Explorations in Australia
Part 1 out of 5
Produced by Sue Asscher and Col Choat
1. EXPLORATIONS IN SEARCH OF DR. LEICHARDT AND PARTY.
2. FROM PERTH TO ADELAIDE, AROUND THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN BIGHT.
3. FROM CHAMPION BAY, ACROSS THE DESERT TO THE TELEGRAPH AND TO ADELAIDE.
WITH AN APPENDIX ON THE CONDITION OF
BY JOHN FORREST, F.R.G.S.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY G.F. ANGAS.
TO HIS EXCELLENCY
FREDERICK ALOYSIUS WELD, ESQ., C.M.G.,
GOVERNOR OF TASMANIA,
LATE GOVERNOR AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF of WESTERN AUSTRALIA.
MY DEAR GOVERNOR WELD,
It was during your administration of the Government of Western Australia,
and chiefly owing to your zeal and support, that most of the work of
exploration described in this volume was undertaken and carried out. Your
encouragement revived the love of exploration which had almost died out
in our colony before you arrived.
With gratitude and pleasure I ask you to accept the dedication of this
volume as an expression of my appreciation of your kindness and support.
Yours very faithfully,
Previous Expeditions into the Interior.
Attempts to Discover a Route between South and Western Australia.
Eyre's Disastrous Journey.
Leichardt, the Lost Explorer.
The Latest Explorations.
FIRST EXPEDITION IN SEARCH OF LEICHARDT.
Statements made by the Natives.
An Expedition Prepared.
SECOND EXPEDITION. FROM PERTH TO ADELAIDE, ROUND THE GREAT BIGHT.
A New Exploration suggested.
Proposal to reach Adelaide by way of the South Coast.
The experience derived from Eyre's Expedition.
Survey of Port Eucla.
Dempster's Station near Esperance Bay.
The Schooner at Port Eucla.
Journal of the Expedition.
RECEPTION AT ADELAIDE AND RETURN TO PERTH.
Departure from Gawler and Arrival at Adelaide.
Appearance of the Party.
Grant by the Government of Western Australia.
THIRD EXPEDITION. FROM THE WEST COAST TO THE TELEGRAPH LINE.
Proposal to undertake a New Expedition.
Endeavour to Explore the Watershed of the Murchison.
Expeditions by South Australian Explorers.
Fight with the Natives.
Finding traces of Mr. Gosse's Party.
The Telegraph Line reached.
Arrival at Perth Station.
PUBLIC RECEPTIONS AT ADELAIDE AND PERTH.
Procession and Banquet at Adelaide.
Arrival in Western Australia.
Banquet and Ball at Perth.
Results of Exploration.
Description of Plants, etc.
Report on Geological Specimens.
Note by Editor.
Governor Weld's Report (1874) on Western Australia.
Table of Imports and Exports.
Ditto of Revenue and Expenditure.
List of Governors.
1. General Map of Australia, showing the Three Journeys.
2. From Perth to Longitude 123 degrees in Search of Leichardt.
3. From Perth to Adelaide, around the Great Australian Bight.
4. From Champion Bay to Adelaide.
Portrait of John Forrest.
The Horses Bogged at Lake Barlee.
Portrait of Alexander Forrest.
Arrival at the Great Australian Bight. Fresh Water found.
Public Welcome at Adelaide.
Attacked by the Natives at Weld Springs.
On the March. The Spinifex Desert.
Reaching the Overland Telegraph Line.
EXPLORATIONS IN AUSTRALIA.
Previous Expeditions into the Interior.
Attempts to discover a Route between South and Western Australia.
Eyre's Disastrous Journey.
Leichardt, the Lost Explorer.
The Latest Explorations.
As the history of the principal expeditions into the interior of
Australia has been narrated by several able writers, I do not propose to
repeat what has already been so well told. But, to make the narrative of
my own journeys more intelligible, and to explain the motives for making
them, it is necessary that I should briefly sketch the expeditions
undertaken for the purpose of ascertaining the nature of the vast regions
intervening between Western and the other Australian colonies, and
determining the possibility of opening up direct overland communication.
With energetic, if at times uncertain, steps the adventurous colonists
have advanced from the settlements on the eastern and southern coasts of
the vast island into the interior. Expeditions, led by intrepid
explorers, have forced their way against all but insurmountable
difficulties into the hitherto unknown regions which lie to the north and
west of the eastern colonies. Settlements have been established on the
shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Burke and a small party crossed
Australia from south to north, enduring innumerable hardships, Burke,
with two of his associates, perishing on the return journey. About the
same time Stuart crossed farther to the west, reaching the very centre of
Australia, and telegraphic wires now almost exactly follow his line of
route, affording communication, by way of Port Darwin, between Adelaide
and the great telegraphic systems of the world.
ATTEMPTS TO CROSS THE DESERT.
The telegraph line divides Australia into two portions, nearly equal in
dimensions, but very different in character. To the east are the busy and
rapidly advancing settlements, fertile plains, extensive ranges of grassy
downs, broad rivers, abundant vegetation; to the west a great lone land,
a wilderness interspersed with salt marshes and lakes, barren hills, and
spinifex deserts. It is the Sahara of the south, but a Sahara with few
oases of fertility, beyond which is the thin fringe of scattered
settlements of the colony of Western Australia. To cross this desert, to
discover routes connecting the western territory with South Australia and
the line marked by the telegraph, has been the ambition of later
explorers. Mr. Gregory attempted, from the north, to ascend the Victoria
River, but only reached the upper edge of the great desert. Dr.
Leichardt, who had previously travelled from Moreton Bay, on the eastern
coast, to Port Essington on the northern, attempted to cross from the
eastern to the western shores, and has not since been heard of. Mr. Eyre
made a journey, memorable for the misfortunes which attended it, and the
sufferings he endured, from Adelaide round the head of the great bay, or
Bight of Southern Australia, to Perth, the capital of Western Australia;
and much more recently Colonel Egerton Warburton succeeded in crossing
from the telegraphic line to the western coast across the northern part
of the great wilderness, nearly touching the farthest point reached by
It was in the year 1840, only four years after the foundation of South
Australia, that the first great attempt to discover a route from Adelaide
to the settlements in Western Australia was made. There then resided in
South Australia a man of great energy and restless activity, Edward John
Eyre, whose name was afterwards known throughout the world in connexion
with the Jamaica outbreak of 1865, and the measures which, as Governor,
he adopted for repressing it. It was anticipated that a profitable trade
between the colonies might be carried on if sheep and other live-stock
could be transferred from one to the other in a mode less expensive than
was afforded by the sea route between Adelaide and the Swan River. Eyre
did not believe in the possibility of establishing a practicable route,
but urged, through the press, the desirability of exploring the vast
regions to the north, which he anticipated would afford a good and
profitable field for adventurous enterprise. He offered to lead an
expedition which should explore the country around the great salt lake
lying to the north-west of the settled portion of the colony, and to
which the name of Lake Torrens had been given. Very little was known of
this lake, and absolutely nothing of the country beyond. The general
supposition, in which Eyre shared, was that there existed a large space
of barren land, most probably the bed of a sea which had at one time
divided the continent into several islands; but it was hoped that no
insuperable difficulties in the way of crossing it would present
themselves, and beyond might be a fertile and valuable district, offering
an almost unbounded field for settlement, and with which permanent
communications might without great difficulty be established. Some
geographers were of opinion that an inland sea might be in existence,
and, if so, of course water communication with the northern half of
Australia could be effected.
Mr. Eyre's proposition found ready acceptance with the colonists, The
Government granted 100 pounds--a small sum indeed--but the colony was
then young, and far from being in flourishing circumstances. Friends lent
their assistance, enthusiasm was aroused, and in little more than three
weeks from the time when Eyre proposed the expedition, he started on his
journey. Five Europeans accompanied him, and two natives, black boys,
were attached to the party, which was provided with thirteen horses,
forty sheep, and provisions for three months. Lake Torrens was reached,
and then the difficulties of the expedition began. Although dignified
with the name of lake, it proved to be an enormous swamp, without surface
water, and the mud coated with a thin layer of salt. The party struggled
to effect a passage, and penetrated into the slime for six miles, until
they were in imminent danger of sinking. The lake, or rather salt swamp,
presented a barrier which Eyre considered it impossible to overcome. The
party turned in a westerly direction, and reached the sea at Port
Lincoln. Here a little open boat was obtained, and Mr. Scott, Eyre's
courageous companion, undertook to attempt to reach Adelaide and obtain
further supplies. This he successfully accomplished, returning in the
Water Witch with stores and provisions, two more men, and some kangaroo
dogs. Thus reinforced, the party reached Fowler's Bay in the great Bight
of South Australia. The map shows that a journey of more than 200 miles
must have been made before the point was reached. Thence they attempted
to make their way round the head of the Bight, but were twice baffled by
want of water. Nothing daunted, Eyre made a third attempt, and succeeded
in penetrating fifty miles beyond the head of the Bight. But the result
was achieved only at a cost which the little party could ill sustain.
Four of the best horses perished, which deprived Eyre of the means of
carrying provisions, and he had to decide between abandoning the
expedition altogether or still further reducing the number of his
companions. Mr. Scott and three men returned to Adelaide, leaving behind
a man named Baxter, who had long been in Eyre's employ as an overseer or
factotum; the two natives who had first started with him, and a boy,
Wylie, who had before been in Eyre's service, and who had been brought
back in the cutter.
Six months after Eyre had started from Adelaide, he was left with only
four companions to continue the journey. He had acquired considerable
experience of the privations to be encountered, but refused to comply
with the wishes of Colonel Gawler, the Governor, to abandon the
expedition as hopeless, and return to Adelaide. Indeed, with
characteristic inflexibility--almost approaching to obstinacy--he
resolved to attempt the western route along the shore of the Great
Bight--a journey which, only a few months before, he had himself
described as impracticable.
The cutter which had been stationed at Fowler Bay, to afford assistance
if required, departed on the 31st of January, 1841, and Eyre and his
small party were left to their fate. He had been defeated in the attempt
to push forward in a northward direction, and he resolved not to return
without having accomplished something which would justify the confidence
of the public in his energy and courageous spirit of adventure. If he
could not reach the north, he would attempt the western route, whatever
might be the result of his enterprise. After resting to recruit the
strength of his party, Eyre resolutely set out, on the 25th of February,
on what proved to be a journey attended by almost unexampled demands upon
Nine horses, one pony, six sheep, and a provision of flour, tea, and
sugar for nine weeks, formed the slender stores of the little party,
which resolutely set forward to track an unknown path to the west.
Accompanied by one of the blacks, Eyre went on in advance to find water.
For five days, during which time he travelled about 140 miles, no water
was obtained, and the distress endured by men and animals was extreme. It
is not necessary to dwell on every incident of this terrible journey.
