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Francis Lascelles Jardine
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 161 pages of information about Narrative of the Overland Expedition of the Messrs. Jardine from Rockhampton to Cape York, Northern Queensland.

PREFACE.

The Settlement of Northern Australia has of late years been of such rapid growth as to furnish matter for a collection of narratives, which in the aggregate would make a large and interesting volume.  Prominent amongst these stands that of the Settlement of Cape York, under the superintendence of Mr. Jardine, with which the gallant trip of his two sons overland must ever be associated.  It was a journey which, but for the character and qualities of the Leader, might have terminated as disastrously as that of his unfortunate, but no less gallant predecessor, Kennedy.  A brilliant achievement in exploration, in a colony where exploring has become common and almost devoid of interest, from the number of those yearly engaged in it, its very success has prevented its attracting that share of public attention to which its results very fully entitled it.  Had it been attended with any signal disaster, involving loss of life, it would have been otherwise.  Geographically, it has solved the question hitherto undecided of the course of the northern rivers emptying into the Gulf of Carpentaria, of which nothing was previously known but their outlets, taken from the charts of the Dutch Navigators.  It has also made known, with tolerable definiteness, how much, or rather, how little, of the “York Peninsula” is adapted for pastoral occupation, whilst its success in taking the first stock overland, and forming a cattle station at Newcastle Bay, has insured to the Settlement at Somerset a necessary and welcome supply of fresh meat, and done away with its dependence for supplies on importations by sea of less nourishing salt provision.

Starting from the then farthest out-station of Northern Queensland with a small herd of cattle, these hardy young bushmen met with and successfully combated, almost every “accident by flood and field” that could well occur in an expedition.  First, an arid waterless country forced them to follow down two streams at right angles with their course for upwards of 200 miles, causing a delay which betrayed them into the depths of the rainy season; then the loss of half their food and equipment by a fire, occasioned by the carelessness of some of the party; next the scarcity of grass and water, causing a further delay by losses of half their horses, which were only recovered to be again lost altogether—­killed by eating a deadly poison plant; and finally, the setting in of the wet season, making the ground next to impassable, and so swelling the rivers, that when actually in sight, and within a week’s journey of their destination, they were turned off their course, and were more than six weeks in reaching it.  Added to this, and running through the whole journey, was the incessant and determined, although unprovoked, hostility of the natives, which, but for the unceasing vigilence and prompt and daring action of the Brothers, might have eventually compassed the annihilation of the

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