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

Part 2 out of 3

and abandon the search after the mule for the present. One of them
"Lucifer" was found at camp 35. He was out of hobbles, and
immediately on being seen, started off at a gallop up the river. His
tracks were followed up to the next camp, six miles, where night
closing in Mr. Jardine was constrained to halt. The wretched animal
had apparently gone mad, probably with drinking salt water.

'December' 9. - On resuming the search this morning Mr. A. Jardine
met Eulah and Barney. They also, had seen "Lucifer" on the coast,
but could do nothing with him. Detaching Sambo and Barney to
continue the search after the mule, and giving them all the
provision, he took Eulah with him to try once again to recover
"Lucifer." Picking up his trail at last night's camp, where they
left the three recovered horses, they ran it four miles up the river
and came upon him in a patch of scrub; they headed him after a hard
gallop and endeavoured to drive him down to the other horses, but all
to no purpose, they knocked up their horses and were obliged to
abandon the pursuit. He had evidently gone mad. Returning to the
camp they got fresh horses, and returned with the three to the party
of the main camp.

'December' 10. - The two lost horses ("Lucifer" and "Deceiver") being
Mr. Jardine's best hacks and favourites, he determined to make one
more effort to recover them. Starting with Eulah this morning, he
travelled down the creek on which the cattle were camped for six
miles west, when he reached some large marine plains and downs, so
large, that though they ascended a high tree they could see nothing
between them and the horizon; they were grassed only with spinifex
"and other rubbish." They came on to Lucifer's tracks about 25 miles
from the camp, and found the place where he had been drinking the
salt water and lying down. From thence they followed his tracks for
15 miles through the tea-tree levels, and camped without water, after
having travelled, walking and riding, over between 40 or 50 miles of
the most miserable and desolate country imaginable, without finding
any fit to drink. Meanwhile Alexander Jardine took another cast to
find water and have a look at the coast. He also saw the Marine
Plains, and found them utterly waterless. This decided the question
of the coast-line route.

'December' 11. - At daylight Mr. Jardine and Eulah again got on to
Lucifer's tracks, but the ground was so hard that they had to run
them on foot and lead their horses. At sun-down they hit camp 33 on
the river, having made only about 20 miles in a straight line. Here
they had a good drink. The water was rather brackish, but after two
days travelling over a parched and arid country, almost anything
would have been acceptable. They turned out and whilst trying to
catch something for their suppers, they saw Lucifer standing within
thirty yards of where their horses were feeding, but the moment he
caught sight of them he again galloped away. Mr. Jardine immediately
jumped on his horse and brought him back to Eulah's, but to no
purpose, for he galloped past without taking the least notice of him,
and as it was now dark they had to let him go. Alexander Jardine
spent the day in searching for water, and was fortunate enough to hit
on a permanent water hole, in a small creek, eight miles N.N.W. from
the camp. This discovery was like a ray of sunshine promising to
help them on their way. At night Sambo and Barney returned, but
without the mule.

