Explorations in Australia, The Journals of John McDouall Stuart
John McDouall Stuart

Part 5 out of 7

timber, which seems to be the lowest part of the country. I had no idea
of meeting with such an impediment as the plains and heavy scrub have
proved to be. For a telegraphic communication I should think that three
or four wells would overcome this difficulty and the want of water, and
the forest could be penetrated by cutting a line through and burning it.
In all probability there is water to be found nearer than this in the
Camfield, Mr. Gregory's last camp, somewhere about its sources, which
might be thirty miles nearer. Wind, south-east. Country drying up very

Thursday, 13th June, Chain of Ponds. To-day I shall move the camp to the
easternmost part of Newcastle Water, and now that rain has come from the
east, I shall try if I can cross Sturt Plains, and endeavour to reach the
Gulf of Carpentaria. My provisions are now getting very short. We are
reduced to four pounds of flour and one pound of dried meat per man per
week, which is beginning to show the effects of starvation upon some of
them; but I can leave nothing untried where there is the least shadow of
a chance of gaining the desired object. Started at 9.40 a.m. At three
miles and a half passed our first camp of Newcastle Water. At eight miles
and a half camped at the last water to the eastward. The ground is firmer
than I expected, travelling good. The large part of the water is reduced
two inches since 24th ultimo. The late rains seem to have no effect on
it. Wind, south-east.

Friday, 14th June, East End of Newcastle Water. Started with Thring,
Woodforde, and Wall, with one month's provisions and ten horses, at 7.45
a.m.; course, 60 degrees. At two miles crossed our former tracks, on the
top of the sandy table land, and after leaving it we again got on the
open plains, black alluvial soil, covered with grass, with deep holes and
cracks into which the horses were continually falling on their noses, and
running the risk of breaking our necks. These plains have swallowed up
every drop of rain that has fallen. The extent of the plain is seven
miles. We then entered a thick wooded country, of the same description as
the western forest, being equally thick, if not thicker, and as difficult
to penetrate. This continued for thirteen miles, when we met with another
small plain about half a mile wide, but opening out wider to north-west
and south. Not a drop of water have we seen since leaving Newcastle
Water, a distance of about thirty miles, except a little rain water about
three miles east of it. The plains are quite dry, scarcely showing that
rain has fallen. Camped. The horses have had a hard day's work and are
very tired. I wish I could have found water for them to-night. Latitude,
17 degrees 26 minutes 20 seconds. Wind, south-east.

Saturday 15th June, North-east Small Plains, Sturt Plains. Started at
7.30 a.m.; course, 60 degrees, through another ten miles of very thick
forest, the thickest we have yet seen. At eleven miles came again upon
the large open grassy plain, at the point where I turned on the 21st
ultimo. I expected to have found some rain water here, this being the
only place in all the plain I have seen that is likely to retain it. Sent
Thring and Woodforde in different directions, while I proceeded in
another, to see if we could find any, but not a drop could we see. It has
been all swallowed up by the ground, which is again dry and dusty. It
must take an immense quantity to saturate it, and leave any on the
surface; and if that were to be the case, the country would become so
soft it would be quite impassable. I am again forced to turn; it is quite
hopeless to attempt it any farther. It would be sacrificing our horses,
and, perhaps, our own lives, without the least prospect of attaining our
end. If I could see rising ground, however small, or a change in the
country to justify my risking everything, I would do so in a moment. I
only wish there was. I have tried my horses to their utmost. Even my old
horses that are inured to hardship are unable to be longer than three
days without water, owing to the heat of the sun, the dryness of the
feed, and the softness of the country. We saw a few cockatoos and
pigeons. There might be water within a short distance, but none can we
see or find; for on my course 20 degrees west of north I passed within
two miles of Newcastle Water, where the main camp is now, but could not
see it. It would require a long time to examine this country for water.
There are so many clumps of trees, and strips of scrub on the plain,
where water might be, that it would take upwards of twelve months to
examine them all. At sundown camped fifteen miles from the main camp.
Horses look very bad. It has been very heavy travelling, over rotten
ground, and tearing through thick wood and scrub, which has skinned our
legs from the knees to the ankles and caused no little pain. Wind,

Sunday, 16th June, Sturt Plains East. Proceeded to the camp, where I
found all well. No natives had been near them. This is very disheartening
work. I shall proceed to the south, and try once more to round that
horrid thick western forest; it is now my only hope; if that fail I shall
have to return. I am doubtful of the water in Ashburton range, if no rain
has fallen there; those hills are the last of the rising ground within
range of vision, which ends in about latitude 17 degrees 14 minutes. From
south-south-east round the compass to south-south-west nothing but dense
forest and Sturt Plains. Wind, south-east.

Monday, 17th June, Newcastle Water East. Returned to the Lawson and
camped. Little rain seemed to have fallen there. I kept a little to west
of my former tracks to see the nature of the large open plain. It is
completely matted with grass, having large deep holes and cracks, and is
as dry as if no rain had fallen for months. Wind, south-east.

Tuesday, 18th June, Lawson Creek. Proceeded to Hunter Creek. Tracks of
natives upon ours to Hawker Creek. Light winds, variable.

Wednesday, 19th June, Hawker Creek. Although the water holes in this
creek are full from recent rains, the water is very hard, evidently
showing it must come from a spring in the hills. Proceeded to the Hunter
along the foot of the hills, and at nine miles crossed the large gum
creek, where I watered the horses on my north course; this I have named
Powell Creek, after J.W. Powell, Esquire, of Clare. At twenty miles
crossed another gum creek, which I have named Gleeson Creek, after E.B.
Gleeson, Esquire, J.P., of Clare. Camped on the Hunter. Between this and
Hawker Creek we crossed eleven gum creeks with water in them. The country
passed over is not so good, being close to the hills: it is scrubby, and
generally covered with spinifex. Wind, south-east.

Thursday, 20th June, Hunter Creek. Three horses missing; could not be
found until too late to reach the other water to-night. Wind, calm.

Friday, 21st June, Hunter Creek. Proceeded to the water under Mount
Primrose, over stony hills, the highest of which I have named Mount
Shillinglaw, after ---- Shillinglaw, Esquire, F.R.C.S., of Melbourne, who
kindly presented me with Flinders' Charts of North Australia. The gum
creek on which we are now camped I have named Carruthers Creek, after
John Carruthers, Esquire, of Adelaide. Calm.

Saturday, 22nd June, Carruthers Creek. Proceeded to Tomkinson Creek,
where I left the two horses; I will there rest the horses a day, and have
those shod which I intend to take with me. The last two days have been
over very stony country, which has made some of the horses quite lame. I
am now running short of shoes. We can see nothing of the two horses about
our old camp. Light wind from north-east, with a few clouds. Very hot in
the middle of the day; evenings and mornings cold.

Sunday, 23rd June, Tomkinson Creek. Sent Thring and Woodforde down the
creek, and Masters up into the open plain, to see if they could find the
horses on their tracks. In the afternoon they returned unsuccessful,
except Masters, who had seen their tracks when the ground was boggy.
Recent tracks of natives were also seen. If they have not been frightened
away, they will not be far off. I have instructed Sullivan to follow
their tracks, and try to find them during my absence. Wind, north-east,
with a few clouds. The sun is very hot in the middle of the day.

Monday, 24th June, Tomkinson Creek. Started with Thring, Masters, and
Lawrence, and ten horses, with fourteen days' provisions, at 7.40 a.m.;
course, 270 degrees east. We crossed the plain and the creek several
times. At 12.20, fifteen miles, ascended a stony rise, and saw that the
creek emptied itself into an open grassy plain, about two miles north of
us. Proceeded on the same course over a gum plain covered with grass for
five miles. The country then became sandy soil, slightly undulating, with
ironstone, gravel, spinifex, gums, and occasionally a little scrub, which
continued throughout the day. Camped without water. Very little feed for
the horses, it being nearly all spinifex. Distance, twenty-eight miles.
Wind, west; a few clouds.

Tuesday, 25th June, Spinifex and Gum Plain West. Started at 7.40 a.m. on
the same course, 270 degrees. Camped at twenty-seven miles. The country
travelled through to-day is bad--red sandy light soil, covered with
spinifex, slightly undulating, and having iron gravel upon it. Scarcely a
blade of grass to be seen. Some gum-trees, and a low scrub of different
sorts. I seem to have got to the south of the dense forest, but into a
poorer country. Not a drop of water or a watercourse have we seen since
we left Tomkinson Creek. We have crossed two or three low rises of
ironstone gravel. Not having the dense forest to tear through has induced
me to go on all day in the hope of meeting with a change, but at the end
of the day there seems as little likelihood as when we first came upon
it, and it may continue to the river. I am again forced to return
disappointed. There is no hope of making the river now; it must be done
from Newcastle Water with wells. I wish that I had twelve months'
provisions and convenience for carrying water, I should then be enabled
to do it. Wind, east.

Wednesday, 26th June, Spinifex and Gum Plain. Started at 7 a.m. back
towards Tomkinson Creek. At dusk found some water on the small plain into
which the creek empties itself. Camped. Distance travelled to-day, forty
miles. One of the horses completely done up. I am fortunate in finding
this water, for another night without it and I should have lost some of
them. I am also glad we had a cool day--only two hours' heat. The horses
have travelled one hundred miles without water, and the country being
sandy, made it very heavy walking for them. Wind, east.

Thursday, 27th June, Tomkinson Creek. Started for the camp, and arrived
at noon. Sullivan had gone after the horses, and lost himself for three
days and two nights. Not making his appearance the first night, Kekwick
sent Woodforde in search of him from south-east to north. Not returning
the second night, Kekwick and Woodforde went out in another direction to
try if they could cut his tracks, but were again unsuccessful. At about 3
a.m. he came into the camp perfectly bewildered, and did not seem to
recognise anyone. From what we can learn from him he must have gone to
the south instead of the east, where the tracks of the two horses were
seen. On the first night he came close to the camp--saw the other horses
feeding, but could not find them. He can give no account of where he went
the next day and night; on the third day he cut my outward tracks to the
west, and the horse brought him to the camp. I observed his horse's
tracks upon ours this morning, about ten miles down the creek, and could
not imagine how they came there. Woodforde found the two horses he went
in search of within three miles of the camp--they had not left the creek.
The cream-coloured one had improved very much; but Reformer still looks
miserable--I think he must be ill. Wind, north, with a few clouds coming
from the same direction.

Friday, 28th June, Tomkinson Creek. Shoeing horses and preparing for
another start. I shall try once more to make the Gulf of Carpentaria from
this. There may be a chance of my being able to round Sturt Plains to the
east or north-east. Wind, varying from south-east to north.

Saturday, 29th June, Tomkinson Creek. Shoeing horses, etc. Wind,
south-east. Clouds all gone.

Sunday, 30th June, Tomkinson Creek. Wind, north-east.

Monday, 1st July, Tomkinson Creek. Started at 8.10 a.m., course 54
degrees, with Thring, Woodforde, and Masters. At 11.20 (eleven miles),
top of a high hill, which I named Mount Hawker, after the Honourable
George C. Hawker, Speaker of the House of Assembly, S.A. At 12.45, four
miles, struck a large creek; its course a little east of north, which I
have named McKinlay Creek, after John McKinlay, Esquire. The first part
of the journey was over stony undulations, gradually rising until we
reached the top of Mount Hawker, the view from which was not very
extensive on our course, being intercepted by stony spurs of the range
nearly the same height, about eight hundred feet, and very rocky and
precipitous. They are composed of sandstone, quartz, iron, limestone, and
hard white flinty rocks. The sandstone predominates. We descended with
great difficulty, crossed McKinlay Creek, and at five miles ascended
another high hill, which I have named Mount Hall, after the Honourable
George Hall, M.L.C. From this our view is most extensive, over a complete
sea of white grassy plains. At about fifteen or twenty miles south-east
are the terminations of other spurs of this range; beyond them nothing is
visible on the horizon but white grassy plains. To the east and
north-east the same. To the north apparently a strip of dense scrub and
forest, which seems to end about north-east, beyond which, in the far
distance, we can see the large grassy plain I turned back from on the
21st of May and 15th of June. No rising ground visible except the hills
of Ashburton range to north-west and south-east. Descended towards the
plains over stony rises, with gum-tree, lancewood, and other scrub and
spinifex. At five miles reached the plain. It is of the same description
as the other parts I have been over. No appearance of water. It is
hopeless to proceed further; it will only be rendering my return more
difficult, by reducing the strength of my horses, without the slightest
hope of success. All hope of gaining the Gulf without wells is now gone.
I have therefore turned back to a small plain (four miles), searched
round it, and in one of the small creeks found a little rain water, at
which I have camped. Wind, south.

