The Overland Expedition of The Messrs. Jardine
Messrs. Jardine [Byerley ed.]

Part 1 out of 3

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Amy Zelmer

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[Plate: F. & A. JARDINE. Black and white photograph.]
























THE Settlement of Northern Australia has of late years been of such
rapid growth as to furnish matter for a collection of narratives,
which in the aggregate would make a large and interesting volume.
Prominent amongst these stands that of the Settlement of Cape York,
under the superintendence of Mr. Jardine, with which the gallant trip
of his two sons overland must ever be associated. It was a journey
which, but for the character and qualities of the Leader, might have
terminated as disastrously as that of his unfortunate, but no less
gallant predecessor, Kennedy. A brilliant achievement in
exploration, in a colony where exploring has become common and almost
devoid of interest, from the number of those yearly engaged in it,
its very success has prevented its attracting that share of public
attention to which its results very fully entitled it. Had it been
attended with any signal disaster, involving loss of life, it would
have been otherwise. Geographically, it has solved the question
hitherto undecided of the course of the northern rivers emptying into
the Gulf of Carpentaria, of which nothing was previously known but
their outlets, taken from the charts of the Dutch Navigators. It has
also made known, with tolerable definiteness, how much, or rather,
how little, of the "York Peninsula" is adapted for pastoral
occupation, whilst its success in taking the first stock overland,
and forming a cattle station at Newcastle Bay, has insured to the
Settlement at Somerset a necessary and welcome supply of fresh meat,
and done away with its dependence for supplies on importations by sea
of less nourishing salt provision.

Starting from the then farthest out-station of Northern Queensland
with a small herd of cattle, these hardy young bushmen met with and
successfully combated, almost every "accident by flood and field"
that could well occur in an expedition. First, an arid waterless
country forced them to follow down two streams at right angles with
their course for upwards of 200 miles, causing a delay which betrayed
them into the depths of the rainy season; then the loss of half their
food and equipment by a fire, occasioned by the carelessness of some
of the party; next the scarcity of grass and water, causing a further
delay by losses of half their horses, which were only recovered to be
again lost altogether -- killed by eating a deadly poison plant; and
finally, the setting in of the wet season, making the ground next to
impassable, and so swelling the rivers, that when actually in sight,
and within a week's journey of their destination, they were turned
off their course, and were more than six weeks in reaching it. Added
to this, and running through the whole journey, was the incessant and
determined, although unprovoked, hostility of the natives, which, but
for the unceasing vigilence and prompt and daring action of the
Brothers, might have eventually compassed the annihilation of the
whole party. Had Leichhardt used the same vigilance and decision the
life of poor Gilbert would not have been sacrificed, and in all
probability we should not now deplore his own loss. But the black
tribes which dogged the steps of each expedition, and amongst whom,
probably, were the slayers of Kennedy and Gilbert, met at the hands
of the Brothers the treatment they deserved. If the lessons were
severe, they were in every case of the native's own seeking, and were
administered in fair and open combat, in which few of the white party
were without having narrow escapes to record; but a providential good
fortune seemed to attend them, for every member got through the
journey without accident. An account has been furnished to the
newspapers in the form of a journal by Mr. Richardson, the Surveyor
appointed to accompany the expedition, but it is much too brief and
epitomized to do justice to the subject, and omits altogether the
detached and independant trips of the Brothers whilst exploring ahead
to find the best country through which to take the herd; and, as the
Brothers Jardine themselves would probably much rather repeat their
journey than write a full account of it, it has devolved on the
Editor to attempt to put before the public a compilation of their
journals in such form as will give the narrative sufficient interest
to carry with it the attention of the reader to the end. Although
the matter is ample, this is no easy task for an unpracticed pen, for
to the general reader, the usual monotonous details and entries of an
explorer's notes, which alone give them value to the geographer,
cannot be hoped to excite interest or command attention. But the
journey was full of incident, and the Brothers, although not
scientific naturalists, were keen sportsmen, excelling in all
exercises requiring strength and activity, who had acquired from
their training in the bush that sharpening of the senses and faculty
of observing, the peculiar result of a life in the wilds, which not
only so well fitted them for the conduct of such an expedition, but
also enabled them to note and describe with accuracy the various
interesting objects in botany and zoology met with in the course of
their journey. It is therefore hoped that there will be sufficient
to interest each class of reader. Aided by Mr. Jardine, senior, a
gentleman of large experience in both Botany and Natural History, the
Editor has been enabled to supply the generic names of the birds and
plants met with; which, in many cases, if not altogether new, are
interesting as determining the range and habitat of the birds, and
the zones of vegetation and trees; but it is to be regretted that
there was no one in the party having sufficient knowledge of drawing
to figure such objects, or to delineate some of the more striking
scenes and incidents of the journey. As these can now only be
supplied from the graphic descriptions given by the actors in them,
the Editor, without drawing too much on his imagination, has, in the
compilation of the journals, attempted in some cases to supplement
what was wanted in the text, so as to give the narrative such color
as would make it more readable than a mere journal, but in every case
rendering the descriptions of the prominent incidents of the journey
almost in the original words of the writers, merely adding as much as
would save the text from abruptness. He has adhered to the diurnal
form of narrative, for the sake of recording, for the benefit of
future travellers, the numbers, marks, latitude, etc., of each camp,
and endeavoured to compass by this composite method the value of a
work of record with the interest of a narrative.

It is also to be regretted that so long a time should have been
allowed to elapse between the end of the journey and the publication
of these pages. The causes of the delay are -- first, the
indisposition on the part of the Brothers to "go into print," their
modesty leading them to imagine they had done nothing worth "writing
about," nor was it until the writer pressed them to allow him to
compile and edit their journals that they consented to make them
public; next, the want of leisure on the part of the compiler, whose
official duties have prevented application to his task, save in
detached and interrupted periods; and last, by the difficulty of
making arrangements for publication at a distance.

If his labor secures to the young explorers the credit and praise
which is the just and due reward of a gallant achievement, and adds a
page of interest to the records of Australian Exploration, his aim
will have been attained, and he will be fully rewarded.

The Hermitage, 'Rockhampton, December', 1866.


IN presenting the following pages to the Reader, it may not be out of
place to take a retrospect of the progress of Australian Settlement
generally, and particularly in the young northern colony of

During the last six years the great question of the character of
Central Australia, in the solution of which the lives of the
unfortunate Leichhardt and his party have been sacrificed, has been
set at rest by the memorable trip of Burke and Wills, and no less
memorable, but more fortunate one of McDouall Stewart. The Search
Expeditions of McKinlay, Howitt, Landsborough, and Walker, have made
it still more familiar, their routes connecting the out-settlements
of South Australia with those of the Gulf Shores and East Coast, and
adding their quota of detail to the skeleton lines of Leichhardt,
Gregory, and Burke and Wills; whilst private enterprise has, during
that time, been busy in further filling in the spaces, and utilizing
the knowledge gained by occupying the waste lands thus opened up.

It is questionable whether the amount of available country thus made
known has not been dearly purchased, by the very large sums that have
been expended, and the valuable lives that have been lost in its
exploration; the arid and waterless wastes of the interior, which
have now been proved equally subject to terrific droughts and
devastating floods, make it improbable that the Settlements of the
North Coast and the Southern Colonies can be connected by a
continuous line of occupation for many years to come; the rich
pastoral tracts of Arnheim's Land, the Victoria River, the Gulf
Coast, and Albert and Flinders Rivers, are thus the only localities
likely to be made use of for the present; these, however, have been
known since the first explorations of Leichhardt and Gregory; we are
forced, therefore, to the conclusion that the results of the
subsequent expeditions are not commensurate with their cost and
sacrifices, and to consider whether further exploration may not be
safely left to private enterprise.

Let us now glance at what has been done since 1860 in the way of
occupation. South Australia has founded on theNorth Coast a
Settlement at Adam Bay, on the Adelaide River, but its progress seems
to have been marked from the onset by misfortune. The officer
charged with its formation, in a short time managed to raise so
strong a feeling of dissatisfaction and dislike amongst the settlers
as to call for a Commission of Enquiry on his administration, which
resulted in his removal. His successor seems, by latest accounts to
have raised up no less dislike, the difference of his rule being
likened by the papers to that of the fabled kings, Log and Stork.
The site of the Settlement, Escape Cliffs, has been universally
condemned; one charge against the first Resident being, that it was
selected in opposition to the almost unanimous opinion of the
colonists. The subject was referred for final report to John
McKinley, the well-known Explorer, who, bearing out the general
opinion, at once condemned it, and set out to explore the country in
search for a better. In this he has not discovered any new locality,
but has recommended Anson Bay, at the mouth of the Daly, a site
previously visited, but rejected by the first Resident. Previous to
his visit to Anson Bay, Mr. McKinlay started with a well-equiped
party for an exploring trip, which was to last twelve months. At the
end of five he returned, after one of the most miraculous escapes of
himself and party from destruction on record, having only penetrated
to the East Alligator River, about 80 miles from Adam Bay; here he
became surrounded by floods, and only saved his own and the lives of
his party (loosing all else) by the desperate expedient of making a
boat of the hides of their horses, in which they floated down the
swollen river, and eventually reached the Settlement. It is not
improbable that in some such a flood poor Leichhardt and his little
band lost their lives, and all trace of their fate has been
destroyed. These experiences have caused some doubt and despondency
as to the future of the new Settlement, and the question is now being
agitated in the South Australian Parliament as to the desirability or
not of abandoning it.

Western Australia has formed the Settlements of Camden Harbor, and
Nickol Bay. The latter (the country around which was explored by Mr.
Francis Gregory, brother to the Surveyor-General of Queensland, in
1861), appears to have progressed favorably, the Grey, Gascoigne,
Oakover and Lyons Rivers affording inducements to stockholders to
occupy them, but the Settlement of Camden Harbor at the time of the
visit of Mr. Stow in his boat-voyage from Adam Bay to Champion Bay,
was being abandoned by the colonists, the country being unsuitable
for stock, and it would appear from that gentleman's account that the
whole of the north-west coast of the continent, from its general
character, offers but little inducement for settlement.

[footnote] *Since this was written the settlement has been abandoned.
[NOTE -- the footnote in the INTRODUCTION does not have a referent in
the text -- there is no asterisk in the text. It is not clear
whether the 'settlement' it refers to as having been abandoned is at
Adam Bay or in Western Australia.]

The explorations of Francis Gregory to the eastward from Nickol Bay,
and of the Surveyor-General to the south from the Victoria River,
were both arrested by wastes of drift-sand, whilst those from the
western seaboard have not been extended further inland than to more
than an average of 3 degrees of longitude. It may reasonably be
doubted, therefore, whether settlement will be much extended in that

Queensland, more fortunate in the character of the country, has, on
her part, successfully established six new settlements, to wit,
Mackay, at the Pioneer River; Bowen, Port Denison; Townsville,
Cleveland Bay; Cardwell, Rockingham Bay; Somerset, Cape York; and
Burke Town, at the Albert River; and there can be little doubt but
that the country of the Gulf shores and the northern territory of
South Australia must be 'stocked', if not settled, from the same
source. Already have our hardy pioneers driven their stock out as
far as the Flinders, Albert, Leichhardt, and Nicholson Rivers, the
Flinders and Cloncurry having been stocked along their length for
some time past. On the South and West, the heads of the Warrego, the
Nive, Barcoo, and Thompson have also been occupied, some of the
stations being between four and five hundred miles from the seaboard,
whilst the surveyors of the Roads Department have extended their
surveys as far as the two last-named rivers, for the purpose of
determining the best and shortest lines of communication. The
Government, with wise liberality, has facilitated the access from the
seaboard to the interior, by the expenditure of large sums in
constructing and improving passes through the Coast Range on four
different points, and by the construction of works on the worst
portions of the roads, have largely reduced the difficulties of
transport for the out-settlers. Bowen, a town which had no existence
six years ago, has been connected with Brisbane by the telegraph
wire, and ere another twelve months have elapsed the electric flash
will have placed Melbourne, in Victoria, and Burke Town, on the Gulf
of Carpentaria, "on speaking terms," the country between the latter
place and Cleveland Bay having been examined and determined on for a
telegraph line by the experienced explorer Walker for that purpose.

