Explorations in Australia, The Journals of John McDouall Stuart
John McDouall Stuart
Part 1 out of 7
Produced by Sue Asscher and Col Choat
EXPLORATIONS IN AUSTRALIA.
JOHN McDOUALL STUART
DURING THE YEARS
1858, 1859, 1860, 1861, & 1862,
WHEN HE FIXED THE CENTRE OF THE CONTINENT AND
SUCCESSFULLY CROSSED IT FROM SEA TO SEA.
EDITED FROM MR. STUART'S MANUSCRIPT
BY WILLIAM HARDMAN, M.A., F.R.G.S., &c.
With Maps, a Photographic Portrait of Mr. Stuart, and twelve Engravings
drawn on wood by George French Angas, from Sketches taken during
the different expeditions.
S.O. AND CO.)
Since the first edition of this work was published Mr. Stuart has arrived
in England, and at a recent meeting of the Geographical Society he
announced that, taking advantage of his privilege as a discoverer, he had
christened the rich tract of country which he has opened up to the South
Australians Alexandra Land.
December 1st, 1864.
PREFACE BY THE EDITOR.
The explorations of Mr. John McDouall Stuart may truly be said, without
disparaging his brother explorers, to be amongst the most important in
the history of Australian discovery. In 1844 he gained his first
experiences under the guidance of that distinguished explorer, Captain
Sturt, whose expedition he accompanied in the capacity of draughtsman.
Leaving Lake Torrens on the left, Captain Sturt and his party passed up
the Murray and the Darling, until finding that the latter would carry him
too far from the northern course, which was the one he had marked out for
himself, he turned up a small tributary known to the natives as the
Williorara. The water of this stream failing him, he pushed on over a
barren tract, until he suddenly came upon a fruitful and well-watered
spot, which he named the Rocky Glen. In this picturesque glen they were
detained for six months, during which time no rain fell. The heat of the
sun was so intense that every screw in their boxes was drawn, and all
horn handles and combs split into fine laminae. The lead dropped from
their pencils, their finger-nails became as brittle as glass, and their
hair, and the wool on their sheep, ceased to grow. Scurvy attacked them
all, and Mr. Poole, the second in command, died. In order to avoid the
scorching rays of the sun, they had excavated an underground chamber, to
which they retired during the heat of the day.
When the long-expected rain fell, they pushed on for fifty miles to
another suitable halting-place, which was called Park Depot. From this
depot Captain Sturt made two attempts to reach the Centre of the
continent. He started, accompanied by four of his party, advancing over a
country which resembled an ocean whose mighty billows, fifty or sixty
feet high, had become suddenly hardened into long parallel ridges of
solid sand. The abrupt termination of this was succeeded at two hundred
miles by what is now so well known as Sturt's Stony Desert, to which
frequent allusion is made by Mr. Stuart in his journals. After thirty
miles more, this stony desert ceased with equal abruptness, and was
followed by a vast plain of dried mud, which Captain Sturt describes as
"a boundless ploughed field, on which floods had settled and subsided."
After advancing two hundred miles beyond the Stony Desert, and to within
one hundred and fifty miles of the Centre of the continent, they were
compelled to return to Park Depot, where they arrived in a most exhausted
A short rest at the Depot was followed by another expedition, Captain
Sturt being on this occasion accompanied by Mr. Stuart and two men. The
seventh day of their journey brought them to the banks of a fine creek,
now so well known as Cooper Creek in connection with the fate of those
unfortunate explorers, Burke and Wills. At two hundred miles from Cooper
Creek Captain Sturt and his party were again met by the Stony Desert, but
slightly varied in its aspect. Before abandoning his attempt to proceed,
the leader of the expedition laid the matter before his companions, and
he writes as follows: "I should be doing an injustice to Mr. Stuart and
my men, if I did not here mention that I told them the position we were
placed in, and the chance on which our safety would depend if we went on.
They might well have been excused if they expressed an opinion contrary
to such a course; but the only reply they made me was to assure me that
they were ready and willing to follow me to the last."
With much reluctance, however, Captain Sturt determined to return to
Cooper Creek without delay. They travelled night and day without
interruption, and on the morning of their arrival at the creek, one of
those terrible hot north winds, so much dreaded by the colonists, began
to blow with unusual violence. Lucky was it for them that it had not
overtaken them in the Desert, for they could scarcely have survived it.
The heat was awful; a thermometer, graduated to 127 degrees, burst,
though sheltered in the fork of a large tree, and their skin was
blistered by a torrent of fine sand, which was driven along by the fury
of the hurricane. They still had fearful difficulties to encounter, but
after an absence of nineteen months they returned safely to Adelaide.
The discouraging account of the interior which was brought by Captain
Sturt did not prevent other explorers from making further attempts; but
the terrible fate of Kennedy and his party on York Peninsula, and the
utter disappearance of Leichardt's expedition, both in the same year
(1848), had a very decided influence in checking the progress of
Australian exploration. Seven years later, in 1855, Mr. Gregory landed on
the north-west coast for the purpose of exploring the Victoria River, and
after penetrating as far south as latitude 20 degrees 16 minutes,
longitude 131 degrees 44 minutes, he was compelled to proceed to the head
of the Gulf of Carpentaria, and thence to Sydney along the route taken by
Dr. Leichardt in 1844. Shortly after his return Mr. Gregory was
despatched by the Government of New South Wales in 1857, to find, if
possible, some trace of the lost expedition of the lamented Leichardt;
his efforts, however, did nothing to clear up the mystery that enshrouds
the fate of that celebrated explorer.* (* It is possible that Mr.
McKinlay has been hasty in the opinion he formed from the graves and
remains of white men shown to him by Keri Keri, and the story related of
their massacre. May they not belong to Leichardt's party?)
The colonists of South Australia have always been distinguished for
promoting by private aid and public grant the cause of exploration. They
usually kept somebody in the field, whose discoveries were intended to
throw light on the caprices of Lake Torrens, at one time a vast inland
sea, at another a dry desert of stones and baked mud. Hack, Warburton,
Freeling, Babbage, and other well-known names, are associated with this
particular district, and, in 1858, Stuart started to the north-west of
the same country, accompanied by one white man (Forster) and a native. In
this, the first expedition which he had the honour to command, he was
aided solely by his friend Mr. William Finke, but in his later journeys
Mr. James Chambers also bore a share of the expense.* (* It is greatly to
be regretted that both these gentlemen are since dead. Mr. Chambers did
not survive to witness the success of his friend's later expeditions, and
the news of Mr. Finke's death reached us while these sheets were going
through the press.) This journey was commenced in May, 1858, from Mount
Eyre in the north to Denial and Streaky Bays on the west coast of the
Port Lincoln country. On this journey Mr. Stuart accomplished one of the
most arduous feats in all his travels, having, with one man only (the
black having basely deserted them), pushed through a long tract of dense
scrub and sand with unusual rapidity, thus saving his own life and that
of his companion. During this part of the journey they were without food
or water, and his companion was thoroughly dispirited and despairing of
success. This expedition occupied him till September, 1858, and was
undertaken with the object of examining the country for runs. On his
return the South Australian Government presented him with a large grant
of land in the district which he had explored.
Mr. Stuart now turned his attention to crossing the interior, and, with
the assistance of his friends Messrs. Chambers and Finke, he was enabled
to make two preparatory expeditions in the vicinity of Lake Torrens--from
April 2nd to July 3rd, 1859, and from November 4th, 1859, to January
21st, 1860. The fourth expedition started from Chambers Creek (discovered
by Mr. Stuart in 1858, and since treated as his head-quarters for
exploring purposes), on March 2nd, 1860, and consisted of Mr. Stuart and
two men, with thirteen horses. Proceeding steadily northwards, until the
country which his previous explorations had rendered familiar was left
far behind, on April 23rd the great explorer calmly records in his
Journal the following important announcement: "To-day I find from my
observations of the sun that I am now camped in the CENTRE OF AUSTRALIA."
One of the greatest problems of Australian discovery was solved! The
Centre of the continent was reached, and, instead of being an
inhospitable desert or an inland sea, it was a splendid grass country
through which ran numerous watercourses.
Leaving the Centre, a north-westerly course was followed, but, after
various repulses, a north-easterly course eventually carried the party as
far as latitude 18 degrees 47 minutes south, longitude 134 degrees, when
they were driven back by the hostility of the natives. As has already
been stated, Mr. Gregory in 1855, starting from the north-west coast, had
penetrated to the south as low as latitude 20 degrees 16 minutes,
longitude 127 degrees 35 minutes. Mr. Stuart had now reached a position
about half-way between Gregory's lowest southward point and the head of
the Gulf of Carpentaria. Without actually reaching the country explored
by Gregory, he had overlapped his brother explorer's position by one
degree and a half, or more than one hundred miles, and was about two
hundred and fifty miles in actual distance from the nearest part of the
shores of the Gulf. It is important to remark that the attack of the
savages which forced Mr. Stuart to return occurred on June 26th, 1860, so
that he had virtually crossed the continent two months before Messrs.
Burke and Wills had left Melbourne.* (* They did not leave Cooper Creek
until December 14th, rather more than a fortnight before Mr. Stuart
started on his fifth expedition.)
On New Year's day 1861, Mr. Stuart again left Adelaide, aided this time
by a grant from the Colonial Government of 2500 pounds, in addition to
the assistance of his well-tried friends Messrs. Chambers and Finke. He
made his former position with ease, and advanced about one hundred miles
beyond it, to latitude 17 degrees, longitude 133 degrees; but an
impenetrable scrub barred all further progress, and failing provisions,
etc., compelled him, after such prolonged and strenuous efforts that his
horses on one occasion were one hundred and six hours without water, most
reluctantly to return. The expedition arrived safely in the settled
districts in September, and the determined explorer, after a delay of
less than a month, was again despatched by the South Australian
Government along what had now become to him a familiar road. This time
success crowned his efforts; a passage was found northwards through the
opposing scrub, and leaving the Gulf of Carpentaria far to the right, the
Indian Ocean itself was reached. Other explorers had merely seen the rise
and fall of the tide in rivers, boggy ground and swamps intervening and
cutting off all chance of ever seeing the sea. But Stuart actually stood
on its shore and washed his hands in its waters! What a pleasure it must
have been to the leader when, knowing well from his reckoning that the
sea must be close at hand, but keeping it a secret from all except Thring
and Auld, he witnessed the joyful surprise of the rest of the party!