Eyre's descriptions, animated by remembrances of past sufferings, possess
a graphic vigour which cannot be successfully emulated. Sometimes it was
found necessary to divide the party, so wretched was the country, and so
difficult was it to obtain sufficient water in even the most limited
supply for man and beast. Once Eyre was alone for six days, with only
three quarts of water, some of which evaporated, and more was spilt. But
his indomitable determination to accomplish the journey on which he had
resolved never failed. He knew that at least 600 miles of desert country
lay between him and the nearest settlement of Western Australia; but even
that prospect, the certain privations, the probable miserable death, did
not daunt him in the journey. The horses broke down from thirst and
fatigue; the pony died; the survivors crawled languidly about, "like
dogs, looking to their masters only for aid." After a few days, during
which no water had been obtainable, a dew fell, and Eyre collected a
little moisture with a sponge, the black boys with pieces of rag. To
their inexpressible joy, some sand-hills were reached, and, after
digging, a supply of water was obtained for their refreshment, and for
six days the party rested by the spot to recruit their strength. The
overseer and one of the natives then went back forty-seven miles to
recover the little store of provisions they had been compelled to
abandon. Two out of the three horses he took with him broke down, and
with great difficulty he succeeded in rejoining Eyre. At this time the
party were 650 miles from their destination, with only three weeks'
provisions, estimated on the most reduced scale. Baxter, the overseer,
wished to attempt to return; but, Eyre being resolute, the overseer
loyally determined to stay with him to the last. One horse was killed for
food; dysentery broke out; the natives deserted them, but came back
starving and penitent, and were permitted to remain with the white men.
Then came the tragedy which makes this narrative so conspicuously
terrible, even in the annals of Australian exploration. Two of the black
men shot the overseer, Baxter, as he slept, and then ran away, perishing,
it is supposed, miserably in the desert. Eyre, when some distance from
the place where poor Baxter rested, looking after the horses, heard the
report of the gun and hurried back, arriving just in time to receive the
pathetic look of farewell from the murdered man, who had served him so
long and so faithfully.
Wylie, the black boy, who had been with Eyre in Adelaide, now alone
remained, and it is scarcely possible to imagine a more appalling
situation than that in which Eyre then found himself. The murderers had
carried away nearly the whole of the scanty stock of provisions, leaving
only forty pounds of flour, a little tea and sugar, and four gallons of
water. They had also taken the two available guns, and nearly all the
ammunition. The body of Baxter was wrapped in a blanket--they could not
even dig a grave in the barren rock. Left with his sole companion, Eyre
sadly resumed the march, their steps tracked by the two blacks, who
probably meditated further murders; but, with only cowardly instincts,
they dared not approach the intrepid man, who at length outstripped them,
and they were never heard of more. Still no water was found for 150
miles; then a slight supply, and the two men struggled on, daily becoming
weaker, living on horse-flesh, an occasional kangaroo, and the few fish
that were to be caught--for it must be remembered that at no time were
they far from the coast.
On the 2nd of June, nearly four months after they had bidden good-bye to
the cutter at Fowler's Bay, they stood on the cliffs, looking out over
the ocean, when they saw in the distance two objects which were soon
recognized as boats, and shortly afterwards, to their unbounded joy, they
discerned the masts of a vessel on the farther side of a small rocky
island. Animated by a new life, Eyre pushed on until he reached a point
whence he succeeded in hailing the ship, and a boat was sent off. The
vessel proved to be a French whaler, the Mississippi, commanded by an
Englishman, Captain Rossiter. The worn-out travellers stayed on board for
a fortnight, experiencing the utmost kindness, and with recruited
strength and food and clothing, they bade a grateful farewell to the
captain and crew, and resumed their journey.
For twenty-three days more Eyre and his attendant Wylie pursued their
way. Rain fell heavily, and the cold was intense; but at length, on the
27th of July, they reached Albany, in Western Australia, and the journey
For more than twelve months Eyre had been engaged forcing his way from
Adelaide to the Western colony; and the incidents of the journey have
been dwelt upon because afterwards I passed over the same ground, though
in the opposite direction, and the records of Eyre's expedition were of
the greatest service to me, by at least enabling me to guard against a
repetition of the terrible sufferings he endured.
EXPLORATIONS BY LEICHARDT.
It is further necessary to refer to another of the journeys of
exploration which preceded my own--that of the unfortunate Leichardt. He
endeavoured to cross the continent from east to west, starting from
Moreton Bay, Queensland, hoping to reach the Western Australian
settlements. In 1844 Leichardt had succeeded in crossing the
north-western portion of the continent from Moreton Bay to Port
Essington, and he conceived the gigantic project of reaching Western
Australia. Towards the end of 1847, accompanied by eight men, with
provisions estimated at two years' supply, he started on his journey. He
took with him an enormous number of animals--180 sheep, 270 goats, 40
bullocks, 15 horses, and 13 mules. They must have greatly encumbered his
march, and the difficulty of obtaining food necessarily much impeded his
movements. His original intention was first to steer north, following for
some distance his previous track, and then, as opportunity offered, to
strike westward and make clear across the continent. After disastrous
wanderings for seven months, in the course of which they lost the whole
of their cattle and sheep, the party returned.
Disappointed, but not discouraged, Leichardt resolved on another attempt
to achieve the task he had set himself. With great difficulty he obtained
some funds; organized a small but ill-provided party, and again started
for the interior. The last ever heard of him was a letter, dated the 3rd
of April, 1848. He was then in the Fitzroy Downs; he wrote in good
spirits, hopefully as to his prospects: "Seeing how much I have been
favoured in my present progress, I am full of hopes that our Almighty
Protector will allow me to bring my darling scheme to a successful
THE FATE OF LEICHARDT.
From that day the fate of Leichardt and his companions has been involved
in mystery. He was then on the Cogoon River, in Eastern Australia, at
least 1500 miles from the nearest station on the western side of the
continent. His last letter gives no clue to the track he intended to
pursue. If a westerly course had been struck he would have nearly
traversed the route which subsequently Warburton travelled; but no trace
of him has ever been discovered. Several expeditions were undertaken to
ascertain his fate; at various times expectations were aroused by finding
trees marked L; but Leichardt himself, on previous journeys, had met with
trees so marked, by whom is unknown. Natives found in the remote interior
were questioned; they told vague stories of the murder of white men, but
all investigations resulted in the conclusion that the statements were as
untrustworthy as those generally made to explorers who question
uninformed, ignorant natives. The white man's experience is usually that
a native only partially comprehends the question; he does not understand
what is wanted, but is anxious to please, as he expects something to eat,
and he says what he thinks is most likely to be satisfactory.
Leichardt was certainly ill-provided for an expedition of the magnitude
he contemplated, and it appears to be at the least as probable that he
succumbed to the hardships he encountered, or was swept away by a flood,
as that he was murdered by the blacks. Twenty-seven years have elapsed
since he disappeared in the interior; yet the mystery attending his fate
has not ceased to excite a desire to know the fate of so daring an
explorer, and ascertain something definite respecting his course--a
desire which was one of the principal motives that prompted my first
expedition into the unknown interior dividing the west from the east.
In 1872, Mr. Giles headed an exploring party from Melbourne, which
succeeded in making known a vast district hitherto unexplored; but his
progress was stopped, when he had reached longitude 129 degrees 40
minutes, by a large salt lake, the limits of which could not be
ascertained. In the following year Mr. Gosse, at the head of a party
equipped by the South Australian Government, started from nearly the same
point of the telegraph line, and at the same period as the Warburton
expedition, but was compelled to return after eight months' absence,
having reached longitude 126 degrees 59 minutes. Gosse found the country
generally poor and destitute of water. He was perhaps unfortunate in
experiencing an unusually dry season; but his deliberate conclusion was,
"I do not think a practicable route will ever be found between the lower
part of Western Australia and the telegraph line."
At the instance of Baron Von Mueller, and assisted by a small
subscription from the South Australian Government, Mr. Giles made a
second attempt to penetrate westward. He reached the 125th degree of east
longitude, and discovered and traversed four distinct mountain ranges, on
one of which Mr. Gosse shortly afterwards found his tracks. One of his
companions, Mr. Gibson, lost his way and perished in the desert, and
therefore Mr. Giles turned his face eastwards, and, after an absence of
twelve months, reached Adelaide. He encountered many perils, having been
nine times attacked by the natives, probably in the attempt to obtain
water; and on one occasion was severely wounded and nearly captured.
On the 20th March, 1874, Mr. Ross, with his son and another European,
three Arabs, fourteen horses, and sixteen camels, started from the
telegraph line, near the Peake station in South Australia. He was
compelled to return through want of water, although, soon after starting,
he had greatly reduced the number of his party by sending back three of
his companions, two of the horses, and twelve of the camels.
Such, in brief, have been the results of the efforts made to cross
Australia between the telegraph line and the west coast, and ascertain
the probability of establishing a practicable route. I have referred to
them to show how persistent has been the desire to achieve the exploit,
and how little daunted by repeated failures have been Australian
explorers. I now propose to relate my own experiences--the results of
three journeys of exploration, conducted by myself. The first was
undertaken in the hope of discovering some traces of Leichardt; the
second nearly retraced the route of Eyre; the third was across the desert
from Western Australia to the telegraph line in South Australia. The
first journey did not result in obtaining the information sought for; the
second and third journeys were successfully accomplished.
FIRST EXPEDITION IN SEARCH OF LEICHARDT.
Statements made by the Natives.
An Expedition prepared.
Early in 1869, Dr. Von Mueller, of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, a
botanist of high attainments, proposed to the Government of Western
Australia that an expedition should be undertaken from the colony for the
purpose of ascertaining, if possible, the fate of the lost explorer,
Leichardt. Reports had reached Perth of natives met with in the eastern
districts, who had stated that, about twenty years before (a date
corresponding with that of the last authentic intelligence received from
Leichardt), a party of white men had been murdered. This tale was
repeated, but perhaps would not have made much impression if a gentleman,
Mr. J.H. Monger, when on a trip eastward in search of sheep-runs, had not
been told by his native guide that he had been to the very spot where the
murder was committed, and had seen the remains of the white men. His
story was very circumstantial; he described the spot, which, he said, was
near a large lake, so large that it looked like the sea, and that the
white men were attacked and killed while making a damper--bread made of
flour mixed with water, and cooked on hot ashes. So certain was he as to
the exact locality, that he offered to conduct a party to the place.
This appeared like a trustworthy confirmation of the reports which had
reached the colony, and created a great impression, so that the
Government felt it a duty incumbent on them to make an effort to
ascertain the truth of this statement, and Dr. Von Mueller's offer to
lead an expedition was accepted.
I was then, as now, an officer of the Survey Department, and employed in
a distant part of the colony. I was ordered to repair to headquarters, to
confer with the authorities on the subject, and was offered the
appointment of second in command and navigator. This was a proposition
quite in accordance with my tastes, for I had long felt a deep interest
in the subject of Australian exploration, and ardently desired to take my
share in the work. I at once arranged the equipment of the expedition,
but, while so engaged, the mail from Melbourne brought a letter from Dr.
