CHAPTER 8. THE EARLY FORTIES.
8.1. Angas McMILLAN and Gippsland.
Angas McMillan, who was the discoverer of what is now so widely-known as Gippsland, in Victoria, was a manager of the Currawang station, in the Maneroo district. On the 20th of May, 1839, he started from the station on a trip to the southward to look for new grazing land. He had with him but one black boy, named Jimmy Gibbu, who claimed to be the chief of the Maneroo tribe, so that if the party was small, it was very select. On the fifth day McMillan got through to the country watered by the Buchan River, and, from the summit of an elevation which he called Mount Haystack, he obtained a most satisfactory view over the surrounding region. The next night, McMillan, awakened by a noise, found Jimmy Gibbu bending over him with a nulla-nulla in his hand. Fortunately, McMillan’s pistol was within easy reach, and, presenting it at Jimmy’s head, he compelled him to drop the nulla-nulla, and to account for his suspicious attitude. Jimmy confessed to a fear of the Warrigals, or wild blacks of that region, to acute home-sickness, and to a general unwillingness to proceed further.
McMillan examined the country he had found, and having judged it to be very desirable pastoral land, he returned home. He then formed a new station for Mr. Macalister on some country he had found on the Tambo River, and went himself on another trip of discovery. This time he had four companions with him, two friends named Cameron and Matthews, a stockman, and a black boy. they followed the Tambo River down its course through fine grazing country, both plains and forest, until in due course it led them to the point of its embouchure in the lakes of the south coast. He named Lake Victoria, and then directed his course to the west, where he discovered and named the Nicholson and Mitchell rivers. He was so deeply impressed with the resemblance of the country he had just been over to some parts of Scotland, that he called the district by the now obsolete name of Caledonia Australis. On January the 23rd, 1840, he was out again and discovered and named the Macalister River, and pushed on as far west as the La Trobe River. This addition of rich pastoral regions to the already settled districts was altogether due to Angas McMillan’s energy, and is now known as Gippsland, being named officially after Sir George Gipps, the Governor who had the amusing eccentricity of insisting that all the towns laid out during his term of office should have no public squares included within their boundaries, being convinced that public squares encouraged the spread of democracy.
8.2. Count Strzelecki.
Count Strzelecki’s expedition through Gippsland with the discovery of which district he is commonly and wrongly credited, was due to the literary and geographical work he had undertaken, as he was gathering material for his well-known work, The Physical Description of New South Wales, Victoria, and Van Diemen’s Land. He ascended the south-east portion of the main dividing range, and named the highest peak thereof Kosciusko, after a fancied resemblance in its outline to that Polish patriot’s tomb at Cracow.