JOURNAL OF MR. STUART’S FIFTH EXPEDITION. FROM NOVEMBER, 1860, TO SEPTEMBER, 1861.
When Mr. Stuart reached Adelaide, in October, 1860, on his return from his last expedition, bringing with him the intelligence that he had penetrated to the northward almost as far as the eighteenth degree of south latitude, and had only been forced to retreat by the hostility of the natives, the South Australian Parliament voted a sum of 2500 pounds for a larger, better-armed, and more perfectly organized party, of which he was to be the leader. The ill-fated Victorian expedition, under Burke and Wills, had already started from Melbourne, on the previous 20th of August, amid all the excitement of a popular ovation, but a messenger was instantly despatched by the Victorian Government to overtake them, in order to give them what information the South Australian Government allowed to be known. On the 29th of November Mr. Stuart was ready to start once more, and left Moolooloo with seven men and thirty horses, arriving at Mr. Glen’s station on the 1st of December, and at Goolong Springs on the 4th. He was delayed at the latter place for several days, in consequence of the horses, and more especially the town horses, being unmanageable and unequal to their work. The party reached Welcome Springs on the 8th, and Finniss Springs on the 11th. The water at Finniss Springs seemed to have an injurious influence on the town horses, but those that had been with Mr. Stuart on his previous journeys were not so much affected. The following evening they arrived at Chambers Creek, where they remained until the end of the month.
During their stay at Chambers Creek they were occupied in killing and drying bullocks, mending saddles, weighing rations, shoeing horses, and generally preparing to start. Several of the horses, which had been knocked up and left behind on the way, had to be brought up; others became quite blind, one was lost, and one died. On the 31st of December four fresh horses arrived, which had been kindly sent up by Mr. Finke the moment he heard of the difficulty in which Mr. Stuart was placed. The party was also further increased, both by horses and men, so that when it left Chambers Creek, on the 1st of January, 1861, it numbered twelve men and forty-nine horses. The following is the list of those who started:–
John McDouall Stuart, Leader of the Expedition.
William Kekwick, Second in Command.
F. Thring, Third Officer.
— Ewart, Storekeeper.
— Sullivan, Shoeing Smith.
— Thompson, Saddler.
Shortly after starting, the horses that Mr. Finke sent up went off at a gallop, taking with them one of the others; but, at about a mile, they were headed by Ewart, Wall, and Lawrence, and brought back covered with sweat. Not content with this gallop, in a short time afterwards they bolted again. This last one seemed to content them, for they went very quietly for the rest of the day; they had, however, lost a pick, which could not be found. The party arrived at Mr. Ferguson’s station, at Hamilton Springs, that evening. Louden Spa was reached on the 8th of January. The next day Mr. Stuart writes:
“Wednesday, 9th January, Louden Spa. I am obliged to leave two horses. I thought that I should have been able to have got them down as far as Mr. Levi’s station. There are three others that I must leave behind; they are now nearly useless to me, and cause more delay than I can afford. I shall reduce my party to ten individuals, in order to lighten the horses that I take with me. I shall take thirty weeks’ provisions; the rest I shall leave there (Mr. Levi’s station). The two men who are to return are to have a month’s provisions to carry them down. They will be here two weeks, and if the horses have not recovered by that time, they will remain another week, when they will have one week’s provisions to take them to Chambers Creek, where they will get enough to carry them to the mine.”
Bayliffe and Thomas were the two men selected to return, and it may not be without interest to follow them back to the settled districts. They did not arrive at Melrose, Mount Remarkable, until the latter end of March. Thomas was suffering severely from rheumatism, and had to be conveyed in a cart for the last six miles of his journey from a place where he and his companion had camped for the purpose of recruiting themselves. They had been obliged to leave two of the horses at Mr. Mather’s station, and two more had died on the road. The men arrived with one horse only, which they were using as a pack-horse.
But to return to the rest of the party, who reached Mr. Levi’s station the same evening (January 9th) on which they parted from the two men. On Friday, January 11th, Mr. Stuart writes:
“I have now all put in order, and consider myself fairly started, with thirty weeks’ provisions. Day extremely hot. An eclipse of the sun took place at noon. Although our poor little dog Toby is carried on one of the pack-horses, he is unable to bear this great heat. I fear he will not survive the day. Arrived at Milne Springs about 5 p.m. At sundown poor little Toby died, regretted by us all, for he had already become a great favourite.”
On January 21st Mr. Stuart reached the Neale Creek, a little to the east of where he struck it before, but found that the large bodies of water had nearly all gone; by digging in the sand of the main channel, however, they obtained sufficient for their immediate wants. Exploring parties were despatched up and down the creek, and returned, reporting abundance of water eight miles above and five miles below where they were. They also brought back with them some fish, resembling the bream, which were very palatable when cooked. An attack of dysentery prevented Mr. Stuart from proceeding for a few days, and, during his stay, the natives, while studiously keeping themselves out of sight, set fire to the surrounding grass. On the 27th the expedition arrived at the Hamilton, after a heavy journey of thirty-five miles. “I observed,” says Mr. Stuart, “a peculiar feature in one of the families of the mulga bushes; the branches seemed to be covered with hoar frost, but on closer examination it turned out to be a substance resembling honey in taste and thickness. It was transparent, and presented a very pretty appearance when the sun shone upon it, making the branches look as though they were hung with small diamonds.”
The course now taken was through Bagot range to the Stevenson, where they arrived on February 1st. The next day they proceeded northward, and at eight miles came upon a large water hole, which was named Lindsay Creek, after J. Lindsay, Esquire, M.L.A. This water hole was one hundred and fifty yards long, thirty wide, and from eight to fifteen feet deep in the deepest parts. The native cucumber was growing upon its banks, and the feed was abundant. Here they met with immense numbers of brown pigeons, of the same description as those found by Captain Sturt in 1845. There were thousands of them; in fact, they flew by in such dense masses that, on two occasions, Woodforde killed thirteen with a single shot. The travellers pronounced them first-rate eating. Many natives, tall, powerful fellows, were seen, but they did not speak with them. After trying for water in the neighbourhood of Mount Daniel, they were compelled to return to Lindsay Creek, which they did not quit until February 9th, when they camped on another creek, which was named the Coglin, after P.B. Coglin, Esquire, M.L.A. From this place Mr. Stuart started, accompanied by Thring and Woodforde, to examine the condition of the Finke, and found its bed broad, and filled with white drift sand, but without water. A hole ten feet deep was sunk in the sand, but just as the increasing moisture gave them hope of finding water, the sides gave way, and Thring had a narrow escape of being buried alive. After sinking several other holes, but without success, they turned to another creek, coming more from the westward, and in a short time discovered six native wells near to what was evidently a large camping-place of the natives. The ground for one hundred yards round was covered with worleys, and at one spot they seemed to have had a grand corroberrie, the earth being trodden quite hard, as if a large number had been dancing upon it in a circle. They had left one of their spears behind, a formidable weapon about ten feet long, with a flat round point, the other end being made for throwing with the womera. On the 13th Mr. Stuart and his two companions returned to the camp on the Coglin, after discovering a place about four miles from the six native wells, where sufficient water could be obtained by digging. On the 14th three of the men were sent in advance to dig a hole at this place, and the following day the whole party moved forward to join them. Here the natives annoyed them much by setting fire to the grass in every direction.
Marchant Springs (on the Finke) were reached on February 22nd, and here Mr. Stuart noticed a remarkable specimen of native carving. He says: “The natives had made a drawing on the bark of two trees–two figures in the shape of hearts, intended, I suppose, to represent shields. There was a bar down the centre, on either side of which were marks like broad arrows. On the outside were also a number of arrows, and other small marks. I had a copy of them taken. This was the first attempt at representation by the natives of Australia which I had ever seen.”
Following the course of the Finke, they arrived on the 25th at some springs which were rendered memorable by Mr. Stuart’s favourite mare Polly. She became very ill, and on the morning of the 26th slipped her foal. Polly had been with her master on all his previous journeys, and was much too valuable and faithful a creature to be left behind; besides, she was second to none in enduring hardship and fatigue. They therefore waited another night to give her time to recover, and Mr. Stuart named the springs Polly Springs in her honour. On the 27th they again moved northwards, still following the course of the Finke, and, after a short journey of ten miles, camped at what were afterwards called Bennett Springs. It is worthy of remark that while the horses were in this water drinking, one of them kicked out a fish about eight inches long and three broad–an excellent sign of the permanency of the water. Here several of the horses were taken violently ill, and the next morning one of them could not be found. Mr. Stuart writes:
“Thursday, 28th February, The Finke, Bennett Springs. Found all the horses but one named Bennett. Sent two of the party out in search of him; at 9 a.m. they returned, having been all round, but could see nothing of him. I then sent out four, to go round the tracks and see if he had strayed into the sand hills. At noon they returned unsuccessful. Sent five men to search, but at 2 p.m. they likewise returned without having discovered him. I then went out myself, and, in half-an-hour, found the poor animal lying dead in a hole, very much swollen. Blood seemed to have come from his mouth and nostrils. He must have died during the night. I am afraid that there is some description of poisonous plant in the sand hills, and that the horses have eaten some of it. As he lay he appeared to have been coming from the sand hills, and making for the water. He seemed to have fallen down three times before he died. I never saw horses taken in the same way before–in a moment they fell down and became quite paralysed. The cream-coloured horse, that was taken so ill last night, must also have eaten the poison. We were upwards of two hours before we could get him right. As soon as he got on his legs, his limbs shook so that he immediately fell down. This he did for more than a dozen times. As we were very much in want of hobble-straps, I sent Mr. Kekwick, with three others, to take Bennett’s skin and shoes off. We found no indication of poison on opening him. This is a very great loss to me, for he was one of my best packhorses–one that had been with me before, and that I could depend upon for a hard push.”
On the 2nd March, while still following the course of the Finke, they passed two or three holes containing fish about eight inches long, and enclosed by small brush fences, apparently for the purpose of catching fish. They also saw a lot of shields, spears, waddies, etc., which the natives had deposited under a bush. As to the aborigines themselves, although it was evident there were plenty of them about, they never allowed themselves to be seen. There was an abundance of timber which Mr. Stuart says would be well suited for electric-telegraph poles.
Mr. Stuart’s journal continues as follows:
Tuesday, 5th March, The Finke. Started at 8.5 a.m., bearing 345 degrees, for the Hugh, with Thring and Lawrence. On arriving there found the water nearly all gone, only a little in a well dug by the natives; cleared it out, but it took us until 12 p.m. to water the four horses. At three miles further, we passed round a high conspicuous table hill, having a slanting and shelving front to the south; this I have named Mount Santo, after Philip Santo, Esquire, M.P. The country passed over to-day has been sand hills, with spinifex, grassy plains, with mulga and other shrubs, and occasionally low table-topped hills, composed of sand, lime, and ironstone, also the hard whitish flinty rock; kangaroo plentiful, but very wild. Wind south-east. The day has been very hot; horses very tired.
Wednesday, 6th March, The Hugh. Started at 8.45 a.m. on a bearing of 209 degrees. At nine miles, finding the water gone that I had seen on my last return, I dug down to the clay, and obtained a little, but not enough for us. Followed the creek up into the gorge, and found it very dry. Our former tracks are still visible in the bed of the creek. No rain seems to have fallen here since last March. I had almost given up all hopes of finding any water, when, at seven miles, we met with a few rushes, which revived our sinking hopes; and, at eight miles, our eyes and ears were delighted with the sight and sound of numerous diamond birds, a sure sign of the proximity of water. At the mouth of a side creek coming from the James range, on the eastern side of the Hugh, found an excellent water hole, apparently both deep and permanent. We saw a native and his lubra at the upper end at a brush fence in the water; they appeared to be fishing, and did not see us until I called to them. The female was the first who left the water; she ran to the bank, took up her child, and made for a tree, up which she climbed, pushing her young one up before her. She was a tall, well-made woman. The man (an old fellow), tall, stout, and robust, although startled at our appearance, took it leisurely in getting out of the water, ascended the bank, and had a look at us; he then addressed us in his own language, and seemed to work himself up into a great passion, stopping every now and then and spitting fiercely at us like an old tiger. He also ascended the tree, and then gave us a second edition of it. We leisurely watered our horses, and he was very much surprised to see Thring dismount and lead the pack-horse down to the water, so much so that he never said another word, but remained staring at us until we departed, when he commenced again. This water being sufficient for my purpose, I will go no further up the creek, but return to the last night’s camp. Wind, south-east.
Thursday, 7th March, The Hugh. As my horses are very tired, and the distance between my main camp on the Finke and the water we discovered yesterday being upwards of fifty miles, I will remain here to-day, dig down to the clay, and try if I can obtain enough water for all the party; for, owing to the extreme heat, and the dryness of the feed, many of our weak horses are unable to go a night without water. By 8 p.m. we dug a trench ten feet long, two feet and a half deep, and two feet and a half broad; it is about twelve feet below the level of the creek. We have had a very hard day’s work. Wind, south-east. Day very hot.