Von Mueller, to the effect that his other engagements would not permit
him to take the lead as proposed, and I was appointed to take his place
in the expedition.
The Honourable Captain Roe, R.N., the Surveyor-General, who had himself
been a great explorer, undertook the preparation of a set of Instructions
for my guidance; and they so accurately describe the objects of the
journey, and the best modes of carrying them out, that I transcribe the
Survey Office, Perth,
13th April, 1869.
His Excellency the Governor having been pleased to appoint you to lead an
expedition into the interior of Western Australia for the purpose of
searching for the remains of certain white men reported by the natives to
have been killed by the aborigines some years ago, many miles beyond the
limits of our settled country, and it being deemed probable that the
white men referred to formed part of an exploring party under the command
of Dr. Leichardt, endeavouring to penetrate overland from Victoria to
this colony several years ago, I have been directed to furnish the
following instructions for your guidance on this interesting service, and
for enabling you to carry out the wishes of the Government in connexion
2. Your party will consist of six persons in the whole, well armed, and
made up of Mr. George Monger as second in command, Mr. Malcolm Hamersley
as third in command, a farrier blacksmith to be hired at Newcastle, and
two well-known and reliable natives, Tommy Windich and Jemmy, who have
already acquired considerable experience under former explorers.
3. An agreement to serve on the expedition in the above capacities has
been prepared, and should be signed by each European member of the party
previous to starting.
4. A saddle-horse has been provided for each member of the party,
together with ---- pack-horses to transport such portions of the outfit
as cannot be carried by the former. A three-horsed cart will also
accompany the expedition as far as may be found practicable through the
unsettled country, and thereby relieve the pack-horses as much as
5. All preparations for the journey being now complete, it is desirable
that you should lose no time in starting, so as to arrive at the
commencement of the unexplored country by the end of the present month,
or beginning of the expected winter rains. It has been, however, already
ascertained from native information that a considerable quantity of rain
has recently fallen over the regions to be explored, and that no
impediment may be anticipated from a scarcity of water there.
6. The route to be followed might advantageously commence at Newcastle,
where some of your party and several of your horses are to be picked up,
and thence proceed north-easterly to Goomaling, and 100 miles further in
the same general direction, passing eastward to Mounts Chunbaren and
Kenneth of Mr. Austin's, to the eastern farthest of that explorer, in 119
degrees East and 28 3/4 degrees South. Thence the general north-easterly
route of the expedition must be governed by the information afforded by
your native guides as to the locality in which they have reported the
remains of white men are to be found.
7. On arriving at that spot, the greatest care is to be taken to bring
away all such remains as may be discovered by a diligent search of the
neighbourhood. By friendly and judicious treatment of the local natives,
it is also probable that several articles of European manufacture which
are said to be still in their possession might be bartered from them, and
serve towards identifying their former owners. The prospect of obtaining
from the natives, at this remote date, anything like a journal,
note-book, or map, would indeed be small; but the greatest interest would
be attached to the smallest scrap of written or printed paper, however
much defaced, if only covered with legible characters. A more promising
mode by which the former presence of European explorers on the spot might
be detected is the marks which are generally made on the trees by
travellers to record the number or reference to a halting-place, or the
initials of some of the party. Thus the letter L has in several instances
been found by searching parties to have been legibly cut on trees in the
interior of the eastern colonies, and in localities supposed to have been
visited by the eminent explorer alluded to. It is needless to point out
that metal articles, such as axes, tomahawks, gun and pistol barrels,
iron-work of pack-saddles, and such like, would be far more likely to
have survived through the lapse of years than articles of a more
8. After exhausting all conceivable means of obtaining information on the
spot, and from the nature of surrounding country, an attempt should be
made to follow back on the track of the unfortunate deceased, which is
said to have been from the eastward and towards the settled part of this
colony. Here a close and minute scrutiny of the trees might prove of
great value in clearing up existing doubts, especially at and about any
water-holes and springs near which explorers would be likely to bivouac.
9. After completing an exhaustive research and inquiry into this
interesting and important part of your duties, the remainder of the time
that may be at your disposal, with reference to your remaining stock of
provisions, should be employed in exploring the surrounding country, in
tracing any considerable or smaller stream it may be your good fortune to
discover, and generally in rendering the service entrusted to your
guidance as extensively useful and valuable to this colony as
circumstances may admit.
10. Towards effecting this object, your homeward journey should, if
possible, be over country not previously traversed by the outward route,
or by any former explorers, and should be so regulated as to expose your
party to no unnecessary risk on account of the falling short of supplies.
11. In your intercourse with the aborigines of the interior, many of whom
will have no previous personal knowledge of the white man, I need
scarcely commend to you a policy of kindness and forbearance mixed with
watchfulness and firmness, as their future bearing towards our remote
colonists may be chiefly moulded by early impressions.
12. To render the expedition as extensively useful as possible, I would
urge you, in the interests of science, to make and preserve such
specimens in natural history as may come within the reach of yourself and
party, especially in the departments of botany, geology, and zoology,
which may be greatly enriched by productions of country not yet
13. Direct reference to minor objects, and to matters of detail, is
purposely omitted, in full reliance on your judgment and discretion, and
on your personal desire to render the expedition as productive as
possible of benefit to the colony and to science in general.
14. In this spirit I may add that the brief instructions herein given for
your general guidance are by no means intended to fetter your own
judgment in carrying out the main object of the expedition in such other
and different manner as may appear to you likely to lead to beneficial
results. In the belief that such results will be achieved by the energy
and perseverance of yourself and of those who have so nobly volunteered
to join you in the enterprise, and with confident wishes for your
success, in which H.E. largely participates,
I remain, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
J.S. ROE, Surveyor-General.
John Forrest, Esquire, Leader of Exploring Expedition to the North-East.
Mr. George Monger (brother of the gentleman who gave the information),
who accompanied me as second in command, had previously been on an
expedition to the eastward, and Jemmy Mungaro was the black who said he
had seen the spot where the remains of the white men were. His
persistence in the statement encouraged me to hope that I might be the
first to announce positively the fate of the lost explorer; but I had
then to learn how little dependence can be placed on the testimony of
On the 15th of April, 1869, I began the journey. I was well supplied with
instruments for making observations, so as to ascertain our daily
position. A knowledge of at least the leading principles of the art of
navigation is as necessary to the explorer as to the mariner on the
ocean. Our stock of provisions consisted of 800 pounds of flour, 270
pounds of pork, 135 pounds of sugar, and 17 pounds of tea; and we each
took two suits of clothes.
The party were all in good spirits. For myself I was hopeful of success,
and my white companions shared my feelings. The natives were, as they
generally are, except when food is scarce, or their anger excited, on the
best terms with everybody and everything, and Jemmy Mungaro, so far as
could be judged from his demeanour, might have been the most veracious
guide who ever led a party of white men through difficulties and dangers
on an expedition of discovery.
Day by day I noted down the incidents of the journey, and that Journal I
now submit to the reader.
JOURNAL OF PROCEEDINGS OF AN EXPLORING EXPEDITION IN SEARCH OF THE
REMAINS OF THE LATE DR. LEICHARDT AND PARTY, UNDERTAKEN BY ORDER OF THE
GOVERNMENT OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA, BY JOHN FORREST, GOVERNMENT SURVEYOR.
In pursuance of instructions received from you, the exploring party under
my command consisted of the following persons, namely, Mr. George Monger,
as second in command; Mr. Malcolm Hamersley, as third in command;
probation prisoner, David Morgan, as shoeing smith, and two natives
(Tommy Windich and Jemmy Mungaro). The latter native gave Mr. J.H. Monger
the information respecting the murder of white men in the eastward.
Reached Newcastle on the 17th and left on Monday, 19th, with a
three-horse cart and teamster and thirteen horses, making a total of
sixteen horses. Reached Mombekine, which is about sixteen miles
East-North-East from Newcastle.
Continued journey to Goomalling, sixteen miles, which we reached at 1
p.m., and devoted the remainder of the afternoon to weighing and packing
rations, etc., for a final start.
Leaving Goomalling at 10.30 a.m., we travelled in a northerly direction
for nine miles, and reached Walyamurra Lake; thence about East-North-East
for seven miles, we encamped at a well on north side of Kombekine Lake.
The water was very bad from opossums being drowned in it, and there was
hardly any feed.
Hearing from a number of natives that there was no water in the direction
we intended steering, namely, to Mount Churchman, we decided on changing
our course and proceed there via Waddowring, in latitude 31 degrees south
and longitude 118 degrees east. Steering about South-South-East for eight
miles, through dense scrubby thickets, which we had great difficulty in
getting the cart through, we struck the road from Goomalling to
Waddowring, which we followed along about east for eight miles, and
camped at a well called Naaning, with hardly any feed.
Mr. George Roe (who had come from Northam to bid us farewell) and my
teamster left us this morning to return to Newcastle. Considerable delay
having occurred in collecting the horses, we did not start till twelve
o'clock, when we steered East-North-East for eight miles over scrubby
sand-plains, and camped at a well called Pingeperring, with very little
feed for our horses.
Started at 8.50 a.m. and steered about east for seven miles over scrubby,
undulating sand-plains, thence North 50 degrees East magnetic for two
miles, thence North 160 degrees for one mile, and thence about North 80
degrees East magnetic for five miles over scrubby sand-plains. We camped
at a spring called Dwartwollaking at 5 p.m. Barometer 29.45; thermometer
Did not travel to-day. Took observations for time, and corrected our
watches. Found camp to be in south latitude 31 degrees 10 minutes by
meridian altitude of sun.
Travelled in about the direction of North 73 degrees East magnetic for
twenty-eight miles. We reached Yarraging, the farthest station to the
eastward, belonging to Messrs. Ward and Adams, where we bivouacked for
Bought some rations from Ward and Co., making our supply equal to last
three months on the daily allowance of a pound and a half of flour, half
a pound of pork, a quarter of a pound of sugar, and half an ounce of tea
per man. Being unable to take the cart any further, and wishing to have
the team horses with me, I arranged with Ward and Co. to take it to
Newcastle for 2 pounds. Packed up and left Yarraging with ten pack and
six riding horses, and steering North 320 degrees East magnetic for eight
miles we reached Waddowring springs in south latitude 31 degrees and
longitude 118 degrees East.
Started this morning with Mr. Monger, Tommy Windich, and Dunbatch (a
native of this locality) in search of water in order to shift the party.
Travelling about north for eleven miles we found a native well, and by
digging it out seven feet we obtained sufficient water for ourselves and
horses. I therefore sent Mr. Monger back with instructions to bring the
party to this spot, called Cartubing. I then proceeded in a northerly
direction, and at two miles passed water in granite rocks at a spot
called Inkanyinning. Shortly afterwards we passed another native well,
called Yammaling, from which we steered towards a spot called
Beebynyinning; but, night setting in, our guide lost his way, and we were
obliged to camp for the night in a thicket without water and very little
This morning Dunbatch brought us to Beebynyinning, where we obtained a
little water by digging. After digging a well we returned to Cartubing,
where we met the party and bivouacked on a patch of green feed.