The expedition reached Adelaide safely, although for a long time the
leader's life was despaired of, the constant hardships of so many
journeys with scarcely any intermission having brought on a terrible
attack of scurvy. The South Australian Government in 1859 liberally
rewarded Mr. Stuart and his party for their successful enterprise.* (*
Mr. Stuart's qualities as a practised Bushman are unrivalled, and he has
always succeeded in bringing his party back without loss of life.) On the
10th of March a resolution was passed to the effect that a sum of 3500
pounds should be paid as a reward to John McDouall Stuart, Esquire, and
the members of his party, in the following proportions: Mr. Stuart 2000
pounds; Mr. Keckwick 500 pounds; Messrs. Thring and Auld 200 pounds each;
and Messrs. King, Billiatt, Frew, Nash, McGorrerey, and Waterhouse, 100
pounds each. Perhaps this is the most fitting place to express Mr.
Stuart's appreciation of the honour done him by the Royal Geographical
Society of London, in awarding him their gold medal and presenting him
with a gold watch. He wishes particularly to express his hearty thanks to
Sir Roderick Murchison, and the other distinguished members of the
society, for the lively interest they have evinced in his welfare.
Mr. Stuart's experiences have led him to form a very decided opinion as
to the cause of the well-known hot winds of Australia, so long the
subject of scientific speculation. North and north-west of Flinders Range
are large plains covered with stones, extending as far as latitude 25
degrees. To the north of that, although the sun was intensely hot, there
were no hot winds; in fact from that parallel of latitude to the Indian
Ocean, either going or returning, they were not met with. "On reaching
latitude 27 degrees on my return," writes Mr. Stuart, "I found the hot
winds prevailing again as on my outward journey. I saw no sandy desert to
which these hot winds have been attributed, but, on lifting some of the
stones that were lying on the surface,* I found them so hot that I was
obliged to drop them immediately. (* On the surface, as I suppose, of the
large plains North of Flinders Range. ED.) It is my opinion that when a
north wind blows across those stone-covered plains, it collects the heat
from them, and the air, becoming rarified, is driven on southwards with
increased vehemence. To the north of latitude 25 degrees, although
exposure to the sun in the middle of the day was very oppressive, yet the
moment we got under the shade of a tree we felt quite alive again; there
was none of that languid feeling which is experienced in the south during
a hot wind, as for example that which blew on the morning after reaching
the Hamilton,* in latitude 26 degrees 40 minutes. (* Journal 1861 to
1862.) That was one of the hottest winds I ever experienced. I had the
horses brought up at 7 o'clock, intending to proceed, but seeing there
was a very hot wind coming on, I had them turned out again. It was well I
did so, for before 10 o'clock all the horses were in small groups under
the trees, and the men lying under the shade of blankets unable to do
anything, so overpowering was the heat." Unfortunately, Mr. Stuart had no
Mr. Stuart is anxious to direct attention to the establishment of a
Telegraph line along his route. On this subject he writes as follows:--
"On my arrival in Adelaide from my last journey I found a great deal of
anxiety felt as to whether a line could be carried across to the mouth of
the Adelaide river. There would be a few difficulties in the way, but
none which could not be overcome and made to repay the cost of such an
undertaking. The first would be in crossing from Mr. Glen's station to
Chambers Creek, in finding timber sufficiently long for poles, supposing
that no more favourable line than I travelled over could be adopted, but
I have good reason for supposing that there is plenty of suitable timber
in the range and creek, not more than ten miles off my track: the
distance between the two places is one hundred miles. From Chambers Creek
through the spring country to the Gap in Hanson Range the cartage would
be a little farther, in consequence of the timber being scarce in some
places. There are many creeks in which it would be found, but I had not
time to examine them in detail. Another difficulty would be in crossing
the McDonnell Range, which is rough and ragged, but there is a great
quantity of timber in the Hugh; the distance to this in a straight line
is not more than seven miles; from thence to the Roper River there are a
few places where the cartage might be from ten to twenty miles, that is
in crossing the plains where only stunted gum-trees grow, but tall timber
can be obtained from the rising ground around them. From latitude 16
degrees 30 minutes south to the north coast, there would be no difficulty
whatever, as there is an abundance of timber everywhere. I am promised
information, through the kindness of Mr. Todd, of the Telegraph
department, as to the average cost of establishing the lines through the
outer districts of this colony, and it is my intention to make a
calculation of the cost of a line on my route, by which the comparative
merits and expense will be tested, and I am of opinion I shall be able to
show most favourable results. I should have been glad for this
information to have accompanied my works, but I find I cannot postpone
them longer for that purpose, as parties have already taken advantage of
the delay occasioned by my illness at the time of, and since, my arrival
home to collect what scraps of information they could obtain, with the
intention of publishing them as my travels. I leave the reward of such
conduct to a discriminating public; I shall not fail to carry out my
intention with regard to a Telegraph line; and should I have no
opportunity of submitting it to the public, I shall take care to advance
the matter in such channels as may be most likely to lead to a successful
issue. I beg reference to my map accompanying this work, which will at
once show the favourable geographical situation of the Adelaide River for
a settlement, and the short and safe route it opens up for communication
and trading with India: indeed when I look upon the present system of
shipping to that important empire, I cannot over-estimate the advantages
that such an extended intercourse would create."
Mr. Stuart is also very anxious for the formation of a new colony on the
scene of his discoveries on the River Adelaide, and would fain have been
one of the first pioneers of such an enterprise, but his health has been
so much shattered by his last journey that he can only now hope to see
younger men follow in the path which he had made his own. He writes as
"Judging from the experience I have had in travelling through the
Continent of Australia for the last twenty-two years, and also from the
description that other explorers have given of the different portions
they have examined in their journeys, I have no hesitation in saying,
that the country that I have discovered on and around the banks of the
Adelaide River is more favourable than any other part of the continent
for the formation of a new colony. The soil is generally of the richest
nature ever formed for the benefit of mankind: black and alluvial, and
capable of producing anything that could be desired, and watered by one
of the finest rivers in Australia. This river was found by Lieutenant
Helpman to be about four to seven fathoms deep at the mouth, and at one
hundred and twenty miles up (the furthest point he reached) it was found
to be about seven fathoms deep and nearly one hundred yards broad, with a
clear passage all the way up. I struck it about this point, and followed
it down, encamping fifteen miles from its mouth, and found the water
perfectly fresh, and the river broader and apparently very deep; the
country around most excellent, abundantly supplied with fresh water,
running in many flowing streams into the Adelaide River, the grass in
many places growing six feet high, and the herbage very close--a thing
seldom seen in a new country. The timber is chiefly composed of
stringy-bark, gum, myall, casurina, pine, and many other descriptions of
large timber, all of which will be most useful to new colonists. There is
also a plentiful supply of stone in the low rises suitable for building
purposes, and any quantity of bamboo can be obtained from the river from
two to fifty feet long. I measured one fifteen inches in circumference,
and saw many larger. The river abounds in fish and waterfowl of all
descriptions. On my arrival from the coast I kept more to the eastward of
my north course, with the intention of seeing further into the country. I
crossed the sources of the running streams before alluded to, and had
great difficulty in getting more to the west. They take their rise from
large bodies of springs coming from extensive grassy plains, which proves
there must be a very considerable underground drainage, as there are no
hills of sufficient elevation to cause the supply of water in these
streams. I feel confident that, if a new settlement is formed in this
splendid country, in a few years it will become one of the brightest gems
in the British Crown. To South Australia and some of the more remote
Australian colonies the benefits to be derived from the formation of such
a colony would be equally advantageous, creating an outlet for their
surplus beef and mutton, which would be eagerly consumed by the races in
the Indian Islands, and payment made by the shipment of their useful
ponies, and the other valuable products of those islands; indeed I see
one of the finest openings I am aware of for trading between these
islands and a colony formed where proposed."
Mr. Stuart was accompanied on his last journey by Mr. Waterhouse, a
clever naturalist, whose report to the Commissioner of Crown Lands of
South Australia, although too long for insertion here, is full of most
interesting information. Unfortunately, the interests of geographical
science were apparently lost sight of in the hurry to effect the grand
object of the expedition, namely, to cross from sea to sea. Thermometers
were forgotten; two mounted maps of the country from Chambers Creek to
Newcastle Water, in a tin case, never came to hand, and the expedition
was provided with no means of estimating even the approximate height of
the elevated land or of the mountains in the interior. As Mr. Waterhouse
remarks: "The thermometers were much needed, as it would have been very
desirable to have kept a register of the temperature, and to have tested
occasionally the degree of heat at which water boiled on the high table
lands. The loss of the maps prevented my marking down at the time on the
maps the physical features of the country, and the distribution of its
fauna and flora."
Mr. Waterhouse divides the country into three divisions. The first, which
extends from Goolong Springs to a little north of the Gap in Hanson
Range, latitude 27 degrees 18 minutes 23 seconds, may be called the
spring and saltbush country. The second division commences north of the
Gap in Hanson Range, and extends to the southern side of Newcastle Water,
latitude 17 degrees 36 minutes 29 seconds. It is marked by great scarcity
of water--in fact, there are few places where water can be relied on as
permanent--and also by the presence of the porcupine grass (Triodia
pungens of Gregory, and Spinifex of Stuart), which is the prevailing
flora. The third division commences from the north end of Newcastle
Water, latitude 17 degrees 16 minutes 20 seconds, and extends to Van
Diemen Gulf, latitude 12 degrees 12 minutes 30 seconds; it comprises a
large part of Sturt Plains, with soil formed of a fine lacustrine
deposit, the valleys of the Roper filled with a luxuriant tropical
vegetation, and thence to the Adelaide River and the sea-coast.
On visiting Hergott Springs, Mr. Waterhouse learnt that Mr. Burtt, whose
station* is only a few miles distant, in opening these springs discovered
some fossil bones, casts of which were forwarded to Professor Owen, who
pronounced them to be the remains of a gigantic extinct marsupial, named
Diprotodon Australis. (* Hergott Springs were only discovered and named
by Stuart three years before, yet we now find a station close by them.
The explorer is not far ahead of his fellow-colonists, as is well
remarked by the Edinburgh Review for July, 1862: "Australian occupation
has kept close on the heels of Australian discovery.") Bones of this
animal have also been found in a newer tertiary formation in New South
Wales. Mr. Waterhouse considers that a great tertiary drift extends over
this part of the country, obscuring and concealing at no great depth
below the surface many springs, which may hereafter be discovered as the
country becomes better known.
The Louden Spa is a hot spring arising out of a small hillock, and
proceeds from the fissures of volcanic rock. This water is medicinal, but
not disagreeable to the taste: the damper made with it was very light,
and tasted like soda-bread.
In his remarks on the second division Mr. Waterhouse states much that is
valuable. He estimates the height of Mount Hay at two thousand feet,
regarding it as the highest point of the McDonnell Range, which is the
natural centre of this part of the continent. Mr. Waterhouse only saw
Chambers Pillar from a distance, but he had an opportunity of examining a
smaller hill of the same character, and found it to be composed of a soft
loose argillaceous rock, at the top of which was a thin stratum of a hard
siliceous rock, much broken up. "The isolated hills appear to have been
at some remote period connected, but from the soft and loose nature of
the lower rock meeting with the action of water, had arisen a succession
of landslips. These have been washed away and others have followed in
their turn; the upper rock, from being undermined, has fallen down and
broken up, supplying the peculiar siliceous stones so widely distributed
on parts of the surface of the country."
