Hume and Hovell

The Sydney Morning Herald

5 June 1924


In to-day's issue of the "Herald" I see "Hovell - Hume Centenary," instead of "Hume - Hovell Centenary" from your Albury correspondent. I have noticed the same thing before.

I am a retired teacher, and have taught Australian history from many text books.

The only tendency is to place Hume decidedly first. Take C. R. Long's history, for one.

Thomas Boyd was one of Hovell's men. He says Mr. Hume could turn his hand to anything, and cleverly planned the crossing of the Murrumbidgee River (which, if I remember correctly, was then in flood). Your correspondent says that the celebration is in honour of the discovery of the Murray.

Thomas Boyd asserts that Mr. Hume was always ahead of the rest of the party, and that he (Hume) was the first to see the Murray, and came back overjoyed.

Whenever the leader is spoken of, that leader is always "Hamilton Hume" in the history text books.

Governor Brisbane altered the intended route at Hume's request.

Hovell asked to be allowed to accompany the expedition, and Hume agreed. Hume called the Murray "Hume" after his father. There has been much regret that Captain Sturt altered it to "Murray."

Hume was an Australian born, and I take it that he was our greatest native explorer, whom the great Sturt was happy to have as a helper. Hume's photograph is often shown; I have never seen Hovell's.

I have always felt compelled to hold Hume up as a great native Australian whom my native Australian pupils should try to emulate and consider the leader.

Though Hovell had the advantage of the education of a sea captain, he was wrong and Hume right in their argument about Port Phillip Bay and Western Port.

Hume's contention was that they were viewing Port Phillip Bay, and the guiding to mid from Port Phillip was plainly Hume's.

It was quite in order that the second river in importance that was discovered should be named after the second in command, so the Victorian Goulburn was called the "Hovell," and so the name of the second explorer was also belittled.

I am, etc.. A Retired Teacher.  May 27.