Tuesday, 2nd July, Loveday Creek. This creek I have named Loveday Creek,
after R.J. Loveday, Esquire, Lithographer to the South Australian
Government. Returned towards the camp. On reaching McKinlay Creek I was
informed by Woodforde that Masters had remained behind, about six miles
back, and had not yet come up. This is against my strict orders which are
that no one shall leave the party without informing me, that I may halt
and wait for them. I have sent Thring back to one of the hills to fire
off a gun, and see if he is to be seen, as I have left my outward tracks
to avoid crossing Mount Hall--and the tracks are very difficult to be
seen over such stony country. I am afraid that he is lost. In an hour and
a half, Thring returned; he can see nothing of him. He cut our former
tracks, but can see nothing of his on them. My conjectures, I fear, are
too true. If he has missed the tracks, it is a thousand chances to one if
he is ever found again. To track a single horse is impossible. I
proceeded towards Mount Hawker, and camped on my outward tracks, at a
remarkable gorge that we had come through. Sent Thring back to the top of
Mount Hall to raise a smoke, to remain there some time, and see if he
comes up; if not, he is to proceed to our last night's camp, there to
remain all night, in case he should go there--while I and Woodforde
raised another smoke on top of Mount Hawker. A little after 2 p.m. Thring
returned with him. He found him on a hill near Mount Hall, looking for
the tracks. He was quite bewildered, and in a great state of excitement.
I am most thankful that he is found. The account that he gives is, that
his horse slipped the reins out of his hand, and that he was unable to
catch him for some time, and when he did so, he was unable to find our
tracks, or to track his own horse back, and he became quite confused. He
seems to be most thankful for his narrow escape. As it is too late to
reach the camp, I shall remain here to-night. Wind, west.

Wednesday, 3rd July, Under Mount Hawker. Proceeded to the camp on the
Tomkinson. Found all right, with the exception of one of the horses
(Reformer), which cannot be found. He is one of the two that I left here
formerly, and was looking so ill when I found him. He was last seen on
Monday night, when he looked miserable. I have sent three men in search
of him. Wind, variable.

Thursday, 4th July, The Tomkinson. Started at 8.20 a.m., course 300
degrees, with Woodforde, Thring, and Masters, ten horses, and a month's
provisions, to try once more to make the Victoria. Between my first and
last attempts, I may succeed. I am very unwilling to return without
trying all that is in my power. At three miles we left the plains, and
proceeded over stony rises for two miles. The country then became sandy,
with gum, spinifex, and lancewood scrub, not difficult to get through.
There is no grass. At twenty-five miles came to a little, and, as I am
not sure of coming upon any more soon, I camped. We have seen no water
since leaving the creek. Latitude, 18 degrees 25 minutes 40 seconds.
Wind, south-east.

Friday, 5th July, Spinifex and Gum Plains. Started at 7.50 a.m., course
360 degrees, to find water. At 9.10 (five miles), struck a creek with
water; followed it down, course 285 degrees, and at eight miles camped on
the last water. The banks in places have good feed upon them, but there
is a great deal of spinifex and scrub. The creek is getting narrower,
and, as the horses had but little to eat last night, I shall give them
the remainder of the day here, for there is no telling when they will get
another good feed. Day exceedingly hot, horses covered with sweat. This I
have named Burke Creek, after my brother explorer, Richard O'Hara Burke,
Esquire, of Melbourne. On camping I saw a remarkable bird fly up; I sent
Woodforde to try and shoot him, which he did. It was of a dark-brown
colour, and spotted like the landrail; the tail feathers were nine in
number, and twelve inches long. I have had it skinned, and will endeavour
to take it to Adelaide. Thring, Woodforde, and Masters cooked the body,
and ate it. They had scarcely finished, when, in a moment, they were
seized with violent vomiting, but in a few minutes they were all right
again. Wind, calm. Latitude, 18 degrees 19 minutes 30 seconds.

Saturday, 6th July, Burke Creek. Started at 7.45 a.m., same course, to
follow the creek (285 degrees). At three miles it was lost in a grassy
gum plain; changed to 300 degrees. On this course the plain continued for
three miles; it then became sandy soil, with spinifex, gums, and scrub.
Crossed a low sand hill at fourteen miles; descended into another low
grassy plain subject to inundation, which, I suppose, receives Hunter
Creek. It continued for two miles, at the end of which we again ascended
a sandy rise, on the top of which the country became a sandy table land,
and continued so the rest of the day's journey. Camped without water, and
with very little grass. The table land was spinifex, gums, and scrub, in
some places very difficult to get through. Distance, thirty miles. Wind,
south-east. Latitude, 18 degrees 7 minutes 5 seconds. At 7 p.m. I
observed the comet, 5 degrees above the horizon, bearing 15 degrees west
of north, the nucleus more hazy, and the tail much longer. Calm.

Sunday, 7th July, West Sandy Table Land. Started at 8 a.m. on the same
course. At 3 p.m. we got into dense scrub, and, as I could see some
distance on before, being on one of the slight undulations, I felt there
was not the slightest hope of obtaining water; there was no change, no
rising ground visible. It would be hopeless to continue such sandy
country, as it can never hold water on the surface. We dug five feet, in
one of the small plains, but came to the clay without finding water, or
even moisture. There is not a mouthful of grass for the horses to eat;
the whole of the journey, with the exception of the small grassy plains,
is spinifex, gums, and scrub. I shall have to retreat to the last plain
we passed through to get feed for the horses, which are looking very bad.
The travelling has been heavy tearing through thick scrub, which in some
places has been burned: this makes it very rough for them. I must now
give up all hope of reaching the Victoria, and am unwillingly forced to
return, my horses being nearly worn out. Wind, variable. Distance,
twenty-five miles.

Monday, 8th July, Small Grass Plain in Scrub. Started at break of day and
continued until 4.30 p.m. Meeting with a little grass, camped; some of
the horses unable to go further. Wind, south.

Tuesday, 9th July, Sandy Table Land. Started at sunrise and arrived at
Burke Creek. At 11 a.m. turned the horses out to feed for two hours, and
proceeded up the creek to where I first struck it. Camped. At a little
more than a mile down the creek from here, there is a course of concrete
ironstone running across it, which forms a large pond of water nearly a
mile in length, apparently deep and permanent. Wind, west.

Wednesday, 10th July, Burke Creek. Shortly after sunrise proceeded toward
the main camp, and arrived there at 3 p.m. Found all well. The natives
have been about. They attacked Wall while in search of the missing horse;
he and his horse narrowly escaped being hit by their boomerangs. The
missing horse cannot be found. I suppose that he has crept into some
bushes and died; for, the night before he was missed, he left the other
horses and came to the camp fire; he appeared to be very stupid, and for
some time they could not get him away; when they did so, he went off
reeling. Wind, south-west.

Thursday, 11th July, Tomkinson Creek. Shoeing horses, and repairing
saddles and bags to carry our provisions back. We have now run out of
everything for that purpose, and are obliged to make all sorts of shifts.
The two tarpaulins that I brought from Mr. Chambers's station for mending
the bags, are all used up some time ago, and nearly all the spare bags;
the sewing-twine has been used long since, and we are obliged to make
some from old bags. We are all nearly naked, the scrub has been so severe
on our clothes; one can scarcely tell the original colour of a single
garment, everything is so patched. Our boots are also gone. It is with
great reluctance that I am forced to return without a further trial. I
should like to go back, and try from Newcastle Water, but my provisions
will not allow me. I started with thirty weeks' supply at seven pounds of
flour per week, and have now been out twenty-six, and it will take me ten
weeks before I can reach the first station. The men are also failing, and
showing the effects of short rations. I only wish I had sufficient to
carry me over until the rain will fall in next March. I think I should be
able to make both the Victoria and the Gulf. I had no idea when starting
that the hills would terminate so soon in such extensive level country,
without water, or I should have tried to make the river, and see what the
country was, when I first saw the rising grounds from Mount Primrose,
which are the sand and iron undulations passed over on my southernmost
western journey. Before I went to Newcastle Water they completely
deceived me; for from the top of the mount they had the appearance of a
high range, which I was glad to see, thinking that if the range I was
then following up should cease, or if I could not find a way into the
river further north, I would be sure to get in by that distant range,
which caused me to leave the Newcastle Water country sooner than I should
otherwise have done; and now I have not provisions to take me back again.
From what I have seen of the country to the west and south of Newcastle
Water, I am of opinion that it would be no use trying again to make the
river, for I believe no water can be obtained by sinking. To the west and
north-west of Newcastle Water the country is apparently lower, and I
think that water could be obtained at a moderate depth. It is the
shortest distance between the waters; but the greatest difficulty would
be in getting through the dense forest and scrub, but that, I should
think, could be overcome. It certainly is a great disappointment to me
not to be able to get through, but I believe I have left nothing untried
that has been in my power. I have tried to make the Gulf and river, both
before rain fell, and immediately after it had fallen; but the results
were the same, UNSUCCESSFUL. Even after the rain I could not get a step
further than before it. I shall commence my homeward journey to-morrow
morning. Wind, south. The horses have had a severe trial from the long
journeys they have made, and the great hardships and privations they have
undergone. On my last journey they were one hundred and six hours without

On Friday, July 12th, Mr. Stuart quitted Tomkinson Creek to return to
Adelaide, and on the following Friday reached Ann Creek on the north side
of the Murchison range. On the 30th, the party proceeded across the
Centre, and camped south-west of it, on the Hanson. The nights now became
very cold, and there was usually white frost on the grass, and ice in the
buckets every morning. On August 6th they camped under Brinkley Bluff,
and remained there until the 8th. The Hamilton was reached on the 23rd,
and here the natives again showed some hostility, contenting themselves,
however, with yelling and howling, and endeavouring to set fire to the
grass, in which they were happily unsuccessful. On Saturday, August 31st,
they arrived at Mr. Levi's station, where all of them "were overjoyed at
once more seeing the face of a white man." They were received with great
kindness and attention. After remaining there three days they proceeded
by way of Louden Spa, William Springs, Paisley Ponds, and Hamilton
Springs to Chambers Creek, where they arrived on September 7th and
remained until the 10th.

The last entry in Mr. Stuart's journal is as follows:

Sunday, 15th September, Moolooloo. I shall leave to-morrow for Port
Augusta, and proceed by steamer for Adelaide, leaving the party to be
brought into town by Mr. Kekwick.

I cannot close my Journal without expressing my warmest thanks to my
second in command, and my other companions; they have been brave, and
have vied with each other in performing their duties in such a manner as
to make me at all times feel confident that my orders were carried out to
the best of their ability, and to my entire satisfaction; and I also beg
to tender my best thanks to the promoters (Messrs. Chambers and Finke)
and the Government, for the handsome manner I was fitted out.


Leader of the Expedition.


Mr. Stuart made his public entry into Adelaide on Monday, 23rd September,
and reported himself to the authorities. Almost at the same time the
Victorian Government obtained their first traces of the survivors of the
ill-fated expedition under Burke and Wills.* (* The news of their death
reached Melbourne on November 2nd.) The South Australian Government had
such confidence in Mr. Stuart that, on his expressing his readiness to
make another attempt to cross the continent, they at once closed with his
offer, and in less than a month (on October 21st) the new expedition
started from Adelaide to proceed to Chambers Creek, and get everything in
order there for a final start. Mr. Stuart accompanied them for a few
miles to see that everything went on well, when, one of the horses
becoming restive, he advanced with the intention of cutting the rope
which was choking the animal; the horse reared and struck him on the
temple with its fore foot, knocking him down and rendering him
insensible. The brute then sprang forward and placed one of his hind feet
on Mr. Stuart's right hand, and, rearing again, dislocated two joints of
his first finger, tearing the flesh and nail from it, and injuring the
bone to such an extent that amputation of the finger was at first thought
unavoidable. By careful treatment, however, it was unnecessary to resort
to such a course, and in five weeks the leader was able to start to
overtake his party, some of whom were to remain at Moolooloo until he
joined them.

In no way discouraged either by his own unlucky accident and previous
want of success, or by the melancholy end of his brother explorers, Burke
and Wills, Mr. Stuart arrived at Moolooloo on Friday, December 20th, and
at Finniss Springs on the 29th. The names of the party were as follows:

John McDouall Stuart, Leader of the Expedition.
William Kekwick, Second Officer.
F.W. Thring, Third Officer.
W.P. Auld, Assistant.
Stephen King.
John Billiatt.
James Frew.
Heath Nash.
John McGorrerey, Shoeing Smith.
J.W. Waterhouse, Naturalist to the Expedition.

Besides these, there were at starting, Woodforde and Jeffries; but at
Finniss Springs, the latter struck one of his companions, and, on being
called to account by his leader, refused to go any further. As to the
former, when quitting Mr. Levi's station on January 21st, it was
arranged, in order to lighten the weak horses, that the great-coats of
the party should be left, but Woodforde objected to this, and said he
would not go unless he had his great-coat with him. Mr. Stuart had very
properly decided not to take any man who refused to obey orders, and he
therefore started without him. The next day Woodforde rejoined the party
near Milne Springs, but did not accompany them many days longer; for on
February 3rd, shortly after starting, he asked McGorrerey to hold his gun
while he returned to get something he had left behind at the previous
night's camp. About an hour afterwards, McGorrerey discovered a piece of
folded-up paper on the nipple of the gun, and on examination this proved
to be an insolent note, addressed to his leader, stating that he had gone
back, taking with him a horse, saddle, bridle, tether-rope, and sundry
other things not belonging to him. Mr. Stuart had been much dissatisfied
with his conduct for some days, and had made up his mind to send him
back, believing that he was doing everything in his power to discourage
the party, and bring his leader's authority into contempt.

