Journeys in Time 1809-1822

Extract from The Journals of Lachlan & Elizabeth Macquarie

Friday 16th. Novr. 1810 ! —
At 6 o’clock this morning Mrs. Macquarie and myself set out in the Carriage from Parramatta for the Cow-Pastures. — We were accompanied on this Tour by Captains Antill and Cleaveland, our nephew Ensign Jno. Maclaine, Doctor Redfern, Mr. Meehan the Acting Surveyor, and Mr. Gregory Blaxland; and on the Road near Prospect Hill, we were joined by John Warlby Free Settler there, and whom I had engaged to attend me as a Guide in the Cow-Pastures. — Serjeant Whalan and three Troopers accompanied us as a Guard. — Passing through the Orphan-School Farm, the Government Stock-Yard close to the Cabramatta Creek, and Messrs. Riley’s and Kent’s Farms, we arrived at the Government Hut close to the East Bank of the Nepean River at Half past 9 o’clock, being a distance of 26 measured miles in three Hours and a half. — The Country through which we passed between Parramatta and the Nepean was generally an open Forest, a tolerable good Soil, and the Road pretty good. — There being very little Water in the River at this time, we crossed it at the usual Ford in our Carriage with great ease and safety; — and we found our Servants, with the two Carts containing our Baggage, ready waiting for us on the opposite Bank of the River; having one of the small Tents ready Pitched for us to Breakfast in. — It came on a Drizzling Rain as soon as we had crossed the River but which did not continue long. — We Breakfasted immediately, and set out immediately afterwards on our Journey to the Place we intended to Halt at and make our Head Quarters. — We passed through Mr. McArthur’s first Farm, called by the natives “Benkennie“, and arrived at our Halting Place, called “Bundie“, at half past 1 o’clock in the afternoon, being six miles in a South West Direction from the Ford. –We came in the Carriage all the way, through a very fine rich Country and open Forest, and on the way to our Ground we met two or three small Parties of the Cow-Pastures Natives — the Chief of whom in this Part is named Koggie; who with his wife Nantz, and his friends Bootbarrie, Young Bundle, Billy, and their respective Wives, came to visit us immediately on our arrival at Bundie.

The Servants and Baggage did not reach the Ground till after 3 o’clock in the afternoon and immediately on their arrival our Tents were Pitched and our little Camp was formed on a beautiful Eminence near a Lagoon of fine fresh Water — the Tents fronting the South West — in a very fine open Forest within about 3 miles of the foot of Mount Taurus — and Four Mount Hunter; the latter being to the Northward, and the former to the Southward of us.

At 5 p.m. we sat down Eight at Table to a most comfortable Dinner; Mrs. M. tho’ so young a Campaigner having provided every requisite to make our Tour easy, pleasant, and happy — and we all feel much pleased with one-another — and with our present manner of Life. Being all a little tired, we went early to Bed this Night, after placing Fires around us, and a Watch to guard us from the Wild Cattle.

Saturday 17th.—
We got up pretty early — and during the Night we heard the Wild Cattle Bellowing in the Woods. — Mr. Blaxland and Warlby went out early in the morning and shot a Wild Bull, which was brought in to Camp for the use of Servants and our other numerous attendants. —

Having Breakfasted, we set out at half past 10 o’clock on an Excursion to explore the Country to the Southward and Westward as far as Stone-Quarry-Creek, distant about Ten miles from our Camp. — We all went on Horseback, some part of the way being too hilly, and the Forest too close to admit of Travelling Comfortably in a Carriage. — In the course of this Day’s Excursion, which was through a beautiful rich Country consisting of Open Forest and Hills and Dales, we met with several numerous Herds of the Wild Cattle, which we approached very nearly and hunted down Five Calves, three of which being Male ones were sent Home to be reserved for Veal for our Table; but the remaining two, which were Female ones I gave as Presents to John Warlby our Guide, and Wm. Cosgrove, a Free Man, Servant to Mr. Blaxland, to bring up and rear on their own account respectively.

