPECIALLY
PREPARED MAPS



ROBERT LOGAN JACK

LL.D., F.R.G.S., F.G.S., M.Inst.M.M.

EX-GOVERNMENT GEOLOGIST, QUEENSLAND, PREVIOUSLY OF THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF SCOTLAND

AUTHOR OF

"handbook of QUEENSLAND GEOLOGY"; "thE MINERAL WEALTH OF QUEENSLAND"

"the back blocks OF CHINA," ETC.

AND JOINT-AUTHOR (WITH ROBERT ETHERIDGE, JUNIOR) OF

"THE GEOLOGY AND PALEONTOLOGY OF QUEENSLAND AND NEW GUINEA"



In Two Volumes
Vol. I



SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, HAMILTON,
KENT y CO. LTD., 4 STATIONERS'
HALL COURT : : LONDON, E.C.4



Copyright 1921



DU



\^, I



CONTENTS

VOL. I



Chapter



Page



I. Introduction ....••!

II. Australia Distinct from New Guinea.

Magelhaen, Quiros and Torres . . 6

III. Voyage of the " Duyfken " to New Guinea

and the Cape York Peninsula, 1605-6 . 23

IV. The Voyage of the " Pera " and " Aernem,"

1623 : I. The Sailing Orders . . 28

V. The Voyage of the " Pera " and " Aernem,"
1623, continued : II. General Observations
on the Expedition and on the " Pera "
Narrative . . . . • -3^

VI. The Voyage of the " Pera " and " Aernem,"

162'^, continued: III. The Outward Voyage 35

VII. The Voyage of the " Pera " and " Aernem,"
1623, continued : IV. The Return Voyage
OF the " Pera " . . . • -45

VIII. The Voyage of the " Pera " and " Aernem,"

1623, continued : V. The " Aernem " . 59

IX. Tasman's Voyage of 1644 .... 61

X. Voyages of the " Buijs " and " Rijder,"

1756 : Van Asschens and Gonzal . . 75

XI. Cook in "Endeavour," 1770 ... 82

XII. QuiROS, Torres and Cook and the Vaugondy

and Dalrymple Maps .... 92

XIII. Bligh : Voyage of "Bounty's" Launch, 1789 97

175109



vi CONTENTS

Chapter Page

XIV. The Voyage of the " Pandora," 1791 :

Edward Edwards . . . . .104

XV. Bligh, 1788-92, continued : Second Voyage
THROUGH Torres Strait with the
"Providence" and "Assistant," 1792 . 112

XVI. The " Hormuzeer " and " Chesterfield "

(Bampton and Alt), 1793 . . .118

XVII. Flinders, 1791-1814 : Early Life and Voyage
TO Australia in the " Investigator,"
1801-2 ....... 123

XVIII. Fli'nders, continued : With the" Investigator"
FROM Sydney to the Gulf of Carpentaria,
1802 130

XIX. Flinders, continued : " Investigator's " Return

TO Sydney, 1802-3 . . . . '143

XX. Flinders, continued : With the " Cumberland "
TO Torres Strait, 1803 — Captivity at
Mauritius, 1803-10, and Close of his
Career ....... 145

XXI. Phillip Parker King in the " Mermaid,"

1819, AND IN THE " BaTHURST," 182I . I49

XXII. Wreck of the " Charles Eaton," 1834, and

Search for Survivors, 1836 . . . 153

XXIII. H.M.S. " Beagle," Wickham and Stokes,

1839-41 : The Norman River AND Norman-
ton AND THE Albert River and Burketown 159

XXIV. " L'ASTROLABE " AND " La ZeLEE," 184O :

Dumont-D'Urville . . . .169

XXV. Blackwood and Yule, 1843-5 — H.M.SS.
" Fly," " Bramble " and " Prince George "
AND THE Pinnace " Midge " . . . 172

XXVI. Leichhardt's Overland Expedition : From
Brisbane to Port Essington, 1844-5
— Brisbane to the Lynd River . . 183



CONTENTS vii

Chapter Page

XXVII. Leichhardt's Overland Expedition, 1844-5,

continued : The Lynd Valley. . .185

XXVIII. Leichhardt's Overland Expedition, 1844-5,

continued. . . . . . .189

XXIX. Leichhardt's Overland Expedition, 1844-5,

continued. . . . . . .194

XXX. Kennedy's Expedition, 1848 : The East Coast

and the Coast Range .... 202

XXXI. Kennedy's Expedition, 1848, continued : From

the Coast Range to the Palmer . .212

XXXII. Kennedy's Expedition, 1848, continued : From

the Palmer to the Pascoe . . . 217

XXXIII. Kennedy's Expedition, 1848, continued : The
Forlorn Hope — From the Pascoe to Cape
York ....... 227



XXXIV. Kennedy's Expedition, 1848, continued : Voyage
OF THE " Ariel " — Traces of Kennedy and
THE " Pudding-Pan Hill " Party .