The vegetation of this district is poor; the myall is scarce, but the
mulga (Acacia aneura) generally plentiful. Both these shrubs are species
of acacia, the myall being of much larger growth and longer lived than
the mulga. Nutritious grass is seldom found except in the immediate
vicinity of the creeks, and the scrubs are very extensive.
Mr. Waterhouse collected a great number of specimens of natural history,
but, from want of the convenience for carrying them, many of the more
delicate objects were broken.
In the Appendix will be found some remarks by Mr. John Gould, F.R.S.,
etc., on the birds collected by Mr. Waterhouse during Mr. Stuart's
expedition, including a description of a new and beautiful parrakeet.
There are also descriptions of new species of Freshwater Shells from the
same expedition, by Mr. Arthur Adams, F.L.S., and Mr. G. French Angas, to
the skill of which latter gentleman this work is indebted for its
Dr. Muller, the Government Botanist, Director of the Botanic Garden at
Melbourne, in his report to both Houses of the Legislature of Victoria,
April 15th, 1863, says, "A series of all the plants collected during Mr.
J.M. Stuart's last expedition was presented by the Hon. H. Strangways,
Commissioner of Crown Lands for South Australia, and those of the former
expeditions of that highly distinguished explorer, by the late J.
Chambers, Esquire, of North Adelaide." Of this collection, Dr. Muller has
furnished a systematic enumeration, which will be found in the Appendix.
This enumeration must not, however, be accepted as final, for Dr. Muller
has forwarded all the specimens to England for the inspection of Mr.
Bentham, the learned President of the Linnaean Society of London, who is
now elaborating his great and exhaustive work on the Flora of Australia,
the second volume of which will shortly be before the public.
JOURNAL OF MR. STUART'S EXPEDITION TO THE NORTH-WEST. MAY TO SEPTEMBER,
JOURNAL OF MR. STUART'S SECOND EXPEDITION (IN THE VICINITY OF LAKE
TORRENS). APRIL TO JULY, 1859.
JOURNAL OF MR. STUART'S THIRD EXPEDITION (IN THE VICINITY OF LAKE
TORRENS). NOVEMBER, 1859, TO JANUARY, 1860.
JOURNAL OF MR. STUART'S FOURTH EXPEDITION (FIXING THE CENTRE OF THE
CONTINENT). FROM MARCH TO SEPTEMBER, 1860.
JOURNAL OF MR. STUART'S FIFTH EXPEDITION. FROM NOVEMBER, 1860, TO
JOURNAL OF MR. STUART'S SUCCESSFUL EXPEDITION ACROSS THE CONTINENT OF
AUSTRALIA. FROM DECEMBER, 1861, TO DECEMBER, 1862.
(LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
PORTRAIT OF JOHN MACDOUALL STUART. Adelaide, April 1863. Professor Hall.
SKETCH MAP OF AUSTRALIA, SHOWING THE POSITION OF MR. STUART'S ROUTE.
NORTH-WEST OF STUART'S CREEK.
NORTH-WEST POINT OF LAKE TORRENS.
THE HERMIT HILL AND FINNISS SPRINGS.
SOUTH SHORE OF LAKE EYRE.
CENTRAL MOUNT STUART.
TABLE LAND AND VALLEY OF THE ADELAIDE.
PLANTING THE FLAG ON THE SHORES OF THE INDIAN OCEAN.)
EXPLORATIONS IN AUSTRALIA.
JOURNAL OF MR. STUART'S EXPEDITION TO THE NORTH-WEST. MAY TO SEPTEMBER,
On the 14th of May, 1858, Mr. Stuart started from Oratunga (the head
station of Mr. John Chambers), accompanied by Mr. Barker, with six
horses, and all that was requisite (with one important exception, as will
be seen hereafter), for an excursion to the north-west of Swinden's
Country. They arrived at Aroona the same evening. On the following day
(the 15th) they made Morleeanna Creek, and reached Ootaina on the 16th,
about 7 p.m. Here they remained for a couple of days, as sufficient rain
had not fallen to enable them to proceed. On the afternoon of the 19th
they arrived at Mr. Sleep's, who informed them that Mr. M. Campbell had
returned from the West, being hard pushed for water; very little rain
having fallen to the west. The next day (20th) Mr. Stuart arrived at Mr.
Louden's, but, in consequence of some difficulties about the horses, he
returned to Ootaina. Various preparations, combined with want of rain,
compelled him to delay his start until the 10th of June. Here the journal
Thursday, 10th June, 1858. Started from Ootaina at 1 p.m. for Beda.
Camped on the plain, about thirteen miles from Mount Eyre.
Friday, 11th June, West Plain. Made Mudleealpa at 11 a.m. The horses
would not drink the water. Proceeded for about five miles towards Beda.
The plains are fearfully dry; they have the appearance as if no rain had
fallen here for a long time, and I am very much afraid there will be no
water at Beda. If such should be the case, the horses will suffer too
much in the beginning of their journey to be without a drink to-night. I
think it will be best to return to Mudleealpa, leave our saddles,
rations, etc. there, and drive the horses back to water. I sent Mr.
Forster back with them, telling him if he can find no water between this
and Mr. Sleep's, to take them there, remain for the night, give them a
drink in the morning, and return; we shall then be able to make a fresh
start to-morrow. Bearings: Mount Arden, 154 degrees 30 minutes; Mount
Eyre, 77 degrees 30 minutes; Beda Hill, 272 degrees; Mount Elder, 64
degrees 50 minutes; Dutchman's Stern, 162 degrees 15 minutes.
Saturday, 12th June, Mudleealpa. In examining the creek a little higher
up, we found another well. By cleaning it out, the water is drinkable.
The horses did not arrive until it was too late to start, and having
water here now, that they can drink, we camped here another night.
Sunday, 13th June, Mudleealpa. Started for Beda. Some of the horses would
not drink the water, and others drank very little: they will be glad to
drink far worse than this before they come back, or I am much mistaken.
Arrived at Beda at sundown. I was right in my opinion; no fresh water to
be found; nothing but salt, salter than the sea. I can see nothing of Mr.
Babbage's* encampment; he must be higher up the creek. All the country we
have come over to-day is very dry. (* It will probably be recollected
that Mr. Babbage was sent out by the Government to make a north-west
course through the continent, but, when at the Elizabeth, he made an
unaccountable detour, and found himself at Port Augusta, his original
starting-point. On my return from this journey he called on me at Mount
Arden, when I furnished him with such information as he required, and he
again started, and made Chambers' Creek, which I had previously found and
named after my old friend, Mr. James Chambers, but which he called
Stuart's Creek in acknowledgment of my information, etc. J. McD. Stuart.)
Monday, 14th June, Beda. This morning we have searched all round, but can
find no fresh water, although there are numerous places that would retain
water if any quantity had fallen. Mr. Forster, whom I had sent up the
creek to Mr. Babbage's, to inquire if there was any water at Pernatta,
has returned with the information that Mr. B. was up there with all his
horses, and that there was still a little water, but not much. Started at
11.30 a.m. for that place; camped in the sand hills one hour after dark.
Here we found some pig-faces* which the horses eat freely. (* These
pig-faces belong to the Mesembryaceae, of which the common ice-plant of
our gardens is an example.) There is a great deal of moisture in them,
and they are a first-rate thing for thirsty horses; besides, they have a
powerful diuretic effect. I was unable to fix Beda Hill, all my time
being taken up in looking for water, but I hope to get its position at
Pernatta. The country was very heavy--sand hills.
Tuesday, 15th June, Sand Hills. Started at break of day for Pernatta.
About 10 a.m. met Mr. Babbage's two men returning with some of the horses
for rations. They informed me that the water was nearly all gone, but
that there was plenty in the Elizabeth, nineteen miles from Pernatta. I
intended to keep on the track, but our black insisted that Pernatta lay
through a gap, and not round the bluff. I allowed him to have his own
way. Our route was through a very stony saddle. When there we saw a gum
creek, and made for it; when we arrived at the creek he told us that was
Pernatta. We looked for water, and found a little hole, which, to our
great disappointment, contained salt water. Could see nothing of Mr.
Babbage's camp. I then asked our black where there was another water; he
said, "Down the creek," which we followed. He took us to five or six
water holes, with native names, every one dry. The last one he called
Yolticourie. It being now within an hour of sundown, I would follow him
no longer, but unsaddled, and told Mr. Forster to take the black and the
horses, and to steer for the bluff; if he found no water between, to
intersect Mr. Babbage's tracks, and follow them up and get water. I
remained with our provisions. The black fellow evidently does not know
the country. I am sorry that I have taken him with me. I think I shall
send him back; he is of little use in assisting to get the horses in the
Wednesday, 16th June, Yolticourie. The horses have returned; they found
no water last night; they were obliged to camp for the night, it being so
dark, but they found Mr. Babbage's camp very early. The horses drank all
the water. I was wrong in blaming the black fellow; he took us to the
RIGHT Pernatta. It is another water that Mr. B. is encamped at. He moves
to-day for the Elizabeth, which I also will do. He found the remains of
poor Coulthard yesterday. We must have passed quite close to them in our
search for water. He has sent for me to come and assist at the burial. It
being so late in the day (12 o'clock), and the horses requiring more
water, and he having four men besides himself, I do not see that I can be
of any use, and it might cause me to lose another day, and the horses to
be another night without water, which would be an injury to them, they
not having had sufficient this morning. Mr. B. also sent to say that he
would accompany me to the Elizabeth. I have delayed an hour for him, and
he has not yet made his appearance; it being now 1 o'clock, and having to
travel seventeen miles, I can wait no longer. Started for Bottle Hill;
arrived on the south side of the hill an hour and a half before sundown,
found some water and plenty of grass; encamped for the night. Distance
to-day, seventeen miles. The former part of the journey was over very
stony country; the latter part very heavy sand hills.
Thursday, 17th June, Bottle Hill. Got on the top of Bottle Hill to take
bearings, but was disappointed; could see no hill except one, which was
either Mount Deception or Mount North-west; the bearing was 51 degrees 30
minutes. There is a small cone of stones on the top, and a flat stone on
the top of it, with the names of Louden and Burtt. From here I saw the
gum trees in the Elizabeth; course to them 325 degrees 30 minutes, seven
miles to the creek. The country from the hill here is of the very worst
description--nothing but sand and salt bush.
