top of page
rework h n h 2023.png
© Lance Pritchard

HUME AND HOVELL EXPEDITION
EXAMINATION OF THE TERMINATION POINT OF THE HUME & HOVELL EXPEDITION
By Lance Pritchard

ABOUT

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

THIS REPORT CHALLENGES THE WIDELY HELD BELIEF THAT HUME & HOVELL EXPEDITION TERMINATED AT CORIO BAY PORT PHILLIP BUT IN FACT TERMINATED AT THE WERRIBEE RIVER

Lance Pritchard      

Former Secretary, Werribee District Historical Society Inc.

Mobile        0468 435 090

Email          l_pritchard@optusnet.com.au                           

 

August  2018          

 

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

The "powerpoint" presentation is only a brief summary of the main points put forward in the book.

 

The following book has been published with excerpts reproduced below.

Included in the book is a transcript of the relevant pages of Hovell's journal covering the days approaching Port Phillip and the first days of their return journey.

Books should be available through the RHSV Bookshop or If you are interested please contact me by email or phone.

 

Thank you

h n h 2023.jpg

Second Edition. Published April 2023

ISBN 978-0-646-85402-1

The ‘Foreword’ and ‘Chapter 12’ with the conclusion are reproduced below –


FOREWORD


I am honoured to provide the Foreword to this outstanding research by Lance Pritchard, Hume and Hovel Expedition Termination, Second Edition.


It has been a great privilege to know the author, Lance Pritchard for over two decades dating back to July 2001, with the restoration and commemoration of the origin of Victoria’s first survey (geodetic) baseline, the South Base Stone in Werribee. Lance impressed me with his deep interest in the surveying and exploration history of Victoria and his diligence in research.  That event was especially timely as it was the sesquicentenary, or one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Victoria’s founding as a separate colony, and of course the sesquicentenary of the establishment of the Office of Surveyor-General, following the separation from New South Wales.


I am certain that Lance’s research is going to upset many as it completely goes against the current narrative.  Over the past few years, I have seen many email exchanges dismissing and even discrediting Lance’s research and determination of where the Hume and Hovell expedition terminated.  To his credit, repeatedly Lance faced his proponents with professional rigor, research discipline and decorum.  Furthermore, in my own humble opinion, Lance got it right.


Lance has undertaken rigorous and broad geographical assessments using the old maps and charts, records and diaries.  He has done thorough map-to-ground proof appreciations, by going on the ground, checking and proving lines of sight and forensically analysing the written descriptions in the records.  There is no conjecture in Lance’s assessments - just thorough, practical and pragmatic evaluations.  Along the way, as he has shared his findings and sought feedback from historians, he has copped more than a fair share of criticism, especially from those who simply refused to keep an open mind in the light of the comprehensive presentation and evaluation of the evidence. At times, it was like facing a biased jury, predisposed to fixed opinions, and then embarking on obfuscation to discount Lance’s research.


This work has presented transcripts and analyses of the relevant pages from Hovell’s journal of the last days approaching Port Phillip and also the first days of the return journey.   Further, Lance has well examined Hovell’s description (primary evidence) of direction of travel after crossing the range showing they reached the bay at Point Cook, rather than Corio Bay.
 

Lance has analysed the published work of other researchers.  Significantly, he has revisited material supplied by Dr William Bland which has been previously discarded by other researchers. I would agree with Lance’s assessment that Bland’s additional information could not have been fabricated as some precise compass bearings are provided which when examined prove accurate for observations being made from Point Gellibrand on the evening of the first day of the return journey.   Therefore, as Lance has asserted, the expedition could not have commenced the return journey from Corio Bay.  Rather it could only have been from the Werribee River.


I also very much appreciated that Lance’s work has discussed the naming of the Yarra River as the River ‘Yar’ on December 15, 1824.  This river could never have been observed if they were headed for Corio Bay.  It seems that this has never been discussed by other researchers – largely ignored it would seem.   The Yarra River has special memories for me as the former Surveyor-General of Victoria.  In 2003, we celebrated the bicentenary of the discovery of what became known as the Yarra River, by the expedition of Charles Grimes, then Acting Surveyor-General of New South Wales.


