Governor Phillip follows the Hawkesbury River through the mountains

March. Governor Phillip is determined to follow the Hawkesbury River through the mountains on foot from the point at which he turned back during his last expedition. He brings with him two coastal Aborigines, Colebe and Ballederry to act as interpreters. William Dawes brings notebooks of the coastal Aboriginal language, which he refers to while conversing with his female Aboriginal partner, Patyegarang. When Phillip’s overland party crosses from the Port Jackson/Parramatta River catchment into the Hawkesbury River catchment near Cattai Creek, it is apparent that the language spoken there is different to that spoken by Colebe and Ballederry. Phillip’s party camps with local Aborigines Gomebeere and Yellowmundy, and David Collins records some of their speech. He and Governor Phillip conclude that the “inland language” is different to the “coastal language”.

While setting their campfires at dusk, the exploratory party sends Colebe and Ballederry to convince local people to join them. A man shields himself from attack while a boy carrying a torch of flaming tea tree bark is sent ahead. Colebe later expresses the man is a stranger, a possum hunting man. Upon reaching the Hawkesbury the following morning, the party proceeds along the edges through the reeds, passing Aboriginal campsites on the banks. Closer to Portland Head Rock, they observe Aborigines in canoes and smoke from their fires. Near Pitt Town, Aborigine canoeist Gomebeere joins them. That evening, another canoeist with a small boy leaves their families on the opposite bank and joins the expedition. His name is Yellowmundy. Gomebeere later not only guides the party along a path unfamiliar to the coastal guides. He also describes the healing of a spear wound in his side, prompting Colebe to recognise that Yellomundy is a practicing koradji. Watkin Tench similarly encounters friendly Aboriginal men with canoes from the mountain side of the river: Deedora and Morunga help ferry their equipment across the river while Deedora paddles up the river before them. Writing to Sir Joseph Banks after his return, multilingual Governor Phillip expresses his amazement that Australian natives are not a uniform group: “It was a matter of great surprise to me…I found on the banks of the Hawkesbury, people who made use of several words we could not understand…it soon appeared that they had a language different from that used by those natives we have hitherto be acquainted with”. (Ford 45, 172-189)