Friday, 18th June, The Elizabeth. We must rest our horses to-day, they
have not yet recovered from their long thirst. I am quite disappointed
with this creek and the surrounding country. The water is not permanent,
it is only rain water; since we arrived yesterday it has shrunk a great
deal. There are small plains on each side from a quarter to half a mile
broad with salt bush; the hills are very stony with a little salt bush,
and destitute of timber, except the few gum-trees in the creek and the
mulga bushes in the sand hills.
Saturday, 19th June, The Elizabeth. The sky was quite overcast with cloud
during the night, and a few drops of rain fell, but of no consequence.
Started at 9.30 a.m., on a bearing of 308 degrees for six miles; changed
the bearing to 355 degrees for one mile and a half; next bearing 328
degrees for four miles, to the north side of a dry swamp; next bearing 4
degrees for ten miles and a half; next bearing 350 degrees for four miles
to a sand hill. Camped. Distance to-day, twenty-five miles, over a very
bad country, with large fragments of a hard flinty stone covering the
surface. Salt bush with small sand hills. No water.
Sunday, 20th June, Sand Hill. Started at 9 a.m., on a course of 25
degrees for sixteen miles. At 1 p.m., came upon a creek, in which I
thought there might be water; examined it and found two water holes, with
plenty of grass upon their banks. The water is not permanent. Our course
to-day has been across stony plains (covered on the surface with
fragments resembling hard white quartz), with sand hills about two miles
broad dividing them. The black did not know of this water; I am very
doubtful of his knowing anything of the country. The stony plains are
surrounded by high heavy sand hills, especially to the west and
north-west; I dare not attempt to get through them without rain. They are
much higher than the country that I am travelling through. It seems as if
there had been no rain for twelve months, every thing is so dried and
parched up. On further examination of the creek we have found a large
hole of clear water, with rushes growing round it; I almost think it is
permanent, and intend to run the risk of falling back upon it should I be
forced to retreat and wait for rain. The creek seems to drain the large
stony plains that we crossed; the water is three and a half feet deep,
ten yards wide, by forty yards long.
Monday, 21st June, Water Creek. Started at 9.30 a.m. on a course of 25
degrees. At a mile passed a small table-topped hill to the west of our
line; at three miles and a half crossed the creek; at four miles passed
another table-topped hill connected with the low range to the east, and
passed the first ironstone hill; at seven miles changed to 55 degrees; at
eight miles halted at a large permanent water hole (Andamoka). I can with
safety say that this is permanent; it is a splendid water hole, nearly as
large as the one at the mouth of the gorge in the John. The low range to
the east of our course, and running nearly parallel with it, is composed
of conglomerate, quartz, and a little ironstone. Part of to-day's journey
was over low undulating sandy and very well grassed country. There seems
to have been a little rain here lately; the grass is springing
beautifully. At eleven miles we came upon a salt lagoon (Wealaroo) two
miles long by one broad. From the north end of it, on a bearing of 55
degrees, one mile and a half will strike Andamoka. I think we have now
left the western sand hills behind us; and now that we have permanent
water to fall back on, I shall strike into the north-west to-morrow. The
distance travelled to-day was fifteen miles. The country around this
water consists of bold stony rises and sand, with salt bush and grass; no
timber except mulga and a few myall bushes in the creek. On an
examination of the creek, we have found salt water above and below this
hole. In one place above there are cakes of salt one inch and a half
thick, a convincing proof that this is supplied by springs.
Tuesday, 22nd June, Andamoka. Started on a bearing of 342 degrees. At
seven miles and a half, crossed a low stony range running east-north-east
and west-south-west, which turned out to be table land, with sand hills
crossing our line, bearing to a high range east of us 93 degrees 30
minutes. About eight miles in the same direction there is the appearance
of a long salt lake. At nine miles and a half, on a sand hill, I obtained
the following bearings: Mount North-west, 60 degrees 30 minutes; Mount
Deception, 95 degrees. At eleven miles and a half passed a large reedy
swamp on our left, dry. At seventeen miles sand hills ceased. At eighteen
miles and a half the sand hills again commenced, and we changed our
course to north for three miles. Camped for the night at a creek of
permanent water, very good. The last four miles of to-day's journey have
been over very stony rises with salt bush and a little grass.
Wednesday, 23rd June, Permanent Water Creek. The horses had strayed so
far that we did not get a start until 10 a.m. Bearing to-day, 318
degrees. At two miles crossed a tea-tree creek, in which there is water,
coming from the stony rises, and running to the north of east. At six
miles the sand hills again commence. To this place we have come over a
stony plain, covered on the surface with fragments of limestone, quartz,
and ironstone, with salt bush and grass. In a watery season it must be
well covered with grass; the old grass is lying between the salt bushes.
We have a view of part of the lake (Torrens) bearing north-east about
fifteen or twenty miles from us; to the west again the stony rises,
apparently more open. At ten miles, in the sand hills, we have again a
view of Flinders range. The bearings are: Mount North-west, 78 degrees 35
minutes; Mount Deception, 107 degrees. At fourteen and a half miles we
found a clay-pan of water, with beautiful green feed for the horses. As
we don't know when we shall find more water, and as Forster has a damper
to bake, I decide to camp for the rest of the day. Our route has lain
over heavy sand hills for the last eight miles.
Thursday, 24th June, Sand Hills. At 8.30 we left on a course of 340
degrees, commencing with about two miles of rather heavy sand hills. At
eight miles these sand hills diminished, and the valleys between them
became much wider--both sand hills and valleys being well covered with
grass and salt bush, with courses of lime and ironstone cropping out and
running east and west. At twelve miles changed our course to 79 degrees,
to examine a gum creek (Yarraout), which we ran down for water, but did
not obtain it before four miles, when we found a small hole of rain
water. This creek seems to be a hunting-ground of the natives, as we saw
a great many summer worleys on its banks. They had evidently been here
to-day, for, a little above where we first struck the creek, we saw some
smoke, but on following it up, we found they had gone; most likely they
had seen us and run away. The latter part of our journey to-day was over
a stony plain, bounded on the west by the stony table land with the sand
hills on the top. All this country seems to have been under water, and is
most likely the bed of Lake Torrens, or Captain Sturt's inland sea. In
travelling over the plains, one is reminded of going over a rough,
gravelly beach; the stones are all rounded and smooth. Distance to-day,
Friday, 25th June, Yarraout Gum Creek. Started at 9.40 from the point
where we first struck the creek last night, bearing 20 degrees for two
miles, thence 61 degrees for one mile to a high sand hill, thence 39
degrees for one mile to a stony rise. My doubt of the black fellow's
knowledge of the country is now confirmed; he seems to be quite lost, and
knows nothing of the country, except what he has heard other blacks
relate; he is quite bewildered and points all round when I ask him the
direction of Wingillpin. I have determined to push into the westward,
keeping a little north of west. Bearing 292 degrees for five miles, sand
hills; thence 327 degrees to a table-hill nine miles. Camped without
water. Our route to-day has been through sand hills, with a few miles of
stones and dry reedy swamp, all well grassed, but no water. We came
across some natives, who kept a long distance off. I sent our black up to
them, to ask in which direction Wingillpin lay. They pointed to the
course I was then steering, and said, "Five sleeps." They would not come
near to us. About three-quarters of an hour afterwards I came suddenly
upon another native, who was hunting in the sand hills. My attention
being engaged in keeping the bearing, I did not observe him until he
moved, but I pulled up at once, lest he should run away, and called to
him. What he imagined I was I do not know; but when he turned round and
saw me, I never beheld a finer picture of astonishment and fear. He was a
fine muscular fellow, about six feet in height, and stood as if riveted
to the spot, with his mouth wide open, and his eyes staring. I sent our
black forward to speak with him, but omitted to tell him to dismount. The
terrified native remained motionless, allowing our black to ride within a
few yards of him, when, in an instant, he threw down his waddies, and
jumped up into a mulga bush as high as he could, one foot being about
three feet from the ground, and the other about two feet higher, and kept
waving us off with his hand as we advanced. I expected every moment to
see the bush break with his weight. When close under the bush, I told our
black to inquire if he were a Wingillpin native. He was so frightened he
could not utter a word, and trembled from head to foot. We then asked him
where Wingillpin was. He mustered courage to let go one hand, and
emphatically snapping his fingers in a north-west direction, again waved
us off. I take this emphatic snapping of his fingers to mean a long
distance. Probably this Wingillpin may be Cooper's Creek. We then left
him, and proceeded on our way through the sand hills. About an hour
before sunset, we came in full sight of a number of tent and table-topped
hills to the north-west, the stony table land being to the south of us,
and the dip of the country still towards Lake Torrens. I shall keep a
little more to the west to-morrow if possible, to get the fall of the
country the other way. The horses' shoes have been worn quite thin by the
stones, and will not last above a day or two. Nay, some of the poor
animals are already shoeless. It is most unfortunate that we did not
bring another set with us. Distance to-day, twenty-four miles.
Saturday, 26th June, Edge of Plain. Started at 9.30 a.m., on a bearing of
314 degrees 30 minutes, over an undulating plain, with low sand hills and
wide valleys, with plenty of grass and salt bush. After ten miles the
sand hills ceased, and at thirteen miles we reached the point of the
stony table land. Here we saw, to the north-north-west, what was
apparently a large gum creek, running north-east and south-west. Changing
our bearing to 285 degrees, after seven miles of very bad stony plain,
thinly covered with salt bush and grass, we came upon the creek, and
found long reaches of permanent water, divided here and there by only a
few yards of rocks, and bordered by reeds and rushes. The water hole, by
which we camped, is from forty to fifty feet wide, and half a mile in
length; the water is excellent, and I could see small fish in it about
two inches long. About ten miles down the creek the country seems to be
more open, and the gum-trees much larger, and in a distant bend of the
creek I can perceive a large body of water. The first of the seven or
eight tent-like hills that were to the east of our route to-day presents
a somewhat remarkable appearance. Of a conical form, it comes to a point
like a Chinaman's hat, and is encircled near the top by a black ring,
while some rocks resembling a white tower crown the summit. Distance
to-day, twenty miles.
Sunday, 27th June, Large Water Creek. Cloudy morning, with prospect of
rain. A swan visited the water hole last night, and to-day we have seen
both the mountain duck and the large black duck. Having a shoe to fix
upon Jersey, and my courses to map down, we did not get a start until 10
o'clock, and we were obliged to stop early in consequence of the grey
mare getting so lame that we were unable to proceed. We had an old shoe
or two, and Mr. Forster managed to get one on the mare. We started to-day
on a bearing of 270 degrees for eight miles to a low flat-topped hill,
when we changed to 220 degrees for five miles to a gum creek with rain
water. About five miles to the north of our line there are flat-topped
ranges, running north-east. The main creek runs on the south side of this
course, and nearly parallel to it. Further to the south, at a distance of
about ten miles, is still the stony table land with the sand hills. The
country is fearfully stony, but improves a little in grass as we get
west. It seems to be well watered. Distance to-day, about twelve miles.
