Extract From: N. J. B. Plomley ed. 'Friendly Mission, the Tasmanian journals and papers of George Augustus Robinson', Halstead Press for Tasmanian Historical Research Association, Hobart, 1966.
Important note: The material below is 'read only'. The text has been transcribed for reasons of personal interest only. It appears here without footnotes and may contain textual errors. Any reference and or citation must be to/from the 'journals and papers' in its hardcopy form. Friendly Mission (1966) is in the collections of most large public libraries. In addition, its first reprint (2008) has also recently become available.
Robinson's Journal 31 October 1830
Pleasant weather throughout. Could see no smoke on the Barren Island and concluded therefore that the boat had not returned from Oyster Bay. I proposed returning through the interior to the Western Inlet, but was at a loss how to proceed. There was only three days' provisions, but to await the return of the boat would lose time. The quantity of provisions was quite insufficient, especially should the bush be dense. The way by the coast had occupied three days and was better travelling. However, I resolved to proceed inland. The natives much displeased at having to walk back. To encourage the people I told them that they should come back in the boat but that I should walk. They seemed surprised at my thinking to walk back and said I was never tired. I told them I was, but that I should not meet black men on the sea-coast. PAGERLY and some others complained that their feet were sore and that they were tired, as indeed they might be the great time they had been out and the distance they had travelled and having to carry heavy loads-I felt exceedingly anxious to get some relaxation myself.
At 7 am proceeded through the bush in a NNW direction, ascended some high wooded hills of she-oak and returned to the Giants Rock37 at the Bay of Fires, in order that the natives might procure crawfish to take with us in the bush. On crossing a tier of hills some of my people descried a smoke inland. This smoke bore due west and was quite fresh made, and from its appearance the natives was burning off. I now no longer hesitated but desired the people to get the fish as soon as possible and for us to proceed. They soon returned with their fish. They wanted a fire but I told them we had better make haste and go and roast them at the natives' fire. (I thought it too much to expect that we should get to their fires that day as we had already walked about fifteen miles and the distance to the fires was full that, besides one or two mountains and through a bad country, but I was pleased with the idea.) After eating some bread put on our knapsacks and proceeded. Travelled for about ten miles through a very woody country and across hills and gullies. Came to the high peak38 to where I had taken my bearing and, ascending the ridge heading to it, reached the apex. The country very mountainous. Could see Mount Deception. Saw the native smoke a few miles distant in a low plain. The people fatigued; indeed we all were and I must confess I felt desirous of some cessation from the fatigue and harassing duty of this protracted undertaking. After descending the peak (called by the natives of this country LUETH.CRAC.EN.ER), we came into a low country covered with heath and open forest. Large masses of coarse granite rock stood up above the ground in all directions. This country is called DRORE.CROP.PEN.NE and the natives of it LEE.NETH.MAIR.RE.NER. The fire appeared at some miles distances39
Hesitated whether to proceed, as night was approaching fast and there would not he time to parley. Again, I thought if I waited to the morning they perhaps would be gone and I should never see them more. After some reflection I resolved to approach as near to the fire as would ensure my not being discovered and then at dawn of day go to them. TAN.LE.BONE.YER was troubled with a severe cough, which gave me some apprehension lest I should he discovered, and I therefore desired her to keep behind. After walking some distance I halted the party and went forward to reconnoitre. I then found I could advance still further. Sent for the party, and then myself and two aborigines went forward again. Proceeded in this way some distance, when I found it prudent to halt and desired the people to rest there for the night. I again went forward and about a hundred yards from where I had halted the people we discovered the track of the natives and a stick on fire. Went on and found the bush on fire for a considerable distance, but the natives had gone. It had before every appearance of being wet and the rain had now come, and I was therefore convinced that the natives was gone to make a but for the night. The bush was on fire for a considerable distance and being wet we found it very comfortable (this is not the first time I have done so), and after warming ourselves for some time set out on our return back to the rest of the people, looking about for tracks as we went. After dark made a fire. Heavy rain during the night.