Friday, 8th March, The Hugh. This morning very cold; wind, still south-east. The trench is quite full; our four horses made very little impression on it. I shall send up and enlarge the trench, so that we may be enabled to water the whole lot. At 6.40 a.m. started back for the camp. At 1.45 p.m. halted to give the horses a little rest. At 2.30 p.m. changed to 184 degrees, and at four miles reached the table hills, but there was no creek, only a number of clay-pans, all quite dry, with stunted gum-trees growing round them. Changed my bearing to Mount Santo, passing a number of clay-pans of the same description; from thence proceeded to the camp; arrived there at sundown, and found all right. Plenty of water; the horses make little impression on it. Wind, south-east.
Saturday, 9th March, The Finke. I shall give Thring a rest to-day, and will send him with two others, and a part of the horses, to-morrow to the Hugh, to make a place large enough to water all. From about 2 a.m. until after sunrise the morning has been very cold. Wind, south-east.
Sunday, 10th March, The Finke. At 7 a.m. despatched Thring, Thompson, and Sullivan, with eleven pack and three riding-horses, to the Hugh to dig a tank. Wind, still south-east; clouds east.
Monday, 11th March, The Finke. Clouds all gone; wind still south-east. I will remain here to-day with the rest of the party, to give the others time to have all ready for us when we arrive. One of the horses missing; found him in the afternoon. Wind variable.
Tuesday, 12th March, The Finke. Started at 8.30 a.m. for the Hugh, course 345 degrees, following our former tracks. The day has been exceedingly hot; wind from east and south-east, with heavy clouds in the same direction. About 3 p.m. missed the party that was behind; they were last seen about one mile and a half back. Thinking that the packs had gone wrong, and that they were remaining behind to repair them, I waited an hour, but finding they did not come up, I sent Ewart back to the place where they were last seen to find out what was wrong; in an hour he returned, and informed me that their tracks were going away to the eastward. As the James range was in sight, and two of the party had been there before, I concluded that they must have lost my tracks and were pushing on for the water. This loss of two hours would make it late before we arrived there, so we hurried on; but within four miles it became so dark, from the sky being overcast with heavy clouds, and the mulga bushes being so thick, that we were in great danger of losing some of our pack-horses, for we could not see them more than ten yards off. I therefore camped until daylight, having to tie the horses during the night. Wind variable.
Wednesday, 13th March, Between the Finke and the Hugh. Started at daybreak; and in a little more than an hour arrived at the Hugh; found that Thring had gone up the creek to the other water, not finding enough here for the horses he had with him. We could only get sufficient for ten of ours. As the fire was still alight, I was led to believe that the other party had arrived here last night, having had two hours more sunlight than we, and that they, seeing Thring’s note to me, which he had fastened on a tree, and also the small quantity of water, had watered their horses last night, and gone on this morning, leaving the water that had accumulated during the night for us and our horses; we cleared out the hole in order to obtain sufficient for our other five. At about 10 a.m. had breakfast; before we finished, the other party came in sight; they had lost the tracks, and could not find them again. They made the creek about one mile to the eastward. Unsaddled and gave their horses a rest, and as much water as we could get for the weak ones; those of mine which have had none will have to go without. By 1 p.m. obtained a drink for seven of them. Pushed on to the other water, fifteen miles up the creek; arrived there a little before sundown. The day, although cloudy, has been very hot. Found Thring and his party all right. They had seen no more of our spitting friend. Wind variable, with heavy clouds from east and south-east, but still no rain.
Thursday, 14th March, The Hugh, James Range. As the done-up horses will not be able to travel to-day, I have sent Thring and Wall up the creek to look for other water. Sky still overcast. No rain. Thring and Wall returned in the afternoon, having found water a little below the surface, about nine miles up; a very light shower has fallen. Wind all round the compass.
Friday, 15th March, The Hugh, James Range. A few drops of rain have fallen during the night, but this morning it seems to be breaking up again, which is a great disappointment. Started at 8 a.m., course 10 degrees west of north; passed through the gorge in James range, found all the water gone that I had seen on my journey down; followed up the creek to the native wells that Thring found yesterday. This water is situated about one mile and a half from where the creek enters the gorge in James range, and under a concrete bank on the north side. The natives seem to have quitted this water on hearing us coming, for they have left behind them a large, long, and unfinished spear, two smaller ones, and some waddies, one of which was quite wet, as if the owner had been in the act of clearing out one of the wells when he heard or saw us coming: he also left a shield cut out of solid wood, which I think was, from its lightness, cork-wood. I also observed on one of the gum-trees, marks similar to those which I saw on the Finke, broad arrows and a wavy line round the tree. Still cloudy, but much broken. No rain. Wind, south-east.
Saturday, 16th March, The Hugh, James Range. Rain all gone. Proceeded up the creek, course 30 degrees, to examine the east bend before it enters the Waterhouse range; in about six miles arrived and followed it upwards, pushing on through the gorge to the large water I had previously seen on the north side of the range; found it gone, but water in some native wells in its bed. Proceeded on to the second bend of the creek from Waterhouse range, to a water which I consider to be a spring (it is under conglomerate rock), and am glad to see that there is still a large hole of beautiful water, with bulrushes growing round about it. Camped. This water I have named Owen Springs, after William Owen, Esquire, M.P. Wind variable, from south-east to north-east. Cloudy.
Sunday, 17th March, Owen Springs, The Hugh. During the night we had a few light showers, which will be of great advantage to us, causing the green feed to spring up. The morning still cloudy; wind from the east, with a few drops of rain. Wind still variable–all round the compass.
Monday, 18th March, Owen Springs, The Hugh. Very heavy clouds this morning; and it seemed as if it was setting in for a wet day, but it cleared off, and only a little rain fell. Wind still all round the compass.
Tuesday, 19th March, Owen Springs, The Hugh. Saddled and started for Brinkley Bluff, bearing 349 degrees. After entering the McDonnell range the water is permanent. It has been here for twelve months; no rain has fallen during that time, for my former tracks, both up and down, are as distinct as if they had been made a month ago. At 3.30 p.m. camped at the waterhole about a mile north-west of Brinkley Bluff; it is situated under a rocky cliff. There are some seams of beautiful grey granite crossing the creek, and abundance of marble of all colours, also a little iron and limestone. We found some specimens of the palm tree, but there is neither seed nor blossom at this season of the year. Lawrence got one of the leaves, ate the lower end of it, and found it sweet–resembling sugar-cane; he ate a few inches of it, and in about two hours became very sick, and vomited a good deal during the evening. Wind variable; but mostly south-east, with heavy thunder clouds.
Wednesday, 20th March, Brinkley Bluff, McDonnell Range. About 1 p.m. we were delighted with the sight and feeling of heavy rain. At about 4 the creek came down, and by sunrise it was running at the rate of five miles an hour–a new and delightful sight to behold. At about 9 the clouds were breaking and the rain lighter. We were all truly thankful for this great boon. It is too wet to move to-day; the horses are bogging up to their knees. After sundown we had a heavy thunder storm, accompanied by vivid lightning, and heavy rain from south-east and east. Wind from same direction.
Thursday, 21st March, Brinkley Bluff, McDonnell Range. Rain has continued at intervals during the night; a great deal has fallen. A horse having gone into the creek to drink during the night, one of his hobbles became undone, and got fastened to his hind shoe. He was found this morning up to his body in water, and unable to move. Having relieved him, it was with difficulty he could get out. He is in a tremble all over, and can scarcely walk. The ground is so soft, even on the hills, that we cannot walk without sinking above the ankle. I should gain nothing by starting to-day. It would injure the horses more than a week’s travelling.
Friday, 22nd March, Brinkley Bluff, McDonnell Range. About 1 a.m. the rain came down in torrents, and continued until nearly sunrise, from south-east. Wind from same quarter. It is impossible to move to-day. The creek is higher than it has been before, and running with great rapidity. All the horses were found right this morning but the one which got into the creek yesterday. After searching all the hills and the creeks round about, he was found in a small gully by himself.
Saturday, 23rd March, Brinkley Bluff, McDonnell Range. Heavy shower of rain about 4 a.m. this morning. After sunrise it all cleared away and became fine. Started at 8.20 to cross the northern portion of the range by following the creek up. We have had a very hard and difficult journey of it. It is now 4 p.m., and we have arrived at Hamilton Springs. The ground was so soft, even at the top of the ranges, that we had the greatest difficulty in getting the horses through. We did so, however, with the loss of a great number of shoes, and many of the horses were very lame. Wind still south-east.
Sunday 24th March, Hamilton Springs. I am compelled to have some of the horses shod to-day, and also to have a number of saddle-bags mended, which were torn by the scrub yesterday. This afternoon there is a great deal of thunder and lightning in the north and north-east.
Monday, 25th March, Hamilton Springs. Part of the horses missing this morning in consequence of the green feed; did not get a start until 10.20 a.m.; bearing 43 degrees. The country became so boggy after seven miles that we were unable to proceed further than eleven miles. There being no surface water, although the ground was so soft that the horses kept bogging up to their bodies, we were forced to retreat five miles to obtain some for them. Wind south-east, the stormy weather apparently breaking up. Camped at 5 p.m. Latitude, 23 degrees 28 minutes 51 seconds.
Tuesday, 26th March, Scrub North-east of Hamilton Springs. Started at 9 a.m. on a south-south-east course to round the boggy country. At about six miles we were enabled to cross the lower part, and go in the direction of a low range. Camped on the north-east side of it. The last four miles were over fair travelling-country of a red soil, with mulga and other bushes, in some places rather thick, abounding in green grass. We also passed many bushes of the honey mulga, but the season is passed, and it is all dried up. Wind, east. Latitude by Pollux, 23 degrees 24 minutes 51 seconds; by Jupiter, 23 degrees 24 minutes 52 seconds.
Wednesday, 27th March, Low Granite Range in Scrub. More than half of the horses are missing this morning; at noon we have managed to get all but ten; they are scattered all over the place; at 5 p.m. they cannot be found, and the water is nearly all gone, and the country much dried towards Strangway range. I have sent the horses four miles back to a large clay-pan that we saw yesterday, to remain there to-night and in the morning to return. Two of the party to separate from there, and to go in search of the missing horses, which I suppose have gone back to the Hamilton Springs; it is very vexing, some of our best are amongst them. Wind, east.
Thursday, 28th March, Low Granite Range in Scrub. At 11 a.m. the horses were brought back from the clay-pan. Two of the missing ones were found about a mile after they started, making towards where they had camped last night. I think that the other eight must be also in that direction; we find that all the tracks have gone that way; I shall therefore move down to-day to the south end of the swampy country, which I know they cannot cross, and endeavour, if possible, to find them to-night. By 1 p.m. arrived at the end of the swamp; camped, and despatched Thring in one direction and Sullivan in another to try and cut their tracks; at a little before sunset Sullivan returned with three of the missing ones. Five are still wanting. Wind, south-east.
Friday, 29th March, South End of Swamp in Scrub. At sunrise sent Thring and Sullivan again to look for the missing horses; they arrived at 5 p.m. with three of them. If we do not find the other two to-morrow, I shall push on without them, and endeavour to pick them up on our return.
Saturday, 30th March, South End of Swamp in Scrub. Again sent Thring and Sullivan in search of the two remaining horses; at about 11 a.m. they returned with them. I shall now move up to our camp of 25th instant. Camped at some rain water a little south of our former place, where there is plenty of feed for the horses. Wind, south-east; clouds from north-west.
Sunday, 31st March, Rain Water in Scrub. All day the sky has been overcast with clouds from the north-west. Wind from south-east.
Monday, 1st April, Same Place. Started at 7.30 a.m.; course, 330 degrees. At 1 p.m. we came upon a very pretty flat of beautiful grass, with water in the middle of it; and, as the afternoon has every appearance of rain, I have camped–to go on in the rain will only spoil our provisions. We had scarcely got the packs off when it came on heavily, and lasted about an hour: it then ceased until sundown, when it came on again, and continued till 10.30 p.m.
Tuesday, 2nd April, Green Flat in Scrub. Started at 8.20 a.m. on same course, and camped at 1.30 p.m. under a prominent rocky hill, which I ascended and have named Mount Harris, after Peter G. Harris, Esquire, of Adelaide. I obtained bearings of the different points all round. The last seven miles was sandy soil, with spinifex and scrub, which was mostly young cork-tree, and the broad-leafed mallee.
Wednesday, 3rd April, Mount Harris. We have put up a small cone of stones on the top of this mount. Started at 8 a.m. for Anna’s Reservoir. Arrived at the creek about two miles south-south-east of it, and, finding it running, camped amongst excellent feed. By keeping to west of my former track I have found the country much opener; but nearly all day the journey has been through spinifex. Wind from west.