'December' 12. - Lucifer was again followed till mid-day. From the
time that he had left their camp last night he had galloped for 13
miles without stopping, and when found he was quite white with sweat.
It was quite evident that he was perfectly mad from the effects of
the salt water, so that Mr. Jardine decided to abandon him without
wasting more horse-flesh. He turned therefore to look for the other
horse "Deceiver," expecting to find him in the same state. His
tracks being found shortly afterwards, they followed them for some
distance, when they came on to his dead carcase. The poor brute had
evidently died from want of water; the Leader therefore turned
homewards, hoping, but little expecting to find that the mule had
been found. These losses were a heavy blow, and sadly crippled the
party. Lucifer and Deceiver were the two best riding horses, and the
mule the best pack animal. His own loss was aggravated by his
carrying his pack with him. This carried most of the odd articles
that were hitherto deemed indispensible, but which henceforth they
had per force to dispense with. One pack contained all that remained
of the tea, currants, and raisins, which were saved from the fire,
and two pairs of boots, the only ones the Brothers had; and the other
was filled with oddments, such as files, gimlets, ragstone, steel,
weighing machine, awls, tomahawks, American axes, shoeing tools, and
a number of things "that they could not do without," but perhaps the
most important loss was that of the spade, to which they had many
times been indebted for water. Up to this time, that is to the 37th
camp, the number of the camp had always been cut in the wood of a
tree at each, with a mallet and chissel, these having gone with the
mule's pack the numbers were from this point cut with a tomahawk, but
as Mr. Jardine was expert and careful in its use it is probable that
his marks are but little less legible. The recovery of the mule
being now past all hope the Brothers determined to push on, thankful
that they were certain of water for one stage. It was the more
necessary, as two of the party, Scrutton and Cowderoy, were getting
ill from the effects of the bad water. At this camp Mr. Richardson
fixed the variation at 40 east. He had hitherto used a variation of
6 degrees in his plotting.

'December' 13. - The Leader intended to have camped to-day on the
creek, found by his brother on the 11th, but whilst ahead looking for
a good camp for the morrow, he came at five miles further on, to what
he took to be the "Rocky Creek" of Leichhardt. He turned back
therefore and fetched the cattle on to it, making 13 instead of 8
miles. But on turning out it was found that the water was not
drinkable, although the lagoon was covered with nympheas, generally
supposed to grow only in fresh water. These were white instead of
blue, which might be from the effect of the salt. However at a mile
up the creek, a fine reach of good water was found, two miles long
and sixty yards wide. The bed of the creek contained sandstone rock,
was well grassed, and where crossed, ran about east and north. A
fine barramundi was caught in it, and Alexander Jardine shot six
whistling ducks in the first creek. The country traversed to-day
alternated between extensive marine plains, covered with "pigs face,"
('Misembrianthemum Iriangularis'), and crusted with salt, and low
undulating tea-tree, and banksia ridges. Birds were very plentiful,
large flocks of native companions ('Gurus Antigen,') stalked over the
marine plains, and when seen at the distance had the appearance of a
flock of sheep, gigantic cranes, pelicans, and ibis were numerous,
whilst in the lagoons of the creek, nearly every kind of water-fowl
common to Queensland, was found, except the coot and pigmy goose,
plover and snipe were abundant, also the elegant Burdekin duck, and a
small crane was noticed having a dark blue head and body, with white
throat and neck. (Camp XXXIX.) Lat. 16 degrees 3 minutes 38
seconds. A tree was marked F. J. in heart on one side, and 39 in
square on the other.

'December' 14. - To-day the party started north-east, the Leader
wishing, if possible, to hit the Mitchell at the head of the tide.
Water was carried in case these should not find any, but the
precaution was fortunately unnecessary. At five miles they crossed a
small creek from the eastward, having one small hole of water in it.
The country to that point was similar to that of yesterday, thence
outward for about 9 miles they traversed box flats, intersected with
low sandy rises, well grassed, and timbered with stringy-bark and
acacia. Another watered creek was crossed at about 9 miles from the
start, and the camp pitched at a round waterhole, in a well-watered
creek at 14 miles. Many gullies were crossed filled with the
screw-palm ('Pandanus Spirilas.') The soil of the box flats was a
stiff yellow clay. Hot winds had been prevalent for the last week
from the south-east, which parched and baked everything and made the
mosquitoes very numerous and annoying. (Camp XL.) Latitude 15
degrees 56 minutes 31 seconds.