At Marchant Springs, where they arrived on February 15th, they began to
experience annoyance from the natives. On the 17th, as Auld was
approaching the water-hole, a native who was there called to some others
who were posted in trees, and shortly afterwards a great cloud of smoke
was seen to windward, coming towards the camp. It was evidently their
intention to attack the exploring party under cover of the smoke, "but
Thring, while looking for the horses, came suddenly on three of them
concealed behind a bush, armed with spears and boomerangs; he did not
perceive them until within twelve yards of them. They immediately jumped
up, and one of them threw a boomerang at him, which fortunately missed
both him and his horse. He was obliged to use his revolver in self
defence," but with what result Mr. Stuart does not state.

The excessive heat of the weather now proved a great hindrance to the
expedition. They had already lost so many horses that a large part of
their provisions, etc. had to be abandoned on various occasions. On
February 23rd, Mr. Stuart writes:

"Before reaching this place (the Hugh) five other horses gave in, and
were unable to proceed further. I cannot understand the cause of the
horses knocking up so much; every one of them has fallen off the last
week. Whether it is the excessive heat or the brackish water of the
Finke, I am unable to say. Last night I tried some citric acid in the
water of the Finke, and it caused it to effervesce, showing that the
water contained soda." It was afterwards ascertained that the horses were
suffering from worms, which may partially account for their failing

After leaving the Hugh, on February 25th, they were again annoyed by the
natives. When about half-way through the gorge, they "set fire to the
grass and dry wood across the creek, which caused a dense smoke to blow
in our faces. I had the party prepared for an attack. After passing
through the smoke and fire, three natives made their appearance about
twenty-five yards off, on the hill side, armed with spears and shields,
and bidding us defiance by placing the spears in the womeras, and yelling
out at the highest pitch of their voices. I ordered Auld to dismount and
fire a shot a little distance on one side of them, to let them know what
distance our weapons carried. The ball struck the rock pointed out to him
to aim at, and stopped their yelling, but seemed to have no other effect.
I again ordered him to fire at the rock on which the middle one of the
three was standing; the shot was a good one, for the ball struck the
desired spot, and immediately had the effect of sending them all off at
full speed."

Again, on March 5th, while crossing the plains under Mount Hay, they came
suddenly on three natives armed with long spears and shields, who ran off
into the scrub. A short distance further, while watering the horses at
some rain water, these three natives returned, accompanied by four
others, and made signs of hostility, by yelling and shaking their spears,
and performing other threatening antics while widely separating
themselves in a half-circle. Mr. Stuart says: "I had the party prepared
to receive an attack; but when they saw us stationary they approached no
nearer. I ordered some of the party to fire close to them, to show them
we could injure them at a long distance, if they continued to annoy us,
but they did not seem at all frightened at the report of the rifles nor
the whizzing of the balls near to them, since they still remained in a
threatening attitude. With the aid of a telescope we could perceive a
number of others concealed in the belt of scrub. They all seemed fine
muscular men. There was one tall fellow in particular with a large shield
and a very long spear (upwards of twelve feet), which he seemed very
anxious to use if he could have got within distance. We crossed the
creek, and had proceeded a short distance across the plain, when they
again came running towards us, apparently determined to attack; they were
received with a discharge of rifles, which caused them to retire and keep
at a respectful distance. Having already wasted too much time with them,
I proceeded over the plain, keeping a sharp look-out; should they
threaten us again, I shall allow them to come close, and make an example
of them. It is evident their designs are hostile. Before entering the
scrub we could see no signs of them following. About sundown, arrived at
Mount Harris without further annoyance."

A week later (on March 12th) the Centre was passed; and on the 17th,
while going from Woodforde Creek through the bad country towards the
Bonney, Thring met with an awkward accident, which his leader thus
describes: "Being anxious to keep my old tracks through the scrub, as it
does not wear the saddle-bags so much as breaking through a new line, I
missed them about two miles after starting, in consequence of the
earliness and cloudiness of the morning. I sent Thring in search of them,
and he, on finding them a short distance off, fired his revolver to let
us know that the tracks were found. The young horse he was riding stood
the first report very well. I, not hearing the report, was moving on,
which caused him to fire again, whereupon his horse backed and threw him
with violence to the ground on his chest. He feels his chest is much hurt
by the fall. The horse then returned on the tracks at full gallop," and
was not recovered until shortly before sundown.

The party camped at Attack Creek on Friday, March 28th, and at Tomkinson
Creek on the 31st. On April 3rd, while crossing the Gleeson, Kekwick's
horse fell back with him in ascending the bank, and broke the stock of
his gun, but he himself escaped unhurt. On Saturday, April 5th, they
camped at the east end of Newcastle Water, and the following day, "at
about 9 o'clock a.m. Kekwick, in endeavouring to shoot some ducks, went
towards some native smoke, and was met by two natives, who ran away. In
an hour afterwards, five natives came within a hundred yards of the camp,
and seemed anxious to come up to it, but were not permitted. Two hours
afterwards we were again visited by fifteen more, to some of whom a
present was made of some looking-glasses and handkerchiefs; at the same
time they were given to understand that they must not approach nearer to
the camp, and signs were made to them to return to their own camp, which
they shortly did. In the afternoon we were again visited by nineteen of
them, who approached within a hundred yards of the camp, when they all
sat down and had a good stare at us, remaining a long time without
showing any inclination to go. At length some of them started the horses
which were feeding near the water, and made them gallop towards the camp.
This so frightened the natives that they all ran away, and we were not
troubled with them for the rest of the evening."

The next day the camp was moved to the north end of Newcastle Water,
where they remained for a week resting horses and repairing bags,
saddles, etc. The Journal then continues as follows:

Monday, 14th April, North End of Newcastle Water. Leaving Mr. Kekwick in
charge of the party, started with Thring and Frew at 7.15 a.m., on a
northerly course, in search of water; and at six miles, on the edge of
the open plains, found some rainwater, sufficient for a few days.
Proceeded across the plain on the same course; but at three miles saw
something like a watercourse, and changed my course to 20 degrees, to see
what it was. At two miles I struck a dry course running south-west.
Followed it up towards the small rise without finding any water. Three
miles further on the same course I ascended a low stony rise, from which
I could see nothing but a thick forest of tall mulga and gums. I changed
to a northerly course, and, at 4.20 p.m., camped in a forest without
water. Wind, south-east.

Tuesday, 15th April, Sturt Plains, Forest. Proceeded on a course of 250
degrees, and at five miles again struck the open plains, and changed to
180 degrees. At one mile I found a fine water hole three feet deep and
about forty feet in diameter, the edge of which was surrounded with
conglomerate ironstone rock; watered the horses, and proceeded on a
southerly course, through grassy plains with stunted gum-trees, to the
first water I found yesterday, and camped. The plains and forest are of
the same description as I have already given, only that the plains have
not quite so many holes in them, and the forest in many places is covered
with ironstone gravel. I shall try a course to the north of west
to-morrow, to see if I can find water. Wind variable.

Wednesday, 16th April, Frew's Water Hole, Sturt Plains. Started at 7.45
a.m., on a course of 302 degrees, keeping along the edge of the open
plain. I have made many twistings and turnings, but my general course is
north-west for ten miles. Seeing a small rise on the open plain, a little
to the north of west, I changed to 275 degrees; and at two miles came on
some fine ponds of water about one mile and a half long, twenty feet
broad, and three feet and a half deep. I examined them on both sides, to
see if they would do for a permanent camp for the party as it is a point
nearer; and I think I may depend on the water lasting two months without
any more rain. I shall camp here to-night, and try another day to-morrow
to the westward, and endeavour to make the Victoria, for I can see but
little chance of making the Adelaide. By my journal of the 14th,
everything is quite dry and parched up; no rain seems to have fallen
there for a long time. The last two days have been excessively hot. The
further to the west the hotter I find it. The natives seem to be
numerous, for their smoke in the scrub is to be seen in every direction.
I name these ponds after John Howell, Esquire, of Adelaide.

Thursday, 17th April, Howell Ponds. Started at 7 a.m., on a bearing 10
degrees north of west. At twelve miles crossed the open plains, and
entered a thick forest of gums and other trees and shrubs. Seeing that
there is no chance of finding water to-day, returned to the ponds. The
open plains seem to tend more to the north-west; I shall examine them
when I bring the party up to the ponds. Distance, fifteen miles. Wind,

Friday, 18th April, Howell Ponds. Started for the camp on the Newcastle
Water. On my arrival, I found the party all right, but very anxious about
me, as I had been absent longer than I intended. No natives had been near
them during my absence at this time; smoke was seen all around. Weather
hot during the day, but cold at night and in the morning. Wind,

Saturday, 19th April, North End of Newcastle Water. I shall remain here
till Monday, in order to take some lunar observations, as I am not quite
certain that my longitude is correct. Wind, south-east.

Sunday, 20th April, North End of Newcastle Water. Wind from the east;
blowing strongly during the day, but it dropped a little before sundown,
allowing the mosquitoes to annoy us very much.

Monday, 21st April, North End of Newcastle Water. Some of the horses
having strayed some distance made it 10 o'clock a.m. before I could get a
start. Proceeded through six miles of forest and scrub to the water that
I found on the 14th instant; from thence I changed to 301 degrees 30
minutes for nine miles, and then to 275 degrees, and at two miles camped
at the ponds I had discovered on the 16th. Native smoke all around us.
The day has been very hot, and the flies a perfect nuisance. Wind,

Tuesday, 22nd April, Howell Ponds. Preparing for a start to-morrow to the
north-west in search of water. Wind, south-east.

Wednesday, 23rd April, Howell Ponds. Leaving Mr. Kekwick in charge of the
party, I started with Thring and Frew at 8.5 a.m., on a course of 284
degrees. At 9.55 (seven miles) changed to 320 degrees. At 11.20 (four
miles and a half) crossed the open plain, changing to 40 degrees to avoid
the scrub. At one mile and a half changed to west. At one mile changed to
north-west. At 2.20 (five miles) changed to 45 degrees. At 3 o'clock (two
miles) changed to north. At 3.25 one mile and a half changed to
north-west. At 3.45 camped without water. I have skirted the border of
the forest land in the hope of finding water, but am disappointed. I have
not seen a drop since I started. The plains are covered with beautiful
grass, two or three feet high. There are a great many different kinds of
birds about, and native smoke all round. I have searched every place
where I thought there was the least chance of finding water, but without
success. The day has been exceedingly hot. With such hot weather as this
I dare not attempt to make the Victoria. The horses could not stand a
hundred and forty miles without water. Those I have had with me to-day
seem to have suffered enough, and would not stand another two days
without. I must therefore return to the camp to-morrow. Wind, calm.

Thursday, 24th April, Sturt Plains. Returned to the camp and found all
right. The day has been excessively hot. We have seen nothing new during
the journey--the same open plains, with forest between.

Friday, 25th April, Howell Ponds. Leaving Mr. Kekwick in charge of the
party, started at 8.20 a.m., with Thring and Frew and fresh horses, on a
northerly course, in hopes of better success in that direction: course
360 degrees for twenty-two miles; grassy plains, covered in many places
with stunted gums, and a new tree with a small green leaf. After that, we
entered again a thick forest, and scrub almost impassable. At
twenty-eight miles, seeing no prospect of getting through it, I returned
two miles to a small open space, where I could tether the horses. I have
not seen a drop of water this day's journey. The forest is so very thick,
and so many twistings and turnings are required to pass through it, that,
although I travelled thirty miles, I don't believe I made more than
fifteen miles in a straight line. The day again exceedingly hot, with a
few clouds. A few birds were seen during this day's journey, but no
pigeons, which are the only sign we have now of being near water. Wind

Saturday, 26th April, Dense Forest. Returned to the camp. The horses felt
the heat and the want of water very much. In the forest the heat was
almost suffocating. I hope it will rain soon and cool the ground and
replenish the ponds, which are drying up fast. There have been a few
clouds during the day, but after sundown they all cleared away. Wind,

Sunday, 27th April, Howell Ponds. A few clouds have again made their
appearance, but still no rain. There has not fallen a drop of rain since
I left the Woodforde, which was on the 9th of March. Wind, south-east.
Latitude, 17 degrees 5 minutes 16 seconds.

Monday, 28th April, Howell Ponds. Leaving Mr. Kekwick in charge of the
party, started with Thring and King, on a course of 338 degrees, to try
and find an opening in the dense forest and scrub, as well as water. At
ten miles we crossed the open plain, with stunted gum-trees and long
grass. At this point we met with a small ironstone rise, about twenty
feet in height. On ascending I was again disappointed in finding before
me a dense forest and scrub. Proceeding in our course, it became thicker
than any which I had ever encountered before, and was almost impassable.
Still continued, and for a short distance in some places it became more
open. A little before sundown I camped on the edge of a stunted gum-tree
plain. There are a few slate-coloured cockatoos and other birds, which
lead me to hope that, in the morning, I may drop across some water. Wind
variable, with a few clouds during the day.

Tuesday, 29th April, Sturt Plains. Started on an easterly course,
following the flight of the birds; but at five miles crossed the open gum
plain, and again encountered the thick forest. Examined every place I
could see or think of where water was likely to be found, but was again
disappointed--not a drop was to be seen. Changed my course, so as to keep
on the plain; at four miles again crossed, and again met the dense
forest, but still no water. Changed to south-east, and at ten miles found
ourselves on a large stunted-gum plain. Changed to a little east of
south, and arrived at the camp without seeing a drop of water. Wind
variable, with heavy clouds from the east.

