JOURNAL OF MR. STUART’S SECOND EXPEDITION (IN THE VICINITY OF LAKE TORRENS). APRIL TO JULY, 1859.
Saturday, 2nd April, 1859. Started from Mr. Glen’s for St. A’Becket’s Pool, where we camped. This water hole is a large one, and likely to last a long time. The country around is good–a large salt bush and grassy plain, with upwards of 300 cattle feeding upon it. Found the native cucumber growing.
Sunday, 3rd April. Shortly after sunrise started from St. A’Becket’s Pool, over low sand hills with large valleys between, well grassed, as described by Mr. Parry. Camped about two miles to the north-east of it, in a polyganum and grassy valley.
Monday, 4th April. The saddles injuring our horses’ backs, we must stop and repair them. Herrgott and I rode to Shamrock Pool. There is still water there. It may last about a month, but it is not permanent.
Tuesday, 5th April. The horses could not be found before noon. One of them has lost a shoe, which will require to be put on. It is too late to start to-day for St. Francis’ Ponds, the distance being thirty-two miles, and no water between. I deem it advisable to remain until to-morrow.
Wednesday, 6th April. Started on a bearing of 330 degrees, and at six miles came upon a gum creek, with abundance of water, which I believe is permanent. For fifty yards on each side of the creek there is a great quantity of polyganum and other water-bushes. On the water there are a great many ducks, cranes, and water-hens. The water hole is upwards of three-quarters of a mile long; at the broadest place it is fifty yards in breadth. There are two trees marked “J.G. and W. Latitude, 30 degrees 4 minutes 1 second.” At one mile struck Mr. Parry’s tracks; had a view of the country on the bearing that I intended to steer; saw that it would lead me into a very rough country, therefore followed his tracks to where he had camped. Camped south of Mount Delusion, without water. I do not doubt that there is water further down the creek to the eastward.
Thursday, 7th April. Went to the top of Mount Delusion and took bearings. Had some difficulty in finding St. Francis’ Ponds. Towards sunset we found them, and, to our great disappointment, quite dry; all the water had disappeared, except a little in one of the creeks, which was salter than the sea, and of no use to us. There seems to have been no rain here this season; I have searched the country all round, but can see no sign of water. I must return to-morrow morning to the creek that I passed yesterday. The horses have now been two nights without water; they appear to feel it very much.
Friday, 8th April. Started back on a straight line, 6.40, for the gum creek, and arrived at 1.40 p.m., the horses being so much done up that I must give them two days’ rest. I expect they will endure it better next time; they now know what it is to be without. In our course we crossed the middle of Mr. Parry’s dry lake. It can be crossed at any time, for there are large courses of slate running through it in a north and south direction, level with the bed of the lake. The country around St. Francis’ Ponds is as Mr. Parry describes it, with the exception of the water, which is gone. There is a great deal of Cooper’s Creek grass growing in places. It is my intention to start with one man (as soon as the horses recover), and endeavour to find water nearer Mount North-west range. If I can find water east or west of St. Francis I shall then be able to make the Finniss Spring.
Saturday, 9th April. Resting the horses.
Sunday, 10th April. I intended to have gone to the north to-day to search for water, but I am so unwell from the effects of the water of this creek that I am unable to do so. I have been very ill all yesterday and all night, but I hope I shall be right to-morrow.
Monday, 11th April. I am unable to go and search for water, being too weak and not able to ride. I have sent Herrgott and Muller to find St. Stephen’s Ponds, and see if there is water; they are to return by the foot of the range and endeavour to find water there also. I have been very ill indeed during the night; I have had no sleep for the last two nights, and I am so weak that I am scarcely able to move.
Tuesday, 12th April. Feel a little better this morning, but still very unwell.
Wednesday, 13th April. I feel a good deal better. I hope by to-morrow I shall be all right again. Herrgott did not return until noon to-day. He reports that there is no water in St. Stephen’s Ponds, which I expected; but he also states that he has found a batch of springs three miles on this side of the ponds, with abundance of water. They are twelve in number. I shall go to-morrow with the party to them. I am very glad he has found them. There will now be no difficulty in taking stock to Chambers Creek. From this camp to the springs will be the longest journey to be encountered in a season like this, in which so little rain has fallen. After rain has fallen there will be no difficulty at all. The native cucumber grows about here.
Thursday, 14th April. Started at 8.10. The country travelled over was fine salt-bush country, but there was no water on our course, although we disturbed numerous pigeons and other birds. There are three table-topped hills to the east of the end of our north line; I think they are those within a short distance of which Major Warburton mentions that he found water. It would take me too much to the east of my course to examine them at present. I should have gone that way if Herrgott had not found those twelve springs, which we hope to make early to-morrow morning, and then proceed to the Finniss Springs. Camped on the east side of Decoy Hill, without water.
Friday, 15th April, East Side of Decoy Hill. At daybreak despatched Campbell for the horses. At 7.30 he returned with only five, and said that he found them on the track, going back for the water from which we have come, and that the others had left the tracks and gone west towards the hills. I immediately despatched Muller on horseback to track and bring them back, and I sent the others by Herrgott to get water at the springs. Sundown: no appearance of the horses. They must have gone back. If they have, it will be the middle of the night before Muller can be here. It is vexing to be delayed thus with the brutes.
Saturday, 16th April, Same Place. Muller and the horses have not yet come. I must go to the top of Decoy Hill to take some bearings. At 9.30 returned to the camp, and found Muller had just returned, but no horses; he had followed upon their tracks until they crossed a stony hill, where he lost them, and, on purpose to find them again, he tied the mare to a bush; she broke loose, and would not allow him to catch her until she got to the water. It was then sundown; he remained there during the greater part of the night to see if the others would come in: they did not, and he therefore came up to inform me of what had occurred. He was without fire, blankets, or anything to eat. I did not pity him; he ought to have been more careful. I had several times warned him not to leave the mare insecurely tied, or she would be off. I gave him a fresh horse, and sent him and Campbell off to follow them up to wherever they go, and not to come back without them. It is most dreadfully annoying to be kept back in this manner, all through the carelessness of one man: he must have been quite close to them when the mare got away. They were short hobbled, and I had looked at them at half-past two in the morning, to see if they were all right, and found them feeding quietly, so that they could not have gone far. Sundown: no appearance of the horses. I feel much better to-day.
Sunday, 17th April, Same Place. Still neither horses nor men. At 1.30 they arrived; my men had gone over to the range, and had searched every creek, but without success. When found, the runaway animals were standing on a rise looking very miserable and at a loss what to do; they had skirted the hill as far down as Mount Delusion. The men took them to the last water, remained there through the night, and left for this place this morning. I will give them an hour’s rest, and go to the springs to-night. Arrived at the springs at sundown; they are about nine miles from Decoy Hill.
