Only about twenty passengers for Australia remained and distance, which separated Point-de Gales from King George's Sound, located in the southwestern point of Australia, was about 1200 kilometric leagues. It was necessary to reckon about fortnights for this route. Here goes on the story : "Therefore we had a good supply of coal; not only holds were filled with the invaluable stone but an immense row of bags, which were full of it covered the bridge: they had only kept free for the passengers a small space behind. In these conditions, if stormy weather had come surprise us in the beginning, it would have been necessary to hurry to throw to the sea those bags full of coal, but they so much loaded the vessel that at first one would have believed it to sink so was it low on the water. Soon we are under the equator and we cross this imaginary line, which separates two hemispheres. The Australian coast appears to us jagged and of a somewhat rather strange aspect. The natural harbor is solitary and calm. The new city slops down mildly to sea. I went back in 1898 in this port. One call it today Albany.
We had not yet crossed the city where we stopped surprised in front of the bizarre spectacle of four or five natives of the two sexes which seemed themselves to go through this new town for the first time; silent and solemn, they looked attentively at these European installations. One of those natives, an old man, wore a sort of coat made with a skin of kangaroo and held on the right shoulder by means of a liana. As we were in the beautiful season, the rest of the troop was completely bare what was far from being for their advantage. A woman especially incited our attention. Her head was completely shaved her face coated with a fat which spread a disgusting smell; the shoulders and the breast to showed tracks of wounds scars were uneven; but what we thought to be marks of ill-treatment is a very different matter, as we were said, but a refinement and, later I had the occasion to find the same rules at inhabitants of New Caledonia.
All the width of the Australian continent that is about eight hundred leagues separated us from Melbourne where we had to make the next break. For the most part of among us journey touched its term. We had left this beautiful Indian Ocean and its always pure sky. Now we rolled and pitched vie the best on a dull sea. These were the longest days of our journey and I was overjoyed when we penetrated into the long and narrow natural harbor in the heart of which is Melbourne. However there I had to say goodbye to real friends, especially to this young Scott who shook my hands with outburst wishing me good chance among the savages of New Caledonia …48 hours of sea still separated us from Sydney. Numerous new passengers took place on the steamer for this short crossing and on November 16, 1863 at 7 o'clock in the morning and by magnificent weather we entered the magnificent bay of Sydney one of the largest and of the safest of the world.
Hardly installed in Royal Hotel I went to the consul's where they told me for my big satisfaction that I had at least a month to spend in Sydney because the of New Caledonia's mail was late. As soon as this news was known by some of my traveling companions in Sydney, with the most friendly haste they offered me hospitality of their city or their fields and I went to spend one of the most pleasant fortnights of my life in a station situated along Macquarie River…13…. However time passed by and the vessel, which had to take me to New Caledonia, arrived; I went on board in order to get acquainted with the captain of whom I had to share company during the crossing. He was, as he liked to call himself, a true sea dog whose hair had gone white or disappeared in the service of the country. He learnt about ministerial letters of which I was a bearer and informed me immediately when he planned to leave so that I be on board with luggage.
|Previous page (5)|