Shifted the party from Cartubing to Beebynyinning, watering our horses on
the way at Inkanyinning and Yammaling, which was fortunate, as there was
very little water at Beebynyinning.
Steering about North-East for eight miles over grassy country, we reached
and encamped at Danjinning, a small grassy spot, with native well, by
deepening which about ten feet we obtained a plentiful supply of water.
Mr. Austin visited Danjinning in 1854, and we could see the tracks of his
horses distinctly. Barometer 29. Every appearance of rain, which we are
in much want of.
Rested at Danjinning, which I found to be in south latitude 30 degrees 34
minutes by meridian altitude of the sun. Read Divine Service. Jemmy shot
six gnows and a wurrong to-day.
Steering in a northerly direction for sixteen miles, we reached
Yalburnunging, a small grassy spot, with water in a native well, which we
deepened four feet, and procured a plentiful supply. For the first nine
miles our route lay over scrubby sand-plains, after which we came into
dense thickets and stunted gums.
Steering towards Mount Churchman, or Geelabbing, for about fifteen miles,
we reached a grassy spot called Billeburring, and found water in a native
well, probably permanent. At eight miles we passed a water-hole in some
granite rocks, called Gnaragnunging. Dense acacia and cypress thickets
most of the way.
Steering in a northerly direction for about twelve miles, we reached
Mount Churchman, or Geelabbing, an immense bare granite hill, and camped,
with plenty of feed and water. At five miles passed a spring called
Coolee. Country very dense and scrubby; no feed in any of the thickets.
From the summit of Mount Churchman, Ningham of Mr. Monger, or Mount
Singleton of Mr. A.C. Gregory, bore North 312 degrees 30 minutes East
magnetic. This evening a party of nine natives (friends of our native
Jemmy) joined us, who state that a long time ago a party of white men and
horses died at a place called Bouincabbajibimar, also that a gun and a
number of other articles are there, and volunteer to accompany us to the
Left Mount Churchman in company with the nine natives, and travelled
about North-North-West for ten miles to a small water-hole called
Woodgine, thence in a northerly direction to a branch of Lake Moore,
which we crossed without difficulty, and, following along its north shore
for three miles, we bivouacked at a spring close to the lake called
Cundierring, with splendid feed around the granite rocks.
Steering in a northerly direction for eleven miles, through dense
thickets of acacia and cypress, we reached some granite rocks with water
on them, called Curroning, and bivouacked. Have fears that the
information received from the natives relates to nine of Mr. Austin's
horses that died from poison at Poison Rock. They now state they are only
horses' bones, and not men's, as first stated.
Travelling in the direction of North 30 degrees East for about ten miles,
we reached some granite rocks, with a water-hole in them, called
Coorbedar. Passed over very rough, low, quartz hills, covered with acacia
thickets, etc. At four miles passed a water-hole called Yeergolling; at
seven miles a small one called Gnurra; and another at eight miles called
Rested our horses at Coorbedar. Found camp to be in south latitude 29
degrees 24 minutes 43 seconds by meridian altitudes of the sun and
Regulus, and in longitude 118 degrees 6 minutes East. From a quartz hill
half a mile South-West from Coorbedar, Mount Singleton bore North 268
degrees 15 minutes East. The supply of water from the rock having been
used, I went, in company with Mr. Hamersley, to a spot one mile and a
half South-South-West from Coorbedar, called Dowgooroo, where we dug a
well and procured a little water, to which I intend shifting to-morrow,
as I propose staying in this vicinity for two days, so as to give me time
to visit Warne, the large river spoken of by Jemmy.
Started this morning in company with Tommy Windich and a native boy (one
of the nine who joined us at Mount Churchman) to examine the locality
called Warne. Steering North 42 degrees East magnetic for about seven
miles, we came to a grassy flat about half a mile wide, with a stream-bed
trending south running through it. The natives state it to be dry in
summer, but at present there is abundance of water, and in wet seasons
the flat must be almost all under water. After following the flat about
seven miles we returned towards camp, about five miles, and bivouacked.
Returned this morning to Dowgooroo and found all well. Rain, which we
were much in want of, fell lightly most of the day. Barometer 28.50;
thermometer 61 degrees.
Steered this morning about North 38 degrees East magnetic for eight
miles, and camped by a shallow lake of fresh water--the bivouac of the
10th. Here we met a party of twenty-five natives (friends of my native
Jemmy and the nine who joined us at Mount Churchman) who had a grand
corroboree in honour of the expedition. They stated that at
Bouincabbajilimar there were the remains of a number of horses, but no
men's bones or guns, and pointed in the direction of Poison Rock, where
Mr. Austin lost nine horses. Being now satisfied that the natives were
alluding to the remains of Mr. Austin's horses, I resolved to steer to
the eastward, towards a spot called by the native, Jemmy, Noondie, where
he states he heard the remains of white men were.
Bidding farewell to all the natives, we steered in a south-easterly
direction for fifteen miles, and camped in a rough hollow called
Durkying; cypress and acacia thickets the whole way.
One of our horses having strayed, we did not start till 10.40 a.m., when
we steered in about a South-East direction for eight miles, and camped on
an elevated grassy spot, called Mingan, with water in the granite rocks,
probably permanent. The thickets were a little less dense than usual, but
without any grass, except at the spots mentioned. By meridian altitudes
of Mars and Regulus, we were in south latitude 29 degrees 30 minutes 30
seconds, and in longitude about 118 degrees 30 minutes east.
Steering North-East for four miles, and North-North-East for seven miles,
over sandy soil, with thickets of acacia and cypress, we bivouacked on an
elevated grassy spot, called Earroo, with water in granite rocks.
Rested at Earroo; horses enjoying good feed. By meridian altitudes of
Regulus and Mars, camp at Earroo was in south latitude 29 degrees 23
minutes 3 seconds, and in longitude 118 degrees 35 minutes East; weather
very cloudy; barometer 29.
Started 7.50 a.m., and steered North 60 degrees East for about five
miles; thence about North 50 degrees East for eight miles; thence North
85 degrees East for five miles, to a small grassy spot called Croobenyer,
with water in granite rocks. Sandy soil, thickets of cypress, acacia,
etc., most of the way. Found camp to be in south latitude 29 degrees 12
minutes 43 seconds by meridian altitudes of Regulus and Aquilae (Altair);
Steering North 70 degrees East for two miles and a half, we saw a low
hill called Yeeramudder, bearing North 62 degrees 30 minutes East
magnetic, distant about seventeen miles, for which we steered, and camped
to the north of it, on a fine patch of grass with a little rain-water on
some granite rocks. At eleven miles crossed a branch of a dry salt lake,
which appears to run far to the eastward.
Steering about North 85 degrees East magnetic for fourteen miles,
attempted to cross the lake we had been leaving a little to the
southward, making for a spot supposed by us to be the opposite shore, but
on arriving at which was found to be an island. As we had great
difficulty in reaching it, having to carry all the loads the last 200
yards, our horses saving themselves with difficulty, and, being late, I
resolved to leave the loads and take the horses to another island, where
there was a little feed, on reaching which we bivouacked without water,
all being very tired.
On examining this immense lake I found that it was impossible to get the
horses and loads across it; I was therefore compelled to retrace my steps
to where we first entered it, which the horses did with great difficulty
without their loads. I was very fortunate in finding water and feed about
three miles North-North-West, to which we took the horses and bivouacked,
leaving on the island all the loads, which we shall have to carry at
least half way, three quarters of a mile, the route being too boggy for
HEAVY WORK IN THE BOG.
Went over to the lake in company with Messrs. Monger, Hamersley, and
Tommy Windich, with four horses. Succeeded in getting all the loads to
the mainland, carrying them about three quarters of a mile up to our
knees in mud, from which point the lake became a little firmer, and the
horses carried the loads out. I cannot speak too highly of the manner in
which my companions assisted me on this trying occasion. Having been
obliged to work barefooted in the mud, the soles of Mr. Hamersley's feet
were in a very bad state, and he was hardly able to walk for a fortnight.
Seeing a native fire several miles to the southward, I intend sending
Tommy Windich and Jemmy in search of the tribe to-morrow, in order that I
may question them respecting the reported death of white men to the
Went over to the lake with all the horses, and brought the loads to the
camp. Started Tommy and Jemmy in search of the natives. After returning
to camp, overhauled all the pack bags, and dried and re-packed them,
ready for a fresh start on Monday morning. Also washed the mud off the
horses, who appear to be doing well, and fast recovering from the effects
of the bogging. Tommy and Jemmy returned this evening, having seen some
natives after dark, but were unable to get near them.
Went with Tommy Windich and Jemmy on foot to follow the tracks of the
natives seen yesterday. Seeing no chance of overtaking them, as they
appeared to be making off at a great rate, and were twelve hours in
advance of us, we returned, after following the tracks for five miles
across the lake. The camp was reached at 2 p.m., after we had walked
about fifteen miles. This spot, which I named Retreat Rock, I found to be
in south latitude 29 degrees 3 minutes 51 seconds by meridian altitudes
of Regulus and Mars, and in about longitude 119 degrees 16 minutes east.
Some of the horses having strayed, we were not able to start till 10.40
a.m., when we steered in about East-North-East direction for sixteen
miles, and camped on a piece of rising ground, with very little water.
From this bivouac, a very remarkable peaked hill, called Woolling, which
I named Mount Elain, bore North 162 degrees 15 minutes East magnetic,
distant about twenty miles; and two conspicuous hills, close together,
called Yeadie and Bulgar, bore North 105 degrees East magnetic. Dense
thickets, acacia, cypress, etc., sandy soil with spinifex, most of the
DISCOVERY OF LAKE BARLEE.
Steering for Yeadie and Bulgar for five miles, and came to some granite
rocks with water, where we gave drink to our thirsty horses. Leaving the
party to follow, I went with Jemmy in advance to look for water, which we
found in a rough stream-bed, and brought the party to it. This afternoon
went with Jemmy to the summit of Yeadie, and took a round of angles. The
local attraction was so great on this hill that the prismatic compass was
useless; luckily I had my pocket sextant with me, by which I obtained the
included angles. From the summit of Yeadie the view was very extensive.
The great lake that we had already followed for forty miles ran as far as
the eye could reach to the east and south, studded with numerous islands;
low ranges of hills in every direction. This immense lake I named Lake
Barlee, after the Colonial Secretary of Western Australia. By meridian
altitudes of Mars and Regulus, camp was in south latitude, 28 degrees 58
minutes 50 seconds, and in longitude about 119 degrees 39 minutes East,
Yeadie bearing North 172 degrees East magnetic, distant about two miles.