Of the six new settlements that have been called into existence, two,
Bowen and Townsville, have been incorporated, and are now, together
with Mackay, straining in the race to secure the trade of the western
interior. Cardwell has experienced a check, in consequence of an
undue haste in the adoption of a line of road over its Coast Range,
which is too difficult to be generally adopted, and will probably be
abandoned for a better since discovered; but its noble harbour is too
good, and the extent of back country it commands too extensive in
area, for it not ultimately to take its place as an important port.
Burke Town is but starting into existence, but already supplies the
settlers of the Flinders and other Gulf rivers with which it has
opened communication. Mr. William Landsborough, the well-known
explorer, has been charged with the administration of its affairs,
and a survey staff has been despatched to lay out the lands. Vessels
now trade direct from Brisbane with some regularity, which services
will, no doubt, soon be re-placed by steamers.

But it is with Somerset, Cape York, that we have more especial
concern. In the August of 1862, Sir George Bowen, Governor of
Queensland, being on a voyage of inspection to the Northern Ports, in
Her Majesty's Steamer "Pioneer," visited Port Albany, Cape York, and
on his return, in a despatch to the Imperial Government, recommended
it for the site of a Settlement, on account of its geographical
importance, as harbor of refuge, coaling station, and entrepot for
the trade of Torres Straits and the Islands of the North Pacific.
The following year the formation of a Settlement was decided upon,
the Home Government sending out a detachment of Marines to be
stationed there, and assist in its establishment. The task of
establishing the new Settlement was confided to Mr. Jardine, then
Police Magistrate of Rockhampton, than whom, perhaps, no man could be
found more fitted for its peculiar duties. An experienced official,
a military man, keen sportsman, and old bushman, he possessed, in
addition to an active and energetic temperament, every quality and
experience necessary for meeting the varied and exceptional duties
incident to such a position. It was whilst making the arrangements
for the expedition by sea, which was to transport the staff,
materiel, and stores of the Settlement, that Mr. Jardine, foreseeing
the want of fresh provision, proposed to the Government to send his
own sons, Frank and Alexander, overland with a herd of cattle to form
a station from which it might be supplied. This was readily acceded
to, the Government agreeing to supply the party with the services of
a qualified surveyor, fully equipped, to act as Geographer, by noting
and recording their course and the appearance of the country
traversed, and also horses, arms, and accoutrements for four native
blacks, or as they are commonly called in the colonies, Black-boys.
Although the account of poor Kennedy's journey from Rockingham Bay to
Cape York, in which his own and half his party's lives were
sacrificed, was not very encouraging for the intended expedition, Mr.
Jardine never for a moment doubted of its success, and looked forward
to meeting his sons at Somerset as a matter of course. In the prime
of youth and health (their ages were but 22 and 20), strong, active,
and hardy, inured to the life and habits of the bush, with an
instinct of locality, which has been alluded to as having "la
Boussole dans la tete," they were eminently fitted for the task, and
eagerly undertook it when proposed. How well they carried it out,
although, unfortunately, with so little benefit to themselves, is
here recorded. Had poor Wills been associated with such companions
there would have been a different tale to tell to that which lends so
melancholy an interest to his name, and we should now have him
amongst us to honor, instead of a monument to his memory, a monument,
which in honoring the dead, rebukes the living.

The loss of three-fourths of their horses, and a fifth of their
cattle, together with a large equipment, has made the enterprise of
the Messrs. Jardine, speaking financially, little short of a failure,
but at their age the mind is resilient, and not easily damped by
misfortune. On their return to Brisbane the Government, with kind
consideration, proposed to place such a sum on the Estimates of
Parliament as would indemnify them, and at the same time mark its
sense of the high merit and importance of their journey, but this,
through their father, they respectfully declined, Frank Jardine
giving as his reason, that as the expedition was a private enterprise
and not a public undertaking, he did not consider himself entitled to
any indemnity from the public. Opinions may be divided on such a
conclusion, but in it we cannot but recognise a delicacy and nobility
of sentiment as rare, unfortunately, as it is admirable. Yet, if
they have thus voluntarily cut themselves off from the substantial
rewards which have hitherto recompensed other explorers, they are
still entitled to the high praise and commendation of all who admire
spirit and determination of purpose, and cannot be insensible to
their applause. And it is in recognition that such is their due,
that the writer has undertaken to bring this narrative before the


Start from Rockhampton -- Alexander Jardine explores the Einasleih --
Newcastle Range -- Pluto Creek -- Canal Creek -- Basaltic Plateau --
Warroul Creek -- Parallel Creek -- Galas Creek -- Porphyry Islands --
Alligators' tracks -- Bauhinia Plains -- Discovers error as to River
Lynd -- Return -- The Nonda -- Burdekin duck -- Simon's Gap --
Arrival of the cattle -- Preparation for final start.

On the 14th of May, 1864, the overland party which was to take cattle
to the new settlement at Cape York, was started by Mr. Frank Jardine,
from Rockhampton, under the charge of his brother Alexander. It
comprised ten persons, with thirty-one horses. The instructions were
to travel by easy stages to Port Denison, and there wait the arrival
of the Leader. In the following month, Mr. Jardine, senior, taking
with him his third son John, sailed for Brisbane, and shortly after
from thence to Somerset, Cape York, in the Eagle, barque, chartered
by the Government, for transport of material, etc., arriving there at
the end of June.

Mr. Frank Jardine, taking with him the surveyor attached to the
expedition, Mr. A. J. Richardson, arrived at Bowen by sea, about the
middle of July, when the party was again moved forward, he himself
starting off to make the purchase of the cattle. Five more horses
were purchased on account of the Government in Bowen, for Mr.
Richardson, making a total of forty-two. The prevalence of
pleuro-pneumonia made it a matter of some difficulty for Mr. F.
Jardine to get suitable stock for his purpose, and caused
considerable delay. Arrangements having at length been made with Mr.
William Stenhouse, of the River Clarke, the party was divided at the
Reedy Lake Station, on the Burdekin, Mr. A. Jardine moving forward
with the pack horses and equipment, leaving the Leader with Messrs.
Scrutton and Cowderoy, and three black boys to muster and fetch on
the cattle. The advance party started on the 17th August, and
arrived at Carpentaria Downs, the station of J. G. Macdonald, Esq.,
on the 30th. This was at that time the furthest station to the North
West, and was intended to be made the final starting point of the
expedition, by the permission of Mr. Macdonald, from whom the party
received much kindness. On their way they were joined by Mr. Henry
Bode, a gentleman who was in search of country to occupy with stock.
After remaining in camp at Carpentaria Downs for a few days, Mr. A.
Jardine decided on utilizing the interval, which must elapse before
his brother could re-join him with the cattle, by exploring the
country ahead, so as to faciliate the march of the stock on the final
start. Accordingly, leaving the camp in charge of Mr. Richardson,
with Mr. Binney, and two black boys, he started on the 3rd of
September, taking with him the most trusty of his black boys, "old
Eulah," and one pack-horse, and accompanied by Mr. Bode, who took
advantage of the opportunity to have a look at the country. As Mr.
Bode had his own black boy with him, the party comprised four, with
two pack-horses, carrying provision for three weeks. About the same
time Mr. Macdonald started with a party of three to find a road for
his stock to the Gulf, where he was about to form a station; the
account of which trip has been published bythat gentleman.

The stream on which Carpentaria Downs station is situated was
supposed to be the "Lynd" of Leichhardt and was so called and known;
but as this was found to be an error, and that it was a tributary of
the Gilbert, it will be distinguished by the name it subsequently
received, the Einasleih. Keeping the right bank of the river which
was running strongly two hundred yards wide, the party travelled six
miles to a small rocky bald hill, under which they passed on the
north side; and thence to a gap in a low range, through which the
river forces its way. Travelling down its bed for a
quarter-of-a-mile, they crossed to its left bank, on to a large level
basaltic plain; but here the extent of the rocky ground made the
travelling so bad for the horses, although shod, that it was
impossible to proceed, and the river was therefore re-crossed. Five
miles more of rough travelling over broken stony ironbark ridges,
brought them to a second gorge, formed by two spurs of a range,
running down to the river banks on either side, where they camped,
having made about 15 miles on a general course of N.W. by N. To the
south of this gorge, and running parallel with the river, is a high
range of hills, which received the name of the Newcastle Range.
(Camp I.)

'September' 4. -- Resuming their journey, the party passed through a
gap in the northern spur, described yesterday, about a
quarter-of-a-mile from the camp. From this gap a point of the range
on the south side was sighted, running into the river, and for this
they steered. At 4 miles a small lagoon was passed, 300 yards out
from the river, and a quarter-of-a-mile further on, a broad, shallow,
sandy creek(then dry), which was named "Pluto Creek." At 8 miles a
small rugged hill was passed on the left hand, and the point of the
range steered for reached at 9. At 12 a large well-watered creek was
crossed, and the party camped at the end of 18 miles on a similar
one. The general course N.N.W., and lay chiefly over very stony
ridges, close to the river banks. The timber was chiefly box,
iron-bark, and melaleuca, the latter growing in the shallow bed, in
which also large granite boulders frequently occurred. Though
shallow, it contained fine pools and reaches of water, in some of
which very fine fish were observed. Eighteen miles (Camp II.)

'September' 5. -- After crossing the creek, on which they had camped,
at its junction, the party followed down a narrow river flat for four
miles, to where a large sandy creek joins it from the north. The
steepness of its banks and freedom from fallen timber, suggested the
name of "Canal Creek" -- it is about 80 yards wide. Two miles
further down a small creek joins, and at 12 miles a high rocky hill
was reached. From this hill a bar of granite rock extends across the
river to a similar one on the south side. A fine view was obtained
from its summit showing them the course of the river. Up to this
point the course had been N.W. After passing through a gap,
immediately under and on the north of the rocky hill they were forced
by the river into a northerly course for two miles, at which they
crossed a spur of the range running into it, so rugged that they were
obliged to lead their horses. Beyond this they emerged on to a
basaltic plain, timbered with box and bloodwood, and so stony as to
render the walking very severe for the horses. The basalt continued
for the rest of the day. At about 18 miles a large creek was
crossed, running into an ana-branch. The banks of the river which
border the basaltic plain are very high and steep on both sides.
Running the ana-branch down for four miles, the camp was pitched,
after a tedious and fatiguing day's march. (Camp III.)

'September' 6. -- The ana-branch camped on last night being found to
run parallel to the course of the river, received the name of
Parallel Creek. Its average width is about 150 yards, well watered,
and full of melaleucas and fallen timber. The country on its north
bank down to its junction with the river 20 miles from the junction
of Warroul Creek, is broken into ridges of quartz and sand-stone,
stony, and poorly grassed. That contained between its south bank and
the river, the greatest width of which is not more than three miles,
is a basaltic plateau, terminating in precipitous banks on the river,
averaging 50 feet in perpendicular height. To avoid the stones on
either side, there being no choice between the two, the party
travelled down the bed of Parallel Creek the whole day. At about 9
miles stringy bark appeared on the ridges of the north bank. Large
flocks of cockatoo parrots ('Nymphicus Nov. Holl.') were seen during
the day, and a "plant" of native spears was found. They were neatly
made, jagged at the head with wallaby bones, and intended for
throwing in the Wommerah or throwing stick. At the end of 20 miles
the party reached the junction of Parallel Creek with the river and
encamped. The general course was about N.W. (Camp IV.)

'September' 7. -- The party was now happily clear of the basaltic
country, but the travelling was still none of the best, the first
nine miles of to-day's stage being over stony ridges of quartz and
iron-stone, interspersed with small, sandy, river flats. At this
distance a large creek of running water was crossed, and the camp
pitched at about two miles from its junction with the Einasleih. The
creek received the name of Galaa Creek, in allusion to the galaa or
rose cockatoo ('Cacatua Rosea'), large flocks of which were
frequently seen. The junction of Galaa Creek is remarkable for two
porphyritic rock islands, situated in the bed of the river, which is
here sandy, well watered, and about 300 yards wide. The grass was
very scarce, having been recently burned. The timber chiefly
iron-bark and box. Course N.W. 1/2 W., distance 10 miles (Camp V.)