Monday, 28th June, Gum Creek. There has been a little rain during the
night, and it is still coming down. As I am so far north, I regret that I
am unable to go a little further, fearing the lameness of the horses from
the stony nature of the country. I intend to follow the creek up, if it
comes from the west, or a little to the north of west, to see if I cannot
make the fall of the country to the south-west, and get on a better road
for the horses. We started on a bearing of 305 degrees, but after a mile
and a half, finding the creek wind too much to the north, we changed our
course to 287 degrees for five miles to a small flat-topped hill. Changed
our bearing again to 281 degrees for twenty-two miles to a tent hill, on
the south side of which we camped. This part of the country is very stony
and bad, with salt bush and very little grass. It has evidently been the
course of a large water at some time, and reminded me of the stony desert
of Captain Sturt. Bleak, barren, and desolate, it grows no timber, so
that we scarcely can find sufficient wood to boil our quart pot. The
rain, which poured down upon us all day, so softened the ground that the
horses could tread the stones into it, and we got along much better than
we expected. Distance to-day, twenty-eight miles and a half.
Tuesday, 29th June, South Side of Tent Hill. Started at 8.30 a.m. on a
bearing of 305 degrees. At eight miles crossed a gum creek, with
polyganum, running to the north. At twelve miles crossed another,
trending in the same direction. These creeks are wide and formed into
numerous channels. I expected to have done thirty miles to-day, but am
disappointed, for we were obliged to halt early, after having gone only
eighteen miles, as my horse was quite lame. How much do we feel the want
of another set of horse-shoes! We have, however, still got an old shoe
left, which is put on this afternoon. It had continued raining all last
night, but not heavily, and cleared off in the morning shortly after we
started. Our travelling to-day has been still very stony, over stony
rises; the stony table land that has been all along on our left is now
trending more to the south-west. The country is more open: in looking at
it from one of the rises it has the appearance of an immense plain,
studded with isolated flat-topped hills. The last eight miles is better
grassed and has more salt bush. Camped on a small creek in the stony
rises. Distance to-day, eighteen miles.
Wednesday, 30th June, Stony Rises. We had a little rain in the former
part of the night, and a very heavy dew in the morning. Started at 9.30
a.m., bearing 305 degrees; at five miles crossed the upper part of a gum
creek, and at twelve miles ascended a high flat-topped hill, commanding a
view of an immense stony plain, but it is so hazy that we can see nothing
beyond ten miles. From this hill we changed our course to 309 degrees to
a saddle in the next range. At four miles halted at a gum creek, with
plenty of green feed. Made a very short journey to-day in consequence of
the horses being quite lame. In addition to their want of shoes, a stiff,
tenacious brown clay adhered to the hoof, and picked up the small round
stones, which pressed on the frog of the foot. These pebbles were as
firmly packed as if they had been put in with cement, so that we had hard
work to keep the hoofs clear. Distance travelled, sixteen miles. Weather
Thursday, 1st July, Gum Greek. The horses have had such poor food for the
last week that I shall rest them to-day. About half a mile below us there
is a large water hole a quarter of a mile long, with a number of black
ducks upon it, but they are very shy. It rained very heavily and without
intermission all last night and to-day. This creek is visited by a great
many natives. We saw them making away as we approached.
Friday, 2nd July, Same Place. The creek came down last night: it is now a
sheet of water two hundred yards broad. Started at 8.45 a.m. over a stony
plain on a bearing of 309 degrees, to the saddle in the range. I ascended
one of the highest hills in this range, but the day was too dull to see
far. I could, however, distinguish what appeared to be a wooded country*
in the distance, from south-west to north-east. (* This "wooded country"
afterwards turned out to be sand hills, with scrub.) Observing that the
country a little more to the north was less stony, I changed our course
to a bearing of 344 degrees, over a plain thinly covered with gravelly
stones, consisting of quartz, ironstone, and a dark reddish-brown stone,
with a good deal of gypsum cropping out. The soil is of a light-brown
colour, with plenty of dry grass upon it, and very little salt bush. In
the spring time it must look beautiful. The country was so boggy from the
heavy rains, that for the sake of my horse I was obliged to stop early.
Camped at a gum creek coming from the south-west, and running a little to
the east of north. Distance to-day, eighteen miles.
Sunday, 4th July, Same Place. Not the slightest appearance of a change.
It rained in torrents all night and all day, though at sundown it seemed
to be breaking a little. The creek came down in the forenoon, overflowed
its banks, and left us on an island before we knew what we were about. We
were obliged to seek a higher place. Not content with depriving us of our
first worley, it has now forced us to retreat to a bare hill, without any
protection from the weather. The rain has come from the north-east.
Monday, 5th July, Same Place. The rain lasted the greater part of the
night, but became light before morning. Started at 12.30 on a bearing of
312 degrees for eleven miles to some sand hills. A fearfully hard day's
work for the poor horses over a stony plain, sinking up to their knees in
mud, until at eight miles we crossed a reedy swamp two miles in breadth,
and how many in length I know not, for it seemed all one sheet of water:
it took our horses up to their bellies.
Tuesday, 6th July, Sand Hills. All our rations and everything we have got
being perfectly saturated with wet, I have made up my mind to stop and
put them to rights; if we neglect them it will soon be all over with us.
This was a beautiful day, not a cloud to be seen. There are a great many
natives' tracks in these sand hills, and plenty of grass.
Wednesday, 7th July, Sand Hills. Heavy dew last night. Started on a
bearing of 312 degrees at 9 a.m. At eleven miles the sand hills cease,
and stony plain commences. The sand hills were well grassed: also the
stony plain. Dip of the country still north-east. We crossed two
watercourses--one at this side of the plain, and the other two miles
back, broad and shallow. I could see gum-trees on the latter about two
miles to the north-east as if it formed itself into a deeper channel.
Travelling very heavy. Distance to-day, twenty-five miles.
Thursday, 8th July, Sand Hills. A very heavy dew again last night.
Started at 9 a.m. At one mile we came on yesterday's course; could see
nothing; changed the bearing to 272 degrees. At seven miles crossed a
creek running north and a little west, the water being up to our
saddle-flaps. At twelve miles the sand hills ceased, and we came upon an
elevated plain, of a light-brown soil, with fragments of stone on the
surface. At twenty-five miles, in the middle of this plain, we camped,
without wood, and in sight of a large range in the far distance to the
west. Distance to-day, twenty-five miles.
Friday, 9th July, Large Plain. Left our camp at 8.50 a.m. on the same
bearing as yesterday, 272 degrees. At one mile and half came upon a creek
of water, seemingly permanent. Judging from the immense quantity of dry
grass that is strewn over the plain, this must be a beautiful country in
spring. The dip of the country is to the north and west. Our horses are
all very lame for want of shoes, and the boggy state of the soil to-day
has tried them severely. If the country does not become less stony, I
shall be compelled to leave some of them behind. We camped on a gum creek
about three miles to the west of the range. My only hope now of cutting
Cooper's Creek is on the other side of the range. The plain we crossed
to-day resembles those of the Cooper, also the grasses; if it is not
there, it must run to the north-west, and form the Glenelg of Captain
Grey. Distance to-day, twenty-one miles.
Saturday, 10th July, Gum Creek, West End of Large Stony Plain. Rested the
horses to-day. This evening we were surprised to hear a dog barking* at
the grey mare; its colour was black and tan. (* It is commonly supposed
that the native dingo or wild dog does not bark. This is an error. The
dog in this instance being black and tan, was probably a hybrid. (See
Sunday, 11th July, Same Place. This morning the sun rose at 62 degrees.
Bearing to-day, 272 degrees, so as to round the point of range, which
seems to have a little mallee in the gullies on this side, and some trees
on the west side. Started at 8.30 a.m., and at four miles ascended the
highest point of the range. The view to the north-east is over an immense
stony plain with broken hills in the distance. To the north is also the
plain, with table-hills in the far distance. To the north-west is the
termination of the range running north-east and south-west, distant about
ten miles; about half-way between is a gum creek running to north-east.
To the west is the same range, and a number of conical hills between.
Changed our bearing to 220 degrees in order to break through the range.
This range is very stony, composed of a hard milky-white flint stone, and
white and yellow chalky substance, with a gradual descent on the other
side to the south, which is the finest salt-bush country that I have
seen, with a great quantity of grass upon it. The grey mare has been very
bad; her belly was very much swollen, but this morning she seemed better.
Towards afternoon, however, she fagged very much, which caused me to stop
so soon. I am almost afraid that I shall lose her. I shall see how she is
in the morning, and, if she is no better, I will endeavour to get her on
to some permanent water or creek running to the south. I think we have
now made the dip of the country to the south, but the mirage is so
powerful that little bushes appear like great gum-trees, which makes it
very difficult to judge what is before us; it is almost as bad as
travelling in the dark. I never saw it so bright nor so continuous as it
is now; one would think that the whole country was under water. Camped
without water. No timber as yet on this side of the range, except a few
bushes in the creek. A good deal of rain has fallen here lately, and the
vegetation is looking fresh.
Monday, 12th July, Large Salt-Bush and Grass Plain. The mare seems a
little better this morning, and I shall be able to make a short journey.
There was a very heavy white frost during the night, and it was bitterly
cold. Not a hill to be seen either to the south-west or west--nothing but
plain. Left our camp at 8.30 a.m. on a bearing of 220 degrees; at two
miles and a half changed to 112 degrees for three miles to a small creek
running south with plenty of feed and water. We found our horses very
much done up this morning; they could scarcely travel over the stones,
which caused me to alter my course to the eastward, where I found the
travelling generally better. All the horses are now so lame that I shall
require to rest them before I can proceed. They will not walk above two
miles an hour among the stones. The stony plain seems to continue a long
way to the south-west, but the country being undulating and the mirage so
strong, I cannot say precisely. I intend to see where this creek will
lead me to, for I cannot face the stones again. Our distance to-day, five
miles and a half.
Tuesday, 13th July, Mulga Creek. Went to the highest point on the stony
range east of us, but could only see a very short distance. There are a
number of creeks on the eastern side running into this one. The range is
low and very stony, composed of flints and pebbles of all colours. No
Wednesday, 14th July, Same Place. During the night it became very cloudy,
and I was afraid we were going to have more rain, but it has ended in a
light shower, and cleared off this morning. I shall follow down the creek
and see what it leads to. The grey mare still seems very bad, and I must
make short journeys until she gets a little better. Started at 8.30 a.m.,
bearing 180 degrees for eight miles to Large Mulga Creek, thence 192
degrees for four miles. The country to-day is good on both sides of the
creek, a good salt-bush country with plenty of grass, but rather stony.