Moving in about a northerly direction for nine miles, we turned to the
eastward, rounded a branch of Lake Barlee, towards some loose granite
rocks, where we encamped, but could not find water. Sent Jemmy over to
another rock one mile southward, where he found a fine permanent
water-hole, to which we took the horses after dark. Distance travelled
to-day about eighteen miles. Tommy shot a fine emu, which was a great
treat to us all.
Shifted the party over to the water found last night, one mile distant,
and camped. Found camp to be in south latitude 28 degrees 53 minutes, and
in longitude about 119 degrees 50 minutes east. Marked a small tree with
the letter F. close to the waterhole.
Some of the horses having strayed, we did not start till 9.30 a.m., when
I went in advance of the party, in company with Jemmy, to look for water.
After following Lake Barlee for nine miles, it turned to the southward.
Then scouring the country in every direction for water without success,
we reached the tracks of the party (who had passed on), and, following
them over plains of spinifex and stunted gums, found them encamped with
plenty of water, which they had luckily discovered at sundown. Distance
travelled eighteen miles about true east. By meridian altitude of Bootes
(Arcturus), this bivouac is in south latitude 28 degrees 53 minutes 34
seconds, and longitude about 120 degrees 9 minutes east.
Started in company with Tommy and Jemmy to explore the country eastward,
leaving the party to take off the horses' shoes for their relief.
Travelling in an easterly direction for eight miles over sandy soil and
spinifex, we reached the summit of a high hill, supposed by Jemmy to be
Noondie, which I named Mount Alexander, from which we saw another range
about eleven miles distant, bearing North 82 degrees 15 minutes East
magnetic, to which we proceeded, and found water in some granite rocks.
None of these hills, however, agreed with the description given by Jemmy;
and the expectations were at an end that he would succeed in showing us
the spot where the remains of white men were. Returning to camp, seven
miles, bivouacked on a grassy flat, without water or food.
Started at dawn, with the saddles and rugs on our backs, in search of the
horses, and, after travelling a mile and a half on their tracks, found
them at a small water-hole passed by us yesterday. Saddled up and reached
camp at eleven o'clock, and found all well. Yesterday morning the dogs
caught an emu, off which we made a first-rate breakfast, not having had
anything to eat since the previous morning. Barometer 28.44.
A DIFFICULTY WITH THE NATIVES.
Started this morning in company with Mr. Monger and Jemmy in search of
natives, leaving Mr. Hamersley in charge, with instructions to proceed
eastward about twenty-two miles, to where I found water on the 29th.
After starting the party we steered in a South-South-East direction
towards a high range of hills, which I named Mount Bivou, about twelve
miles distant. To the westward of the range we found a fine water-hole in
some granite rocks, where we rested an hour to allow the horses to feed.
Continuing in about the same direction for five miles, we ascended a
rough range to have a view of the country. We descried a large fire to
the westward seven miles, towards which we proceeded, in the hope of
finding natives. When we were within half a mile we could hear hallooing
and shouting; and it was very evident there was a great muster (certainly
not less than 100) of natives, corrobberying, making a dreadful noise,
the dogs joining in chorus. Having stripped Jemmy, I told him to go and
speak to them, which he started to do in very good spirits. He soon
beckoned us to follow, and asked us to keep close behind him, as the
natives were what he called like "sheep flock." He appeared very nervous,
trembling from head to foot. After reassuring him, we tied up our horses,
and advanced through the thicket towards them. When getting in sight of
them, Jemmy commenced cooeying, and was answered by the natives; after
which he advanced and showed himself. As soon as they saw him, the
bloodthirsty villains rushed at him, and threw three dowaks, which he
luckily dodged; when fortunately one of the natives recognized him
(having seen Jemmy at Mount Elain when a little boy), and called to the
others not to harm him. Seeing Jemmy running towards the horses, Mr.
Monger and I thought it was time to retire, as we saw the mistake we had
made in leaving the horses. The thickets being dense, we had difficulty
in finding the horses quickly. On reaching them Mr. Monger found he had
dropped his revolver. Had not Jemmy been recognized, I feel sure we
should have had bloodshed, and might probably have lost our lives.
Mounting the horses, we advanced towards the natives, and had a short
talk with one of them who came to speak to Jemmy. There was a guard of
eight natives, with spears stripped, and dowaks in readiness, should we
prove hostile. Although I assured them we were friends, and asked them to
put down their spears, they took no notice of what was said. One native
told us not to sleep here, but to go away and not return, or the natives
would kill and eat us, after which he turned away as if he did not wish
to have any more words with us. It being now dark, we took his advice,
and retreated towards where we had dinner, five miles off. Camped in a
thicket without water, and tied up our horses, keeping watch all night.
At daybreak saddled up our tired and hungry horses, and proceeded to
where we had dinner yesterday. After giving our horses two hours' grazing
and having had breakfast, started back towards the natives' camp, as I
wished to question them respecting the reported death of white men in
this neighbourhood. When we approached the natives' bivouac, we saw where
they had been following up our tracks in every direction, and Jemmy found
the place where they had picked up Mr. Monger's revolver. While Jemmy was
away looking for the revolver, Mr. Monger saw two natives following up
our trail, and within fifty yards of us. We both wheeled round and had
our guns in readiness, but soon perceived they were the same as were
friendly last night, and I called Jemmy to speak to them. At my request
they went and brought us Mr. Monger's revolver, which they stated they
had been warming near the fire! Fortunately for them, it did not go off.
On being questioned by Jemmy, they stated that the place Noondie (where
Jemmy stated he heard the remains of the white men were) was two days'
journey North-West from this spot; that there were the remains of horses,
but not of men, and they volunteered to show us the spot. Being now 1
p.m., and having to meet the party to-night at a place about twenty-three
miles distant, we started at once, leaving the natives, who did not wish
to move to-day, but who apparently sincerely promised to come to our camp
to-morrow. Reached camp at the spot arranged an hour after dark, and
found all well.
Rested our horses at the place, which I called the Two-spring Bivouac,
there being two small springs here. Re-stuffed with grass all the
pack-saddles, as some of the horses were getting sore backs. By meridian
altitude of sun found the camp to be in south latitude 28 degrees 51
minutes 45 seconds, and in longitude about 120 degrees 30 minutes east. I
was very much annoyed at the natives not putting in appearance as
No sign of the natives this morning. I decided to steer in the direction
pointed out by them, and travelling about North 306 degrees East magnetic
for fifteen miles, we found water in some granite rocks, with very good
feed around, cypress and acacia thickets, light red loamy soil, destitute
Steering in about West-North-West direction for sixteen miles, the first
six of which were studded with granite rocks, good feed around them,
after which through poor sandy country, covered with spinifex. We
bivouacked in a thicket without water or feed, and tied up our horses.
Saw a natives' fire, but was unable to get near it. Barometer 28.52;
After travelling in a northerly direction for seven miles without finding
water, and without seeing any hill answering the description given by
Jemmy, I struck about east for sixteen miles, and camped at a fine spring
near some granite rocks, with splendid feed around them. This is the first
good spring since leaving the settled districts. At 8 p.m., barometer
28.44; thermometer 72 degrees.
Rested at camp, which I called Depot Spring, and found to be in south
latitude 28 degrees 36 minutes 34 seconds by meridian altitude of sun.
Barometer at 8 a.m. 28.38; thermometer 57 degrees; at 5 p.m., barometer
28.30; thermometer 77 degrees.
Started this morning, in company with Mr. Hamersley and Jemmy, to explore
the country to the northward, where we had seen a peaked hill. Went in
that direction about thirty miles, the first twenty of which were studded
with granite rocks, with fine feed around them. At twenty-seven miles
crossed a salt marsh, about one mile wide, and, continuing three miles
farther, reached the peaked hill, which was composed of granite, capped
with immense blocks, giving it a very remarkable appearance. Bivouacked
on North-West side of hill, at a small water-hole.
This morning, after saddling up, we ascended the conical hill (which I
named Mount Holmes) and took a round of angles from it, after which we
struck North 81 degrees East magnetic to a granite range about eight
miles distant, where we found two fine water-holes, and rested an hour.
Thence in about a South-South-East direction for twelve miles, we
bivouacked without water on a small patch of feed. The day was very fine,
and the rainy appearance cleared off, much to our grief.
At daybreak, no sound of horses' bells, and anticipating they had made
off in search of water, we put our saddles, guns, and rugs on our backs,
and started on their tracks. After following the tracks for nine miles we
came to a water-hole and had breakfast; afterwards we succeeded in
overtaking the horses in a grassy flat, about thirteen miles
South-South-East from our last night's bivouac. The last few miles our
troublesome load became very awkward and heavy. One of the horses had
broken his hobbles. Continuing in about the same course for six miles, we
struck about West-South-West for ten miles, and reached camp, where we
found all well, at 6 p.m. Barometer 28.64; cloudy.
AN OLD NATIVE.
Started again this morning in company with Mr. Monger and Jemmy, to
explore the country to the eastward, leaving Mr. Hamersley to shift the
party to our bivouac of the 2nd instant, about twenty-four miles
South-East from here. After travelling East-North-East for six miles, we
came upon a very old native at a fire in the thicket. Jemmy could not
understand what he said, but he thought that he meant that there were a
number of armed natives about. He was very frightened, howled the whole
time we stayed, and was apparently in his dotage, hardly able to walk.
Continuing our journey, we camped at a small water-hole in some granite
rocks, with good feed around them, about sixteen miles East-North-East
from Depot Spring.
Started at sunrise, and steered about East-North-East over
lightly-grassed country; and on our way came upon a middle-aged native
with two small children. We were within twenty yards of him before he saw
us. He appeared very frightened, and trembled from head to foot. Jemmy
could understand this native a little, and ascertained from him that he
had never seen or heard anything about white men or horses being killed
or having died in this vicinity. Did not know any place named Noondie;
but pointed to water a little way eastward. Jemmy then asked him all
manner of questions, but to no purpose, as he stated he knew nothing
about the business. Jemmy asked him if he had ever heard of any horses
being eaten; he answered No, but that the natives had just eaten his
brother! I have no doubt parents have great difficulty in saving their
children from these inhuman wretches. Then the old man tried to cry, and
ended by saying he had two women at his hut, a little westward. After
travelling ten miles from our last night's bivouac, and not finding
water, we struck North 204 degrees East magnetic for about twenty miles,
through scrubby thickets, without feed, and arrived at the bivouac of the
2nd, where the party will meet us to-morrow. Reached the water at the Two
Springs half an hour after dark.
Explored the country around camp in search of a better place for feed,
but could not find water. Mr. Hamersley and party joined us at 4 p.m.,
all well. Tommy shot a red kangaroo, which was a great treat, after
living so long on salt pork. Barometer 28.60; fine; cold wind from the
east all day.
Rested at camp. Intend taking a trip to the southward to-morrow.
Started this morning, in company with Morgan and Jemmy, to examine the
country to the southward. Travelled in a south-westerly direction for
twenty-five miles, and camped at the spot where we had the encounter with
the natives on May 31. We found they had left, and there was no water on
the rocks. Luckily our horses had water six miles back.
