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An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port

But between that and Botany Bay


During

the whole of this month, the weather was cloudy and hazy, with light showers of rain, and sometimes distant thunder; the wind chiefly, though from the north-east and south-east, and during the night, westerly, or land winds. The thermometer from 63 deg. to 112 deg..

The thermometer, as marked for these last four months, was in the open air occasionally exposed to the sun and wind.

I judged it better, while mentioning the weather during the different months, to go on with that by itself, and not to mix it with any other occurrences: I must, therefore, return back as far as the beginning of March, at which time, as the two French ships already spoken of were preparing to leave this coast, I determined to visit Monsieur de la Perouse before he should depart; I accordingly, with a few other officers, sailed round to Botany-Bay, in the Sirius's long-boat. We staid two days on board the Bussole, and were most hospitably and politely entertained, and very much pressed to pass a longer time with them.

When I took my leave the weather proved too stormy to be able to get along the coast in an open boat; I therefore left the long-boat on board the Bussole, took my gun, and, with another officer and two seamen, travelled through the woods and swamps, of which there were many in our route. We directed our course by a pocket compass, which led us within a mile of our own encampment; the

distance from Botany-Bay to Port Jackson, across the land, and near the sea shore, is, in a direct line, eight or nine miles; and the country about two miles to the southward of Port Jackson abounds with high trees, and little or no underwood; but between that and Botany-Bay, it is all thick, low woods or shrubberies, barren heaths, and swamps; the land near the sea, although covered in many places with wood, is rocky from the water-side to the very summit of the hills.

Whilst walking on shore with the officers of the French ships at Botany-Bay, I was shown by them a little mount upon the north shore, which they had discovered, and thought a curiosity; it was quite rocky on the top, the stones were all standing perpendicularly on their ends, and were in long, but narrow pieces; some of three, four, or five sides, exactly (in miniature) resembling the Giants Causeway in the north of Ireland.

The Bussole and Astrolabe sailed from Botany-Bay the 11th of March.

As I have mentioned something of the country between Botany-Bay and Port Jackson, I must farther observe, that in the neighbourhood of Sydney Cove, which is that part of this harbour in which Governor Phillip has fixed his residence, there are many spots of tolerably good land, but they are in general of but small extent; exclusive of those particular spots, it is rather a poor steril soil, full of stones; but near, and at the head of the harbour, there is a very considerable extent of tolerable land, and which may be cultivated without waiting for its being cleared of wood; for the trees stand very wide of each other, and have no underwood: in short, the woods on the spot I am speaking of resemble a deer park, as much as if they had been intended for such a purpose; but the soil appears to me to be rather sandy and shallow, and will require much manure to improve it, which is here a very scarce article; however, there are people whose judgment may probably be better than mine, that think it good land; I confess that farming has never made any part of my studies. The grass upon it is about three feet high, very close and thick; probably, farther back there may be very extensive tracts of this kind of country, but we, as yet, had no time to make very distant excursions into the interior parts of this new world.


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