The gum trees are becoming a little larger on the creek, which at present
is formed into a great many channels. The timber consists of mulga and
dwarf gum, with saplings. There is plenty of water in the creek at
present, from the late rain, but I see nothing to indicate its becoming
permanent. Distance to-day, twelve miles.
Thursday, 15th July, Mulga and Gum Creek. Left the camp at 9 a.m. on a
bearing of 190 degrees for two miles, thence 230 degrees for one mile and
a half, thence 250 degrees for four miles and a half, thence 286 degrees
for two miles, thence 290 degrees for one mile, thence 270 degrees for
five miles, thence 320 degrees for one mile, to camp at some mallee. The
country on both sides of the creek is good, but subject to be flooded;
the width of the plain is about fifteen miles, bounded on the south side
by bare stony rises, and on the north by scrubby rises. The creek spreads
itself all over the plain, which seems to be very extensive. It has been
excessively cold to-day: wind from the west. Distance to-day, seventeen
Friday, 16th July, Large Plain, Mulga and Gum Creek. Left the camp at 9
a.m., on a bearing of 270 degrees for nine miles. The first six miles was
a continuation of the creek and plain; it then turned to the north-west
and the sand hills commenced. At nine miles we had a good view of the
surrounding country, from the east to the north-west. To the west we
could see the range that we crossed on the 11th instant trending away to
the north-west as far as the eye could reach, apparently a sandy and
scrubby country with small patches of open ground intervening. There also
appeared to be a gum creek, about five miles west of this point. Seeing
there was no hope for anything to the west for a long distance, I changed
my course to the south on a bearing of 190 degrees to cross the stony
rise, keeping on the sand hills for the benefit of the horses' feet. At
five miles found that the sandy country swept round the stony rise, the
country still having the appearance of scrub and sand hills all round. I
altered my course to south-east to 132 degrees for fourteen miles; on
this course we have ridden over a scrubby plain of a light sandy soil,
most beautifully grassed but dry, the young feed not having sprung. We
have not seen a drop of water on the surface; the ground evidently
absorbs all that falls; the scrub is principally the mulga and hakea
bushes and acacia, with a few other small bushes, but very little salt
bush. Camped to-night without water. The grey mare appears to be getting
round again; it seems to have been an affection of the chest, and has now
fallen down into the left knee, which has become very much swollen, but
it seems to have relieved her chest; she now feeds as well as ever.
Distance to-day, twenty-eight miles.
Saturday, 17th July, Scrub and Sandy Plain without Water. Started at 8.10
a.m. on the same course, 132 degrees. At two miles and a half, rain
water; at seven miles crossed a stunted gum creek running towards the
south-west; at twenty-five miles came upon a little rain water. Camped.
The plain still continues with very low rises at intervals; the scrub is
much thicker and the greater part of it dead, which makes it very
difficult to travel through. The grass is not so plentiful, and it is
more sandy. The creek that we crossed at seven miles was running; it had
salt tea-tree on its banks, and seems likely to have some permanent water
either above or below. I did not examine it, because, the surrounding
country being so sandy and scrubby, it will be of little use. Distance
to-day, twenty-five miles.
Sunday, 18th July, Dense Scrubby Plain. Rain Water. Left at 9.15 a.m. on
the same bearing, 132 degrees. We saw some native worleys, and the tracks
of a number of natives having passed this place a day or two ago, going
to the south-west. Distance to-day, twenty miles. Had to halt early in
consequence of grey mare being done up and unable to proceed. The first
part of the day's journey the scrub became more open and splendidly
grassed, the latter part was fearfully thick, it is composed of mulga,
dead and alive, and a few hakea and other bushes, with salt bush and
plenty of grass of two or three different sorts. We have a view of rising
ground a little to the north of our line, about from fifteen to twenty
miles distant. To-morrow I shall alter my course to strike the highest
point; it is a range, and seems to be wooded. I suppose it is the same
range that we crossed on the 11th instant. It is very cloudy, and seems
as if it will rain. Distance to-day, twenty miles.
Monday, 19th July, Dense Scrubby Plain. Started at 9.15 a.m. on a bearing
of 120 degrees to the highest point of the range. A slight shower fell
early this morning; it still looks very cloudy. We could only accomplish
ten miles to-day in consequence of the grey mare being unable to proceed
farther; if I can get her on to permanent water I shall leave her; she
only keeps me back, and endangers the other horses. I shall be very sorry
to do so, for she is a great favourite. We are now camped at a place
where there are five or six small watercourses; if we can find water I
shall give her until to-morrow to rest. The country that we have come
over to-day is most splendidly grassed, of a red light sandy soil, but
good; the mulga bushes in some places grow thick, and a great many are
very tall. Forster caught an opossum--the first that we have seen; we
intend making a dinner from him to-day. This is the first game we have
been able to secure, except two small ducks we had at the beginning of
our journey. We have found water a little way down the valley, which I
think will become a large creek further to the south-west. We are again
in the country of the kangaroos. Distance to-day, ten miles.
Tuesday, 20th July, Grassy Valley. We had another shower this morning. I
must try and make the hills to-day if I can. Started at 10.10 a.m. on the
same bearing as yesterday, 120 degrees, and at four miles ascended the
peak on the range. I see around me a scrubby country, with open patches,
and here and there in the far distance what appear to be belts of mulga.
Four miles beyond this hill we halted at some rain water. We have seen
three or four kangaroos to-day; they were the red sort with white
breasts. Distance travelled, eight miles.
Wednesday 21st July, Grass and Salt-Bush Plains. Left the camp at 9 a.m.
on a bearing of 97 degrees. Camped at some rain water in a clay-pan. At
twelve miles there is low rising ground running north-west and
south-east, which divides the two plains; there are no creeks, but the
dip of the country is to the south-west. This is as fine a salt-bush and
grass country as I have seen. It is a pity there is no permanent water.
Distance to-day, twenty miles.
Thursday, 22nd July, Open, Good Country. Started at 9 a.m. on the same
course as yesterday, 97 degrees. At ten miles crossed a small watercourse
running to the south-south-west; at sixteen miles came through the saddle
of a low range running north-west and south-east composed of limestone;
it forms one of the boundaries of a large plain, which seems well adapted
for pastoral purposes; it is well grassed, with salt bush, although we
could find no permanent water. I think I can see a gum creek to the east
of us, but the mirage is so powerful that I am not quite certain.
Distance to-day, twenty miles.
Friday, 23rd July, Large East Plain. Started at 9.10 a.m. on a bearing of
82 degrees, and at four miles ascended an isolated hill, but can see
nothing of the gum creek. Changed our course to 122 degrees, and at four
miles crossed a mulga creek running to the east. Camped on the south-east
side of a flat-topped hill, which, although the highest I have yet seen,
enabled me to see nothing but the range to the north-east, and a high
conical hill about ten miles south-west, connected with the ranges. The
country is without timber except a few mulga bushes at intervals.
Distance to-day, twenty-one miles.
Saturday, 24th July, South-east Side of Flat-topped Hill. Left at 8.10
a.m. on the same course, 122 degrees, over an undulating stony plain,
with narrow sand hills at intervals, and a number of lagoons containing
rain water, where we camped. I intend to move to-morrow to another large
lagoon that we have seen from a small rise, and rest the horses there;
they have had a very severe day of it, and feel the want of shoes very
much. The stones are mostly white quartz and ironstone, small and
water-washed. I conclude they have come from the hills that are to the
south-west. Distance to-day, twenty-four miles.
Sunday, 25th July, A Lagoon of Rain Water. Finding that we have sand
hills to cross, and being anxious to meet with the gum creek that the
blacks have talked about, I have determined to proceed to-day, but if I
do not find it on this course I shall turn to the south. Started at eight
a.m. on a bearing of 122 degrees. At five miles, one mile to the south is
a large reedy swamp. At fourteen miles changed the bearing to 135 degrees
to the head of a swamp, two miles and a half, found it dry, a large
clay-pan about three miles in circumference. I am obliged to halt, the
horses are very tired and want rest; and there being plenty of beautiful
green feed about, I have halted without water. Our journey has been
through a very thick mulga scrub and sand hills, very heavy travelling.
The trees in the scrub are of a different description to any that I have
seen; they grow high and very crooked, without branches until near the
top, and with a rough, ragged bark; seven or eight seem to spring from
one root. The wood is very tough and heavy, and burns a long time, giving
out a glowing heat. The leaves resemble the mulga, but are of a darker
colour and smaller size. The native name is Moratchee. Shot a wallaby,
and had him for dinner. They are very wild, no getting within shot of
them, which is unfortunate, as our provisions are getting rather short.
From the number of native tracks about, this would seem to be their
season for hunting in the sand hills, which accounts for everything being
so wild. We saw five turkeys yesterday, but could not get within shot of
them. All the water seems to drain into the reedy swamp and clay-pans. I
shall go no further to the east on this course, for I can see no
inducement. I shall go south to-morrow, and see what that produces; if I
cross no large creek within forty-five miles in that direction, I shall
then direct my course for the north-west of Fowler's Bay to see what is
there. Distance to-day, sixteen miles.
Monday, 27th July, Sand Hills and Dense Scrub. Left our camp at 9.20 a.m.
on a southerly course, 182 degrees. At thirteen miles we camped at some
rain water to give the horses a little rest. We have come through a very
thick scrub of mulga, with broken sand hills and a few low rises of lime
and ironstone. We have seen two or three pines for the first time, and a
few black oaks. No appearance of a change of country. From a high sand
ridge I could see a long way to the north-east, seemingly all a dense
scrub. The grey mare is unwell again. Distance to-day, thirteen miles.
Tuesday, 27th July, Sandy Undulations. Started at 9 a.m. on the same
bearing as yesterday, 182 degrees. At twenty-one miles changed our course
to 235 degrees to some gum-trees. The first part of our journey the scrub
became lower and more open, with limestone and sand rises at intervals,
and with a good deal of grass in places. The last ten miles the mulga
scrub was so dense that it was with difficulty we managed to get through.
We have seen no water on this day's route, except that in the lagoon we
are now camped at, and which is as salt as the sea. There is another
large lagoon about a mile to the westward of us, which I will examine
to-morrow to see if it gives rise to any creek. Distance to-day,
Wednesday, 28th July, Sand Hills. Started at 9 a.m. on a bearing of 283
degrees for two miles to examine the other lagoon, which is about three
miles long, water salt. Changed our course to 182 degrees for ten miles
to a large lake crossing our course. Changed our bearing to 240 degrees,
and at four miles changed to 270 degrees, crossing some horse-tracks
going towards the large lake. This seems to be a country of salt lagoons,
for we passed three, and have seen a great many more. The large one that
crossed our south course is evidently the head of Lake Gairdner. I could
see it winding away in that direction. We have now got upon a plain
slightly undulating with thick scrub and the unceasing mulga, intermixed
with a few black oaks; no signs of water, no creeks. I intend to proceed
north of west to intersect any creek or country that may come from the
good country that we found on our south-east course, and the land of
kangaroos; there is no hope of anything here. Camped without water.