The feud between Hume and Hovell is well captured by Lance.  I found it critical to my understanding of why the entire debate over the expedition’s geography of termination has become confused and that even the then local media, The Geelong Advertiser, blindly, and dare I say falsely promoted Hume’s account and dismissed Hovell.   The role of the media of the day has clearly influenced many historians.  I wonder how things would be handled today with extreme media and the often conflicted and hijacked social media?


Next year, 2024 marks the bicentenary of Hume and Hovell’s expedition, commissioned by the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Thomas Brisbane.  Brisbane was new to the job and did not accept the advice of then Surveyor-General, John Oxley that no river could fall into the sea between Cape Otway and Spencer's Gulf, and that the country south of parallel of 34 degrees was ' uninhabitable and useless for all purposes of civilised men.' and for the time exploration in this direction was greatly discouraged. How things have changed with government leaders wanting facts and not just accepting the hype or unfounded myths - as I found during my term as Surveyor-General of Victoria.  But I digress.  As we head to the bicentenary, this book is profoundly timely.


Finally, I commend this book to all who with an interest in Australian exploration history based on rigorous and forensic research. Good on you Lance - illegitimi non carborundum!
 
Dr. Keith Clifford Bell  AM RFD
FIEAust FISV F.ASCE LS(Vic) CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE (Aus)


 

CHAPTER 12


CONCLUSION

The evidence presented in this work is principally drawn from Hovell’s Journal being primary evidence recorded during the expedition.


The primary evidence written by Hume 31 years after the expedition does not concur with Hovell’s account nor with his own map.


Clearly one account must be incorrect, and with Hume making the statement that the expedition terminated ‘where the flourishing town of Geelong now stands’  this has put researchers in the difficult position of  trying to combine this statement, which could not possibly be correct, with Hovell’s Journal recorded during the expedition.


The easiest way out has been to not examine Hovell’s work in detail; not consider any alternative termination point and dismiss Hovell’s work as a rambling tale whilst manipulating and omitting records in order to present Hovell Creek at Corio Bay as the termination point.  


In the past it has been quite difficult to access Hovell’s Journal which is stored at the State Library NSW and the relatively recent scanning of the document has not particularly helped as the scanning technique is very poor, and this may have led researchers to give up trying to read the document.


This would have been particularly relevant to researchers giving up reading this document before they came across Hovell’s description of the river ‘Yar’ (Yarra) recorded on the fourth day of the return journey.  It was briefly mentioned in his journal on December 15, the day before they reached the bay.


Chosen for his navigational skills Hovell has used a 32 point compass rose to provide additional accuracy when quoting bearings and from the time they crossed the range he has described three changes of direction before reaching the bay at what they named the Extreme Point being Point Cook.


Hovell does not mention the expedition travelling in a SW direction after crossing the range.  Therefore, any research, map or otherwise depicting a SW direction of travel over December 13 to December 16 is a corruption of primary evidence.


Evidence presented in this work clearly shows that the Maribyrnong River was the Arndell River.


There appears no indication in Hovell’s primary evidence of any feud between the two explorers during the expedition and it was Hume that named the river, the Arndell, at which they camped on the night of December 15.


Travelling the next day reaching the bay at a point of land they referred to as the Extreme Point, Hovell’s descriptions of the closest shore lines, and the view of the gap in the Australian Alps can only work for Point Cook. 


Upon leaving this point of land, they travelled in a SW direction for 6 miles (9.6km) before following a creek upstream. 


Once again this only works for Point Cook and the Werribee River and cannot work for Point Wilson nor Point Lillias at Corio Bay. 


The following day, December 17, they continued to follow the creek upstream, this creek they named Kennedy’s Creek.  Upon finding fresh water and food for the cattle they rested for the remainder of the day before commencing the return journey on December 18.


During the first day of the return trip Hume and Hovell on horseback took a short detour to revisit the Extreme Point before re-joining the party. 


From Bland’s account at around 4pm later that day, many bearings were taken to obvious geographical points from a neck of land which protruded into the bay a considerable distance. This neck of land had a large creek on its left side.


The description of the location and most importantly the bearings to the many points of interest only work for Point Gellibrand. 