Mr. Meehan in hunting the Wild Cattle had the misfortune to be thrown from his Horse and dislocated his Arm; but Doctor Redfern having come shortly after to his assistance, immediately set his arm again, so as to secure his still preserving and recovering the use of it. —

On our way to Stone-Quarry-Creek and about Six Miles South West from Bundie, we had a view of the Nepean River and remained for some time on the Banks of it, –which are very steep and stony on both sides. — We then pursued our Excursion to Stone Quarry Creek, crossed it, and travelled about a quarter of a mile on the West side of it; after which we recrossed it and returned home by nearly the same route we went; crossing both times the Quiraway Creek in a very pretty part of the Country. — The Nepean where we saw it this day ran North West and South East. — We got back to our little Camp at Bundie at 5 o’clock in the Evening with keen appetites for Dinner and highly pleased with our Excursion. —

Sunday 18th.—
Being rather a little fatigued after our Excursion of yesterday, we took a good long sleep and did not Breakfast till Nine o’clock this morning; and while we were at it, we were visited by Mrs. McArthur, who had come the Evening before to the Cow Pastures to look after her Farms and fine numerous Flocks of Sheep in this part of the Country. — As we asked Mrs. McArthur to dine with us today, she expressed a desire to ride about the Country with us during this day’s Excursion, which was of course readily assented to. — We accordingly set out on Horseback from Bundie at 11 o’clock to visit Mount Taurus and Mount Hunter, both of which are close in the vicinity of our little Camp; the former being about 4 miles S.W. of it, and the latter about 6 miles N. West of it. — We first ascended Mount Taurus, riding to the very top of it, from which we had a very fine extensive Prospect of the whole of circumjacent Country. — From Mount Taurus we proceeded by a long Ridge of Hills to Mount Hunter, and on the way thither met two or three Herds of the Wild Cattle, which allowed us to come very near them; and one of the Herds at first made directly at us but were scared away from us by the noise and shouting of our Guide and other Attendants. The view from the summit of Mount Hunter was also very fine and extensive; but I confess I was much disappointed with respect to the Height of both it and Mount Taurus, which hardly deserve to be called Mountains, and would only be classed as Hills in most other Country. — We returned home. by a different route from Mount Hunter, through a fine open Forest, to our Tents at Bundie, where we arrived about 2 o’clock; and after resting ourselves there a little while and taking some refreshment, we all set out to see Manangle a fine extensive Farm of 2000 acres belonging to Mr. Walter Davidson, situated on the Banks of the Nepean, and distant only about three miles from our Camp South East of it. — It is a beautiful situation and excellent rich Land for both Tillage and Pasture, with a fine large Lagoon in the Center of it, which is called Manangle, and is the native name of this Farm. — After looking at the River Nepean here and viewing the Farm, we returned to Camp again at 5 o’clock to Dinner, which we found ready for us. — This Day’s Excursion was highly gratifying, and I saw a great deal of fine rich Country every where I travelled. — Mrs. McArthur left us after Dinner and returned to her own Farm at Benkennie. In the Evening Koggie, the Native Chief of the Cow-Pasture Tribe, and his wife and half a dozen more Natives, favored us with an Extraordinary sort of Dance after their own manner, and with which we were all very much pleased. — They were treated a Glass of Spirits each, before they began the Dance, with which they were much pleased and which had a wonderful good effect on their spirits in performing their Dance.– The following are the names of the Natives (not including some children) who honored us with their company and attendance during our stay at Bundie: — vzt.– Koggie and his two wives Nantz and Mary, Bootbarrie & his wife Mary, Young Bundle, Mandagerry, Jindle and Bill: Total 9 grown up Persons, besides 4 or 5 Children of different ages.—

During this day’s Excursion we were-attended by some of the Natives, one of whom amused us very much by climbing up a high Tree to catch a Guanna, which he did in a very dextrous manner. In the course of our morning ride we were also much entertained with a Fight between some wild Bulls of two different Herds, which had accidentally met in consequence of being chased by some of our attendants.