Monday, 18th April, Same Place. Resting horses. I went to the top of Mount Attraction, accompanied by Herrgott, to see what appearance the country had to the north of west. I observed a high red table-topped hill bearing 276 degrees from this point, for which I started in search of water. I had a good view of the country all round; it seems very low to the westward with low ranges and valleys between; plenty of salt bush and grass. There is copper with the ironstone on the top of Mount Attraction; native copper is adhering to the sides of the large pieces of ironstone. No water. Changed our course to north one mile and a half, thence to north-east five miles, thence to the springs, but could neither find water nor Major Warburton’s tracks. To-day’s journey forty-five miles. Arrived at the springs after dark.
Tuesday, 19th April, Springs. To the south of our tracks yesterday there was the appearance of a gum creek, and I think it advisable to send Herrgott to-day to examine it for water. It would be a great advantage for stock going to the new country. Seen from a little distance these springs, at which we are camped, resemble a salt lagoon covered with salt, which however is not the case; it is the white quartz which gives them that appearance. There are seven small hillocks from which flow the springs; their height above the plain is about eight feet, and they are surrounded with a cake of saltpetre, but the water is very good indeed, and there is an unlimited supply. Herrgott has taken a sketch of them. He has returned from examining the gum creek, but can find no water. I must push on to-morrow for Finniss Springs, and trust to find water on the way.
Wednesday, 20th April, Same Place. Started at 7.30 on a bearing of 275 degrees over a stony, undulating country with plenty of grass and salt bush, but no water. At twenty miles we saw a smoke raised by the blacks to the south of our line, under the range. Camped at 5.15 under a low range about thirty feet high and very perpendicular, running nearly north-east and south-west. Distance to-day, thirty-three miles.
Thursday, 21st April. Started at daybreak this morning. Same course. Cut Major Warburton’s tracks at two miles, and changed to his course, 252 degrees. At one mile, saw Finniss Springs a mile and a half to the south of us; went down to them and camped. There is an immense quantity of water flowing from them. I shall raise a large cone of stones upon the hill, which is very prominent and can be seen from a long distance.
Friday, 22nd April, Finniss Springs. Went to the top of Hermit Hill, whence I obtained a very extensive view of Lake Torrens from north-west to north-east. Mount Hermit is surrounded by low hills, and in the far distance there seems to be rising ground. To the south are broken hills, the termination of the Mount North-west range. I shall examine that part of the country to-morrow. Between this and the lake (Eyre) to the north the country is very rough–broken cliffs, with sand; the good country does not extend more than three miles. The springs are very numerous all round this mount, and seem to drain into the lake; they give out an immense quantity of water, and there are many streams of water running from them. The ground is covered round about the springs with a cake of soda and saltpetre. I intended to have moved on to Gregory Creek this afternoon, but took the precaution to send my stockman to see in what state the water was. He reports the water in the creek to be quite salt, and many of the small fish dead; he also found some very perfect fossil shells, the mussel and oyster; they have now become a solid limestone; they were found in a large circular piece of limestone.
THE HERMIT HILL AND FINNISS SPRINGS.
Saturday, 23rd April, Finniss Springs. Started at 8 a.m. with Herrgott to examine the country south of this. Between this and the range the land is good in places. It is a little rotten and stony, but the range is a beautiful grass country to the very top. In the creeks the grass and other plants are growing luxuriantly, but we could find no water. I was unable to prosecute the search as far as I wished, in consequence of my horse having lost a shoe and becoming quite lame, which forced me to return to the camp, where we arrived at 9 p.m. The view from a high conical hill of white granite with black spots at the north-west point of the range, is very extensive, except to the south, which is limited. We saw smoke in one of the creeks to the east; but as I was anxious to examine the creek to the south-west, which we saw from the top of the conical hill, I did not go to where the smoke was rising, thinking that the blacks might only be hunting. I therefore crossed the hills to the creek over a good feeding country, timbered with box and gum-trees. We expected to find water in it, from the great number of birds of all descriptions that were flying about; we followed it down, but were unsuccessful, although the birds continued all the way. There must be water about the hills in some place. At sundown, my horse becoming very lame, I was forced reluctantly to return. The flow of the waters is northward into North Lake Torrens. On Monday I shall start again to the south-west, and leave the examination of the range to the south-east until my return.
Sunday, 24th April, Finniss Springs. Latitude, 29 degrees 33 minutes 30 seconds. Rested.
Monday, 25th April, Finniss Springs. As it seemed likely to rain, in which case the country would be very soft, I started at 9.30 on a bearing of 242 degrees for Chambers Creek. After three miles of gravelly soil and scanty feed we came to the banks of the two creeks passed by Major Warburton, splendidly grassed, but the water very salt. They flow into Lake Torrens. After leaving these creeks we had four miles of sand hills, very rich with feed, thence over some stony ground to the creek, all good; my course brought me about three-quarters of a mile to the south of the creek, which I expected. Distance from the springs to this water hole, two miles; this is a very long water hole, with plenty of water in it, and the feed good. We saw some fresh tracks of natives to-day, but did not meet with any of them.
Tuesday, 26th April, Chambers Creek. I intend to remain here to-day to fix this place and examine the country about it. Latitude, 29 degrees 39 minutes 9 seconds. I sent Campbell (my stockman) in one direction, and Muller (the botanist) in another; they report quantities of water, also a great deal of salt water, with plenty of salt for the use of stations, with abundance of feed. The stockman saw numerous fresh tracks, but did not see any natives. The fires were still burning. Muller saw an old man, a woman, and a child. They were very much frightened, and when he approached, they called out “Pompoy!” and moved their hands for him not to come any nearer. As they seemed quite unwilling to hold any conversation, he left them.
Wednesday, 27th April, Chambers Creek. Started at sunrise this morning, accompanied by my botanist. After travelling thirty miles in a fruitless search for water, we camped upon a large stony plain with plenty of vegetation. The horses were very much tired by reason of the heavy sand. We could see no sign of Lake Torrens. Latitude, 29 degrees 53 minutes 58 seconds.
Thursday, 28th April, Large Stony Plain. Saddled by break of day. Changed my course to see if the water is still at Yarra Wirta. In order to avoid the heavy sand hills, which will not do for the horses if there is no water, I steered for the creek, struck it a little to the north of where I crossed it on my former expedition, and followed it down. Passed my former encampment, and found no water there, but on following it down to where I considered it permanent, I found water still there. I shall give the horses the afternoon to recruit, and start early in the morning. Distance to-day, twenty-three miles.