Thursday, 4th April, The Wicksteed, Reynolds Range. Started at 7.40 a.m. to cross the range, bearing to Mount Freeling 312 degrees. At 1.30 p.m. crossed the range, and arrived at the creek, camping at the same place as I did on my previous journey, and finding water and feed abundant. I have named this creek the Woodforde, after Dr. Woodforde, of Adelaide. After crossing the range, we found the bean-tree in blossom; it was magnificent. I have obtained a specimen of it; also some beans, a number of which were of a cream colour; we have roasted a few of them, and find that they make very good coffee. Wind, south-east.
Friday, 5th April, The Woodforde, Reynolds Range. Started at 7.30 a.m. Camped at 4.30 p.m. on the Hanson, which is now a running stream. About five miles back we passed a freshly-built native worley. I observed a peculiarity in it which I never noticed in any before–namely, that it was constructed with greater care than usual. It was thatched with grass down to the ground. Inside the worley there was a quantity of grass laid regularly for a bed, on which some one had been lying. Round about the front was collected a large quantity of firewood, as much as would have done for us for a night. Latitude, 22 degrees 5 minutes 30 seconds, bearing to Central Mount Stuart, 25 degrees. Wind, south-south-west.
Saturday, 6th April, The Hanson. Started at 8 a.m., on a course of 46 degrees 30 minutes, to the springs in the Hanson; this course led me through about four miles of very thick mulga. After crossing the central line we arrived on the creek and camped, below the springs, at 1.30 p.m. Bearing to Central Mount Stuart, 251 degrees 20 minutes. Wind variable.
Sunday, 7th April, The Hanson, East-north-east of Centre. Day hot. Wind variable, with a few clouds.
Monday, 8th April, The Hanson, East-north-east of Centre. Five of the horses missing this morning. Started at 9.45, course 45 degrees; camped on the Stirling at 3.50 p.m. Through all the day’s journey the country abounded in grass and water. Wind from south.
Tuesday, 9th April, The Stirling, Forster Range. Started at 7.30 a.m., to cross Forster range on the same course. At 10.50 a.m. camped on north side of it, on a large gum creek with water. I have named this the Taylor, after John Taylor, Esquire, of the firm of Messrs. Elder, Stirling, and Co., of Adelaide. This is a most beautiful place, a plain four miles broad between two granite ranges, completely covered with grass, and a gum creek winding through the centre. I made a short journey to-day in consequence of having some of the horses lame, and some weak through the effects of the green grass, and to-morrow’s journey will be a long one. Had I gone on to-day, they would in all probability be without water, and would require to be tied up during the night. I shall now be able to get through in one day, and keep them in good condition for the unexplored country, which I expect to commence next Monday.
Wednesday, 10th April, The Taylor. Started at 7.25 a.m. on a course of 11 degrees 30 minutes for Mount Morphett; at 12.30 ascended the summit. On the north side we had some difficulty in getting the horses down; however, we managed without accident. Ran a creek down and found some water; gave the horses a drink; still followed it until it was lost in a grassy plain. Proceeded on to the next hills, passed through a gap, and made for a creek on the north side, in which we found water, and camped at 4 p.m.
Thursday, 11th April, North Side Mount Morphett, Crawford Range. Started at 7.45 a.m. on a course of 10 degrees. The first four miles was over a beautiful grassy plain, with mulga wood, not very thick; it then became more sandy, and covered with gum, cork-trees, and other scrubs, which continued within a mile of where we camped, in a small, but beautiful grassed plain; no water. Latitude 20 degrees 38 minutes 33 seconds. Wind, south-east.
Friday, 12th April, Grassy Plain. Started at 6.15 a.m., same course. At 1 p.m. arrived at the Bonney; it is now running–green feed abundant. As some of the horses are still very lame, I will rest them to-morrow and Sunday, and start into the unexplored country on Monday morning. Wind from south-east; a few clouds from north-east.
Saturday, 13th April, The Bonney. Sent Thring down the creek to see what its course is, and if the country gets more open; the men mending saddle-bags, cleaning and repairing saddles, shoeing horses, etc. While I and Woodforde were endeavouring to get a shot at some ducks on the long water holes, a fish, which he describes as being about two feet long, with dark spots on either side, came to the surface; he fired at it, but was unsuccessful in killing it. A little before sundown Thring returned; he gave a very bad account of the creek; it was a dry deep channel. Wind, variable; cloudy.
Sunday, 14th April, The Bonney. Wind from every quarter, with clouds; a few drops of rain fell about the middle of the day; after sundown much lightning in the south-west.
Monday, 15th April, The Bonney. Cloudy; wind still variable. Mount Fisher, bearing 120 degrees. Started at 7.15 a.m., bearing 290 degrees; at 11.40 changed to 264 degrees, to some rising ground; at 12.45 p.m., after crossing stony hills, we crossed a gum creek on the west side, with long reaches of water in it running north-west, which I supposed to be the Bonney; but as there appeared to be more and larger gum-trees farther on, I continued, to see if there were not another channel. Proceeded three miles over low limestone rises, with small flats between, on which was growing spinifex, and the gum-trees which I had seen–exactly the same description of country from which I was forced to return through want of water on my former journey from Mount Denison to north-west. I therefore returned to the creek, which I find to be the Bonney, now much smaller, but containing plenty of water–followed it down to north-north-west for about one mile, and then camped. The water is in long reaches, which I think are permanent.
Tuesday, 16th April, The Bonney. Still cloudy. Started at 8 a.m. on a bearing of 380 degrees. At 11.15 changed to 40 degrees, with the intention of cutting the McLaren. Camped at 3.40 p.m. Three miles from our start the creek spreads itself over a large grassy plain, thickly studded with gum-trees, covered with long grass, and a great number of white ants’ nests of all sizes and shapes, putting one in mind of walking through a large cemetery. In many places it was very boggy. We followed it for ten miles, but it still continued the same; I could not see more than one hundred yards before me, the gum-trees, and sometimes a low scrub, being so thick. Not seeing anything of the McLaren coming into the plain, I changed my course to cut it and run it down, as I think that it will form a large creek where they join. In three miles we got out of the plain upon a red sandy soil, with spinifex, and scrubs of all kinds, in some places very thick, and difficult to get the horses through. When we were in the gum plain the atmosphere was so close and heavy, and the ground so soft, that the sweat was running in streams from the horses; and when we halted for a few minutes they were puffing and blowing as though they had just come in from running a race. I continued the second course for fourteen miles, but saw nothing of the McLaren; it must have joined the plain before I left it. Thus ends the Bonney and the McLaren. We passed over several quartz and ironstone ranges of low hills crossing our course, and camped under a high one, without water. Wind south-east. Cloudy.
Wednesday, 17th April,* (* The Journal of this Expedition, as published by the Royal Geographical Society, commences here.) Quartz Hill, West Mount Blyth. Started at 7.25 a.m. on a bearing of 70 degrees. We again passed quartz hills running as yesterday; the spinifex still continuing, with a little grass, until we came within a mile of the hills in the Murchison range; finding some water, I camped, and gave the horses the rest of the day to recruit. Last night after sundown, and during the night, we had a few slight showers of rain, and a great deal of thunder and lightning, mostly from south-west. About 11 to-day the clouds all cleared away. About a mile before camping, we observed the ground covered with numerous native tracks; also that a number of the gum-trees were stripped of their bark all round.
Thursday, 18th April, West Mount Blyth. Started at 7.40 a.m., same bearing, across the Murchison range, in which we found great difficulty. On the north-east side of Mount Blyth we found a large gum creek of permanent water, and camped. I have named this Ann Creek. I then rode to the highest point of the range, taking Thring with me, to see if there is any rising ground to north-west by which I may cross the gum plain. I could see no rise, nothing but a line of dark-green wood on the horizon. We had great difficulty in getting to the top, the rocks being so precipitous. In coming down the eastern side we were gratified by the sight of a beautiful waterfall, upwards of one hundred feet high, over columns of basaltic rock, its form, two sides of a triangle, the water coming over the angle. Wind, south-east.
Friday, 19th April, Ann Creek. Started at 7.45 a.m., on a course of 324 degrees, towards Mount Samuel. After sundown arrived at Goodiar Creek; one of the horses done up; had to leave him a little distance back; he is unwell. On leaving the Murchison range we crossed a number of quartz reefs and hills running east and south-west. Wind, south-south-east.
Saturday, 20th April, Goodiar Creek. Three horses missing this morning, in consequence of the scarcity of feed. The horse left behind last night has been brought in; he looks very bad indeed. About 11 a.m. the other horses were found, brought in, and saddled, and we proceeded on a north-north-west course for Bishop Creek, but found the sick horse too ill to proceed further than Tennant Creek, where we camped, there being plenty of water and feed. Two natives were seen by Masters this morning when in search of the horses–he could not get them to come near him. Wind, south-west.
Sunday, 21st April, Tennant Creek. Wind from south-west; a few clouds from east.
Monday, 22nd April, Tennant Creek. Started at 7.30 a.m., course 21 degrees, for Bishop Creek, and at twelve miles made it. I find that two of the horses are so weak that they are unable to go any further without giving in, I have therefore camped, giving them the remainder of the day to recruit. Native fires are smoking all around us, but at some distance off. Wind, east.
Tuesday, 23rd April, Bishop Creek. It is late before we can get a start to-day, in consequence of one of the horses concealing himself in the creek. He is an unkind brute, we have much trouble with him in that respect; he is constantly hiding himself somewhere or other. Started at 9.30 a.m., on a course of 17 degrees, to cross Short range. Found plenty of water in Phillips Creek; the grass on its banks, and on the plains where it empties itself, is splendid, two feet and a half long, fit for the scythe to go into, and an abundant crop of hay could be obtained. We then crossed the range a little north of where I passed before, and found some slight difficulty. After descending, we struck a small creek which supplies Kekwick Ponds, and is a tributary to Hayward Creek; found plenty of water and camped at 3 p.m. Feed abundant. Wind, south-east.
Wednesday, 24th April, Hayward Creek. Started at 7.40 a.m.; course 17 degrees. At 9.30 changed to 14 degrees 30 minutes west of north, and at 12.30 arrived at Attack Creek; camped at the same place that I did on my former journey. Tracks of natives about, but we have seen none of them. I kept about a mile to the west of my former track, and found the country much more open. The banks of both creeks for two or three miles are splendidly covered with grass, in some places over the horses’ heads. Four of the horses are ill, and looking very bad indeed. Wind, south-west.
Thursday, 25th April, Attack Creek. Started at 7.50 a.m., on a course of 294 degrees, to the top of the range, which I have named Whittington Range, after William S. Whittington, Esquire, of Adelaide. At six miles reached the top. At 9.50 changed to north-west, and at 11.30 struck a large gum creek running east, with large water holes in it. At about two hundred yards crossed it again, running to the west, and shortly afterwards crossed it again, running to the east. I have called it Morphett Creek, after the Honourable John Morphett, Chief Secretary. We then ascended another portion of the range, and continued along a spur on our course. This range presents quite a new feature, in having gums growing on the top and all round it; it is composed of masses of ironstone, granite, sand, and limestone, and in some places white marble. Thinking that the creek we had passed might break through a low part of the range, which I could see to the north-west, at ten miles I changed to west, and crossed to the other range, but found the dip of the country to the south. We could find no water; traced the creek to the south-east for two miles, found some water and camped. The range is very rough and stony, covered with spinifex; but the creeks are beautifully grassed. Native smoke to east. This is one of the sources of Morphett Creek, and flows to the east; it is as large, if not larger, than Attack Creek, and, in all probability, contains water holes quite as fine to the eastward. Latitude, 18 degrees 50 minutes 40 seconds.
Friday, 26th April, Morphett Creek. At 8 a.m. started on a course of 300 degrees to cross the north-west part of the range. Camped upon a plain of the same description as John Plain, that I met with on my former journey to the north-east of Bishop Creek, a large open plain covered with grass, and with only a few bushes on it. The journey to-day has been very rough and stony. Not a drop of water have we passed to-day, nor is there the appearance of any on before us. I shall be compelled to fall back to-morrow to the water of last night. Four of the horses, I am afraid, will not be able to get there. I must try more to the north, and endeavour to get quit of the plains, and get amongst the creeks. There is no hope of success on this course. Latitude, 18 degrees 38 minutes. Wind, east.
Saturday, 27th April, Grassy Plains. Started at 7.10 a.m., course 110 degrees, to the other side of the plain. At three miles came upon a small creek running towards the north; I followed it down to the north. At three miles came upon a fine large creek, coming from the south-east, with plenty of water. Returned to the party, took them down to the large creek on north course, and at three miles camped. Two of the horses are nearly done up. Wind, south-east. Latitude, 18 degrees 35 minutes 20 seconds.