Wednesday, 30th April, Howell Ponds. I feel so unwell to-day that I am
unable to go out, besides I shall require my compass case and other
things mended; they got torn to pieces in the last journey by the forest
and the scrub. Yesterday's clouds are all gone, and have left us no rain.
Another hot day. Wind, east.

Thursday, 1st May, Howell Ponds. Leaving Mr. Kekwick in charge of the
party, started with King and Thring to the water hole that I discovered
on the 15th ultimo; arrived in the afternoon and camped. This water hole
I have named Frew's Water Hole, in token of my approbation of his care
of, and attention to, the horses. This waterhole is about twenty feet
below the plain, surrounded by a conglomerate ironstone rock. Since my
last visit it is only reduced two inches, and is still a large body of
clear water from the drainage of the adjacent country; it will last much
longer than I anticipated. I shall use my best endeavours to-morrow to
find an opening in the thick scrub from north to north-west. The course
of the forest seems to run a little west of north, and I am afraid the
open plains are surrounded by it; however, I shall try to get through it
if I possibly can. Wind, south-east. Day excessively hot.

Friday, 2nd May, Frew's Water Hole. Started at half-past seven o'clock
a.m. Course, 335 degrees. At ten miles, a dense forest and scrub. Changed
to 10 degrees east of north. At half a mile struck a water-shed, and
followed it north for two miles. Found a little rainwater in it, and at
two miles further arrived at its source. At three miles further on the
same course changed to 30 degrees east of north. At three miles and a
half again changed to 320 degrees, and at about a mile and a half struck
some fine ponds of water. At two miles further, arrived at what seemed to
be the last water, a small shallow pond. Examined around the plain to try
and find others, but without success. A little before sundown, returned
to the last water and camped. The first part of the day's journey was
over a stunted-gum plain, covered with grass. At ten miles we again met
with thick forest and scrub. I then changed my course to get out of it,
and struck the small water-shed running to the east of south. Following
it generally for two miles on a northerly course, we met with a little
rain water. Continued the same course through a thick forest and scrub
for three miles and a half to get through it if possible. At this point
it becomes denser than ever. Sent Thring to climb to the top of a tree,
from which he saw apparently a change in one of the low scrubby rises,
which appeared to be not so thickly covered with scrub as the others. I
directed my course to it, 30 degrees east of north, to examine it. I
observe that there is some sandstone in the low scrubby rises, which
leads me to hope that I may not be far from a change of country. On this
last course we travelled three miles, through a dense thicket of
hedge-tree, when I observed some large gum-trees bearing 320 degrees, and
decided to examine them before leaving the rise. As I approached nearer
to it I again sent Thring to climb a tree to see if there was any change.
He could see nothing but the same description of forest and scrub. The
change that he saw from the other tree was the shade of the sun on the
lower mulga bushes, which caused him to suppose that it was more open
country. Not seeing any opening in that direction, I changed to the
gum-trees. At a mile and a half was delighted at the sight of a chain of
fine water holes; their course north-west to south-east, the flow
apparently to south-east. I followed one pond, which was about half a
mile long and appeared to be deep. A number of smaller ones succeeded.
They then ceased, and I crossed a small plain, which shows signs of being
at times covered with water. Observing some green and white barked
gum-trees on the west side of it, I went to them, and found a small
watercourse with small pools of water, which flowed into the plain coming
from the north-west. Following it a little further, we met with some more
water. A short distance above this it ceased in the dense forest which
seems to surround these ponds. I shall endeavour to force my way through
it to-morrow to the west of north. Wind, south-east, with a few clouds in
the same direction. These ponds I name King's Ponds, in token of my
approbation of his care of, and attention to, the horses, and his
readiness and care in executing all my orders. Wind, south-east, with a
few clouds in the same direction.

Saturday, 3rd May, King's Chain of Ponds. Started at twenty minutes past
seven a.m., on a course of 350 degrees. At twenty-four miles changed to
45 degrees; at three miles and a half changed to north; at two miles and
a half camped. At two miles from our last night's camp found an easy
passage through the forest; the rest of the twenty-four miles was over a
well-grassed country, well wooded with gum and some new trees that I had
found last year, and occasionally a little scrub, in some places thick
for a short distance. On my first course, before changing, I was crossing
low ironstone undulations, which caused me to think I was running along
the side of one of the scrubby rises. I therefore changed to 45 degrees
east of north to make the plain--if there is any--the scrub being so
thick that I cannot see more than fifty yards before me. At three miles
and a half I found that I was travelling over the same description of
small rises and getting into much thicker scrub. I again changed to
north, to see if that would lead me into a plain. At two miles and a half
it was still the same, and apparently a thick forest and scrub before us.
I camped a little before sundown at a small open place to tether the
horses. I have not seen a drop of water during the whole journey, nor any
place likely to retain it, with the exception of a small flat about six
miles from the last camp. The day very hot. Wind, south-east, with a few

Sunday, 4th May, Dense Forest. Returned to King's Ponds. This country
seems but little frequented by the natives, as we have seen no recent
tracks of them. There are a number of cockatoos and other birds about. We
have seen no other game, except one wallaby and one kangaroo. There are
plenty of old emu tracks about the ponds. Wind, variable. Cloudy.

Monday, 5th May, King's Ponds. Returned to Frew's Water Hole and camped.
Before sundown the sky became overcast with clouds. Wind variable.

Tuesday, 6th May, Frew's Water Hole. Towards morning we had a few drops
of rain. Returned to the camp and found all well. Yesterday they were
visited by a few natives who seemed to be very friendly; they called
water ninloo: they were armed with spears, about ten feet long, having a
flat sharp flint point about six inches long, with a bamboo attached to
the other end. They pointed to the west as the place where they got the
bamboo and water also, but they seemed to know nothing of the country
north of this; they were tall, well-made, elderly men. After talking for
some time they went away very quietly. To-day they have set fire to the
grass round about us, and the wind being strong from the south-east it
travelled with great rapidity. In coming into the camp, about three miles
back, I and the two that were with me narrowly escaped being surrounded
by it; it was as much as our horses could do to get past it, as it came
rolling and roaring along in one immense sheet of flame and smoke,
destroying everything before it.

Wednesday, 7th May, Howell Ponds. Resting. The natives have not again
visited us, but their smoke is seen all around. I shall start to-morrow
on a course west of north, to try and make the Victoria by that route. I
shall take some of the waterbags with me to see how they answer. Wind,
south-east. Clouds all gone.

Thursday, 8th May, Howell Ponds. Leaving Mr. Kekwick in charge of the
party, started with Thring and McGorrerey, also with King and Nash, who
are to bring back the horses which carry the waterbags, whilst I with
Thring and McGorrerey proceed on a west course. Started at half-past
eight a.m., keeping the former tracks made on my previous journey to the
westward, to where we met with the thick forest. About a mile beyond,
struck a native track, followed it, running nearly north-west, until
nearly three o'clock p.m., when we came upon a small water hole or
opening in the middle of a small plain, which seems to have been dug by
the natives, and is now full of rain water. This is apparently the water
that the natives pointed to, for their tracks are coming into it from
every direction. This opening I have named Nash Spring, in token of my
approbation. I am very much disappointed with the water-bags; in coming
this distance of twenty-one miles they have leaked out nearly half. Wind,
south east.

Friday, 9th May, Nash Spring. Sent King and Nash with the horses that
carried the water-bags back to the depot, while I and the other two, at
twenty minutes to eight o'clock a.m. proceeded on a bearing of 290
degrees, following one of the native tracks running in that direction. At
about a mile they became invisible; for that distance I observed that a
line of trees was marked down each side of the track by cutting a small
piece of bark from off the gum-trees with a tomahawk. This I had never
seen natives do before; the marks are very old. At eighteen miles and a
half struck another track (the trees cut in the same way) crossing our
course; followed it, bearing 10 degrees east of north, and at about two
miles came on a native well with moisture in it. Followed the valley on
the same course, but seeing no more appearance of water, I again changed
to my original course, and, at a quarter to four o'clock, finding that I
was again entering the dense forest and scrub, I camped at a good place
for feed for the horses, but no water. The whole of the day's journey has
been through a wooded country, in some places very thick, but in most
open; it is composed of gums, hedge-trees, and some new trees--the gums
predominating; there were also a few patches of lancewood scrub. For the
first eighteen miles the soil was light and sandy, with spinifex and a
little grass mixed. At the end of eighteen miles I again got into the
grass country, with occasionally a little spinifex. Wind, south-east.
Cold during the night and morning.

Saturday, 10th May, The Forest. Started at five minutes to seven o'clock
a.m. (same course, 290 degrees). Almost immediately encountered a dense
forest of tall mulga, with an immense quantity of dead wood lying on the
ground. It was with the greatest difficulty that the horses could be made
to move through it. At a mile it became a little more open, which
continued for six miles. At seven miles I thought, from the appearance of
the country, that it was dipping towards the north-north-west; I
therefore changed my course to north-west, and in less than a mile again
entered a dense forest of tall mulga, thicker than I had yet been into.
Continued pushing, tearing, and winding into it for three miles. The
further I went the denser it became. I saw that it was hopeless to
continue any further. We were travelling full speed, and making little
more than a mile an hour throughout the ten miles gone over to-day. The
country is a red light soil and covered with abundance of grass, but
completely dried up. No rain seems to have fallen here for a length of
time. We have not seen a bird, nor heard the chirrup of any to disturb
the gloomy silence of the dark and dismal forest--thus plainly indicating
the absence of water in and about this country. I therefore retraced my
steps towards Nash Springs; passed our last night's camp, and continued
on till sundown, one of the horses being completely knocked up. Camped
without water. Wind, south-east.

Sunday, 11th May, The Forest. This morning the horse that was so bad last
night was found dead, which puts us in a very awkward position--without a
pack-horse. We had to leave behind the pack-saddle, bags, and all other
things we could not carry with us on our riding-horses. Proceeded to Nash
Spring, which we reached after two o'clock p.m., with another of the
horses completely knocked up. It was with difficulty that he reached it.
I suppose the days being so extremely hot, and the feed so dry that there
is little nourishment in it, is the cause of this, as they were horses
that had been out with me on my last year's journey, and had suffered
from want of water a longer time than on this occasion. I am nearly in a
fix with a long journey before me, the horses unable to do more than two
nights without water, and the water-bags losing half their contents in
one day's journey. To make the Victoria through the country I have just
passed into would be impossible. I must now endeavour to find a country
to the northward and make the Roper. I am very vexed about the water-bags
turning out so badly, as I was placing great dependence on them for
carrying me through. I must try and push through the best way possible.
Wind, south-east.

Monday, 12th May, Nash Spring, West Forest. Proceeded very slowly with
the knocked-up horse to the Depot; he appears to be very ill, and is
looking very bad this morning. Arrived there and found all right; they
had been visited by the natives twice during my absence. They appeared to
be very friendly, and were hugging Frew and King, for whom they seemed to
have taken a great fancy; they were old, young, and children. Some pieces
of white tape were given to them, which pleased them much. They still
pointed to the west, as the place where the large water is, and made
signs with a scoop to show that they have to dig for it in going through;
which I am now almost sure is the case from what I saw of the country in
my last journey in that direction. In upwards of fifty miles we did not
see the least signs of a watercourse--nor could I discover any dip in the
country; it has the same appearance all round; one cannot see more than
half a mile before one, and in many places only a few yards. I have been
deceived once or twice by what appeared to be a dip in the country, but
it turned out to be only lower trees and scrub than what we were
travelling through. With a small party I might make the Victoria from
here, but there is every chance of losing the horses in doing so; and I
should be in a sad predicament to be there without horses, and without
the possibility of receiving supplies from the party at the Depot; I
should have to perish there. Therefore, I consider it would be folly and
madness to attempt it, and might be the cause of sacrificing the lives of
both parties. Had the feed been green, or had it any substance in it, I
would have tried, but every blade of grass is parched and dried up as in
the middle of summer, and the horses have not the strength nor endurance
to undergo much privation, of which I have had a proof in the journey I
have just taken. After resting a day or two to recover the horses, and
get ourselves a little refreshed, I shall move the party up to King's
Ponds, and try to push through wherever I can find an opening. Day very
hot. Wind, south-east. A few clouds came up from that quarter after

Tuesday, 13th May, Depot, Howell Ponds. Resting ourselves and horses. Day
again hot, with a few clouds round the horizon. The natives had again set
fire to the country all around, which increases the heat. I wish it would
come on to rain, and put out their fires, and fill the ponds, which are
shrinking a great deal more than I expected. Wind, south-east. Clouds.

Wednesday, 14th May, Depot, Howell Ponds. As I don't feel well enough
to-day, I shall remain here, and start to-morrow morning. This morning,
while Thring was collecting the horses, he came on a place where the
natives had been encamped a day or two before, and there saw the remains
of the bones of one of them that had apparently been burnt; this is
another new feature in their customs. Wind, south-east.

Thursday, 15th May, Depot, Howell Ponds. Started with the party across
the plain to Frew's Water Hole, course 15 degrees east of north; found
the plain burnt for ten miles. The fire has been so great that it has
burned every blade of grass, and scorched all the trees to their very
tops. I was very fortunate the other day in having escaped it; nothing
could have lived in such a fire, and had we been caught in it we must
have perished. Wind, south-east. Clouds all gone, Latitude, 16 degrees 54
minutes 7 seconds.