Distance to-day, twenty miles.
Thursday, 29th July, Mulga Plain, West of Lake Gairdner. Our course
to-day is 310 degrees. Left our camp at 8.30, and accomplished twenty
miles of the same scrubby plain, slightly undulating. Plenty of grass,
but no water. Same description of country as on the 18th instant.
Friday, 30th July, Mulga Plain. Started at 7.35 on same course, 310
degrees. The scrub is so dense that I cannot see above one hundred yards
ahead, and sometimes not that. During the night some swans and two ducks
flew over, apparently from Lake Gairdner, and going in our direction. At
ten miles, having met with some rain water, we halted, for the horses had
been three nights without it. I have given them the rest of the day to
drink their fill. This seems to be a continuation of the stony plain we
crossed on our south-eastern line. The country appears open to the south,
but no sign of any permanent water. Forster bakes the last of our flour
this afternoon--the last of our provisions. Distance to-day, ten miles.
Saturday, 31st July, South Stony Plain. Left at 8.30 on the same bearing,
310 degrees. At ten miles we ascended a low range running north and
south. We did not see a drop of water all day. Our course was over a
gradually rising plain, well grassed at intervals, with plenty of salt
bush, and with stone on the surface, composed of quartz, ironstone, and
the hard white flinty stone so frequently met with. The scrub has nearly
ceased. The dip of the country is south. During the night we again heard
a dog barking at one of the horses, and during the day we saw two
kangaroos. At ten miles we crossed a valley, through which water has been
flowing to the south-south-west. Camped without water. Distance to-day,
Sunday, 1st August, Stony Plain Valley. Left at 8.45 on the same bearing,
310 degrees. My reason for keeping this bearing is that there seems to
have been very little rain to the south of us, and I am unwilling to get
too far away from where it has fallen, in case I have to put to my former
line for it. If I should meet with it to-day I shall turn south-west or
west. This country is very dry, and absorbs all that falls. It is of a
bright red soil, mixed with sand and, in some places, lime. At ten miles
I am obliged to stop, in consequence of the grey mare being quite done
up; the stones play the mischief with her. I have great doubts of her
living through the journey. Distance to-day, ten miles.
Monday, 2nd August, Salt Bush--a Stony Plain. We had a little rain during
the night. Started at 9 on a bearing of 315 degrees. At three miles
changed our course to 230 degrees. The last three miles of this day's
journey were through rather a thick scrub, but well grassed, with few
stones. The former part was through a very well-grassed country, with a
little salt bush and low scrub. Saw a number of kangaroos, but they were
too wild to get near them. Distance to-day, twenty miles.
Tuesday, 3rd August, Good Country. It has rained during the whole night,
and is likely to do so to-day. Started at 9, on the same course as
yesterday, 230 degrees. The first portion of our journey was over six
miles of splendid alluvial country, covered with grass--partly spear
grass--with a little salt bush intermixed with it, also a few mulga
bushes at intervals; no other timber. It is a most beautiful open piece
of country, and looks much better than the Adelaide plains did at the
commencement of the colony. Four miles further it was not so good; the
soil became a little lighter, with more salt bush, and a little scrub.
The last eleven miles the soil is good, with grass and salt bush in
abundance, but much thicker with mulga and other low scrubs. It seems to
be a continuation of the same scrub that we passed over on the 19th
ultimo, and I observe that the ants build their habitations in the same
style as they did there. They are about one foot in diameter at the base,
and formed in the shape of a cone, and are supported by the dead root of
a mulga. Others, however, stand from eighteen inches to three feet in
height, built of clay, and on the surface. The kangaroo and emu inhabit
the country. We have also found a number of places where the natives have
been encamped. They seem to be numerous, judging from the number of
places where they have had their fires; but we have not seen any of them.
We have had it raining nearly all day, and it still looks bad. Our black
fellow left us during the night; he seemed to be very much frightened of
the other natives. He knows nothing of the country, and if he follows our
tracks back, I don't envy him his walk. He was of very little use to us,
and I wish I had sent him off before, but I thought he might be useful in
conversing with the other natives when we should meet them. He was of no
other use than for tracking and assisting in getting the horses in the
morning, for I have given them every advantage--they have been seldom
hobbled. There are three small valleys on our line in which water seems
to have run at some former period. We have crossed no course of rocks of
any description since our northern line; from which I am of opinion that
the drainage is underneath, so that there ought to be numerous springs
near the sea-coast. Camped without water. Distance to-day, twenty miles.
Wednesday, 4th August, Scrubby Good Country. Started at 8 on the same
bearing as yesterday, 230 degrees. At thirteen miles ascended a low red
granite range in which there is water. Changed our bearing to 209 degrees
to a hill on the opposite range; when I returned I found the grey mare so
done up that she is unable to proceed. I should not like to leave her,
but I cannot delay longer with her. For about half a mile under the range
where we are now camped is beautiful feed up to the horses' knees. Six
cockatoos passed over to another range. We have also found a small
running stream where I shall leave the mare to-morrow; I will make an
attempt to regain her as I return.
Thursday, 5th August, Granite Range. Started at 8 on the same bearing for
the hill on the opposite range. At six miles another low granite range
with water, where we left the mare. At twelve miles went to the highest
point of the range composed of hard flinty quartz and ironstone. We had a
good view of the surrounding country, which was generally low and
undulating, with salt lakes crossing at about ten miles. This region
appears to be dotted with the lagoons from nearly the foot of the range.
Changed our bearing to 268 degrees for nine miles. Camped under a range
of low hills with good feed for the horses. On our west course we crossed
a plain of red light soil, with abundance of grass and a little salt bush
with a very thick scrub close to the range, but as we advanced it became
more open, and the scrub lower. Shot a wallaby and had him for supper.
Distance to-day, twenty-five miles.
Friday, 6th August, Under the Low Range. Left at 8.30 a.m. on a bearing
of 239 degrees to avoid the stones on the hills. At five miles and a half
got some rain water; at nine miles changed our bearing to 255 degrees; at
fifteen miles camped among the sand hills. Shot another wallaby. The
timber about here is very large, consisting of black oaks, mallee, mulga,
the native peach, the nut, and numerous low scrubs. The grass is good in
some places. The mountain that I am steering for is further off than I
anticipated; we got sight of it a short time before we halted; it seems
to be very high, and I expect something good will be the result of our
visit to it to-morrow. The hills that we were camped under last night are
composed of quartz, and are connected with the range that we were on
running to the south-west. Distance to-day, twenty six miles.
Saturday, 7th August, Sand Hills going to the High Mount. Left at 8.30
a.m. on the same bearing, 255 degrees, for eighteen miles to the foot of
the mountain. At fifteen miles camped under the highest point, which is
composed of quartz rock. The journey to-day has been through horrid dense
scrub and heavy sand hills, to the foot of the hill, which I have named
Mount Finke. It is as high as Mount Arden; I have not light to get on the
top of it to-night. Very little rain has fallen here, and we have been
without water for the last two nights: the country is of such a light
sandy soil that it will not retain it. I almost give up hopes of a good
country; this is very disheartening after all that I have done to find
it. If I see nothing from the top of the mount to-morrow, I must turn
down to Fowler's Bay for water for the horses. As I could not remain
quiet, I got on one of the lower spurs of Mount Finke to see what was
before me. The prospect is gloomy in the extreme! I could see a long
distance, but nothing met the eye save A DENSE SCRUB AS BLACK AND DISMAL
AS MIDNIGHT. On my return I found that Forster had succeeded in finding
water by digging in the creek. Distance to-day, twenty miles.
Sunday, 8th August, Mount Finke. At dawn of day I ascended the mountain,
but was unable to see much more than I did last night, in consequence of
there being a mist all round. No high rising ground is to be seen in any
direction. A FEARFUL COUNTRY. Left the mount at 9.30 a.m. on a bearing of
270 degrees. At eighteen miles halted to give the horses some food, as
they were obliged to be tied up all last night, there not being any feed
for them, and the scrub very dense. The horse Blower seems to be very
unwell; he has lain down twice this morning, and an hour's rest will do
him good. After leaving the mount we have a thick mallee and mulga scrub
to go through with spinifex. At ten miles changed our bearing to 190
degrees; at eight miles camped. The whole of our journey to day has been
through a dreadful desert of sand hills and spinifex. In the last eight
miles we have not seen a mouthful for the horses to eat and not a drop of
water; it is even WORSE than Captain Sturt's desert, where there was a
little salt bush; but here there is not a vestige. Distance to-day,
Monday, 9th August, Desert. Started at 8.30 on the same bearing, 190
degrees. At five miles there is a change in the country; the spinifex has
suddenly ceased and low scrub taken its place; the sand ridges are spread
and the valley wider. At seven miles discovered some rock water in the
middle of a valley with plenty of salt bush and green grass, first rate
for the horses, which have had nothing to eat for two nights. I shall
give them the rest of the day to recover. They were beginning to be very
much done up, and it was with difficulty we could get them to face the
spinifex. Shot a pigeon and had him for supper. We have seen where a
horse has been a long time ago. Distance to-day, seven miles.
Tuesday, 10th August, Rock Water. Started at 8.30 on a bearing of 180
degrees. Camped at eighteen miles without water, and a very little food
for the horses, only a little salt bush. The appearance of a change from
the dreary desert lasted only for about one mile from where we camped
last night; it then became even worse than before--the sand hills higher,
steeper and closer together, the spinifex thicker and higher; we got the
horses through it with difficulty. It rained all last night and all day.
There is some rising ground to the west. Distance to-day, eighteen miles.
Wednesday, 11th August, Dense Scrub. Left our camp at 8 on the same
bearing, 180 degrees. At 9 obliged to halt for the remainder of the day,
the horses being too tired to proceed further; the fearful sand hills are
very trying for them. To-day's few miles have been through the same
DREARY, DREADFUL, DISMAL DESERT of heavy sand hills and spinifex with
mallee very dense, scarcely a mouthful for the horses to eat. When will
it have an end? We again saw the rising ground a little to the north of
west of us; I should have gone and examined it, but our small remaining
quantity of provisions being nearly exhausted, I could not venture; my
object now being to make Fowler's Bay for water for our horses, and
thence to Streaky Bay, to endeavour to get some provisions there to carry
us home. We have now travelled considerably upwards of a thousand miles,
and in that journey my horses have had only four clear days to
themselves; they have done most excellently well. No water.
Thursday, 12th August. Dense Scrub. Left at 8.25 on a bearing of 165
degrees. Camped at ten miles; the horses done up. The same dreary desert.
Friday, 13th August. Dense Scrub. The horses look very bad this morning.