Friday, 29th April, Chambers Creek. Started at sunrise for about a mile to that part of the north shore of the lake opposite to where the Yarra Wirta empties itself into it. The country close to the lake is very stony and scanty of feed; there is some water in it, but it is very salt; a few salt creeks run into it, but no great body of water. I ascended a hill for which I had been steering, and obtained an observation of the sun and bearings. Latitude, 30 degrees 8 minutes 11 seconds. There is no appearance of any lake between this point and Mount Deception; it appears to be a stony plain with some ridges of sand hills. This hill, which I have named Mount Polly, for distinction, is the easternmost of the flat-topped hills on the north side of the lake, and is a spur from the Stuart range. It is very stony, and there is grass nearly to the top; it is very level, and extends for six miles in a north-westerly direction. I saw that there was little prospect of my obtaining water to-night; and knowing that the natives had been seen within a few miles of the camp, I felt anxious about the safety of my party. I determined to proceed towards the camp on a north-westerly course. Arrived at the creek at 11.30 p.m. and found all right; the natives had paid them a visit, as I anticipated, but my people could get no information from them. They were six in number; one was very forward, wishing to examine everything. I had left orders that, if they came, they were not to be allowed to come near the camp, but were to be met a little distance from it. They remained for some time, and then stole off one by one without being perceived, and were out of sight in a moment. The one that remained to the last in his flight did not forget to carry along with him a piece of blanket that had been a saddle-cloth, and which happened to be lying outside the camp.
Saturday, 30th April, Chambers Creek. Sent Muller and my stockman to build a cone of stones upon the highest of the three table-topped hills, for the base line of the survey. They are three remarkable hills close together; two only can be seen coming from the south and from the north-east. Latitude, 29 degrees 40 minutes 27 seconds. From the hill the men saw a number of native fires smoking to the westward on the creek, but have not seen any natives.
Sunday, 1st May, Chambers Creek. This morning we had a heavy dew. Went to the top of the three table-tops, and had a fine view of Mount Hamilton and the lagoon where the springs are, and the other hills; they are the same hills that I saw on my north-west course, when on my last journey.
Monday, 2nd May, Chambers Creek. Sent Muller and Campbell to build a cone of stones on Mount Strangways, which I have fixed as a south point of my base line. The mean of all the observations that I have got to-day makes the latitude to be 29 degrees 39 minutes 15 seconds.
Tuesday, 3rd May, Chambers Creek. Spent the day examining the neighbourhood for water, and in taking numerous bearings.
Wednesday, 4th May, Chambers Creek. I intend to move to-day to the large water holes westward, where I first struck the creek. The horses having strayed a long way off this morning, made it 11 o’clock before we got a start. About four miles from last night’s camp the chain of large water holes commences, and continues beyond to-night’s camp. They are indeed most splendid water holes–not holes, but very long ponds; they are nearly one continuous sheet of water, and the scenery is beautiful. I am sorry I did not name it a river in my former journal. I must bring my survey up to this night’s camp to-morrow. It is very cloudy to-night, with a strong wind from the south-west, from which quarter the clouds are coming. The country is a little stony, but well grassed.
Thursday, 5th May, Chambers Creek. Moved the camp to a better situation. Ascended a hill, got some bearings to fix it, and built a cone of stones upon it. I have had the creek, which joins this, run up for three miles to the sources to-day. There is no more permanent water. There are an immense number of small fish in the ponds, and on the banks there is a shrub growing that tastes and smells like cinnamon; we happened to stir up the sugar in a pannikin of tea with a small twig of the bush, and it left quite the flavour of it in the tea. I have had Herrgott to take sketches of some of the ponds, also of the fish and other remarkable things. It has been rather cloudy to-day, and I could not depend upon my observations. There are numerous tracks of natives about, but we have not seen any of them; we have also found some new plants in the creek.
Friday, 6th May, Chambers Creek. Moved further up the creek on the south side to the last water that we knew of. It is a hole of rain water, very large, and will last a long time, being well sheltered by gum-trees and other shrubs.
Saturday, 7th May, Chambers Creek. Sent Muller to see if there is any more water to the west, and went myself to the top of a small hill, and built a cone of stones to connect this point with the last point. Muller returned after dark, and reported that there was no more permanent water. I shall start to the north to-morrow.
Sunday, 8th May, Chambers Creek. Started to the north over the range, which is rather difficult to get the horses up and down. On the top it is very stony, with salt bush and scanty grass. Crossed the Margaret and a salt creek, in which there is water, some of which is salt and some brackish, but not unfit for the use of cattle. There is abundance of feed all round. We arrived at Hamilton Springs a little before sundown. Distance, twenty-one miles.
Monday, 9th May, Mount Hamilton. Some of the horses require to be shod to-day. I shall also require to build a cone of stones upon Mount Hamilton (the one built by Major Warburton having fallen down), and get an observation of the same. Latitude, 29 degrees 27 minutes 37 seconds. The springs are certainly very remarkable, and Major Warburton gives a very good description of them.
Tuesday, 10th May, Mount Hamilton. Started for the Beresford Springs. Arrived at Mount Hugh at 11 o’clock, seven miles distant from Mount Hamilton, and, as I anticipated, found a number of splendid springs, giving out a fine stream of water, not the least brackish. The hill from which this stream issues is one hundred feet above the level of the plain, the water coming from the very top. My horse got bogged on the top, and I had some difficulty in getting him out, but I did so at last without injuring him. Started from the mount at 12.30, and, after three miles and a half, arrived at Beresford Springs. The Beresford Springs are nothing in comparison to the others; there are only two that are running, but they are very good. The country travelled over to-day has been very well grassed, with salt bush; take it altogether I have not seen better runs in the colony, and in the driest summer the furthest distance from water will not be above five miles at the most, but the feed is so abundant that they would not require to go so far. On that account they will feed double and treble the number of stock that the runs down the country do. At two miles on this side of the Hugh Springs discovered another batch of springs with plenty of water running from them; there are about eight or nine of them very good; those springs have not been visited by Major Warburton. We examined all round, but could find no tracks. I have named them the Elizabeth Springs. There is enough water running to drive a flour-mill in two or three places. They are really remarkable springs–such a height above the level of the plain; I saw them from a hill on Chambers Creek (the Twins). From whence do they derive their supply of water, to cause them to rise to such a height? It must be from some high ranges to the north-west, or a large body of fresh water lying on elevated ground. This is another strange feature of the mysterious interior of Australia. I shall remain here until after 12 to-morrow, to get an observation of the sun to fix this hill. I shall return to Mount Hamilton, and proceed to examine the country west of North Lake Torrens, for one of the east runs, which will complete my survey of them, and I shall despatch thence a messenger to Oratunga.
Wednesday, 11th May, Elizabeth Springs. Latitude, 29 degrees 17 minutes 43 seconds. I omitted to mention yesterday that, two miles before we reached Beresford Hill, we crossed Pasley Ponds and saw one of the Major’s camps. The water is brackish, but not bad. The white deposit round these springs, and also round the Elizabeth, is soda. In returning, I examined the Coward Springs; the water is good, and running. There is a plentiful supply. It was dark when I arrived at Mount Hamilton. Saw four natives to-day, but they gave us a wide berth; they do not like to come near us.
