Hume and Hovell

The Sydney Morning Herald

9 July 1924


I have read the letter signed "Mary Yeo" in your issue of June 28.

As she appears to doubt the genuineness of Hovell's field books and documents written in 1824, I feel it incumbent upon me, as his nearest descendant in Australia, to state that those documents, etc, were in my possession from the time of his death in 1875 till 1921, when they were handed over by me to the Mitchell Library.

I had no idea till that date that they would be of any public value. They had been packed away all those years.

I had not met Professor Scott till the day of his lecture here on the overland Journey, and I was then asked if I had any papers which might throw more light on that journey.

I then looked for those old documents, and handed them over.

Professor Scott, before he came to Sydney, had found out many things about that Journey, especially about the speech made at Geelong by Hovell, which was the cause of so much ill feeling on the part of Hume, and which Miss Yeo alludes to in her letter.

The original MSS. draft of that speech was amongst the documents. He certainly gave Hume full credit for the part he took in the expedition, and he did not claim more for himself. He much regretted Hume's absence.

He had written to the latter telling him that there was to be a banquet given in their honour, and asking him to be present, to which letter a very curt reply, refusing to be present, was sent.

Both letter and reply are with the documents. I have read both of the pamphlets written by the two explorers in the overland Journey.

 Hume's was full of abuse and vituperation against Hovell; the latter's was written in a much more dignified style. Why carry on the dispute?

Both equally deserved unstinted praise for their great undertaking, so let Goulburn and Yass do their best to honour them.

 I am, ete., A.C.R. Sydney, July 1