'September' 8. -- To-day the river was followed down over low broken
stony ranges, having their crests covered with "garrawan" scrub for 5
miles, when the party was gratified by an agreable change in the
features of the country. Instead of the alternative of broken
country, stony ridges, or basaltic plains they had toiled over for
nearly 80 miles, they now emerged on to fine open well-grassed river
flats, lightly timbered, and separated by small spurs of ridges
running into them. A chain of small lagoons was passed at 12 miles,
teeming with black duck, teal, wood duck, and pigmy geese, whilst
pigeons and other birds were frequent in the open timber, a sure
indication of good country. At 13 miles a small creek was crossed,
and another at 18, and after having made a good stage of 25 miles the
party again camped on the Einasleih. At this point it had increased
to a width of nearly a mile, the banks were low and sloping, and the
bed shallow and dry. It was still nevertheless, well watered, the
stream, as is not unusual in many of our northern rivers, continuing
to run under the surface of the sand, and requiring very slight
digging or even scratching, to be got at. The general course
throughout the day was about N.W.1/2W. (Camp VI.)

'September' 9. -- The course down the river was resumed over similar
country to that of yesterday. Keeping at the back of some low
table-topped hills, at 5 miles the party struck a fine clear deep
lagoon, about two miles in from the river, of which it is the
overflow. A chain of small waterholes occurs at 12 miles, which were
covered with ducks and other water-fowl, whilst immense flocks of a
slate-colored pigeon were seen at intervals. They are about the same
size as the Bronzewing, and excessively wild.* The river, when again
struck, had resumed running. It was still sandy and full of the
graceful weeping melaleuca in the bed, where traces of alligators
were observed. The country traversed throughout the day was good,
but the small plains and flats were thought likely to be swampy in
wet weather. Another good stage of 26 miles was made, and the party
again camped on the river. The general course was due west. (Camp

[footnote] * 'The Phaps Histrionica, or Harlequin Bronzewing.'

'September' 10. -- Taking his course from the map he carried, shewing
the river running north-west, and depending on its correctness, Mr.
Jardine bore to the north-west for 15 miles, travelling over sandy
honey-combed rises, and low swampy plains, when he reached a
watershed to the north, which he then supposed must be the head of
Mitchell waters, finding himself misled by his map and that he had
left the river altogether, he turned south by west and did not reach
it before the end of 8 miles on that bearing, when the party camped
on a small ana-branch. The true course of the river would thus be
about W. by N. Total distance 23 miles. (Camp VIII.)

'September' 11. -- This day's journey was over fine country. The
first course was N.W. for about 5 miles, to a large round shallow
lagoon, covered with quantities of wild fowl, and thence, following
the direction of the river into camp about 13 miles, over a
succession of large black soil plains covered with good grasses,
mixed herbs, and salt bush. The principal timber being bauhinia,
suggested the name of "Bauhinia Plains." Their width back from the
river extended to an average of six miles, when they were bounded by
low well-grassed iron-bark ridges. The river was broad and sandy,
running in two or three channels, and occasionally spreading into
long reaches. Large ana-branches, plentifully watered, left the main
channel running back from it from 1 to 3 miles. A great many fishing
weirs were observed in the channels of the river, from which it would
appear that the blacks live much, if not principally, on fish. They
were well and neatly constructed. (Camp IX.)

'September' 12. -- Alexander Jardine, having now travelled 180 miles
from Carpentaria Downs, was convinced that the river he had traced
this distance could not be the Lynd of Leichhardt. The reasons which
forced this conclusion on him were three: -- Firstly, the discription
of the country in no wise tallied. Secondly, the course of the river
differed. And thirdly, although he had travelled further to the west
than Leichhardt's junction of the Lynd and Mitchell, he had not even
been on Mitchell waters, the northern watershed he had been on, on
the 10th, being that of a small creek, doubling on itself, and
running into this river. Having thus set the matter at rest in his
own mind, he determined to re-trace his steps, and accordingly
started back this morning and camped at night at the shallow lagoon,
passed the day previous. On the way they shot several ducks and a
bustard. These are very numerous on the plains, but wild and
unapproachable, as they most frequently are in the north. At each
camp on his journey Mr. Jardine regularly marked a tree A.J. and the
number of the Camp.

'September' 13. -- The party travelled back over Bauhinia Plains, and
camped on the river, near camp 8 of the outward journey. At night
they went fishing, and got a number of fine perch, and a small
spotted fish. Distance 24 miles.

'September' 14. -- To-day the party saw blacks for the first time
since leaving Carpentaria Downs. They "rounded them up," and had a
parley, without hostility on either side, each being on the
defensive, and observing the other. They bore no distinctive
character, or apparent difference to the Rockhampton tribes, and were
armed with reed speers and wommerahs. For the first time also they
met with the ripe fruit of the Palinaria, the "Nonda" of Leichhardt.
The distance travelled was 27 miles, which brought them to the 7th
camp on the outward journey.

'September' 15. -- Following up the course of the river, the 6th camp
was reached in 26 miles, where the feed was so good that Mr. Jardine
determined to halt for a day and recruit the horses. On the way they
again passed some natives who were fishing in a large lagoon, but
shewed no hostility. They had an opportunity of seeing their mode of
spearing the fish, in which they used a long heavy four-pronged
spear, barbed with kangaroo bones.

'September' 16. -- Was spent in fishing and hunting, whilst the
horses luxuriated in the abundant feed. They caught some perch, and
a fine cod, not unlike the Murray cod in shape, but darker and
without scales. At night, there being a fine moonlight, they went
out to try and shoot opossums as an addition to the larder, but were
unsuccessful. They appeared to be very scarce.

'September' 17. -- Resuming their journey, the party travelled 21
miles, to a spot about 4 miles below No. 5 camp, on Gaala Creek, and
turned out. Here they met with wild lucerne in great abundance, and
a great deal of mica and talc was observed in the river. During the
day Mr. Jardine shot a bustard, and some fish being again caught in
the evening, there was high feeding in camp at night. The bagging of
a bustard, or plain turkey as it is more commonly called, always
makes a red day for the kitchen. Its meat is tender and juicy, and
either roasted whole, dressed into steaks, or stewed into soup, makes
a grateful meal for a hungry traveller.

'September' 18. -- Keeping out some distance from its banks to avoid
the stones and deep gullies, the party followed up the river to the
junction of Parallel Creek: this was traced, keeping along its bed
for the same reason, by which course only they were enabled to avoid
them. These, as before described, were very thickly strewn making
the journey tedious and severe on the horses, so that only 14 miles
were accomplished, when they camped on a large waterhole five miles
above the junction. The beautiful Burdekin duck ('Tadorna Radjah')
was met with, of which Mr. Jardine shot a couple.

'September' 19. -- Still keeping along the bed of Parallel Creek, the
party travelled up its course. This they were constrained to do, in
consequence of the broken and stony banks and country on the east
side, whilst an abrupt wall of basalt prevented them leaving the bed
on the west. At 13 miles they camped for a couple of hours in the
middle of the day, on a large creek which received the name of
Warroul Creek, suggested by their finding two large "sugar bags" or
bees' nests on it, "Warroul" being the name for bee in the Wirotheree
or Wellington dialect. Warroul Creek runs into Parallel Creek from
the south-east, joining it about half-a-mile below where it leaves
the river, it being as before mentioned an ana-branch of the
Einasleih. Leaving Parallel and travelling up Warroul Creek, in 8
miles they reached the gap in the range 12 miles below camp No. 2.
This afterwards received the name of Simon's Gap, and the range it
occurs in, Jorgensen's Range, after Simon Jorgensen, Esq., of
Gracemere. Two miles, from the gap they struck a large round swamp
which had not been observed on the down journey, the party having
kept close to the river, from which it is distant two miles. This
was named "Cawana Swamp" There being good grass there, they camped.
Native companions ('Crus Australalasinus') and the more rare jabiru
('Myeteria Australis') were very numerous on it. Total distance 23

'September' 20. -- To-day the party made the lagoon mentioned on the
4th inst., a distance of 27 miles, traversing nearly the same ground
already described and camped. They again saw a mob of blacks fishing
in the river, who, on seeing them, immediately decamped into the
ranges on the opposite side and disappeared. The next day, Mr.
Macdonald's station, Carpentaria Downs was reached in 17 miles, the
little party having travelled over nearly 360 miles of ground in 18
days. Mr. Jardine found all well at the main camp, but no sign of
his brother with the cattle; fifteen days passed before his arrival,
during which time Alexander Jardine plotted up the courses of his
journey down the Einasleih, and submitted the plan to Mr. Richardson,
without, however, shaking the gentleman's faith as to his position,
or that they were on Leichhardt's Lynd, preferring to dispute the
accuracy of the reckoning. It will be seen, however, that the
explorer was right, and the surveyor wrong. It being expedient that
the party should husband their rations for the journey until the
final start, Mr. Macdonald kindly supplied them with what was
necessary for their present wants, thus allowing them to keep their own
stores intact.

On the 6th of October, Frank Jardine made his appearance with the
cattle, a mob of about 250 head of bullocks and cows in good
condition. The ensuing three days were spent by the brothers in
shoeing the horses, a job of no little tedium and difficulty, they
being the only farriers of the party. There were 42 head to shoe,
many of which had never been shod before, and as the thermometer
stood at 100 degrees in the shade most of the day, their office was
no sinecure; they had at first some difficulty in getting a
sufficient heat, but after a little experimenting found a wood of
great value in that particular. This was the apple-gum, by using
which, they could if necessary get a white heat in the iron. At the
end of the third day the last horse was shod, and it only remained to
get the stores and gear together, and dispose them on the different
packs. This was done on the 10th, on the evening of which they were
ready for the final start. The party was thus composed: Frank
Lacelles Jardine, Leader; Alexander Jardine, Archibald J. Richardson,
Government Surveyor; C. Scrutton, R. N. Binney, A. Cowderoy, Eulah,
Peter, Sambo and Barney, black boys from the districts of Rockhampton
and Wide Bay; 41 picked horses and 1 mule, all in good order and

Their provision was calculated to last them 4 months, and was
distributed together with the tools, amunition, and camp necessaries
on 18 packs, averaging at the start about 150 lbs. each. It
consisted of 1200 lbs. flour, 3 cwt. sugar, 35 lbs. of tea, 40 lbs.
currants and raisins, 20 lbs. peas, 20 lbs. jams, salt, etc. The
black troopers were armed with the ordinary double-barrelled police
carbine, the whites carrying Terry's breech-loaders, and Tranter's
revolvers. They had very ample occasion to test the value and
efficiency of both these arms, which, in the hands of cool men, are
invaluable in conflict.

The personalities of the party were reduced to a minimum, and what
was supposed to be absolutely necessary, one pack (the mule's) being
devoted to odds and ends, or what are termed in bush parlance,
'manavlins'. Three light tents only were carried, more for
protecting the stores than for shelter for the party.

All were in excellent health, and good spirits, and eager to make a start.


Start from Carpentaria Downs -- Order of Travel -- Canal Creek --
Cawana Swamp -- Simons' Gap -- Cowderoy's Bluff -- Barney's Nob --
Casualties in Parallel Creek -- Basaltic Wall -- Singular Fish --
Black Carbonado -- Improvement in Country -- Search for the Lynd --
Doubts -- First rain -- Error of Starting point -- Large ant-hills --
Ship's iron found -- Native nets -- Second start in search of Lynd --
Return -- Byerley Creek -- The whole party moves forward -- Belle
Creek -- Maroon Creek -- Cockburn Creek -- Short Commons -- Camp
Burned -- The Powder saved -- Maramie Creek -- The Staaten -- First
hostility of Natives -- Poison -- "Marion" abandoned -- Conclusion as
to River -- Heavy rain -- First attack of Natives -- Horses lost --
Barren Country -- Detention -- Leader attacked by Natives --
Black-boy attacked -- A "growl" -- Mosquitoes and flies -- Kites --
Cattle missing -- Horses found -- Leader again attacked -- Main party
attacked -- Return to the River -- Character of Staaten -- Lagoon
Creek -- Tea-tree levels -- Junction of Maramie Creek -- Reach head
of tide -- Confirmation of opinion.

