August.] Mr. Melville sailed on his intended fishing voyage on the second of this month. He talked of returning in about fourteen days, during which time he meant to visit Jervis and Bateman Bays to the southward, as well as to try once more what fortune might attend him as a whaler upon the coast. He returned, however, on the 8th, without having seen a fish, or visited either of the bays, having experienced a constant and heavy gale of wind at ESE since he left the port, which forced him to sail under a reefed foresail during the whole of its continuance.
In the evening of the day on which he sailed hence, the people at the South Head made the signal for a sail; but it was imagined, that as they had lost sight of the Speedy in the morning, they had perhaps seen her again in the evening on another tack, as the wind had shifted. But when this was mentioned to Mr. Melville at his return, he said that it was not possible for the Speedy to have been seen in the evening of the day she sailed, as she stood right off the land; and he added, that he himself, in the close of the evening, imagined he saw a sail off Botany Bay. No ship, however, making her appearance during the month, it was generally supposed that the people at the Look-out must have been mistaken.
A passage over the inland mountains which form the western boundary of the county of Cumberland being deemed practicable, Henry Hacking, a seaman (formerly quarter-master in the Sirius, but left here from the Royal Admiral), set off on the 20th of the month, with a companion or two, determined to try it. On the 27th they returned with an account of their having penetrated twenty miles further inland than any other European. Hacking reported, that on reaching the mountains, his further route lay over eighteen or nineteen ridges of high rocks; and that when he halted, determined to return, he still had in view before him the same wild and inaccessible kind of country. The summits of these rocks were of iron stone, large fragments of which had covered the intermediate valleys, in which water of a reddish tinge was observed to stagnate in many spots. The soil midway up the ascent appeared good, and afforded shelter and food for several red kangaroos. The ground every where bore signs of being frequently visited by high winds; for on the sides exposed to the south and south-east it was strewed with the trunks of large trees. They saw but one native in this desolate region, and he fled from their approach, preferring the enjoyments of his rocks and woods, with liberty, to any intercourse with them. These hills appearing to extend very far to the northward an impassable barrier seemed fixed to the westward; and southward, and little hope was left of our extending cultivation beyond the limits of the county of Cumberland.
On the following day the Francis schooner returned from Norfolk Island, having been absent about eight weeks and three days. Her passage thither was made in ten days, and her return in thirty-eight days, having met with very bad weather.