|John Oxley - Moreton Bay - November/December 1823|
Off the Glass House, at 12. Sun's meridian altitude, 84* 19' 00". North Glass House west 25 south, Cape Moreton south 56 east.
A shoal extending 3 or 4 miles from the land, the opposite eastern extreme south by west distant 2 1/2 or 3 miles, distance off shore 3 miles.
From noon, sailed five and a-quarter miles south by east half east. Shoal water three fathoms. North Glass House, south 83* west; Cape Moreton, south 64* east. Deepened almost directly to six fathoms and within half a mile shoaled again to three fathoms. These shoals appear to extend right across from shore to shore with alternate channels of deeper water from four to six fathoms. The first shoal breaks at low water about two and three-quarter miles from the west shore. After passing through this shoal water for about one and three-quarter miles, at 3.25pm we deeped out water, having passed these shoals, which form a kind of bar across to the centre of the north portion of the bay. The North Glass House, south 87* west; Point Skirmish, about south 8* east.
We rounded Point Skirmish about 5 o'clock and observed a number of natives running along the beach towards the vessel. The foremost one appeared very much lighter in colour than the rest. We took him for a half-caste, but were to the last degree astonished when he came abreast the vessel (which had just anchored) to hear him hail us in good English. We immediately went on shore and were received by the poor man with a breathless joy, that almost deprived him of utterance.
He said his name was Thomas Pamphlett, that he left Sydney on 21st March in company with three other men, Richard Parsons, John Finigan and another whose name he does not remember, being a stranger to him when he sailed. That intending to go to the Five Islands for cedar, they were caught by a small gale of wind shortly after quitting the Heads, and were blown out of sight of land. That some days after, when the gale abated, they made land again, and thought they had been blown southward, near Jervis Bay. That under this impression they kept to the north 21 days without water, having only four gallons when they sailed. The man whose name he does not know died for want of it. Had plenty of provisions but had neither fire nor the means of procuring any. Ran the boat on shore on the outside of a large island (proved to be Moreton Island) where she was dashed to pieces. Walked round the island, fell in with natives who were universally kind to them and assisted them. There they wandered for many weeks round the shore of Moreton Bay (Glass House Bay) in entire ignorance where they were. Went up a river which they found to be fresh at some distance from the mouth. Descended in a canoe and found their way to Point Skirmish, receiving occasional assistance from the natives. That three or four months ago, still believing themselves to the south of Sydney, they set forward to the north. That himself and Finigan, being footsore, soon returned to Point Skirmish. That Parsons went on; he does not know where he now is, but thinks he is not many days' journey from this place. The natives were certainly kind to him. Finigan went upon a hunting excursion about three or four weeks ago, with the Chief of the tribe of Point Skirmish, and is now on the opposite side of the Bay.
Natives were round us in considerable numbers and seemed most friendly. Pamphlett assured us they would do no harm, and had treated him with great kindness. He afterwards gave many curious and interesting particulars respecting them, &c.
Found plenty of good, fresh water in deep swamps close to the beach, a great treasure to us who had suffered severely from bad winter.
Plenty of the Cupressus australis growing to a large size. A native burial place clase by. Endeavoured to make clear to the natives, through Bowen (our Sydney native, who understood something of what they said), and Pamphlet, our desire to see the other two white men.
Presented them with knives, ect., with which they seem much pleased. Returned on board taking Pamphlet with us. He had been out fishing and been very stressful.