Explorations in Australia
John Forrest

Part 4 out of 5

encumbered, the woman could not get away. She evidently preferred facing
any danger to parting with her child. Windich spoke to her, and she
talked away quietly, and did not seem much afraid. We could not
understand anything she said, so allowed her to follow her husband, who
certainly did not come up to our standard of gallantry. We continued on
until we reached our outward tracks, and I was much relieved to find that
the party had not gone on. We found a little water in a small rock hole,
and rested two hours, as our pack-horse (Little Brown) was knocked up. We
continued on about five miles, and camped on a patch of feed in a range,
without water. Little Brown was so knocked up that we had great
difficulty in getting him to walk.

August 1st.
Steering westerly for about eight miles, reached our bivouac of the 28th,
and gave our horses the water from the drums. Continued on, making
straight for camp; stayed two hours to give the horses a rest, and when
within fifteen miles of camp found a rock hole with about 100 gallons of
water in it. Little Brown completely gave in, and we were obliged to
leave him. Pushed on and reached the party a little after dark, and found
all well, having been absent five days, in which time we had travelled
about 200 miles.

2nd (Sunday).
My brother and Pierre went on a flying trip to the South-East in search
of water. Kennedy and myself went and brought Little Brown and
pack-saddle, etc., to camp. Windich shot an emu; saw about twenty.
Thermometer 95 degrees in sun during the day; barometer 28.62 at 5 p.m.


I now began to be much troubled about our position, although I did not
communicate my fears to any but my brother. We felt confident we could
return if the worst came, although we were over 1000 miles from the
settled districts of Western Australia. The water at our camp was fast
drying up, and would not last more than a fortnight. The next water was
sixty miles back, and there seemed no probability of getting eastward. I
knew we were now in the very country that had driven Mr. Gosse back. I
have since found it did the same for Mr. Giles. No time was to be lost. I
was determined to make the best use of it if only the water would last,
and to keep on searching. (Even now, months after the time, sitting down
writing this journal, I cannot but recall my feelings of anxiety at this
camp.) Just when the goal of my ambition and my hopes for years past was
almost within reach, it appeared that I might not even now be able to
grasp it. The thought of having to return, however, brought every feeling
of energy and determination to my rescue, and I felt that, with God's
help, I would even now succeed. I gave instructions to allowance the
party, so that the stores should last at least four months, and made
every preparation for a last desperate struggle.

Rested at camp. My brother and Pierre did not return this evening, so I
concluded they must have found some water for their horses. Barometer
falling slowly; getting cloudy towards evening.

A light shower of rain this morning. Rested at camp. My brother and
Pierre returned this evening, having found a few small rock water-holes,
but not sufficient to shift on. They had been about fifty miles
East-South-East, and had passed over most miserable spinifex country the
whole way. They had not had any rain, not even the light shower we had
this morning. They had seen four natives, but did not get near enough to
talk to them. I intend going with Windich ahead to-morrow, in the hope
that rain may have fallen last night to the East-North-East. The weather,
which had looked threatening all day, cleared off this evening. Barometer


Thinking that rain might have fallen to the North-East, I left camp with
Windich to ascertain, instructing my brother to follow on the 7th; before
leaving to bury some flour and everything that could be dispensed with,
and to carry all the drums full of water. He has since informed me that
he buried on left bank of brook, seven yards north of a small tree with a
tin plate nailed on it, on which is written, DIG 7 yds. N., two
pack-bags, containing 135 pounds flour, six leather water-bottles, two
tomahawks, one pick, one water canteen, one broken telescope, three emu
eggs, some girths and straps, one shoeing hammer, one pound of candles,
and left a lantern hanging on a tree. A bottle was also buried, with a
letter in it, giving the latitude and longitude of the camp, and a brief
outline of our former and future intended movements. We reached the rock
holes about North-East twenty miles, and were delighted to see them full,
besides plenty on the rocks. This was very encouraging, and after resting
two hours we pushed on East-North-East, to a range visited by my brother
on his last flying trip, and which I named the Baker Range, and the
highest point Mount Samuel, after Sir Samuel Baker, the great African
Explorer, and could see that lately rain had fallen, although much more
in some places than in others. Travelled till after dark through and over
spinifex plains, wooded with acacia and mulga scrub, and camped without
water and only a little scrub for the horses, having travelled nearly
forty miles.

Our horses strayed during the night. After we had found them we proceeded
to the Baker Range and found water in a gully on some rocks, and the rock
holes seen by my brother and Windich on their former trip had also a good
deal in them. I was greatly delighted at this; there must have been a
good shower or two here. Before reaching water Windich shot a turkey,
which we roasted and ate for breakfast, not having had any tea last
night. We rested here about two hours. Continuing on East-North-East for
about sixteen miles, came to the four large rock holes seen by Windich
and myself on our former trip. They were quite dry, but, as we suspected,
there was a good deal of water in a rocky gully close by. About two miles
before we reached here we passed a rock hole full of water, about sixty
gallons. I left a note telling my brother to camp here on Sunday night,
and to follow on our tracks on Monday. We continued on about five miles,
and camped not far from Mount Charles, without water for the horses; but
they were not thirsty. So far we have been most fortunate, although there
is very little to fall back on should we be unable to proceed; in fact,
as soon as the surface water dries up it will be impossible. We are,
however, three days in advance of the party, and if we can get enough for
our two riding-horses we shall be able to stop them before there is any
great danger, although we may lose some of the horses.

Steered South-South-East for about four miles to two large rock holes
seen by Windich and myself on our former trip, but found them quite dry,
as before. Continued on South-East towards the hills seen by us formerly,
and, after travelling about ten miles, got a fine view of the country,
which looked splendid. High hills and ranges as far as could be seen to
the south and east, and we thought all our troubles were over. We pushed
on about East-South-East to a high hill about ten miles off, over red
sand-hills covered with spinifex. Country of the most miserable
description. We reached the hill, which I named Mount Harvest, after
Colonel Harvest, the Acting-Governor of Western Australia at the time of
our departure, and who took a great interest in the expedition. We
ascended the hill; more ranges and hills were seen--in fact, the whole
country was one mass of hills and ranges to the south, South-East, and
east. We followed down gullies and over hills, passing two rock holes
dry, until after dark, but could not find any water. The country is most
beautifully grassed, and is a great relief after travelling over so many
hundreds of miles of spinifex; but the season is very dry, and all the
gullies are dry. We camped for the night without water for ourselves or
horses. I have since learnt that these ranges were seen by Mr. Giles, and
were named the Warburton Ranges.


Early this morning Windich and I went on foot to search the hills and
gullies close around, as our horses were knocked up for want of water. We
returned unsuccessful about 8 o'clock. Close to where we found our horses
we found a tree with the bark cut off one side of it with an AXE which
was sharp. We were sure it was done by a white man, as the axe, even if
possessed by a native (which is very improbable), would be blunt. We are
now in the country traversed by Mr. Gosse, although I am unable to
distinguish any of the features of the country, not having a map with me,
and not knowing the latitude. Should we find water, and the party reach
here, there will no doubt be little difficulty in distinguishing the
hills. The country certainly does not answer the description given of his
farther westward. However, I will leave our position geographically for
the present, and treat of what is of much more importance to us, namely,
the finding of water. We saddled our horses and continued our search
about South-East, over hills and along valleys--the distance or direction
I am unable to give--our horses scarcely moving, and ourselves parched
with thirst. The sun was very hot. At about noon we found some water in a
gully by scratching a hole, but it was quite salt. As our horses would
not drink it, it can be imagined how salt it was. We drank about a pint
of it, and Windich said it was the first time he ever had to drink salt
water. I washed myself in it, which refreshed me a little. Our horses
could not go much further without water, but we crawled along about
north, and shortly afterwards found a small rock hole in the side of a
large rough granite hill, with about five gallons of good water in it. We
had a good drink ourselves, put half a gallon into a canteen, and gave
the rest to the horses. From here our usual good fortune returned. We had
not gone far when Windich called me back and said he had found horses'
tracks, and sure enough there were the tracks of horses coming from the
westward. Windich took some of the old dung with him to convince our
companions that we had seen them. We followed westward along the tracks
for half a mile, when we found two or three small rock holes with water
in them, which our horses drank. Still bearing to the north we kept
finding little drops in the granite rocks--our old friend the granite
rock has returned to us again, after having been absent for several
hundred miles. We satisfied our horses, and rested a short time to have
something to eat, not having had anything for forty-eight hours. We bore
North-West, and soon afterwards found a fine rock hole of water in
granite rocks, sufficient to last the party a day. Plenty of water on
rocks, also, from recent rain here. We were rejoiced, as we now had a
place to bring the party to. But our good fortune did not end here:
continuing on westerly or a little north of it, we came on a summer
encampment of the natives, and found a native well or spring, which I
believe would give water if dug out. This may make a good depot if we
require to stay long in this neighbourhood. We were overjoyed; and I need
not add I was very thankful for this good fortune. When everything looked
at its worst, then all seemed to change for our benefit. We camped two
miles from the water.

9th (Sunday).
Took the horses back to the water, and on our way there found a clay-pan
with a few hundred gallons of water in it. Started back to meet the
party, intending to await their arrival at the first range we came to on
our outward track. Steering a little north of west for fourteen miles, we
camped on west side of Mount Harvest, not having seen a drop of water on
our way. Luckily we brought nearly half a gallon with us, so shall be
able to manage until the party overtake us to-morrow. Our horses will be
very thirsty, but I will give them five gallons each out of the drums.
Shot a wurrung on our way, which we had for dinner. Found two fine rock
holes quite empty. There appears to have been no rain here, although
fifteen miles east there has been a good deal. I hope the change of moon
on the 11th will bring us some rain, as we shall then be able to travel
along easily. My personal appearance contrasts most strikingly with town
life--very dirty, and I may say ragged. I scarcely think my friends would
know me. Washing, or brushing one's hair is out of the question, unless
when resting at camp.

We stayed at our last night's bivouac until 12 o'clock, when we saddled
up and followed back along our outward tracks to meet the party, which we
expected to find this afternoon. About 3 o'clock met them coming on, all
well. They were all rejoiced to hear of the water ahead. We gave the
horses water out of the drums, and turned eastward with them. We reached
Mount Harvest by sundown, the party having travelled thirty miles, and
camped on grassy flat without water for the horses. Latitude 25 degrees
55 minutes 43 seconds South by Altair, longitude 126 degrees 32 minutes
East. Everything had gone on first-rate with the party. They had nearly
finished all the water at Mount Samuel, and in the Todd Range, so that we
cannot now turn back, even if we wished, unless with the risk of having
to go ninety or a hundred miles without water.


Continued on to the water found ahead, and on our way saw some clay-holes
with water and satisfied the horses. When near the spring, saw natives'
tracks, and shortly afterwards a fire with a whole kangaroo roasting in
it. The natives had made off when they saw us, leaving their game
cooking. Continuing on, and passing the native well, we reached the
granite rocks, two miles from the spring, and camped. While having dinner
we saw two natives about a quarter of a mile from us, watching us; we
beckoned to them, and Windich and I approached them. As we neared them
they began talking and moving off slowly; we could not get close to them,
although they did not appear to be afraid of us. Some fine ranges are
visible from here South-East. Latitude of camp 25 degrees 54 minutes 53
seconds South, by meridian altitude of Altair. Marked a tree F 70, being
the 70th camp from Geraldton. Barometer 28.26 at 5 p.m. We are not in the
latitude of Mr. Gosse's track by fifteen miles, yet there are tracks only
about two miles south of us! I cannot account for this. The tracks may be
Mr. Giles's, as I cannot think Mr. Gosse could be out in his latitude.

Left camp with Tommy Windich to find water ahead, instructing my brother
to follow on to-morrow. We bore East-South-East for a few miles over
grassy flats towards some high hills, but, seeing what we supposed a good
spot for water, we turned east towards it, over miserable spinifex
sand-hills, and found some splendid granite rocks and holes, but not much
water--enough, however, to give the horses a drink. If there was rain,
there would be enough water here for a month or more. Near these rocks
found a tree resembling the figtree (Ficus Platypoda), with ripe fruit
about the size of a bullet, which tasted very much like a fig. I ate some
of the fruit, which was very good. Fine hills and ranges to the eastward,
and country very promising, and in many places beautifully grassed. After
resting two hours we pushed on about east, and, after going five miles
over spinifex sand-hills, came to a granite range and found two fine rock
holes, sufficient to satisfy the horses. Continuing on, we camped close
to a peaked granite hill, which I named Mount Elvire. No water for the
horses. Found the old horse-tracks, just before we camped, coming from
eastward. I cannot make them out to be Mr. Gosse's; they must be Mr.
Giles's. There appears to be a great number of horses', but am uncertain
if there are any camel-tracks.


