« PreviousContinue »
hundred miles distant, and toward the south part is New Zealand, about one thousand four hundred miles off. On the south, the only land of consequence, or probably that exists, is the Island of Van Diemen's Land, distant about one hundred miles ; the main land of Africa on the west, is about one thousand eight hundred miles off where nearest ; and the average length of a ship's course from England is about sixteen thousand miles.
New Holland lies between the latitudes of 10° and 39° south, so that its extreme dimension from north to south, is about two thousand miles. This greatest extent in latitude is toward the east part, the northmost point being Cape York, on Torres' Strait, opposite New Guinea, and the southmost, Wilson's Promontory on Bass's Strait, opposite Van Diemen's Land. The extent in longitude is about two thousand five hundred miles; the eastmost point being Indian Head, near Break sea Spit, and the westmost, Cape Escarpée on the south of Shark's Bay. Both those points are nearly on the same parallel of latitude, about the 25th degree. Thus, the largest dimension of New Holland is from east to west; and the differences of the extreme points, both in latitude and in longitude, give very nearly the true measures.
The surface of the country does not, however, amount nearly to that of a rectangle, having those dimensions. The island is something of a kidney shape, having the convexity towards the south in
clining a little to the west. The western extremity of the south side is about three hundred miles farther to the north than the eastern; and the great Bight about the middle of the south side, about longitude 137° east, lies two hundred and fifty miles farther to the north, so that the middle is five hundred and fifty miles shortened towards the south. The east coast is also irregular. The southern extremity of it lying about two hundred miles to the west of the middle, and the north point nearly seven hundred miles to the west of the same. The north coast is still more irregular: immediately to the westward of Cape York, there is a large bay three hundred miles wide, and extending more than four hundred miles southward of that part of the coast, so that the northeast part consists of a triangular peninsula, about four hundred and fifty miles long to the bottom of the bay, (the great Gulf of Carpentaria,) and more than three hundred miles broad at the head of that gulf. At rather more than four hundred miles to the westward of the Gulf of Carpentaria, the general line of the coast, trends to the south-west, and meets the west coast at North-west Cape, about seven hundred miles south of the parallel of Cape York. The west coast also has a curvature, the northern part of it being convex toward the west, and the southern concave toward the same quarter.
The following remarkable points and distances will serve to determine the figure, and fix the position of the outlines of New Holland, so as to render in
telligible the description of the smaller bays, harbours, and rivers, the kind of soil and productions, and the locality of the settlements. From Wilson's Promontory, north-eastward to Cape Howe, a distance of about two hundred and fifty miles, may be considered the south-east coast. From Cape Howe northward, and inclining to east to Breaksea Spit, a distance of about nine hundred and fifty miles. From Breaksea Spit north-west, inclining to north to Cape York, about one thousand one hundred and fifty miles. From Cape York westward to Cape Van Diemen, on Melville Island, about nine hundred miles west, inclining in the general line a little to the south, and having the great Gulf of Carpentaria stretching southward in the eastern part. From Cape Van Diemen, southwestward to North-west Cape, about one thousand three hundred miles. From North-west Cape southward, and on the average a little to the east to Cape Van Leeuwin, about nine hundred miles. From Cape Van Leeuwin eastward, and a little north to the bottom of the great Bight, about one thousand two hundred miles. From the bottom of the Great Bight, south-eastward to Wilson's Promontory, (which completes the boundary,) about one thousand one hundred miles. Collecting these, we have:
A. Wilson's Promontory to Cape Howe, N. E.
E.-Cape Van Diemen to North West Cape, S. W... 1300
Circumference in round numbers, about
This tabular arrangement will enable reference to be made to any particular place, occurrence, or phenomenon, as on coast A, coast B, and so on, by which means much uninstructive repetition will be avoided.
Different portions of the coasts of New Holland have also been named after the navigators by whom they were first discovered, the ships which they commanded, or individuals whom those navigators wished to honour. The parts originally first seen by British navigators, extending from about the middle of the south coast, eastward and northward to Cape York, have been called by the general name New South Wales; and where the coast had been previously seen and named by any other nation, the English have not disturbed the name. Taking the coast westward from the termination of the British discoveries, the land, as far as to near Cape Leeuwin, was seen by Pieter Nuyts, a Dutchman, in 1672, and is often called Nuyts' Land, after him. Nuyts' Land corresponds in general with coast G in the above enumeration. From a little to the south-east of Cape Leeuwin to near the Swan River, the coast gets the name of Leeuwin's Land, having been first
seen by the commander of a Dutch vessel named the Lioness, in 1622. The coast from near the Swan River to Cape Escarpée, was named after Edel, a navigator who saw the coast in the year 1619; and the land from Cape Escarpée to North-west Cape, was called Endraght's Land, after the vessel in which Captain Dirk Hartog touched at it in 1616. These three form coast F, in the above table. The whole line of the north-west coast, from North-west Cape to Cape Van Diemen, coast E, got the name of De Witt's Land, from a Dutch navigator, in 1627, 1628; and the same fleet saw the Gulf of Carpentaria, and named it after a General Carpenter, whom they had on board. The west part of coast D, was seen by Zeachen, a Dutchman, in 1618, and by him named Van Diemen's Land; but as that name has been continued to the island on the south, the north coast has got the name of Arnhem's Land. Of New South Wales, the greater part of the east coast, from near Cape Howe to Cape York, was discovered by Captain Cook, in 1770. The coast westward, to beyond Wilson's Promontory, was discovered by Mr. Bass, in 1798. Still westward, to about longitude 140° 30', was discovered by Captain Grant, in 1800. Westward still, to about longitude 138°, was discovered by Captain Baudin, in 1802; and the intermediate portion, westward, to the termination of Nuyts' discovery, was discovered by Captain Flinders, in 1802. In these, though the details were not then, or, in some places, are not yet filled up,