To Ernst Behm   1 October 1879



Wie ich vor 2 Jahren in West Australien reiste, hochgeehrter Herr Doctor, habe ich mit dazu angetrieben, dass der N. W. Theil Australiens weiter durchforscht würde, denn ich sah selbst, wie ich mit A. Gregory an Sturts Creek u. am öberen Victoria Flusse war, dass sich unabsehbare Trapp-ergüsse längs dem Sandstein Tafelland hinzogen, u. vermuthete, dass sich das höchst fruchtbare Basalt-Land weit zur Küste erstrecke.

Diese Vermuthung hat sich nun völlig bestätigt, u. diese Entdeckung herrlichen Weidelandes ist um so wichtiger, als solches nahe schiffbarer Häfen liegt u. besonders leicht Producte von dort nach dem mittelländischen Meere und nach Indien gebracht werden können. In dem beigefügten Abdruck des vorläufigen telegraphischen Berichtes sind offenbar die Data der geographischen Länge u. Breite an mehreren Plätzen unrichtig gegeben.

Stets Ihr Sie Ehrender

Ferd. von Mueller




As I travelled in Western Australia two years ago, highly esteemed Doctor, I urged at the same time that the northwest part of Australia be further explored, as I myself saw when I was with A. Gregory on Sturts Creek and in the upper Victoria River1 that boundless lava outpourings extended along the sandstone tableland, and I suspected that the most highly fertile basalt country stretched far to the coast.

This supposition is now completely confirmed, and this discovery of magnificent pasture land is all the more important as it lies near navigable harbours and products can easily be brought from there to the Mediterranean Sea and to India. In the enclosed reprint of the preliminary telegraphic report2 the data of the geographical latitude and longitude at many places are obviously incorrectly given.3

Always honouring you

Ferd. von Mueller

North Australian Exploring Expedition, 1855-6.
The report sent by Alexander Forrest to Adelaide after he reached the telegraph station at Katherine, NT, after exploring the Kimberley region of WA. The report was published in South Australian advertiser, 23 September 1879, p. 5, and reprinted in the Argus, 27 September 1879, p. 5. For an earlier notice of Forrest's safe arrival at the overland telegraph line, see M to the Leader, September 1879 (in this edition as 79-09-00c). Forrest's report was subsequently published in Petermann's geographische Mittheilungen, vol. 26, Heft 1 (January 1880), pp. 33-4, togehter with a paraphrase of and brief quotations from M's letter; as part of a much longer report on recent advances in Australian geography.
Most notably, the latitude given for where Forrest said he crossed Sturt Creek is clearly incorrect, and a question-mark is included at this point in the version of the report published in Petermann's geographische Mittheilungen. Forrest presumably mis-identified the river he encountered at this point.

Please cite as “FVM-79-10-01,” in Correspondence of Ferdinand von Mueller, edited by R.W. Home, Thomas A. Darragh, A.M. Lucas, Sara Maroske, D.M. Sinkora, J.H. Voigt and Monika Wells accessed on 17 June 2024,