Monday 19th.—
Having seen all the Land in this Neighbourhood and also several different Herds (amounting in all perhaps to about 600 Head) of the Wild Cattle, I determined on breaking up our little Camp at Bundie this morning after Breakfast and recrossing the Nepean, after viewing the Land to the Northward of Mr. McArthur’s Farms on this same side of the River. —We all set out accordingly at half past 9 o’clock, having left our Baggage and Servants to follow us leisurely to the River. We called at Benkennie on Mrs. McArthur, with whom we sat for a little while in a small miserable Hut, and then pursued our way to the Ford, where we arrived at 11 o’clock; and having sent the Carriage across, we mounted our Horses to look at the Country in this Neighbourhood for a few miles to the Northward. — We rode through some tolerable good Land but generally very inferior to that to the Southward; — Our Excursion extended only to Hunter’s Creek, about 4 miles to the North West of the Ford, and from thence we came back by a different route. — No Wild Cattle were seen in this ride, tho’ it was evident from their traces and Dung that they had been grazing lately in this part of the Country. —We got back to the Ford at Half past 1 o’clock and found our Servants and Baggage just arrived there and in the act of crossing it; which they took a great while in performing, one of the Carts having broken down in the middle of the River. — Having marked out the Ground for our Camp on the East side of the River, where we had resolved to halt for a Night; I set out, accompanied by Capt. Antill, and my Guide Warlby, to explore the Country to the Southward on the Right Bank of the Nepean River; — leaving Mrs. Macquarie in Camp, with the rest of our Suite excepting Mr. Blaxland, who took his leave of us to return home as soon as we crossed the River. — It was 2 o’clock when I set out, and we rode at a pretty smart rate for an hour and a half, which brought us to a part of the Country called by the natives Nowenong, immediately opposite to Manangle Mr. Davidson’s Farm, at which we had been yesterday; — and from this Point I rode along the Bank of the River for about a mile farther up, to where the Bed of it becomes much wider, but the Right Bank begins to be rocky; and it appearing very rough and barren as far as I could see along this side of the River and for a great way to the Eastward of it, I did not think it necessary to extend my Excursion farther to the Southward; the more especially as my further progress was unexpectedly interrupted by a deep Gully or Creek extending from the River in an Easterly direction. The distance I rode from the Ford to this Point of the River, I calculated to be about Seven Miles, having been compelled to travel by a very circuitous route, owing to the numerous Swamps, Creeks, and Lagoons we were obliged to wind round in the course of our ride. —The Country I rode through was generally very indifferent, and unfit for Tillage, but some of it is good Pasturage, and we met some Herds of Black Cattle and some Flocks of Sheep belonging to Mr. Robert Campbell of Sydney grazing in Nowenong not far from the Banks of the River. — In going to the River we passed close to the Foot of the High Hill of Bajelling leaving it on our left, and we returned nearly the same way to Camp, but by a shorter route to avoid the Bendings of the River, Lagoons, and Swamps we had to wind round in coming to Nowenong. —We arrived at our Tents which we found ready Pitched at Kirboowallie (the Native name of the Country near the Ford over the Nepean) at half past Four o’clock after a ride of at least 12 miles to and from Nowenong. —We found Mrs. M. and the rest of our Party all well in Camp, and a good Dinner ready waiting for us, to which we all sat down with very keen appetites. —After dinner Mrs. M. and myself took a walk along the Road leading from the River to enjoy the cool of the Evening and the tranquil scenes of the Forest around us! —

