After an interval employed by the Brothers in forming a station at Vallack Point, they returned with their father to Brisbane, in H.M.S. Salamander, leaving their younger brother, John, in charge of the newly-formed station, where the cattle were doing well. Mr. Richardson left in the same vessel, and on arriving in Brisbane immediately set to work to chart the route. Having every facility at hand in the office of the Surveyor-General, the error of the river Lynd was rectified, and a map compiled, shewing the route, from which that now presented to the reader has been reduced. A glance at it will shew that a large tract of unexplored country exists between the track of the Jardines and that of Kennedy, which affords ample scope for, and may possibly repay future explorations. Already stock is on the road to occupy country on the lower Einasleih, and it is not improbable that before long the rich valley of the Archer will add its share to the pastoral wealth of Queensland.
[Plate: Somerset Cape York. Lithograph.]
The melaleuca (’Tea-tree Gum M. Leucodendron.’)
This tree, of which there are several varieties, is very common to Northern Australia; the drooping kind (’Melaleuca Leucodendron’), occupying the beds and margins of the rivers, where its long pendant branches weeps the stream, as does the graceful willow of Europe. Its bark is in thin paper-like layers, whilst its leaves are like that of the gum, but thinner and straighter. It is remarkable for containing an extraordinary quantity of brackish water, which pours out in a torrent, when the bark is cut through, to the extent of from a quart to a gallon. Another variety is found chiefly in flat sandy country and shallow swamps. It is much smaller than that of the rivers, and the leaves broader, stiff, and upright, its blossoms nearly the same. It is indifferently called weeping gum, tea-tree gum, and tea-tree, although it is in no way allied to the latter. It is with the upright kind that the arid levels of the Staaten are chiefly timbered.
This scrub, one of the numerous family of accacia, which together with the pandanus, gave the travellers so much annoyance on their journey, occupies a large extent of country about the Richardson range, from the Batavia to Cape York. It much resembles, and is probably identical with that which grows in the neighbourhood of Sydney, to the appearance of which, indeed, that part of the Peninsula closely resembles.
These beautiful pigeons which are alluded to by Leichhardt, are at certain seasons found in immense flocks in the plain country about the Gulf of Carpentaria. Their range is wide, as in 1846 they appeared in flocks of countless multitudes on the Murrimbidgee River, N.S.W., probably driven from their usual regions by drought. They are described and figured in Mr. Gould’s great work on the Australian birds.