'October' 11. -- At sunrise the cattle was started with Cowderoy and
two black-boys, Eulah and Barney, the former acting as pilot. Their
instructions were to camp at the swamp at the junction of Pluto
Creek, seventeen miles from McDonald's station, mentioned on 3rd.
September. The pack-horses were not got away until half-past 12,
two, "Rasper," and the mule (as often provokingly happens when most
wanted) being astray, and having to be hunted for. There was also
the usual amount of "bucking" incident to a start, the unpractised
pack-horses rebelling against the unwonted load and amount of gear,
and with a few vigorous plunges sending pack-bags, pots, hobbles, and
chains in scattered confusion all round them. Few starts of a large
party occur without similar mischances, but a day or two, suffices
for the horses to settle to their work, after which all goes
smoothly. The country travelled has been described in the preceding
chapter. A hill at five miles on Pluto Creek, received the name of
Mount Eulah. On reaching the swamp, the brothers found the cattle
party had not arrived. This was the first of many similar annoyances
during the journey. It being between 8 and 9 p.m., it was useless to
think of looking for them at that time of night. They therefore
encamped on the river, intending to return and run the tracks of the
cattle in the morning. The distance travelled was about 20 miles.

'October' 12. -- Leaving Binney in charge of the horses, with orders
to feed them about the Lagoon, where there was better grass than at
the river, the brothers started at sunrise in quest of the cattle
party. They met them at about five miles up Pluto Creek, which they
were running down. It appeared that Master Eulah, the pilot, had got
completely puzzled, and led the party into the ranges to the
eastward, where, after travelling all day, they had been obliged to
camp about half-way from the station, and without water. He was very
chop-fallen about his mistake, which involved his character as a
bushman. The Australian aborigines have not in all cases that
unerring instinct of locality which has been attributed to them, and
are, out of their own country, no better, and generally scarcely so
good as an experienced white. The brothers soon found water for them
in the creek under Mount Eulah; after which,returning to the camp, it
was too late to continue the journey, particularly as it had been
necessary to send one of "the boys" back for a bag of amunition that
had been lost on the way. This is the work they are most useful in,
as few, even of the best bushmen are equal to them in running a
track. The day's stage of the cattle was about 11 miles.

'October' 13. -- The cattle started at a quarter-to-six, in charge of
Alexander Jardine and two black-boys, while Frank and the rest of the
party remained behind to pack and start the horses. This at the
commencement was the usual mode of travelling, the horses generally
overtaking the cattle before mid-day, when all travelled together
till they camped at night, or preceded them to find and form the
camp. Two incidents occurred on the way: "Postman," a pack-horse on
crossing a deep narrow creek, fell and turned heels uppermost, where
he lay kicking helplessly, unable to rise, until the pack was cut
clear of him; and "Cerberus," another horse, not liking the
companionship of the mule, took occasion in crossing another creek to
kick his long-eared mate from the top to the bottom of it, to the
intense amusement of the black-boys, who screamed "dere go poor
fellow donkit" with great delight. The whole course was about 11
miles. The camp on a small dry creek. They procured water in the
main channel of the river, on the south side. During the journey at
every camp where there was timber, Mr. Jardine cut (or caused to be
cut) its number with a chisel into the wood of a tree, in Roman
numerals, and his initials generally in a shield.

'October' 14. -- The distance travelled to-day was only 11 miles, but
described by Mr. Jardine, as equal to 20 of fair travelling ground.
The course lay over very stony quartz and granite ridges, which could
not be avoided, as they ran into the river, whilst the bed of the
stream would have been as difficult, being constantly crossed by
rocky bars, and filled by immense boulders. The grass was very
scarce, the blacks having burnt it all along the river. There were
patches where it never grows at all, presenting the appearance of an
earthern floor. They encamped at the junction of Canal Creek, under
the shade of some magnificent Leichhardt trees ('Nauclea
Leichhardtii') that grow there, without other water than what they
dug for in the sandy bed, and reached at a depth of two feet. On the
opposite side and about a mile from the junction there is a swamp,
splendidly grassed, which looked like a green barley field, but the
water was too salt for the horses to drink, an unusual thing in
granite country. The timber of the ridges was cheifly stunted hollow
iron-bark, that of the river, bloodwood, and the apple-gum, described
as so good for forging purposes; there was a total absence of those
tall well-grown gums, by which the course of a stream may usually be
traced from a distance. So little was the river defined by the
timber that it could not be distinguished at a half-a-mile away.

'October' 15. -- The party moved to-day as far as the swamp mentioned
on the 19th September. It received the name of "Cawana Swamp," and
is described as the best and prettiest camping place they had yet
seen. It is surrounded by the high stoney range called Jorgensen's
Range on two sides, north and east, whilst on the south and east it
is hemmed in by a stretch of cellular basalt, which makes it almost
unapproachable. The only easy approach is by the river from the
westward. It is six miles round, and so shallow that the cattle fed
nearly a mile towards the middle. The party travelled out of the
direct course to avoid the stones, keeping the narrow flats occuring
between the river and ridges, which averaged about 200 yards in
width; when intercepted by the ridges running into the river, they
followed down its bed which is more clearly defined by oak
('Casuarinae') and Leichhardt trees than up the stream. The improved
travelling allowed them to make the stage of 9 miles in less than
four hours, and turn out early. Several large flocks of galaas
('Cacatua Rosea,') were seen, and Alexander Jardine shot a wallaby.
Before starting, Barney, one of the black-boys had to be corrected by
the Leader for misconduct, which had the effect of restoring
discipline. On reaching Cawana Swamp, the fires of the natives were
found quite fresh, from which it would seem that they had decamped on
the approach of the party, leaving plenty of birrum-burrongs, or
bee-eaters ('Merops Ornatus, Gould') behind them. An observation
taken at night gave the latitude 18 degrees 1 minute 59 seconds,
which gave about 41 miles of Northing.

'October' 16. -- The cattle were started away at a quarter-to-four
o'clock, this morning, and found an excellent passage through
Jorgensen's Range, by "Simon's Gap." The track from this point to
the junction of Warroul and Parallel Creeks with the river (where the
camp was pitched) was very winding, from having to avoid the basalt,
which was laming some of the cattle, besides wrenching off the heads
of the horse-shoe nails: it could not be altogether avoided, and
made it past noon before the cattle reached the camp. A native
companion, a rock wallaby, and a young red kangaroo were the result
of the hunting in the afternoon, which saved the necessity of having
to kill a beast: this would have been specially inconvenient, if not
impossible here, for the natives had burnt all the grass, and there
was not a bite of feed for either horses or cattle, had they halted.
About 50 blacks, all men, followed the tracks of the party from
Cawana Swamp: they were painted, and fully armed, which indicated a
disposition for a "brush" with the white intruders; on being turned
upon, however, they thought better of it, and ran away. The camp was
formed under a red stony bluff, which received the name of
"Cowderoy's Bluff," after one of the party; whilst a large round hill
bearing E.N.E. from the camp was called "Barney's Nob." In the
afternoon Mr. Binney and Eulah were sent to the river to fish, but as
they ate all the caught, there was no gain to the party. For this
their lines were taken from them by Mr. Jardine, and they got a
"talking to," the necessity for which was little creditable to the
white man. The thermometer at 5 a.m. stood at 80 degrees. The day's
stage about 10 miles N.N.W. Some banksias, currijong, and
stringy-bark were noticed to-day, the latter is not a common timber
in the northern districts.

'October' 17. -- All the horses were away this morning: as might
have been expected, the poor hungry creatures had strayed back
towards the good feed on Cawana Swamp, and were found 5 miles from
the camp. The day's stage was the worst they had yet had. The
country down Parallel Creek has already been described, and it took
six of the party five hours to get the cattle over three-and-a-half
miles of ground: the bed of the creek, by which alone they could
travel was intersected every 300 or 400 yards by bars formed of
granite boulders, some of which were from 25 to 30 feet high, and
their interstices more like a quarry than anything else; over these
the cattle had to be driven in two and sometimes three lots, and were
only travelled 8 miles with great difficulty. There were several
casualties; "Lucifer," one of the best of the horses cut his foot so
badly, as to make it uncertain whether he could be fetched on; and
two unfortunate cows fell off the rocks, and were smashed to pieces.
The cows were beginning to calve very fast, and when the calves were
unable to travel, they had to be destroyed, which made the mothers
stray from the camp to where they had missed them; one went back in
this manner the previous night, but it was out of the question to
ride thirty miles after her over the stones they had traversed. The
camp was made in the bed of Parallel Creek, at a spot where there was
a little grass, the whole stage having been almost without any. Here
the basaltic wall was over 80 feet in height, hemming them in from
the west; on some parts during the day it closed in on both sides.
An observation at night made the latitude 17 degrees 51 minutes. A
curious fishwas caught to-day -- it had the appearance of a cod,
whose head and tail had been drawn out, leaving the body round.
(Camp VIII.)

'October', 18. -- Another severe stage, still down the bed of
Parallel Creek, from which indeed there was no issue. Frank Jardine
describes it as a "pass or gorge, through the range which abuts on
each side through perpendicular cliffs, filling it up with great
blocks of stone," and adding that "a few more days of similar country
would bring their horses to a standstill." Their backs and the feet
of the cattle were in a woeful plight from its effects: one horse
was lost, and a bull and several head of cattle completely knocked
up. Bad as yesterday's journey was, this day's beat it; they managed
to travel ten miles over the most villanous country imaginable, with
scarcely a vestage of grass, when the camp was again pitched in the
bed of the creek. A large number of natives were seen to-day -- one
mob was disturbed at a waterhole, where they were cooking fish, which
they left in their alarm, together with their arms. The spears were
the first that had been observed made of reed, and a stone tomahawk
was seen, as large as the largest-sized American axe. These blacks
were puny wretched-looking creatures, and very thin. They had a
great number of wild dogs with them -- over thirty being counted by
the party. 10 miles, N.W. by W. 1/2 W. (Camp IX.)

'October' 19. -- The confluence of Parallel Creek with the Einasleih
was reached in four miles, after which the country on the river
slightly improved; the camp was pitched four miles further on, on a
river flat, within sight of a large scrub, on the east side. Four of
the cattle that had been knocked up yesterday were sent for before
starting, and fetched -- the cattle counted and found correct. The
river at the camp was about 700 yards wide, with fine waterholes in
it, containing plenty of fish. A strange discovery was made to-day.
At a native fire the fresh remains of a negro were found 'roasted',
the head and thigh bones were alone complete, all the rest of the
body and limbs had been broken up, the skull was full of blood.
Whether this was the body of an enemy cooked for food, or of a friend
disposed of after the manner of their last rites, must remain a
mystery, until the country and its denizens become better known.
Some spears were found pointed with sharp pieces of flint, fastened
on with kangaroo sinews, and the gum of the Xanthorea, or grass-tree.
(Camp X.)

'October' 20. -- The last of the stony ground was travelled over
to-day, and the foot-sore cattle were able to luxuriate in the soft
sandy ground of the river flats. At about 6 miles Galaa Creek was
crossed at Alexander Jardine's marked tree (V in a square), and the
Rocky Island at its junction, before mentioned, were seen. At this
point the ranges come into the river on each side. The camp was
pitched at about five miles further on, at a fine waterhole, where
there was good grass -- a welcome change for cattle and horses. It
was not reached, however, till about 9 o'clock. The river afforded
the party some fine fish -- cod, perch, and peel, and a lobster
weighing more than half-a-pound. Its channels were very numerous,
making altogether nearly a mile in width. Scrub was in sight during
the whole of the stage, the crests of the broken ridges being covered
with garrawon. (Camp XI.)

'October' 21. -- Mr. Jardine describes to-day's stage as the best the
cattle had experienced since taking delivery of them 230 miles back;
the river banks along which they travelled were flat and soft,
lightly timbered with box, poplar-gum and bloodwood. From a low
table-topped range, which they occasionally sighted on the right,
spurs of sandstone ran into the river at intervals, but were no
obstruction. A cow had to be abandoned knocked up. A couple of
blacks were surprised in the river spearing fish; they set up a howl,
and took to the river. In the evening the whole of the party went
fishing for the pot, there being no meat left. (Camp XII.) Distance
11 miles. The weather to-day was cloudy for the first time, shewing
appearance of rain.