Tuesday 20th.—
It rained a good deal last Night, but our Tents being water-tight, we did not get wet ,and slept very comfortably. —It continued also to rain all this morning, which prevented our moving so soon as we intended. —Whilst we were at Breakfast we received a visit from Mrs. McArthur, who had just crossed the River from the Cow Pastures on her way back to Parramatta. —The Rain having ceased we broke up our Camp, and set out on our Journey at Half past 11 o’clock, for St. Andrews, the Seat and Estate of the late Andw. Thompson Esqr. on the Bunbury Curran Creek, where we propose passing a couple of days for the purpose of exploring that particular part of the Country, as well as the lands lying between Bunburry Curran and George’s River. Mrs. M. and myself went in the Carriage as far as Mr. Riley’s Farm, six miles from the Ford, on the left of the Road from the Nepean to Parramatta; and leaving Mrs. M. in the Carriage at this Place, I mounted my Horse and set out at 1 p.m. to explore the Country for some miles on either side of the South Creek; being accompanied by Capts. Antill & Cleaveland, Ensn. Maclaine, Dr. Redfern, Warlby the Guide and two Dragoons. —We travelled in a westerly direction first for about Four miles, crossing the South Creek about a mile to the Westward of where we left the Carriage, through the Minto and Cooks Districts; thence about Five miles, nearly in a Northerly direction, through the Bringelly District, till our further progress was arrested by meeting with a deep Creek that runs East and West, and falls into the South Creek at its eastern extremity; we followed this Creek till its junction with the South Creek, which last we crossed a little above its confluence with the other, travelling first in an Easterly direction and afterwards in a South East direction for about Six miles through the Cabramatta District. The Country we first travelled through in Cook’s District was very hilly and poor Land, neither good for Tillage nor Pasturage. —The Land I rode through in the Bringelly District was rather of a superior Quality and not so hilly as the other, but far from being very good Land for Cultivation. After recrossing the South Creek into the Cabramatta District, the Land changes much for the better; and near the confluence of the two creeks, on the East side of the South Creek, it is most excellent for either Tillage or Pasturage for a considerable extent along the Creek —perhaps for about three miles —; being generally very Level for a quarter of a mile from the Creek but gradually rising at that distance to gentle Eminences fit for the Buildings & Corn Yards of Settlers; the Plains on the Banks of the Creek being frequently flooded in the rainy Seasons. —After surveying these Lands, we directed our steps again to Mr. Riley’s Farm, where we arrived at 4 p.m. after a ride of about Fifteen miles, finding Mrs. M. waiting for us where we left her. —We then set out immediately for St. Andrews in the Carriage, the rest of our Party attending us on Horseback; and after a very pleasant easy ride of about 5 miles from Mr. Riley’s Farm, arrived at Mr. Thompson’s House at St. Andrews about a Quarter before 5 o’clock in the Evening; our Servants and Baggage having arrived there at the same time with ourselves. —Mrs. M. was much pleased with the beautiful situation of this Farm, the Picturesque scenes arround [sic] it, and the great order and regularity in which the worthy deceased owner of it had left it in, notwithstanding he had had possession of it only for about 8 or nine months previous to his much lamented Death. He had built an excellent Farm House with suitable Offices, Garden, Stock Yards &c. &c. felled a great Quantity of Timber and cleared and enclosed a Field of Ten acres for Corn, a great part of which had already been sown. —His Horned Cattle consisting of about Ninety Head, and his sheep consisting of about Fourteen Hundred, we found in very high order and most excellent condition as I ever saw any Cattle in, in any Country I have visited. —We found the Farm-House very clean and in very neat order; the overseer, Joseph Ward and his Wife, being a very decent Couple and seemingly very careful of their late good Master’s interests. —Here we were plentifully supplied with Mutton, Fowls, Butter, Milk, Eggs, and Vegetables; and could not help making the melancholy reflection how much more happy we should have been and felt ourselves here had the kind and valuable deceased owner of this Estate been alive on it now to receive and entertain us under his hospitable Roof! —This reflection affected Mrs. M. and myself deeply — for we both had a most sincere and affectionate esteem for our good and most lamented departed friend Andrew Thompson! — But alas! how vain are our regrets! —He is lost to the world and to us forever — and we must console ourselves with the well grounded hope that he is happier now than if he had remained amongst us! —

We sat down at half past six o’clock to a most excellent Dinner at St. Andrews, and drank to the memory of our lamented deceased Friend Andrew Thompson! —