Such, then, are the first fruits of the voyages I have had the honour to direct. Much, however, of the coast yet remains to be examined; and although, for the general purposes of navigation, it has been quite sufficiently explored, yet there are many spaces upon the chart left blank that would be highly interesting to examine and really important to know. We have but a slight knowledge also of the natural history of the continent; slight however as it is, no country has ever produced a more extraordinary assemblage of indigenous productions; no country has proved richer than Australia in every branch of natural history; and it has besides, this advantage, that as the greater part is yet entirely unknown, so much the more does it excite the interest of the geographer and naturalist.
The examination of its vast interior can only be performed by degrees: want of navigable rivers will naturally impede such a task, but all these difficulties will be gradually overcome by the indefatigable zeal of our countrymen, of whose researches in all parts of the world the present times teem with such numerous examples.
Previously to entering into the detail of the following coast-directions, in which it has been attempted, for the sake of a more easy reference, to collect all the nautical information under one general head, it may be proper to premise that Captain Flinders, in the account of his voyage,* has given two very useful chapters upon the winds and weather that may be experienced upon the various coasts of this continent; as well as information respecting its general navigation and particular sailing-directions for the outer passage from Port Jackson through Torres Strait, by entering the reefs at Murray Island. From these chapters Captain Horsburgh has arranged, in his valuable work on the Hydrography etc. of the Indian Ocean, a set of sailing-directions and other nautical information** that will be found useful for the navigation of the southern and eastern coasts of this continent.
(Footnote. Volume 1 book 1 chapter 11 and volume 2 book 2 chapter 11.)
(**Footnote. Horsburgh’s Indian Directory volume 2 pages 493 and 515.)
OF THE WINDS AND CURRENTS, AND DESCRIPTION OF THE PORTS, ISLANDS, AND COAST BETWEEN PORT JACKSON AND BREAKSEA SPIT.
The south-east trade cannot be said to blow home upon that part of the coast of New South Wales, which lies between Breaksea Spit and Port Jackson, except during the summer months when winds from that quarter prevail and often blow very hard; they are then accompanied by heavy rains and very thick weather: generally however from October to April they assume the character of a sea-breeze and, excepting during their suspension by south-easterly or westerly gales, are very regular. In the month of December strong south-easterly gales are not uncommon; and in February and March they are very frequent.