Found a rock hole with about forty gallons of water in it close to camp.
After watering our horses we followed along the old tracks, going nearly
North-East, and passed a gnow's nest, where they had apparently got out
eggs. Shortly afterwards found where the party had camped without water,
and continued on to some high hills and ranges; then we left them to
follow some emu tracks, which, after following up a gully and over a
hill, brought us to a fine spring of good water in a gully. We camped
here, and intend waiting for our party, which will reach here to-morrow.
We watched at the water for emus, and after waiting about four hours saw
two coming, one of which Windich shot. Fine grass, although old and dry,
down this gully. Ranges in every direction. The country contrasts
strikingly with what we have been travelling through for the last three
months. The party whose tracks we followed this morning have not been to
this spring, so they must have missed it. All my troubles were now over,
inasmuch as I felt sure we would accomplish our journey and reach the
settled districts of South Australia; although, as it afterwards proved,
we had many days of hard work and some privation yet to endure. Still the
country was much improved, and not altogether unknown. I then gave out
publicly to the party that we were now in safety, and in all human
probability in five or six weeks would reach the telegraph line. I need
not add how pleased all were at having at last bridged over that awful,
desolate spinifex desert.

Went to a hill close to camp, the highest in this neighbourhood, and
erected a pile of stones. About 1 o'clock the party arrived all safe.
They reported having seen three natives the day we left, and had induced
them to come to camp, and had given them damper and sugar and a red
handkerchief each; they did not remain long. Each had two spears, very
long and thick, and made out of three pieces spliced together, with large
barbs on them. The party had finished all the water on their way, the
horses yesterday having drank over ten gallons each. This afternoon I
took a round of angles and bearings from a pile of stones on the hill.
Marked a tree F 72, near spring, which I named Barlee Spring, after the
Honourable F.P. Barlee, Colonial Secretary of Western Australia, from
whom I have ever received much kindness and assistance, and who took a
great interest in this expedition. A remarkable hill bore
South-South-West from spring, which I named Mount Palgrave. Barlee Spring
is in longitude about 127 degrees 22 minutes East. Unable to get
latitude: too cloudy.

Left camp with Windich to look for water ahead, instructing my brother to
follow to-morrow. Steered East along the South side of a rocky range for
ten miles, when we ascended a hill to get a view ahead. About thirty
miles to east fine bold ranges are visible, also broken ranges from
North-East and round to South-East; they are no doubt the Cavanagh Ranges
of Mr. Gosse. About five miles ahead we saw some granite rocks, to which
we proceeded, and found a tremendous rock hole full of water; it was in
between two large rocks and completely shaded from the sun. As the
country east to the ranges appears to be all spinifex and red sand-hills,
I decided to remain here to-night and continue on in the morning. Left a
note telling my brother to camp here on Sunday night. In the afternoon
got a fine round of angles from granite rocks. The country passed over
to-day was along and through ranges which are no doubt the Barrow Ranges
of Mr. Gosse. The flats are very grassy, but the hills are covered with
spinifex. My brother marked a tree at this camp F 73, and observed the
latitude to be about 26 degrees 4 minutes, but was unable to get very
good observation on account of clouds. The Ficus Platypoda was also found
here, loaded with ripe fruit.


16th (Sunday).
Steering about East-North-East towards the ranges, we passed over very
miserable spinifex plains and red sand-hills the whole way, about thirty
miles. After reaching the ranges we followed up a fine grassy wide flat,
splendidly grassed, although old; and on the flat were innumerable
horse-tracks--unmistakable evidence of horses being camped for months in
this neighbourhood. Kept on up the gully and flat for about a mile and a
half, when Windich found a gum-tree marked E. GILES OCT. 7, 73. My former
suspicions that Mr. Giles must have been in this neighbourhood were now
confirmed. Soon after we came on a cart-track, which rather astonished
us, and soon found that it must have belonged to Mr. Gosse, who also
camped close here. A deep, well-beaten track went along up the gully,
which we followed, knowing it was the daily track of the horses to the
water, and soon after found their old camp at a beautiful spring running
down the gully a quarter of a mile. A stock-yard had been built, and
gardens made, besides a large bush hut to shelter the party from the sun
as well as rain. Trenches were dug round the hut and tent, so that they
must have had rain. I should say Mr. Giles must have been camped here for
two or three months at least. We camped half a mile down the gully from
the spring. Mr. Gosse and Mr. Giles were within a few miles of each other
at the same time, and did not meet.

Went for a walk to examine the cart-tracks; found two tracks going east
and west. This convinced me that the cart belonged to Mr. Gosse, who I
knew had returned. Went to the top of a high hill to take angles, while
Windich tried to shoot a kangaroo. After a hard climb I reached the
summit, and had just commenced taking angles when I heard three shots,
and shortly after Windich cooeying. Looking round, I saw a native running
along about 300 yards from me. He disappeared in a hollow. Fearing that
Windich had been attacked by the natives I descended towards him as
quickly as possible, but could not see him. I looked about, keeping a
sharp look-out, expecting to be attacked, but could not find Windich. Sat
down a short time and finally made my way back to the horses, and, after
finding them, saddled one and started back to look for Windich. Found him
coming along with a kangaroo on his back, having shot three, but had not
seen any natives; he had been waiting for me a good while. After dinner I
went back to get my coat and a compass left at the foot of the hill, and
then again ascended the hill and got a fine round of angles. The rock is
very magnetic, and the compass is quite useless. Could see the dust from
the party coming across the spinifex sand-hills, and, descending, met
them just before sundown.


They reported having had an encounter with the natives on the 16th, and
having been followed by a number of armed natives for a long way. Finally
they had been compelled to fire on them, but had not killed any. They
were glad to hear of the spring found, and, continuing on, reached it
about half-past 6 o'clock. The spring is Fort Mueller of Mr. Giles, where
he was camped for a long while, and his most westerly permanent water. By
observation Fort Mueller is in latitude 26 degrees 11 minutes 30 seconds
South, and longitude by lunar observation 128 degrees East, the variation
being about 1 degree 25 minutes East by azimuths.

Rested at spring. Marked a tree sixty yards south of camp F 74, being
74th camp from Geraldton. Also erected a pile of stones on peak, thirty
chains West-South-West of camp, with a pole in centre, on which is


Took four sets of lunars, which place spring in longitude 128 degrees
East of Greenwich.

Steering East-South-East along Mr. Gosse's track for about thirty-five
miles, over most miserable sandy hills and plains of spinifex, with the
exception of a few miles at first, along a grassy flat. Two rock holes
passed were quite dry. Camped without water on a grassy flat not far from
the ranges; hope to find water early to-morrow, as our horses are too
poor to go long without it. Was obliged to abandon police-horse Brick
to-day, as he was completely done up. Nothing but downright poverty is
the cause of his giving in; and the same in the case of Fame and Little
Padbury, which we abandoned over a month ago. They were poor when they
left, and have only had very dry grass ever since. It is a wonder to me
they all do not give in, as many are mere skeletons. Poor old Brick held
up as long as he could, but was forced to give in, and we had to leave
him to his solitary fate; he will probably go back to the spring (Fort
Mueller). Barometer 28.30; latitude 26 degrees 22 minutes 30 seconds

Got a very early start, and continued on. At one mile found a sandy soak
in a gully, and by digging it out got sufficient water for all our
horses. Still proceeding onwards, following a gully for two miles, came
to Mr. Gosse's depot Number 13, at Skirmish Hill. A bullock had been
killed here, and the flesh jerked. Found a large white gum-tree marked
GOS. 13 at camp. All the water was gone. I, however, camped, and took our
horses to a place a mile west, where, by digging in the sand, we got
enough for them. Went with Pierre to the summit of Skirmish Hill, and
took angles. To the south, nothing but sand-hills and spinifex; to the
North-East the Tomkinson Ranges showed up and looked very remarkable and
promising. Marked a tree F 76, being 76th camp from Geraldton. Camp is in
latitude 26 degrees 23 minutes 28 seconds, longitude about 128 degrees 32
minutes East.


Left camp at Skirmish Hill in company with Windich, instructing my
brother to follow to-morrow. Found a fine rock hole two miles from camp,
and followed along Mr. Gosse's track for twenty miles to the Tomkinson
Ranges, over most miserable sandy ridges, covered with spinifex. Fine
grassy flats along and through the ranges. We left the track to examine a
gully to the north, but could not find any water. Got on the track just
before dark and followed it along a few miles. Camped without water for
our horses on a fine flat of very old grass. Windich's horse completely
knocked up, and we had to walk and drive him before us this afternoon.
The day was excessively hot, and the horses are very thirsty. We have
only about a quart ourselves.


Early this morning we continued on, Windich's horse scarcely able to
walk. After about ten miles, found a rock hole with three gallons of
water in it, which we gave to our horses. Followed Mr. Gosse's track to
see if there was any water about his depot Number 12, but we either
missed it or had not reached it. About noon Windich's horse could go no
farther, and mine was not much better. What was to be done? We nearly
finished what water we had with us. The party were coming on to-day, and
were depending on us to find water. I determined not to follow the track
any farther, but to search for water ourselves. The horses were unable to
move; we therefore decided to leave them and go for a search on foot.
Windich said he had seen emu tracks, and he thought they were making
south. We therefore started on foot. The sun's heat was excessive. About
3 o'clock returned unsuccessful, and finished what water we had with us.
What next to do was the question; no time was to be lost. Mr. Gosse's map
showed some gullies ahead, but whether there was any water in them was
questionable; he states, "Nearly all the waters discovered in the Mann
and Tomkinson Ranges were running when left, and from a considerable
height." It must have been a good season, and not like this. We decided
to go on foot to a gully about two miles north, which had white gums in
it. We started off and saw more emu tracks going and coming, also
natives' tracks. Windich shot a wurrung, which he said had lately drunk
water. When we reached the gully, many tracks were seen ascending it, and
we felt sure we should find water, and surely enough we soon reached a
most splendid spring, running down the gully half a mile. We were elated
and very thankful. Windich got a shot at an emu, but missed it. After
having a good drink we went back and got our horses, reaching the spring
with them after dark. They were very thirsty and completely done up. Mr.
Gosse missed this spring; probably there was water on the flats when he
was here, and he did not look much. Although his track is easily
followed, we had nearly got into serious difficulty by following it. Had
we not found this spring our position would be very critical, not having
any water for ourselves or horses, and the party in the same predicament.
I will be careful not to follow the track too far in future, but to trust
to our own resources and look for ourselves. We feel sure we passed water
this morning, as in one place we saw emu tracks and pigeons. The party
will reach here to-morrow, and I feel very thankful and relieved to have
such a fine spring to bring them to. The feed is good a mile down from
the spring, although it is very old and dry. There has not been any rain
to speak of since Mr. Gosse was here, nearly twelve months ago, as can be
seen by the cart-tracks crossing the gullies. I named this spring the
Elder Springs, after my friend the Honourable Thomas Elder, who has been
such a great supporter of exploration, and from whom I received a great
deal of kindness and attention.

23rd (Sunday).
Awaited the arrival of the party. Shot an emu; and, while skinning it,
heard a gun-shot, and soon after saw Kennedy coming on, walking. Found
that the party were only half a mile off. They had been very distressed
for water, and had left 120 pounds of flour and a pack-saddle five miles
back, Taylor's mare about three miles back, and Burges and his saddle two
miles back. When they saw my note, directing them to the water, they had
gone back and got Burges, and with great difficulty got him close to
camp, when he lay down and they left him. Windich and I started back on
foot at once with two buckets of water, and met Burges within a quarter
of a mile of camp, crawling along; we gave him the water and he then went
on to the spring. We went back and found Taylor's mare, and brought her
slowly to camp. We are now safe again, and I must give the horses a few
days' rest. The weather has been hot, and if we had not found this
spring, not more than five horses would have lasted out the day. I will
send back and get the flour, as it is only five miles off. The party were
all very glad to see such a fine spring, as their position was very
dangerous, having only three gallons of water with them altogether.

