In 1824, Hamilton Hume and William Hovell led an expedition of discovery to find new grazing land for the colony. They and their party trekked south from Appin to Lake George, then on into Victoria, keeping west of the Great Dividing Range and ending up at Corio Bay, on the Victorian coast, where present day Geelong is situated. Hovell mistakenly believed they had arrived at Westernport, and did not realise his mistake until after his return.
Hamilton Hume was born near Parramatta on 19 June 1797. At fifteen, Hume moved with his family to a large grant of land near Appin, and from the age of seventeen began exploring the land south to the Berrima region. He gained a reputation for his bush skills and knowledge of the area and was asked by Governor Macquarie to take part in several inland journeys to Lake Bathurst, the Goulburn area and south to Jervis Bay, with James Meehan and John Oxley. After an expedition with Alexander Berry, Hume was given a grant of land at Appin where he established a farm. He later acquired land in the Yass district, where he set up a second station. Governor Brisbane wanted to have the land between Lake George and Bass Strait explored, but he was unable to finance such a long and difficult expedition. Hume was inspired to attempt the expedition himself, planning a journey to what is now Spencer Gulf in South Australia, but was also unable to finance the trip. A mutual acquaintance, Alexander Berry, introduced Hume to a former sailor, William Hovell, who lived on his own grant of land at Narellan.