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© Lance Pritchard

By Lance Pritchard

ULTIMATE PROOF - PRIMARY EVIDENCE  This note added to web site Nov. 11, 2022

Hovell’s Journal - Pages 185 & 186

Not mentioned in Hovell’s Journal nor in Bland’s Account for December 19, is that he saw the
Yarra River, presumably through his telescope, and named it the ‘Yar’.

This is detailed in Hovell’s Journal during reminiscing of the last days of the expedition. This
entry he made on Tuesday 21 December, 1824, p.185 & 186.

Hovell also made the correct assumption that it came through the gap in the Australian Alps -
the Yarra Valley, and discusses the possibility of returning home via this route.

A return route from Corio Bay would make this observation impossible.



This document commences with a copy of a ‘powerpoint’ presentation that challenges the widely held belief that the Hume and Hovell expedition of 1824 – 1825 terminated at Hovell Creek, Corio Bay, Port Phillip, but in fact terminated at the Werribee River.



Listed below are eight statements and every statement points to only one conclusion. 

Hovell’s Journal written during the expedition is at odds with Hume’s ‘Brief Statement of Facts’ written around 30 years after the expedition. 

Hovell challenged Hume’s version, but his challenge was never publicised. [TROVE – The Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer, November 5, 1855.  HOVELL AND HUME. ]

An examination of the last four days before the termination of the expedition, as described by Hovell, clearly shows that the Werribee River was the termination point.  

Hume’s story  has several items which make his whole document questionable. A case in point is his claim that he was the first to see the bay from Mount Bland (now Mount Fraser, near Beveridge), and especially mentioning that Hovell was last to see the bay.  

If the bay was observed from this point why would the expedition head towards Mount Cottrell  and the Brisbane Ranges ???.       

Please refer to the preceding powerpoint presentation  for maps and an examination. 

Other comments in Hume’s document relate to sailing ships  SW of Geelong ??? as described by Aboriginals that Hume brought back to the expedition’s Geelong  camp site.???

Hume’s document a ‘Brief Statement of Facts’, was obviously produced  to take the honour and glory for the expedition.  This document has almost no geographical detail of the expedition and is basically a character assassination of Hovell in which Hume  has been very successful, thanks largely to the actions of the Editor of ‘The Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer.’ 







1.   The Arndell River was the Maribyrnong River.

On the evening of the 15th December 1824 they camped at a river they named the Arndell River.

On the morning of the 16th December 1824 they crossed the Arndell and later that day reached the Bay.

Confirmation that this river was what we now call the Maribyrnong River, and not the Werribee River, is in an 1839 document titled ‘PORT PHILLIP’ that was written for ‘His Honour the Superintendent of NSW’ and reprinted in the ‘Port Phillip Gazette,  Saturday 5th October 1839’   Available in TROVE.

Conformation also in TROVE; Port Phillip Gazette, Saturday 17 April 1841, Page 3 Article title -  MELBOURNE  RACES

The original race track was relocated from the large flat under Batman’s Hill to a site two miles away on the banks of the Arndell (Salt Water River)


Many decades later in Victoria’s history there was at least one map drawn showing the Werribee River as the Arndell, obviously to fit in with what became the popular misconception of the expedition reaching Corio Bay.  


2.     It would be impossible for oxen to travel 100km from the Wallan / Beverage area in three days to Hovell Creek, or as Hume stated to Geelong, which is 112km.


As a comparison, Major Mitchell stated that during his expedition his oxen ‘may’ travel 15 miles on a good day and as little as 7 miles on a bad day. ( The oxen were pulling a heavy wagon carrying two whaling boats.)

Therefore over three good days they may travel - 15 X 3  =  45 miles  =  70km.

To travel from the Wallan/Beverage area to the Werribee River the Hume and Hovell expedition needs to travel 90km over 3 days.

On the 15 December 1824 they started two hours late as ‘the cattle were exhausted’.

Therefore they only had two good days out of three, but still managed to travel 20% further than the Major Mitchell expedition was able to achieve over three of their good days.

3.     For a Werribee River termination the order of events, as described in Hovell’s Journal, match perfectly.                                                                                                                                 

4.     For a Corio Bay termination the order of events as described in Hovell’s Journal do not match.


5.     For a Werribee River termination Hovell’s observations of distant shorelines match extremely well.

From Hovell’s Journal ‘...I think not less then (sic) 8 or 10 Miles,’

From Point Wilson at Corio Bay the nearest opposite shoreline is only 4.6 miles.

6.    For a Werribee River termination Hovell’s compass bearings are very accurate.

To assume a Hovell Creek or Geelong termination you must convince yourself that Hovell, recognised for his navigational skills, over the last four days, suddenly made many, many mistakes in taking his compass bearings and estimates of distance.  In one case, the distance to the mount that they named Mt Wollsonecraft, by around 150% and the compass bearing incorrect by around 15º.