'October' 22. -- The river was travelled down for 10 miles, through
similar and better country than that of yesterday's stage, and the
camp established on a deep narrow well-watered creek,
three-quarters-of-a-mile from its junction with the river. Here the
Leader determined to halt for a few days to recruit the strength of
the horses and cattle, the feed being good; many of the cattle were
lame, two of the hacks were knocked up, and several of the
pack-horses had very sore backs, so that a "spell" was a necessity.
They were now 120 miles from Macdonald's station, having averaged ten
miles a-day since the start

'October' 23. -- The camp was established at this point (Camp XIII.)
pending a reconnaissance by the Leader and his brother to find the
Lynd of Leichhardt, and determine the best line of road for the
stock. A couple of calves were killed, cut up, and jerked, whilst
some of the party employed themselves in the repairs to the saddlery,
bags, etc., and Alexander Jardine took a look at the country back
from the river. Mr. Richardson plotted up his course, when it was
found that it differed from that of the brothers by only one mile in
latitude, and two in longitude; he also furnished the Leader with his
position on the chart, telling him that the Lynd must be about ten
miles N.E. of them, their latitude being 17 degrees 34 minutes 32
seconds S.*

[footnote] *In Mr. Richardson's journal he mentions the distances as
18 to 20. He also explains that he had two maps, in which a
difference of 30 miles in longitude existed in the position of their
starting point. Not having a Chronometer to ascertain his longitude
for himself, he adopted that assigned by the tracing furnished from
the Surveyor-General's Office.

'October' 24. -- The brothers started this morning, taking with them
Eulah, as the most reliable of the black-boys; they were provisioned
for five days. The cattle were left in charge of Mr. Scrutton: the
feed being good and water plentiful, the halt served the double
purpose of recruiting their strength, and allowing the Leader to
choose the best road for them. Steering N.E. by E. at a mile, they
passed through a gap in the low range of table-topped hills of red
and white sandstone which had been skirted on the way down: through
this gap a small creek runs into the river, which they ran up,
N.N.E., 3 miles further, on to a small shallow creek, with a little
water in it. Travelling over lightly-timbered sandy ridges, barren
and scrubby, but without stone, at 9 or 10 miles they crossed the
head of a sandy creek, rising in a spring, about 60 yards wide,
having about 5 or 6 inches of water in it. The creek runs through
mimosa and garrawon scrub for 5 miles, and the spring occurs on the
side of a scrubby ridge, running into the creek from the west. At 18
miles they struck an ana-branch having some fine lagoons in it, and
half-a-mile further on a river 100 yards wide, waterless, and the
channels filled up with melaleuca and grevillea; this, though not
answering to Leichhardt's description, they supposed to be an
ana-branch of the Lynd; its course was north-west. They followed its
left bank down for three miles, then crossing it, they bore N.N.E.
for four miles, through level and sometimes flooded country, when
their course was arrested by a line of high ridges, dispelling the
idea that they were on the Lynd waters. Turning west they now
travelled back to the river, and crossing it, camped on one of the
same chain of lagoons which they first struck in the morning, and in
which they were able to catch some fish for supper. The distance
travelled was 28 miles.

'October' 25. -- It was impossible to believe that the stream they
were now camped on was the Lynd. Leichhardt's description at the
point where they had supposed that they should strike it, made it
stony and timbered with iron-bark and box. Now, since leaving the
Einasleih they had not seen a single box or iron-bark tree, or a
stone. Frank Jardine therefore determined to push out to thenorth-east,
and again seek this seemingly apocryphal stream. After travelling
for eight miles through sandy ridges, scrubby and timbered with
blood-wood, messmate, and melaleuca (upright-leaved) they struck a
sandy creek, bearing north; this they followed for five miles, when
it turned due west, as if a tributary of the stream they had left in
the morning. Having seen no water since then, it was out of the
question to attempt bringing the cattle across at this point. It was
determined therefore that they should return and mark a line from the
Einasleih to the lagoons they had camped on last night, along which
cattle could travel slowly, whilst the brothers again went forward to
look for a better road from that point, and ascertain definitely
whether they were on the Lynd or not. Turning west they travelled 28
miles to the creek they had left in the morning, striking it more
than 40 miles below their camp, when, to their surprise it was found
running nearly due south and still dry. Here they camped and caught
some fish and maramies (cray-fish) by puddling a hole in the creek,
which, with three pigeons they shot, made a good supper. At night a
heavy thunder-storm broke over them, which lasted from 9 till 12.
Frank Jardine here states himself to have been exceedingly puzzled
between Leichhardt and Mr. Richardson; one or the other of these he
felt must be wrong. Leichhardt describes the stream in that latitude
(page 283 Journal) as stony, and with conical hills of porphyry near
the river banks, "Bergues" running into it on each side. They had
not seen a rise even, in any direction for miles, whilst the creek
presented only occasional rocks of flat water-worn sandstone, and the
screw-palm 'Pandanus Spiralis' occurred in all the water-courses, a
tree that from its peculiarity would scarcely have been unnoticed or
undescribed. As it was quite unlikely that he should have
misrepresented the country, the natural presumption was, that Mr.
Richardson must have been in error as to their true position; this
was in reality the case, the error in his assumed longitude at
starting causing his reckoning to overlap the Lynd altogether. This
is easily seen and explained now, but was at that time a source of
great uncertainty and anxiety to the explorers.

'October' 26. -- Crossing over to the west bank of the river, the
brothers followed it up the whole day along its windings, the general
course being from South-east to East for above 36 miles. They saw
none of the porphyry cliffs described by Leichhardt, or stone of any
kind. The country traversed, consisted of scrubby flats, and low
sandy ridges, timbered with bloodwood, messmate, mimosa, melaleuca,
grevillea, and two or three species of the sterculia or curriijong,
then in full blossom. Thick patches of a kind of tree, much
resembling brigalow in its appearance and grain, were seen on the
river banks; but the box, apple-gum, and iron-bark, mentioned by
Leichhardt as growing in this latitude were altogether wanting.
Large ant-hills, as much as 15 feet in height, which were frequent,
gave a remarkable appearance to the country. During their stage the
party came on to a black's camp, where they found some matters of
interest. The natives, who were puddling a waterhole for fish, had,
as was most frequent, decamped at their appearance, leaving them
leisure to examine some very neatly made reed spears, tipped
variously with jagged hardwood, flint, fish-bones, and iron; pieces
of ship's iron were also found, and a piece of saddle girth, which
caused some speculation as to how or where it had been obtained, and
proving that they must at some time have been on the tracks of white
men. Their nets excited some admiration, being differently worked to
any yet seen, and very handsome; a sort of chain without knots. The
camp was made on an ana-branch of the river, were the travellers
caught a couple of cod-fish. Their expertness as fishermen was a
great stand-by, for they had started without any ration of meat.
They experienced some heavy wind and a thunderstorm at night.

'October' 27. -- Still travelling up the river, the party in about 9
miles reached the lagoons where they were first struck, and turned
out for a couple of hours. There was good feed round them, in which
the horses solaced themselves, whilst their riders caught some fish
and shot some pigeons for dinner, after which they commenced blazing
the line for the cattle. They reached the main camp at 9 o'clock at
night, having in eight hours marked a line through the best of the
sandy tea-tree ridges, between 18 and 20 miles in length; no
despicable work for three tomahawks. Mr. Jardine communicated the
result of his trip to Mr. Richardson, but that gentleman could or
would not acquiesce in the opinion arrived at by the brothers,
despite the very conclusive arguments with which it was supported.
This opposition occasioned a feeling of want of confidence, which
caused them to cease consulting Mr. Richardson on their course,
leaving him merely to carry out the duty of his appointment.

'October' 28. -- The following day was spent in camp, preparatory to
a fresh start ahead of the cattle, which, it was decided should leave
this camp on the 31st. Some of them could scarcely move, but their
number were found correct on counting.

'October' 29. -- Again taking old Eulah with them, the brothers
started on another quest for the Lynd, which, like the mirage of the
desert, seemed to recede from them as they approached; setting out
late in the day, they camped at night once more on the lagoon, at the
end of their marked-tree line, a distance of about 18 miles. They
took with them four days' rations of flour, tea, and sugar, trusting
to their guns and fishing lines for their supply of meat.

'October' 30. -- Starting at half-past 6 in the morning the little
party steered N. by W. about 36 miles. At about three-quarters
of-a-mile from the river they passed a fine lagoon, and at four miles
further on a rocky creek running west with some water in it. Their
way lay over soft, barren, sandy ridges, timbered with tea-tree.
Eight miles more brought them to a creek where water could be
obtained by digging, and at 24 miles further they camped on a large
well-watered creek, running N.W.; the whole of the distance was over
the same soft, barren, monotonous country. On their way they killed
an iguana ('Monitor Gouldii'), which made them a good supper, and
breakfast next morning. The cattle party at No. 13 Camp were left
with instructions to follow slowly along the marked-tree line, to
camp at the lagoon, and there await the return of the advance party.

'October' 31. -- An early start was made this morning at a quarter
after 6, and 20 or 22 miles were accomplished on the same bearing as
that of yesterday, N. by W., over the same heavy barren stringy-bark
country. Three small creeks were crossed, but not a hill or rise was
to be seen, or any indication of a river to the northward. At this
point the heavy travelling beginning to tell on their jaded horses,
the Leader determined on abandoning the idea of bringing the cattle
by the line they had traversed, and turning south and by west made
for the river they had left in the morning, intending to ascertain if
it would be the better route for the cattle, and if not, to let them
travel down the supposed Lynd (which now received the name of
Byerley Creek), on which they were to rendezvous. After travelling
16 miles further on the new bearing, they camped without water, being
unable to reach the large creek they had camped on the previous
night. The country along the last course was of the same
description, low, sandy, string-bark, and tea-tree ridges, without a
vestige of water; total distance 38 miles.

'November' 1. -- Making another early start, and steering S.W. by S.,
the party reached the creek in four miles, and getting a copious
drink for themselves and their thirsty horses, breakfasted off some
"opossums and rubbish" they got out of a black's camp. The stream
was 100 yards wide, and well-watered, a great relief after their arid
journey of yesterday: large rocks of sandstone occurred inits bed in
different places. Crossing it, they followed down its left bank for
8 miles, its trend being N.W., then turning their back on it, they
steered due south to strike Byerley Creek. Sixteen miles of weary
travelling over wretched barren country brought them to a small sandy
creek, on which they camped, procuring water for their horses by
digging in its bed. Here they made a supper of the lightest, their
rations being exhausted, and "turned in" somewhat disgusted with the
gloomy prospect for the progress of the cattle. They again met with
the nonda of Leichhardt, and ate of its ripe fruit, which is best
when found dry under the trees. Its taste is described as like that
of a boiled mealy potatoe.

'November' 2. -- Continuing on the same course, due south for 18
miles, over the same useless country, the party reached Byerley
Creek, striking it at a point 32 miles below the Rendezvous Camp,
then turning up its course they followed it for 16 miles, to their
hunting camp of the 26th October. Here they camped and made what
they deemed a splendid supper off an oppossum, an iguana, and four
cod-fish, the result of their day's sport. Total distance travelled
28 miles.

'November' 3. -- Following up the creek for 16 miles, the party
reached the main camp on the lagoons early in the day. Here they
found all right, with the exception that most of the party were
suffering from different stages of sandy-blight, or ophthalmia. A
calf was killed, and the hungry vanguard were solaced with a good
feed of veal. Byerley Creek having been found utterly destitute of
grass, badly watered, and moreover trending ultimately to the S. of
W., the Leader determined to take the cattle on to the next, which
was well watered, having some feed on it, and being on the right
course. There were, however, two long stages without water; but it
was, on the whole, the best and almost only course open to him. The
cattle had made this camp in two stages from the Einasleih. It was,
consequently, No. LI. The latitude was found to be 17 degrees 23
minutes 24 seconds: a tree was marked with these numbers, in
addition to the usual initial and numbers. The Thermometer at
daylight marked 90 degrees, and at noon 103 degrees, in the 'shade!'

'November' 4. -- A late start was made to-day, a number of the horses
having strayed, and not having been got in. The Brothers went ahead,
and marked a line for five miles out to the creek mentioned on the
30th October: it contained sufficient water for the horses and
cattle, and was the best watercourse they would get until they
reached the next river, a distance of 30 miles. It received the name
of "Belle Creek," in remembrance of "Belle," one of their best
horses, who died at this camp, apparantly from a snake bite, the
symptoms being the same as in the case of "Dora," but the time
shorter. Belle Creek is rocky and tolerably well watered, and
remarkable for the number of nonda trees on it. Whilst waiting for
the cattle the Brothers caught some fish and a fine lot of maramies.

