Progress Report of Captain Sturtís Expedition down the Murrumbidgee

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser

6 March 1830

Government Order, Colonial Secretary's Office, (No, 2) March 3d, 1830.

His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to direct that the following Communication, dated 4th January last, from Captain Sturt, of the 39th Regiment, who is employed in an exploring Expedition into the Interior of the Country, be published for general Information. By His Excellency's Command, Alexander M'leay.

ďDepot on the Murrumbidgee, January 4th,

1830. Long. 143 į 57' East. Lat. 34 15 South.

Sir,

I do myself the honor to acquaint you, for the information of His Excellency the Governor, that I arrived at this position on the 27th ultimo, after a long, and in some respect, a fatiguing journey of thirty-two days, since that on which I made the Murrumbidgee.

The more minute detail of my proceedings is noted in the accompanying copy of my journal; and I trust it will be found sufficiently explicit to convey to the mind of His Excellency a general idea of the country through which the expedition has passed, and of the river which I was directed to trace.

I am to state to you, that, if the latter did not in the first instance meet my expectations, its appearance has been such, during the subsequent stages of my journey, as to encourage a hope that it will eventually be found to discharge itself into some larger stream, or basin; since I cannot for a moment imagine that it meets the fate of the more northern streams.

At our depot it is from two hundred to two hundred and fifty feet broad, with a depth that varies from twelve to twenty. Its banks are about nine feet high, and its current is at about a mile and a quarter per hour.

Indeed, excepting under the firmest impression on my mind that it carries an uninterrupted channel below the marshes that are in front of us, which I previously examined, I should not have ordered the large boat to be built. I am not under any apprehension that our progress down, the river will speedily terminate.

I cannot write in too high terms of the upper branches of the Murrumbidgee.

With beautiful scenery they combine richness of soil, a sufficiency of water, and excellent grazing tracts.

Alluvial flats continue for more than one hundred and forty miles below Kudgiong, the station of Mr. O'Brien; and, to that distance, there is an abundance of pasture behind them. Below the flats, however, the plains take up the character of the more northern interior.

Their depressed situation causes those droughts under the effects of which vegetation has perished upon them. The only favourable point in which that country can be viewed, is, that the river gets a deeper bed and becomes more navigable in flowing, through it.

The soil of this remote interior is of the first description, and is certainly preferable to, that which intervenes between it and the upper districts; but it is to the issue of this journey only that; we must look for the importance that is to be attached to any local advantages on the Murrumbidgee, which, unfrequented and unimproved, is still a noble feature in the country.

I beg you will inform His Excellency that I have passed on the best of terms with the natives, and that I expect every facility will be afforded by them to the party about to return.

I observe that they suffer extremely from cold, and that the country does not afford them the means of procuring skins, there being few animals in it; if therefore it were possible to distribute a few blankets among them, I am sure they would be most welcome presents for well-meant services to me.

I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient servant,

(signed) Chas. Sturt, Captain, 39th Regiment.

The Hon. the Colonial Secretary, &c. &c. &.Ē

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