Narrative of the Overland Expedition of the Messrs. Jardine from Rockhampton to Cape York, Northern Queensland eBook

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.

THE EINASLEIH.

This river was erroneously supposed by its first settlers to be the Lynd of Leichhardt.  That such was not the case, was proved by Alexander Jardine, who traced it down for 180 miles from Carpentaria Downs, when he turned back, within about a day’s stage of its junction with the Gilbert, fully satisfied that it could not be the Lynd.  Since then it has, I believe, been traced into the Gilbert, and thence to the Gulf.  Its importance would lead to the supposition that it was the principal branch of the Gilbert.  There is an excellent cattle country on the lower part, as described in the text which has probably ere this been occupied by our pioneers.

THE NONDA (’Parinarium Nonda.  F. Mueller.’)

This tree so named by Leichhardt’s black-boys (described in Bentham’s ’Flora Australiensis’), is very abundant north of the Einasleih, which is possibly the extreme latitude of its zone south.  It formed an important accession to the food of the party, and it is highly probable that their good health may be attributable to the quantity of fruit, of which this was the principal, which they were able to procure, there being no case of scurvy during the journey, a distemper frequently engendering in settled districts, when there is no possibility of varying the diet with vegetables.  The foliage of the tree is described as of a bright green, the fruit very abundant, and much eaten by the natives.  It is of about the size and appearance of a yellow egg plum, and in taste like a mealy potatoe, with, however, a trace of that astringency so common to Australian wild fruits.  The wood is well adapted for building purposes.

Burdekin duck (’Tadorna Raja’).

This beautiful species of shelldrake, though not numerous, has a wide range, extending from the richmond river to Cape York.  It frequents the more open flats at the mouths of rivers and creeks.

THE NATIVE BEE.

This little insect (called Wirotheree in the Wellington dialect), the invasion of whose hoards so frequently added to the store of the travellers, and no doubt assisted largely in maintaining their health, is very different from the European bee, being in size and appearance like the common house-fly.  It deposits its honey in trees and logs, without any regular comb, as in the case of the former.  These deposits are familiarly known in the colony as “sugar bags,” (sugar bag meaning, aboriginice, anything sweet), and require some experience and proficiency to detect and secure the aperture by which the bees enter the trees, being undistinguishable to an unpractised eye.  The quantity of honey is sometimes very large, amounting to several quarts.  Enough was found on one occasion to more than satisfy the whole party.  Its flavor differs from that of European

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Narrative of the Overland Expedition of the Messrs. Jardine from Rockhampton to Cape York, Northern Queensland from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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