XXXVI. Kennedy's Expedition, 1848, continued :
Carron's Party at the Pascoe River



233



XXXV. Kennedy's Expedition, 1848, continued : Voyage
of the " Freak " — Search for Relics of
Kennedy and the " Pudding-Pan Hill "
Party ....... 237



243



XXXVII. H.M.SS. "Rattlesnake" and "Bramble,"

1847-50 : Stanley and Yule . . . 257

XXXVIII. The North Australian Exploring Expedition,

1855-6 : Gregory ..... 266

XXXIX. The Burke and Wills Expedition, 1860-61 . 274

XL. Burke andJ^Wills Search Parties in Queens-
land : Landsborough, Walker and
McKiNLAY, 1861-2 278



viii CONTENTS

Chapter Paoi

XLI. The Journey of Frank and Alexander Jardine,
1864-5 : From Rockhampton to Somerset
— Carpentaria Downs, via Einasleigh
River, to the Mouth of the Etheridge
River ....... 289

XLII. The Jardine Brothers' Expedition, 1864-5,
continued : From the Einasleigh River
to the Mouth of the Staten River, de
facto ....... 295

XLIII. The Jardine Brothers' Expedition, continued:

Staten River, de facto, to Jardine River 302

XLIV. The Jardine Brothers' Expedition, continued :
The Jardine River and the Problem of
THE Escape River . . . . .324

XLV. The Jardine Brothers' Expedition, continued :
Reconnaissance by the Brothers and
EuLAH . . . . . . -331

XLVI. The Jardine Brothers' Expedition, continued 334

XLVII. Somerset and its Background . . . 338

XLVIII. Daintree, 1863-71 348

XLIX. Moresby : First Cruise of the " Basilisk "

TO Torres Strait, 1871 . . . '352

L. Moresby, continued : Second Cruise of the

" Basilisk " in Torres Strait, 1873 . 360



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

VOL. I



R. Logan Jack, 1920 ....... Frontispiece

Photo. Johnson Sydney.

PACING PAGE

Abel Janszoon Tasman, 1664 ' . . . . . . .64

Reproduced from Jose's History of Australasia.

James Cook, 1772 65

Reproduced from Glasgow Issue of Cook's Voyages, 1807.

William Bligh, 1812 80

Reproduced from Jose's History.

Matthew Flinders, 181 i ........ 81

Reproduced from Scott's Life of Flinders.

Phillip Parker King ........ 144

Reproduced from Feldheim's Brisbane Old and New.

J. Beete Jukes, 1870 ........ 145

Photo, from Bust by Joseph Watkins, R.H.A.

LuDwiG Leichhardt, 1844 . . . . . . .160

Reproduced from Long's Stories of Australian Exploration.

Edmund Besley Court Kennedy, 1847 ..... 161
Reproduced from Long's Stories of Australian Exploration.

William Carron, 1870 ........ 208

Reproduced from Journ. Roy. Soc, N.S.W., Vol. 42.

Sir Augustus Charles Gregory, 1898 ..... 209
Photo, lent by Hugh Macintosh, Brisbane.

Robert O'Hara Burke, i860 ....... 224

Reproduced from Long's Stories of Australian Exploration.

William John Wills, i860 ....... 225

Reproduced from Long's Stories of Australian Exploration.

William Landsborough, 1870 ....... 272

Reproduced from Feldheim's Brisbane Old and New.

I In this case, and some others, the date of the portrait is conjectural.

ix



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



FACING PACE



John McKinlay, 1870 ........ 273

Reproduced from Feldheim's Adelaide Old and New.

Frank (left) and Alick Jardine (right), 1867 .... 288

Reproduced from Byerley's Jardine Expedition.

Frank Jardine, 1917 ........ 289

Reproduced from Queenslander of loth November, 191 7.

Richard Daintree, 1871 ........ 336

Reproduced from Dunn's Founders of the Geological Survey of Victoria.