'November' 5. -- This day appears to have been one of disasters. It
opened with the intelligence that sixteen of the horses were missing.
Leaving one party to seek and bring on the stray horses, the Brothers
started the cattle forward: they left instructions at the camp for
the horses to start, if recovered before 3 o'clock; if not, to be
watched all night, and brought on the next day. They then started,
and preceding the cattle, marked a line for 15 miles to "Maroon
Creek." Here they camped without water, waiting with some anxiety
for the arrival of the pack-horses. Hour after hour passed but none
appeared, and as night closed in, the Brothers were forced to the
conclusion that something must have gone wrong at the camp. They
could not however turn back, as they had to mark the next day's stage
for the cattle to water, there being none for them to-night, and only
a little for the party, obtained by digging, however, they were
relieved by the appearance of a blackboy with rations, who reported
that some of the horses had not been found when he left the camp.
The night was spent in watching the thirsty cattle.

'November' 6. -- The cattle were started at dawn and driven on to the
watered creek, where they got feed and water at some fine waterholes,
it received the name of "Cockburn Creek;" the Brothers as usual
preceded them and marked a line further ahead. Arrived there, they
spent the rest of the day in fishing whilst uneasily waiting the
arrival of the pack-horses. They luckily caught some fish for
supper, for night fell without the appearance of the remainder of the
party, and they had nothing to eat since the preceding night. The
country has already been described.

'November' 7. -- To-day was spent in camp by the party whilst
anxiously awaiting the arrival of the pack-horses, but night fell
without their making their appearance. They had nothing to eat, and
as there was no game to be got, they decided on killing a calf, but
in this they were disappointed, as the little animal eluded them, and
bolted into the scrub. They therefore had to go "opossuming," and
succeeding in catching three, which, with a few small fish, formed
their supper.

'November' 8. -- At daylight this morning, Alexander Jardine
succeeded in "potting" the calf that had eluded them yesterday, which
gave the party a satisfactory meal. Another anxious day was passed
without the arrival of the pack-horses, and the Leader had the
annoyance of finding on counting the cattle, that between twenty or
thirty were missing. Being now seriously anxious about the
pack-horses, he determined if they did not arrive that night, to
despatch his brother to look after them.

'November' 9. -- The horses not having arrived, Alexander Jardine
started to see what had happened: he met the party with them half
way, and learned some heavy news. In the afternoon of the 5th (the
day on which the Brothers started with the cattle), the grass around
the camp had, by some culpable carelessness, been allowed to catch
fire, by which half their food and nearly all their equipment were
burnt. The negligence was the more inexcusable, as before starting,
Alexander Jardine had pulled up the long grass around the tents at
the camp, which should have put them on their guard against such a
contingency, one for which even less experienced bushmen are supposed
to be watchful during the dry season. The consequences were most
disastrous: resulting in the destruction of 6 bags of flour, or 70
lbs. each, or 420 lbs., all the tea save 10 lbs., the mule's pack,
carrying about 100 lbs. of rice and jam, apples, and currants, 5 lbs.
gun-powder, 12 lbs. of shot, the amunition box, containing cartridges
and caps, two tents, one packsaddle, twenty-two pack-bags, 14
surcingles, 12 leather girths, 6 breechings, about 30 ring
pack-straps, 2 bridles, 2 pairs blankets, 2 pairs of boots, nearly
all the black boys' clothes, many of the brothers', and 2 bags
containing nicknacks, awls, needles, twine, etc., for repairs. It
was providential the whole was not burnt, and but for the exertions
of Mr. Scrutton, all the powder would have gone. He is described as
having snatched some of the canisters from the fire with the solder
melting on the outside. They had succeeded in rescuing the little
that was saved by carrying it to a large ant-hill to, windward.
Their exertions were no doubt great and praise-worthy, but a little
common prudence would have saved their necessity, and a heavy and
irreparable loss to the whole party, one which might have jeopardized
the safety of the expedition. Besides this, they had a less
important but still serious loss; "Maroon," a valuable grey sire
horse, that Mr. Jardine hoped to take to the new settlement, died
from the effects of poison, or of a snake bite, but more probably the
former. The pack-horses joined the cattle in the evening. Stock was
taken of the articles destroyed, and the best disposition made of
what remained. The latitude of this camp (XVIII.) was 16 degrees 55
minutes 6 seconds.

'November' 10. -- Leaving instructions with the cattle party to
follow down Cockburn Creek, and halt at the spots marked for them,
the Brothers, accompanied by Eulah, started ahead, to mark the camps
and examine the country. By this means no time was lost. The first
three camps were marked at about seven-mile intervals; and at about
25 miles, opposite two small lagoons on the west bank, the Leader
marked trees STOP (in heart), on either side the creek, leaving
directions for the party to halt till he returned, and a mile further
down camped for the night. The banks of the creek were scrubby and
poorly grassed, the country sandy, and thickly timbered with
tea-tree, stringy-bark, and bloodwood, and a few patches of
silver-leaved iron-bark, the nondas being very plentiful along its
course. Large flocks of cockatoo parrots ('Nymphicus Nov. Holl.')
and galaas were seen during the day.

'November' 11. -- Still continuing down the creek the party made a
short stage of 13 miles, one of their horses having become too sick
to travel. The early halt gave them an opportunity to go hunting,
the more necessary as they were again out of meat. The result was an
iguana, a bandicoot, three opossums, and some "sugar bags" or wild
honey nests.

'November' 12. -- Crossing Cockburn Creek the Brothers bore away
N.N.W. for 9 or 10 miles, over sandy bloodwood ridges, intersected
with broad tea-tree gullies, to two sandy water courses half-a-mile
apart, the first 100 and the second 50 yards in width, running west.
These they supposed to be heads of the Mitchell. Crossing them and
continuing N. by W., they traversed over barren tea-tree levels
(showing flood marks from three to four feet high), without a blade
of grass, for about 16 miles, when they reached the extreme head of a
small rocky creek, where they camped at a waterhole, and caught a
great number of maramies, which suggested the name of "Maramie
Creek." It was quite evident that the cattle could not follow by
this route, as there was nothing for them to eat for nearly the whole
distance. The stage travelled was 26 1/2 miles.

'November' 13. -- Maramie Creek was followed down for 25 miles: its
general course is west. At three miles from the start a small creek
runs in from the north-east. The Brothers had hoped that the
character of the country would improve as they went down, but were
disappointed. Nothing but the same waste of tea-tree and spinifex
could be seen on either side, the bank of the main creek alone
producing bloodwood, stringy-bark, acacia, and nonda. Though shallow
it was well watered, and increased rapidly in size as they proceeded.
The natives had poisoned all the fish in the different waterholes
with the bark of a small green acacia that grew along the banks, but
the party succeeded in getting a few muscles and maramies.

'November' 14. -- Being satisfied that the cattle could not be
brought on by the course they had traversed, Frank Jardine determined
to leave Maramie Creek, and make for the large stream crossed on the
12th, so as to strike it below the junction of Cockburn Creek.
Turning due south the party passed a swamp at eight miles, and at
seventeen miles a lagoon, on which were blue lilies ('Nymphoea
gigantea.') A mile farther on they reached what they supposed to be
the Mitchell, which was afterwards ascertained to be the Staaten, of
the Dutch navigators, or one of its heads. At the point where they
struck it (about 18 miles below the junction of Cockburn Creek, it is
nearly a quarter-of-a-mile in width, sandy, with long waterholes. A
dense black tea-tree scrub occupies its south bank. It was here that
the party experienced the first decided show of hostility from the
natives. They had seen and passed a number at the lily lagoon
unmolested, but when arrived at the river whilst the leader was
dismounted in its bed, fixing the girths of his saddle, he was
surprised to find himself within 30 yards of a party carrying large
bundles of reed spears, who had come upon him unperceived. They
talked and gesticulated a great deal but made no overt hostility,
contenting themselves with following the party for about three miles
throughscrub, as they proceeded along the river. Getting tired of
this noisy pursuit, which might at any moment end in a shower of
spears, the Brothers turned on reaching a patch of open ground,
determined that some of their pursuers should not pass it. This
movement caused them to pause and seeming to think better of their
original intention they ceased to annoy or follow the little party,
which pursued its way for five miles further, when they camped in the
bed of the stream. Its character for the 8 miles they had followed
it up was scrubby and sandy: its course nearly west -- long gullies
joined it from each side walled with sandstone. They caught two
turtles for supper. Total distance travelled 26 miles.

'November 15. -- Making an early start, the party followed up the
Staaten for eight miles, the general course being about N.E. Here it
was jointed by Cockburn creek, which they ran up until they reached
the cattle party encamped at the lagoons, where the Leader had marked
trees STOP. They had reached this place on the 13th inst., without
further accident or disaster, and seeing the trees, camped as
instructed. It was nearly 30 miles from the junction of the Staaten,
the country scrubby, thickly timbered, and very broken. Total
distance 38 miles.

'November' 16. -- The whole party was moved down Cockburn Creek, that
being the only practicable route. It was the alternative of poor
grass or no grass. The trend of the creek was about N.W. by W. At
twelve miles they encamped on its bed. A red steer and a cow were
left behind poisoned; and another horse, "Marion" was suffering
severely from the same cause. They were unable to detect the plant
which was doing so much mischief, which must be somewhat plentiful in
this part of the country. Leichhardt mentions (page 293) the loss of
Murphy's pony on the Lynd, which was found on the sands, "with its
body blown up, and bleeding from the nostrils." Similar symptoms
showed themselves in the case of the horses of this expedition,
proving pretty clearly that the deaths were caused by some noxious
plant. (Camp XXIII.)

'November' 17. -- The course was continued down Cockburn Creek. At
six miles a large stream runs in from the S.E. which was supposed to
be Byerley Creek. This however is only an assumption, and not very
probable, as it will be remembered that when the brothers struck it
on the 1st November, 40 miles below camp 15, they were surprised to
find it trending toward the south. It is not improbable that it may
run into the sea between the Staaten and Gilbert. This problem can
only be solved when the country gets more occupied, or some explorer
traces the Staaten in its whole length. Below this junction Cockburn
Creek is from 200 to 300 yards wide, running in many channels, but
under the surface. The country is flat and poorly grassed, a low
sandy ridge occasionally running into the creek. The timber is
bloodwood, string-bark, tea-tree, nonda, and acacia. The party
camped 5 miles further down; poor "Marion" being now past all hope of
recovery had to be abandoned. Three cows that calved at camp 22 were
sent for and brought up. They were kept safely all night, but during
the morning watch, were allowed to escape by Barney. At this camp
(XXIV.) Scrutton was bitten in two or three places by a scorpion,
without however any very severe effects.

'November' 18. -- Cockburn Creek, now an important stream was
followed down for four miles, when it formed a junction with the
Staaten. The width of the main stream is about 400 yards, in many
channels sandy and dry. It now runs generally west and very winding.
The country and timber were much as before described, with the
exception that a mile back from the river, (a chain of lagoons)
generally occurs, some of them being large and deep and covered with
lilies. Beyond, a waste of sandy tea-tree levels, thickly covered
with triodia or spinifex, and other desert grasses. The green tree
ant was very numerous, particularly in the nonda trees, where they
form their nests. The birds were also very numerous, large flocks of
black cockatoos, cockatoo parrots, galaas, budgerygars or grass
parrots ('Melopsittacus Undulatus, Gould'), and some grey quail were
frequently seen, and on one of the lagoons a solitary snipe was
found. Another cow was abandoned to-day. The total day's stage was
8 miles. The party camped in the sandy bed of the river. A little
rain was experienced at night. (Camp XXV.) Latitude 16 degrees 32
minutes 14 seconds.

