A RECORD OF
DISCOVERY, GEOGRAPHY, AND ADVENTURE.
ASSISTANT-SECRETARY OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY.
AN AUSTRALIAN SEARCH PARTY - I.
BY CHARLES H. EDEN.
IN a former narrative, published in the preceding volume of the ILLUSTRATED
TRAVELS, I gave an account of a terrible cyclone which visited the
north-eastern coast of Queensland in the autumn of 1866, nearly destroying
the small settlements of Cardwell and Townsville, and doing an infinity of
damage by uprooting heavy timber, blocking up the bush roads, etc. Amongst
other calamities attendant on this visitation was the loss of a small
coasting schooner, named the 'Eva', bound from Cleveland to Rockingham Bay,
with cargo and passengers. Only those who have visited Australia can
picture to themselves the full horror of a captivity amongst the degraded
blacks with whom this unexplored district abounds; and a report of white
men having been seen amongst the wild tribes in the neighbourhood of the
Herbert River induced the inhabitants of Cardwell to institute a search
party to rescue the crew of the unhappy schooner, should they still be
alive; or to gain some certain clue to their fate, should they have
In my former narrative I described our exploration of the Herbert River,
lying at the south end of Rockingham Channel, with its fruitless issue; and
I now take up the thread of my story from that point, thinking it can
hardly fail to be of interest to the reader, not only as regards the wild
nature of the country traversed, but also as showing the anxiety manifested
by the inhabitants of these remote districts to clear up the fate of their
unhappy brethren. I may also here mention, for the information of such of
my readers as may not have read the preceding portions of the narrative,
that Cardwell is the name of a small township situated on the shores of
Rockingham Bay; and that Townsville is a settlement some hundred miles
further south, known also as Cleveland Bay.
HOW WE EXPLORED GOULD AND GARDEN ISLANDS.
We were all much pleased at a piece of intelligence brought up by the
'Daylight', to the effect that a party of volunteers had been assembled at
Cleveland Bay, and intended coming up in a small steamer to the south end
of Hinchinbrook, to assist in the search for the missing crew. As it would
be of the utmost importance that both parties should co-operate, I sent my
boat down to the mouth of the channel, with a note to the leader of the
expedition announcing our intention of landing on the north end of the
island and working towards the centre; and requesting them to scour their
end, and then push northward, when we should most probably meet in the
middle of the island. The boat had orders to wait at the bar until the
arrival of the steamer, and then to return with all speed.