Sunday, 28th April, Tomkinson Creek. Sent Thring down to examine and see how the creek runs. I have named it after S. Tomkinson, Esquire, Manager of the Bank of Australasia, at Adelaide. We have found many new plants and flowers, also some trees, one of which grows to a considerable size, the largest being about a foot in diameter. The fruit is about the size and colour, and has the appearance of plums; the bark is of a grey colour; the foliage oval, and dark-green. Another is more of a bush, and has a very peculiar appearance; the seed vessel is about the size of an orange, but more pointed. When ripe it opens into four divisions, which look exactly like honeycomb inside, and in which the seeds are contained; they are about the size of a nut, the outside being very hard. The natives roast and eat them. The leaves resemble the mulberry, and are of a downy light-green. We have obtained a few of the seeds of it. The bean-tree does not seem to grow up here. Mr. Kekwick, in looking for plants this morning, discovered one which very much resembles wheat in straw (which is very tough), ear, and seed. It grows two feet high. The seed is small, but very much like wheat both in shape and colour. At about 3 p.m. Thring returned, having run the creek out into a large grassy plain. The course of this creek is west-north-west for about nine miles; it then turns to west, and empties itself into the plain. There is plenty of water about, but where it empties itself it becomes quite dry. The native companion, the emu, and the sacred ibis are on this creek. The country is splendidly grassed. We have got to the north side of the Whittington range. I shall have to leave my two done-up horses here, and will get them when I return. The hills and rocks are of the same description as the first part of the range. Wind, south. Sun hot, but the nights and mornings are very cold.
Monday, 29th April, Tomkinson Creek. Had a late start this morning in consequence of my having to take a lunar observation. Started at 10.30 a.m. At 2.10 p.m. reached the top of a high hill; from this we could see a gum creek. Started at 2.30 to examine it; found water, and camped at 4. I have named the hill Mount Primrose, after John Primrose, Esquire, of North Adelaide. This water will last us six or eight weeks. The country passed to-day has been mostly stony rises of the same description as the other parts of the range. The valleys have a light sandy soil, nearly all with spinifex and scrub. The view from the top of Mount Primrose is not extensive, except to the west and south-west, which appears to be thick wood or scrub. Near the top we met with the Eucalyptus Dumosa. Wind, south-east. Latitude, 18 degrees 25 minutes.
Tuesday, 30th April, Carruthers Creek. The creek in which we are now camped I have named Carruthers Creek, after John Carruthers, Esquire, of North Adelaide. Started at 8.50 a.m. At 1.50 p.m. found a creek running from the range, with a splendid hole of permanent water situated under a cliff, where the creek leaves the range; it is very deep, with a rocky bottom. From the top of the range the country seems to be very thick, which I am afraid is scrub; no high hills visible. To the north of this the range appears to cease; I wish it had continued for another sixty miles. The country passed to-day has been stony rises coming from the range, very rough and rocky indeed. My horses’ shoes are nearly all gone; I am obliged to let some go without–they have felt the last four rough days very much. Spinifex, scrub, and stunted gums all the day, with occasionally a few tufts of grass; this is very poor country indeed. Smoke of native fires still in south-east. The hills of the same formation as those we first came upon in entering the ranges from Attack Creek. I have named this creek Hunter Creek, after Mr. Hunter, of Messrs. Hunter, Stevenson, and Co., of Adelaide. Camped. The horses seem very tired. Wind, east. Latitude, 18 degrees 17 minutes.
Wednesday, 1st May, Hunter Creek. Started at 8 a.m., course, 305 degrees. At 8.45 crossed the Hunter going south-west; it came round again and continued crossing our course thirteen times in nine miles, after which it was lost in a large grassy and gum plain. At 5.15 camped. The plain in which the creek loses itself bears south-west; the banks are beautifully grassed, but about a mile on either side the soil is sandy, with spinifex and scrub, which continued for nine miles; we then entered upon a scrub and grassy plain. Here I noticed a new and very beautiful tree–in some instances a foot in diameter–with drooping branches. Its bark was grey and rough, and it had a small dark-green leaf, shaped like a butterfly’s wing. Not finding a creek, nor the least indication of a watercourse, and the scrub becoming very thick, I changed to north, to see if I could find any water; but at three miles we lost the gums, the new tree taking their place, and becoming very thick scrub with plenty of grass, but no signs of a watercourse. I again changed to east in the hope of cutting one in that direction. At one mile and a half again came upon small gums; and at three miles, seeing neither creek nor any hope of getting water, camped. The horses very tired. Wind light from west-north-west. Latitude, 18 degrees 3 minutes 19 seconds.
Thursday, 2nd May, Large Scrubby and Grassy Plain. Started at 10 a.m. in consequence of some of the horses having strayed a long way to the east during the night; course, 143 degrees 30 minutes, back to Hunter Creek. I have taken a different course to see if there is any creek that supplies this plain with water. For about nine miles we passed over a splendidly grassed plain, with gum-trees, the new tree, and a number of all sorts of bushes. One part for about three miles is subject to inundation, and the Eucalyptus Dumosa grows thickly on it. We then passed over about two miles of spinifex and grass, and again entered the grassy plain, which continued to Hunter Creek. During the whole day we have not seen the shadow of a creek or watercourse. If there had been any sign of a watercourse, or if I could have seen any rising ground near our course, I would have gone on another day. I sent Wall to the top of the highest tree to see if there was anything within view; he could see nothing but the same description of plain. If my horses can travel to-morrow, I will try a course to the north, and run down the creek, to see if there is one that will lead me through this plain. If I could get to some rising ground, I think I should be all right; but there is none visible except the end of the range, which is lost sight of to the north-east. Wind again south-east, with a few clouds. Latitude, 18 degrees 13 minutes 40 seconds.
Friday, 3rd May, Hunter Creek. Started at 8.40 a.m.; course, north. At 11.15 (nine miles), came upon a creek; bed dry and sandy; searched for water, and, at three quarters of a mile to east, found a nice hole; watered the horses and proceeded on the same course–starting at 12. At 3.20 p.m. changed to 20 degrees north of east; the first ten miles were over a plain of gums covered with grass two feet long; we had then six miles of spinifex, and a thick scrub of dwarf lancewood, as tough as whalebone. After that we entered upon another gum plain, also splendidly grassed, which continued for four miles, when the gums suddenly ceased, and it became a large open plain to north, as far as I could see. Seeing no appearance of water, I changed my course to 30 degrees north of east, to some high gums; and, at one mile, not finding any, I camped without it. This seems now to be a change of country; there is no telling when or where I may get the next water on this course, so that I shall be compelled to go towards the range to-morrow to get some, and have a long day’s journey to the new country. The wind has been from east all day. Latitude, 17 degrees 56 minutes 40 seconds.
Saturday, 4th May, Sturt Plains. Started at 7.15 a.m., course east, to find water. At 3.20 p.m. came upon a little creek and found a small quantity of water, which we gave to the horses. Started again at 9 p.m., course south-east, following the creek to find more; at a mile and a half found water which will do for us until Monday morning. I proceeded to the top of the range to obtain a view of the country round, but was disappointed in its height; from the plain it appeared higher than it really is. This range I have named Ashburton Range, after Lord Ashburton, President of the Royal Geographical Society. The point upon which I am at present is about three miles east of our camp; the view from south to north-west is over a wooded plain; from north-west to north is a large open plain with scarcely a tree upon it. On leaving our last night’s camp, we passed over three miles of the plain, which is subject to inundation. There are numerous nasty holes in it, into which the horses were constantly stumbling. It is covered with splendid grass, and is as fine a country as I have ever crossed. These plains I have named Sturt Plains, after the venerable father of Australian exploration and my respected commander of the expedition in 1845. Ashburton range is composed of sandstone and ironstone, granite, and a little quartz; it is very rough and broken. Native tracks about here. Wind, south-east. This creek I have named Watson Creek, after Mr. Watson, formerly of Clare.
Sunday, 5th May, Watson Creek, Ashburton Range. Sent Thring to the north along the range to see if there is permanent water; at eight miles he returned, having found plenty. One large hole is about a mile from here; in another creek it is apparently permanent, having a rocky bed. A flight of pelicans over head to-day; they seem to have come from the north-west, which course I will try to-morrow. Wind, south-east. Latitude, 17 degrees 58 minutes 40 seconds.
Monday, 6th May, Watson Creek, Ashburton Range. Started at 8.20 a.m., course 300 degrees, to cross Sturt Plain. At eleven miles arrived at the hill which I saw from Ashburton range. It turned out to be the banks of what was once a fresh-water lake; the water-wash is quite distinct. It had small iron and limestone gravel, with sand and a great number of shells worn by the sun and atmosphere to the thinness of paper, plainly indicating that it is many years since the water had left them. Judging from the water-marks, the lake must have been about twelve feet deep in the plain. The eucalyptus is growing here. We then proceeded over another open part of it, for about two miles, when the dwarf eucalypti again commenced, and continued until we camped at twenty-one miles; the horses quite worn out. This has been the hardest and most fatiguing day’s work we have had since starting from Chambers Creek; for, from the time we left in the morning until we camped, we have had nothing but a succession of rotten ground, with large deep holes and cracks in it, caused at a former period by water, into which the poor horses have been constantly falling the whole day, running the risk of breaking their legs and our necks, the grass being so long and thick that they could not possibly see them before they were into them. I had a very severe fall into one of these holes; my horse came right over and rolled nearly on top of me. I was fortunate enough to escape with little injury. Some of the shells resemble the cockle shell, but are much longer, many of them being three or four inches long; the others are of the shape of periwinkles, but six times as large. Both sorts are scattered over the plain, which is completely matted with grass. The soil is a dark rich alluvial, and judging from the cracks and holes, some of which are of considerable depth, they are splendid plains, but not a drop of surface water could we see upon them, nor a single bird to indicate that there is any. It was my intention at starting to have gone on thirty miles, but I find it quite impossible for the horses to do more; it would be madness to take them another day over such a country, when from the highest tree we can see no change. If I were to go another day and be without water, I should never be able to get one of the horses back, and in all probability should lose the lives of the whole party. If I could see the least chance of finding water, or a termination of the plain, I would proceed and risk everything. I see there is no hope of my reaching the river by this course. I believe this gum plain to be a continuation of the one I met with beyond the Centre, and that it may continue to the banks of the Victoria. The features of the country are nearly the same. The absence of all birds has a bad appearance. Day very hot. Wind, south-east. Latitude, 17 degrees 49 minutes.
Tuesday, 7th May, Sturt Plains. Before sunrise this morning I sent Wall up a tree to see if any hills or rising grounds would be visible by refraction. To the west, with a powerful telescope he can just see the top of rising ground. As the grass is now quite dry, the horses feel the want of water very much; many of them are looking wretched, and I hardly think will be able to reach it. However reluctant, I must go back for the safety of the party. At 3 p.m. arrived at the creek which Thring found about one mile to the north of my former camp, with the loss of only one horse; we had to leave him a short distance behind, he would not move a step further, although during a great part of the journey he had been carrying little or nothing. This water will last two months at least; feed good. It is inside the first ironstone rise in Ashburton range, in a gum creek which empties itself into the plains. This creek I have named Hawker Creek, after James Hawker, Esquire, of her Majesty’s Customs at Port Adelaide. The day has been very hot. Wind, south-east. Latitude, 17 degrees 58 minutes.
Wednesday, 8th May, Hawker Creek, Ashburton Range. I have sent Masters back to bring up the horse we left behind. Sturt Plains have been at one time the bed of a large fresh-water lake; our journey of the 6th instant was over the middle of it, and we were not at the end of it when I was forced to return; the same rotten ground and shells continued, although we had got amongst the eucalypti. I shall give the horses a rest to-day, and to-morrow will take the best of them (those that I had out on my former journey), and endeavour to cross the plain to the rising ground seen yesterday morning; I shall take Thring and Woodforde, with seven horses and one week’s provisions. I may be fortunate enough to find some water, but from the appearance of the country I have little hope. I shall, however, leave nothing untried to accomplish the object of the expedition. In the morning the horse we left behind could not be found; sent Masters and Sullivan in search of him; in the afternoon they returned with him looking miserable. He had wandered away beyond the other camp.
Thursday, 9th May, Hawker Creek, Ashburton Range. Started at 7 a.m., with Thring and Woodforde, and seven horses, following our tracks through the rotten ground to the first eucalypti, for about twelve miles, as it made it lighter for the horses, the tracks being beaten to that place. Changed our course to 282 degrees, still journeying over Sturt Plains; at twenty-seven miles arrived at the end of the portion of them that had been subject to inundation, but there are still too many holes to be pleasant. I certainly never did see a more splendid country for grass; in many places for miles it is above the horses’ knees. We entered upon red sandy soil, with spinifex and grass, from which we changed our bearing. The country became thickly studded with eucalypti, in one or two places rather open, but generally thick. After the twenty-seven miles we again met with the new small-leafed tree, the broad-leafed mallee, the eucalypti, and many other scrubs. At sundown we camped; distance, thirty-three miles, but not a drop of water have we seen the whole day, or the least indication of its proximity. I hope to-morrow we may be more fortunate, and find some. Wind, south.