Thursday, 12th May, Mount Hamilton. Some of the horses require shoeing, and I wish to get another observation of the sun. I shall remain here to-day, and examine the country to the north-east. About seven miles in that direction is the salt creek of Major Warburton. The country is of a light sandy soil covered with grass.
Friday, May 13th, Mount Hamilton. Started to the eastward, to complete the survey of the runs, and see if there are any more springs. To the south of east, about four miles, we discovered four springs not seen by the Major; there is a plentiful supply of water, and would be more if they were opened. One is choked up with reeds, but the other two are running. Saw some natives; they seemed frightened at first, but were induced to come close up: they were very much amused at our equipments. Two had seen or heard of whites before; they knew the name of horse, but no more; they call water courie, and some of their words very much resemble those of the natives in Port Lincoln. We could make nothing of them–they repeat every word of the question we ask them. They followed us over to the Margaret, and took us to some fresh-water springs in the creek, the water of which is very good. There is a quantity of reeds growing round them, also tea-tree. From this we followed the creek to the north, thence north-east towards the lake, but the water being too brackish, I returned to the springs, the natives walking with us all the time; they seemed very inoffensive. In following down the creek, another native joined us from the creek, carrying a net in which were some small fish; the net was a hoop one, well made.
Saturday, May 14th, The Margaret Creek. The morning very cloudy; every appearance of rain. Saddled and proceeded in search of Emerald Spring, on a north course. At seven miles made Mr. Babbage’s old camp on a sand hill. Camped a little way from it. I did not know the position of the spring, but Herrgott informed me that it was three miles to the west. It commenced raining before we started, has rained all the way up, and is still doing so; it is a very light rain, but the wind is very strong and cold from the south-west. Intended to have brought up my plan, but the rain and wind prevent me.
Sunday, 15th May, Mr. Babbage’s Old Camp. It cleared off during the night, but the clouds have come up again this morning and look very threatening. Sent Herrgott to find the spring. The wind is still from the same quarter, and too strong for me to do anything to the plan, which is a great annoyance. I will finish the survey of the runs from this place, and send Campbell back to Oratunga with the plan. Herrgott did not return until after sundown: he could not find the spring.
Monday, 16th May, Same Place. Sent Muller to the west; he returned at 10 o’clock, having found the spring about two miles and a half distant from the camp; it is not hot, but a little warmer than milk-warm. There is a good stream running from it, and the water is excellent; to me it has a mineral taste, very good. There were some small fish lying dead on the bank, near the mouth; they seemed to have been left there by the retiring of the flood–they were quite dried up. I intended to have taken some with me, but they were too dry–nothing but skin and bone. The creek empties itself into the lake, about a mile north from where Chambers Creek goes into it.
Tuesday, 17th May, Same Place. Again very cloudy, with a little rain. Busy finishing the survey. Could not obtain an observation of the sun. Wind still very strong.
Wednesday, 18th May, Same Place. Weather clearing up. Engaged with survey.
Thursday, 19th May, Same Place. Finishing tracings, etc.
Friday, 20th May, Same Place. At sunrise started Campbell for Oratunga with tracings, letter, etc., with orders to proceed to Finniss Springs, thence to Herrgott Springs, thence to St. A’Becket’s Pool, thence to Mount Glenns, thence to Mount Stuart, and thence to Oratunga, taking six days to perform the journey. Preparing my other plans for a start to-morrow for the north-west, to see what the Davenport range is. Latitude, 29 degrees 23 minutes 20 seconds.
Saturday, 21st May, Same Place. Started at 8 o’clock on a bearing of 310 degrees for the Davenport range. At twenty-two miles changed our course to examine a large lagoon to the south-west of us, bearing 238 degrees. At two miles reached the lagoon, which we examined for springs, but found none. I suppose it receives Major Warburton’s salt creek. It is caked with a crust of salt, and is dry; it is seven miles long by three broad, running north-west and south-west. On the south-west side it is bounded by steep cliffs, and high sand hills on the top. Changed to 310 degrees, our original course. Came upon some rain water at four miles, and camped for the night. Distance to-day, twenty-eight miles.
Sunday, 22nd May, Rain Water. Sent Herrgott to examine the south-west side of the lagoon which we passed last night, with orders to overtake me by 11.30, so that I may get an observation of the sun at noon. The horses having strayed some distance during the night, our start was delayed until 9.15. Started on the same bearing as yesterday, 310 degrees. Stopped at 11.20 for Herrgott to come with the instruments, but he did not come up until 1.15, so that I lost my observation. I had told him, if there was no appearance of springs not to go far, but to return immediately; instead of which he went round the lagoon. Camped on a stony rise, with a little wood. Distance to-day, twenty-one miles.
Monday, 23rd May, Stony Rise. Started towards the Davenport range. The sand hills again commenced with beautiful feed upon them–low, with broad valleys; they continued for five miles, when the stony plain again commenced. The highest part of the range seems to be at the north-eastern point, which has the appearance of a detached hill. At three miles and a quarter from the last of the sand hills we saw the Douglas, and changed our bearing to 328 degrees 30 minutes. At one mile and a quarter struck the creek, but found no water in it. There were a number of gums, but not very large, also plenty of myalls there. The bed of the creek is bad, and will not retain water. We followed it down for three miles to see if there was water; but no sign of it, the creek still continuing broad and sandy. I was obliged to return to where I struck it, because it was nearly sundown, and I had found a little rain water about a mile to the south, which would do for the horses in the morning.
Tuesday, 24th May, The Douglas. Herrgott’s horse in want of shoes. Could not get a start until late. Found a little more rain water in a clay-pan. If I can find no water near the range, I shall have to fall back upon Strangway Springs. I am anxious to see what is on the other side of the range, or I would run this creek down. There are numerous tracks of natives about the creek; we have also seen three fires three or four days old. Latitude, 28 degrees 45 minutes 4 seconds. Started at 12.30 on a bearing of 313 degrees for the highest point of the range east, over stony table land. The creek runs in the same direction for four miles, it then turns to the westward, and is lost sight of among some hills. At ten miles struck a stony box-tree creek; its bed was sand and gravel, but no water. At 11.30 descended from the table land, and camped at a gum creek at sundown; the bed the same as the last, and no water. There were numerous native foot-tracks here also. I am sorry I could not reach the range to-night, but we had some very bad ground to travel over, and no water.