Friday, 16th May, Frew's Water Hole. Started at fourteen minutes past
eight o'clock a.m., course 345 degrees, for King's Chain of Ponds.
Arrived at about half-past three o'clock p.m. In coming through, one of
the horses separated from the rest and bolted off into the dense forest,
tearing everything down before him. We got him in again, but with a
broken saddle, and the top off one of the bags, which we afterwards
recovered. Arrived at the ponds without any further accident. Wind,
north-east. Very hot, and a few clouds. Latitude, 16 degrees 38 minutes
53 seconds.

Saturday, 17th May, King's Chain of Ponds. Sent King and Thring to follow
round the flat to see where the ponds go to. About noon they returned,
and reported that the water loses itself in a flat, which is surrounded
by thick forest and scrub. This certainly is a very pretty place, and a
great pity it is not more extensive. It reminds me much of the park land
found by Captain Sturt in 1845, where he had his second depot, named Fort
Grey. Wind, south-east, with a few clouds.

Sunday, 18th May, King's Chain of Ponds. In the afternoon the sky became
cloudy, and at sundown was quite overcast; the day exceedingly hot, and
the wind nearly calm. The clouds came from the north-west, and the little
wind there is from the south-east.

Monday, 19th May, King's Chain of Ponds. As the sky is overcast with
clouds, so that I cannot see the sun, and as it is nearly impossible to
keep a straight course in such thick country without it, I shall remain
here to-day, and if it should break up I shall endeavour to take a lunar
observation. At 9 o'clock a.m. it cleared up, which enabled me to take
one. The remainder of the day very hot. Wind variable, with clouds from
every direction; towards sundown it again settled in the south-east, and
all the clouds disappeared without any rain falling.

Tuesday, 20th May, King's Chain of Ponds. Leaving Mr. Kekwick in charge
of the party, I started with Thring, King, and Auld, at half-past nine
a.m., on a northern course; at one o'clock p.m. changed to 65 degrees, to
what appeared to be a bare hill. At a little more than a mile struck a
small watercourse running towards the north; followed it, and at about
two miles and a half came on some ponds of water, but not so large as
those at our depot; at present they are not more than three feet and a
half deep. Examined around the wooded plain to see if there was any
larger body of water, but could see none. This plain is covered with
small gums, having a dark bluish-green leaf with a grey-coloured bark;
there are also a few white ones around the ponds of water, which abound
with grass. Before reaching the plain we crossed what seemed to be
elevated sandy table land, extending about nine miles, covered with
spinifex and dark-coloured gum-trees; we also passed two or three narrow
belts of tall mulga and hedge-trees which grow on the stony rises, about
twenty feet high. These ponds I name Auld's Ponds, in token of my
approbation of his conduct. Wind, south-east. Latitude, 16 degrees 28
minutes 16 seconds.

Wednesday, 21st May, Auld's Chain of Ponds. Started at twenty minutes
past eight o'clock a.m., course north. The morning was so thick, with a
heavy fog, that I did not get a start till late. At three miles I found
another chain of ponds, but not so large; these I name McGorrerey Ponds.
Proceeded on the same course and passed through some thick belts of
hedge-tree and scrub; the country then opened and became splendidly
grassed, with gums and other trees. We also saw, for the first time, a
new gum-tree, having a large broad dark-green leaf, and the bark of a
nankeen colour, which gave a very pretty effect to the country. At
seventeen miles, not finding any water, and having passed five deep holes
surrounded with ironstone conglomerate rock similar to Frew's Water Hole,
but without any water in them, and to all appearance the dip of the
country being to the north-east, I have changed my course to that
direction, again travelling over a splendidly grassed country for ten
miles, occasionally meeting with low stony rises of ironstone and gravel,
at the foot of which were some more deep holes without water. In the last
three miles we had to get through a few patches of scrub; the grass is
all very dry. No rain seems to have fallen here for a long time. At
sundown camped without water. Day very hot. Wind variable, with a few
clouds. Latitude, 16 degrees 8 minutes 39 seconds.

Thursday, 22nd May, Fine Grass Country. Returned to McGorrerey Ponds. Day
very hot, and the horses much distressed for want of water; they have the
appearance of being half-starved for a month, and have taken an immense
quantity of water, having gone to it about four or five times in an hour.
As I am not satisfied that these ponds cease here, I shall try again
to-morrow a little more to the east. Wind, south-east.

Friday, 23rd May, McGorrerey Ponds. Gave the horses a little time to feed
after daylight in consequence of their having been tethered during the
night; the country is so thickly wooded that I dare not trust them in
hobbles the whole night, as, if they were lost sight of there would be
great difficulty in finding them here. There is still the appearance of a
small creek, which I shall follow until it runs out or trends too much to
the east. Started at half-past eight o'clock a.m., course 20 degrees east
of north, following the small creek about two miles; it seems to be
getting larger, with occasionally a little water in it. We have also
seen, on both sides of us, ponds with water surrounded by gum-trees;
these ponds, when full, must retain water for a long time. We have also
seen a new tree growing on the banks of the creek, with a large straight
barrel, dark smooth bark, with bunches of bright yellow flowers and
palmated leaves. At a mile and a half further the creek is improving
wonderfully. We have now passed some fine holes of water, which will last
at least three months; at five miles the water is becoming more plentiful
and the creek broader and deeper, but twisting and turning about very
much, sometimes running east and then turning to the west and all other
points of the compass. Having seen what I consider to be permanent water,
I shall now run a straight course, 20 degrees east of north, and strike
it occasionally to see if the water continues. I have named these Daly
Waters, in honour of his Excellency the Governor-in-Chief. Within a
hundred yards the banks are thickly wooded with tall mulga and lancewood
scrub; but to the east is open gum forest, splendidly grassed. Proceeded,
occasionally touching the creek, and always found fine reaches of water,
which continued a considerable way. At thirteen miles they become smaller
and wider apart; at fifteen miles the creek seems to be trending more to
the eastward, its bed is now conglomerate ironstone, and, as this appears
to be about the last water, I shall give the horses a drink and follow it
as far as it goes. In a short distance it has become quite dry, with a
deep broad course upwards of twenty yards wide. At seventeen miles it
separated into two channels, and at a quarter of a mile the two channels
emptied themselves into a large boggy swamp, with no surface water. I
examined the swamp, but could see no outlet. The country round about is
thickly timbered with gum and other trees. Returned to the last water and
camped. I shall return to the Depot and bring the party up here. Wind,
south-east; a few clouds at sunset.

Saturday, 24th May, Chain of Ponds, Large Creek. Followed my tracks back
to Auld's Chain of Ponds, and had difficulty in doing so, the ground
being so hard that the hoofs of the horses scarcely left any impression
on it. This would be a fearful country for any one to be lost in, as
there is nothing to guide them, and one cannot see more than three
hundred yards around, the gum-trees are so thick, and the small belts of
lancewood make it very deceptive. Should any one be so unfortunate as to
be lost, it would be quite impossible to find them again; it would be
imprudent to search for them, for by so doing the searchers would run the
risk of being lost also. Arrived at Auld's Ponds and camped. Wind,
south-east. A few clouds.

Sun day, 25th May, Auld's Chain of Ponds. Proceeded to the Depot, where I
arrived in the afternoon and found all well. No natives have been near
them, although some of their smoke has been seen at a short distance from
the Depot. Yesterday we hoisted the Union Jack in honour of her Most
Gracious Majesty's birthday, that being the only thing we had to
commemorate this happy event, with our best wishes for her long and happy
reign. Wind, south-east.

Monday, 26th May, Chain of Ponds. Removed the party on to Auld's Chain of

Tuesday, 27th May, Auld's Chain of Ponds. Proceeded with the party to the
fourth chain of ponds and creek. This water has every appearance of being
permanent, and I hope I may fall in with such another in the next degree
of latitude. It may be from this that the Wickham receives a supply of
water when this overflows. Wind, south-west. Latitude, 16 degrees 14
minutes 31 seconds.

Wednesday, 28th May, Daly Waters, Fourth Chain of Ponds and Creeks. Sent
Thring and King to round the swamp into which this creek flows, to see if
there is any outlet to the eastward of this within two miles. There are
other ponds and a creek, which also empties itself into a swamp a little
to the eastward of the one into which this one empties itself. In the
afternoon they returned, having found a small watercourse forming the
north-west side of the swamp; followed it, running nearly 10 degrees east
of north. In about one mile and a half they came upon a large swamp
covered with water, but shallow. They then proceeded seven miles on a
north-east course; then meeting with some white-barked gum-trees,
appearing to run to the north-west, followed them for three miles,
crossing a gum and grass plain. Observing some native smoke to
north-east, they returned. Wind, south-east.

Thursday, 29th May, Daly Waters. Leaving Mr. Kekwick in charge of the
camp, at half-past seven o'clock proceeded with Thring, Auld, and Frew
down the creek to examine the swamp found yesterday. It is about 30
degrees east of north, about three miles from the Depot at Daly Waters.
The water does not appear to be deep, but covers a large area; there were
a few pelicans and other water-birds on it. From this we proceeded, on a
course 20 degrees east of north, to search the flat where Thring and King
saw the smoke yesterday. At eighteen miles from Daly Waters, having
crossed the gum plain without meeting with any water, and being on
apparently higher ground than the plain, I changed my course to 90
degrees east of north. At two miles and a half again crossed the plain,
and got upon low rising ground of ironstone and gravel, but still no
water. Changed to former bearing of 20 degrees east of north, and at
seven miles came upon a dry swamp, covered with long blue grass and deep
holes, but still no water could we find. Proceeded another mile, and
finding I was getting on rising ground, and the horses having done a long
and heavy day's journey, camped without water. After leaving the swamp
with the water (which was very boggy all round it), the country became
similar to that of Sturt Plains surrounding Newcastle Water, being so
full of deep holes that we were in danger of getting our necks broken,
and also the horses' legs. The soil is good, and completely covered with
grass and stunted gum-trees. In rainy weather it seems to be covered with
water. There is no watercourse, or any appearance of which way the water
flows. A number of various kinds of birds were about. Wind variable, but
mostly from south-west. Latitude, 15 degrees 56 minutes 11 seconds.

Friday, 30th May, North-north-east of Blue-Grass Swamp. Wishing to see a
little more of the country further on and to find where the birds get
their water, I proceeded with Thring, leaving the other two behind with
the horses, three miles and a half on the same course, following their
flight. In half a mile came again upon the stunted gum plain, splendidly
grassed to above the horses' knees. Can find no water, although the birds
are still round about us. The same description of country continues from
the swamp with the water to beyond this, consisting of small undulations
of gravel and ironstone. Retraced my steps to where I had left the other
two, and proceeded towards the Depot at nine miles. The country was in a
blaze of fire to the east of us. I am very thankful there was scarcely a
breath of wind, which enabled us to pass within a quarter of a mile of
it: had there been a strong wind we should have been in great danger, the
grass being so long and thick. Returned to the Depot after six p.m.,
being all very tired with the shaking we have had the last two days by
the horses falling into the holes nearly every step, and they also are
nearly exhausted; twelve hours in the saddle over such a country is no
easy task. It was my intention to have come back more to the east, but
having seen the smoke I saw we should be in the middle of the fire, and
so changed my intention. Wind, south-west. Very hot.

Saturday, 31st May, Daly Waters. As there are no appearances of rain, the
weather very hot, and I have a good deal of work in plans, etc. to bring
up, I shall remain here until Monday. I feel this heavy work much more
than I did the journey of last year; so much of it is beginning to tell
upon me. I feel my capability of endurance beginning to give way. There
are a number of small fish in this water, from three to five inches long,
something resembling a perch; the party are catching them with hooks;
they are a great relish to us, who have lived so long upon dry meat. Any
change is very agreeable. Wind variable.

Sunday, 1st June, Daly Waters. The day has been as hot as if it were in
the middle of summer. Surely we must get a change soon. Wind variable,
with a few light clouds. Mr. Waterhouse has shot two new parrots.

Monday, 2nd June, Daly Waters. Leaving the party in charge of Mr.
Kekwick, I started at twenty minutes past seven (course north), with
Thring, Auld, and Frew. Camped at 4.20. The whole day's journey has been
through a splendid grass country, and open forest of gum-trees and other
shrubs, some of them new to us. Here again we have also met with the
bean-tree, the blossoms of a bright crimson, and at this season they seem
to shed their leaves. The country passed over consisted mostly of
undulations of ironstone and gravel, with a brown-coloured rock
occasionally, between which were broad valleys of a light-coloured soil,
all cracked and having many deep holes, which, being hidden with the long
grass, caused the horses to tumble into them, and made it very fatiguing
both to them and us. I have been constantly in the hope all day of coming
upon some water, but have been disappointed. After rain this country can
be passed over with the greatest facility, for we have passed holes that
will hold water for a long time. The dip of this country is now to the
eastward. To-day I think I have been running along where the dip
commences from the table land. It was my intention to have tried a
journey to the north-west; but, from what I have seen of the country
to-day, and on my other journeys to the north, as well as Mr. Gregory's
description of it on the other side, I am led to believe that it would be
hopeless to expect to find water there. To try it will only be losing
time, and reducing the strength of my horses. I must now try on a
north-east course towards the Gulf of Carpentaria. I do not wish to go
east if I can help it; but I must go where the water leads me. During the
day's journey we passed through three narrow belts of hedge-tree scrub,
which was very thick. There does not seem to be so much of that as we get
to the north, neither is there so much of the tall mulga. We have not
seen a drop of water since we left the camp. Camped without it. Wind,
south. Day very hot. Latitude, 15 degrees 50 minutes 20 seconds.