From Hovell’s Journal -  “about N 10 W  is the bearing of Mt Wollsonecraft, dist about 8 Miles...”  Mount Cottrell being Mt Wollsonecraft not Flinders Peak at the You Yangs.

Are we to believe that Hovell misread his compass by an average of around 25º every time he took a bearing during the three days of 14, 15 and 16 December 1824, and headed towards Mt Cottrell and the Brisbane Ranges very obviously within sight?

 Bland’s Account Dec 14 “While towards the south, the land gradually dips.”

7.      There is no shoreline at Corio Bay that is 6 miles (9.6km) long in a SW direction.

From Hovell’s Journal - “alter their course to S.W. and travel six miles (9.6 km) in that direction along the shore,”

Refer to maps, slide number 24, 25, 26 and 34, in the powerpoint presentation above. 

8.     Hovell’s description of the gap in the Australian Alps only works for a Werribee River termination.

Refer to map, slide number 31, in the powerpoint presentation above.  From this map it can be seen that any argument for a Hovell Creek / Geelong termination, the expedition must have first visited Point Wilson to explain Hovell’s viewing of the ‘gap in the Australian Alps’.  

Not only does this reinforce the fact that the distances would be completely impossible to achieve, but it is also impossible to view the Yarra Ranges in the Eltham area from this distance.

9.     At 4 PM on the first day of their return journey they visited Point Gellibrand. Observations taken from Point Gellibrand do not match  any other location down the western side of Port Philip.



There can only be one conclusion :
The Hume & Hovell Expedition of 1824-5 terminated at the Werribee River.

If you wish to discuss any aspect of the Hume and Hovell expedition termination please contact me.

Lance Pritchard      

Secretary, Werribee District Historical Society Inc.

Mobile        0468 435 090



August  2018          


There is no restriction on the copying or forwarding on of this document.

A book containing this historical examination has now been published. If you are interested please contact me by email or phone. Thank you

Lance's Book

Published April 2020

ISBN 978-0-646-81681-4


Australian Heritage Festival 2020

National Trust and Werribee District Historical Society

Werribee Heritage Trail The Hume and Hov

Australian Heritage Festival 2019

Werribee Heritage Trail

Come on a journey with Werribee District Historical Society Lance Pritchard to see and hear about Werribee's remarkable long history.Join us in exploring a snapshot of Werribee City Centre Heritage Trail and it's surrounds from the 1800's to the present day. Visitors can explore the origins and history of Werribee through its streets and sites. Guided and walking tours of landscapes, significant places and communities with fascinating histories (Watton Street - Synnot Street)

*Booking is essential Ticket Sales Start on 1st February 2019 12 PM until ticket sold out 


Eventbrite link





Saturday 27 April 2019


10:00am - 12:00pm


Werribee Museum Old Shire Office

49 Watton Street
VIC 3030


Werribee District Historical Society - National Trust for Australian Heritage Festival 2019


Lance 0468 435 090 or email


Free - Goodie Bag for each participant

#2019 Australian Heritage Festival

Connecting People Places and the Past 

Heritage Walk 20190427_100839.jpg
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Heritage Walk 20190427_104439.jpg
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Participant Goodie Bag 20190504_190749.j

Australian Heritage Festival 2019 Werribee Heritage Talk :

The Hume and Hovell Expedition Termination Examination 

Join Werribee District Historical Society Lance Pritchard as he discusses his examination of the termination point the Hume & Hovell expedition at Werribee River. 

*Booking is essential Ticket Sales Start on 1st February 2019 12 PM until ticket sold out 


Eventbrite link



Saturday 4 May 2019


11:00am - 12:00pm


Werribee Museum

Old Shire Office

49 Watton Street
VIC 3030


Werribee District Historical Society - National Trust for Australian Heritage Festival 2019


Lance 0468 435 090 or email


Free - Goodie Bag for each participant . 

#2019 Australian Heritage Festival

Connecting People Places and the Past 

Heritage Talk 20190504_111135.jpg
Heritage Walk 20190504_111516.jpg

Authors of works published in the last 10 years relating to the termination point of the Hume and Hovell expedition have no excuse for not taking into account information available on TROVE that provides more than one piece of information showing that the Maribyrnong River was the Arndell River, as named by Hume and Hovell.
It was this river that they crossed in the morning of 16 December 1824 and reached Port Phillip that afternoon.
This information along with much more, has been conveniently disregarded and not addressed, but is presented in the following ‘powerpoint’ presentation. 


for mobile phone view please tap on the pdf and it will open to a  new window


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