Wednesday, 25th May, Dry Gum Creek. Examined the creek for water, but found none. Started on the same course as yesterday, 313 degrees, for the north-east highest point, which I suppose to be the Mount Margaret of Major Warburton. Native tracks seen in the creek. There may be water some distance down the creek, but here it is too sandy to retain it. At four miles struck another gum creek in turning round the south side of the range; it was of the same description as the others, too sandy to hold water. Proceeded towards the highest point of the range, and obtained an observation of the sun within a mile and a half of the mount. Left the horses in charge of Muller and ascended the mount, which was very difficult; it took us an hour to go up, and three-quarters of an hour to come down. The hill is composed of a greenish slate, lying horizontally at the base, and courses of quartz and granite, with ironstone; but I can see nothing of Major Warburton’s quartz cliffs; they must be more to the south-west. The range has a very peculiar appearance from a short distance off; it seems to be an immense number of rugged conical hills all thrown together. From the top, the view to the north-west was hidden by a higher point of the range. To the north-north-west there is another range, about twenty miles distant, apparently higher than this, running south-west and north-east. To the north is another far-distant range; to the east, broken hill and stony plain, with a number of clay-pans. A number of creeks run to the eastward from this range; they become gum creeks further down, but in and close to the range they have myall bushes, and other shrubs. No water to be obtained in this range. Changed my course to the north-east to examine a white clay-pan that I thought might contain some fresh water. At three miles came upon it, and was very much disappointed to find it salt. This being the second day that the horses have been without water, I must give up the search for springs and return to one mile south of the Douglas, where we had found a little rain water. It being nearly sundown, I made for the last large gum creek, striking it lower down, also cutting the other creeks between, hoping to find water in some, but there was none. Made the large gum creek at 10 o’clock. Camped for the night. Horses very much done up, in consequence of the ground that we have been travelling over being so rotten and stony. The country is not good, nor the range; but at three miles to the east it becomes less stony and better grassed. No water.
Thursday, 26th May, Large Gum Creek. Started at daylight for beyond the Douglas. At 3 o’clock arrived at water. Horses so much done up that I shall require to give them two days’ rest, if the water will hold so long, and then I must return to the Strangway Springs, as we know that to be permanent water. There are some heavy clouds coming up from the south-west, which I hope will bring rain.
Friday, 27th May, The Douglas. Rain all gone after a slight shower, which did not assist me much. Very sorry for it.
Saturday, 28th May, The Douglas. Horses looking better this morning, so I will give them this day also. I have sent Muller down the creek to the eastward, to see if there is any water in it. I should have gone again to-day to the Davenport range, to see if I could find the quartz reefs by striking it more to the south-west, but it would be too much for the horses, which are my mainstay, and this water will not last longer than to-day; it is going very fast. I do wish to goodness it would rain, for I do hate going back. Muller returned at sundown. He has been about twelve miles down the creek, but can find no water. It still continued sandy. He shot three new parrots.
Sunday, 29th May, The Douglas. Not being satisfied with my hurried examination of the range, I shall make another attempt to-day, and endeavour to find water. If we do not succeed we must fall back upon the springs. Started on a course of west-north-west. Crossed the Douglas three times. It turned to the south-west, but I continued my course, over low hills and valleys, with plenty of feed, with quartz, ironstone, and granite. At fifteen miles changed a little more to the north towards a rise. The country becomes very broken and rough, but still plenty of grass. At twenty miles crossed the upper part of the gum creek that I camped on on the 25th instant. The banks are nearly perpendicular cliffs of slate. Followed it up for two miles, but no water. I continued my course for the rising ground. At six miles I found that I was getting upon high table land; so, as the sun was nearly down, I returned to the creek, where there is some green feed for the horses, as they will be without water to-night. It was after sundown before I reached the creek and camped. I have named this creek Davenport Creek, after the Honourable Mr. Davenport, M.L.C.
Monday, 30th May, Davenport Creek. Started at sunrise determined to follow down the creek, for I think there must be water somewhere before it enters the plain. The flow is to the east. At five miles came upon a beautiful spring in the bed of the creek, for which I am truly thankful. I have named this The Spring of Hope. It is a little brackish, not from salt, but soda, and runs a good stream of water. I have lived upon far worse water than this: to me it is of the utmost importance, and keeps my retreat open. I can go from here to Adelaide at any time of the year, and in any sort of season. Camped for the rest of the day. Latitude, 28 degrees 33 minutes 34 seconds.
Tuesday, 31st May, The Spring of Hope. Shoeing horses, and repairing various things.
Wednesday, 1st June, The Spring of Hope. Not being satisfied with my hurried view of the salt clay-pan that I visited on the 25th ultimo, I have sent Muller to-day to examine it for springs, before I proceed to the north-west. On a further examination of this water, I find a very large portion of magnesia in it, and also salt, but very little. Muller has returned, having been down the creek, and, as I expected, has found a small spring of very good water on the banks of the salt creek. I expect there will be others. I shall move down there to-morrow and examine it. I expect we have fallen upon the line of springs again, which I hope will continue towards the north. No rain seems to have fallen here for a long time.
Thursday, 2nd June, The Spring of Hope. Started at 9 o’clock for the springs, and arrived there in the afternoon. Travelled over a stony but very good feeding country, which became better as we approached the springs. There is a creek with a large water hole, and around the small hills are numerous springs. On the banks of the creek and round the springs an immense quantity of rushes, bulrushes, and other water-plants are growing. The quantity of land they cover is very great, amounting to several square miles. Some of the springs are choked up, others are running, though not so active as those further to the south. Round about them there is a thin crust of saltpetre, magnesia, and salt. The water of these springs is very good, but that of the creek is a little brackish, but will do very well for cattle. Some of the holes in the creek are rather salt. There is enough of good water for the largest station in the colony. Round the small hill, where I am now camped, there are twelve springs, and the water is first-rate. I have named them Hawker Springs, after G.C. Hawker, Esquire, M.L.A.* (* Now the Honourable G.C. Hawker, Speaker of the House of Assembly at Adelaide.) The hills are composed of slate, mica, quartz (resembling those of the gold country), and ironstone. Latitude, 28 degrees 24 minutes 17 seconds. One of the horses seems to be very unwell to-day; he has endeavoured to lie down two or three times during the journey, but I hope he will be better by the morning.
Friday, 3rd June, Hawker Springs. I find that the horse is too unwell to proceed. I shall give him another day, for fear I should lose him altogether. I sent Muller to see if there are any springs round the hill about six miles to the east. He states that the creek flows past that hill, and on towards other hills of the same kind. The springs continue to within half a mile of the hill, where he found two large springs running over, covered with long reeds. I do not doubt but that they still continue on towards the lake, (wherever that may be), which I intend to examine on my return.