William Hann, 1873 ......... 337

Reproduced from Photo, lent by his daughter Mrs. Charles Clarke, Maryvale.

Norman Taylor, 1873 ........ 352

Reproduced from Dunn's Founders of the Geological Survey of Victoria.

Thomas Tate, 25TH June, 191 3 (71ST Birthday). . . . 353
Reproduced from Photo, lent by his daughter Mrs. Leake, Maxwellton, Queensland.



LIST OF MAPS

VOL. I
(See Index Map)

A. Cape York to New Guinea = Queensland 4-mile Map, Sheet 21B,

with Additions from Admiralty Charts. Shows Sea Routes of " San
Pedro " (Torres), 1606 ; " Duyjken " (Janszoon), 1606 ; " Peru "
(Carstenszoon and Sluijs) and '■'■ Aernem^'' (von Coolsteerdt), 1623;
'^ Limmen" (Tasman), 1643; '■'■ Rijder" (Gonzal), 1756; "Butjs^^
(Asschens), 1756; '■'Endeavour''' (Cook), 1770 ; '•''Bounty's'''' Launch
(Bligh), 1789 ; " Pandora " and Her Boats (Edwards), 1791 ; " Provi-
dence " (Bligh) and "Assistant (Portlock), 1792; ^'Hormuzeer''' (Bamp-
ton) and ''Chesterfield'' (Alt), 1793 ; ''Investigator" (Flinders), 1802;
"Cumberland" (Flinders), 1803; "Mermaid" (King), 1818; "Isabella"
(Lewis), 1836; "Tigris" (Iggleston), 1836; "Astrolabe" and
"Zelee" (Dumont-D'Urville), 1840 ; "Fly" (Blackwood), "Bramble"
(Yule) and " Prince George" 1843-5 ; " Rattlesnake " (Stanley), 1849 ;
"Basilisk" (Moresby), 1871-3 : and Land Routes of Kennedy and
Jackey-Jackey, 1848; F. and A. Jardine, 1865; Jack, 1880 ; Bradford,
1883.

B. Orford Ness to Cape Weymouth and Vrilya Point to Albatross

Bay = Queensland 4-mile Map, Sheet 21A, with Additions from
Admiralty Charts. Shows Sea Routes of " Duyjken" 1606 ; " Pera "
and " Aernem" 1623 ; " Limmen," 1644 ; " Buijs," 1756 ; " Rijder,"
1756; "Endeavour" 1770 ; " Bounty'' s" Launch, 1789; "Investi-
gator," 1802 ; " Fly," " Bramble " and " Midge," 1843 ; " Rattlesnake "
and " Bramble," 1848 ; " Ariel " (Dobson), 1848 ; " Freak " (Simpson)
and her Whaleboat, 1849: and Land Routes of Kennedy, 1848;
F. & A. Jardine, 1865; Jack, 1880; Pennefather, 1881 ; Bradford,
1883 ; Hey, 1895 ; Embley, 1897.

C. Lloyd Bay to Stewart River = Parts of Queensland 4-mile Maps

20C and 20D, with Additions from Admiralty Chart. Shows Sea
'Kouttsoi" Endeavour," 1770 ; " ^ozmiy'i- " Launch, 1789; "Bramble"
(Yule), 1843 ; " Rattlesnake " and " Bramble," 1848 ; " Dart," 1896-8 :
and Land Routes of Kennedy, 1848 ; W. Hann, 1872 ; Jack, 1879-80 ;
Bradford, 1883 ; Embley, 1884-96; Dickie, 1901 ; Dickie, Dick and
Sheffield, 1910.

D. Albatross Bay to Cape Keerweer, Gulf of Carpentaria =

Part of Queensland 4-mile Map, Sheet 20D, with Additions from



xii LIST OF MAPS

Admiralty Chart. Shows Sea Routes of " Duyjken^^^ 1606 ; " Peru "
and ^^ Aernem,''^ 1623; " Zzmm^n " (Tasman), 1644; " Butjs,^^ ly^S ;
*' Rijder,^^ iy^6 ; " Investigator ^^ (Flinders), 1802: and Land Routes
of F. and A. Jardine, 1864-5; Embley, 1884-95; Hey, 1892-1919;
Meston, 1896; Jackson, 1902.