'December' 15. - The grass was so coarse and dry at this camp, that
the precaution was taken of watching the horses all last night, and
the party started this morning by moonlight. For 5 miles they
travelled over box and tea-tree flats, full of funnel ant-hills,
melon and rat-holes, when they reached a narrow deep sandy creek, the
course of which was defined by a line of dark green timber,
presenting a strong and pleasing contrast with any previously crossed
along the "Levels," where they could never be distinguished from a
distance, being fringed with the same kind of timber. It came from
the eastward, was tolerably watered, and presented some bad broken
sandstone country on its north bank. Its shady appearance suggested
the appropriate name of "Arbor Creek." For three miles the route lay
over gullies, spurs, and walls of broken sandstone. The country
beyond opened agreably into flats, which might almost be called
plains, but for the lightly-dotted timber. The grasses though dry,
were finer and better than any seen, since leaving the Einnasleih.
The timber generally was white box, applegum, bloodwood, and
grevillea, and at 11 miles (from camp) the bauhinia, and Bidwill's
acacia commenced, and continued to the 42nd Camp. The flats towards
the end of the stage sloped to the north-east. At 19 miles the party
having accomplished a long stage, Mr. Jardine camped without water,
sending old Eulah to try and find some. He soon returned with the
welcome news that there was a well-watered creek on a-head, so
saddling up again, they drove on and reached it in about three miles.
It was well worth the extra fatigue to the stock. They were rewarded
by an excellent camp, plenty of green grass, open country and water,
which, after a drive of 23 long and dusty miles, was alike acceptable
to men and beasts. The creek received the name of Eulah Creek, in
honor of the discoverer. (Camp XLI.)

'December' 16. - Between two and three miles of travelling over
flooded box country, having large melon holes in it, brought the
party to a well-watered creek, with vine scrub banks running N. W.
At three more, another and similar one was reached, where the scrubs
on the banks were so thick that the Brothers who were a-head had to
camp, to cut a road through them. This creek appeared to be an
ana-branch. Whilst they were engaged in marking a line for a
crossing place for the cattle, they saw some blacks, and tried to
avoid them, these however ran in the direction of the cattle, and
brandishing their spears laughingly, defied the horsemen, beckoning
them to come on. With this they complied, and turned them back over
the creek, and then sat down awaiting the arrival of the cattle.
They were not allowed to remain long in peace, for the natives,
having left their gins on the other side, swam over the creek and
tried to surround them. Being thus forced into a "row," the Brothers
determined to let them have it, only regretting that some of the
party were not with them, so as to make the lesson a more severe one.
The assailants spread out in a circle to try and surround them, but
seeing eight or nine of their companions drop, made them think better
of it, and they were finally hunted back again across the river,
leaving their friends behind them. The firing was heard by the
cattle party, but before they could come up, the fray was over. In
this case, as in all others, the collision was forced on the
explorers, who, as a rule, always avoided making use of their
superior arms. Leaving the cattle in camp, the Brothers spend the
afternoon in exploring the country a-head for 7 miles. After
crossing the river, the course lay through flooded country (the marks
on the trees being in some cases five feet high, covered with box,
and vine scrub, and the water, grasses, and rushes being matted
together with mud and rubbish,) to a large stream with broad sandy
bed, divided into three channels, altogether about 600 yards wide,
but with little water in them. The banks and islands were covered
with vine scrub, and lined with plum ('Owenia,') chestnut
('Castanopermum,') nonda, bauhinia, acacia, white cedar, the corypha
or (fan-leaved palm,) flooded gum, melaleuca (drooping tea-tree,) and
many creepers and shrubs. On the box flats travelled through, some
gunyahs, dams, and weirs were noticed, all constructed of matted
vines and palm leaves, which last grow almost everywhere. One of the
largest of the palms measured 13 1/2 feet at the butt, which is the
smallest end, as they here assume the shape of the bottle tree. This
stream was correctly surmised to be the long desired Mitchell, the
two last creeks being only its ana-branches. Although 10 miles
higher up in latitude 15 degrees 51 minutes 56 seconds it is
described by Leichhardt as being 1 1/2 miles wide. It here measured
as before described only about 600 yards. A number of fish were
caught at the camp. (Camp XLII.) Distance 6 miles.