Saturday, 4th June, Hawker Springs. This morning the horse does not look much better, but still I must push on. Started at 8 towards the highest point of the next range. At one mile struck a gum creek coming from the Davenport range, and running to the north of east; the bed sandy and grassy. At four miles another gum creek of the same description, with the gum-trees stunted. At eight miles and a half struck three creeks joining at about a quarter of a mile to the east; the centre one is gum, and the other two myall. At twelve miles changed my course to 29 degrees to examine three dark-coloured hills, where I think there will be springs. At a mile and a quarter came upon a small batch of springs round the north side of the hills in a broad grassy valley, with plenty of good water. Changed my course again to 318 degrees towards the highest point of the range. At one mile a myall and gum creek; at three miles another gum creek; at seven miles a very large and broad gum creek, spread out into numerous channels. I have not the least doubt but there is water above and below, judging from the number of tracks of natives and emus that have been up and down the creek. As this is the largest creek that I have passed, and is likely to become as good as Chambers Creek, which it very much resembles, I have called it The Blyth, after the Honourable Arthur Blyth. I have named the range to the east The Hanson Range, after the Honourable R.D. Hanson. At nine miles and a half attained the highest point of the range, and built a cone of stones thereon, and have named it Mount Younghusband, after the Honourable William Younghusband. From it I had a good view of the surrounding country, which seems to be plentifully supplied with springs. To the north-west is another isolated range like this; I should think it is about seven hundred feet high. I have named it Mount Kingston, after the Honourable G.S. Kingston, Speaker of the House of Assembly. To the north the broken ranges continue, and in the distance there is a long flat-topped range, broken in some places. It seems to be closing upon my course on the last bearing. I cannot judge of the distance, the mirage being so great. Descended from the mount, and proceeded on a bearing of 336 degrees towards a spring that I saw from the top. As we were rounding the mount to the east, we found eight springs before we halted, in a distance of three miles; some were running, and others were choked up, but soft and boggy. At dark arrived at another batch of springs–not those that I intended going to–they are on the banks of a small creek, close to and coming from the range; they are not so active as the others, and taste a little brackish; they are coated with soda, saltpetre, and salt. The horse seems to be very ill; he has again attempted to lie down two or three times. I cannot imagine what is the matter with him.
Sunday, 5th June, Mount Younghusband. I must remain where I am to-day; the horse is so bad that he cannot proceed; he neither eats nor drinks. I have sent Muller to the west side of the mount to see the extent of the springs; they are on the banks of a creek which has brackish water in it, large and deep, and a great quantity of rushes. The water comes from the limestone banks which are covered with soda. He rode round the mount: it is all the same, and the feed is splendid right to the top of the mount. It is a wonderful country, scarcely to be believed. I have had one of the springs opened to-day, and the water to-night tastes excellent; it could not be better. Native tracks about; I am surprised we see none of them; we are passing old fires constantly. Latitude, 28 degrees 1 minute 32 seconds.
Monday, 6th June, Mount Younghusband. The horses being some distance off, and my horse requiring a shoe, I was unable to make a start until 10 o’clock, on a bearing of 307 degrees 45 minutes, passing Mount Kingston on the south-west side. At three-quarters of a mile came upon the springs that I intended to have camped at on Saturday night: they are flowing in a stream strong enough to supply any number of cattle. I named them The Barrow Springs, after J.U. Barrow, Esquire, M.L.A. At four miles and a half struck a large broad valley, in which are the largest springs I have yet seen. The flow of water from them is immense, coming in numerous streams, and the country around is beautiful. I have named these The Freeling Springs, after the Honourable Major Freeling, M.L.C. After leaving the springs I ascended a rough stony hill, to have a view of them, but I could not see them all, their extent is so great. They extend to under the Kingston range, and how much further I do not know. From this point I changed my course to 322 degrees. I can just see the top of a distant range, for which I will go on that bearing. At one mile and a half crossed a broad gum salt creek, coming from the west, with a quantity of salt water in it. I have named this Peake Creek, after C.J. Peake, Esquire, M.L.A. After crossing this, we travelled over low rises with quartz, ironstone, and slate; the quartz predominating. Herrgott and Muller, who have both been long in the Victoria gold diggings, say that they have not seen any place that resembles those diggings so much as this does. The country seems as if it were covered with snow, from the quantity of quartz. At eleven miles passed a brackish water creek and salt lagoon; searched for springs but could find none, although reeds and rushes abound, but no water on the surface. I thence proceeded three-quarters of a mile, and struck a gum creek with a number of channels and very long water holes, but the water is brackish; it might do for cattle. This I have named The Neale, after J.B. Neale, Esquire, M.L.A. I think by following it down, there will be a large quantity of water, and good, and that it will become a very important creek. No person could wish for a better country for feed than that we have passed over to-day; it resembles the country about Chambers Creek.
Tuesday, 7th June, The Neale. At 8 o’clock started on a bearing of 180 degrees for the northernmost of the isolated hills, to see if there are springs round it. At four miles ascended it, but could see no springs. This I have named Mount Harvey, after J. Harvey, Esquire, M.L.A. from Mount Kingston it bears 47 degrees 45 minutes. Thence I started for the other mount, which I have named Mount Dutton, after the Honourable F.T. Dutton; four miles and a half to the top. The Hanson range is closing upon my course, and I think to-morrow’s journey will cut it. On the north side are a few springs, some of them a little brackish, and some very good. We cleared out one, and found it very good. Here I camped for the night. From south-west to north-west it seems to be an immense plain, stony on the surface, with salt bush and grass. Mount Dutton is well grassed to the top; it is composed of the same rock as the others.
Wednesday, 8th June, Mount Dutton. at 9.15 started on a course of 310 degrees. at three-quarters of a mile passed another batch of springs, some of them brackish, and some very good indeed. Leaving them we passed over a good feeding country, crossing several gum and myall creeks, one with polyganum, all coming from Hanson range and flowing into the Neale. At nine miles crossed the top of Hanson range. From it I could see, about fifteen miles to the west of north, a high point of this range, which I have named Mount O’Halloran (after the Honourable Major O’Halloran), on the west side of which there appears to be a large creek coming from the north-west. We then proceeded on a course of 324 degrees towards Mount O’Halloran. At four miles and a half struck a large gum creek coming from the range and running for about four miles north-west on our course; examined it for water, but found none. It divides itself into numerous channels, and when full must retain a large quantity of water for a long time. The gum-trees are large and numerous, and numbers of pigeons frequent its banks. At a mile further came upon some rain water in a stony flat, where we camped for the night between low sand rises covered with grass.
Thursday, 9th June, Stony Flat. This country must be examined today for springs. I have therefore sent Muller down the creek to search that, whilst I must remain and get an observation of the sun. My party is far too small to examine the country well. I cannot go myself and leave the camp with the provisions to one man; the natives might attack him, and destroy the lot, there seem to be a great many tracks about. Three o’clock. Muller has returned; he has run the creek down until it joined another very large gum creek coming from the north-west–the one that I saw from the top of the range. The gum-trees were large; from one of them the natives had cut a large sheet of bark, evidently for a canoe. He also saw two large water holes, one hundred yards wide and a quarter of a mile long, with very high and steep banks. It seems to be the same creek as the Neale. Can it be Cooper’s Creek? the country very much resembles it. My course will strike it more to the north-west to-morrow.