Saddled up at daybreak, and steered about South-East towards a high range
of hills about ten miles distant. I named it Mount Ida, and from the
summit I took a round of angles with my pocket sextant. On all the hills
in this neighbourhood the local attraction is so great that the prismatic
compass is useless. Found a fine spring of water on south side of Mount
Ida, in an almost inaccessible spot. After giving the horses two hours'
rest we continued our journey North 154 degrees East magnetic for eight
miles to a granite range, where, after a diligent search, I found two
water-holes, and bivouacked, with good feed around the rocks.
Saddled up at sunrise, and steered to some trap ranges, North 124 degrees
East, about seven miles distant, from which I could see an immense lake
running as far as the eye could reach to the eastward, and westerly and
northerly, most probably joining Lake Barlee. Not being able to proceed
farther southward, on account of the lake, I steered in a northerly
direction for twenty miles, but, discovering neither feed nor water,
bivouacked in a thicket, and tied up our horses.
At dawn, found that my horse Sugar, after breaking his bridle, had made
off towards our bivouac of the 15th. Placing my saddle on Jemmy's horse,
we followed on the track for six miles, when we came to a few granite
rocks, with a little water on them, from rain that had fallen during the
night. At this place Morgan was left with the horses and our guns, while
Jemmy and I followed on Sugar's tracks, taking only a revolver with us.
After travelling on the tracks for two miles we overtook him, and with a
little trouble managed to catch him. On reaching the spot where we had
left Morgan, we found him with the three double-barrelled guns on full
cock, together with his revolver, in readiness. On being asked what was
the matter, he stated "Nothing," but he was ready to give the natives
what he called "a warm attachment." After having breakfast we steered
North-North-West for about twenty miles, and reached camp at 5 p.m., and
found all well. Rained a little during the day.
Having thus made an exhaustive search in the neighbourhood where Jemmy
expected to find the remains of the white men, by travelling over nearly
the whole of the country between latitude 28 degrees and 29 degrees 30
minutes south, and longitude 120 and 121 degrees east, I determined to
make the most of the little time at my disposal, and carry out the
instruction that I was to attempt to proceed as far eastward as possible.
Accordingly, after collecting the horses, steered about East-North-East
for nine miles, to a low quartz range, over tolerably grassy country, not
very dense. From this range I saw some bare granite rocks bearing about
North 120 degrees East magnetic. For these we steered, and luckily, after
travelling six miles over a plain, which in severe winters must be nearly
all under water, found a fine pool in a clay-pan, and bivouacked. There
was a little rain during the night.
The horses having strayed back on our tracks, we did not start till 12
o'clock, when the journey was continued towards the granite range seen
yesterday, about ten miles distant. We camped on west side of North, with
plenty of water from the recent rain on the granite rocks, but with very
little feed. At five miles crossed a dry stream-bed, eighteen yards wide,
sandy bottom; thickets most of the way, but not very dense.
Rested at camp. Jemmy shot four rock kangaroos to-day. Took a round of
angles from a bare granite hill, North 50 degrees East magnetic, about
one mile from camp, which I found to be in south latitude 28 degrees 57
minutes by meridian altitudes of Bootes (Arcturus) and a Pegasi (Markab);
and in longitude about 120 degrees 55 minutes East. Saw a high hill
bearing North 81 degrees 30 minutes East magnetic, about twenty-five
miles distant, which I named Mount Lenora; and another bearing North 67
degrees East magnetic, about twenty-five miles distant, which I named
Mount George. Intend proceeding to Mount Lenora to-morrow. Marked a small
tree (ordnance-tree of Mr. Austin) with the letter F at our bivouac.
Steering towards Mount Lenora over some tolerably grassy country, we
reached it at sundown, and, not finding any water, camped without it,
with very good feed. In south latitude 28 degrees 53 minutes by meridian
altitudes of Lyrae (Vega) and Aquilae (Altair), and in longitude about
121 degrees 20 minutes East.
After making every search in the vicinity of the bivouac for water, and
the country ahead appearing very unpromising, I decided to return ten
miles on our tracks, where we found a fine pool of water in a brook, and
camped. Tomorrow I intend taking a flying trip in search of water.
A NATIVE UP A TREE.
Started this morning, in company with Tommy Windich, to explore the
country to the eastward for water, etc. After travelling three miles
towards Mount Lenora, saw a natives' fire bearing North-East about three
miles, to which we proceeded, and surprised a middle-aged native. Upon
seeing us he ran off shouting, and decamped with a number of his
companions, who were at a little distance. The horse I was
riding--Turpin, an old police-horse from Northam--evidently well
understood running down a native, and between us we soon overtook our
black friend and brought him to bay. We could not make him understand
anything we said; but, after looking at us a moment, and seeing no chance
of escape, he dropped his two dowaks and wooden dish, and climbed up a
small tree about twelve feet high. After securing the dowaks, I tried
every means to tempt him to come down; fired my revolver twice, and
showed him the effect it had on the tree. The report had the effect also
of frightening all the natives that were about, who no doubt made off at
a great rate. I began to climb up after him, but he pelted me with
sticks, and was more like a wild beast than a man. After discovering we
did not like to be hit, he became bolder and threw more sticks at us, and
one hitting Tommy, he was nearly shooting him, when I called on him to
desist. I then offered him a piece of damper, showing him it was good by
eating some myself and giving some to Tommy. He would not look at it, and
when I threw it close to him he dashed it away as if it was poison. The
only way of getting him down from the tree was force, and, after
considering a moment, I decided to leave him where he was. We accordingly
laid down his dowaks and dish, and bade him farewell in as kindly a
manner as possible. Continuing our course, passing Mount Lenora, we
steered North 81 degrees 15 minutes East magnetic to a table hill, which
I ascended and took a round of angles. This hill I named Mount Malcolm,
after my friend and companion, Mr. M. Hamersley. Saw a remarkable peak
bearing North 65 degrees East magnetic, distant about twenty miles,
towards which we proceeded, and at six miles came upon a small gully, in
which we found a little water, and bivouacked.
Started early this morning, and steered East-North-East for six miles to
some low stony ranges, lightly grassed; thence North 61 degrees 30
minutes East magnetic to the remarkable peak, which I named Mount Flora,
distant about nine miles from the stony ranges, ascending which, I
obtained a round of bearings and angles. Saw a high range bearing about
North 106 degrees 15 minutes East magnetic, apparently about sixteen
miles distant, towards which we travelled till after dark, searching for
feed and water on our way without success, and there bivouacked and tied
up our horses.
Saddled at dawn, and proceeded to the range, which bore North 93 degrees
30 minutes East magnetic, about five miles distant, on reaching which I
ascended the highest peak, and named it Mount Margaret. Took a round of
angles and bearings. From the summit of Mount Margaret the view was very
extensive. There was a large dry salt lake to the southward, as far as
the eye could reach, while to the east and north-east there were low trap
ranges, lightly grassed. A high table hill bore North 73 degrees East
Being now about sixty miles from camp, and not having had any water since
yesterday morning, I decided to return. Steering about west for eight
miles, we struck a brook trending south-east, in which we found a small
quantity of water in a clay-pan. After resting an hour, in order to make
a damper and give the horses a little of the feed, which only grew
sparingly on the banks of the brook, we continued our journey towards
camp. Passing Mount Flora, we camped about eight miles farther onwards,
near a small patch of feed, without water, about a mile north of our
Started at dawn, and reached our bivouac of the 23rd. There obtained just
sufficient water for ourselves and the horses. Continuing, we found a
fine pool of rain-water in a brook a mile and a half west of Mount
Malcolm, and, reaching camp an hour after dark, found all well. On our
way Tommy Windich shot a red kangaroo, which we carried to camp.
Rested at camp. Found it to be in south latitude 28 degrees 55 minutes by
meridian altitudes of sun, Aquilae (Altair), and Lyra, and in longitude
about 121 degrees 10 minutes East. Although we had great difficulty in
procuring water in our last trip, I was reluctant to return without
making another effort, especially as, from the appearance of the country
east of the farthest point, I had hope of a change, and therefore
concluded to shift the party to the water found yesterday near Mount
Malcolm, and make another attempt to proceed farther east.
Steering about North 81 degrees East magnetic, over lightly-grassed
country, thinly wooded for sixteen miles, we camped a mile and a half
west of Mount Malcolm, in south latitude 28 degrees 51 minutes 19 seconds
by meridian altitude of Aquilae (Altair), and in longitude about 121
degrees 27 minutes East.
Started this morning, in company with Tommy Windich, with seven days'
provisions, leaving instructions for Mr. Monger to shift the party back
to our last camp, where the feed was much better, in latitude 28 degrees
55 minutes South, and longitude 121 degrees 10 minutes East. Travelled
about east for thirty miles towards Mount Margaret, our farthest point
last trip. We camped in a thicket, without water, on a small patch of
Saddled up at dawn, and proceeded towards Mount Margaret, obtaining a
little water at the spot where we found water on our former trip.
Continuing, we came to a fine pool of water in a brook, and rested an
hour, Mount Margaret being north-east about two miles and a half. Hardly
any feed near the water. Resuming, we passed Mount Margaret and started
towards the table hill seen previously, bearing North 73 degrees East
magnetic, apparently about eighteen miles distant, over a series of dry
salt marshes, with sandy country and spinifex intervening. After
travelling eight miles, we bivouacked without water on a small patch of
feed. With the pocket sextant I found this spot to be in south latitude
about 28 degrees 50 minutes, and longitude about 122 degrees 11 minutes
After journeying towards the table hill seen yesterday for six miles,
crossed a large brook heading south-west, in which we found a small pool
of rain-water, and rested an hour to breakfast. Resuming for about six
miles, reached the table hill, which I ascended and took a round of
angles. I have since named this hill Mount Weld, being the farthest hill
seen eastward by us. Continuing about North 77 degrees East magnetic for
fifteen miles, through dense thickets--no grass except spinifex--we
bivouacked, without water or feed, and then tied up our horses. I found
this spot to be in south latitude 28 degrees 41 minutes by meridian
altitude of Bootes (Arcturus), and in longitude about 122 degrees 37
Started at dawn, and steered about east, searching on our way for water,
which our horses and ourselves were beginning to want much. At six miles
we found a small hole in some rocks, apparently empty, but on sounding
with a stick I found it to contain a little water. The mouth of the hole
being too small to admit a pannican, and having used my hat with very
little success, I at last thought of my gum-bucket, with which we
procured about two quarts of something between mud and water, which,
after straining through my pocket-handkerchief, we pronounced first-rate.