'November' 19. -- The party followed down parallel with the Staaten,
so as to avoid the scrub and broken sandstone gullies on the banks.
They travelled for 11 miles, and camped on one of the lagoons above
mentioned. Their course was somewhat to the south of west, so that
they were no nearer to their destination -- an annoying reflection.
In the afternoon some of the party went over to the river to fish.
At this spot it had narrowed to a width of 100 yards, was clear of
fallen trees and snags, the water occupying the whole width, but only
5 feet deep. Up to this time, Frank Jardine had supposed the stream
they were on to be the Mitchell, but finding its course so little
agreeing with Leichhardt's description of it, below the junction of
the Lynd, which is there said to run N.W., he was inclined to the
conclusion that they had not yet reached that river. Mr. Richardson,
on the contrary, remained firm in his opinion that Byerley Creek was
the river Lynd, and consequently, that this stream was the Mitchell,
nor was it till they reached the head of the tide that he was fully
convinced of his error. (See his journal November 18, and December

'November' 20. -- To-day the Leader went forward and chose a good
camp, 12 miles on, at some fine lagoons. The cattle followed,
keeping, as usual, back from the river, the interval to which was all
scrubby flooded ground, thickly covered with brush and underwood.
They were however unable to reach the camp that night, for when
within three miles of it a heavy deluge of rain compelled them to
halt, and pitch the tents to protect the rations, all the oilskin
coverings that had been provided for the packs having been destroyed
in the bonfire, on Guy-Faux Day, at camp No. 16. They could hardly
have been caught in a worse place, being on the side of a scrubby
ridge, close to one of the ana-branches of the river. It would seem
that the natives calculated on taking them at a disadvantage, for
they chose this spot for an attack, being the first instance in which
they attempted open hostility. Whilst the Brothers were busily
engaged in cutting out a "sugar bag," a little before sundown, they
heard an alarm in the camp, and a cry of "here come the niggers."
Leaving their 'sweet' occupation, they re-joined the party, in front
of which about 20 blacks were corroboreeing, probably to screw up
their courage. They had craft enough to keep the sun, which was now
low, at their backs, and taking advantage of this position sent in a
shower of spears, without any of the party -- not even the black-boys
-- being aware of it, until they saw them sticking in the ground
about them. No one was hit, but several had very narrow shaves. The
compliment was returned, and as Alexander Jardine describes "'exeunt'
warriors," who did not again molest them, although they were heard
all around the camp throughout the night. (Camp XXVII.) Course W.
Distance 9 miles. A heavy thunderstorm in the evening.

'November' 21. - The cattle were started as usual, but as ill-luck
would have it, 13 of the horses were not to be found. After waiting
for them till four o'clock, all the packs and riding-saddles were
packed on the remaining horses, and the party drove them on foot
before them to the camp, at the lagoons, three miles on. It was dark
before they got there, and well into the second watch before the
tents were pitched, and everything put straight. The country
continued the same as before described, a barren waste of tea-tree
levels to the north, obliging them to keep along the river, although
at right angles to their proper course. (Camp XXVIII.) Distance 3
miles W.

'November 22. - The troubles and adventures of the party seemed to
thicken at this point, where the cattle were detained, whilst the
missing horses were being sought for. Old Eulah had come in late the
preceding night empty-handed, he had seen their tracks, but night
coming on he was unable to follow them. He was started away this
morning in company with Peter to pick up and run the trail. At two
o'clock he returned with two, and reported that Peter was on the
trail of the others. They had evidently been disturbed by their
friends the natives, for their tracks were split up, and those
brought on had their hobbles broken. At dusk Peter brought home
three more, without being able to say where the others had got to.
During this time, Frank Jardine had a little adventure to himself;
wishing to find a better run for the cattle, he started about noon,
and rode down the river for about six miles. There was no choice,
the country was all of the same description, so he turned back in
disgust, when, in crossing the head of a sandstone gully, he heard a
yell, and looked round just in time to see a half a dozen spears come
at him, and about a dozen natives around and painted, jumping about
in great excitement. Going forward a little, he got time to clear
the lock of his rifle, from the oil rag which usually protected it.
He turned on his assailants, and sent a bullet amongst them; it hit a
tree instead of a blackfellow, but as they still menaced him, his
next shot was more successful, when seeing one of their number fall,
the rest decamped. It was now their turn to run, but before they
could cross the bed of the river, which was dry, clear, and about 300
yards wide, he was able to get two good shots at short range. They
did not trouble him again that afternoon. They dropped all their
spears in the "stampede," some of which, reed and jagged, were taken
home as trophies. They used no "wommerahs." Peter came in to camp
at dark, with 3 horses, having no idea where the others had got to;
there were 8 still away.

'November' 23. - Sambo, the best tracker among the black-boys, was
despatched at sunrise, with Peter, to look for the missing horses.
He returned at sundown with the mule, which he had found on the
opposite side of the river, but he had seen no traces of the rest.
Peter came in after dark, without any, he had seen the tracks of the
natives on the horse tracks, and related in his own jargon, that
"blackfella bin run'em horses all about" and "that bin brok'em
hobble." He had also seen two or three of the blacks themselves, at
the lagoon where the brothers met them on the 14th, and had some
parley with them -- he described them a "cawbawn saucy" "that tell'im
come on, me trong fella, you little fella," and after chaffing him in
their own way, sent as many spears at him as he would stand for. The
detention caused by the loss of the horses, was a serious matter,
whilst the hostility of the natives was very annoying, keeping the
party constantly on the alert. The interval was occupied in patching
up the ration tent, with portions of the other two, so that they had
now one water-proof to protect their stores. Some good snipe and
duck shooting might have been got round these lagoons, but as nearly
all their caps had been destroyed by the fire, it was not to be
thought of. The scarcity of these and of horse-flesh alone prevented
the Brothers from turning out and giving their troublesome enemies a
good drilling, which, indeed, they richly deserved, for they had in
every case been the agressors, and hung about the party,
treacherously waiting for an opportunity to take them by surprise.
The detention also was due to them, which was a matter of some
anxiety to the Leader, when it is considered that the party was in a
level flooded country, without a rise that they knew of within fifty
miles, and that the rains of the last ten days portended the breaking
up the dry season.

'November' 24. - This morning Frank Jardine went out with Eulah, and
succeded in finding 5 more of the horses, scattered all over the
country, their hobbles broken, and as wild as hawks. He sent Eulah
along the tracks of the last two, who were evidently not far ahead,
and brought the others in himself. These two "Cerebus" and "Creamy,"
were the best and fattest of the pack-horses. Their loss would have
made a serious addition to the loads of the remainder, who had
already to share 400lbs. Extra in consequence of the poisoning of the
three already lost. Whilst waiting for and expecting their arrival
every hour, the different members of the party amused themselves as
best they might by fishing, opossum, sugar-bag hunting, and nonda
gathering. The monotony of the camp was also broken by a little
grumbling, consequent on an order from the Leader against the opening
of the next week's ration bag. The party had, during the halt
consumed a week's rations a day and a-half too soon, hence the order,
which was a wise precaution. The rations were calculated with care
to last through the journey, but, unless a restriction had been
placed on the consumption, this could not be hoped for. But it is
difficult to reason with hungry men.

'November' 25. - Another day passed without finding the two missing
horses. Sambo and Eulah were sent out in quest of them, but returned
unsuccessful, giving it, as their opinion that "blackfella bin 'perim
'longa 'crub." Peter and Barney were then despatched with orders to
camp out that night and look for them all next day. A steer having
been killed last night, the day was passed in jerking him. The day
was very unpropitious as there had been a shower of rain in the
morning, and there was no sun, so it had to be smoked with manure in
one of the tents. What with the mosquitoes and sand-flies, men,
horses, and cattle were kept in a continual fever. The horses would
not leave the smoke of the fires, the cattle would not remain on the
camp, and the men could get no rest at night for the mosquitoes,
whilst during the day the flies were in myriads, and a small species
of gad-fly, particularly savage and troublesome. Another source of
annoyance was from the flocks of crows and kites, the latter ('Milvus
Affinis') are described by Leichhardt as being extraordinarily
audacious, during his journey through this part of the country, and
they certainly manifested their reputation now. Not content with the
offal about the camp, they would actually, unless sharply watched,
take the meat that was cooking on the fire. The black-boys killed a
great many with "paddimelon" sticks, and reed spears, (the spoils of
war) but with little effect. "When one was killed, twenty came to
the funeral." Old Eulah was a great proficient in this exercise, and
when in action with his countrymen, was always anxious to throw their
own spears back at them.

'November' 26. - One of the party went to sleep during his watch last
night, by which fifteen head of cattle were allowed to stray away
from the camp. It was not the first time that this very grave fault
had occurred, the mischief caused by which, can sometimes, hardly be
estimated. In this case, however, it verified the proverb, it is an
ill wind, etc., for whilst looking for the stragglers Frank Jardine
luckily "happened" on the missing horses "Cerebus" and "Creamy" about
7 miles down the river. They had evidently been frightened by the
blacks. Seven of the cattle only were found, leaving eight missing
which was very provoking as it was necessary to shift the camp (on
which they had now been detained six days) for all the stock where
looking miserable. Neither horses nor cattle would eat the grass,
which had ceased to have a trace of green in it, but rambled about
looking for burnt stubble. The day was close and sultry with loud
thunder and bright lightning, which very much frighened the horses.
The natives were heard cooeying all round the camp during the night,
but made no attack, remembering probably the result of the Sunday and
Tuesday previous.

'November' 27 - Everything was ready to pack on the horses before
daylight this morning, but most provokingly "Cerebus" was again
missing. Leaving orders for the partyto start if he was not
recovered before noon, the Leader pushed on to mark a camp for them.
At about three miles he came on to a chain of fine lagoons, running
parallel to and about four miles from the river. The intervening
country was one tea-tree level all flooded, but a narrow strip of
soft sandy flat occurred on the banks of each, timbered with
blood-wood, stringy-bark, and box. Following these down he marked a
camp at about nine miles, then crossed over to the river to look for
the cattle. He had not followed it far when he saw a mob of blacks.
They did not molest him, so he passed them quietly, as he thought,
but about two miles further on, in some scrubby sandstone gullies, as
he was riding along looking for tracks, a spear whistled past, within
six inches of his face. Pulling up, he saw seven natives, all
standing quietly looking on at the effect of the missile: the fellow
who threw it never threw another. Pursuing his way, pondering on the
fatality that had brought about collisions on two Sundays running, he
met the cattle, and found the party in some excitement; they too had
had a shindy. The natives had attacked them in force, but no one was
hurt, whilst some of their assailants were left on the ground, and
others carried away wounded. It was found that they would not stand
after the first charge -- and a few were hit. (Camp XXIX.) Distance
9 miles. Course W. by N.

'November' 28. - All hopes of finding the eight missing head of
cattle, lost from camp 28, had to be abandoned, for the reason that
the horse-flesh could not hold out in looking for them. The cattle
were moved down along the lagoons, which in about two miles narrowed
into a defined creek, sandy, with occasional lagoons. This was
explored ten miles by the Leader, and the question as to whether he
should choose that route, or follow the river was decided for him.
The banks were either utterly barren or clothed with spinifex, and
the country on either side the same worthless tea-tree levels. He
was therefore determined to take the cattle back on to the river,
which was not much better, and led them away from their course. The
prospects of the Brothers were rather dispiriting. To attempt
striking north was out of the question, whilst every mile down the
river took them further away from their destination, and their horses
were falling away daily, so much so, that if the feed did not soon
improve, there would not be one capable of carrying an empty saddle.
The rainy season too was at hand, and the level and flooded nature of
the country they were in, would, were they caught there by the
floods, endanger the safety of the party. It was therefore with no
little anxiety that they watched the weather, and searched for a
practicable line which would allow of their steering north. (Camp
XXX.) Latitude 16 degrees 26 minutes 53 seconds. Distance 10 miles,
W. by N.

'November' 29. - Keeping a south-west course, so as to strike it
lower down, the cattle were again taken on to the river, which they
reached in about nine miles; then travelling about another mile down
its banks, encamped. These were now decidedly more open, and the
country generally improved. The same strip of soft sandy flat about
half-a-mile wide continued, but better grassed, although the spear
grass was far too common. Bloodwood, stringy-bark, applegum and
acacia timbered the north bank; whilst on the south, tea-tree flats,
covered with spinifex, ran close down to the bed, the bank itself
being of red clay. Two channels, together making a width of about
300 yards, formed the bed, which was sandy, and held very little
water on the surface. No large trees occurred, save now and then a
vagrant nonda. Another cow was lost to-day, and "Lottie," a favorite
terrier, was missing. The latitude of Camp 31 was supposed to be 16
degrees 31 minutes 53 seconds, but doubtful.