Friday, 10th May, Sturt Plains. This morning there are a few birds about. Started at 8.15 a.m., same course; at 10.30 arrived on first top of rising ground seen from the camp of 7th instant, which turns out to be red sand hills covered with thick scrub. Changed our course to north-west, and at 11.15 arrived at the highest point; the view is very discouraging–nothing to be seen all round but sand hills of the same description, their course north-north-east, and south to west. No high hills or range to be seen through the telescope. We can see a long distance, apparently all sand hills with scrub and stunted gums on them. The first ridge is about two hundred feet above Sturt Plains, but further to the west they are much lower, and become seemingly red sandy undulating table land; but further to the west they are much lower. There is no hope of reaching the Victoria on this course. I would have gone on further to-day had I seen the least chance of obtaining water to-night; but during the greater part of yesterday and to-day we have met with no birds that frequent country where water is. Both yesterday and to-day have been excessively hot, and the country very heavy. From this point I can see twenty-five miles without anything like a change. To go on now with such a prospect, and such heavy country before me, would only be sacrificing our horses and our own lives without a hope of success–the horses having already come forty-five miles without a drop of water, and over as heavy a country as was ever travelled on. I have therefore, with reluctance, made up my mind to return to the camp and try it again further north, where I may have a chance of rounding the sand hills; the dip of them from here seems to be south-south-west. Turned back, and at eighteen miles camped on Sturt Plains, where there is green grass for the horses. Wind, south.
Saturday, 11th May, Sturt Plains. At dawn of day started for the camp; arrived at 2 p.m. It was fortunate I did not go on further, for some of the horses were scarcely able to reach it; a few more hours and I should have lost half of them. The day has been so hot that it has nearly knocked them all up. Found the rest of the party all right at the camp. We had a job to keep the horses from injuring themselves by drinking too much water. I gave them a little three separate times, tied them up for twenty minutes, and then gave them a good drink, and drove them off to feed. They took a few mouthfuls of grass, and were back again almost immediately, and continued to do so nearly all the afternoon. They drank an immense quantity. Wind, south.
Sunday, 12th May, Hawker Creek, Ashburton Range. My old horses that were out with me before look very well this morning, but the others, whose first trip of privation this has been, are looking very bad indeed. They could not have gone another night without water; it has pulled them down terribly. Yesterday, while Masters was looking for the horses, he saw what appeared to him to be a piece of wood stuck upon a tree, about two feet and a half long, sharp at both ends, broad at the bottom, and shaped like a canoe. Having pulled it down, he found it to be hollow. On the top of it were placed a number of pieces of bark, and the whole bound firmly round with grass cord. He undid it, and found the skull and bones of a child within. Mr. Kekwick brought it to me this morning for my inspection. It certainly is the finest piece of workmanship I have ever seen executed by natives. It is about twelve inches deep and ten wide, tapering off at the ends. Small lines are cut along both sides of it. It has been cut out of a solid piece of wood, with some sharp instrument. It is exactly the model of a canoe. I told him to do it up again, and replace it as it was found. If it is here when I return, I will endeavour to take it to Adelaide with me. Wind, variable. A few clouds about.
Monday, 13th May, Hawker Creek, Ashburton Range. Started at 8 a.m., course 360 degrees. At five miles crossed the large gum-tree creek, with water, that Thring found; proceeded along the side of Sturt Plains. At ten miles ascended the north point of Ashburton range; descended, and the country became red sand with spinifex, gum-tree, the new tree, and other shrubs very thick; at fifteen miles, gained the top of another stony rise; followed three creeks down in search of water; found a little, but not sufficient for us; followed it still further down, leading us to the south for about six miles, but could find no more. I thought it best to return for water to the large creek, which I have named Ferguson Creek, after Peter Ferguson, Esquire, of Gawler Town. From the top of the range the view is limited. To the north and north-east are stony rises, at about nine miles distant; from north to west are Sturt Plains, in some places wooded; to the north they are open for a very long distance; the country in the hills is bad, but in the plains is beautiful. I am afraid, from the view I have of the country to the north, that I shall again meet with the same description of sand hills that I came upon on my last western course. Wind east-south-east, blowing strong. Latitude, 17 degrees 53 minutes 20 seconds.
Tuesday, 14th May, Ferguson Creek. Started at 8.30 a.m., on a north course, to the place I turned back from yesterday; arrived at noon; changed course to 345 degrees. Started again at 12.20. At 1 p.m. crossed a gum creek that has the appearance of water. At 1.40 changed course to 260 degrees, and came upon two large water holes, apparently very deep, situated in the rocks–they are seemingly permanent. Camped. I named this creek Lawson Creek, after Dr. Lawson, J.P., of Port Lincoln. A number of natives have been camped about them. We found another canoe, of the same description as the one in which the bones of the child were found–it is broken and burned, and seems to have been used as a vessel for holding water. Wind south-east, blowing strong. Mornings and evenings very cold. Latitude, 17 degrees 43 minutes 30 seconds.
Wednesday, 15th May, Lawson Creek. Started at 8.10 a.m.; went a mile west to clear the stones; changed course to 340 degrees. At 2.45 p.m. changed again to 45 degrees. Camped at 4.15. The first twelve miles is poor country, being on the top of stony rises, with eucalypti, grass, and scrubs. After descending from the rises, we crossed a wooded plain, subject to inundation; no water. The trees are very thick indeed–they are the eucalyptus, the Eucalyptus Dumosa, the small-leaved tree, another small-leaved tree much resembling the hawthorn, spreading out into many branches from the root; it rises to upwards of twenty feet in height. We have also seen three other new shrubs, but there were no seeds on them. After crossing the plain we got upon red sandy rises, very thick with scrub and trees of the same description. We continued on this course until 2.45 p.m.; then, as there is an open plain in sight, with rising ground upon it to north-east, and as this scrubby ridge seems to continue, without the least appearance of water, I have changed to north-east. Crossed the plain, which is alluvial soil, covered with grass, but very dry. At 4.15 camped on north-east side, without water. I would have gone on to the rise, but I feel so ill that I am unable to sit any longer in the saddle. I have been suffering for the last three days from a severe pain in the chest. Wind, east. Latitude, 17 degrees 16 minutes 20 seconds.
Thursday, 16th May, Sturt Plains. Sent Thring to see if there is a creek or a sign of water under the rise. At 8.20 a.m. he returned, having found no water. It is a low sandy rise, covered with a dense scrub. Started at 8.20 a.m.; course, east. At three miles I was forced to return; the scrub is so dense that it is impossible to get through. Came back two miles; changed to 20 degrees west of south to get out of it. At two miles gained the plain, then changed to the east of south at 10.45. At 2 p.m. there is no hope of a creek or water. Changed to south-west. At two miles and a half struck our tracks and proceeded to Lawson Creek. We found the open parts of the plain black alluvial soil so rotten and cracked, that the horses were sinking over their knees; this continued for six miles. It is covered with long grass and polygonum; also a few eucalypti scattered over it. The scrub we were compelled to return from was the thickest I have ever had to contend with. The horses would not face it. They turned about in every direction, and we were in danger of losing them. In two or three yards they were quite out of sight. In the short distance we penetrated it has torn our hands, faces, clothes, and, what is of more consequence, our saddle-bags, all to pieces. It consists of scrub of every kind, which is as thick as a hedge. Had we gone further into it we should have lost everything off the horses. No signs of water. From south to west, north and north-east nothing visible but Sturt Plains, with a few sand rises having scrub on them, which terminate the spurs of the stony rises. They are a complete barrier between me and the Victoria. I should think that water could be easily obtained at a moderate depth in many places on the plains. If I had plenty of provisions I would try to make it by that way. The only course that I can now try is to the north-east or east, to round the dense scrub and plains. At sundown arrived at Lawson Creek. The horses, owing to the dryness of the grass, drank a great quantity of water; they are falling off very much. Wind, south-east.
Friday, 17th May, Sturt Plains. I must remain here to-day to mend saddle-bags, etc. I have sent Thring to north-east to see if the stony rises continue in that direction. He has returned and gives a very poor account of the country. He crossed them in about six miles, and again came upon the plain that we were on yesterday, extending from north-east to south. Nothing but plains. To the north is the dense scrub, thus forming a complete stop to further progress. From here I fear it is a hopeless case either to reach Victoria or the Gulf. The plains and forest are as great a barrier as if there had been an inland sea or a wall built round. I shall rest the horses till Monday, and will then try a course to the north-west, and another to north-east. I have not the least hope of succeeding without wells, and I have not sufficient provisions to enable me to remain and dig them. It is a great disappointment to be so near, and yet through want of water to be unable to attain the desired end. Wind, south-east.
Saturday, 18th May, Lawson Creek. Resting horses, etc. Wind, south-east.
Sunday, 19th May, Lawson Creek. Wind, south-east.
Monday, 20th May, Lawson Creek. Started at 7.25 a.m., course 45 degrees, with Thring, Woodforde, and seven horses. The first four miles was over the stony rises; the next three, sandy table-land, with spinifex, eucalyptus, and scrub. Crossed part of Sturt Plains, open and covered with grass. Five miles of it were very heavy travelling-ground, very rotten, and full of holes and cracks. At about thirty miles camped on the plains. We have seen no birds, nor any living thing, except kites and numerous grasshoppers, which are in myriads on the plains. From this place to the east, and as far as south-south-west, there is no rising ground within range of vision–nothing but an immense open grassy plain. The absence of birds proclaims it to be destitute of water. We have not seen a drop, not a creek, nor a watercourse during the whole day’s journey. To-morrow I shall again try to get through the scrub. On leaving the camp this morning, I instructed Kekwick to move the party about three miles down the creek to another water hole, the feed not being good. Wind, east.
Tuesday, 21st May, Sturt Plains, East. Started at 7.10 a.m. Passed through a very thick scrub seven miles in extent. We again entered on another portion of the open plains at ten miles from our last night’s camp. Nothing to be seen on the horizon all round but plains. Changed to 300 degrees, to where I saw some pigeons fly. At two miles came across their feeding-ground; skirted the scrub until we cut our tracks. No appearance of water. This is again a continuation of the open portion of Sturt Plains; they appear to be of immense extent, with occasional strips of dense forest and scrub. We had seven miles of it this morning as thick as ever I went through; it has scratched and torn us all to pieces. At my furthest on the open plain. I saw that it was hopeless to proceed, for from the west to north, and round to south-south-west, there is nothing to be seen but immense open plains covered with grass, subject to inundation, having an occasional low bush upon them. I think with the aid of the telescope I must have seen at least sixty miles; there is not the least appearance of rising ground, watercourse, or smoke of natives in any direction. The sun is extremely hot on the plain. Having no hope of finding water this morning, I left Woodforde with the pack and spare horses where we camped last night, as the heat and rough journey of yesterday have tired them a great deal; so much so, that I fear some of them will not be able to get back to water. Returned to where I had left him, and followed our tracks back to the open plain. After sundown camped among some scrub. Wind, south-east.
Wednesday, 22nd May, Sturt Plains. After sunset we saw a number of turkeys flying towards the stony rises where our main camp is; they appear to come from the north-west. Upwards of fifty passed over in twos and threes; and this morning we observed them going back again. Two of the horses which had been short hobbled walked off during the night, following our tracks. Saddled and followed, overtaking them in three miles and a half, standing under the shade of a tree. Unhobbled and drove them on before us. At 12 o’clock arrived at Lawson Creek. Had great difficulty in preventing the horses from drinking too much, and, as there are other holes down the creek, I gave them a little at a time at each. Found that Kekwick had moved with the party. Followed them, and at three miles and a half west-south-west arrived at their camp, and allowed the horses to drink as much as they chose. Poor brutes! they have had very hard work, eighty miles over the heaviest country, under a burning sun, without a drop of water. Three of them were those I had on my former journeys; I could depend upon them; the rest were the best I could pick from the other lot. They have all stood the journey very well, but could not have done another day without water. Natives seem to have been about this water lately, but we have not seen one since leaving our spitting friend on the Hugh. Wind, east.