E. CooKTOWN TO Princess Charlotte Bay = Queensland 4-mile Map,

Sheet 20A, with Additions from Admiralty Charts. Shows Sea Routes
of *' Endeavour ''' (Cook), 1770 ; ^^ Mermaid" (King), 1819 ;
"Bathurst" (King), 1821 ; "Fly" (Blackwood) and ''Bramble"
(Yule), 1843; " Rattles7take " (Stanley) and ''Bramble" (Yule), 1848;
and Land Routes of Kennedy, 1848; Hann, 1872; Mulligan, 1875;
Jack, 1879 ; Bradford, 1883 ; Embley, 1884.

F. Hamilton and Philp Goldfields and Westward to the Gulf of

Carpentaria, with the Kendall, Holroyd, Edward, Coleman
AND Mitchell Rivers = Queensland 4-mile Map, Sheet 20B, with
Additions from Admiralty Chart. Shows Sea Routes of " Pera " and
" Aernem" 1623; " Limmen" (Tasman), 1644; "Investigator"
(Flinders), 1802 : and Land Routes of F. and A. Jardine, 1864 ; Hann,
1872; Mulligan, 1875-95; Jack, 1879-80; Embley, 1 874-1 896 ;
Bradford, 1883 ; Dickie, 1901.

G. Cape Grafton to Weary Bay and Cairns to Palmer River =

Queensland 4-mile Map 18C and Part of 18D, with Additions from
Admiralty Chart. Shows Sea Route of "Endeavour" (Cook), 1770:
and Land Routes of Leichhardt, 1845 ; Kennedy, 1848 ; Hann, 1872 ;
Mulligan, 1873-75 ; Dickie, 1901.

H. Palmer, Mitchell, Lynd, Staten and Gilbert Rivers, and Part
OF THE Gulf of Carpentaria := Queensland 4-mile Map, Sheet 18D
and Part of 19C, with Additions from Admiralty Charts. Shows Sea
Routes of " Pera " and " Aernem, 1623 ; " Limmen " (Tasman),
1644; "Beagle" (Stokes), 1841 : and Land Routes of Leichhardt,
1845; F. and A. Jardine, 1864 ; Hann, 1872 ; Mulligan, 1875 ; Embley,
1884-7; Dickie, 1891.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The author desires specially to record his thanks to the undernoted persons and
institutions. References to many others who assisted him will be found in the text.

Agar, Bern ice, Sydney. — For special pains in the production of photo-
graphs of R. Logan Jack, Janet Simpson Jack and James Simpson Love.

Angus & Robertson, Ltd., Sydney. — For permission to produce portraits
of Tasman, Bligh and Flinders from books published by them.

Bradford, John R., Brisbane. — For permission to publish his report
(1883) on the Exploration preliminary to the construction of the Cape
York Telegraph Line ; for information which proved instrumental in
tracing my lost maps ; and for much useful information which is
embodied in the text.

Brady, A. B., Under Secretary for Works, Queensland. — For copies of
documents relating to Mulligan's explorations.

Byers, T. J., Hughenden. — For portrait of Mulligan and much information.

Clark, Mrs., Maryvale, Queensland. — For portrait group of members of the
expedition led by her father, William Hann ; for Biographical Details
re members of the expedition and Daintree and for other information.

Crosbie, Mrs, J. D., Cairns. — For portrait of her late husband, James
Crosbie, biographical notes and other information.

Cullen, E. a.. Harbours and Rivers Department, Brisbane. — For informa-
tion re Batavia River and Port Musgrave.

Dick, (the late) James, Cooktown. — For information re prospecting in
Cape York Peninsula, communicated in correspondence from 191 1 till
his death in 1916. His many letters amounted almost to collaboration.
Indirectly, as is explained in the introductory chapter, he may be said
to have brought about the expansion of a proposed annotated version
of my reports on the 1879-80 expeditions, on which I was engaged
when the correspondence began, into a history covering three
centuries of exploration.

Dunn, E. J., formerly Government Geologist of Victoria. — For permission
to reproduce portraits of Norman Taylor and Richard Daintree from his
Founders of the Geological Survey of Victoria.

Dunstan, B., Government Geologist, Queensland. — For a search in his
office for copies of my lost maps ; and for the loan of official documents
left by me.

Embley, J. T., Melbourne. — For portraits of himself ; for a special article
on his expedition (1884) with Clark, and for information re the
Mcllwraith and Macrossan Ranges, the Western Rivers, the discovery
and occupation of pastoral country in the north, etc. The assistance
rendered by him in some portions of this work amounted to collaboration.

Foot, Mrs. W., Cardington, Queensland. — For portrait of her father,



xiv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

William Hann, and for information re the Hann expedition, the
Etheridge and Gilbert Rivers, etc.

