Hamilton Hume as an Explorer

The Sydney Morning Herald

24 June 1897


Your very able history of the last 60 years of progress under our good Queen has given pleasure to your many readers, and will, I am sure, be preserved as a valuable record.

That part under the head of "Growth of Australia" should prove interesting to old colonists who, like myself, remember the accession of the young princess to the throne.

But will you, in your kindness, bear with me if I object to the wording of a paragraph under the head of "Beginnings of Exploration," where it is stated that "Captain Sturt explored the Macquarie to the Darling, and followed the great inland river to Fort Bourke."

So far correct; but no mention is made of his very able associate, Hamilton Hume, although, in the next paragraph Mr. McLeay is not omitted as his associate when they traced the Murrumbidgee to its confluence with the waters of the stream which Sturt then named Murray, not realising it as the same river which Hume had previously named the "Hume," after his father, when he crossed it, but higher up, in 1824.

When Captain Sturt first proposed himself as a leader of a party to explore the Macquarie he had previously obtained Hume's consent to accompany him should he be successful in obtaining the command.

Sturt knew nothing of bush travelling in Australia, but he knew he could safely depend on Hume as an assistant.

It was in that expedition he gained his experience which was of so much use to him in his after explorations.

Hume taught him the study of the trees, the habits of the birds, the management of the natives, &c.

I have heard tell how, when they camped without water, which they were frequently compelled to do, the leaders would lie outside the camp listening for the flight of the birds through the night, and next day try to follow on their route in search of water.

Sturt always gratefully acknowledged the assistance he had received from his associate on that expedition, and endeavoured to persuade him to go with him a second time, which Hume was unable to do.

Mr. McLeay was then substituted, when they traced the Murrumbidgee in 1829 to its disemboguement, and one.

I trust you will pardon me for this correction, and will not refuse me a space m your valuable paper.

I am., &c., M. H. Barbour.