Rested at Elder Spring. Found the barometer had got broken, which I was
very sorry for. Worked out several lunars taken on the 11th at Giles's

Worked out the remainder of the lunars. Marked a large white gum-tree
close to camp, on left bank of Elder Springs, F 78, being the 78th camp
from Geraldton. Found camp to be in south latitude 26 degrees 15 minutes
10 seconds and longitude about 129 degrees 9 minutes East. My brother and
Pierre went back and brought up the flour left five miles back on the


Went with Pierre to a high peak, which I named Mount Jane, about four
miles South-South-East from camp, and got a round of angles, and a fine
view of the country. To the east high ranges and grassy flats, but to the
south, and from South-East to west, nothing but level country with a few
low rises here and there, apparently sand-hills covered with
spinifex--most miserable country.

Left camp with Tommy Windich to look for water ahead, instructing my
brother to follow to-morrow. Steered east for four miles, when we struck
Mr. Gosse's cart-track. Followed along it a few miles, when we bore more
to the north; then in the direction of emu tracks, and passed along a
fine grassy flat with hundreds of kangaroos in every direction; also many
emu tracks. We were sure we were getting close to water. A little farther
on saw about twenty-five emus, and soon reached a spring in the brook,
and camped for dinner. Concluded to remain here the remainder of the day.
Went for a walk higher up the brook and found another spring, about one
mile from the first. Returned and took our horses up to it, as there was
better feed there. Left a note, telling the party to camp there also. In
a good season these flats must look magnificent; at this time they are
very dry, but there is a good deal of old grass on them. My brother
marked a tree at spring F 79, which he found to be in latitude 26 degrees
13 minutes. I named this spring Wilkie Spring, after the Honourable Dr.
Wilkie, the honorary treasurer of the Burke and Wills Exploration Fund,
who took such a lively interest in Australian Exploration.

Continued on eastward and soon struck Mr. Gosse's cart-track. Followed it
along about seven miles, passing Mount Davies, when we bore more to the
south. Following the direction of some natives' tracks, and after going
about two miles, found a native well in a gully, where water could be
procured by digging. Left a note telling my brother to dig it out and see
if he could get enough for the horses. We continued on about
East-North-East, and soon after shot a kangaroo and rested an hour for
dinner, after which we bore about North-East towards a gully and white
gums, and found it to be Nilens Gully of Mr. Gosse. Found his camp and a
white gum marked with a broad arrow, but no water. We followed along and
through the ranges, twisting and turning about, and at last found a
number of natives' tracks, making towards a gap, and, following along
them, found they led to a gorge and white gum gully, ascending which we
found water in some little springs. After watering our horses we returned
towards the party three miles and camped, intending to bring the party to
the spring to-morrow.


Returned about five miles and met the party coming on all right. They
reported having met about twenty natives yesterday, who were friendly,
and who came to them, first of all laying down their spears. They had
given them damper and a handkerchief. Pierre gave them two kylies. They
had three kangaroos roasting in their fire. When we were passing Nilens
gully I saw a native running, and, calling Windich, we went over and saw
five natives sitting on some rocks watching us. I went towards them; at
first they appeared hostile, but after talking at them and making signs
they began to be friendly and came down close to us. They were all armed
with spears. One of them gave me his spear, which was very blunt, and I
sharpened it for him. He made signs for me to give him the knife, but I
could not, as we were very short of knives. They were afraid at first
when I showed them how a horse could gallop, but soon were very pleased
and laughed heartily. Windich shot a chockalott and gave it to them. They
were amazed at seeing the bird drop, and were very pleased when it was
given to them, as they much prize the feathers of these birds. After this
we left them and continued on to the spring found yesterday, and camped.
Got plenty of water by digging a few holes in the springy places. Marked
a tree F 80 in gorge close to spring. Found spring to be in latitude 26
degrees 7 minutes 28 seconds South, longitude about 129 degrees 39
minutes east.


30th (Sunday).
Rested at spring. Took bearings from hill close to spring, Mount Hardy
bearing north 117 degrees east magnetic, and Mount Davies north 253
degrees east magnetic. The Mann Ranges were also clearly visible about
ten miles off. In the afternoon Windich found a fine spring in a gully
about half a mile north of camp, at which he shot an emu. I named these
springs the Crowther Springs, after my friend Mr. Charles Crowther, of
Geraldton. Emus and kangaroos very numerous in these ranges.

Got an early start and took the horses to the water found by Windich
yesterday, where they could help themselves. Steered East-North-East
about, over level country; spinifex generally, studded with desert oaks,
with limestone and snail-shells on surface for about twenty miles.
Reached the Mann Ranges. Before we reached the ranges we struck Mr.
Gosse's track, and followed it along, and shortly came to a very large
and recent encampment of the natives. There must have been a hundred
camped here about a week ago. Found two small springs not far off, but
not strong enough to water all our horses; but we soon found some fine
springy pools in a gully about half a mile further on, where Mr. Gosse
also had been camped, and marked a tree with a broad arrow. I marked on
the same tree F 81, being our 81st camp from Geraldton. Mr. Gosse's
return track leaves his outward track at this spot. I intend following
his return track and make in to the telegraph line, down the Alberga, and
on to the Peake. There is abundance of water at this place, which I have
no doubt is permanent, as there are four springs within half a mile of
one another, but three are very small. Took bearings from a very high
range close by; Mount Davies, Mount Edwin, and Mount Hardy being visible.
The Mann Ranges are very high and rough, and are composed of reddish
granite. They are the highest ranges met with since leaving Mount Hale
and Mount Gould, on the Murchison. Found camp F 81 to be in latitude 26
degrees 3 minutes 20 seconds South by meridian altitude of Altair and
Vega, and longitude about 129 degrees 53 minutes East.

September 1st.
Continuing about east along the foot of the Mann Ranges for about fifteen
miles, came to Mr. Gosse's bivouac of October 11th, but could find no
water; a well that had been dug in the sand was dry. Followed up the
gully about a mile, and came to a small spring, and camped. After
draining it out, found there was no supply, but were fortunate enough to
find some large rock holes with water--no doubt soakages from the
rocks--but they were in an almost inaccessible spot, and it was with
great difficulty we managed to water the horses. One horse fell and
nearly lost his life. Country passed over to-day was poorly grassed, and
spinifex patches here and there. Large and recent native encampments seen
in two places to-day. Latitude 26 degrees 4 minutes 45 seconds South.
Marked a tree F 82, close to our bivouac in bed of gully.

Followed along south side of Mann Ranges over country pretty well grassed
for about sixteen miles, and reached Mr. Gosse's bivouac of October 12th.
Found a little water in a sandy hole, and a small spring about half a
mile higher up the gully. We had to carry the water from the spring in
drums, which was slow and hard work. When we had watered half of the
horses, Windich came, having found great pools of water in a large rocky
gully about a mile west; we therefore packed up again and went over to
the water. It was a very rough and rocky gully, and the horses had hard
work in getting up to it, but there was abundance when they reached it.
Pools of water, rock bottom; in fact, rock reservoirs, and fed by
springs. It was nearly night when we had finished watering. Windich shot
four ducks. Found camp to be in latitude 28 degrees 8 minutes South.
Marked a tree F 83, being 83rd camp from Geraldton.


Got a late start, owing to the horses rambling. We continued on easterly
and reached Day's Gully, Mr. Gosse's Number 15 depot. The water was all
gone, and we had to proceed. Followed his track along two miles, when
Windich and I went in search of water, the party waiting our return.
After searching a gully to the west without success, we went east to a
bare granite hill and, passing through a gorge, emerged into a small
flat, and saw about 100 natives, all sitting down eating kangaroos. As
soon as they saw us they all rose and shouted, and many ran towards us
with their spears. One spear came close to me, and stuck fast in the
ground. Windich and I fired our revolvers at them several times, and
chased them up the hill. After this they appeared more friendly, and some
came towards us and followed us back towards the party, keeping about 200
yards behind. We reached them and went back to the natives; they were
perched all over the hills, more than twenty on one rock. They were
friendly now, and about thirty came to us who talked away and seemed very
pleased. They were much afraid of the horses, and would not come near
them. We made the natives understand we wanted water, and about forty
conducted us to a rock hole with nearly fifty gallons in it, which we
gave the horses. The natives laughed heartily when they saw us watering
the horses, but much more when we hit them to drive them away. They were
also delighted that Windich and Pierre were black, and marked about the
body, and also at Pierre having his nose bored. They would not come with
us further, and pointed towards water westward. We did not follow their
direction, and continuing on easterly, camped without water, and only
very old dried grass for our horses. We were obliged to abandon the mare
supplied by Mr. John Taylor to-day, together with about 150 pounds of
flour, also the pack-saddle. She is very near foaling, and is very weak;
she has carried only the empty bags for some time, and has been gradually
failing. She is a fine mare, and I am sorry to lose her, but we cannot
help it. We have more flour than we require, so I decided to leave 150
pounds, as our horses are not able to carry it easily. We have over 3
hundredweight still, which will be quite sufficient. Tomorrow I intend
pushing on to try and reach the spring in the Musgrave Range shown on Mr.
Gosse's chart. It is about forty miles from here, and I have no doubt the
horses will go there, although they are very weak. The natives met to-day
were all circumcised; they had long hair and beards, which were all
clotted and in strands. The strands were covered with filth and dirt for
six inches from the end, and looked like greased rope; it was as hard as
rope, and dangled about their necks, looking most disgustingly filthy.
The men were generally fine-looking fellows. The natives are very
numerous in this country, as fires and camps are seen in many places,
besides well-beaten tracks. Pierre dropped his powder-flask, and one of
them picked it up and gave it to him. They were very friendly and
pleased, and I think, after the first surprise was over, only a few were
hostile. They were much amused at my watch ticking, and all wanted to put
their ears to hear it.


The horses would not feed last night, and had to be watched. At 4 o'clock
we got up and collected them, and got under way by half-past 5 o'clock,
following on towards the Musgrave Ranges. The morning was cool, and the
horses went along very well. After travelling about twenty miles Padbury
and Butcher began to show signs of giving in. We still pushed on, in hope
of finding water in Lungley's Gully; the sun shone out very hot in the
afternoon. Passed a remarkable high peak, which I named Mount Mary. My
brother, Sweeney, and Pierre were behind with the knocked-up horses,
trying to get them along. Windich went on Hosken, the only horse that was
strong enough, to the north to scour some valleys. Kennedy and I pushed
along slowly with the main lot of horses. If we halted a minute, many of
the horses lay down, and we had great difficulty in getting them up
again. After travelling about thirty-one miles we reached a gully which I
supposed was Lungley's, and I left Kennedy with the horses while I
ascended it on foot. I soon saw many emu tracks, and therefore was
positive water was a little higher up. Found Windich was about 100 yards
in advance of me, having crossed over into the same gully. I soon heard
him shout that there was abundance of water, and fired the welcome
gun-shots to acquaint the party. Returned, and after lifting up some of
the horses that had lain down, and met my brother with the knocked-up
ones, we all proceeded up to the water, which we found to be a beautiful
spring running down the gully about thirty chains. We were all rejoiced
at this good fortune, as we never before wanted water more than at the
present time. Mr. Gosse had camped here, his depot Number 16, and I
wonder he does not show such a fine spring on his map. We are now in
perfect safety, and I will give the horses two days' rest.

Rested at spring. Windich and Pierre shot three emus; a great many came
to water. Being nearly out of meat, we are glad to get them.

6th (Sunday).
Took bearings from a hill about a mile east of camp, from which there was
a very extensive view. Far as the eye could reach to south, level plains
extended, with low hills rising abruptly out of them here and there; to
the west the Deering Hills and Mann Ranges; while to the east the high
Musgrave Ranges soon stopped the view. The whole country is level, the
ranges rising abruptly out of the plains, and is not like the hilly
country in the settled districts of Western Australia. Marked a tree
close to the camp F 85, being 85th camp from Geraldton. Found camp to be
in latitude 26 degrees 13 minutes 25 seconds by meridian altitude of
Altair, and longitude about 131 degrees 3 minutes east.