'December' 17. - After some little trouble the cattle were crossed
over this branch, a road having to be cut for them through the scrub.
At 5 miles they crossed another main branch about 450 yards wide, and
camped two miles on the other side of it, on a waterhole in a
Leichhardt-tree flat ('Nauclea Leichhardtii.') The country was the
same as described yesterday. One of the fattest of the cows died
from the effects of some poisonous herb, not detected. Some turkey's
eggs were found, and a wallaby, with which the vine scrubs were
swarming, was shot. The Torres Straits pigeon ('Carpophaga
Luctuosa,') was here met with for the first time on the trip, and
attracted the interest and admiration of the travellers. It is a
handsome bird, about the size of a wonga, the head and body pure
white, the primaries of the wings and edge of the tail feathers
black, and the vent feathers and under tail coverts tinged with a
delicate salmon color. Distance 7 or 8 miles. Course N.N.E. (Camp

'December' 18. - The river was followed down to-day for 9 miles
through a complete net-work of ana-branches, gullies, and vine scrubs
to another branch, which may be called the true stream. It was 30
yards wide, deep, and running strongly. Here the party had to camp
for about 3 hours, whilst the Brothers searched for a good crossing.
The cattle and pack-horses were crossed in safety, but some of the
pack-bags got wetted in the passage. They were travelled another
mile over to a sandstone bar, crossing another deep sheet of water,
that had been previously found. This stream had been explored in
search of a ford for four miles further up but without success. It
continued of the same width and appeared to do so much further. This
day, Sunday, was marked by the severest conflict the travellers had
yet had with the natives, one which may well be degnified by the name
of the "battle of the Mitchell." On arriving at the running stream
before mentioned, whilst the cattle halted, the Brothers and Eulah,
taking axes with them, to clear the scrub, went down to find a safe
crossing. At about a-mile-and-a-half they came on to a number of
blacks fishing, these immediately crossed to the other side, but on
their return, swam across again in numbers, armed with large bundles
of spears and some nullahs and met them. The horsemen seeing they
were in for another row, now cantered forward towards the camp,
determined this time to give their assailants a severe lesson. This
was interpreted into a flight by the savages, who set up a yell, and
re-doubled their pursuit, sending in their spears thick and fast.
These now coming much too close to be pleasant (for some of them were
thrown a hundred yards), the three turned suddenly on their pursuers,
and galloping up to them, poured in a volley, the report of which
brought down their companions from the camp, when the skirmish became
general. The natives at first stood up courageously, but either by
accident or through fear, despair or stupidity, they got huddled in a
heap, in, and at the margin of the water, when ten carbines poured
volley after volley into them from all directions, killing and
wounding with every shot with very little return, nearly all of their
spears having been expended in the pursuit of the horsemen. About
thirty being killed, the Leader thought it prudent to hold his hand,
and let the rest escape. Many more must have been wounded and
probably drowned, for fifty nine rounds were counted as discharged.
On the return of the party to the cattle an incident occurred which
nearly cost one of them his life. One of the routed natives,
probably burning with revengeful and impotent hate, got into the
water under the river bank, and waited for the returning party, and
as they passed threw a spear at Scrutton, before any one was aware of
his proximity. The audacious savage had much better have left it
alone, for he paid for his temerity with his life. Although the
travellers came off providentially without hurt, there were many
narrow escapes, for which some of them might thank their good
fortune. At the commencement of the fight as Alexander Jardine was
levelling his carbine, a spear struck the ground between his feet,
causing him to drop his muzzle, and lodge the bullet in the ground a
few yards in front of him. His next shot told more successfully.
There were other equally close shaves, but providentially not a
scratch. This is one of the few instances in which the savages of
Queensland have been known to stand up in fight with white men, and
on this occasion they shewed no sign of surprise or fear at the
report and effect of fire-arms. But it is probable that they will
long remember the "Battle of the Mitchell." (Camp LXIV.) Course
N.N.W. Distance 7 miles.

