Journal of a voyage to New South Wales: with sixty-five plates of non descript animals, birds, ... and other natural productions by John White ...
White, John, 1757 or 8-1832.

16th. We pursued our route westward, proceeding many miles inland, without being able to trace, by a single vestige, that the natives had been recently in those parts. We saw, however, some proofs of their ingenuity, in various figures cut on the smooth surface of some large stones. They con∣sisted chiefly of representations of themselves in different attitudes, of their canoes, of several sorts of fish and animals; and, considering the rudeness of the instruments with which the figures must have been executed, they seemed to ex∣hibit tolerably strong likenesses. On the stones, where the natives had been thus exercising their abilities in sculpture, were several weather-beaten shells. The country all around this place was rather high and rocky; and the soil arid, parched, and inhospitable.

In the evening, after a long and fatiguing march, we fell in with the north-west branch of Port Jackson harbour. Here the two seamen, overcome with fatigue, and having their shoes torn from their feet through the ruggedness of the road along which we had travelled, could proceed no further. This circumstance induced the governor to consign them to Page  142the care of Lieutenant Ball, and a marine, supplying them with provisions sufficient to last them till they reached the ships. His excellency, with the rest of the party, pushed on to the westward, by the water side, in hopes of finding better land, and a more open country. About four o'clock in the afternoon we came to a steep valley, where the flow∣ing of the tide ceased, and a fresh-water stream commenced. Here, in the most desert, wild, and solitary seclusion that the imagination can form any idea of, we took up our abode for the night; dressed our provisions, washed our shirts and stockings, and turned our inconvenient situation to the best advantage in our power. Saw this day the Anomalous Hornbill, of which a plate is annexed. This bird is so very singular in its several characteristics, that it can scarcely be said to which of the present known genera to refer it. In the bill it seems most allied to the hornbill, but the legs are those of a toucan, and the tongue is more like that of a crow than any other: it must therefore be left to future ornitho∣logists to determine the point, resting here satisfied with describing its external appearance.

The size of the body is not much less than that of a crow: the bill is very large, and bent, particularly at the tip of the Page  [unnumbered]

[illustration]
Anamolous Hernbill
[depiction of bird]
Page  143upper mandible; the nostrils and space round the eyes are bare and red; the head, neck, and all beneath, are of a pale grey, crossed over the thighs with dusky lines; the back and wings dusky lead-colour, with the end of each feather black; the tail is long and wedge-shaped, the fea∣thers white at the ends; near which is a bar of black. The bill and legs are brown; the toes are placed two before and two behind, as in the parrot or toucan genus.

This singular bird was met with at New Holland, from whence three or four specimens have found their way to England, but whether it is a numerous species has not been mentioned.

The next morning we hid our tents and the remains of our provisions, and with only a little rum, and a small quantity of bread, made a forced march into the country, to the westward, of about fourteen miles, without being able to succeed in the object of our search, which was for good land well watered. Indeed, the land here, although covered with an endless wood, was better than the parts which we had already explored. Finding it, however, very unlikely that we should be able to penetrate through this immense forest, and circumstanced as we were, it was Page  144thought more prudent to return. We, accordingly, after an expeditious walk, reached the stream from whence we had set out in the morning, and taking up the tents and provisions which we had left, proceeded a little farther down, to the flowing of the tide, and there pitched our tents for the night; during which it rained very heavily, with thunder and lightning. The Wattled Bee-eater, of which a plate is annexed, fell in our way during the course of the day. This bird is the size of a missel thrush, but much larger in proportion; its total length being about fourteen inches. The feathers on the upper part of the head, longer than the rest, give the appearance of a crest; those of the un∣der part are smooth; the plumage for the most part is brown, the feathers long and pointed, and each feather has a streak of white down the middle; under the eye, on each side, is a kind of wattle, of an orange colour; the middle of the belly is yellow; the tail is wedge-shaped, similar to that of the magpie, and the feathers tipped with white; the bill and legs are brown.

This bird seems to be peculiar to New Holland, and is un∣doubtedly a species which has not hitherto been described.