Tuesday, 3rd June, Gum Forest. Fine country. I sent Thring on three miles
to see if there was any change, there being a number of birds about that
frequent the place where water is. I think there may still be a chance of
falling in with some. He has returned and can see none. Country the same
as that travelled over yesterday. Returned to the Depot. Arrived a little
before sundown, and found all well. Wind light; south. Day again very

Wednesday, 4th June, Daly Waters. Preparing for a start to-morrow to the
north-east. I shall take the water-bags; they may retain as much as will
suffice for a drink night and morning for four horses. I shall proceed to
the blue-grass swamp that I found in my last north-north-east course,
trace that down as far as it goes, and, should there be no water, shall
strike for the sources of the Wickham River. Wind, south-south-east.

Thursday, 5th June, Daly Waters. Started at a quarter to eight with
Thring and Auld, taking all the water-bags full, also King and Billiatt
to take back the horses that carry the water. I have chosen King for this
purpose, as being the next best bushman to Thring, and one in whom I can
place the greatest dependence to execute any charge I may give him with
care and faithfulness. At four o'clock arrived at the blue-grass swamp.
Changed my course to 70 degrees east of north, following down the middle
of it, which contains a great number of large deep holes in which water
has been, but are now quite dry. Followed it until it spread itself over
the plain, causing a great number of deep cracks and holes completely
covered with grass, gums, and other trees, too thick to get an easy
passage through. At sundown camped on the plain without water. A few
hours before sundown the sky had a very peculiar appearance to the
eastward, as if a black fog were rising, or smoke from an immense fire at
a long distance off, but it was too extensive for that. At sundown it
assumed a more distinct aspect in the shape of black clouds coming from
that direction. Wind, south-east.

Friday, 6th June, Plain East of Blue Swamp. Sent King and Billiatt back
with the horses, while I proceeded with the other two on a course 70
degrees east of north. At a mile and a half came suddenly upon a scrubby
ironstone rise about twenty feet high. After passing over a rotten plain,
full of holes and covered with grass and stunted gum-trees, proceeded to
the top, from which we had a good view of the surrounding country--to all
appearance one of the blackest and most dismal views a man ever beheld;
even the splendid grass country I had been coming through has the same
appearance. The cause of it is the trees being so thick, and some of them
of a very dark colour, that nothing but their tops can be seen, which
gives it the appearance of being a dense scrub. To the west there is an
appearance of a scrubby rise--the one on which I have been on my other
journeys to the north. No hills visible; all appears to be a level
country. Proceeded down the gradual slope, crossing two other lower
ironstone undulations, meeting occasionally with small rotten plains with
holes, and covered with grass. At five miles the ground became firmer; at
seven miles met with what seemed to be a water-shed. After a long search
found that the flow of the water was to the west of north; traced it a
short distance to the south-east and found a small shallow pool of water
and gave our horses a drink; and wishing to take advantage of anything
that may take me to the north-west, I turned and traced it down; passed
three ponds with some water in them, and at three miles came upon a fine
large one two and a half feet deep; followed it still on, but was
disappointed on finding it terminate in a dry swamp, all cracked and full
of holes; circled round it to see if the creek took up again, but could
see no appearance of any. As this last pond will do for the party, I will
return and bring them up, for there is a slight appearance of rain, and I
wish to get them on as far as possible before the winter rain comes on.
Returned to our last night's camp, where we arrived at sundown. Wind,
south-east, with few clouds.

Saturday, 7th June, Plain East of Blue Swamp. Returned to the Depot;
found all well. Clouds all gone, but the wind blowing strong from the

Sunday, 8th June, Daly Waters. Strong winds still from south-east, and
sometimes from the south. Day very hot.

Monday, 9th June, Daly Waters. Last night, a little after sundown, Mr.
Waterhouse was seized with a violent pain in the stomach, which was
followed by a severe sickness, and continued throughout the night; this
morning he is a little better. I think it was caused by eating some
boiled gum which had been obtained from the nut-tree Mr. Kekwick
discovered last year. When boiled it very much resembles tapioca, and has
much the same taste. I also ate some of it yesterday, which occasioned a
severe pain in the stomach, but soon went off. Some of the others also
felt a little affected by it, but none so bad as Mr. Waterhouse; on
others it had no effect whatever, and they still continue to eat it. Mr.
Waterhouse looks so ill that I think it desirable not to move the party
to-day, and trust by to-morrow he will be quite well. Light wind from the
south-east, with a few clouds.

Tuesday, 10th June, Daly Waters. As Mr. Waterhouse is better, I shall
move the party to-day. Started at half-past eight a.m., following my
former tracks. At half-past four p.m. camped at the blue-grass swamp;
twenty-six miles without water. The horses will require to be watched
during the night. Wind, south-east. Day very hot. Latitude, 15 degrees 56
minutes 31 seconds.

Wednesday, 11th June, Blue-Grass Swamp. Started at seven o'clock; course,
70 degrees east of north. At three miles crossed the ironstone rise, and
at eleven miles changed to north, to cut the chain of ponds, which I have
named Purdie Ponds, in honour of Dr. Purdie, of Edinburgh, M.D. At one
mile and three quarters, on the last course, camped on the largest pond.
The country that we have gone over, although there are a number of holes
and cracks in it, is really of the best description, covered with grass
up to the horses' bodies. We have passed several new trees and shrubs.
The bean-tree is becoming more numerous here. At this season and in this
latitude it sheds its leaves; the flower is in full bloom without them.
The course of the ironstone rise seems to be north and south. Wind,
south-east. Weather a little cooler, but clouds all gone. Latitude, 15
degrees 52 minutes 58 seconds.

Thursday, 12th June, Purdie Ponds. Preparing for another start to-morrow
with the water-bags. It takes two men nearly half a day to fill them. The
orifices for filling them are a great deal too small; they ought to be at
least two inches in diameter. The American cloth with which they are
lined is useless in making them watertight, and is a great annoyance in
emptying them, for the water gets between it and the leather. It takes a
long time to draw through again, and does not answer the purpose it was
intended for. A piece of calico would have done far better. It is very
vexing to bring things so far, and, when required, to find them nearly
useless. Wind, south-east. Cloudy. Nights cold, but the day hot.

Friday, 13th June, Purdie Ponds. Leaving Mr. Kekwick in charge of the
party, started at fifteen minutes past eight with Thring and Auld, also
with King and Billiatt, who were to bring back the horses carrying the
water-bags. Proceeded on a north course, and at seven miles crossed what
seemed to be a water-shed, seemingly running to the west of north. Halted
the party, and sent Thring a short distance to see if the flow was in
that direction. In a quarter of an hour he returned and informed me that
it was, but only very slightly so. Changed to north-north-west to follow
it. It gradually assumed the appearance of a small creek. At two miles
came upon three small pools of water. I now resolve to follow it down and
see where it goes to. I should think there must be more water further on.
Its course is west of north. Continued to follow it down, winding and
twisting about very much to almost every point of the compass. At seven
miles from the pools found a little more water, but not a drop between.
Allowed the horses to drink what there was, and proceeded down it. I sent
Thring to follow it on one side, while I and the rest of the party kept
on the other. By this we were enabled to cut off the bends and see all
the creeks, so that no water could escape us. Twice it became very small,
and I was afraid we were going to lose it altogether, but it commenced
again and became a fine creek. Not a drop of water. At a quarter to five
camped without it. Stony rises are now commencing, which are covered with
gum and other trees, also a low scrub. They are very rough and running
nearly west and south. The one on the west is a continuation of the one I
crossed in coming to Purdie Ponds. The general flow of the creek is
north. Some of the new trees are growing very large on its banks. The
cabbage-tree is growing here also. This is the first time I have met with
it, sometimes growing to the height of fifteen feet. All along the banks
of the creek, and apparently for some distance back, is covered with an
abundance of grass, but all dried up. In some places both horse and rider
were completely hidden by it. Wind, south-east--few clouds. Latitude, 15
degrees 30 minutes 27 seconds.

Saturday, 14th June, River Strangways. Named after the Honourable H.B.
Templar Strangways, Commissioner of Crown Lands, South Australia, and
who, since his taking office, has done all in his power to promote
exploration of the interior. Sent King and Billiatt back with the horses
to the camp at Purdie Ponds, whilst I proceed with the further
examination of the creek. I find it now running to the east of north, and
the stony rises are closing upon it at two miles and a half. They begin
to assume the shape of hills, which causes the travelling to be rather
rough. At three miles and a half the hills run close to the creek, and
are precipitous; the bed is very rough and stony--so much so that I could
not take the horses down it. Ascended a hill near the creek to see what
it and the country ahead was like; the hills being so rough that I could
not get the horses close enough to see if there was any water, dismounted
and scrambled to the top of the precipices; was delighted to see below me
a large hole of water. Sent the horses across a gully to another hill
still higher, while I descended into the creek; found the bed very rough,
having large masses of sandstone and ironstone, which rendered it
impassable for the horses. Found the water to be deep and beautifully
clear; proceeded down a little further, and saw another large one. The
hills close to the creek are very precipitous, and we shall have
difficulty in getting the horses down to water; the hills, where they
come close to the creek, are covered with spinifex. I shall therefore
require to camp the party at the mouth of the gorge, where there is
plenty of feed. The hill I had sent the horses to was so rocky they were
unable to cross it, and there being higher hills still on ahead, I have
left the horses with Auld, and, taking Thring with me, have walked to the
top of it to see what course the creek was taking, but they are all so
much of the same height and appearance that I can scarcely tell in which
direction it runs. There is an appearance of a large creek coming in from
the westward, and higher hills towards the north. I shall return and send
the party on to this permanent water, and try to find an easy road over
the ranges for them. I would have gone on to-day, but my horses are
without shoes, and some of them are already lame, and the shoes I brought
with me are nearly all exhausted; we have not been using any since
shortly after leaving South Australia. Returned to our last night's camp,
where we had left the canvas tank with some water that the horses did not
drink in the morning; gave them what remained, and proceeded up the
creeks to the last water we saw yesterday, where we arrived at sundown
and camped. Wind, south.

Sunday, 15th June, River Strangways. Returned to the Depot at Purdie
Ponds; found all well. Wind, south-east. Cool.

Monday, 16th June, Purdie Ponds. It was late before the horses could be
found. Proceeded to the first pool of water in the River Strangways,
distance about ten miles, and camped. Wind, south-east.

Tuesday, 17th June, River Strangways. Proceeded down the creek to the
gorge and camped; day very hot. We had some difficulty in finding a way
down for the horses to drink, it being so very rough and stony, but at
last succeeded. On the west side there is a layer of rocks on the top of
the hard sandstone, black and rugged, resembling lava; spinifex close to
the creek. Wind, south-east.

Wednesday, 18th June, Gorge, River Strangways. I shall require to have
some of the horses shod for further exploration, and shall therefore
remain here to-day to get that done. I sent Thring and King a little way
down the creek to see what the country is, and if there is any more
water. They went about nine miles, but could see no more. In some places
the country is sandy, and in others stony and grassy. Mr. Kekwick has
discovered four new trees that we have not seen before, and several new
shrubs. Some of the party succeeded in catching a few fine large fish,
some of them weighing two pounds and a half. Some were of the perch
family, and others resembled rock cod, with three remarkable black spots
on each side of their bodies. There are also some small ones resembling
the gold fish, and other small ones with black stripes on their sides,
resembling pilot fish. Wind, south-east. Latitude, 15 degrees 30 minutes
3 seconds.

Thursday, 19th June, Gorge, River Strangways. Leaving Mr. Kekwick in
charge of the party, started with Thring, Auld, and King, to look for
water. No rain seems to have fallen here for a long time back; the grass
is quite dry and withered. At 8.15 proceeded down the river, and, to
avoid the hills, I went about a mile to the west, and found a very
passable road; for about two miles we had sandy soil and spinifex mixed
with grass, also a few stony rises of lime and sandstone. The country
after that again became excellently grassed, the soil light and a little
sandy. No water in the bed, which appears to have a very rapid fall; its
general course is about north-north-east. At twelve miles, seeing a stony
hill of considerable elevation, I left the bed, and went towards it. At
the base of it was a deep creek; I was pleased to see a fine supply of
water in it. I immediately sent Thring back to guide the party up here
to-morrow, whilst I with the two others proceeded with the examination of
the river further down. After following it for about ten miles through a
beautifully grassed country, passing occasionally sandstone rises, with
apparently scrub on their tops, camped at the base of one of them.