 

Hume’s actions may have been prompted upon hearing that at Geelong there was a proposal to erect a monument celebrating the 30th anniversary of the expedition and he consequently saw this as an opportunity to take the majority of credit for the expedition. It may also have been an opportunity to obtain additional land rights to those already granted. 


There has been an obvious reluctance by researchers to believe or even consider that Hamilton Hume told untruths in order to take the honour and glory for the expedition. 


This perpetuation of misinformation has continued now for around 170 years since Hume wrote his ‘Brief Statement of Facts’ around 31 years after the expedition.


There has been no published simple examination of any alternative termination point other than Corio Bay.


As shown, the Maribyrnong River was the Arndell River and it would be impossible to walk to Point Wilson or Point Lillias, then to a camp site at Hovell Creek, Corio Bay, in one day, a distance in excess of 65km (40miles).
 
Similarly, it would be impossible to walk from Hovell Creek at Corio Bay to Point Gellibrand in one day, a distance in excess of 60km (37.5 miles). 

 


CONCLUSION -
 
The Werribee River was the termination point of the Hamilton Hume and William Hovell expedition of 1824 - 1825. 

 

LANCE PRITCHARD

AHF Australian Heritage Festival 2024 History Talk & Discussion:

Hume and Hovell Expedition Termination - Lance Pritchard - National  Trust - Heritage Council Victoria
Werribee District Historical Society and Museum

National Trust - Heritage Council Victoria - Werribee District Historical Society
Australian Heritage Festival 2024

Hume and Hovell Expedition Termination - Lance Pritchard

At this event we will be discussing the termination point of the Hume and Hovell expedition of 1824-5 with particular emphasis on the three days prior to reaching Port Phillip and the first three days of
their return journey.

This discussion will analyse material presented in Hovell’s Journal that has never been presented before as it destroys the current narrative of the expedition terminating at Corio Bay, cases in point.
• Sighting of the Yarra River which Hovell named the ‘River Yar’ on the second last day of the outbound journey,
• Observations of mounts with bearings provided by Hovell that clearly show that the
expedition was at Point Gellibrand on the evening of the first day of their return journey,
therefore they could never have commenced the return journey from Corio Bay.

These and many other observations have either been deleted from previous research, or
bearings and distances simply stated as being correct when they obviously do not agree
with Hovell’s observations.

Many maps have been prepared to clarify the points of discussion.

Event Details
Address: Old Shire Office 49 Watton St (cnr Duncans Rd), Werribee, VIC

Dates: Saturday April 20, April 27, May 4, May 11, May 18.

Time: 1.00pm-2.00pm

Entry Fees: Free

Booking:
Prebooking required

l_pritchard@optusnet.com.au
0468435090

Attendance Limit: Less than 50
Website: werribeehistory.org.au
Onsite Facilities: Disabled access and Disabled accessible toilets

Social: Werribee District Historical Society on Facebook 

Other Things You May Need To Know:
Free 2 hour under cover parking available across the road at the Holiday Inn

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 http://werribeedhs.eventbrite.com

 

EVENT WEBSITE 

https://www.werribeehistory.org.au/event

 

DATE

Saturday 27 April 2019

TIME

10:00am - 12:00pm

LOCATION

Werribee Museum Old Shire Office

49 Watton Street
Werribee
VIC 3030

ORGANISER

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

CONTACT

Lance 0468 435 090 or email l_pritchard@optusnet.com.au

COST

Free - Goodie Bag for each participant

#2019 Australian Heritage Festival

Connecting People Places and the Past 

Heritage Walk 20190427_100839.jpg
Heritage Walk 20190427_110827.jpg
Heritage Walk 20190427_104439.jpg
Heritage Walk 20190427_104338.jpg
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 http://werribeedhs.eventbrite.com

EVENT WEBSITE 

https://www.werribeehistory.org.au/event

DATE

Saturday 4 May 2019

TIME

11:00am - 12:00pm

LOCATION

Werribee Museum

Old Shire Office

49 Watton Street
Werribee
VIC 3030

ORGANISER

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

CONTACT

Lance 0468 435 090 or email l_pritchard@optusnet.com.au

COST

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
bottom of page