Thursday, 23rd May, Lawson Creek. Started 7.45 a.m., course 315 degrees, with Thring, Woodforde, and seven fresh horses. At fourteen miles came across a splendid reach of water, about one hundred and fifty yards wide, but how long I do not know, as we could not see the end of it. It is a splendid sheet of water, and is certainly the gem of Sturt Plains. I have decided at once on returning, and bringing the party up to it, as it must be carefully examined, for it may be the source of the Camfield, or some river that may lead me through. On approaching it I saw a large flock of pelicans, which leads me to think that there may be a lake in its vicinity. There are mussels and periwinkles in it, and, judging from the shells on the banks, the natives must consume a large quantity. The gum-trees round it are not very large. The first ten miles of that part of the plain travelled over to-day is full of large deep holes and cracks, black alluvial soil covered with grass, with young gum-trees thicker as we approached the water. This I have named Newcastle Water, after his Grace the Duke of Newcastle, Secretary for the Colonies. Duck, native companion, white crane, and sacred ibis abound here. Returned to bring the party up to-morrow. Wind, south-east.
Friday, 24th May, Lawson Creek. Started at 8 a.m. for Newcastle Water; arrived at noon. Camped. Sent Kekwick to north-east and Thring to west to see the length of it; I have had the depth tried. It is about six feet deep ten yards from the bank, and in the middle seventeen feet. I should say it was permanent. Thring found it still the same at three miles west. Kekwick returned after following it for four miles. At two miles there is a break in it. At four miles it is more of a creek coming from north-east. Gum-trees much larger. Woodforde succeeded in catching four fish about ten inches long, something resembling the whiting. I had one cooked for tea; the skin was as tough as a piece of leather, but the inside was really good, as fine a fish as I have ever eaten. To-morrow I shall follow the water to the west; its bed is limestone. Wind, south-east, with a few clouds. Latitude, 17 degrees 36 minutes 40 seconds.
Saturday, 25th May, Newcastle Water, Sturt Plains. Started at 7.50 a.m. and followed the water nine miles round. It still continued, but became a chain of ponds. As I could see some rising ground north-north-east about four miles distant, I camped the party and took Thring with me to see what the country was before us. At four miles we found that the first part of the rise was stony, but on the top it was sandy table-land, covered with thick scrub. The view is obstructed to the east-north-east to north by it; but to the north-west and west there is an appearance of rising ground, thickly wooded, about twenty miles off. Wind, west. Latitude, 17 degrees 30 minutes 30 seconds.
Sunday, 26th May, Newcastle Water, Sturt Plains. This morning we were visited by seven natives, tall, powerfully-made fellows. At first they seemed inclined for mischief, making all manner of gestures and shaking their boomerangs, waddies, etc. We made friendly signs to them, inviting them to come nearer; they gradually approached, and Kekwick and Lawrence got quite close to them; in a short time they appeared to be quite friendly. I felt alarmed for the safety of J. Woodforde (who had gone down the water in search of ducks, and in the direction from which they had come), and endeavoured to make them friends by giving them pieces of handkerchiefs, etc. During the time we were talking with them I heard the distant report of his gun; at the same time Thring and Masters returned from collecting the horses that were missing. I told them to remain until the natives were gone, as I wished to keep them as long as possible to give Woodforde a chance of coming up before they left us; shortly afterwards they went off apparently quite friendly. Sent Thring and Wall to round up the horses which were close at hand, and while they were doing so the natives again returned, running quite close up to the camp and setting fire to the grass. It was now evident they meant mischief. I think they must have seen or heard Woodforde, and have lit the grass in order to engage our attention from him. I felt very much inclined to fire upon them, but desisted, as I feared they would revenge themselves on him in their retreat. They did very little injury by their fire, which we succeeded in putting out. By signs I ordered them to be off, and after much bother they left us, setting fire to the grass as they went along. I now ordered Thring and Wall to go with all speed to protect Woodforde. In about twenty minutes he came into the camp. After leaving us they had attacked him, throwing several boomerangs and waddies at him; he had only one barrel of his gun loaded with shot; they all spread out and surrounded him, gradually approaching from all sides. One fellow got within five yards of him, and was in the act of aiming his boomerang at him. Seeing it was useless to withhold any longer, while the black was in the act of throwing he gave him the contents of his gun in his face, and made for the camp. In a short time Thring and Wall returned at full speed; they had passed where he was, and hearing the report of his gun, made for the place, overtook the blacks, gave chase and made them drop the powder-flask and ducks (which Woodforde had laid down before firing when they attacked him); knowing them to be his, they gave up the chase to look for him, but seeing nothing of him, and two of the natives supporting one apparently wounded, they returned to the camp, where they saw him all safe, relating his adventure, his shot-belt still missing. I sent Thring and him to look for it, and to bring up the missing horses which they had seen. Wind variable. Cloudy.
Monday, 27th May, Newcastle Water, Sturt Plains. Started at 8.10 a.m., course 335 degrees. At 10.20 changed to north; at 1.20 p.m. changed to 90 degrees; and at one mile found water; gave the horses some, and proceeded north-north-east; at 3.40 changed to 90 degrees to some gums: at one mile and a half camped. The gums turn out to be thick wood. I went north-north-west this morning, with the expectation of meeting with water, or rather a chain of ponds; at four miles, I could see nothing of them; and, as we were getting into a very thick scrub of lancewood, I changed to north; and at ten miles on that course, still seeing nothing of them, I changed to east; at one mile came upon them, found water, and followed them; their course now, 20 degrees; at one mile found another pond; in a short time, lost the bed of them in a thick wooded plain. Found a native path running nearly in my course; followed it, thinking it would lead me to some other water, but in a few miles it became invisible. I continued on the same course for nine miles, and found myself on Sturt Plains, with belts of thick wood and scrub; to the north, nothing visible but open plains; to north-east, apparently thick wood or scrub; to north-west and west, apparently scrubby sand hills. The ponds seem to drain this portion of the plains. Changed to east, to what seemed to be large gum-trees, thinking there might be a creek; arriving there, I found them to be stunted gums on the edge of the plain. There is no hope of succeeding in this quarter. Camped without water. Wind, east. Latitude, 17 degrees 12 minutes 30 seconds.
Tuesday, 28th May, Sturt Plains, North. Fourteen of the horses missing this morning before sunrise. From the highest tree nothing is to be seen from east to north and north-west but immense open grassy plains, without a tree on them; no hope of water. I must go back to the ponds and try again to the westward. Did not find the horses until 9.30 a.m., and started at 10. I observed very large flocks of pigeons coming in clouds from the plains in every direction towards the ponds. Some time afterwards we saw them coming back and flying away into the plains as far as the eye can reach, apparently to feed. Arrived at the water at 1.30 p.m. Wind, east-north-east.
Wednesday, 29th May, Chain of Ponds. Started at 7.20 a.m. with Thring, Woodforde, and Wall, and nine horses, to follow a native track, which is leading to the westward. At 9.20 made the track; its course, west-north-west. At twenty-eight miles camped without water. The track led us into very thick wood and scrub, and at five miles became invisible. I still continued on the same bearing through the scrub. We have again met with the mulga–a little different from what we have seen before, growing very straight, from thirty to forty feet high, the bark stringy, the leaf much larger and thicker. Amongst it is the hedge-tree. We had seven miles of it very dense, when we again met with an open plain. At three miles entered another dense wood and scrub, like that passed through in the morning. To-day’s journey has been over plains of grass, through forest and scrub, without water. In the last five miles we passed through a little spinifex, and the soil is becoming sandy. Wind, south.
Thursday, 30th May, Sturt Plains. As I can see no hope of water, I will leave Woodforde and Wall with the horses, take Thring with me, and proceed ten miles, to see if there will be a change in that distance. Went into a terrible thick wood and scrub for eleven miles and a half, without the least sign of a change–the scrub, in fact, becoming more dense; it is scarcely penetrable. I sent Thring up one of the tallest trees. Nothing to be seen but a fearfully dense wood and scrub all round. Again I am forced to retreat through want of water. The last five miles of the eleven the soil is becoming very sandy, with spinifex and a little grass. It is impossible to say in which way the country dips, for, in forty-five miles travelled over, we have not seen the least sign of a watershed, it is so level. Returned to where I left the others, followed our tracks back, and at eleven miles camped. Horses nearly done up with heavy travelling and the heat of the sun, which is excessive. It is very vexing and dispiriting to be forced back with only a little more than one hundred miles between Mr. Gregory’s last camp on the Camfield and me. If I could have found water near the end of this journey, I think I could have forced the rest. It is very galling to be turned back after trying so many times. Wind, east.
Friday, 31st May, Sturt Plains. Not having sufficient tethers for all the horses, we had to short hobble two, and tie their heads to their hobbles; and, in the morning, they were gone. I suppose they must have broken their hobbles or fastenings; they will most likely make on to our outward tracks. I have sent Thring and Woodforde to follow them up, while Wall and I, with the other horses, proceed on our way to the camp. In two hours they made the tracks before us, and I then pushed on as hard as I could get the horses to go; being very anxious about the safety of the party–for, on the first day that I left them, at about seven miles, we passed fourteen or fifteen natives going in the direction of their camp; I also observed, this morning, that they had been running our tracks both backwards and forwards. At three o’clock we arrived, and found all safe; they have not been visited by them, although I observed the prints of their feet in our tracks, a short distance from the camp. It was as much as some of our horses could do to reach the camp. The day has been excessively hot; wind from north-north-east, with clouds. Latitude, 17 degrees 7 minutes.
Saturday, 1st June, Chain of Ponds. I must rest the horses to-day and to-morrow, for they look very miserable; our longitude is 133 degrees 40 minutes 45 seconds. Before leaving the Ponds I shall try once more to the westward–starting from a point three miles west of my first camp on them. To try from this, for the Gulf of Carpentaria, I believe to be hopeless, for the plain seems to be without end and without water. If I could see the least sign of a hill, or hope of finding water, I would try it; but there is none–if there is a passage it must be to the south of this. Wind variable, with clouds.
Sunday, 2nd June, Chain of Ponds. The day has again been very hot. Wind variable.
Monday, 3rd June, Chain of Ponds. Started back to the commencement of the Chain of Ponds, and camped. During the day the sky has been overcast with heavy clouds. Wind, south-east.
Tuesday, 4th June, Chain of Ponds. Last night one of the horses was drowned in going down to drink at the water hole. He went into a boggy place, got his hind foot fastened in his hobbles, from which he could not extricate himself, and was drowned before we could save him. This is another great loss, for he was a good pack-horse, and was one that I intended taking on my next trip to the westward. At about 8 p.m. it began to rain, and continued the whole night, coming from the east and east-south-east. It still continues without any sign of a break. The ground has become so soft that when walking we sink up to the ankle, and the horses can scarcely move in it. At sundown there is no appearance of a change. It has rained without intermission the whole of last night and to-day. I do not know what effect this will have on my further progress, for now it is impossible to travel. The horses in feeding are already sinking above their knees. Wind and rain from east and east-south-east.
Wednesday, 5th June, Chain of Ponds. There is a little sign of a break in the clouds this morning. The rain has continued the whole night. Ground very soft; it has become about the thickness of cream. The horses can scarcely get about to feed. Sundown: It has been showery all day; sky overcast; clouds and rain from same direction, south-east. In the afternoon some natives made their appearance at about six hundred yards’ distance. As the rain had damped the cartridges I caused the rifles to be fired off in that direction; and, as the bullets struck the trees close to them they thought it best to retreat as fast as possible, yelling as they went.
Thursday, 6th June, Chain of Ponds. During the night it has been stormy, with showers of rain, and is still the same this morning. Sundown: Still stormy, with a few drops of rain. Wind, east.
Friday, 7th June, Chain of Ponds. During the night the rain ceased, and this morning is quite bright. Ground so soft that it is impossible to travel. Latitude, 17 degrees 35 minutes 25 seconds. Sent Thring some miles to the west, to see in what state the country is, if fit for us to proceed, and if he can see any water that I could move the party to, for I do not like this place. If more rain falls it will lock us in all together–neither do I like leaving the party with so many natives about. At one o’clock he returned. The ground was so heavy that he had to turn at five miles. He could see no water, but a number of native tracks going to and coming from the west. I shall be obliged to leave the party here, and on Monday try another trip to the west. If I find water I shall return and take them to it. The day has been clear, but at sundown it is again cloudy. Clouds from north-west. Wind from east.
Saturday, 8th June, Chain of Ponds. This morning it has again cleared off, and there is every appearance of fine weather. If it hold this way I shall be able to travel on Monday. Sundown: A few clouds. Wind, south-east.
Sunday, 9th June, Chain of Ponds. The day has again been fine. Wind, still south-east.
