Taking Finnegan with them, Oxley and Stirling started in the whaleboat the following morning to verify this information. They found the river and pulled up it about fifty miles. Oxley was greatly pleased with such a discovery, and landing, ascended a hill which he named Termination Hill. From the top he obtained a view over a wide extent of country, through which he was able to trace the river for a long distance. Strangely enough, the hasty glimpse he thus caught of a new and untrodden part of Australia seemed to confirm his fixed belief in the final destination of the Lachlan and the Macquarie as an inland sea.
“The nature of the country and a consideration of all the circumstances connected with the appearances of the river, justify me in entertaining a strong belief that the source of the river will not be found in mountainous country, but rather that it flows from some lake, which will prove to be the receptacle of those inland streams crossed by me during an expedition of discovery in 1818.”
Oxley named the river the Brisbane, and, taking aboard the two rescued men, the Mermaid set sail for Port Jackson, where she arrived on December 13th. This ended the chapter of Oxley’s discoveries in the field of active exploration.
CHAPTER 4. HAMILTON HUME.
[Illustration. Hamilton Hume, in his later life.]
[Map. Hume and Hovell’s Route 1824; Sturt’s Route, 1829 and 1830; Major Mitchell’s Route 1836.]
4.1. Early achievements.
Hamilton Hume was the son of the Reverend Andrew Hume, who came to the colony with his wife in the transport Lady Juliana, and held an appointment in the Commissariat Department. Hamilton was born in Parramatta in the year 1797, on the 18th of June. He seems to have been specially marked out by Nature for prominence as an explorer, for, from his earliest boyhood he was fond of rambling through the bush, and his father encouraged him in his desire for a free country life and his love of adventure. School facilities were lacking, but fortunately his mother attended to his education and saw to it that he did not grow up destitute of that instruction common to youth of those times and of his standing.
At the age of seventeen he made his initial effort at exploration in the country around Berrima, in company with his brother Kennedy and a black boy. They were successful in their endeavours, and found some good pastoral country. In the following year, encouraged by their success, the brothers made another excursion. In 1816, a Mr. Throsby bought some of the land that young Kennedy and Hamilton had found; and their father sent them out with him to show him the country he had purchased. John Oxley, too, held a farm in the Illawarra district, and the Surveyor-General, who must have heard of Hamilton’s repute for good bushmanship, engaged him to go out with his overseer