'November' 30. - The river was followed down to-day for 11 miles. It
was very winding and irregular in its width. At the camp it was only
60 yards wide and running in one channel, whilst a mile above, it
measured nearly 400. Its general course was nearly west. The creek
which is formed by the lagoons, on which the party were so long
detained was crossed at about nine-and-a-half miles. The country at
its junction is flooded for a long distance back, and the river bed
sandy and thickly timbered. Although the country generally had
decidedly improved, inasmuch as that it was more open, devoid of
scrub, and the box flats on the river extending further back on each
side, it was by no means good. The flats were very scantily grassed,
chiefly with sour water grasses and spinifex, and shewed by the flood
marks that they must be quite impassable during floods or wet
weather. The dreary tea-tree levels might be seen in glimpses
through the white box of the flats extending far beyond. Several
small swamps were passed during the day, on which ducks and other
water-fowl were very numerous, the stately native companion stalking
near the margins. The large funnel ant-hills occurred from 2 to 15
feet high. The Fitzroy wallaby was plentiful, and the Leader shot an
emeu. Some large flights of white ibis, and slate-colored pigeons
passed high overhead, flying north, which might be a good indication.
Peter was sent back to seek for Lottie, but returned in the evening

'December' 1. - Maramie Creek was crossed this morning at its
junction with the river, into which it flows in two channels, about
60 or 70 miles from the point where the brothers first struck it on
the 12th of November, while searching for a road to the northward.
Its total width is about 120 yards. The general course of the river
was slightly to the north of west, but very winding, some of its
reaches extended for nearly four miles. Numerous ana-branches
occurred, the flats separating them, being three miles in breadth,
timbered with flooded box and tea-tree, their banks well grassed. It
would be a dangerous country to be caught in by the floods. Two
parties of blacks were passed fishing on the river, but they took no
notice of the party, and were of course not interfered with. They
used reed spears pointed with four jagged prongs, and also hooks and
lines. Their hooks are made with wood barbed with bone, and the
lines of twisted currejong bark. Distance travelled to-day 10 miles.
The Camp XXXIII. in latitude 16 degrees 27 minutes 30 seconds.

'December' 2. - The river was travelled down through similar country
for eleven miles, when the party reached the head of the tide, and
camped on a rocky water hole in an ana-branch, the river water not
being drinkable. The course was to the southward of west. It was
now beyond a doubt, even to Mr. Richardson, that this river was not
the Mitchell, for neither its latitude, direction, or description
corresponded with Leichhardt's account. It was also perceived that
the longitude of the starting point must have been incorrect, and
very considerably to the westward, as their reckoning, carefully
checked, brought them much too near the coast. The Brothers
therefore became satisfied of what they had long believed, that they
had never been on the Lynd at all, or even on its watershed, and that
what they were on was an independent stream. They therefore named it
the "Ferguson,' in honor of Sir George Ferguson Bowen, Governor of
Queensland, but there is little doubt that it is the Staaten of the
Dutch navigators, or at least its southern branch. Should a northern
branch eventually be discovered, which the delta and numerous
ana-branches make a probable hypothesis, the stream explored by the
brothers might with propriety retain the name they gave it. At eight
miles from the start the character of the country changed from the
prevailing flats, to a kind of barren sandstone and spenifex ridges.
On pitching the camp the fishing-lines were put into requisition, but
without success. It is remarkable, that on reaching the salt water,
not far from this spot, Leichhardt was similarly disappointed, after
having counted on catching and curing a good quantity of fish, the
whole day's work of Brown and Murphy being "a small siluus, one
mullet, and some guard-fish," 'qu.' gar-fish.

'December' 3. - To-day's stage was a short one, and was hoped to have
been the last on this miserable river, which was now looked upon as
undoubtedly the Staaten. It had in some measure improved. The
timber was much larger and finer, and the lagoons extensive and deep.
But a heavy storm which came down, and compelled them to camp early,
soon proved what the country would be in the wet season. With this
one heavy fall of rain it became so boggy that the horses sank in up
to their girths. Hitherto the grass had been so scanty that the
party could not halt for a day to kill. They had consequently been
four days without meat. It was determined, therefore, to stop and
kill a beast, preparatory to a start north, the feed having slightly
improved in common with the timber. In addition to the steer that
was slaughtered, a shovel-nosed shark was caught and jerked in like
manner with the beef. In the afternoon Alexander Jardine explored
down the river for seven miles, seeking for a good spot for turning
off. The country still improved: the river was completely salt, and
in one continuous sheet of running water, in two channels 300 or 400
yards in width, and together about half-a-mile at the spot where he
turned back. Here it was flat and shallow, and fordable at low
water. Mangroves and salt-water creeks commenced as described by
Leichhardt,* and alligator tracks were seen. (Camp XXXV.) Latitude
16 degrees 26 minutes 39 seconds.

[footnote] *See Journal, page 320. It was at this point that he
threw away his horse-shoes and other heavy articles.

'December' 4. - The beef, shark, and a few cat-fish were jerked, and
all the stores and loading spread out and re-distributed on the
packs, and as this put the camp into some confusion, the Leader
thought it well to shift it for a few miles, to let the packs shake
into place before the final start. They therefore moved down three
miles to the commencement of the mangroves, into a patch of the best
feed they had seen since they left the Einasleih. At this point the
banks were very soft and sandy, growing spinifex; the stream in
numerous channels, altogether half-a-mile across, and the tide rose
and fell about twenty-two inches. Here they camped, intending to
make an early start on the following morning. Time was now an object
of the utmost importance to the progress, if not to the safety of the
party: Frank Jardine was aware that the Mitchell, which he had hoped
long ere this to have left behind him, was still ahead, at least 40
miles away, without certainty of water until it was reached, whilst
if caught by the floods he would probably be stopped by this
important stream. It was with some anxiety therefore that he
hastened preparations for the start. How his hopes were deferred and
how fortune seemed to laugh at his endeavours to push forward on his
course will now be narrated, and it will be seen how good bushmen
with high hearts can overcome obstacles, and meet difficulties that
would appal and baffle ordinary travellers.


Leave the Staaten -- Half the horses away -- Fresh troubles -- Mule
Lost -- Sambo knocked up -- Search for mule -- Perplexity --
"Lucifer" goes mad -- Final attempt to recover him -- Marine Plains
-- Search for Deceiver -- Found dead -- Salt Lagoon -- Arbor Creek --
Country improves -- Good Camp -- Eulah Creek -- The Brothers attacked
-- Reach the Mitchell -- Cow poisoned -- Battle of the Mitchell -- An
ambush -- Extent of flooded Country -- Reach head of tide -- Heavy
rain -- A "Blank run" -- Leave the Mitchell -- Good Coast Country --
Balourgah Creek -- Blue grass -- Banksia -- The Eugenia -- Green Ant
-- Hearsey Creek -- Holroyd -- Creek Dunsmuir Creek -- Thalia Creek
-- Black boy chased by natives -- Another encounter -- Cattle
scattered by thunder-storm -- Rainy Season -- Macleod Creek --
Kendall Creek.

'December' 5. - Turning their backs on the Ferguson or Staaten the
party steered north, and at starting crossed the head of the
sand-flats, described by Leichhardt. The rest of the day's stage was
over sandy ridges covered with tea-tree and pandanus, tolerably
grassed, no creek or water-course of any description occurred along
the line, and the party had to camp without water at about 13 miles:
but as the Leader had not expected to find any at all for at least
40, this was not thought much of. The camp though waterless was well
grassed, and by dint of searching a small pool of slimy green water
was found before dark, about two-and-a-half miles to the N.N.W. in a
small watercourse, and by starting off the black boys, enough was
procured in the "billies" for the use of the party for supper. This
is marked a red day in Frank Jardine's diary, who closes his notes
with this entry. "Distance 13 miles. Course North at last." (Camp

'December' 6. - The satisfaction of the party in getting away from
the Staaten and travelling on the right course was destined to
receive a check, and the Brothers to find they had not yet quite done
with that river. This morning about half the horses were away, and a
worse place for finding them, saving scrub, could hardly be imagined.
It was fortunate that the pool of water mentioned yesterday had been
found, as the cattle would have had to turn back to the river, but
this they were saved from. They were started away for the water at
day-break, in charge of two of the black boys, with instructions to
stay and feed them there until the horses came up or they were
relieved by Binney. No horses coming in, Binney was sent after them.
The Brothers searching for the horses, followed an hour-and-a-half
after, but on arriving at the pool found the cattle and boys but no
Binney. Returning to the camp they instructed the party to shift the
packs to the pool on the twelve horses that had been found. Binney
here came into the camp along the yesterday's tracks. He had missed
the cattle and did not know where he had been to. He was started
again on the cattle track by the Brothers, who then went in search of
more water, sending two more black boys to look for the horses. At
about four miles away they themselves came on to their tracks, which
they ran for about eight miles towards the coast, when they found
six. Continuing to follow the trail they were led to their 35th camp
on the Staaten, when they found three more. Here, as the sun went
down they were obliged to camp, and after short hobbling the horses
laid down by their fire, supperless, and without blankets. They saw
no water through the whole of the day, which was the cause of the
restlessness of the horses the previous night, and of their straying,
in spite of short hobbles. The myriads of mosquitoes too, which now
annoyed them may possibly have contributed to that end.

'December' 7. - Leaving the nine horses hobbled to feed near the
water the Brothers separated, one taking up and the other down the
river to look for the others, in hopes that they might also have
turned back, but met again in the afternoon, each without success.
Starting back (with the nine recovered yesterday) at about two
o'clock, they returned to the camp, where fresh troubles awaited
them. Only two of the others had been found, and the party with the
pack-horses had succeeded in losing the mule, together with his pack.
Whilst preparing to start they had allowed him to poke away
unperceived in the scrubby timber, and did not miss him till ready to
start. Sambo had been at once despatched on his tracks but had not
yet returned. Binney had lost himself a second time and only
rejoined the camp at dark last night, after having ridden the whole
day, probably in a circle, without finding either horses or water.
The two black boys had been equally unsuccessful. Eulah and Barney
were now despatched with orders to camp out until they found the
missing horses, five of which, besides the mule, still were away. In
the evening Sambo returned quite exhausted for want of water, not
having seen or tasted any, or any food during the too days of his
absence. For an hour after coming into camp he was quite dilirious.
When sufficiently recovered and collected to speak he stated that he
had followed the tracks of the mule (who had evidently been
galloping) through the tea-tree levels, at the back of camp 35, when
he was obliged to turn back for want of water. This accident, the
result of gross carelessness, together with frequent cases of less
importance, induced in the Leader a want of confidence which caused
him great anxiety when away from the party, to which indeed he never
returned without a feeling of disquietude, which was not allayed
until he learned that all was well -- a harassing feeling, which few
but those who have experienced the responsibility of the conduct and
success of a similar expedition can fully appreciate. The water at
this camp was very bad, but still under the circumstances, a great
God-send. There were two holes equi-distant half-a-mile from the one
they were on, up and down the creek. The upper one was the deepest,
having many ducks, terns, and cranes on it. All three were
surrounded with a fringe of green rushes. By digging wells and
allowing the water to drain in, it was drinkable, although very
brackish. (Camp XXXVIII.) Latitude 16 degrees 13 minutes 45

'December' 8. - At 4 o'clock this morning Alexander Jardine started
with Sambo after the mule. The Leader remained with the party
employing the day in exploring ahead for about 18 miles, in the hope
of finding water for a stage. This was a paramount necessity, for
the weather was so hot and the country so dry that twenty-four hours
without drinking drove the cattle nearly mad, their drivers suffering
almost equally. Finding no water during this search Mr. Jardine was
again in perplexity. Supposing the Mitchell to be 40 or 45 miles
ahead, the cattle could not reach it without water. On the other
hand if the coast were followed, it was probable that on reaching the
Mitchell they would have to trace it up 40 or 50 miles before it
could be crossed. The latter however seemed to be the best course,
if not the only one. The intention of Alexander Jardine was to have
got on to the mule's tracks, and run them over again until he
"pulled" him, but the ground being baked hard, stony, and grassless
Sambo was unable again to pick them up. However, whilst looking for
the mule's tracks they found three more of the horses, on a small
creek, fourteen miles from the camp, which ran into the river below
the last camp on it. He now determined to look for the other two,


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