Australia Hydrography

By | December 26, 2021

Thus began, with the century. XIX, the detailed maritime exploration. All the maritime nations concurred in it, and the work of the French Freycinet (1818) and Dumont d’Urville (1827) who carried out important hydrographic works on the western and southern coasts should be particularly remembered. But the primacy in this work still remained with England, which now combined political interest with scientific interest in those regions. Among the English explorers it is especially worth remembering Commander Grant, who in 1800 explored a stretch of southern coast W of Cape Nelson, Commander Murray, who, crossing the Bass Strait, discovered the vast bosom of Port Phillip (1802), and above all Ph. Parker King, who, assisted by the botanist Australia Cunningham and from time to time by other scientists and officers, he gave the maximum impulse to particular exploration, and in his four voyages from 1817 to 1824 he remade the relief of a large part of the Australian coasts, among other things tracing a new, safer route inside the Great Barrier Reef. His precious works were then partially repeated and completed between 1838 and 1865 by Wickham, Stokes, J. Evans, Blackwood, Scoresby, Stow. In 1867 the first Italian warship, the corvette Evans, from Blackwood, from Scoresby, from Stow. In 1867 the first Italian warship, the corvette Evans, from Blackwood, from Scoresby, from Stow. In 1867 the first Italian warship, the corvette Magenta, it touched the Australian ports; it had on board the naturalist Enrico Giglioli, who carried out interesting studies on the regions visited.

Land exploration proceeded more slowly. The first navigators, in the scarce contact with the land, had always found serious obstacles, both for the hostility of the natives, and for the difficult terrain. The foundation of the prison facilities, in 1788, increased the surveys of the land, but limited to contingent needs. The first governors of New South Wales (New South Wales), Phillip, Hunter, Paterson, King, Macquarie, favored the explorations and were explorers themselves and their officers, going up the rivers near Botany Bay and Sydney; but neither the Dawes, which he first attempted in 1789, nor several others thereafter, succeeded in overcoming the high and impervious barrier of the Blue Mountains, which stood up to block any path inland. It was only in 1813 that the two settlers Blaxland and Wentworth, with Captain Lawson, driven by the need to find new pastures as the coastal ones had dried up by a terrible drought, managed to overcome the difficult Alpine chain, passing from the Nepean River to the verdant Fish valley. River, a tributary of the Macquarie. The legend of the inviolability of the Monti Azzurri was thus debunked, and the discovery of the new territory opened an immediate era of important inland explorations, mainly inspired by the search for pastures and agricultural areas. In the same year 1813 the engineer Evans, following the new track, discovered the two great rivers facing west, to which he gave the name of Macquarie and Lachlan. In 1817 the engineer Oxley, with the botanist Allan Cunningham and with the mineralogist Parr, it descended the Lachlan towards the south coast; arrested after three hundred miles of walking by the lack of food, he returned towards the north, discovering the plain of Wellington; from here in the following year it left again towards N. to recognize the other rivers of the interior, but stopped by the marshes of Macquarie at 30 ° 45 ‘lat. S. and 147 ° 10 ‘long. E., turned to the east, discovering the river he called Castlereagh, M. Exmouth, the plain of Liverpool,  the Namoi river, until, having crossed the mountain range, it reached the Pacific coast again at Port Macquarie. The Oxley concluded his work by claiming the existence of an inland sea into which the great rivers discovered must have flowed. For Australia 2009, please check

For a few years the internal exploration suffered a halt, as the attention of governments was attracted by the new colonies that were attempted to establish on Melville Island and Moreton Bay (where Brisbane is today). But soon the problem of terrestrial communications between the new colonies and the old ones became important; and while the Cunningham in 1823 discovered the Pandora Pass reaching the Liverpool plain from the Goulburn River and thus taking a first step to establish the future land connection between Moreton Bay and Sydney, in 1824 Hovell and Hume discovered and descended the Murrumbidgee River and from this, crossing the area now belonging to the province of Victoria, reached Port Phillip on the Bass Strait, discovering new rivers and fertile regions.

The hydrography of the great rivers of the interior still remained an unknown. Governor Darling in 1828 provided Captain Charles Sturt with a well-equipped caravan to study the problem; and Sturt largely resolved it, in a first exploration, by descending the entire Macquarie and discovering the Darling; in a second, descending the Lachlan (1829) and discovering its confluence with the Murrumbidgee, then that of the Murrumbidgee and that of the Darling with the Murray, and its mouth in the Alexandrina Lagoon. From here, having reached the southern coast, the Sturt returned with spiritedness by the same route up the Murrumbidgee. In 1831 Th. Mitchell brought new light to hydrographic knowledge, exploring the major spring branches of the Darling and demonstrating that several of the rivers discovered by the Cunningham were tributaries of the Darling itself; on a second voyage in 1835 he continued his discoveries following the Bogan and then the Darling for a short distance, but deadly attacks by the natives prevented him from continuing; in 1836 he explored extensively from O. to E. today’s Victoria. Only nine years later the studies on the internal hydrographic network were to be resumed by Leichhardt with Mitchell’s son.

Australia Hydrography