northernmost australia expeditions 1800's

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Full text of "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a study of the narratives of all explorers by sea and land in the light of modern charting, many original or hitherto unpublished documents, thirty-nine illustrations, and sixteen specially prepared maps"NORTHMOST AUSTRALIA NORTHMOST AUSTRALIA THREE CENTURIES OF EXPLORATION, DISCOVERY,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A STUDY OF THE NARRATIVES OF ALL EXPLORERS BY SEA AND LAND IN THE LIGHT OF MODERN CHARTING, MANY ORIGINAL OR HITHERTO UNPUBLISHED DOCUMENTS, THIRTY-NINE ILLUSTRATIONS, AND SIXTEEN SPECIALLY PREPARED MAPS

BY ROBERT LOGAN JACK LL.D., F.R.G.S., F.G.S., M.IwsT.M.M. I-GOVZRNMENT GEOLOGIST, QUEENSLAND, PREVIOUSLY OP 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 AHD PALEONTOLOGY OF QUEENSLAND AMD HEW GUINEA "

IN Two VOLUMES 3*. V 3 VOL. II

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

Ctpvright 1921

CONTENTS VOL. II CHAPTER P* but according to the 4-mile map is in 15 58' S. On $th August, Hann and Taylor visited Mount Daintree, and after their return to Camp 19 the whole party moved 3 miles north-westward and camped on a river which was named the PALMER in honour of Sir Arthur Palmer, Chief Secretary of Queensland. CAMP 20. The camp must have been about the site of the subsequent FROME Native Police Station, about 2 miles up the river (east) from LUKINVILLE, which, a few years later, was for some time a busy centre of alluvial GOLD-DIGGING. Hann gives the latitude of the camp as 15 49' 14" S. ; according to the 4- mile map it is 15 56'. It was on the same river, and probably not far from Palmerville, that KENNEDY camped on I5th September, 1848, when the natives displayed a determined hostility, burning the grass and attacking his party several times. A sporting offer of a reward of half a pound of tobacco to the

first member of Hann's party to DISCOVER GOLD had been open for some time, but it was probable that nothing was needed to whet their appetite for the precious metal. On 6th August, WARNER claimed and obtained the reward, and other members of the party followed up the discovery by obtaining " prospects " from all the little ravines falling into WARNER'S GULLY. Hann made CAMP 20 the headquarters of the Expedition from $th to 2ist August, while prospecting operations were vigorously 1 Maps of Australia are crowded with " Sandy Creeks " ad nauseam, ii 3

386 NORTHMOST AUSTRALIA carried on. Down the river for 7 miles the prospecting gave only negative results, and this is remarkable in view of the fact that the site of the subsequent LUKINVILLE rush must have been passed over. The Lukinville gold was in the form of fine dust, and for the most part went to reward the industry and patience of Chinese diggers. Up the river, the flying party, consisting of Hann, Taylor, Warner and Jerry, met with more success. The first CAMP was made on qtk August, 5 miles east of Camp 20 (about north of MOUNT DAINTREE), and further encouraging traces of GOLD were found. The second CAMP, of loth August, was 5 miles further up the river, say at the mouth of the creek on the west side of MOUNT Fox. Here GOLD was found in the bed of the river. The sight of fresh cattle droppings gave rise to high hopes of an addition to the supply of meat, but the hunt for the CATTLE led to nothing. The third CAMP was reached in four hours of travelling on I2tb August, and the distance may be estimated at 10 miles, which would place the camp about on the site of PALMERVILLE. The latitude is given as 15 32' 34" S. That of Palmerville, according to the 4- mile map, is 15 59'. The results of prospecting here were " more flattering than hitherto," and Hann was now in hopes of being on the right track for discovering a GOLDFIELD. On i$th August, a further progress of 12 miles was made up the river, the men prospecting on the way, with results " more or less favourable " and the fourth CAMP was probably about the mouth of SANDY CREEK. 1 GOLD was found in the river bed at the camp of 1 3th August. On 1 4-th August, the party went 17 miles up the Palmer, cutting off bends of the river where it was possible to do so. The CAMP of 1 4th August was about a mile below the mouth of Granite Creek. 1 During the day, GOLD was found in the bed of the Palmer as well as in ravines on both sides. About half-way, Hann must have passed the site of MAYTOWN, afterwards the official centre of the PALMER GOLDFIELD. On l$tb August, leaving Jerry in camp in charge of two horses, one of which had lost a shoe and been lamed by the sharp slates, Hann and Warner prospected the river above the camp, again finding GOLD, and afterwards ascended a high hill, from which a view up the valley gave the impression that the country was too

rough for further progress. This hill, HANN'S FURTHEST EAST, is without doubt the one which subsequently received the name of MOUNT HANN. Returning to the camp, preparations for the return journey were 1 The " Sandy Creek " of the Palmer, not the Sandy Creek of the Mitchell already mentioned. 2 " Granite Creaks " are nearly as common as " Sandy Creeks." Both belong to a family, which includes Stony Creeks, Oaky Creeks, etc., descriptive of some characteristic of the creek where it was first met with, and the name is of no topographical value.