'December' 19. - The horses had to be watched last night, for the
grass was so dry and course that the stock would not look at it, but
kept rambling about. The river was followed down about 13 miles.
The whole country travelled to-day and yesterday shewed flood marks
from 5 to 15 feet high. The rushes, nardoo, thatch, and water-grass,
dried and parched by the hot winds, were matted together with mud and
rubbish. At the camp the stream was 150 yards wide, the running
water being 30 yards across. The banks were of clay and sandstone,
from 20 to 30 feet high, the water was discolored to a kind of
yellowish white. During the floods the stream must be eight or ten
miles wide, for, two miles back from it, a fish weir was seen in a
small gully.

Altogether it would have been a frightful place for the party to have
been detained at. (Camp XLV.) Latitude 15 degrees 26 minutes 5

'December' 20. - The river was still followed down to-day, the party
keeping about four miles from it, to avoid its scrubs and
ana-branches. At between 7 or 8 miles, a stream about 100 yards
wide, coming from the eastward, caused them to halt until a road was
cut through the thick vine scrub that fringed its banks. Four miles
further on they camped at a small lagoon close to the bank of the
river, at which point it is about 100 yards wide, deep, and too salt
for drinking, being affected by the tide. The country travelled over
was box, and tea-tree, melon-hole flats, shewing very high flood
marks. The ground had become very boggy from a heavy rain that fell
during the day. The night was very stormy, rain and wind falling and
blowing pretty equally. Two more head of cattle were dropped. The
total distance was 11 miles. Course W.N.W. (Camp XLVI.)

'December' 21. - The rain of last night continuing through the
morning, the party had to start in the down-pour. They crossed
another large shallow sandy creek at four miles, coming from the
eastward running south-east. The camp was formed on a lagoon about a
mile from the river bank. The country traversed was sandy, growing
only coarse wirey grasses and spinifex, sandstone rock cropping out
occasionally above the surface. The river was here a
quarter-of-a-mile wide, salt, and running strongly. Before the
pack-horses came up, a mob of blacks approached the camp, and getting
up in the trees, took a good survey of the white intruders, but on
one of the party going towards them they scampered off over the open
ground towards the river. The recollection of the affair at the
crossing place probably quickening their movements. Just at
sun-down, however, the sharp eyes of the black-boys detected some of
them actually trying to stalk the whites, using green boughs for
screens. So the Brothers taking with them Scrutton and the four
black-boys, started in chase. They were in camp costume, that is to
say, shirt and belt, and all in excellent condition and wind, and now
a hunt commenced, which perhaps stands alone in the annals of nature
warfare. On being detected the natives again decamped, but this time
closely pursued. The party could at any time overtake or outstep the
fugitives, but they contented themselves with pressing steadilly on
them, in open order, without firing a shot, occasionally making a
spurt, which had the effect of causing the blacks to drop nearly all
their spears. They fairly hunted them for two miles into the scrub,
when, as darkness was coming on, they left their dingy assailants to
recover their wind, and returned to camp laughing heartily at their
"blank run," and taking with them as many of the abondoned spears as
they could carry. (Camp XLVII.) Distance 9 1/2 miles. Course W.N.W.

'December' 22. - The Mitchell was left finally to-day, Mr. Jardine
determining on beginning the "straight running" for Cape York. The
first 8 miles was to a broad rocky creek, over tea-tree and box
flats, and small plains, fairly grassed, the best coast country that
had been seen. The creek appeared to be permanent, although there
was no water where it was crossed. From thence to camp, 7 miles, was
over saline plains, intersected by belts of bloodwood, tea-tree,
mangrove, nuptle, grevillea, dogwood, applegum, silky oak, and
pandanus. A second creek was crossed at 11 miles, similar to the
first. The camp was pitched at a puddle, without a blade of grass,
although its appearance was beautifully green, caused by a small sort
of tea-tree growing in great abundance, about 10 inches high, with
seven or eight large leaves on it. A steer was killed in the
evening, giving the party a very acceptable meal of meat, the first
they had tasted for three days, the weather being too hot to kill,
and there being no game to shoot. Course N. by W. Distance 15
miles. (Camp XLVIII.) Latitude 15 degrees 2 minutes 10 seconds.