Left spring, and steering about east for seven miles along foot of
Musgrave Ranges, when we turned North-North-East for four miles, and east
one mile to Mr. Gosse's depot Number 17, found spring in a brook, large
white gums in gully; a very fine spring, but not running; any quantity of
water. First-rate feed in gully and on flat. Weather cloudy. Intend
resting here to-morrow, as one of our horses is very lame, and there is
everything we want.

Rested at camp. Rained lightly last night, and very stormy. Blew a
hurricane towards morning. Rained lightly until noon; more rain than we
have had on the whole trip. We have not had a drop of rain since the
light shower on the 4th August. Marked a tree F 86, being the 86th camp
from Geraldton. Shod two horses. Finished all our meat. We have now only
flour enough for the remainder of our journey. As my friend Mr. Gosse did
not name this splendid place, I take the liberty of naming it Gosse's
Spring, as that is the name we always gave it in referring to it.

The horses rambled away last night, and were not collected till late. It
was nearly eleven o'clock when we started. We travelled about fourteen
miles over fine grassy country, and camped on a fine flat with a little
water in a gully which appears springy; good feed, although chiefly old,
all round camp. One of our horses is very lame, and we have a little
trouble in getting him along. It rained again last night. Latitude 26
degrees 15 minutes 23 seconds south.

Steered North-North-East for five miles, and then North-East and east to
Beare's Creek, Mr. Gosse's depot Number 18, where we found a most
beautiful spring running strong down the gully for half a mile. I wonder
he did not mark it permanent water on his map, as it is one of the best
springs I have ever seen. Poor place for feed. The horses inclined to
ramble. Shot two ducks which were in one of the pools, and two wurrungs,
which were very acceptable, being now altogether without meat. Latitude
26 degrees 9 minutes 50 seconds. Grassy gorge on our route to-day.

We got up long before daylight, intending to get an early start, and
reach Whittell's Creek, but two of the horses were missing, and it was
after eight o'clock when Windich returned with them. We, however,
started, and steering easterly through dense acacia thickets without
grass for about thirty miles, we reached the creek, and found plenty of
water by digging in the sand. Rough low granite hills all along our
route, but very little feed. Passed many clay-pans with water in them.
The country was sandy and stony, and is thickly wooded. Mount Woodroffe
bears north 208 degrees east magnetic from our camp, and a remarkable
granite hill bore north, which I named Mount Elizabeth. Latitude 26
degrees 13 minutes south. Marked a tree F 89, being 89th camp from


Continued onwards about North-East for ten miles, over saltbush flats
with water in clay-pans in places, to the north part of a range, from
which I got a view of Mount Connor, which rose abruptly out of the ocean
of scrub. Rounding the mount, bore South-East towards Harry's Reservoir,
reaching which we camped. It is at the head of a rocky gully; it is very
rough to reach, and no feed within a mile and a half of it. There was
plenty of water in the hole, which is about six feet deep. A white
gum-tree close to the pool is marked GOS, 19, and I marked under it, on
same tree, F 90, being 90th camp from Geraldton. This being such a rough
place, and no feed near, I will move on to-morrow towards or to Figtree
Gully. Weather dark and cloudy.

13th (Sunday).
Continued on towards Figtree Gully, having to go a long way north in
order to get round and through the ranges. Most beautifully-grassed
country all the way; by far the best-grassed country we have seen for
months. After travelling about nineteen miles we found water on some
granite rocks, and camped on a very fine grassy flat. Windich shot a
large kangaroo, which was very acceptable.

About 2 o'clock this afternoon we collected the horses, and travelled on
to Figtree Gully about four miles, our horses first finishing all the
water on the granite rocks. We got enough at Figtree Gully to satisfy
them, although there is not a great supply. There is a small soakage from
the rocks; we filled the drums to-night, so as to have sufficient for
them in the morning, as the water does not come in quickly. The view to
the east is not very interesting. A few low hills, and generally level
country--apparently thickly wooded with mulga and acacia.


Got an early start, and steering about east for six miles, crossed the
Gum Creek, and followed it along about a mile and a half, when we steered
more to the east, until we struck the head of the Marryatt, which we
followed down North-East and east, until we reached the salt native well
marked on Mr. Gosse's map. We camped here, and dug out the well, which
was very brackish; yet the horses drank it. There was a very poor supply
of water, and we kept bailing it out into the drums all night, and
managed to get out about sixty gallons. We travelled about thirty miles
to-day; our horses were very thirsty, the weather oppressive. I found a
small water-hole, with about twenty gallons in it, about one mile north,
to which we will take the horses to-morrow morning.

Went over to the rock hole and gave our horses the water--about one
bucket apiece, after which we struck South-East to the river, and found
two rock holes with sufficient water in them to satisfy all the horses.
Continued on and reached Mr. Gosse's camp, where he marks on his map
"Water-hole dug." Found it quite dry; but after going a few hundred yards
we found a nice clay-pan with water in it, and camped. There has been a
little rain here a few weeks ago, and it has not all dried up yet. If it
was not for the rain-water we should have much difficulty in getting down
this river, as all the old native wells dug in the sand are dry.

Followed down the Marryatt, and at six miles passed a native well, which
was quite dry. We continued on, and at about eight miles found a number
of rock water-holes, all nearly full of water, about a quarter of a mile
south of the river, and camped. Shod some of the horses. Took a set of
lunar observations.

Two of the horses rambled away during the night, and delayed our start.
At eight o'clock we got under way, and followed along the river. The day
was excessively hot, and we had to walk in turns. At two o'clock crossed
the gum creek shown on Mr. Gosse's map, and searched for the large
clay-pan shown a short distance beyond it; hundreds of natives' tracks
seen all along. Towards evening we found a rock water-hole with about two
gallons in it, which refreshed us, as we were all very thirsty. Here we
were obliged to abandon police-horse Champion, he being completely
knocked up; he has had a very bad back for a long time, and has been
running loose without any load. We pushed on, and I sent Windich to look
for water. We travelled until eight o'clock, when we camped for the night
without water. Shortly after we had camped, Windich overtook us, and
reported having found some clay-pans about six miles back. After having
something to eat I decided to return to the clay-pans, and therefore
packed up three of the horses, and let the others go loose, leaving the
packs until our return. Reached the water by midnight, and the horses
finished it all, and were not half satisfied. I thought there was more,
or would not have come back for it. We hobbled them out, and had a few
hours' rest.


Early this morning we searched the flat for water, and found a rock
water-hole with about fifty gallons in it, but could not find any more
clay-pans. We therefore gave the horses the fifty gallons, and pushed on
towards "Water near Table-Land" shown on Mr. Gosse's map, about
twenty-one miles distant. The day was excessively hot again, and walking
was most fatiguing. Men and horses moved along very slowly, but did not
give in. Towards noon a hot wind began to blow. Onwards still we pressed,
and crossed the large creek coming into the Alberga about two miles from
the water. I told the party we were now close, and showed them the low
table-land just ahead. Before we reached it we found a clay-hole with
water, and gave the horses a good drink, after which we moved on a mile
and camped at Mr. Gosse's depot Number 20, where we got plenty of water
by digging in the sandy bed of the river. I was very glad to reach here,
for the horses were getting very weary, and Sweeney was also done up, and
looked very ill and swollen up about the head. The walking was most
harassing, for, besides the ground being soft, the sun was overpowering,
and most excessively hot. We are now in safety again, and to-morrow being
Sunday we will rest.

20th (Sunday).
Rested to-day. Windich shot an emu. Worked out lunar observations. Marked
a tree F 97, being 97th camp from Geraldton. Latitude 26 degrees 44
minutes 19 seconds, longitude about 133 degrees 47 minutes East.

Continued down the Alberga about South-East for about twenty miles, over
sandy country thickly wooded with mulga and acacia, to Mr. Gosse's
bivouac of December 1st, but there was scarcely any water by digging. We
therefore pushed on and found a native well, from which, by digging out
about five feet, we procured abundance of water. Sweeney still very
unwell, unable to walk; others walking in turns. Distance twenty-five

The horses rambled back on the tracks about three miles, and it was eight
o'clock before we got started. We followed down the Alberga over stony
plains, poorly grassed and thickly wooded, for about eighteen miles.
Found sufficient water by digging in the sand; there was only a very poor
supply, and it took us a good while to water all the horses. The river
bed is more than a quarter of a mile wide and very shallow, and spreads
out over the plains for many miles in heavy winters.

Watering the horses delayed us a little this morning, as there was a very
poor supply coming into the well. We followed down the river, and after
travelling about nine miles heard a native shouting, and soon saw him
running after us. He was quite friendly, but could not speak any English;
he came along with us, and shortly afterwards we found a native well with
sufficient water by digging, then camped, as our horses were very weak,
and required a rest. We finished all our tea and sugar to-day, and have
now only flour left; we will therefore have bread and water for the next
week, until we reach the Peake. The native ate heartily of damper given
to him, and remained all day, and slept at our camp. Distance ten miles.


Travelled down river, the native still accompanying us, and at about six
miles met a very old native, and a woman and a little girl. They were
quite friendly, and showed us water; and the woman and girl came with us
to Appatinna, Mr. Gosse's depot 21, where we camped at a fine pool of
water under right bank of river. Windich shot three emus that were coming
to the water, and we all had plenty of them to eat. The natives were very
pleased, and went back and brought up the old man and another woman and
child. There were now six with us. They have seen the telegraph line, as
can be seen by signs they make, but they cannot speak English.

The horses rambled off miles, and it was nearly ten o'clock before we got
under way. There was no feed at all for them. We followed down the
Alberga for about fifteen miles, about east generally, and camped, with
very little old dried-up grass for our horses. About half an hour after
we left Appatinna this morning we had a very heavy shower of rain, and,
although it only lasted about a quarter of an hour, it literally flooded
the whole country, making it boggy. It was the heaviest thunderstorm I
have ever seen. We shall have no difficulty in procuring water now all
the way to the telegraph line, which is not more than forty miles from
here. The natives stayed at Appatinna, as they had too much emu to leave.
We did not want them, and were just as well pleased they did not come on.
Mr. Gosse's track went North-North-East to the Hamilton River from

Got off early and followed the river about two miles, when it took a bend
to the north, and as it was rather boggy near it we left it, and steered
about east and East-North-East for twenty miles over most miserable
country without any grass. We camped on a small gully with a little water
in it, and some old dry grass in a flat. The horses were very tired, not
having had anything to eat for the last two or three days, and some
showed signs of giving in; in fact, all weak and knocked-up, and we have
to handle them very carefully. For the first thirteen miles we passed
many clay-pans full of water--water nearly everywhere--after which there
was very little; and the rain does not appear to have been heavy to the
east. The river is about a mile and a half north of us, and we have not
seen it for some miles. Latitude 27 degrees 9 minutes south. Hope to
reach the telegraph line to-morrow.

27th (Sunday).
Continuing East-North-East for two miles, came to the Alberga, and
following along its right bank over many clay-pans with water, about east
for twelve miles, and then East-North-East for three miles, and reached
the telegraph line between Adelaide and Port Darwin, and camped. Long and
continued cheers came from our little band as they beheld at last the
goal to which we have been travelling for so long. I felt rejoiced and
relieved from anxiety; and on reflecting on the long line of travel we
had performed through an unknown country, almost a wilderness, felt very
thankful to that good Providence that had guarded and guided us so safely
through it.

The telegraph line is most substantially put up, and well wired, and is
very creditable at this spot; large poles of bush timber, often rather
crooked, and iron ones here and there. I now gave up keeping watch,
having kept it regularly for the last six months. Marked a tree F 104,
being 104th camp from Geraldton. We had not much to refresh the inner man
with, only damper and water, but we have been used to it now more than a
month, and do not much feel it. The horses are all very tired, and many
of them have sore backs. I hope to reach the Peake on Wednesday night,
where we shall be able to get something to eat. We find making the damper
with boiling water makes it much lighter and softer, and is a great
improvement. Latitude 27 degrees 7 minutes 50 seconds south.

We travelled down the telegraph line for about twenty-one miles, and
camped on a branch of the Neales River, with a little grass. Level plains
and small rocky rises all the way; very stony country; many clay-pans
with water. A well-beaten road goes along near the telegraph line. We did
not get on it till we had travelled along the line about fifteen miles.
It crosses the Alberga east of the line.