Friday, 10th June, Same Place. I have been very unwell during the night with cramp in the stomach, but hope I shall get better as I go on. Started at 8 o’clock on a bearing of 32 degrees 4 minutes. At four miles went to the top of Mount O’Halloran. The creek is about three miles to the west; it breaks through the Hanson range. Changed my course to 317 degrees to get away from the stones, which are very rough close to the hill. At six miles changed my course to 270 degrees to examine an isolated hill for springs, but found none. The creek winds round this hill, and spreads out into numerous channels, covering a space of two miles; but there is no water here, nor for three miles further up the creek. We have, however, found some rain water; and, as I feel so unwell that I am unable to ride, I have camped here for the night, and sent Muller to examine the creek for water. He has been unsuccessful.
Saturday, 11th June, Rain Water. I feel a little better this morning. Started at 9.20 on a bearing of 317 degrees. Crossed the creek, which is about a mile wide. For five miles it ran parallel to my course, and then turned more to the west. There is a beautiful plain along the bank, about three miles wide, and completely covered with grass. At nine miles and a half, on a small rise, changed my course to 318 degrees 30 minutes, to a distant hill. Travelled for nine miles and a half over another large and well-grassed plain of the same description; thence over some low stony hills to a myall flat, the soil beautiful, of a red colour, covered with grass; after four miles it became sandy. Camped for the night, after having gone thirty-one miles. The country of to-day surpasses all that I have yet travelled over for the abundance of feed. We have passed a number of native tracks, but only one or two are fresh. We have found no water to-day, except some little rain water, which is nearly all mud. I have no doubt but there is plenty towards the east.
Sunday, 12th June, Myall Flat. I feel still very unwell. We are now come to our last set of shoes for the horses, and, having experienced the misery of being without them in my previous journey, I am, though with great reluctance, forced to turn back. My party is also too small to make a proper examination of such splendid country. Started back, keeping more to the east to examine a high hill in search of water. If I can find water, I shall endeavour to reach the north boundary. At 11.40 arrived at the hill. Latitude, 27 degrees 12 minutes 30 seconds. Can see no appearance of water, although the country seems good all round. Ten degrees to the east of north is a large dark-coloured hill, which I saw from last night’s camp, from fifteen to twenty miles distant. I should like to go to it, but can find no water. I have named it Mount Browne, after Mr. J.H. Browne, of Port Gawler, my companion in Captain Sturt’s expedition. I dare not risk the horses another night without water, the grass is so very dry; had there been green grass, I would not have hesitated a moment. Turned towards the Neale by a different course to try and find water; was unsuccessful until within an hour of sundown, when we struck some muddy water. As I expected, the horses were very thirsty and devoured the lot. Reached the creek after dark.
Monday, 13th June, The Neale. Found some rain water on the bank of the creek, and, two of the horses requiring shoes, I stopped for the day. At noon sent Muller up the creek to see if he could find any water holes, but he saw none. At six miles another creek coming from the south-west joins this. I am afraid I shall not have enough shoes to carry me into the settled districts. The creek does not seem to have been running for a number of years. The water has, some time or other, been ten feet high. The breadth of the plain where the channels flow is a mile and a half, and the quantity of water must be immense. It drains a very large extent of country. After examining the country during the next two or three days, I shall endeavour to follow this creek down, and learn where it empties itself.
Tuesday, 14th June, The Neale. Started at 9 o’clock. Running the creek down. At eight miles crossed another branch of the creek coming from the south of west. We found no water. At twelve miles changed my bearing to south. At three miles and a half camped at the two water holes that Muller found when I sent him to examine the creek on the 9th instant. I can not with certainty say they are permanent, there are neither reeds nor rushes round them; they are very large and very deep, and, when filled with rain, must hold a large quantity of water for a long time. There are ducks upon them. The water does not taste like rain water, which leads me to think that it may be permanent and supplied by springs from below.
Wednesday, 15th June, Water Holes found by Muller on the 9th. Started at 9.15 a.m. Following the creek down. As we approached Hanson range, where it broke through, we came upon two nice water holes with ducks upon them. They are long, wide, and deep, with clay banks, and about three feet of water in the middle. There are no reeds nor rushes round them, and it is doubtful whether they are permanent. At seven miles and a half the creek winds a little more to the west. Shortly afterwards we struck (in the gap) two very long and large water holes a quarter of a mile long, and between forty and fifty yards wide, and very deep. These I may safely say are permanent. After getting through the range, the creek spreads out over a large plain in numerous courses, bearing towards the south-east. At four miles and a half changed my course. At six miles, going more to the east, changed again, and at eight miles camped for the night, without water. We have found no water since leaving the last water hole, although I do not doubt of there being some. It would have taken us too long a time to examine it more than I have done, my party being so small. We have passed several winter worleys of the natives, built with mud in the shape of a large beehive, with a small hole as the entrance. Numerous tracks all about the creek, but we see no natives. We are now approaching the spring country again.
Thursday, 16th June, The Neale. Started at 11.15. Still following the creek, which continues to spread widely over the plain. At five miles I observed some white patches of ground on the south-west side of Mount Dutton, resembling a batch of springs. I changed my course and steered for them, crossing the Neale at two miles and three-quarters. On the south-west side of the Neale the country is rather stony, and for about a mile from it the feed is not very good, in consequence of its being subject to inundation, but beyond that the feed is beautiful. At three miles and a half made the white patches, and found them to be springs covering a large extent of country, but not so active as those already described. Leaving the springs at two miles, crossed the Neale at a place where it becomes narrower and the channel much deeper, with long sheets of salt and brackish water. I shall now leave the creek. In the time of a flood an immense body of water must come down it. At the widest part, where it spreads itself out in the plain, the drift stuff is from fourteen to fifteen feet up in the trees. Camped at 4 p.m.
Friday, 17th June, The Neale. Discovered another large quantity of water supplied by springs. This country is a wonderful place for them. There is an immense quantity of water running now.
Saturday, 18th June, The Neale. Started early in the morning to examine the country. Found large quantities of quartz, samples of which I brought with me. Still well watered, but without any timber.
Sunday, 19th June, The Neale. Water in abundance, with large quantities of quartz. The course the quartz seems to take is from the south-west to the north-east. The plain we examined to-day is a large basin, surrounded by the hills from Mount Younghusband and Mount Kingston, with the creek running through the centre. To-morrow I shall have a look along the north-east side of Mount Kingston, for I see the quartz apparently goes through the range and breaks out again on the north-east side, which is very white.