Friday, 20th June, First Camp North of Gorge. Returned to the other
water, and at noon met the party and brought them on to this water. We
have passed a few stringy-bark trees. In the bed of the river there is
growing some very large and tall timber, having a dark-coloured bark, the
leaf jointed the same as the shea-oak, but has not the acid taste: the
horses eat it. There are also some very fine melaleuca-trees, which here
seem to displace the gums in the river. We have also passed some more new
trees and shrubs. Frew, in looking about the banks, found a large creeper
with a yellow blossom, and having a large bean pod growing on it. I shall
endeavour to get some of the seed as we go on to-morrow. I shall now move
on with the whole party, and I trust to find water in the river as long
as I follow it; its banks are getting much deeper and broader, and likely
to retain water; it is dreadfully slow work to keep searching for water.
Before this I could not do otherwise, in consequence of the season being
so very dry. Since the commencement of the journey the only rain that we
have had to have any effect upon the creeks was at Mr. Levi's station,
Mount Margaret. Since then we have had only two or three showers, which
have had no effect upon the creeks. Light winds, south-east. Latitude, 15
degrees 15 minutes 23 seconds.

Saturday, 21st June, First Camp North of Gorge. It was late before we
could get a start, in consequence of our not being able to find two of
the horses which separated from the rest during the night. Started,
following the river down; it frequently separating into two or three
channels, and again joining. Numerous small watercourses are coming in on
both sides, from east and west; it winds about a great deal--its general
course to-day for nine miles has been nearly north-north-east. We passed
a number of large lagoons, nearly dry, close to the stony hills: when
full they must retain water for a long time. There is very little water
in the main channel. At nine miles I found a large and excellent pool of
water in one of the side creeks; it will last some time. It being now
afternoon, and there being a nice open plain for the horses, I have
camped. The river is now running through stony hills, which are very
rough, composed of hard sandstone mixed with veins of quartz, some of
which are very hard, much resembling marble with crystalline grains in
it. We are now passing a number of stringy bark along with gum and other
trees, Mr. Kekwick still finding new shrubs. After we had camped, taking
Thring with me, I ascended a hill a little way from the camp, but was
disappointed in not having an extensive view. To the north, which is now
apparently the course of the river, there seems to be an opening in the
range of stony hills. The dip of the country seems to be that way. At 33
degrees east of north from the camp, about eight miles distant, there is
a high wooded tent-hill on the range; this I have named Mount Muller,
after my friend the well-known botanist of Victoria. All round about are
rough stony hills with grassy valleys between, having spinifex growing on
their sides and tops. The valley through which the main channel flows is
good soil, and covered with grass from two to four feet high. Towards the
north-west the hills appear to be very rugged. Wind south-east, with a
few clouds. Latitude, 15 degrees 10 minutes 40 seconds.

Sunday, 22nd June, Rock Camp, River Strangways. A few heavy clouds about.
We are now in the country discovered by Mr. Gregory. There is a great
deal of very good timber in the valley, which is getting larger and
improving as we advance. It is still very thick--so much so, that the
hills cannot be seen until quite close to them. Wind variable. Latitude,
15 degrees 10 minutes 30 seconds.

Monday, 23rd June, Rock Camp, River Strangways. This morning the sky is
overcast with light clouds coming from the south-east. Started at eight
o'clock, still following the river, which winds about very much; its
general course 10 degrees east of north. At nine miles the channel became
much smaller, and shortly afterwards separated into numerous small ones,
and was apparently lost to me. I continued a north course, and at twelve
miles struck a creek coming from the south-east; at two miles from this
creek found another large one coming from the south-west, with shea-oak
in it, which makes me suppose it is the River Strangways, and that it
formed again and joined this one. At the junction were numerous recent
fires of the natives; there must have been a great many of them, for
their fires covered the ground, also shells of the mussel which they had
been eating. Searched for water, and found a little, but not sufficient
for my horses, and too difficult to approach; the course of the river is
still to the north. One mile and a half from the junction found enough
water that will do for me at night. As there seems to be so little water,
and this day being exceedingly hot and oppressive, I have camped. The
country travelled over to-day has been of the same description,
completely covered with long grass; the soil rich, and a great many of
the cabbage-tree growing about it. Wind variable. Latitude, 14 degrees 58
minutes 55 seconds.

Tuesday, 24th June, Mussel Camp, River Strangways. With the sun there
came up a very thick and heavy fog which continued for about two hours;
it then cleared off and the day became exceedingly hot. The river, after
rounding the hills (where we were camped), ran nearly east for three
miles, meeting there a stony hill which again throws it into a northerly
course. I ascended the hill, but could see nothing distinctly, the fog
being so thick. Descended and pursued the bed, which separated frequently
into many channels, and at ten miles it spread into a large area, and its
courses became small with no water in them. The grass above our heads was
so high and thick that the rear-party lost me and could not find the
rocks; by cooeing I brought them to me again. Before I had heard them I
had sent Thring back to pick up their tracks and bring them to the clear
ground I was on with the rest of the party, but they arrived before he
made up to them. The scrub is also very thick close to the river. Mr.
Kekwick found cane growing in the bed, and also brought in a specimen of
a new water-lily--a most beautiful thing it is; it is now in Mr.
Waterhouse's collection. At twelve miles, finding some water, the horses
being tired in crossing so many small creeks, and working through the
scrub and long grass, I camped at the open ground. The country gone over
to-day is again splendidly grassed in many places, especially near the
river; it has very lately been burned by the natives. There are a great
number of them running along the banks; the country now seems to be
thickly inhabited. Towards the east and the north-east the country is in
a blaze; there is so much grass the fire must be dreadful. I hope it will
not come near us. The day has been most oppressively hot, with scarcely a
breath of wind. Latitude, 14 degrees 51 minutes 51 seconds.

Wednesday, 25th June, River Strangways. Two of the horses having
separated from the others, and crossing the river, quite hidden in the
long grass, it was late before they were found. Started at nine o'clock;
course about 70 degrees east of north, following the channel. I expect,
in two or three miles, to meet with the Roper. At three miles struck a
large sheet of deep clear water, on which were a number of natives, with
their lubras and children; they set up a fearful yelling and squalling,
and ran off as fast as they could. Rounded the large sheet of water and
proceeded along it. At a mile, three men were seen following; halted the
party, and went up to them. One was a very old man, one middle-aged, the
third a young, stout, well-made fellow; they seemed to be friendly. Tried
to make them understand by signs that I wished to get across the river;
they made signs, by pointing down the river, by placing both hands
together, having the fingers closed, which led me to think I could get
across further down. They made signs for us to be off, and that they were
going back again. I complied with their request, and after bidding each
other a friendly good-bye, we followed down the banks of the river, which
I now find is the Roper. At seven miles tried to cross it, but found it
to be impossible; it is now divided into a number of channels, very deep
and full of running water. Proceeded further, and tried it at several
places, but with the same result. At twelve miles, camped close to a
steep rocky hill on the north side of the river. Searched all round for a
crossing, but was unable to find one. To the eastward the country is all
on fire. The banks of the river are thickly lined with cabbage-trees,
also the cane, bamboo, and other shrubs. Two small turtle-shells were
picked up by the party at the native camp. The country is still of the
same fine description. We are now north of Mr. Gregory's tracks.
Latitude, 14 degrees 5 minutes. Wind variable.

Thursday, 26th June, Roper River. As I cannot find a crossing, I shall
have to return to my last camp and try to cross there. Arrived and
camped. Day again oppressively hot. Almost immediately on leaving our
camp this morning I observed native tracks on ours close to it. They must
have followed us up last night, although we saw nothing of them. They are
not to be trusted: they will pretend the greatest friendship one moment
and spear you the next. They have been following us to-day, but keeping
on the other side of the river and setting fire to the grass as they go
along. I wish it would rain and cause the grass to become green, so as to
stop them burning, as well as to give me some fresh food for the horses,
for they now begin to show the want of it very much; it is so dried up
that there is little nourishment in it. Some of them are beginning to
look very poor and are much troubled with worms. My journeys have been
very short last week, in consequence of my being so weak from the effects
of scurvy and a severe attack of dysentery, for I have scarcely been able
to endure the motion of horseback for four hours at a time; but having
lately obtained some native cucumbers, I find they are doing me a deal of
good, and hope by next week to be all right again. Wind, south. Latitude,
14 degrees 51 minutes 51 seconds.

Friday, 27th June, West Roper River. Started on a course of 320 degrees,
crossing the river, and at three miles and a half again struck the Roper,
running. Followed it up, coming nearly from the west, but winding about
very much, and having many branches, which makes it very difficult for me
to get the turns correctly. It is a splendid river. We have passed many
brooks and deep reaches of water some miles in length, and the country
could not be better: it is really magnificent. At 2.30 I was informed
that we were short of a horse. Sent Messrs. Kekwick and Thring back to
see where he was left. We have had to cross so many boggy, nasty places,
with deep water and thick scrub, that he must have been missed at one of
these. The general course of the river to-day has been 280 degrees.
Distance, fifteen miles. Messrs. Kekwick and Thring are returned. They
found the horse bogged in a side creek. It was so thick with cabbage-tree
that they passed in searching for him two or three times. They had great
difficulty in getting him out, but at last succeeded, and arrived at the
camp before dark. A short time before that, another horse got into a very
deep and rapid channel of the river, the top of the banks projecting so
much that he could not get out, and the gum-trees having fallen across
both above and below him, he was completely fixed. We endeavoured to get
him out, but it got so dark that we could not see him, and the rope
breaking that we were pulling him out by, he got his head under water,
and was drowned in a moment. We then found that the cause of the rope
breaking was that he had got one of his hind feet entangled in a sunken
tree. It being now so dark we can do no more to-night, and have left him
in the water until daylight. Wind, south-east. Latitude, 14 degrees 47
minutes 26 seconds.

Saturday, 28th June, Roper River. As I shall be short of meat, I remain
here to-day to cut up the horse and dry him. The water of this river is
most excellent; the soil is also of the first description; and the grass,
although dry, most abundant, from two to five feet high. This is
certainly the finest country I have seen in Australia. We passed three
rocky hills yesterday, not high, but having grass up to their tops, round
which the river winds at their base, forming large and long reaches of
water. On the grassy plains it forms into different channels, and is
thickly timbered with shea-oak, gum, cabbage-trees, and other trees and
shrubs. Wind variable.

Sunday, 29th June, Roper River. We are all enjoying a delightful change
of fresh meat from dry. It is a great treat, and the horse eats
remarkably well, although not quite so good as a bullock. At sundown the
meat is not all quite dry, but I think we shall be able to preserve the
greater part of it. The natives are still burning the grass round about
us, but they have not made their appearance either yesterday or to-day.
Wind variable.

Monday, 30th June, Roper River. Started at 8.10, course west, following
up the river, which winds about very much from north-west to south, and
at last to south-east. When coming close to where the grass was on fire,
finding a good ford, I crossed the party to the north-east side. At
fifteen miles came upon a large reedy swamp through which the river
seemed to flow, and again at twenty miles came upon the river running
into the swamp, and coming from the north-north-west. Although travelling
twenty miles we have not made more than ten miles in a straight line; the
general course is west. The country is of the same excellent description.
We have passed the stony rises on the north side of the river, which are
covered with grass to their tops. After crossing the river I ascended
another of the same kind. To the south are a few hills scattered over the
grassy plains, with lines of dark-green trees between them, showing that
they are creeks flowing into the river whose junctions we have been
crossing to-day; the same to the south-west, and at west 20" south the
distance appears level, with a single peak just visible. To the
north-west seemingly stony hills; to the north the same; to the east I
could see nothing, for the smoke conceals from me the country; it is all
on fire. The river is still running very rapidly, and as this is a
different branch from those previously discovered, I have named it the
River Chambers, after my late lamented friend, James Chambers, Esquire,
whose zeal in the cause of Australian exploration is already well known.
A short time before sundown a number of natives were seen approaching the
camp. We were immediately prepared for them. I sent Mr. Kekwick forward
to see what their intentions were--friendly or hostile. I immediately
followed. On reaching them they appeared quite friendly. There were three
men, four lubras, and a number of children. One, an old man, presented a
very singular appearance--his legs being about four feet long, and his
entire height seven feet, and so remarkably thin that he appeared to be a
perfect shadow. Mr. Kekwick having a fish-hook stuck in his hat, which
immediately caught the tall old fellow's eye, he made signs of its use,
and that he would like to possess it. I told Mr. Kekwick to give it to
him, which seemed to please him much. After examining it he handed it
over to a young man, seemingly his son, who was a fat, stout fellow, and
who was laughing nearly all the time. The other was a middle-aged man of
the ordinary height. The women were small, and very ugly. Wind,
south-east. Latitude, 14 degrees 47 minutes 24 seconds.