When we were nearly ready to start, police-horse Butcher lay down and
died in a few seconds; he appeared all right when we brought him in, and
was saddled as usual. Old age, very severe hard work, and continual
travelling, is no doubt the cause of death: we took off his shoes, and
left him where he died. I was sorry for the poor old horse; he had been
rather weak for a good while, but had borne up well to the very last. We
only had four horses to ride to-day, and Sweeney being still lame really
made but three horses between five of us. We travelled down the road for
about thirty-three miles over stony plains; many clay-pans with water,
but no feed. Camped on a gully with some old feed in the flat, in
latitude 27 degrees 49 minutes. Miserable country for grass all day, but
plenty of water from recent rains everywhere. Hope to reach the Peake by
mid-day to-morrow. Damper and water as usual.

Got off early as usual, all in high glee at the prospect of meeting
civilized habitations again. Travelled along the road and saw cattle, and
shortly afterwards reached the Peake, and rather surprised the people.
Mr. Bagot, the owner of the cattle station, was the first I met; and
after telling him who we were, he said he had surmised it was so. He soon
told us that Mr. Giles had returned, and also Mr. Ross, who had been
despatched by the Honourable Thomas Elder with camels and a good
equipment to find an overland route to Perth, but was unable to get over
to Western Australia. We were soon introduced to Mr. Blood, the officer
in charge of the telegraph station, and, after unloading, were soon
engaged at dinner, the roast beef and plum pudding being a striking
contrast to our fare lately! Both Mr. and Mrs. Blood, as well as Mr.
Bagot, did all they could to make us comfortable during our four days'


Immediately on reaching Peake, I despatched a telegram to his Excellency
Mr. Musgrave, Governor of South Australia, at Adelaide, informing him of
the safe arrival of the party, and received the following reply from the
private secretary:--

His Excellency has received your message with great satisfaction, and
congratulates you heartily on your safe arrival.

This telegram was accompanied by another from the Honourable Arthur
Blyth, the Chief Secretary of the Colony:

Is there anything you want? Mail leaves on October 10th. Shall be happy
to facilitate any despatch you may wish forwarded to your Government.
Superintendent of Telegraphs has given instructions for every assistance
to be rendered you at the various telegraph stations on your road down.

The instructions sent by Mr. Todd, the Superintendent of Telegraphs, to
Mr. Blood, the officer in charge at Peake station, were to the following

Please give my hearty congratulations to Mr. Forrest on the successful
completion of his great feat, which I have communicated to the Government
and press; also Baron Von Mueller, who sends his congratulations. I shall
be glad to have a few particulars as to route followed, if convenient to
Mr. Forrest to supply them. Render his party every attention.

Mr. Ernest Giles, the explorer, also telegraphed, and I also received
messages from the editors of the Register and Advertiser, Adelaide
newspapers, congratulating me, and asking for a few particulars for
publication in their papers. I complied with the request immediately,
forwarding a brief narrative of the more remarkable incidents of our
journey. On the 15th of October, the day after our arrival at Peake, I
wrote, for the information of Governor Musgrave, a short account of the
journey, and this, accompanied by a more detailed narrative, addressed to
the Honourable Malcolm Fraser, Commissioner of Crown Lands at Perth, was,
together with several private telegrams, forwarded free of charge by the
South Australian Government, which also provided us with fresh horses and
everything we required for our journey to Adelaide.

We left the Peake on the 4th of October, greatly refreshed by the rest
and the kind treatment we had received from Mr. and Mrs. Blood, and Mr.
Bagot, the owner of the cattle station.

Before I record the details of our journey and the receptions given us at
every place on the route, I will quote the concluding remarks of my
journal relative to the expedition:--


I now beg to make a few remarks with reference to the character and
capability of the country traversed; and through the kindness and
courtesy of Baron Von Mueller, C.M.G., etc., Government Botanist of
Victoria, and of Mr. R. Brough Smyth, Secretary for Mines of Victoria, I
am enabled to annex reports upon the botanical and geological specimens
collected on our journey.

The whole of the country, from the settled districts near Champion Bay to
the head of the Murchison, is admirably suited for pastoral settlement,
and in a very short time will be taken up and stocked; indeed, some
already has been occupied.

From the head of the Murchison to the 129th meridian, the boundary of our
colony, I do not think will ever be settled. Of course there are many
grassy patches, such as at Windich Springs, the Weld Springs, all round
Mount Moore, and other places; but they are so isolated, and of such
extent, that it would never pay to stock them. The general character of
this immense tract is a gently undulating spinifex desert--Festuca
(Triodia) irritans, the spinifex of the desert explorers, but not the
spinifex of science. It is lightly wooded with acacia and other small
trees, and, except in a few creeks, there is a great absence of any large

The prevailing rock, which crops out on the rises and often forms low
cliffs, in which are receptacles for holding water, is LIGHT RED
SANDSTONE (desert sandstone, tertiary). The only game found in the
spinifex is a kangaroo rat, commonly called the wirrup; but in the grassy
openings there are many kangaroos, and often emus, also a rat known as
the wurrung. These animals are very good eating, and formed a valuable
addition to our store department. At the permanent waters there were
always myriads of bronze-winged pigeons, and also the white cockatoo with
scarlet crest, called the chockalott; also the beaccoo, or slate-coloured
parrot. Generally, however, with the exception of the crow and hawk,
birds were not very numerous except round water. Whenever a sheet of
water was found we found ducks, and in Lake Augusta swans and ducks were

In bringing this report to a close it is not necessary to refer much to
the reasons that induced me to keep more to the south than I originally
intended. It will readily be seen, after perusing this journal, that it
was a necessity, and that we could not get further north. It is a marvel
to me that we got through at all; the season was an exceptionally dry
one--in fact, a drought--our horses were of a very ordinary kind, and the
country most wretched.

When it is remembered that a horse in poor condition and in warm weather
cannot go much over a day without water, and when the sterility of the
country is considered, it will be readily seen what a disadvantage one
labours under without camels, which can go ten days without water. Well
can I sympathize with Mr. Giles when he states in his journal: "All I
coveted from my brother explorers was their camels, for what is a horse
in such a region as this? He is not physically capable of enduring the
terrors of this country." And so it is; horses are the noblest and most
useful animals in the world, but they must have food and water regularly.
The camel, on the other hand, is physically formed to travel over these
desolate regions, and in Australia has been known to go twelve and
fourteen days without water, carrying 300 pounds, and sometimes 400
pounds weight.

From these few remarks it will be seen what a great disadvantage Mr.
Giles and myself laboured under compared with Major Warburton and Mr.
Gosse; and what in similar circumstances might have been easily performed
by them was quite impossible in our circumstances.

In reading this journal, it may be wondered why we followed so much along
Mr. Gosse's track, when a new route for ourselves might have been chosen
more to the south. The reason is, I had intended, as soon as I reached the
129th meridian (the boundary of our colony), to make a long trip to the
south, near to Eucla, and thus map that important locality; but on
reaching there I was prevented by the following causes: The weather was
excessively warm; the country to the south seemed most uninviting--sand-
hills as far as could be seen, covered with spinifex; our horses were very
poor; our rations were running short, the meat and tea and sugar being
nearly gone; water was very scarce, and I could clearly see that, although
Mr. Gosse had travelled the route last year, it did not follow that we
should be able to do it easily this, as all the water thus far where he
had camped was gone. I felt we were altogether on our own resources for
water, and I concluded to push on towards the telegraph line as quickly as
possible. It turned out, although we had considerable difficulty, that we
reached the line sooner than I could have anticipated.


I have the very pleasant duty to record my thorough appreciation of the
services of my companions. To my brother, Mr. Alexander Forrest, I am
especially indebted for his assistance and advice on many occasions, also
for his indomitable energy and perseverance. Every service entrusted to
him was admirably carried out. He never disappointed me. When absent for
a week, I knew to a few minutes when we should meet again. Whether horses
or loads had to be abandoned, it mattered not to him, he always carried
out the service; and I attribute much of the success to being supported
by such an able and hopeful second in command. In addition to this, he
bestowed great care on the stores of the expedition; collected all the
botanical specimens, besides taking observations for laying down our
route on many occasions during my absence.

To Tommy Windich (native) I am much indebted for his services as a
bushman, and his experience generally. Accompanying me on many occasions,
often in circumstances of difficulty and privation, I ever found him a
good, honest companion.

To James Kennedy, James Sweeney, and Tommy Pierre I am thankful for the
ready obedience and entire confidence they placed in me. They ever
conducted themselves in a proper manner, and on no occasion uttered a
single murmur.

I take this opportunity of thanking all those gentlemen who so kindly
subscribed to the Expedition Fund.

In conclusion, sir, I beg you will convey to his Excellency Governor Weld
my sincere thanks for the kindness and support he has given me in this
arduous enterprise. I can truthfully state, if it had not been for his
zeal and assistance, I should not have been able to undertake and
accomplish this exploration.

I have also to thank the Honourable F.P. Barlee, Colonial Secretary, and
yourself, for your kind attention and consideration, and your desire that
I should have everything that was necessary to bring the expedition to a
successful termination.



Procession and Banquet at Adelaide.
Arrival in Western Australia.
Banquet and Ball at Perth.
Results of Exploration.

We reached Beltana on the 18th, where we were joined by Mr. Henry Gosse,
brother and companion of the explorer, and arrived at Jamestown on the
28th of October. This was the first township on the route, and the
inhabitants, although somewhat taken by surprise by our appearance, would
not let the opportunity pass for giving us a warm welcome. On the
following morning there was a good muster of the principal residents at
Jureit's Hotel, and an address was presented to me. Our healths were then
drunk and duly responded to, and we had every reason to be highly
gratified with our first formal reception.


The next day we reached Kooringa, on the Burra, and there too our arrival
excited considerable enthusiasm, and we were invited to a complimentary
dinner at the Burra Hotel Assembly Rooms, Mr. Philip Lane, the Chairman
of the District Council, presiding. An address was presented, and, my
health having been proposed by Mr. W.H. Rosoman, Manager of the National
Bank, in replying, I took the opportunity of expressing my thanks to my
associates in the expedition for their unfailing co-operation under
occasionally great difficulties and privations.

On Saturday, the 31st, having witnessed a cricket-match at Farrell's
Flat, we visited the Burra Burra Mines, and there we received an address
from the manager, accountant, captain, chief engineer, and storekeeper.
We remained at Burra the next day (Sunday), and on Monday morning started
by train for Salisbury with our fifteen horses in horse-boxes. Eleven of
these were the survivors of the expedition, and we were desirous that our
faithful and hard-worked four-footed companions should have their share
of the attention of our South Australian friends. At Gawler we were
received by a crowd of people, and flags were flying to do us honour. The
Town Clerk and a considerable number of the principal residents were
waiting for us in an open space near the railway station, and presented
an address on behalf of the municipality. We were then invited to a
luncheon at the Criterion Hotel, the chair being filled, in the absence
of the Mayor, who was unwell, by Mr. James Morton. Here again I was
called on to respond for my health being proposed; but I need not weary
the reader by endeavouring to repeat all I said upon that and other
similar occasions. I acknowledged and deeply felt the personal kindness
of the receptions my party had experienced; and I fully shared with those
who signed the addresses I received, or proposed my health at dinners,
the hearty desire that the successful issue of my expedition might be the
means of uniting still more closely the two colonies in bonds of mutual
good-feeling and sympathy. I had been similarly welcomed at Gawler and
other places in South Australia on the occasion of my previous visit, and
I was, I trust, not unjustifiably proud and pleased that my old friends
had recognized my recent services.