Continuing for six miles over clear, open sand-plains, with spinifex and
large white gums--the only large trees and clear country seen since
leaving the settled districts--we climbed up a white gum to have a view
of the country eastward. Some rough sandstone cliffs bore North 127
degrees East magnetic, about six miles distant. The country eastward was
almost level, with sandstone cliffs here and there, apparently thickly
wooded with white gums, and other trees; spinifex everywhere, but no
prospects of water. More to the north, a narrow line of samphire flats
appeared, with cypress and stunted gums on its edges--all barren and
desolate--so much so, indeed, that for the last twenty-five miles there
has been no grass seen at all save spinifex. After taking a few bearings
from the top of the tree (which I marked with the letter F on the south
side), which is in south latitude about 28 degrees 41 minutes, and
longitude about 122 degrees 50 East, I decided to return to our last
watering place, nearly thirty-one miles distant, as we were now over 100
miles from camp, and the horses had been without water or feed since
yesterday morning. Therefore, keeping a little to the north of the
outward track, we travelled nearly two hours after dark, and camped
without water or feed, and tied up the horses.
Saddled up early, and steered westerly towards our last watering-place,
about fourteen miles distant; but, after travelling nearly seven miles,
came to a small pool of water (at the head of the brook where we found
water on the 1st), and rested two hours to allow our horses to feed, as
they had neither eaten nor drunk for the last forty-eight hours. Resuming
our journey along the brook (which I named Windich Brook, after my
companion, Tommy Windich) for ten miles, in which we found several pools
of water, but destitute of feed, camped without water about two miles
east of our bivouac of the 30th June.
Travelling about West-South-West for twelve miles, we reached the pool of
water found on our outward track on the 30th June, two miles and a half
South-West from Mount Margaret. There we rested an hour. Resuming, we
travelled nearly along our outward track for eighteen miles, and camped
without water on a small patch of feed. Tommy shot two wurrongs to-day.
Started at daybreak, and, continuing nearly along our outward track for
twenty-five miles, we reached the water close to Mount Malcolm, where we
left the party, they having shifted, as instructed, seventeen miles
farther back. There we rested an hour; but, having finished our
provisions, we roasted two wurrongs and made a first-rate dinner. Tommy
also shot an emu that came to water, and which we carried to camp.
Reached there at 6 p.m. and found all well, having been absent seven
days, every night being without water, during which time we travelled
over 200 miles.
Weighed all the rations, and found we had 283 pounds flour, 31 pounds
bacon, 28 pounds sugar, and 4 pounds tea--equal to thirty-two days'
allowance of flour, ten days' bacon, nineteen days' sugar, and twenty-one
days' tea on a full ration. Thereupon concluded to return to Perth as
quickly as possible, and reduce the allowance of tea and sugar to last
thirty days--bacon to be done without. By that time I hope to reach
Clarke's homestead, Victoria Plains, and intend to return by Mount
Kenneth, Nanjajetty, Ningham, or Mount Singleton, and thence to Damparwar
and Clarke's homestead, thus fixing a few points that will be useful to
the Survey Office.
THE RETURN JOURNEY.
At 6.30 a.m., barometer 28 86, thermometer 34 degrees. Started on the
return, and followed along our outward tracks for sixteen miles. Camped
on east side of granite range, in south latitude 28 degrees 57 minutes,
and east longitude 120 degrees 55 minutes.
Travelling nearly along our eastward track, and passing our bivouac of
the 19th June, we reached the Two Springs bivouac.
Travelled twenty-two miles, and reached our bivouac of 30th May--129
degrees 9 minutes East.
Reached the bivouac of May 27th. On our way I ascended a very high range,
which I named Mount Alfred, and took a fine round of angles--Mount
Alexander, Mount Bivou, Mount Ida, Mount Elvire, and Yeadie and Bulgar
Plotted up our track.
Travelled for twenty-five miles and camped on a splendid patch of feed,
with a little water on some granite rocks about two miles west of our
bivouac of the 24th. This I found to be in south latitude 28 degrees 57
minutes 48 seconds by meridian altitudes of Bootes (Arcturus) and Pegasi
(Markab), and in longitude about 119 degrees 28 minutes east; Mount
Elvire bearing North 154 degrees East magnetic, distant about twenty-one
Leaving the party in charge of Mr. Monger, with instructions to proceed
to Retreat Rock--our bivouac of May 23rd--I started with Mr. Hamersley
and Jemmy to attempt to cross Lake Barlee, in order to explore the
country on its south side, near Mount Elvire, as well as to try and find
natives, Jemmy being acquainted with these tribes. Steering North 154
degrees East magnetic for seven miles, we came to the lake, and, entering
it, succeeded in reaching the southern shore after twelve miles of heavy
walking, sinking over our boots every step--the horses having great
difficulty in getting through. When we reached the southern shore, it was
nearly sundown. Determined to push on, and reached the range, where we
bivouacked on a patch of feed and a little water; Mount Elvire bearing
North 87 degrees East magnetic, about one mile distant; and Yeadie and
Bulgar North 8 degrees East magnetic. Rained lightly during the day.
Being wet through from the splashings of the horses while crossing the
lake, and from it raining throughout the night, and not having any
covering, our situation was not the most pleasant. Jemmy informed me
there was a fine permanent spring close to Mount Elvire; but we did not
go to see it.
This morning, after ascending a range to have a view of the country,
steered North 288 degrees East magnetic, and then, travelling six miles,
came to a branch of Lake Barlee running far to the southward, which we
attempted to cross; but after travelling a mile and a half, the horses
went down to their girths in the bog, and we had great difficulty in
getting them to return, which, however, we ultimately succeeded in doing,
and made another attempt, at a place where a series of islands appeared,
to cross it, and, passing over without much difficulty, reached the
opposite shore at sundown, where we bivouacked on a splendid grassy ride,
with abundance of water in granite rocks, Mount Elvire bearing North 108
degrees East magnetic, and Yeadie and Bulgar North 45 degrees East
Having finished our rations last night, we started at dawn, and steered
towards Retreat Rock. where we were to meet the party. After travelling
five miles, we came to that part of Lake Barlee which we attempted to
cross, without success, on May 19th (on our outward track); but, leading
our horses, we at last succeeded in crossing, and reached camp, all very
tired, at twelve o'clock, finding all well. The party were encamped one
mile north of our former bivouac, at some granite rocks with two fine
Considerable delay having occurred in collecting the horses, we did not
start till ten o'clock, when we travelled nearly along our outward
track--passing Yeeramudder Hill, from the summit of which Mount Elvire
bore North 111 degrees 30 minutes East magnetic about thirty-five miles
distant--for about twenty-one miles, and bivouacked at some granite rocks
with a little feed around them, which I found to be in south latitude 29
degrees 8 minutes 47 seconds by meridian altitudes of Bootes (Arcturus)
and Pegasi (Markab), and in longitude about 118 degrees 59 minutes East.
Started at 8.45 a.m., and, steering about west for twenty-five miles
through dense thickets without feed, we camped without water on a small
miserable patch, in south latitude 29 degrees 7 minutes 13 seconds by
meridian altitude of Bootes (Arcturus). Marked a small tree with F. 1869.
Being now in friendly country, I decided to give up keeping watch, which
had been done regularly for the last two months.
After starting the party, went, in company with Tommy Windich, to take
bearings from a low hill, bearing North 289 degrees, distant about eight
miles, after which we struck in the direction in which we expected to
find the party; but as, for some reason or other, they had not passed by,
I anticipated they must have met with good feed and water, and camped, it
being Sunday. However this may be, we kept bearing more and more to the
southward, in hope of crossing the track, till after dark, when we
reached the Warne Flats, and bivouacked. Not expecting to be absent more
than a few days, we had neither rations nor rugs. Luckily, Tommy shot a
turkey, which we roasted in the ashes, and made a very good meal. The
night was bitterly cold, and, not having any rug, I slept with a fire on
each side of me, and, considering the circumstances, slept fairly.
Made a first-rate breakfast off the remainder of the turkey, and then
started in search of the party, making back towards where we had left
them, keeping well to the southward. After spending nearly the whole of
the day, and knocking up the horses, we found the tracks of the party
nearly where we had left them yesterday morning, and, following along
them for nine miles, found where they had bivouacked last night; and, it
being now two hours after dark, we camped also, having between us for
supper an opossum, which Tommy had luckily caught during the day. The
night was again very cold, and we had hardly anything to eat, which made
matters still worse.
Starting on the tracks at daybreak, followed them for about thirteen
miles, and then we found the party encamped on the east side of a large
bare granite rock called Meroin, Mount Kenneth bearing North 24 degrees
East magnetic, about fifteen miles distant. From a cliff, about one mile
west of the camp, took a splendid round of angles, Mount Kenneth, Mount
Singleton, and several other known points being visible. By meridian
altitudes of sun, a Bootes (Arcturus), E Bootes, and a Coronae Borealis,
camp was in south latitude 29 degrees 10 minutes 49 seconds, and
longitude about 118 degrees 14 minutes east.
At seven a.m., barometer 29.10; thermometer 35 degrees. Started at 8.15
a.m. Steered about west for fifteen miles, over country studded here and
there with granite rocks, with good feed around them--in some places rock
poison--and then camped at a spring called Pullagooroo, bearing North 189
degrees from a bare granite hill, three quarters of a mile distant, from
which hill Mount Singleton bore North 237 degrees East magnetic, by
meridian altitudes of a Bootes (Arcturus) and E Bootes. Pullagooroo is in
south latitude 29 degrees 7 minutes 46 seconds. Finished our bacon this
morning, and for the future will only have damper and tea.
Steering a little to the north of west, through dense thickets without
grass, we bivouacked at a very grassy spot called Bunnaroo, from which
Mount Singleton bore North 205 degrees East magnetic. By meridian
altitudes of a Bootes (Arcturus), E Bootes, and Coronae Borealis, camp is
in south latitude 28 degrees 58 minutes, and in longitude about 117
degrees 35 minutes east.
After starting the party with instructions to proceed straight to Mount
Singleton, distant about thirty-two miles, I went, in company with Jemmy,
to the summit of a high trap range in order to take a round of angles,
and fix Nanjajetty, which was visible. While on our way to join the
party, saw the tracks of two men and two horses, with two natives
walking, and soon after found where they had bivouacked a few days
before. Was much surprised at this discovery: suppose it to be squatters
looking for country. Continuing, we found the tracks of our party, and
overtook them, and encamped at a fine permanent spring--Mount Singleton
bearing North 146 degrees East magnetic about three miles and a half
distant. Reached the party at seven o'clock. There was a partial eclipse
of the moon this evening.
There being splendid green feed around Mount Singleton, and as the horses
were tired, I concluded to give them a day's rest. Went, in company with
Mr. Monger and Jemmy, to the summit of Mount Singleton, which took us an
hour to ascend; but, on reaching it, we were well repaid for the trouble
by the very extensive view and the many points to which I could take
bearings. Far as the eye could reach to the East and South-East were
visible Lake Moore, Mount Churchman; to the north, conspicuous high trap
ranges appeared; while to the west, within a radius of six miles, hills
covered with flowers gave the country a pretty appearance. Further to the
west a dry salt lake and a few trap hills appeared. Reached the camp at 2
p.m. On our way shot three rock kangaroos.