'December' 23. - All hands were up almost the whole of last night,
some engaged in watching the cattle and horses, and others in cutting
up and jerking the beast. The rain came down heavily, and a cold
bitter wind was blowing; all the tents, save the ration tent, being
like seives, the outside was rather preferable to their shelter; so
each passed the night as best they could. The cattle were started
away in the morning, leaving Scrutton and Binney to finish jerking
the meat, there being some sunshine, which was beginning to be a
rarity, for the wet season had now fairly set in. Twelve miles of
wretched country were traversed, white sandy undulating ground,
clothed with shrubs and underwood, in the place of grass, and the
camp pitched on a low stringy-bark ridge, without water, for in this
flat sandy country the ground absorbs the rain as soon as it falls.
The horses had to be watched again to-night, for there was not a
blade of grass to be got. A small quantity of water was found in a
creek about a mile-and-a-half ahead. Late in the evening the horses
and water-bags were taken to it, and sufficient water brought back
for the use of the camp. Two small unimportant creeks were crossed
to-day, sandy and dry, trending west. Distance 12 miles N.W. by N.
(Camp XLIX.)

'December' 24. - The cattle were watched at a small lagoon beyond the
creek before mentioned, which was deep and rocky. The country
continued of the same miserable character as yesterday, till at 7
miles, the party came to a belt of bloodwood and stringy-bark, where,
by good luck, there was a little coarse grass, but as the stock had
had none for two days, they were not particular. (Camp L.) Distance
7 miles. Course N.N.W.

'December' 25. - The rain came down all last night, and continuing
throughout the day (for the first time continually), did not suggest
a merry Christmas. However the Leader wished his companions the
compliments of the season, and pushed on. The country decidedly
improved if the weather did not. The tail end of some scrubs were
passed in the first five miles, cheifly tea-tree and oak, and
half-a-mile further on, a fine creek of sandstone rock, permenantly
watered; at 7 miles another similar, but larger, was named Christmas
Creek. Here whilst Mr. Jardine was halting in wait for the cattle,
he marked a tree XMAS, 1864, in square. In it the swamp mahogany was
seen for the first time since leaving Bowen. Its native name is
Belourgah. The creek was therefore christened by that name. At 15
miles the party reached and camped on a fine, well-watered, rocky
creek, where the blue grass was plentiful, the first that had been
seen for many weeks. The country travelled over was very soft, and
though driven loose, three of the horses could scarcely travel over
it. The packs also were getting into a very dirty state, consequent
on the amount of mud and water they had been dragged through. The
timber noticed to-day was very varied, comprising all the kinds that
have already been mentioned, with the addition of the banksia, which
was observed for the first time, and a kind of pomegranate, which was
quite new to the Brothers. The trees grow large with soft white
bark, and large round leaves. The fruit as large as an hen's egg, in
shape like the common pomegranate. Unripe it is of a transparent
white, but when mature, has a dark pink color and slightly acid
taste. It is probably the euginia mentioned by Leichhardt. They
were much annoyed by the green-tree ant, all the trees and shrubs
being covered with them, in riding along they got about their
persons, and down their backs, where they stuck like ticks. They are
of a transparent green, nearly half-an-inch long, soft, and sticky.
On coming to the green feed and good water at the camp, it was felt
that this Christmas Day, if not the most cheerful, might have been
much worse. (Camp LI.) Distance 13 miles N.N.W.