Tuesday, 1st July, Reedy Swamp, River Chambers. Before sunrise the
natives again made their appearance, sixteen in number, with small
spears. Sent Mr. Kekwick to see what they wanted. On his coming up to
them they put two fingers in their mouths, signifying that they wanted
more fish-hooks, but we had no more to spare. They remained looking at us
until the horses were packed and started. After Thring and Frew had
brought in the horses, they rode up to where they were. They (the
natives) did not fancy being too near the horses, but having dismounted,
it gave them confidence, and they returned again. Thring opened the lips
of one of the horses, and showed them his teeth, the appearance of which
did not suit their taste. Some of them thought the further off they were
from such weapons the better, and ran off the moment they saw them.
Others remained, but kept at a respectful distance. Thring pulled a
handful of grass, and it amused them much to see the horses eating it.
After starting they followed us for some miles, when Mr. Waterhouse,
observing a new pigeon, shot it. They, not liking the report of the gun,
went off, and we saw no more of them. Started at 8.20, following the
river on a course 30 degrees east of north. After a mile it gradually
came round to the south-east, and was a running stream in that direction.
As that course would take me too much out of my road, I changed my
bearing to north-west, to an opening between the hills. After passing a
number of fine ponds, many of them with water in them, came upon a large
creek, having long reaches of water in it, but not running. It winds
about a great deal. Its general course to-day has been west-north-west.
The reedy swamp must be a mass of springs, which causes the Roper to run
with such velocity. A little after one o'clock camped. The journey to-day
has been rough, having so many small creeks to cross, and the day being
excessively hot, the horses seem fagged. They have been covered with
sweat since shortly after starting until now, and as some of the drowned
horse is not quite dry, I have halted earlier than I intended. The
country gone over to-day is of the same kind, beautiful soil, covered
with grass. We occasionally met with stony hills coming down to the
creek, also well grassed and timbered to their tops. Wind west, with
heavy clouds from the south-east. Latitude, 14 degrees 41 minutes 39

Wednesday, 2nd July, West-north-west of Reedy Swamp, River Chambers.
Started 7.40, following the river up until ten o'clock. We kept nearly a
north-west course: it then went off to the south-west; as that would take
me too much out of my course, I kept the north-west course, crossing the
saddle of broken hills, amongst which we have now got; and at twelve
again met the river, now coming from the north through the hills,
following it still, having plenty of water. At a very large water hole
surprised some natives, who ran off at full speed when the rear of the
party was passing their camp. One stout fellow came running up, armed
with spears, and loaded with fish and bags filled with something to eat.
Mr. Kekwick rode towards him. The native held up a green bough as a flag
of truce, and patting his heart with his right hand, said something which
could not be understood, and pointed in the direction we were going. We
then bade him good-bye, and proceeded on our journey. At one o'clock the
river suddenly turned to the east, coming from very rough hills of
sandstone and other rocks. At one mile and a half on that course it was
coming from the south of east, which will not do for me. Changed to the
north, and got into some terrible rough stony hills with grassy valleys
between, but not a drop of water. It being now after two o'clock, too
late to encounter crossing the table land, I again changed my course to
south-east for the Chambers, and at 5.3 camped at a large water hole at
the foot of a stony rise lined with cabbage (palm) trees. The country
although rough is well grassed to the top of the hills, with an abundance
of permanent water in the river. I am sorry it is coming from the
south-east, and have been in hopes it would carry me through this degree
of latitude. To follow it further is only losing time; I shall therefore
take to the hills to-morrow. Frew, on coming along, picked up a small
turtle alive. Light wind from the south-east; heavy clouds from the
south-west. Latitude, 14 degrees 32 minutes 30 seconds.

Thursday, 3rd July, River Chambers. Started at 8.10 o'clock, north-west
course. At one mile and a half again struck the river coming from the
west-north-west; left it and followed its north-west course: and at
another mile again came upon it with plenty of water. Saw four natives,
who ran off the moment they saw us. Followed the river, the hill coming
quite close to it, very steep and rocky, composed of a hard sandstone,
and occasionally a little ironstone. At nine miles again left the river,
finding it was coming too much from the eastward; crossed the saddle of
the two spurs again; came upon a creek, which I think is the river; ran
it up to the west for about a mile, but no appearance of water; left it,
and ascended a very rough rugged hill. In the creek we have just left
there is a deal of limestone. Crossed three more small spurs and small
creeks, but not a drop of water. It being now afternoon, and wishing to
see from what direction the river is coming, I changed to north-east, but
found that I was still among the rough hills; I then went east for a
short distance, and made the river, now quite dry, and having a sandy
bed. Followed it up, but saw there was no hope of water; turned, and
traced it down to try and find water. After following it for three miles,
came upon a fine permanent hole of water, a short distance from where we
left in the former part of the day. If it would only rain and put some
water in the deep dry holes that are in the other creeks crossed to-day,
I should then be enabled to steer a straight line for the Adelaide. It is
very tedious and tiresome having to look for water every day. We have now
reached to the top of one of the tributaries of the Chambers. This is
apparently the last water. It seems to take its rise in a grassy plain to
the east of this. The valley through which the creek flows is well
grassed, but the sides and the tops of the hills are spinifex mixed with
grass. All the small valleys are well grassed. Wind, south-east.
Latitude, 14 degrees 26 minutes 50 seconds.

Friday, 4th July, Last Water Hole in the Chambers. Started at 8.10,
course north-west, following up the river to its sources. At four miles
ascended a rise, which was very rough, composed of sandstone, ironstone,
and limestone, with ironstone gravel on the top. Descended on the other
side, and at about five miles came upon a nice running stream, but very
rough and stony round about it. After crossing several stony rises, in
which we had some difficulty in getting our horses over, arrived at a
nice broad valley with a creek running through it, course north-west. At
a mile it received a large tributary from the east of north, and the bed
seems sandy; melaleuca and gum-trees in it; also the bean-tree. The
valley is covered with grass from two to four feet high. There is a ridge
of rough sandy stone hills, with occasional ironstone on each side, from
the direction it was at first taken. I thought I was fortunate in meeting
with one of the sources of the Alligator or Adelaide River. After
following it for five miles, sometimes going west and south, it went
through a stony gorge, and seemed to run to the south, which is a great
disappointment. I ascended one of the hills to view the country, but
could see very little, it being so thickly wooded. To the north is the
appearance of a range running to the east and west that I must endeavour
to cross to-morrow if I do not find another creek running to the
north-west. There is one benefit I shall derive from following down this
creek a day; it will enable me to round the very rough sandstone range
that runs on the north side of the creek. It is so rough that I could not
take the horses over it. Camped at the gorge of this creek, which I
suppose, from the course it is now taking, to be another tributary of the
Chambers. The gorge is impassable for horses. It has a very picturesque
appearance; immense masses of rock--some thousands of tons in
weight--which had fallen from the top of the cliff into the bed of the
creek. Mr. Kekwick found a number of new plants, among them a fine
climbing fern. Light winds, east. Plenty of permanent water in the creek.
Latitude, 14 degrees 25 minutes 8 seconds.

Saturday, 5th July, Gorge on another West Branch of the River Chambers.
Started 8.15; course, 5 degrees west of north. After travelling two miles
over stony rises we ascended a low table land with coarse grass and a
little spinifex; at six miles came up to a high stony tent-hill, which I
ascended and named Mount Shillinglaw. All round are stony hills and
grassy valleys--dip of the country seemingly to the south. There is
apparently a continuous range in the distance to the north-west, the
Chambers range. Changed my course to 325 degrees, and at four miles
struck another large branch coming from the north-east, and running
apparently south--plenty of water in it. This I named the Waterhouse, in
honour of Mr. H.W. Waterhouse, naturalist to the expedition. Some of the
horses are become so lame on account of the stones they will not be able
to travel another day. I have camped early to have them shod, for on
Monday I intend taking a north-west course to strike the source of the
Adelaide. The country on the last course is again of the very best
description and well grassed. The hills are stony, but abound with grass;
they are composed of sandstone, ironstone, and occasionally a little
limestone; the trees are the same as those on the Roper. Wind,
south-east. Latitude, 14 degrees 18 minutes 30 seconds.

Sunday, 6th July, The Waterhouse River. Day again very hot. There is
another branch a short distance off, which seems to come from the
north-west; I shall follow it to-morrow if it continues the same course.
I think these creeks we are now crossing must be the sources of the
Adelaide flowing towards the dry river seen by Mr. Gregory running
towards the north-west. Wind light; sky cloudy.

Monday, 7th July, Waterhouse River. Started at 7.55; course, north-west.
At four miles the creek was coming from the west, north-east, and east; I
therefore left it, crossed two low stony rises, and again struck another
creek coming from the north-east, with plenty of water; followed it for a
short distance to the west, found it so boggy and the body of water so
large that I could not get the party round the stony hills. Returned
about half a mile, and crossed the stony rise, and again struck it. At
eight miles came upon a number of springs coming from the stony rises.
Ascended one of the rises, which are not high, and found myself on a
sandy table land, which continued for six miles, having coarse grass and
spinifex growing on it. Towards the last two miles it again became well
grassed. The timber is stringy-bark, some splendid trees; amongst them
gums and a number of pines, also very fine. The cabbage palm still
growing in the creeks in great numbers, some of them very tall, with
several branches on the top. The first eight miles was again over a
splendid country, and the last three of the same description. A stony
hill being in my course, I proceeded to the top of it, from which I had a
good view of the country before me. This hill I named after Lieutenant
Helpman. At 10 degrees south of west are two remarkable isolated table
hills, Mount Levi and Mount Watts, beyond which is the Chambers range to
the north-west; my view in other directions is obstructed by other hills,
but to the west about one mile and a half is seemingly a creek, to which
I shall go, and if there is water I shall camp. Proceeded and found it a
fine creek with plenty of water; followed it about one mile to the
north-west, when it became dry. There it seems to come from the south.
There are a great number of cabbage palms on its banks. I hope it will
soon come round to the north-west and continue on that course. Light
winds, variable. Latitude, 14 degrees 9 minutes 31 seconds.

Tuesday, 8th July, Water Creek in Stony Rises. Started at 7.40 a.m.,
course north-west; followed the creek a little way, but found it was
running too much to the west of my course; left it and proceeded to the
north-west, crossing some stony rises, now composed of granite and
ironstone, with occasionally some hard sandstone. Crossing three small
creeks running to the west, at six miles came upon a large one with broad
and long sheets of permanent water coming from the north-north-east, and
apparently running to the south-west. This I have named the Fanny, in
honour of Miss Fanny Chambers, eldest daughter of John Chambers, Esquire.
In a small tree on this creek the skull of a very young alligator was
found by Mr. Auld. The trees in this creek are melaleuca and gum, with
some others. Proceeded across the creek, still going north-west; ascended
two stony rises, and got upon low table land with spinifex and grass,
passing two stony hills, one on each side of my course. At eighteen miles
struck the head of a small creek flowing nearly on my course; followed it
down in search of water, now through a basaltic country. At two miles
came upon another large creek, having a running stream to the south of
west, and coming from the north of east. Timber, melaleuca, palm, and
gum, with some of other descriptions. This I have named the Katherine, in
honour of the second daughter of James Chambers, Esquire. The country
gone over to-day, although there is a mile or two of light sandy soil, is
good for pasturage purposes; in the valley it is of the finest
description. Light winds, variable. Latitude, 13 degrees 58 minutes 30

Wednesday, 9th July, The Katherine. Started at five minutes to eight
o'clock, crossing the Katherine, and proceeded on a north-west course
over a basaltic country, splendidly grassed. At five miles I ascended a
high hill, which I named Mount Stow, but was disappointed in the view.
West-north-west course, over a great number of rises thickly timbered
with gum. At 20 degrees north of west is a high bluff point of the range;
the country on that bearing does not seem to be so rough. No more visible
but the range to the west and the hill between. Descended, and changed my
course to the bluff point. At one mile and a half crossed a creek with
water in it, coming from the north-east, and running to the south-west.
At three miles further arrived at the bluff. The basaltic country has now
suddenly changed to slate, limestone, sandstone, and a hard white stone.
Crossed three stony rises, and got upon a white sandy rise, with large
stringy-bark trees growing upon it; and there seemingly being a creek at
the foot of it, from the number of green gums and palm-trees, I went down
to it, and found it to be springy ground, now quite dry, although the
grass was quite green. Proceeded on the westerly course, expecting to
meet with a creek; found none, but large springs coming from sandy rises.
Having found water at thirteen miles, and being so very unwell that I
cannot proceed, I have been compelled to camp. There is an immense
quantity of water coming from these springs; the soil round them is of
the best deep black alluvial. About a mile to the west is a strong stream
running to the south-west from them. I have called them Kekwick Springs,
in honour of my chief officer. Wind light and variable. Latitude, 13
degrees 54 minutes 12 seconds.

Thursday, 10th July, Kekwick's Large Group of Springs. Started at eight
o'clock; crossed the springs without getting any of the horses bogged.
Proceeded on a north-west course, but at a mile and a half again came
upon springs and running water; the ground too boggy to cross it. Changed
to north; at three miles and a half on the course changed to north-west.
Ascended some very rough stony hills, and got on the top of sandy table
land thick with splendid stringy-bark, pines, and other trees and shrubs,
amongst which, for the first time, we have seen the fan palm, some of
them growing upwards of fifteen feet high; the bark on the stem is marked
similar to a pineapple's; the leaf very much resembles a lady's fan set
on a long handle, and, a short time after it is cut, closes in the same
manner. At half-past one crossed the table land--breadth thteen miles.
The view was beautiful. Standing on the edge of a precipice, we could see
underneath, lower down, a deep creek thickly wooded running on our
course; then the picturesque precipitous gorge in the table land; then
the gorge in the distance; to the north-west were ranges of hills. The
grass on the table land is coarse, mixed with a little spinifex; about
half of it had been burnt by the natives some time ago. We had to search
for a place to descend, and had great difficulty in doing so, but at last
accomplished it without accident. The valley near the creek, which is a


Back to Full Books