At Salisbury, which we reached on the 2nd of November, a very hearty
reception awaited us, and we were entertained at a dinner given at the
Salisbury Hotel under the presidency of the Reverend J.R. Ferguson. After
dinner the chairman read a brief address, signed by the Chairman of the
District Council; and as the speeches referred not only to my own
expedition, but were interesting in relation to other explorations and
the method of conducting them, I may be pardoned for quoting a portion of
the report of the proceedings which appeared in the local newspapers:--

The Chairman then said he wished to express the great pleasure it was to
him to meet Mr. Forrest, his brother, and party, after their triumphant
accomplishment of the daring and arduous undertaking of crossing from the
Australian shores of the Indian Ocean to the very interior of South
Australia. We at all times felt constrained to value and honour men who
in any way contributed to the progress and welfare of mankind. We
esteemed those men whose lives were devoted to the explorations of
science, and whose discoveries were rendered serviceable to the comfort
and advancement of the race; and what were the achievements of travellers
but contributions to the advancement and welfare of the
race--contributions in which were involved the most magnificent heroism
in penetrating the regions which had hitherto been untrodden by the foot
of the white man? They obtained their contributions to the advancement
and welfare of men by the manifestation of high moral endurance, which
enabled them to submit to privations and discomforts of the most trying
character; while withal they showed dauntless courage in going forward
and meeting dangers of every possible kind, even to the loss of life
itself. He was disposed to rank the achievements of their guests with
those of the foremost of travellers of whom we read. He had sat enchanted
with the perusal of the travels of John Franklin in the Arctic Regions;
and, by the way, John Franklin accompanied Captain Flinders in his
expedition in the year 1800, which was sent out for the purpose of
surveying the south coast of Australia. He had perused with intense
interest the travels of Samuel Baker in the interior of Africa along the
source of that wondrous Nile, as also those of Speke, Grant, Stanley, and
that prince of men, the late Dr. Livingstone; and the name of their guest
was entitled to rank along with such. (Cheers.) Let now our stockholders
and men of capital take advantage of Mr. Forrest's explorations--let his
well-earned honours be bestowed upon him--and let all representatives of
intelligence and enterprise hail him. We who were here as Australians
were proud of him and rejoiced over him, and would seek to send him back
to his own home with our loud plaudits and our heartiest gratitude.

The Vice-Chairman, in proposing The Health of Mr. John Forrest, the
Leader of the Expedition, said he was sure they were all extremely glad
to see Mr. Forrest and his party in their midst. When Mr. Forrest was
amongst them before they all thought he was a fine, jolly young fellow,
and thought none the less of him on that occasion. (Applause.) At any
rate, he was stouter than when he appeared on his first visit. He thought
the country would feel grateful to Mr. Forrest and his companions for the
benefits which would result from their achievement. (Applause.)

Mr. John Forrest, who was received with loud cheers, said he thanked them
very heartily for the enthusiastic way in which they had drunk his
health, and for the very handsome address they had presented to him. He
felt altogether unable to respond in the way he could wish to the many
remarks that had been made by their worthy chairman. If he could only
make himself believe that he was worthy of being placed in the rank of
the men whom he had mentioned, he certainly would feel very proud indeed.
It had always given him the greatest pleasure to read the accounts of the
travels of these great men. He remembered being closely connected with
Captain Flinders's researches upon the south coast of Australia, and,
after his journey from Perth to Eucla, Mr. Eyre, the late Governor of
Jamaica, wrote to him that he risked his life upon the accuracy of
Captain Flinders's observations, and in no case had he the least cause to
regret it. Exploration in other parts of the world, as in Africa, was
carried on in a very different style to the exploration in Australia.
Even in the early times, exploration here was carried on in a very
different way to what it was at the present time. Large equipages, many
waggons, and that sort of thing were used in the time of Captain Sturt
and other early explorers, until Mr. Eyre took a light equipment, with
very few horses and very few men. Since then the work had had to be done
with very light turn-outs. In Western Australia a good deal of
exploration was done before his time, and expeditions had been very
common. They generally cost very little indeed. The horses were generally
given by the settlers, the Government contributed a few hundred pounds,
and young settlers volunteered for the service. The cost was sometimes
400 or 500 pounds; and upon his expedition, up to the time they left the
settled districts of Western Australia, they had only spent about 330
pounds. He did not know that he could say anything more. He had spoken
several times on his journey down, and it seemed to him that he had said
the same thing over and over again. His forte was not in public speaking,
but he hoped they would take the will for the deed. They never could
forget the very kind and hearty reception they had received in every
place they had visited in South Australia. (Cheers.)

The Reverend J.G. Wright proposed The health of Mr. Alexander Forrest and
the remainder of the Party. He remarked that they had heard a great deal
about Mr. Forrest, the leader of the party, and whilst he had manifested
a great deal of courage and perseverance, and they all felt indebted to
him as the leader of the party, yet there was much praise due to his
brother and the rest of his companions. He was gratified at having the
opportunity of meeting them before they went down to the metropolis, and
he was sure it was no small matter to Salisbury to have such a band
remaining with them for a short time. It would be a source of pleasure to
colonists generally to see them, and he trusted that the work which had
been so nobly performed, and what had followed after it, would tend to
link the colonies more closely together. He was glad to see that original
holders of the land in their western colony--the natives--had been
employed in the work of exploration and opening up the country. (Hear,
hear.) They were expected to do honour to generals and warriors who had
distinguished themselves and placed their names high on the roll of fame,
but he thought that such could not claim greater honours than the
explorer. His work was not one of bloodshed, but one which was undertaken
in the interests and for the benefit of humanity. Civilization,
agriculture, art, and science followed the explorations of those noble
men who had taken their lives in their hands and faced difficulties and
dangers for the advancement of their fellow-men. He proposed with the
heartiest feelings the toast of Mr. Alexander Forrest and his companions.

The toast was very cordially drunk.

Mr. Alex. Forrest, on rising to respond, was greeted with hearty and
continued cheering. He said he thanked the company most heartily for the
manner in which they had drunk his health and that of his companions. He
could assure them they felt highly flattered at the reception which had
been accorded them. It was more than they expected. When here four years
ago, it was on a small trip compared with what they had accomplished this
time. It would not be necessary for him to go over the same ground that
his brother had remarked upon--in fact, his brother had quite taken the
wind out of his sails; and public speaking certainly not being his forte,
although he was quite at home round the camp-fire, he must ask them to
excuse him making a lengthy speech. He could assure them they all thanked
them very sincerely for their kindness, and deeply appreciated the honour
which had been done them. (Cheers.)

Tommy Pierre, one of the aboriginals attached to the expedition, being
called upon to respond, after some hesitation, said, "Well, gentlemen, I
am not in good humour to-night. (Laughter.) I am very glad I got through.
We got a capital gaffer that leaded us through; but it wasn't him that
got us through, it isn't ourselves, but God who brought us through the
place, and we ought to be very thankful to God for getting us through.
(Laughter and cheers.) I am not in good humour to-night to speak
(laughter), but I will speak when I get in Adelaide." (Prolonged

Tommy Windich, the other aboriginal attached to the expedition, was also
asked to respond, but he could not muster courage enough to do so.


The preparations for our reception at Adelaide were most elaborate. It
seems to have been resolved that the capital of South Australia should
appear as the representative of the satisfaction felt throughout the
colony at the successful completion of an adventure, the result of which
was so deeply interesting, and which had been several times attempted by
explorers, not less ardent and determined, but less fortunate than
ourselves. At an early hour on the morning of the 3rd of November, on
which day it was known our party would arrive, the streets through which
we were to pass were thronged with thousands eager to bid us welcome. Not
only the city itself, but the suburban districts contributed to swell the
crowd. Balconies and housetops were thronged, and all along the line of
route were flags and decorations of flowers and evergreens, streamers
with inscriptions of welcome, and arches adorned with large pictures
representing incidents of bush life. The bells, too, rang out merry
peals, and the day was observed as a general holiday at Adelaide.

We left Salisbury at twelve o'clock, escorted by a considerable number of
the inhabitants. Before reaching Adelaide we were met by carriages
containing the Mayors of Adelaide, Port Adelaide, Kensington, and
Norwood, the town clerks, and members of the different corporations. A
very interesting and characteristic compliment was paid to us by the
presence of members of various exploring expeditions, who, from their own
experience, could best estimate the value of the results we had achieved,
and the difficulties we had encountered. Following the official
personages, on horseback, was Mr. John Chambers, who, with his brother,
the late Mr. James Chambers, and the late Mr. Finke, sent out in 1860 the
parties under the leadership of the intrepid Mr. John McDouall Stuart, to
explore the interior lying between South Australia and the northern
shores of the continent. Three members of this party--Messrs. A.J.
Lawrence, D. Thompson, and John Wall--followed on horseback, carrying
standards marked with the dates January, 1862, and July 25, 1862, when
Stuart departed from Adelaide, and when he planted his flag on the
northern shores. Then came representatives of the various exploring
parties--Messrs. F.G. Waterhouse, F. Thring, W.P. Auld, S. King, J.W.
Billiatt, and H. Nash, of Stuart's party; Mr. R.E. Warburton, Mr. Dennis
White, and Charley, the native boy, of Colonel Warburton's expedition;
Mr. William Gosse (leader), and Mr. Harry Gosse, of the Gosse expedition;
and Mr. Ernest Giles, leader of the Giles expedition.

The reception committee and representatives of the Oddfellows, Foresters,
Druids, Rechabites, Good Templars, German, and other friendly societies,
followed, after which came our party. We wore the rough, weather-beaten,
and, it may be added, shockingly dilapidated garments in which we had
been clothed during our expedition, and were mounted on the horses which
had served us so well. It was wished that we should represent to the
Adelaide public, as realistically as we could, the actual appearance of
our party while engaged on the long journey, so we slung our rifles at
our sides, and each of us led a pack-horse carrying the kegs we had used
for the conveyance of water. In one respect, no doubt, we failed to
realize adequately the appearance of our party when struggling through
the spinifex desert, or anxiously searching for rock holes and springs.
The month of great hospitality we had experienced since reaching Peake
station had considerably improved our own personal appearance, and the
horses were very unlike the wretched, half-dying animals we had such
difficulty to keep alive and moving. After us came, in long procession,
bands of music, and the members of the various orders, the German Club,
the Bushmen's Club, and a goodly number of horsemen and carriages. The
bands played inspiring strains, the crowd shouted and cheered, and my
brother and I were perpetually bowing acknowledgments. As for the two
natives, Tommy Windich and Tommy Pierre, they appeared to be perfectly
amazed by the novelty of the spectacle, and the enthusiasm of the vast
throng which lined the streets.

On our arrival at the town hall we were received by the Ministry, the
Honourable W. Milne (President of the Legislative Council), Sir G.S.
Kingston (the Speaker), several members of both Houses of Parliament, and
other gentlemen. Having alighted, we were conducted to a platform, and
addresses were presented to us by the Mayor, on behalf of the citizens of
Adelaide; from the Odd Fellows, the Foresters, the Rechabites, the Good
Templars, and four German societies. In replying to these I did my best,
but very inadequately, to express my feelings of gratitude for the
reception we had met with, and of thanks for the generous manner in which
our endeavours to successfully perform an arduous task had been
recognized. The Mayors of Kensington, Norwood, and Port Adelaide, also
offered a few words of congratulation to our party.

By particular request, we showed ourselves on the balcony, and bowed our
acknowledgments for the very hearty welcome we received. Then we
remounted our horses, and took them to the police paddocks, after which
my brother and I were introduced to the Adelaide Club.

I have mentioned that several distinguished Australian explorers took
part in the reception, and I may add that among them were the whole of
Stuart's last party, except the gallant leader and Mr. Kekwick, who were
dead, Mr. Few, who was in a distant part of the colony, and the farrier,
who had gone no one knew whither. It was also appropriate to the occasion
that two horses, who were memorably connected with explorations, should
be associated with the animals who had served one so well. The horse
which had carried poor Burke on his ill-fated expedition from Melbourne
was ridden by Mr. F.G. Waterhouse, and Mr. F. Thring was mounted on a
horse which had crossed the continent with Stuart.


In the evening we were entertained at a banquet in the town hall, the
chair being occupied by the Honourable Arthur Blyth, the Premier of the
colony. The proceedings were fully reported in the newspapers on the
following day; and as so many explorers were present, and addressed the
company, I may be permitted, apart from personal considerations, to quote
the principal speeches delivered on the occasion.