Rested at camp near Mount Singleton, which I found to be in south
latitude 29 degrees 24 minutes 33 seconds by meridian altitude of sun,
and longitude about 117 degrees 20 minutes east.
Some delay having occurred in collecting the horses, did not start till 9
a.m., when we steered a little to the north of west towards Damparwar.
For the first seven miles over rough trap hills lightly grassed, when we
entered samphire and saltbush flats for four miles. Crossing a large
marsh at a point where it was only 100 yards wide, and continuing through
thickets, we camped at a spot with very little feed and no water, in
south latitude 29 degrees 21 minutes 48 seconds. From this spot Mount
Singleton bore North 113 degrees 20 minutes East magnetic, distant about
twenty miles. Here we met two natives, whom we had seen on our outward
track at the Warne Corroboree. They were of course friendly, and slept at
our camp; they had a great many dulgates and opossums, which they carried
in a net bag, made out of the inner bark of the ordnance-tree, which
makes a splendid strong cord. They informed us that a native had come
from the eastward with intelligence relating to the encounter we had with
the large tribe on May 31, adding that we had all been killed, and that
all the natives in this vicinity had cried very much on hearing the news.
This is another specimen of the narrations of natives, with whom a tale
never loses anything by being carried.
Steering a little to the north of west for eighteen miles, we reached
Damparwar Springs, a clear grassy spot of about 300 acres, on west side
of a low granite hill. The spring was dry, but by digging a few feet
obtained abundant supply. From the appearance of the country there has
hardly been any rain in this neighbourhood for many months. Took a round
of angles from a trap hill about two miles distant, Mount Singleton and
many other points being visible. Met a party of friendly natives here. By
meridian altitudes of a Bootes, a Coronae Borealis and a Lyrae (Vega),
Damparwar Spring is in south latitude 29 degrees 16 minutes 32 seconds,
and longitude about 116 degrees 47 minutes East.
Steering in a southerly direction, and following along the western margin
of a salt lake--most of the way over samphire flats, with thickets
intervening, denser than usual--we encamped on a small grassy spot, with
plenty of water in granite rocks, called Murrunggnulgo, situated close to
the west side of the lake, which I named Lake Monger. The native Jemmy,
in company with some of his friends, stayed behind to-day in order to
catch opossums, and did not join us this evening. By meridian altitudes
of E Bootes, a Coronae Borealis, a Lyrae (Vega), and Aquilae (Altair),
Murrunggnulgo is in south latitude 29 degrees 37 minutes 20 seconds.
Damparwar bearing about north magnetic.
Moving a little to the west of south for twenty miles, through dense
thickets, by far the worst we have ever encountered, and destitute of
feed, we reached Bera Bera, a grassy spot with a dry well, where water
might be procured. Continuing North 238 degrees East for about five
miles, we reached and camped at some granite rocks, with a fine well of
water called Wandanno, which I found to be in south latitude 29 degrees
57 minutes 14 seconds by meridian altitudes of Lyrae (Vega) and Aquilae
(Altair). From Bera Bera, Mount Singleton bore North 50 degrees 30
minutes East magnetic about fifty miles distant. Jemmy did not put in an
appearance to-day, but sent on a native to say he would join us in a day
Travelling about North 212 degrees East magnetic for fourteen miles, over
samphire flats, with thickets intervening, we reached a fine grassy spot,
with water in granite rocks, called Gnookadunging. Continuing about south
for two and a half miles, passed another small grassy spot called
Ginbinning; thence in about the general direction of North 210 degrees
East magnetic. For about eleven and a half miles, over an immense
sand-plain, running as far as the eye could reach to the North-West and
South-East, we camped in the centre of it at a spring called Manginie, a
sheep station belonging to Mr. James Church. Towards the end of the day
Bailey's horse Tommy fairly gave in, and we had great difficulty in
getting him to camp, which Mr. Hamersley and I did not reach until an
hour after dark. The night was cloudy, and I was unable to get any
observations, but luckily at daybreak obtained meridian altitudes of
Jupiter, which placed Manginie Spring in South latitude 30 degrees 21
Steering about South-South-West for thirteen miles, we reached Cooroo
Springs--a fine grassy spot in winter--where we camped, the horses being
very tired. For the first seven miles over scrubby sand-plains; thence to
Cooroo, over grassy country, with spearwood thickets intervening. Tommy
shot a kangaroo this afternoon, which was very acceptable, having had
only damper and tea for several days past.
August 1st (Sunday).
Rested at Cooroo Springs. All very busy putting our ragged clothes in as
good repair as possible. By meridian altitudes of sun, Lyrae (Vega), 32
degrees 15 minutes. Read Divine Service. Jemmy has not yet overtaken us,
so I conclude he has changed his mind, and does not intend following us.
We are now about nine miles from Clarke's homestead, which bears about
Travelling about South-South-East for nine miles over grassy country,
with York gums, etc., we reached the hospitable residence of Mr. Clarke,
where we were very kindly received, and stayed a short time to hear the
news. Resuming for eighteen miles along the road to Newcastle, we passed
Mr. Donald Macpherson's, where I obtained some rations, and pushed on six
miles farther, and bivouacked one mile south of Badgy-Badgy, with very
short feed for our horses.
Travelling along the road towards Newcastle for twenty-six miles, we
camped one mile past Byen, and about sixteen miles from Newcastle.
Reached Newcastle at eleven o'clock, and had just time to report the safe
return of the expedition before the mail left.
After handing over all the horses provided by the different settlers to
their respective owners, and bidding farewell to Mr. George Monger (who
intends proceeding to York), I left Newcastle in company with Mr. M.
Hamersley and Tommy Windich, leaving Morgan and remainder of equipment to
follow with the cart which had been brought to Newcastle by Ward and C.
Adams. Reached Baylup at 4 p.m.
Made an early start; reached Guildford at twelve o'clock, where we rested
an hour. Then resuming, reached Perth at 4 p.m., and reported personally
the results of the expedition, having been absent 113 days, in which time
I travelled by computation over 2000 miles.
I now beg to make a few remarks with reference to the main object of the
expedition, which was the discovery of the remains of the late Dr.
Leichardt and party.
THE NATIVES' STORIES.
In the first place, Mr. Frederick Roe was informed by the native
Weilbarrin, that two white men and their native companions had been
killed by the aborigines, thirteen days' journey to the northward, when
he was at a spot called Koolanobbing, which is in south latitude about 30
degrees 53 minutes, and longitude about 119 degrees 14 minutes east. Mr.
Austin lost eleven horses at Poison Rock (nine died, and two were left
nearly dead), which is in latitude 28 degrees 43 minutes 23 seconds
south, and longitude about 118 degrees 38 minutes east, or about 130
miles from Koolanobbing, and in the direction pointed to by the natives.
I therefore imagine it to be very probable that the whole story
originated from the horses lost by Mr. Austin at Poison Rock, as I am
convinced the natives will say anything they imagine will please. Again,
the account given us at Mount Churchman, on May 5th, appeared very
straightforward and truthful. It was very similar to that related to Mr.
Roe; but, on questioning the natives, they at last stated there were
neither men nor guns left, only horses' remains, and pointed towards
Poison Rock. Further, the native who gave all the information to Mr.
Monger was one of our party. His tale, as related by Mr. Monger, also
appeared very straightforward and truthful, that white men had been
killed by the natives twenty years ago; that he had seen the spot, which
was at a spring near a large lake, so large that it looked like the sea
as seen from Rottnest, eleven days' journey from Ningham or Mount
Singleton, in a fine country. The white men were rushed upon while making
a damper, and clubbed and speared. He had often seen an axe which formed
part of the plunder. All this appears feasible and truthful enough in
print; but the question is, Of what value did I find it? Upon telling
Jemmy what Mr. Monger stated he told him, he said he never told him that
he had seen things himself, but that he had heard it from a native who
had seen them, thus contradicting the whole he had formerly stated to Mr.
Monger. Moreover, the fine country he described we never saw, what a
native calls good country being where he can get a drink of water and a
wurrong; and if there is an acre of grassy land they describe it as a
very extensive grassy country! This I have generally found the case. As a
specimen of the untruthfulness of these natives, I may quote that my
native Jemmy, who was a first-rate fellow in every other respect, stated
to Mr. Monger and myself at York, that there was a large river like that
called the Avon at York, to the eastward, knowing at the time he would be
found out to be telling a falsehood. He even told Mr. George Monger,
before leaving Newcastle, to buy hooks, in order to catch the fish that
were in the river, and concluded by stating that we would have great
difficulty in crossing it, as it ran a great distance north and south.
Almost every evening I questioned and cross-questioned him respecting
this river; still he adhered to what he first stated! It may well be
imagined how disappointed we were on reaching the spot to find only a
small brook running into a salt marsh, with water in winter, but dry in
With reference to the country travelled over, I am of opinion that it is
worthless as a pastoral or agricultural district; and as to minerals I am
not sufficiently conversant with the science to offer an opinion, except
that I should think it was worth while sending geologists to examine it
CONDUCT OF THE PARTY.
It now becomes my most pleasing duty to record my entire satisfaction
with the manner in which all the members of the expedition exerted
themselves in the performance of their respective duties. To Mr. George
Monger and Mr. Malcolm Hamersley I am indebted for their co-operation and
advice on all occasions. I am also deeply indebted to Mr. Hamersley for
collecting and preserving all the botanical specimens that came within
his reach, as well as the great trouble and care taken with the store
department, placed under his immediate charge. To probation prisoner
David Morgan my best thanks are due as the shoeing smith, as well as
acting cook for the party the whole time. Of Tommy Windich (native) I
cannot speak too highly, being very useful in collecting the horses, as
well as a first-class huntsman, and really invaluable as a water finder.
Accompanying me on many trying occasions, suffering often from want of
water, he showed energy and determination deserving of the highest
praise. Jemmy Mungaro was also a first-class bushman, and invaluable as a
water finder. He was in many ways useful, and very obedient. His great
failing was that he exaggerated--no tale ever losing anything in his
charge. Nevertheless, I have many things to thank him for, and therefore
he deserves praise.
In conclusion, sir, allow me to thank you for your kindness and advice,
which has greatly supported me in this arduous undertaking. I much regret
that an expedition which was so efficiently equipped, and on which I was
left so free to act, has not resulted in more direct benefit to the
colony, to satisfy many who are not capable of appreciating the
importance of such explorations.
I have, Sir, etc.,
Leader of Expedition.
The Honourable Captain Roe, R.N., Surveyor-General.
So far as the mystery on which the fate of Leichardt is involved was
concerned, my expedition was barren of results; but the additional
knowledge gained of the character of the country between the settled
districts of Western Australia and the 123rd meridian of east longitude,
well repaid me, and those of the party, for the exertions we had
Shortly after my return I received an official communication from Mr.
Barlee, the Colonial Secretary at Perth, announcing that his Excellency
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