'December' 26, -- The party travelled to-day on a course N.N.W. for
about 14 miles over very similar country to that of yesterday, save
that they crossed no creek, and saw no water during the whole of the
stage. Some of the ground was very scrubby and boggy, and better,
though not well grassed, too much spear grass occuring. The camp was
pitched on a splendid sheet of water, in a rocky creek, 80 yards
wide, and very long, in which some of the party caught some fine
fish. Waterfowl of all kinds were also numerous. It received the
name of Hearsey Creek, after a particular friend, Mr. W. Hearsey
Salmon. The blacks were hanging about, but did not make their
appearance. (Camp LII.)

'December' 27. - The course to-day lay over similar country, a little
to the west of north, for 16 miles to a small creek, which contained
in a puddle, just sufficient water for the use of the party and the
horses. The cattle had to go without. (Camp LIII.)

'December' 18. - At five miles from starting this morning, the
thirsty cattle were able to get abundance of water in a long sandy
creek, running in several channels, and having a rocky sandstone bed.
It was named Holroyd Creek. Two miles further on another stream was
crossed of similar size and character, which received the name of
Dunsmuir Creek. Here the country suddenly changed into lightly
timbered box flats, poorly grassed, and flooded. Four miles more
brought them to a salt-water creek, which had to be run up
a-mile-and-a-half before drinkable water was found. The camp was
pitched on a lotus lagoon, the water of which was slightly brackish.
It received the name of Thalia Creek. About two hours after camping,
whilst the party were engaged in digging trenches round them, and
otherwise preparing for an impending thunder-storm, the black-boy
that was tailing the cattle, came running into the camp in great
excitement, with the news that the natives that had been seen in the
morning, had hunted him and were now running the horses, so half the
party immediately turned out in pursuit. To protect the carbines
from the coming storm, Alexander Jardine and Scrutton arrayed
themselves the one in a black and the other a white mackintosh, which
reached to their heels, whilst the Leader having a short coat on, a
revolver in each pocket, jumped on to the bare-back of one of the
horses. This time it was not a "blank run." The horses were
scuttling about in all directions, and the natives waited for the
whites, close to a mangrove scrub, till they got within sixty yards
of them, when they began throwing spears. They were answered with
Terry's breech-loaders, but whether fascinated by the strange attire
of the three whites, or frightended by the report of the fire-arms,
or charge of the horse, they stood for some time unable to fight or
run. At last they slowly retired in the scrub, having paid for their
gratuitious attack by the loss of some of their companions. Some of
them were of very large stature. The storm broke with great violence
accompanied with thunder and lightning and scattered the cattle off
the camp in spite of the efforts of the party to keep them. The
thunder caused them to rush about, whilst darkness caused the
watchers to run against them, and add to their fright. So they were
let go. (Camp LIV.) Distance 11 or 12 miles north.

'December' 29. - The cattle were all gathered this morning, save 10,
for which Frank Jardine left two of the black-boys to seek and then
follow the party. To his great annoyance they came on at night
without them. The course to-day was N.N.E. over boggy tea-tree
flats, and low stringy-bark ridges. At three miles a large running
creek, one hundred yards wide, was struck, and had to be followed up
for four miles before a crossing was found. Four miles further
brought them to a small creek, well supplied with water from the
recent rains, and what was even more acceptable, plenty of green
feed, of which the cattle and horses stood in great need. The Leader
determined to halt here one day, to try and recover the lost cattle,
but felt anything but easy in doing so, for the flood-marks were six
feet high on the camp, which was high ground compared to the level
waste around them, and the rains seemed fairly to have set in.
Another heavy storm poured down on them at night. (Camp LV.)