Green, D,, Townsville. — For many contributions of newspaper articles re
northern explorers and pioneers, and for gratuitous advertisements in the
newspapers controlled by him with the object of eliciting information
required by me.

Heeres, J. E., LL.D., formerly Professor at the Dutch Colonial Institute,
Delft, afterwards at the University of Leiden. — For permission to quote
from the English translation of his exhaustive work on The Part home
by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia, 1 606-1 765, and to his pub-
lishers, " The Late E. J. Brill Company, Limited," Leiden, for their
consent.

Hey, Rev. Nicholas, late of the Mapoon Aboriginal Mission. — For
geographical and ethnological notes ; for notes on explorations by the
missionaries, and especially for assisting in the identification of what I
believe to be " Coen Revier " of the " Pera " and " Aernem " Ex-
pedition.

Johnson, L., Sydney. — For special care in the reproduction of old portraits
from originals in some instance faded or damaged.

Jones, Rev. John, Church of England Board of Missions, Sydney. — For
information re Aborigines of the Mitchell Delta, etc.

Leake, Mrs., Merriula, Maxwellton, Queensland. — For portrait of her
father, Thomas Tate j for documents relating to the wreck of the
" Maria,'' in which he took part, and for other information.

Lees, William, Brisbane. — For assistance and encouragement in my
work. For several years back he continually contributed any writing
which came under his observation as a journalist, and which appeared
to bear on the subject of my study. His extensive knowledge of the
North of Queensland and his wide reading enabled him to amass
knowledge most useful to me.

Love, James Simpson, Townsville. — For information regarding recent
developments in North Queensland. He was the youngest member of
my Second Expedition (1879-80), and has since been in a position to
acquire a very intimate knowledge of the Cape York Peninsula.

Macgregor, the late Sir William, G.C.M.G., etc. Administrator and
Lieutenant Governor of British New Guinea, Governor of Lagos,
Governor of Newfoundland and Governor of Queensland. But for
his death (on 4th July, 1919) this book would have been dedicated to him
in grateful recognition of his services to science and of his personal
and stimulating interest in my geographical and geological work and
in the historical questions which I had under investigation. He wrote
me on 29th December, 1916 : " I am glad to learn that you have on the
stocks a work of the kind you mention. I should indeed consider it a
very real honour to have it dedicated to me, for I know well that it would
be the standard of reference for future generations when personally we
are long off the scene."

Macintosh, Hugh, Brisbane. — For portraits of Sir Augustus Gregory and
Sir Thomas Mcllwraith, and for a mass of information re explorations,
surveys, dates, names, etc., in answer to my inquiries extending over
the last decade. His long experience in the Survey Office made him an
unrivalled authority on such matters.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xv

McLaren, John, Utingu, near Cape York. — For information re the Coco-nut

plantation and conditions in the Cape York district generally.
Maiden, J. H., C.M.G., Government Botanist, Sydney. — For permission to

reproduce portrait of William Carron from his Records of Australian

Botanists, and for botanical notes.
Marshall, Henry, Under Secretary for Mines, Brisbane. — For the text

of James Dick's report on the Dickie, Dick and Sheffield traverse of the

Mcllwraith Range ,• for a search in the archives of the Department for

my missing map ; for statistical and other information.
Mitchell Library, Sydney, and Hugh Wright, Librarian. — For access

to books and maps and special facilities for the examination of Kennedy

and early Dutch-Australian Literature and documents.
Moffat, Miss E. L., Sydney. — For portrait of her father, the late John

Moffat.
Parliamentary Library, Brisbane, and J. Murray, Librarian. — For

official statement re construction of Cape York Telegraph.
Parliamentary Library, Sydney, and F. Walsh, Librarian. — For access

to Books, Newspaper files and documents and facilities for the perusal

of Kennedy and other documents.
Paterson, Frank J., Toowoomba, Queensland. — For information which

assisted in tracing my lost maps and for reminiscences of the survey

and construction of the Cape York Telegraph.
Postmaster General's Department (Federal) and J. McConachie, Deputy

P.M.G., Queensland. — For copy of Bradford's report on Cape York

Telegraph Survey (1883-4), "^^^^ maps, and for permission to publish.
Public Library, Sydney, and W. H. Ifould, Librarian. — For access to

