Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia eBook

Philip Parker King
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 567 pages of information about Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia.


Between the meridians of Cape Leeuwin and Bass Strait, the weather is generally very unsettled and tempestuous; and, at certain seasons, very much against a ship making the western passage from Port Jackson, which is by passing through Bass Strait, and along the south coast; but it so happens that at the time when ships cannot proceed through Torres Strait, by reason of the Westerly Monsoon, namely, from the month of December to that of March, easterly winds prevail upon the south coast, and are more regular and strong in that space between the land and the parallel of Bass Strait.* I have been told that the south-westerly gales that sometimes occur during that season, seldom, if ever, blow home upon the coast; and that when they do reach the land, they partake more of the character of the sea breeze; be that as it may, a ship steering to the westward should keep to the north of 40 degrees, in order to benefit by the regularity of the wind, which to the south of that parallel generally blows from some western quarter.  From April to October the westerly gales are very constant, and veer between South by West and North by East; but, in the months of June and July, seldom veer to the southward of South-West or northward of North-West; they are then accompanied by a deep and heavy sea.  The wind, in the summer season, generally revolves with the sun, and, as the atmosphere becomes more dense, veers to the South-East, with fine weather.

(Footnote.  Horsburgh volume 2 page 506.)

The marine barometer is here of considerable importance, as its rise always precedes a south-east wind, and its fall a change from the North-West; it seldom, however, stands lower than twenty-nine and a half inches.  The currents generally set to the north, and seldom run with any velocity either to the east or west.  A ship steering along this coast to the eastward, bound to Port Jackson through Torres Strait, should steer upon the parallel of 41 degrees, to avoid being thrown into the bight to the west of Cape Northumberland, where with a South-East wind, that would otherwise be fair for carrying her through Bass Strait, she would be detained probably a week.

Upon making Van Diemen’s Land, she is ready for either a northerly or a southerly wind; since, with the former, she can round Van Diemen’s Land, without suffering much detention, or materially lengthening her voyage.

KING GEORGE THE THIRD’S SOUND was discovered by Captain Vancouver in the year 1791, on his celebrated voyage to the North-west Coast of America.  It offers an excellent resort for vessels, and is convenient for all the purposes of refitting, wooding, and watering.  The natives are friendly; the banks of Oyster Harbour afford a large abundance of oysters and other shell-fish, and the harbours and rivers are well-stocked with fish and birds.

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Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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