Monday, 10th June, Chain of Ponds. Started at 7.55 a.m., course 275 degrees, with Thring, Woodforde, and Wall, nine horses, and fourteen days’ provisions. The first five miles were over a grassy plain, with stunted gum and other trees. It was very soft, the horses sinking up to their knees. We met with a little rain water at three miles, where the soil became sandy; continued to be more so as we advanced, with lancewood and other scrubs growing upon it. At fourteen miles gained the top of a sand rise, which seems to be the termination of the sand hills that I turned back from on my west course south of this. From here the country seems to be a dense forest and scrub; no rising ground visible. Camped at 5 p.m., distance thirty-two miles. The whole journey from the sand hills has been through a dense forest of scrubs of all kinds–hedge-tree, gum, mulga, lancewood, etc. We have had great difficulty in forcing the horses through it so far; they are very tired. It is the thickest scrub I have yet been in. Ground very soft; heavy travelling, with the exception of the last five miles, where little rain seems to have fallen. I am afraid this will be another hopeless journey. I fully expected to have got water to-night from the recent rains, but there is not a drop. The country is such that the surface cannot retain it, were it to fall in much larger quantities. I shall try a little further on to-morrow. I had a hole dug, to see if any rain had fallen, and found that it had penetrated two feet below the surface, below which it is quite dry. Wind, east.
Tuesday, 11th June, Dense Forest and Scrub. Leaving Woodforde, Wall, and the pack-horses, I took Thring with me, and proceeded on the same course to see if I could get through the horrid forest and scrub, or meet with a change of country, or find some water. At two miles we came upon some grass again, which continued, and at another mile the forest became much more open and splendidly grassed, which again revived my sinking hopes; but alas, it only lasted about two miles, when we again entered the forest thicker than ever. At eleven miles it became so dense that it was nearly impenetrable. The horses would not face it; when forced, they made a rush through, tearing everything we had on, and wounding us severely by running against the dead timber (which was as sharp as a lancet) and through the branches. I saw that it was hopeless to force through any further. Not a drop of water have we seen, although the ground is quite moist–the horses sinking above the fetlock. The soil is red and sandy; the mulga from thirty to forty feet high and very straight; the bark has a stringy appearance. There is a great quantity of it lying dead on the ground, which causes travelling to become very difficult. I therefore returned to where I left Woodforde and Wall, and came back ten miles on yesterday’s journey, and camped. This morning, about 5.30, we observed a comet bearing 110 degrees; length of tail, 10 degrees, and 10 degrees above the horizon. Wind, south-east.
Wednesday, 12th June, Western Dense Forest and Scrub. Proceeded to camp and found all well. This is the third long journey by which I have tried to make the Victoria in this latitude, but have been driven back every time by the same description of country and the want of water. There is not the least appearance of rising ground, or a change in the country–nothing but the same dismal, dreary forest throughout; it may in all probability continue to Mr. Gregory’s last camp on the Camfield. My farthest point has been within a hundred miles of it. I would have proceeded further, but my horses are unable to do it; they look as if they had done a month’s excessive work, from their feet being so dry, the forest so thick, and the want of water. Thus end my hopes of reaching the Victoria in this latitude, which is a very great disappointment. I should have dug wells if my party had been larger, and I had had the means of conveying water to those engaged in sinking the wells. I think I could accomplish it in that way; but by doing so, I should have to divide the party into three, (one sinking, one carrying water, and one at the camp), which would be too small a number where the natives appear to be so hostile. I have not the least doubt that water could be obtained at a moderate depth, near the end of my journeys, amongst the long thick timber, which seems to be the lowest part of the country. I had no idea of meeting with such an impediment as the plains and heavy scrub have proved to be. For a telegraphic communication I should think that three or four wells would overcome this difficulty and the want of water, and the forest could be penetrated by cutting a line through and burning it. In all probability there is water to be found nearer than this in the Camfield, Mr. Gregory’s last camp, somewhere about its sources, which might be thirty miles nearer. Wind, south-east. Country drying up very fast.
Thursday, 13th June, Chain of Ponds. To-day I shall move the camp to the easternmost part of Newcastle Water, and now that rain has come from the east, I shall try if I can cross Sturt Plains, and endeavour to reach the Gulf of Carpentaria. My provisions are now getting very short. We are reduced to four pounds of flour and one pound of dried meat per man per week, which is beginning to show the effects of starvation upon some of them; but I can leave nothing untried where there is the least shadow of a chance of gaining the desired object. Started at 9.40 a.m. At three miles and a half passed our first camp of Newcastle Water. At eight miles and a half camped at the last water to the eastward. The ground is firmer than I expected, travelling good. The large part of the water is reduced two inches since 24th ultimo. The late rains seem to have no effect on it. Wind, south-east.
Friday, 14th June, East End of Newcastle Water. Started with Thring, Woodforde, and Wall, with one month’s provisions and ten horses, at 7.45 a.m.; course, 60 degrees. At two miles crossed our former tracks, on the top of the sandy table land, and after leaving it we again got on the open plains, black alluvial soil, covered with grass, with deep holes and cracks into which the horses were continually falling on their noses, and running the risk of breaking our necks. These plains have swallowed up every drop of rain that has fallen. The extent of the plain is seven miles. We then entered a thick wooded country, of the same description as the western forest, being equally thick, if not thicker, and as difficult to penetrate. This continued for thirteen miles, when we met with another small plain about half a mile wide, but opening out wider to north-west and south. Not a drop of water have we seen since leaving Newcastle Water, a distance of about thirty miles, except a little rain water about three miles east of it. The plains are quite dry, scarcely showing that rain has fallen. Camped. The horses have had a hard day’s work and are very tired. I wish I could have found water for them to-night. Latitude, 17 degrees 26 minutes 20 seconds. Wind, south-east.
Saturday 15th June, North-east Small Plains, Sturt Plains. Started at 7.30 a.m.; course, 60 degrees, through another ten miles of very thick forest, the thickest we have yet seen. At eleven miles came again upon the large open grassy plain, at the point where I turned on the 21st ultimo. I expected to have found some rain water here, this being the only place in all the plain I have seen that is likely to retain it. Sent Thring and Woodforde in different directions, while I proceeded in another, to see if we could find any, but not a drop could we see. It has been all swallowed up by the ground, which is again dry and dusty. It must take an immense quantity to saturate it, and leave any on the surface; and if that were to be the case, the country would become so soft it would be quite impassable. I am again forced to turn; it is quite hopeless to attempt it any farther. It would be sacrificing our horses, and, perhaps, our own lives, without the least prospect of attaining our end. If I could see rising ground, however small, or a change in the country to justify my risking everything, I would do so in a moment. I only wish there was. I have tried my horses to their utmost. Even my old horses that are inured to hardship are unable to be longer than three days without water, owing to the heat of the sun, the dryness of the feed, and the softness of the country. We saw a few cockatoos and pigeons. There might be water within a short distance, but none can we see or find; for on my course 20 degrees west of north I passed within two miles of Newcastle Water, where the main camp is now, but could not see it. It would require a long time to examine this country for water. There are so many clumps of trees, and strips of scrub on the plain, where water might be, that it would take upwards of twelve months to examine them all. At sundown camped fifteen miles from the main camp. Horses look very bad. It has been very heavy travelling, over rotten ground, and tearing through thick wood and scrub, which has skinned our legs from the knees to the ankles and caused no little pain. Wind, variable.
Sunday, 16th June, Sturt Plains East. Proceeded to the camp, where I found all well. No natives had been near them. This is very disheartening work. I shall proceed to the south, and try once more to round that horrid thick western forest; it is now my only hope; if that fail I shall have to return. I am doubtful of the water in Ashburton range, if no rain has fallen there; those hills are the last of the rising ground within range of vision, which ends in about latitude 17 degrees 14 minutes. From south-south-east round the compass to south-south-west nothing but dense forest and Sturt Plains. Wind, south-east.
Monday, 17th June, Newcastle Water East. Returned to the Lawson and camped. Little rain seemed to have fallen there. I kept a little to west of my former tracks to see the nature of the large open plain. It is completely matted with grass, having large deep holes and cracks, and is as dry as if no rain had fallen for months. Wind, south-east.
Tuesday, 18th June, Lawson Creek. Proceeded to Hunter Creek. Tracks of natives upon ours to Hawker Creek. Light winds, variable.
Wednesday, 19th June, Hawker Creek. Although the water holes in this creek are full from recent rains, the water is very hard, evidently showing it must come from a spring in the hills. Proceeded to the Hunter along the foot of the hills, and at nine miles crossed the large gum creek, where I watered the horses on my north course; this I have named Powell Creek, after J.W. Powell, Esquire, of Clare. At twenty miles crossed another gum creek, which I have named Gleeson Creek, after E.B. Gleeson, Esquire, J.P., of Clare. Camped on the Hunter. Between this and Hawker Creek we crossed eleven gum creeks with water in them. The country passed over is not so good, being close to the hills: it is scrubby, and generally covered with spinifex. Wind, south-east.
Thursday, 20th June, Hunter Creek. Three horses missing; could not be found until too late to reach the other water to-night. Wind, calm.
Friday, 21st June, Hunter Creek. Proceeded to the water under Mount Primrose, over stony hills, the highest of which I have named Mount Shillinglaw, after —- Shillinglaw, Esquire, F.R.C.S., of Melbourne, who kindly presented me with Flinders’ Charts of North Australia. The gum creek on which we are now camped I have named Carruthers Creek, after John Carruthers, Esquire, of Adelaide. Calm.
Saturday, 22nd June, Carruthers Creek. Proceeded to Tomkinson Creek, where I left the two horses; I will there rest the horses a day, and have those shod which I intend to take with me. The last two days have been over very stony country, which has made some of the horses quite lame. I am now running short of shoes. We can see nothing of the two horses about our old camp. Light wind from north-east, with a few clouds. Very hot in the middle of the day; evenings and mornings cold.
Sunday, 23rd June, Tomkinson Creek. Sent Thring and Woodforde down the creek, and Masters up into the open plain, to see if they could find the horses on their tracks. In the afternoon they returned unsuccessful, except Masters, who had seen their tracks when the ground was boggy. Recent tracks of natives were also seen. If they have not been frightened away, they will not be far off. I have instructed Sullivan to follow their tracks, and try to find them during my absence. Wind, north-east, with a few clouds. The sun is very hot in the middle of the day.
Monday, 24th June, Tomkinson Creek. Started with Thring, Masters, and Lawrence, and ten horses, with fourteen days’ provisions, at 7.40 a.m.; course, 270 degrees east. We crossed the plain and the creek several times. At 12.20, fifteen miles, ascended a stony rise, and saw that the creek emptied itself into an open grassy plain, about two miles north of us. Proceeded on the same course over a gum plain covered with grass for five miles. The country then became sandy soil, slightly undulating, with ironstone, gravel, spinifex, gums, and occasionally a little scrub, which continued throughout the day. Camped without water. Very little feed for the horses, it being nearly all spinifex. Distance, twenty-eight miles. Wind, west; a few clouds.
Tuesday, 25th June, Spinifex and Gum Plain West. Started at 7.40 a.m. on the same course, 270 degrees. Camped at twenty-seven miles. The country travelled through to-day is bad–red sandy light soil, covered with spinifex, slightly undulating, and having iron gravel upon it. Scarcely a blade of grass to be seen. Some gum-trees, and a low scrub of different sorts. I seem to have got to the south of the dense forest, but into a poorer country. Not a drop of water or a watercourse have we seen since we left Tomkinson Creek. We have crossed two or three low rises of ironstone gravel. Not having the dense forest to tear through has induced me to go on all day in the hope of meeting with a change, but at the end of the day there seems as little likelihood as when we first came upon it, and it may continue to the river. I am again forced to return disappointed. There is no hope of making the river now; it must be done from Newcastle Water with wells. I wish that I had twelve months’ provisions and convenience for carrying water, I should then be enabled to do it. Wind, east.
Wednesday, 26th June, Spinifex and Gum Plain. Started at 7 a.m. back towards Tomkinson Creek. At dusk found some water on the small plain into which the creek empties itself. Camped. Distance travelled to-day, forty miles. One of the horses completely done up. I am fortunate in finding this water, for another night without it and I should have lost some of them. I am also glad we had a cool day–only two hours’ heat. The horses have travelled one hundred miles without water, and the country being sandy, made it very heavy walking for them. Wind, east.
Thursday, 27th June, Tomkinson Creek. Started for the camp, and arrived at noon. Sullivan had gone after the horses, and lost himself for three days and two nights. Not making his appearance the first night, Kekwick sent Woodforde in search of him from south-east to north. Not returning the second night, Kekwick and Woodforde went out in another direction to try if they could cut his tracks, but were again unsuccessful. At about 3 a.m. he came into the camp perfectly bewildered, and did not seem to recognise anyone. From what we can learn from him he must have gone to the south instead of the east, where the tracks of the two horses were seen. On the first night he came close to the camp–saw the other horses feeding, but could not find them. He can give no account of where he went the next day and night; on the third day he cut my outward tracks to the west, and the horse brought him to the camp. I observed his horse’s tracks upon ours this morning, about ten miles down the creek, and could not imagine how they came there. Woodforde found the two horses he went in search of within three miles of the camp–they had not left the creek. The cream-coloured one had improved very much; but Reformer still looks miserable–I think he must be ill. Wind, north, with a few clouds coming from the same direction.