PALMER RIVER AND DISCOVERY OF GOLD 387 in progress when a party of NATIVES assembled and commenced to burn the grass. The appearance of the white men did not seem to impress them much, but as soon as they saw the black boy they retreated in haste. " The most ridiculous part of the affair," says Hann, " was that they were running in opposite directions, Jerry for his firelock, the natives for their safety." Hann and his companions completed the packing and travelled 8 miles down the river, making their CAMP for the night on a large sandy creek, which they had already prospected. This creek was the NORTH PALMER RIVER, which afterwards proved very rich in alluvial GOLD. Gold was found in the North Palmer on the following morning, l6th August. The MAIN CAMP, No. 20, was reached in the afternoon. The excursionists were met by the tidings that in their absence all their fresh meat, in the shape of SEVEN SHEEP and ONE HORSE, had been lost. The loss was responsible for four days' delay, which was employed by some of the party in prospecting in the neighbourhood of the camp, without much success. The sheep were recovered by Jerry, but not the horse. On 2Otb August, Hann visited a camp of NATIVES about a mile from his own, hoping to learn something about the missing horse, but the men precipitately fled, leaving the women and children behind. Hann did not consider that his party had discovered payable gold, and summed up his operations as " flattering prospects." In reporting the discovery he was very guarded and deprecated anything in the nature of a " rush." In those days, indeed, to report PAYABLE GOLD was a serious responsibility, and diggers returning from an unsuccessful rush were ugly customers for the reporter to meet. In this case, however, the hint of gold was enough to set prospectors on the track, and their success was beyond all expectations. In a few years GOLD TO THE VALUE OF FIVE AND A HALF MILLIONS STERLING had been won from the Palmer and its tributaries. Of this amount over 94 per cent, was alluvial gold, only 6 per cent, coming direct from reefs, chiefly in the neighbourhood of Maytown.

CHAPTER LV WILLIAM HANN'S EXPEDITION, continued PALMER RIVER TO PRINCESS CHARLOTTE BAY LEAVE THE PALMER. SANDSTONE AND CONGLOMERATE TABLELANDS. ANNIE CREEK. CAMP 21. KING RIVER. CAMP 22. GULF-PACIFIC WATERSHED. CAMP 23. MOREHEAD RIVER. JESSIE'S TABLELAND. CAMP 24. AGAIN ON THE WATERSHED. HORIZONTAL SANDSTONES. CAMPS 25 AND 26. COLEMAN RIVER. TEATREE CREEK. OLD KALKAH STATION. MICA-SCHIST HILL. UP COLEMAN RIVER. NATIVES. CAMP 27. WATERS FLOWING NORTH. HEADS OF JARDINE'S HOLROYD RIVER. TRACKS OF JARDINE'S LOST CATTLE. NATIVES. CAMP 28. INTO HAMILTON GOLDFIELD. OTHER HEADS OF HOLROYD RIVER. CAMP 29. HOLROYD RlVER ALSO NAMED THE LuKIN. MOUNT NEWBERY. UNSUCCESSFUL HuNT FOR BEEF. YARRADEN. VIOLETVILLE. RYAN CREEK. EBAGOOLAH TOWNSHIP. TELEPHONE LINE. ACROSS GULF-PACIFIC WATERSHED AND OUT OF HAMILTON GOLDFIELD. REACH STEWART RIVER. CAMP 30. THE RIVER FOLLOWED DOWN TO PRINCESS CHARLOTTE BAY. CAMPS 31 AND 32. (SEE MAP G.) THE whole party left the depot on the PALMER (CAMP 20) on 2ist August, 1872, and steered into the unknown on a course of 30 degrees to the west of north. The first day's stage, of 15 miles, ended at CAMP 21 on the right bank of a creek which was flowing to the north. The sandstone cliffs of the " CONGLOMERATE " RANGE lay on the right of the line of march, another range on the left being a detached fragment of the same. The head of what is now known as ANNIE CREEK was crossed a few miles south of Camp 21. Annie Creek flows W. by S. into the Palmer. CAMP 22, of 22nd August, was 12 miles N. 30 W. of Camp 21, and on the same creek. This creek, which, at Camp 22, had " plenty of water," was probably a tributary of the MOREHEAD RIVER, which falls into Princess Charlotte Bay. (SEE MAP E.) On 23?^ Aug