Monday, 20th June, Mount Kingston. Started at 8 o’clock a.m. to examine the quartz on the east side of Mount Kingston. Crossed the creek, and at three miles struck a quartz reef. The Freeling Springs still continue, but seem inclined to run more to the eastward. Changed my course to a peak in a low range which has a white appearance. At eight miles reached the peak; the quartz ceases altogether, and the country is stony from here. I can see the line of the Neale running eastward; it spreads out over the plain. It was my intention to follow it until it reached the lake, but I find the ground too stony for me to do so. Being reduced to my last set of shoes, and some of them pretty well worn out, I am obliged to retreat. Changed my course at seven miles across the bed of the creek, three miles broad, with a number of brackish water holes in it, some very salt. At this point the trees cease. I can see nothing of the lake. Camped on a gum creek without water. The latter part of our course was over a very barren and rotten plain, surrounded by cliffs of gypsum, quite destitute of vegetation. It has evidently been the bed of a small lake at some time. There is no salt about it.
Tuesday, 21st June, Dry Gum Creek. At 7.40 started on the same course as last night, and after various changes of bearings arrived at the hill, whither I had sent Muller, and where he found two springs. Instead of two, they are numerous all round the hill; some are without water on the surface, and others have plenty. It is a perfect bed of springs. A little more east they are stronger, surrounded with green reeds and rushes.
Wednesday, 22nd June, Mount Younghusband. Started at 8.40. At three miles and a half came to a large bed of springs with reeds and rushes, water running and good, with numerous other small springs all round. They are a continuation of those we camped at last night, with an abundant supply of excellent water. At four miles crossed the salt creek coming from Hawker Springs. At eight miles crossed three salt and soda lagoons, surrounded by lime and gypsum mounds, in which are numerous springs up to the foot of the hills (ten miles and a half) and all round them. I have named these hills Parry Hills, after Samuel Parry, Esquire. It was my intention to have gone to the east from this, but the horses’ shoes will not admit of it. To the south-east I observed three conical hills, for which I will now steer. At seven miles crossed a gum creek, in which are large water holes, where water had been lately, but there is now only mud. There must be water either up or down the creek, for there are numerous native tracks leading both ways. At ten miles crossed a large gum (stunted) creek with abundant springs of rather brackish water. At nineteen miles and a half camped on a broad creek, but no water. The country good.
Thursday, 23rd June, Dry Creek. Started at 8.30 on the same course for one of the conical hills. At three miles ascended it, and found it to be flat-topped. I can see nothing of any lake to the east. The view is interrupted by a flat-topped range. From this I changed my course, and at three miles and a half observed a peculiar-looking spot to the south-west, which had the appearance of springs. Changed my course for it, and at six miles came upon a hill of springs surrounded by a number of smaller ones, with an ample supply of first-rate water. The hill is covered with reeds and rushes; it is situated at the west side of a large plain, and is bounded by stony table land on the east side, which has an abrupt descent of about thirty feet into the plain. On the west side are a number of broken hills, and a small range composed of gypsum and lime, having the surface covered with fragments of quartz and ironstone, and a number of other pebbles. On the hill where the springs are we have found lava. There are numerous small creeks coming from the hill, and running in every direction. They seem to be all in confusion. The plain is about five miles wide. These I have named the Louden Springs.
Friday, 24th June, Louden Springs. I must remain here to-day, and put the last of the shoes upon some of the horses which are getting rather lame. I have been making them go without as long as I can.
Saturday, 25th June, Louden Springs. Started at 7.50. At 8.45 (three miles) crossed a gum creek, and at 12 o’clock (eleven miles) crossed the Douglas, but no water. The channel still broad and sandy.
Sunday, 26th June, The Douglas. Started at 8.25, on a bearing of 217 degrees. Crossed the lagoon, which was rather boggy in some places. It is now more than two miles broad, with a white crust on the top, composed of soda and salt, but mostly salt. It must be supplied by springs. At three miles crossed a salt creek, with salt water. It empties itself into the lagoon, and is the same that passes by the Strangway Springs. I can see nothing of any springs at this part of the creek. Steered upon the same course to intersect my outward tracks. Saw some natives walking along a valley. They did not observe us. I hailed them, and an old man came up to us. He was rather frightened, and trembled a good deal. He seemed to wonder and be pleased at my smoking a pipe of tobacco. I gave one to him and a piece of tobacco, but he did not know how to manage the cutting, filling, and lighting operations. I did these for him. In the first attempt he put the wrong end into his mouth, which he found rather hot, and quickly took it out. I then showed him the right end. He managed a whiff or two, but he did not fancy it. He seemed very much pleased with the pipe, which he kept. I then made him understand that I wanted water. He pointed the same course that I was steering. In a short time another made his appearance in the distance. By a little persuasion from the old fellow, he was induced to come up, and in a short time became very talkative, and very anxious to show us the water. In a few minutes a third made his appearance, and came up. He was the youngest–a stout, able-bodied fellow, about twenty-four years old. The others were much older, but were very powerful men, and all three in excellent condition. The women did not come up, but remained in the flat. I expected they were going to take us to some springs, and was disappointed when they showed us some rain water in a deep hole. They were quite surprised to see our horses drink it all. They would go no further with us, nor show us any more, and, in a short time after, left us. We struck our outward tracks, and steered for the Elizabeth Springs, where we arrived after dark.
Monday, 27th June, Elizabeth Springs. Gave the horses a half-day, and made the Mount Hamilton Springs in the afternoon.
Tuesday, 28th June, Hamilton Springs. Started for Chambers Creek to my first encampment. Arrived there in the afternoon. Distance, eighteen miles.
Wednesday, 29th June, Chambers Creek. Resting the horses and preparing for a trip down on the west side of Mount North-west, to see if I can find a road and water that way.
Friday, 1st July, Chambers Creek. Started at 8 a.m. on a bearing of 120 degrees. At twenty-four miles camped on a water hole in Gregory Creek, where it comes out of the hills. There are three remarkable peaks north of the water, one in particular having a white face to the east, with a course of black stones on the summit, distant about one mile. The first five miles was over a well-grassed country, with stones on the surface, slightly undulating, with a number of good valleys, very broad, emptying themselves into Gregory Creek. At twenty-two miles crossed the main channel of the creek. It is divided into a number of courses, with some very deep holes in them. When they are filled, they must retain water for a great length of time. There are a great many native encampments all about the creek. The gums are dwarf.
Saturday, 2nd July, Gregory Creek. Started at 10.8. Course, 120 degrees. At three miles, opposite a long permanent water hole, with rushes growing round it. At seven miles, crossed the upper part of the Gregory; eight miles and a half, top of dividing range; thirteen miles, crossed a creek with rain water; fourteen miles, crossed another deep channel. Camped at twenty-three miles, within twelve miles of Termination Hill. The country for ten miles before we halted was very good.
Sunday, 3rd July. Rounded Termination Hill, and arrived at Mr. Glen’s station.