The chairman rose to propose the toast of the evening, and was received
with cheers. He said, "I think, for the last two or three days, that
there has been a general feeling that South Australians were not very
good at receptions and getting up processions; but at all events to-day
we have showed that we can manage such things as well as people of more
importance probably than ourselves--at all events quite as well as
countries much more thickly populated than our own. (Cheers.) We have all
of us read something about the old Roman triumphs--how the conquerors,
when they went forth and were successful, were granted a triumph, and in
this triumph were accompanied by the most beautiful of their captives,
and the most wonderful and singular of the animals they had taken, and
passed through the cities of which they were citizens, and received the
plaudits of their inhabitants. To-day we have granted a triumph, not to a
warrior who has killed thousands of his fellows, or added much to the
landed property of the country, but to one who has been a warrior
nevertheless, fighting many difficulties that many warriors had not to
contend with, and carrying his life in his hands, as warriors have done
of old, in leading those who are associated with him in the triumph here
to-day. (Cheers.) There was no beautiful captive in his train, and no
curious animals, as in the old Roman triumphs. All that we saw were some
dusty pack-horses, and some well-worn packsaddles; yet with these the
explorer has to proceed on his journey, and conquer the difficulties of
the desert, knowing that with such slender things to rely upon he must
hope to overcome the dangers, and endure to the end. (Cheers.) Gentlemen,
in the page of Australian Exploration, which is the sentiment attached to
my toast--in its pages there are to be read too many tragic stories. We
cannot think of the history of exploration without thinking with regret
of some of the names connected with it. What an extraordinary page is
that of Leichardt, of whom it has been said no man

'--knows his place of rest
Far in the cedar shade.'

"And yet so great is the interest which is taken in his fate that the
wildest stories of a convict in the gaols of a neighbouring colony have
been of interest to us, and have caused some of our fellow Australians to
send out a party to see if something could not still be heard of that
explorer. Then think of Burke and Wills, and what a tragic tale was
theirs--so nearly saved, so closely arrived to a place of safety, and yet
to miss it after all! I daresay there are hundreds here who, like myself,
saw their remains taken through our streets in the gloomy hearse on the
road to that colony which they had served so well; and we know that now
the country where they laid down their lives is brought under the hand of
pastoral settlement. They were the heroes of other lands; but have we not
heroes also of our own? (Loud cheering.) Have we not here the likeness of
a man who knew not what fear was, because he never saw fear who carried
out the thorough principle of the Briton in that he always persevered to
the end? And then, coming nearer to our own time, speaking by weeks and
months, had we not our opportunity of entertaining in the city the leader
of an expedition that successfully passed its way through the desert to
the shores of Western Australia? I refer to Colonel Warburton. When
speaking, upon that occasion, of the noble way in which the people of
Western Australia had received our explorer, I ventured to hope that
before many months we should have an opportunity of welcoming some
explorer from that colony. Gentlemen, the hour has come, and the man.
(Loud cheering.) For West Australia, though the least of the colonies in
population, has its exploring heroes too. (Cheers.) I have no doubt you
have read, within the last few days, all about the battle that Mr.
Forrest has had to fight with the spinifex desert, with unknown regions,
and hostile natives. While giving all praise to those Australian
explorers connected with this Australian Empire that is to be, I ask you
to join with me in drinking the health of the last and not the least, and
I now give you the toast of Australian Exploration, coupled with the name
of Mr. John Forrest." (Cheers.)

The toast was enthusiastically received, and three hearty cheers given.

Band: The Song of Australia.

Mr. John Forrest, who was received with loud cheers, said, "Mr. Chairman
and Gentlemen, I feel very proud that my name should be coupled with the
toast of Australian Exploration. I assure you I feel altogether unequal
to the toast so aptly proposed by our worthy chairman, my forte not being
public speaking; still, I will try to do as well as I can. (Cheers.)
Since I arrived at years of discretion, I have always taken a very deep
interest in exploration, and for the last five years I have been what is
generally termed in Western Australia The Young Explorer, as I have
conducted all the explorations that have been undertaken by our
Government. In the year 1869 I was instructed to accompany an expedition
as navigator, which was intended to be commanded by Dr. Mueller, of
Melbourne, to search for the remains of the late Dr. Leichardt, who
started from near Moreton Bay in 1848, I think. Dr. Mueller not having
arrived to take command as was anticipated, and the expedition having
been got ready, I was deputed to the command, and we went out about 500
miles to the eastward of the settled districts of our colony, in order to
find out whether the statements of the natives relative to the existence
of white men or their remains in the locality were correct or not. We
were out about five months. Although we did not suffer very much, as we
had sufficient water and sufficient provisions, still it was a very dry
season. We came back and settled that there were no remains--that, in
fact, the reports of the natives were unfounded, and that they referred
to the remains of horses lost by an explorer of our colony, Mr. Austin,
not many miles to the eastward. This was the first attempt at exploration
I had made, and, although I had been brought up to bush life, I knew very
little about exploration, as I found when I went out. I was made aware of
many things that I did not know about before, and I must say that I was a
much better second than a commander. After this I undertook to conduct an
exploration north-east from our colony to Sturt's Creek, where Mr. A.
Gregory came down about 1855, and down the Victoria River. This fell to
the ground; but our present Governor, Mr. Weld, had a great idea that we
should organize an expedition to come to this colony overland along the
coast--along the course which was previously taken by Mr. Eyre, I think
in 1841--and he requested me to take command. Of course I readily
acquiesced in his suggestion, and in 1870 we started on our journey; and
although we did not experience the difficulties Mr. Eyre experienced,
still we had some little difficulty, and we would have had a great deal
more, I have no doubt, if we had not had Mr. Eyre's experience to guide
us. Many people--in our colony, I mean--thought it was a very little
thing indeed we had done, as we had only travelled along another man's
tracks, although they gave us a very hearty and enthusiastic reception.
We reported that there was good country along the coast, and I am glad to
say that in the course of a year a telegraph line will be run across the
route we travelled. (Cheers.) I hope it will tend to unite more closely
than they are at present united the whole of the Australian colonies, and
especially this colony with our own. (Cheers.) There is a very great deal
of good country inland from the south coast; and if only water can be
procured, I am quite certain it will be the finest pastoral district of
West Australia. (Hear, hear.) I have no doubt the establishment of
telegraphic communication will tend to the settlement of that part of the
country, and I am very glad indeed that the Government of South Australia
have acted so liberally as to join with our Government in erecting the
line. (Cheers.) After this my exploration experience still increased, and
I tried very hard to get up another expedition; but, not being a wealthy
man, I had to depend upon others. I often represented that I would like
to go, and people talked about the matter, and then I thought I would
make an offer to the Government, which they might accept or not as they
liked. We have the good fortune to have in our colony a Governor--who, I
am sorry to say, is leaving shortly--who takes a great interest in
exploration. He had been an explorer himself, having, as he has often
told me, travelled across New Zealand with his swag on his back.
(Cheers.) He has always been a great supporter of mine, and done all he
could to forward exploration; and about two years ago I laid before him,
through the Commissioner of Crown Lands, a project which I was willing to
accomplish if he would recommend the granting of the necessary funds. In
a very complimentary reply he quite acquiesced with what I suggested, and
promised to lay it before the Legislative Council with the support of the
Government; and in 1873 the matter was brought before the Council. All I
asked was that the Government of West Australia would grant me some 400
pounds, and I would from my own private purse, and those of others who
had agreed to assist me, stand the remainder of the cost. (Cheers.) If
they granted me that sum, I was willing to undertake an exploration from
Champion Bay up to the Murchison, the head of which we did not know, and
strike the telegraph line for Port Darwin, it being left to my discretion
which course should be pursued. Four hundred pounds seems a paltry sum,
but there was some bitter opposition to its being granted, although by
the aid of the Government and other members it was voted. Last year was
the year when I should have undertaken the exploration, and I was, of
course, quite prepared to do so; but in the meantime a whole host of
expeditions from South Australia had come into the field. Mr. Giles, I
saw, had started from some part of the telegraph line westward, and I
heard afterwards that he had through some misunderstanding--I do not know
what it was; I only know by what I read in the papers--returned to
Adelaide. Then we heard that the South Australian Government had
despatched Mr. Gosse, and that the Honourable Thomas Elder--whom I have
the pleasure of meeting to-day--had despatched Colonel Warburton
(cheers)--to explore towards the same direction--as we judged from the
despatches and newspapers--that I intended to start from. I belong to the
Survey Department of West Australia, and was requested by the
Commissioner of Crown Lands and Surveyor-General, the Honourable Malcolm
Fraser, to superintend some surveys he specially wished undertaken that
season. I had an interview with the Governor, and he said very wisely he
did not wish to order me in any way; that it was no use running a race
with South Australia, and that as they were first in the field, although
we were the first to suggest the exploration, we should wait till the
next year, when, if the South Australian explorers were fortunate enough
to reach this colony, we should have no necessity to send an expedition,
and that if they did not, we should certainly profit by their experience.
I, being engaged in another service in which I took great interest, was
willing to wait for another year; and if, as Mr. Weld said, the South
Australians did not succeed, I would undertake it the next year, and
benefit by their experience. As it turned out, the expedition undertaken
by the Government, commanded by Mr. Gosse, did not succeed in reaching
the colony of Western Australia, and the expedition undertaken by Colonel
Warburton, under the auspices of my recent friend, the Honourable Thomas
Elder, reached our colony, but so far north that it did not add to the
knowledge of the route we had laid out for ourselves. He came out between
the 20th and 22nd degrees of latitude, whereas we started from the 26th,
and did not intend to go more north than that. After we heard--his
Excellency the Governor was away on a visit to New Zealand at the
time--that Mr. Gosse had turned back, although he had succeeded in
reaching a very great distance from the telegraph line, I had
instructions from the Colonial Secretary to equip an expedition at once.
If Mr. Gosse had succeeded, I am sure I would not have been here to-day;
but, as he did not succeed, I had orders to equip an expedition, and as I
was starting news arrived from the north-west coast by a coaster that
Colonel Warburton and his party had arrived. (Cheers.) This, of course,
gave us very great pleasure, and steps were at once taken to give him a
reception in Perth. (Cheers.) As soon as we heard that he had arrived,
our whole colony rose up to give him a welcome; and although what we did
did not come up with what you have given to us to-day--for our colony is
only a small one, with little over 30,000 inhabitants--still I am sure
that Colonel Warburton told you it was a kind reception. (Cheers.) I am
sorry to say that I was not able to be present when he was received,
though I waited some time in order to have that opportunity. The
opportunities for transport from our north-west settlements to the
capital are very few at a certain time of the year, and that was the time
when Colonel Warburton arrived in our settlements; so that in a matter of
700 or 800 miles, from Nicol Bay to Perth, he delayed unfortunately three
or four months. It was a very great pity that he should have been delayed
so long. After receiving addresses at Roeburne and Fremantle, the colonel
arrived just in time to be forwarded 250 miles to catch the mail, and
therefore he had not time, I know, to receive the reception that would
have been given him by the people of West Australia had he remained in
our colony a little longer. (Cheers.) All I can say is, that though what
has been done for Colonel Warburton cannot compare with what has been
done for us to-day, it was done in the same spirit, and we did our best.
(Cheers.) I am sure that I would have been very much pleased to have met
Colonel Warburton here this evening; but I understand that he is gone
upon a tour to his native land, and so I am deprived of the opportunity.
I have, however, had the pleasure of meeting other explorers, and I must
congratulate South Australia upon possessing so many explorers. I had no
idea that she could assemble so many, and that so young a man as myself
should be able to meet so many, all young men. I have read a great deal
of early explorations, and could tell you a good deal about them; but I
have no doubt you are just as well acquainted with their histories as I
am. I have only gleaned their history from books written by able men on
exploration; and I therefore need say little upon that subject, and will
content myself with a short reference to explorations of recent date. I
have already referred to Colonel Warburton. Mr. Gosse's is of more recent
date. I have never been able to read his journal to this day; but I hope
to be able to do so now. Through the kindness of Mr. Phillipson, of
Beltana, I was able to see his map of the country he passed over, with
which I am very well pleased; and, in spite of what some people have
said, I think that Mr. Gosse's exploration will be found of considerable
benefit to the colony, and that his action was one for which he deserved
very much credit. He travelled for some time in bad country, but, going
on, he got into good country; and that which he has described as the
Musgrave and Mann and Tomkinson Ranges I hope to see next year stocked
with South Australian sheep and cattle. (Cheers.) The country which Mr.
Gosse found is country abounding with any quantity of grass, with many
springs; and there are, perhaps, many more than I saw, for I kept along
Mr. Gosse's track; but I will say that I always found water where he said
that it would be found. (Cheers.) There is but one fault that I have to
find with him, and that is, that he did not say that water would be found
where I sometimes found it; but doubtless this arose from a very laudable
caution in an explorer, for had he stated that water would be found where
it failed it might have cost men their lives. One place he marked
springs, and if he had been mistaken there, we would have lost our lives;
but I am glad to say that we found there a very good spring indeed,
(cheers) enough to last all the sheep of South Australia, or at any rate
a good spring; and I am glad on this occasion to be able to thank him for
being so careful to mark permanent water where permanent water really
existed. Mr. Giles's exploration would have been as useful to me as Mr.
Gosse's, but unfortunately he did not return before I left the settled
districts of West Australia, and therefore I did not benefit by his work.
I am sure that my companions and myself feel very much the hearty
reception you have given us on this occasion. I cannot find words to
express my feelings on that point at all. I feel very deeply thankful,
and that is about all that I can say. (Loud cheers.) Six weary
travellers, travelling through the spinifex desert with about fifteen or
sixteen nearly knocked-up horses, not knowing whether they should find
water, or whether their lives were safe or not, I am sure that we could
not imagine that, after all our travels were over, we should receive such
a reception as we have received to-day. (Cheers.) I am sure that if any
stimulus is required to induce persons to become explorers, those who
witness our reception to-day ought to feel content. I am very proud of
the hearty and enthusiastic reception my companions and myself have met
with. I hope you will take the will for the deed, and in the absence of
better speaking on my part, consider that we are deeply thankful." (Loud