Friday, 28th June, Tomkinson Creek. Shoeing horses and preparing for another start. I shall try once more to make the Gulf of Carpentaria from this. There may be a chance of my being able to round Sturt Plains to the east or north-east. Wind, varying from south-east to north.
Saturday, 29th June, Tomkinson Creek. Shoeing horses, etc. Wind, south-east. Clouds all gone.
Sunday, 30th June, Tomkinson Creek. Wind, north-east.
Monday, 1st July, Tomkinson Creek. Started at 8.10 a.m., course 54 degrees, with Thring, Woodforde, and Masters. At 11.20 (eleven miles), top of a high hill, which I named Mount Hawker, after the Honourable George C. Hawker, Speaker of the House of Assembly, S.A. At 12.45, four miles, struck a large creek; its course a little east of north, which I have named McKinlay Creek, after John McKinlay, Esquire. The first part of the journey was over stony undulations, gradually rising until we reached the top of Mount Hawker, the view from which was not very extensive on our course, being intercepted by stony spurs of the range nearly the same height, about eight hundred feet, and very rocky and precipitous. They are composed of sandstone, quartz, iron, limestone, and hard white flinty rocks. The sandstone predominates. We descended with great difficulty, crossed McKinlay Creek, and at five miles ascended another high hill, which I have named Mount Hall, after the Honourable George Hall, M.L.C. From this our view is most extensive, over a complete sea of white grassy plains. At about fifteen or twenty miles south-east are the terminations of other spurs of this range; beyond them nothing is visible on the horizon but white grassy plains. To the east and north-east the same. To the north apparently a strip of dense scrub and forest, which seems to end about north-east, beyond which, in the far distance, we can see the large grassy plain I turned back from on the 21st of May and 15th of June. No rising ground visible except the hills of Ashburton range to north-west and south-east. Descended towards the plains over stony rises, with gum-tree, lancewood, and other scrub and spinifex. At five miles reached the plain. It is of the same description as the other parts I have been over. No appearance of water. It is hopeless to proceed further; it will only be rendering my return more difficult, by reducing the strength of my horses, without the slightest hope of success. All hope of gaining the Gulf without wells is now gone. I have therefore turned back to a small plain (four miles), searched round it, and in one of the small creeks found a little rain water, at which I have camped. Wind, south.
Tuesday, 2nd July, Loveday Creek. This creek I have named Loveday Creek, after R.J. Loveday, Esquire, Lithographer to the South Australian Government. Returned towards the camp. On reaching McKinlay Creek I was informed by Woodforde that Masters had remained behind, about six miles back, and had not yet come up. This is against my strict orders which are that no one shall leave the party without informing me, that I may halt and wait for them. I have sent Thring back to one of the hills to fire off a gun, and see if he is to be seen, as I have left my outward tracks to avoid crossing Mount Hall–and the tracks are very difficult to be seen over such stony country. I am afraid that he is lost. In an hour and a half, Thring returned; he can see nothing of him. He cut our former tracks, but can see nothing of his on them. My conjectures, I fear, are too true. If he has missed the tracks, it is a thousand chances to one if he is ever found again. To track a single horse is impossible. I proceeded towards Mount Hawker, and camped on my outward tracks, at a remarkable gorge that we had come through. Sent Thring back to the top of Mount Hall to raise a smoke, to remain there some time, and see if he comes up; if not, he is to proceed to our last night’s camp, there to remain all night, in case he should go there–while I and Woodforde raised another smoke on top of Mount Hawker. A little after 2 p.m. Thring returned with him. He found him on a hill near Mount Hall, looking for the tracks. He was quite bewildered, and in a great state of excitement. I am most thankful that he is found. The account that he gives is, that his horse slipped the reins out of his hand, and that he was unable to catch him for some time, and when he did so, he was unable to find our tracks, or to track his own horse back, and he became quite confused. He seems to be most thankful for his narrow escape. As it is too late to reach the camp, I shall remain here to-night. Wind, west.
Wednesday, 3rd July, Under Mount Hawker. Proceeded to the camp on the Tomkinson. Found all right, with the exception of one of the horses (Reformer), which cannot be found. He is one of the two that I left here formerly, and was looking so ill when I found him. He was last seen on Monday night, when he looked miserable. I have sent three men in search of him. Wind, variable.
Thursday, 4th July, The Tomkinson. Started at 8.20 a.m., course 300 degrees, with Woodforde, Thring, and Masters, ten horses, and a month’s provisions, to try once more to make the Victoria. Between my first and last attempts, I may succeed. I am very unwilling to return without trying all that is in my power. At three miles we left the plains, and proceeded over stony rises for two miles. The country then became sandy, with gum, spinifex, and lancewood scrub, not difficult to get through. There is no grass. At twenty-five miles came to a little, and, as I am not sure of coming upon any more soon, I camped. We have seen no water since leaving the creek. Latitude, 18 degrees 25 minutes 40 seconds. Wind, south-east.
Friday, 5th July, Spinifex and Gum Plains. Started at 7.50 a.m., course 360 degrees, to find water. At 9.10 (five miles), struck a creek with water; followed it down, course 285 degrees, and at eight miles camped on the last water. The banks in places have good feed upon them, but there is a great deal of spinifex and scrub. The creek is getting narrower, and, as the horses had but little to eat last night, I shall give them the remainder of the day here, for there is no telling when they will get another good feed. Day exceedingly hot, horses covered with sweat. This I have named Burke Creek, after my brother explorer, Richard O’Hara Burke, Esquire, of Melbourne. On camping I saw a remarkable bird fly up; I sent Woodforde to try and shoot him, which he did. It was of a dark-brown colour, and spotted like the landrail; the tail feathers were nine in number, and twelve inches long. I have had it skinned, and will endeavour to take it to Adelaide. Thring, Woodforde, and Masters cooked the body, and ate it. They had scarcely finished, when, in a moment, they were seized with violent vomiting, but in a few minutes they were all right again. Wind, calm. Latitude, 18 degrees 19 minutes 30 seconds.
Saturday, 6th July, Burke Creek. Started at 7.45 a.m., same course, to follow the creek (285 degrees). At three miles it was lost in a grassy gum plain; changed to 300 degrees. On this course the plain continued for three miles; it then became sandy soil, with spinifex, gums, and scrub. Crossed a low sand hill at fourteen miles; descended into another low grassy plain subject to inundation, which, I suppose, receives Hunter Creek. It continued for two miles, at the end of which we again ascended a sandy rise, on the top of which the country became a sandy table land, and continued so the rest of the day’s journey. Camped without water, and with very little grass. The table land was spinifex, gums, and scrub, in some places very difficult to get through. Distance, thirty miles. Wind, south-east. Latitude, 18 degrees 7 minutes 5 seconds. At 7 p.m. I observed the comet, 5 degrees above the horizon, bearing 15 degrees west of north, the nucleus more hazy, and the tail much longer. Calm.
Sunday, 7th July, West Sandy Table Land. Started at 8 a.m. on the same course. At 3 p.m. we got into dense scrub, and, as I could see some distance on before, being on one of the slight undulations, I felt there was not the slightest hope of obtaining water; there was no change, no rising ground visible. It would be hopeless to continue such sandy country, as it can never hold water on the surface. We dug five feet, in one of the small plains, but came to the clay without finding water, or even moisture. There is not a mouthful of grass for the horses to eat; the whole of the journey, with the exception of the small grassy plains, is spinifex, gums, and scrub. I shall have to retreat to the last plain we passed through to get feed for the horses, which are looking very bad. The travelling has been heavy tearing through thick scrub, which in some places has been burned: this makes it very rough for them. I must now give up all hope of reaching the Victoria, and am unwillingly forced to return, my horses being nearly worn out. Wind, variable. Distance, twenty-five miles.
Monday, 8th July, Small Grass Plain in Scrub. Started at break of day and continued until 4.30 p.m. Meeting with a little grass, camped; some of the horses unable to go further. Wind, south.
Tuesday, 9th July, Sandy Table Land. Started at sunrise and arrived at Burke Creek. At 11 a.m. turned the horses out to feed for two hours, and proceeded up the creek to where I first struck it. Camped. At a little more than a mile down the creek from here, there is a course of concrete ironstone running across it, which forms a large pond of water nearly a mile in length, apparently deep and permanent. Wind, west.
Wednesday, 10th July, Burke Creek. Shortly after sunrise proceeded toward the main camp, and arrived there at 3 p.m. Found all well. The natives have been about. They attacked Wall while in search of the missing horse; he and his horse narrowly escaped being hit by their boomerangs. The missing horse cannot be found. I suppose that he has crept into some bushes and died; for, the night before he was missed, he left the other horses and came to the camp fire; he appeared to be very stupid, and for some time they could not get him away; when they did so, he went off reeling. Wind, south-west.
Thursday, 11th July, Tomkinson Creek. Shoeing horses, and repairing saddles and bags to carry our provisions back. We have now run out of everything for that purpose, and are obliged to make all sorts of shifts. The two tarpaulins that I brought from Mr. Chambers’s station for mending the bags, are all used up some time ago, and nearly all the spare bags; the sewing-twine has been used long since, and we are obliged to make some from old bags. We are all nearly naked, the scrub has been so severe on our clothes; one can scarcely tell the original colour of a single garment, everything is so patched. Our boots are also gone. It is with great reluctance that I am forced to return without a further trial. I should like to go back, and try from Newcastle Water, but my provisions will not allow me. I started with thirty weeks’ supply at seven pounds of flour per week, and have now been out twenty-six, and it will take me ten weeks before I can reach the first station. The men are also failing, and showing the effects of short rations. I only wish I had sufficient to carry me over until the rain will fall in next March. I think I should be able to make both the Victoria and the Gulf. I had no idea when starting that the hills would terminate so soon in such extensive level country, without water, or I should have tried to make the river, and see what the country was, when I first saw the rising grounds from Mount Primrose, which are the sand and iron undulations passed over on my southernmost western journey. Before I went to Newcastle Water they completely deceived me; for from the top of the mount they had the appearance of a high range, which I was glad to see, thinking that if the range I was then following up should cease, or if I could not find a way into the river further north, I would be sure to get in by that distant range, which caused me to leave the Newcastle Water country sooner than I should otherwise have done; and now I have not provisions to take me back again. From what I have seen of the country to the west and south of Newcastle Water, I am of opinion that it would be no use trying again to make the river, for I believe no water can be obtained by sinking. To the west and north-west of Newcastle Water the country is apparently lower, and I think that water could be obtained at a moderate depth. It is the shortest distance between the waters; but the greatest difficulty would be in getting through the dense forest and scrub, but that, I should think, could be overcome. It certainly is a great disappointment to me not to be able to get through, but I believe I have left nothing untried that has been in my power. I have tried to make the Gulf and river, both before rain fell, and immediately after it had fallen; but the results were the same, UNSUCCESSFUL. Even after the rain I could not get a step further than before it. I shall commence my homeward journey to-morrow morning. Wind, south. The horses have had a severe trial from the long journeys they have made, and the great hardships and privations they have undergone. On my last journey they were one hundred and six hours without water.
On Friday, July 12th, Mr. Stuart quitted Tomkinson Creek to return to Adelaide, and on the following Friday reached Ann Creek on the north side of the Murchison range. On the 30th, the party proceeded across the Centre, and camped south-west of it, on the Hanson. The nights now became very cold, and there was usually white frost on the grass, and ice in the buckets every morning. On August 6th they camped under Brinkley Bluff, and remained there until the 8th. The Hamilton was reached on the 23rd, and here the natives again showed some hostility, contenting themselves, however, with yelling and howling, and endeavouring to set fire to the grass, in which they were happily unsuccessful. On Saturday, August 31st, they arrived at Mr. Levi’s station, where all of them “were overjoyed at once more seeing the face of a white man.” They were received with great kindness and attention. After remaining there three days they proceeded by way of Louden Spa, William Springs, Paisley Ponds, and Hamilton Springs to Chambers Creek, where they arrived on September 7th and remained until the 10th.
The last entry in Mr. Stuart’s journal is as follows:
Sunday, 15th September, Moolooloo. I shall leave to-morrow for Port Augusta, and proceed by steamer for Adelaide, leaving the party to be brought into town by Mr. Kekwick.
I cannot close my Journal without expressing my warmest thanks to my second in command, and my other companions; they have been brave, and have vied with each other in performing their duties in such a manner as to make me at all times feel confident that my orders were carried out to the best of their ability, and to my entire satisfaction; and I also beg to tender my best thanks to the promoters (Messrs. Chambers and Finke) and the Government, for the handsome manner I was fitted out.
JOHN McDOUALL STUART,
Leader of the Expedition.