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.
on behalf of the Government, directing me to place myself under the orders of Captain P.P.  King, to whom the execution of this important service had been intrusted, and to accompany him to those particular coasts, destined for his investigation, in order to form and prepare such collections of their vegetation, for the use of His Majesty’s gardens at Kew, as circumstances, and the particular season of the year proper for visiting those shores, might afford me.  My very limited knowledge of the plants of that continent, especially of genera, that form a striking feature in its Flora, was moreover essentially improved during our stay at King George’s Sound on the South-west Coast, previous to our arrival upon the North-west Coast, at the commencement of the first voyage of His Majesty’s cutter the Mermaid.

Although the reader may inform himself, from Captain King’s relation of the several voyages, of the opportunities that were afforded me in forming my collections of plants, still it appears necessary, in this place, to take a general retrospective view of those parts of the coasts under examination, whereon my researches were made, adverting, at the same time, to the prevalent unfavourable seasons for flowering plants, during which it should seem the survey of the North-west Coast could alone be effected with safety.

During the progress of the survey of the southern extreme of the North-west Coast (at which part Captain King commenced his examinations, in 1818) I landed in Exmouth Gulf, then upon one of the islands of Dampier’s Archipelago, at the Intercourse Islands, and on Malus Island; but the results of these several excursions (in some of which ample time was afforded me) did by no means answer my expectations; herbaceous plants being for the most part dead, and the few (hard woody) shrubs scarcely bearing fructification:  disadvantages arising, in fact, from the extreme barrenness of the land, and more particularly from the prevalent droughts of the season, previous to the change of the monsoon, which soon afterwards took place, obliging us to quit the North-west Coast altogether; the remaining periods of the voyage being employed in the examination of certain parts of the North Coast.

We again reached the North-west Coast, in the month of September of the following year, resuming the survey at its northern extremity, under the most flattering views, and with a favourable season for the prosecution of that primary object of the voyage.  Between the meridians of 125 and 129 degrees, on the parallel of 14 degrees, although a large proportion of the vegetation was for the most part destroyed by the long established droughts, the number of specimens of plants bearing fructification, gathered at Port Keats, Vansittart Bay, Port Warrender, and especially in Cambridge Gulf (where we spent ten days) was nevertheless considerable and highly interesting, belonging, however, almost wholly to established genera of which Grevillea and

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