I hope we shall be able to make the sea-coast to-day. Started at 8.30 on
the same bearing, 165 degrees, but was unable to get more than ten miles
out of the horses; Bonney is nearly done up, and there is no water for
the poor animals. I hope I shall not be obliged to leave the poor old
horse behind, but I very much fear that I shall have to do so if nothing
turns up to-morrow. The country is still the same. This is dreadful work!
Saturday, 14th August, Dense Scrub. Started at 8.15 on the same bearing,
165 degrees. At ten miles came upon some green feed for the horses, and
gave them the benefit of it for the rest of the day. Bonney still very
bad. For the last two miles we have had no sand hills, but very dense
mallee and tea-tree, with a light sandy soil with a little limestone,
also salt bush and pig-face in abundance. No water.
Sunday, 15th August, Dense Mallee Scrub. Started at 8.45 on same bearing,
165 degrees. At two miles and a half changed our course to 225 degrees,
having found some fresh horse-tracks; at seven miles camped for the
remainder of the day to recruit the horses, having come upon some new
green grass. Distance actually travelled, fifteen miles.
Monday, 16th August, Dense Mallee Scrub. Started at 9 on a course of 205
degrees. Twelve miles to Miller's Water. I intended to have given the
horses two days' rest here, but there is not sufficient water; there are
only three holes in the limestone rock, and the thirsty animals have
nearly drunk it all: there will not be enough for them in the morning.
The country that we have come through yesterday and to-day resembles the
scrub between Franklin Harbour and Port Lincoln--mallee with grassy
plains occasionally--only the mallee is larger, and the plains are met
with at shorter intervals, more numerous and of larger extent. The soil
is good but light, being produced by decomposed limestone, of which the
low range to the north-west is composed. I am unable to go to Fowler's
Bay as I intended; our provisions are exhausted, and the horses unable to
do the journey. I must now shape my course for Streaky Bay to get
something to eat.
Tuesday, 17th August, Miller's Water. Watered our horses from a
waterproof with a quart pot. Started at 9.15, our course 160 degrees, six
miles to Bectimah Gaip. For the first three miles the grassy plains are
very good, and seem to run a considerable distance between belts of large
mallee, in some places wider than in others, and seem to be connected by
small gaips; I think water could be easily obtained by digging. The last
three miles to the coast is very dense small mallee. Actual distance,
twelve miles. I intend to give the horses a rest to-morrow. I regret
exceedingly that I was unable to make Fowler's Bay. It is with difficulty
that I have been able to save Bonney; he is still very weak and unable to
do a day's journey; we can scarcely get him to do the short journeys we
have been doing lately. For upwards of a month we have been existing upon
two pounds and a half of flour cake daily, without animal food. Since we
commenced the journey, all the animal food we have been able to obtain
has been four wallabies, one opossum, one small duck, one pigeon, and
latterly a few kangaroo mice, which were very welcome; we were anxious to
find more, but we soon got out of their country.
These kangaroo mice are elegant little animals, about four inches in
length, and resemble the kangaroo in shape, with a long tail terminating
with a sort of brush. Their habitations are of a conical form, built with
twigs and rotten wood, about six feet in diameter at the base, and rising
to a height of three or four feet. When the natives discover one of these
nests they surround it, treading firmly round the base in order to secure
any outlet; they then remove the top of the cone, and, as the mice
endeavour to escape, they kill them with the waddies which they use with
such unfailing skill. When the nest is found by only a few natives, they
set fire to the top of the cone, and thus secure the little animals with
ease. For the last month we have been reduced to one meal a-day, and that
a very small one, which has exhausted us both very much and made us
almost incapable of exertion. We have now only TWO meals left to take us
to Streaky Bay, which is distant from this place ONE HUNDRED MILES. We
have been forced to boil the tops of the pigface, to satisfy the wants of
nature. Being short of water, we boiled them in their own juice. To a
hungry man they were very palatable, and, had they been boiled in fresh
water, would have made a good vegetable. Yesterday we obtained a few
sow-thistles, which we boiled, and found to be very good.
Wednesday, 18th August, Bectimah Gaip. Rested the horses and obtained a
few shell-fish from the beach: there are very few, which was a
disappointment to us.
Thursday, 19th August, Bectimah Gaip. Started at 8 a.m. for Streaky Bay.
I managed to get thirty miles to-day, which is a great help. I only hope
that Mr. Gibson is at Streaky Bay, so that we may be able to get
something to eat; we must endure three days' more starving before we
shall be able to reach there.
Friday, 20th August, Smoky Bay. Started at 7.15. Mallee scrub in some
places very dense, in others open, with good grassy plains at intervals,
in which I think water could be had by digging; very few birds about, and
those small. At twenty-five miles we got some rock water. Distance
to-day, thirty-five miles.
Saturday, 21st August, Small Grassy Plains. Started at 7.30 on a
south-easterly course. Got a little water in the limestone rock for our
horses. Camped on the shore at Streaky Bay at sundown. The last sixteen
miles were through very dense scrub; the former part through scrub with
good grassy plains at intervals. Distance, thirty-eight miles.
Sunday, 22nd August, On the Shore at Streaky Bay. Started at 11 a.m. to
make Mr. Gibson's station. The horses did not arrive until 10.30, as they
had gone back on their tracks of yesterday. During the time Forster was
after them, I managed to shoot a crow, and cooked him in the ashes. We
had him for breakfast--the first food we have had for the last three
days; it was very agreeable to taste and stomach, for we were beginning
to feel the cravings of nature rather severely. I hope Mr. Gibson will be
at the Depot; it will be a fine trouble if he is not, and we have to
travel two hundred and forty miles on the chance of shooting something.
Twenty-four miles to Mr. Gibson's station, where we were received and
treated with great kindness, for which we were very thankful. We enjoyed
a good supper, which, after three days' fasting, as may readily be
imagined, was quite a treat.
Monday, 23rd August, Mr. Gibson's Station. Both Forster and myself felt
very unwell, especially Forster, who is very bad; the sudden change from
a state of starvation to plenty of good and wholesome food has been the
cause. I am suffering chiefly from weakness and a very severe pain
between the shoulder-blades, which I have felt for some weeks back. It is
a dreadful pain, and nearly incapacitated me from sitting in the saddle
all day yesterday; I thought I should not have been able to reach here, I
was so very bad with it. I have been obliged to send down to the next
station, about thirty miles distant, to try and get some horseshoes. I
must rest here a few days to recover.
Tuesday, 24th August, Mr. Gibson's Station. Forster appears to be a
little better this morning, but very weak; I also feel a little better
this morning from yesterday's rest.
Wednesday, 25th August, Mr. Gibson's Station. I have succeeded in getting
some shoes for the horses from Mr. Miller, to whom I am deeply indebted
for his kindness in allowing me to have them.
Thursday, 26th August, Mr. Gibson's Station. Shoeing the horses and
preparing for a start at the beginning of next week.
Friday, 27th August, Mr. Gibson's Station. At the same thing. Improving
in health and strength.
Saturday, 28th August, Mr. Gibson's Station. I have been very unwell all
Sunday, 29th August, Mr. Gibson's Station. Still very ill; unable to do
Monday, 30th August, Mr. Gibson's Station. The same.
Tuesday, 31st August, Mr. Gibson's Station. I had a dreadful night of it;
seized with cramp in the stomach, and thought I should never see morning;
no medicine to relieve me. I intended to have started to-day, but am
quite unable to do so.
Wednesday, 1st September, Mr. Gibson's Station. Can stay no longer; made
a start to-day, and got as far as one of Mr. Gibson's out-stations,
twenty-five miles. Quite done up.
Thursday, 2nd September, One of Mr. Gibson's Out-Stations. Raining this
morning; unable to proceed. Very unwell.
Friday, 3rd September, Same Place. Feel better this morning. Started at
8.30 for Parla. I am unable to make any attempt to recover the grey mare.
Made Parla at 1 p.m.; camped at ten miles beyond. Distance to-day,
Saturday, 4th September, Ten Miles beyond Parla. Started at 8.15 on an
east bearing twenty-three miles to Rock Water. Camped. Very poor country.
The granite range that Mr. Hack has laid down on his chart, I cannot
find. I have come east from Parla, and ought to have crossed about the
middle of it.
Sunday, 5th September, Rock Water. I shall shape my course for the
Freeling range, and see what that is made of. Started at 7.30 on a
bearing of 84 degrees twenty-two miles. Rock water with plenty of grass.
Gave the horses the rest of the day.
Monday, 6th September, South of Mount Sturt. Started at 8.15 on a bearing
of 84 degrees for twenty-five miles. Changed the bearing to 60 degrees
for three miles to a fine plain covered with grass. Halted. No water.
There are some high hills to the east-north-east, to which I have now
changed my course, and which I conclude to be the Freeling range. Our
journey to-day has been through very scrubby and sandy country,
especially the last fifteen miles. At six miles south there is a high
table-topped hill, which I think is granite. I intended going down to it,
but the country, so far as I could see, was apparently not good, and,
having crossed the tracks of some horses going towards it, and being very
unwell myself, I thought it would be useless my going. Distance to-day,
thirty-eight miles. No water.
Tuesday, 7th September, Freeling Range. Started for the range at 8 on a
bearing of 60 degrees. At eleven miles ascended the south-west hill of
Freeling range, Mount Sturt bearing 266 degrees. Changed the bearing to
96 degrees to a stony hill of granite. Found a little water, and halted
for the remainder of the day. Distance, fifteen miles.
Wednesday, 8th September, Freeling Range. Started at 7.30 for Separation
Camp, bearing 72 degrees. Halted at thirty-three miles. The first
twenty-five miles were mallee scrub with patches of grass; the last eight
miles were over elevated table land, salt bush, and a little grass with a
few patches of scrub, the soil being red, with a few fragments of quartz
and ironstone on the surface. No water.
Thursday, 9th September, Salt-Bush Country. Started at 9.15 on the same
bearing, 72 degrees, fourteen miles; changed to 160 degrees (1.30 p.m.)
two miles and a half; thence 80 degrees three miles to a small creek,
where we can obtain water by digging in the sand. Camped. Distance
to-day, twenty miles. Did not see Separation Camp; it is wrongly placed
on the map.
Friday, 10th September, Small Creek. Started at 9 on a bearing of 110
degrees for Cooroona; at seventeen miles made Cooroona. Camped fifteen
Saturday, 11th September. Arrived at Mr. Thompson's station, Mount Arden.
I cannot conclude this narrative of my first journey, without
acknowledging that it was with the advice and assistance of my friend Mr.
Finke SOLELY, that I undertook this exploration of the country. I
therefore look upon him as the original pioneer (if I may be allowed so
to express myself) of all my subsequent expeditions, in which our friend
Mr. Chambers afterwards joined.
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
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
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,
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
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
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.
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
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
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,
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