Sir H. Ayers, K.C.M.G., had much pleasure in proposing a toast that had
been allotted to him, and made no doubt that the company would have equal
pleasure in responding to it. The toast was Early Explorers, and he had
been requested to associate with it the name of Mr. John Chambers.
(Cheers.) It seemed to be the lot of poor human nature that whenever we
met for rejoicing there was always sure to be some little mournful
circumstance attending it, and we could scarcely think of the early
explorers without remembering with regret the noble leaders and brave
members of former expeditions who have now passed to their eternal rest.
There was the name of Sturt that came first in the list of our old
explorers. There was the name and the likeness of a man far more familiar
to many of them. There was Kekwick, and more recently poor McKinlay--all
gone to their last account. But still he was proud to see, and he was
sure it formed a source of gratification to that company, and especially
so to our guest, so many brave men at the table who had been companions
of those leaders and others in the early expeditions of this country.
(Cheers.) He said it with pride, that in no other Australian colony could
be seen such a group as sat at that table who had gone through the
hardships and dangers of exploration; for with one or two exceptions all
of them in the row were explorers. It was hardly possible for us to
estimate how much we had benefited by those who had opened up the country
for us. We were few in numbers and could not appreciate the work of the
explorer; but generations yet unborn would bless the names of those men
who had carried it out. (Cheers). He thought that it was doing only a
just tribute to associate the name of Mr. John Chambers with this toast,
because it might not be known to all present that Mr. Chambers, with his
late brother James and Mr. W. Finke, enabled Mr. Stuart to accomplish the
journeys that he made throughout the continent. (Cheers.) It was their
capital and his great skill, for in the face of so many explorers he was
not ashamed to say that Mr. McDouall Stuart was the greatest explorer
that ever lived. It was their capital that had enabled him to perform the
work which he had done, and for which his name would remain as a monument
for ever in the memories of South Australians. For not only were we
indebted to Stuart for the most valuable discoveries he had made, but he
thought Mr. Todd would say that his indications had proved the most
accurate. But he had also done a great thing for exploration in changing
the modus operandi. He had been one of Sturt's party that went out with
bullock-drays; but he had had genius, and had changed all that, starting
upon exploring with light parties, and thus being able to accomplish so
much, and he was glad to say that explorers since had followed up the
same plan with great success. (Cheers.) And they were still further
indebted to the Messrs. Chambers. They had not only assisted in
discovering far-off country, but had been the first to invest their
capital in stocking it and making it useful. He was sorry to see that
there were not more Messrs. Chambers to go and do likewise; but he
thought he saw signs of the spread of settlement further, for the toe of
the agriculturist was very near upon the heel of the sheep-farmer, and if
the sheep-farmers did not look out and get fresh fields and pastures new,
they would soon find that the agriculturist was all too near. That was a
question that he enlarged upon, especially in another place; but as
brevity seemed to be the order of the night, he would only ask them to
drink the health of The Early Explorers, coupled with the name of Mr.
John Chambers.

The toast was received with three cheers.

Band: Auld lang syne.

Mr. J. Chambers rose amid cheers, and said that he was proud to say that
he had been connected with the earliest of our explorations, having been
associated with the gallant Captain Sturt in his exploration of the
Murray. After his arrival in the colony he had first travelled with him
and the then Governor, the late Colonel Gawler, in exploring the south.
They had had no difficulties and dangers to encounter then that some of
the explorers of the present had to go through, and, although they
travelled with heavy bullock-drays, managed to have plenty of water and
food. Their principal difficulty lay in getting through the ranges to the
south, and the interminable creeks and gullies which they got into and
had to retrace their steps from. This was a small matter of exploration,
and might at the present day appear absurd; but then there were doubts
where the Angas was, and whether the Onkaparinga in Mount Barker District
was not the Angas, and when beyond the hills they did not know whether
Mount Barker was not Mount Lofty, and whether Mount Lofty was not some
other mount. It was, however, done, and, having settled these matters by
observation, they returned to Adelaide after an exploration of three
weeks. They were on their return made small lions of, although they had
not had to fight the natives, and had had bullock-drays with them, while
their horses were in rather better condition than when they went out.
There was no doubt that the subject of exploration was one of the most
important to be considered by those who in the future would have to do
with the country, as it was always well to have information beforehand;
and, if Governor Gawler and Captain Sturt had known more, there would
have been a different result to their exploration journey up the Murray.
The gallant Captain Sturt had made Cooper's Creek his depot, and that
place twelve months ago had been looked upon as a home by persons in
search of country with a view of stocking it. His youngest son had been
round there for five months, and had penetrated the country far and wide,
and had often to retrace his steps there for water. They had heard from
the young explorer, Mr. Forrest, how it was said when he came here before
that he had only traversed the tracks of Mr. Eyre. So be it, and often
was it said that Mr. Eyre did no good because he kept to the coast; but
they had heard from Mr. Forrest that the tracks and descriptions of Mr.
Eyre were of vast assistance to him. (Cheers.) Therefore no man could
tell what good he might do; the finding of a spring in a desert might
eventually become of great service to the descendants of those who lived
at the time. There were some whom he wished could have been there, but
Providence had ordained the contrary, and therefore he stood before them
to say that it was for no purpose of self-aggrandizement, but for the
purpose of good to the nation, that the early expeditions were promoted
and conducted (cheers) and that the object of James Chambers, Finke,
Stuart, and himself was to span this colony for the purpose of allowing a
telegraph line to be laid. (Cheers.) When we read of the many times that
Stuart was driven back by the force of circumstances, it could easily be
conceived that he possessed a very energetic spirit. It was not once or
twice that Stuart was driven back, but he was determined to penetrate the
continent for the purpose, he was proud to know, of paving the way for
telegraphic communication; and had it not been for his brother, Mr.
Stuart, and himself, he was proud to say, we should not this day have had
the telegraph. It was often said that there never would be a telegraph
line, but their answer was always "yes." (Cheers). He thanked them
heartily for the position in which they had placed him and Mr. Stuart's
companions, and which they all appreciated. (Cheers).

Mr. J.W. Billiat, who was imperfectly heard, also responded. He said that
when he went out with Mr. Stuart he was only a new chum; but he went out
and came back again, and there he was. He could not say much about Mr.
Stuart's explorations, as all that needed to be said had been so ably put
by Sir Henry Ayers. There was no country in the world that had so tried
the endurance and perseverance of the men on exploring expeditions as
South Australia had done, and explorers should receive all the credit
that could be given. He knew the difficulty of travelling country like
that Mr. Forrest had come across, as several of Mr. Stuart's party had
travelled upon it trying to strike the Victoria River. If Mr. John
Chambers's liberality were known, and the way he had entered into the
question of exploration generally were known, his name would be brought
into more prominence than it had. He had sat in the background, but he
had found both money and energy.

The Honourable W. Everard (Commissioner of Crown Lands) said the toast he
had to give was The Government and People of Western Australia. Owing to a
variety of circumstances, our relations with Western Australia had not
been so intimate or close as those with the eastern colonies. That would
be readily understood, because Western Australia, being a small colony,
and self-reliant and independent, had troubled us very little--
occasionally for a few tons of flour or a cargo of notions. Another reason
was that it had not had telegraphic communication with us or the rest of
the world, and it was separated from us by a large extent of country which
till lately was considered little better than a howling wilderness. He was
happy to say that by the enterprise of Western Australia the magic wire
which annihilated time and distance would be laid between the two colonies
before long; and he was happy to say the Legislature here had agreed to
construct the South Australian part of the line, so that Western Australia
would be placed in communication, not only with South Australia, but the
world. (Cheers.) And again, with reference to that large tract of hitherto
supposed desert country which lay between the two colonies, the experience
of the gallant men he saw around him, and not only of the Messrs. Forrest,
but of Warburton, Gosse, and Giles, had shown that it contained grassy
valleys, mountain ranges, and permanent waters, and he believed that
before long it would be occupied by squatters. We must remember that, in
South Australia, close upon the heels of the explorer came the squatter
with his flocks and herds, and he even was not long left in quiet
enjoyment; and if his runs were good they were soon taken from him for
agricultural purposes. Considering the progress that we were making in
agriculture, it was high time we sought to enlarge our borders. Although
it was true that the band of explorers who were now before them had only
made a line through the country, we must remember that it would be a
base-line for future operations. Their work was very different to making
a forced march of two or three days when it was known there was permanent
water ahead. The explorer had carefully and deliberately to feel his way
into unknown country, and if he went a mile or two too far he could not
retrace his steps, and we could not attach too much importance to the
services of those individuals who had risked their lives in that way. It
was said, when Edward John Eyre made that wonderful journey of his along
the coast of Western Australia, that he had done nothing but gone along
the coast; but along that very line there would be a telegraph to connect
this colony with Western Australia. (Cheers.) It was true that Western
Australia was the smallest of the Australian group, and she had not
perhaps been so favoured as South Australia, as her country was not so
good; but he believed, from the enterprise of her Government, and the
courage, perseverance, and endurance shown by some of her sons, that she
would yet take her place among the Australian group, and that at some
future date she would be one of the provinces which would form one united
Australia. (Cheers.)

The toast was drunk with cheers.

Mr. Alexander Forrest responded. He said he thanked them most cordially
for having associated his name with that of the Government and people of
Western Australia. He had had the honour for the last four years of being
employed in the service of the Western Australian Government, and he
could assure them that they had a very good Government. They had
representative government, although not responsible government; but since
they had been on their trip they had heard that it was proposed to
establish constitutional government. He did not believe it would make
much difference, but personally he was glad to see it. The people would
have the management of their own money, and that he considered a good
thing, for they were never satisfied till they had the control over it.
When the party left, all the people of Western Australia were longing to
do honour to and entertain Colonel Warburton; and, although they were a
small people, they did their best, and what they did they did heartily.
(Cheers.) If Mr. Gosse had got over they would have given him also a good
reception. He had not expected to see as many people as he had seen that
day. The streets were crowded, and, wherever he looked, some one seemed
to be looking in that direction. (Laughter.) The toast included the
people of Western Australia, and he could assure them that, as he had
travelled through the length and breadth of the land, he knew every man
in it, every squatter, every farmer, every rich man, every poor man, and
every magistrate. This was not the first time that he had been exploring,
as he accompanied his brother to this colony four years ago, and in 1871
the Government sent him out in command of a party to find new land, when
he went out about 600 miles. He thanked them for the very kind way in
which they had spoken of his companions. Since they came to this colony
they had been fed and clothed, and no one would take any money. (Cheers.)
In the city he expected something great, but in the Burra, Gawler, and
other places where they did not expect it, they had met with a hearty
reception. He saw a great improvement in Adelaide. When he came here four
years ago, the colony was not in such a good state, and a great many men
were out of work; but now everything was in good order, and he believed
South Australia would be one of the first colonies of Australia.


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