Parliamentary papers and documents.
Public Library, Melbourne. — For access to books and maps.
Queenslander Newspaper, Brisbane. — For permission to reproduce

portrait of Frank Jardine.
Spowers, Allan A., Surveyor General, Queensland. — For maps of the

Department of Lands, and officially authenticated information re

explorations and surveys.
Webb, W. J., Cooktown. — For special article on the Cooktown — Palmer

Rush (1873) ; for portraits of Dickie, Dick and himself ; and for notes

on early prospectors.
Whitcombe and Tombs, Melbourne. — For permission to reproduce portraits

of Leichhardt, Kennedy, Burke and Wills from books published by them.
White, C. T., Government Botanist, Queensland. — For botanical notes, and

especially for notes and references re Gastrolobium.



NORTHMOST AUSTRALIA



CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION

THE Cape York Peninsula, forming, as it does, the link
binding the two great islands of Australia and New
Guinea, is necessarily of the highest importance from a
geological, ethnological, zoological, botanical, historical,
political and strategical point of view.

It so happens that the Peninsula is the first part of Australia
to which authentic written history refers. On the earliest landing
of Europeans there arose the complex questions which obtrude
themselves whenever civilisation comes into contact with bar-
barism.

My practical interest in the Peninsula began with a tour
made in 1879 in the course of my Geological Survey work. On
my way to the recently rushed and still more recently abandoned
" Coen " gold diggings, I crossed the base of the then almost
unknown Cape Melville Peninsula, where I found indications of
auriferous country, and also the rivers south of Princess Charlotte
Bay, down which the unfortunate explorer Kennedy had struggled
in vain to keep his appointment with the relief ship twenty-two
years earlier. From the Coen, I was only able to push out to the
north for a period inexorably limited by the condition of my
horses and the quantity of food remaining in my saddle-bags.
Even under these conditions, however, I penetrated for some
distance into the Mcllwraith Range, and on the heads of the river
which I named the Peach (unaware that it was the river named
the Archer by the Brothers Jardine, who crossed it near its mouth)
I found widespread evidence of the presence of gold and tin.

From the Laura Telegraph Office, from Cooktown, and
ultimately from my headquarters at Townsville, I made such
communications as were possible in anticipation of a complete
report to the head of the Department of Mines, which adminis-
tered the Geological Survey.

My individual impression was that the reefs in the district
traversed were of more importance than the alluvial gold, but
there had been neither means nor time at my disposal to enable
me to satisfy myself of the value of either, and this view I duly
represented in my correspondence with the Department.

I — I



2 NORTHMOST AUSTRALIA

The desire of the Government, and of the eager diggers
throughout Queensland, was to discover an alluvial goldfield on
the pattern of the Palmer, which was by that time approaching
exhaustion.

A party of miners, headed by James Crosbie, volunteered to
go and settle the question of the existence of payable alluvial
gold, and they asked for and obtained government assistance, and
I was instructed to lead them to the spot. In addition, a pros-
pecting party was equipped, with money subscribed in Cook-
town, and sent out to anticipate the expedition subsidised by the
Government.

The combined geological and prospecting parties left Cook-
town on 26th November, 1879, and striking out from the " bend
of the Kennedy " on the Cooktown-Palmerville road, reached the
" Peach " (Archer) River on 20th December. The prospectors
commenced operations at once, and were rewarded with " pros-
pects " which led them into the jungle-clad recesses of the
Mcllwraith Range. Here, to their disappointment, although
prospects were obtained here and there, the creeks and gullies were
found to run over almost bare rocks, their beds being too steep
for the retention of any quantity of alluvial " washdirt." On
30th December, the wet season set in. For the remainder of our
time in the field, the creeks were too swollen for the " bottom "
to be reached where there was any washdirt at all, or the ground
was too sodden to carry our horses. There were long and vexa-
tious delays when it was neither possible to work nor to travel.
Nevertheless, we continued, during breaks in the bad weather, to
cross the Mcllwraith Range and touch the Macrossan Range.
Regaining the summit of the Mcllwraith Range, we followed it
to its northern extremity, where the valley of the Pascoe River
separates it from the mountain mass which we named the Janet
Range. It was found that the Pascoe River bounds the Janet
Range on the south and east, and we practically followed it down



Online LibraryRobert Logan JackNorthmost Australia; three centuries of exploration, discovery, and adventure in and around the Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, with a study of the narratives of all explorers by sea and land in the light of modern charting, many original or hitherto unpublished documents, thirty-nine illustrations → online text (page 1 of 43)