'December' 30. - The cattle remained here to-day, whilst Scrutton and
Eulah were sent back for the lost cattle. The Brothers went forward
a day's stage to try and find some high ground. In this they did not
succeed. The country was all alike, and they were satisfied beyond
doubt that it must be one sea during the rains; not a very comforting
discovery. They found a creek four miles on, which received the name
of Macleod Creek. It was large and deep, with a strong current
running, and chose a place at which they would have to cross, between
two high banks of red sandstone. They then returned to camp, and
spent the rest of the day in "sugar bag" hunting, in which they were
very successful, bringing in as much as made a feed for the whole
camp, which was no small quantity. Scrutton and Eulah returned at
dark, without having seen any traces of the missing cattle, so it was
determined to go on without them, as it would have been madness to
have remained longer in such dangerous country. At night they
experienced a heavy storm, which is thus described in Frank Jardine's
journal: -- "We had one of most severe wind and thunder storms this
evening that I ever saw. The largest trees bent like whip-sticks,
and the din caused by the wind, rain, thunder, and trees falling,
beyond description. People looking at it from under a snug roof
would have called it 'grand,' but we rhymed it with a very different
word." This may be called a "joke under difficulties."

'December' 31. - Macleod Creek was reached by half-past eight o'clock
this morning, and cattle, horses, and packs were all safely crossed
by 9.15. The journey was then continued over, or rather, through
very boggy tea-tree flats, and undulating stringy-bark, nonda, and
bloodwood country, to a large flooded creek, coming from the
eastward, which received the name of "Kendall Creek," after a friend
of Mr. Richardson's. There was a little rising ground on its banks,
on which the party camped. Frank Jardine went up it for a few miles,
and found a spot at which to cross the next day, in the same manner
as at the last. At this camp some capital barramundi and perch were
caught, one of the former weighing no less than 14 pounds. They were
a great treat, as the party had been without meat for some days, the
heavy rains allowing them no chance of killing. The distance
travelled to-day was 12 miles, and course generally N.N.W., but the
track was winding in consequence of having to lead the horses, and
thread the way through the soundest looking places. (Camp LVI.)


New Year's Day - Sinclair Creek - New Year's Creek - Kinloch Creek -
Micketeeboomulgeiai - The River Archer - The Coen - Slough of Despond
- River Batavia - Two Horses Drowned - Five Horses Poisoned -
Symptoms - Abandon Baggage - Cache - Party commence Walking -
Difficult Travelling - Two more Horses Die - Last Encounter with
Natives - Pandanus Thorns - Another Horse Sickens - Urgency of
Getting Forward - Dalhunty Creek - Another Horse Dies - "Creamy" and
"Rocket" Die - Skardon's Creek - Pitcher Plant - Two Saddles
Abandoned - Nell Gwynne's Foal Killed - Richardson's Range.

'January' 1. - Kendall Creek was crossed early on the morning of
this, New Year's Day, and subsequently at distances of 10 and 14
miles, two small creeks of running water, coming from the eastward,
named respectively Sinclair and New Year's Creeks, in which lilies
were abundant ('Blue Nympheas'), and on the last of which the party
camped. The progress was rendered very tedious and difficult, by the
large trunks and branches of trees, which had been blown down by the
storm of the 30th December, over and amongst which the weak horses
kept constantly falling. The country changed into red sandy ridges,
shewing an outcrop of sandstone, timbered with tall straight saplings
of stringy-bark and bloodwood, the larger timber having in all cases
been blown down. Some grass-tree country was also passed, covered
with quartz pebbles, white, or colored with oxide of iron. The
distance accomplished was 14 miles on a course of N.E. by N. (Camp
LVII. Nonda.) A heavy thunder-storm broke at night, followed by
steady rain.

'January' 2. - The heavy rain, boggy soil, and recent long stages
made it necessary to turn out the cattle during the last night, as
the poor animals had so little chance of feeding during the day.
They were, however, gathered by the time the horses were ready in the
morning, having, probably, but little temptation to stray on the
boggy ground. The country traversed was similar to that of
yesterday, and very much encumbered with fallen timber. The grasses,
though thin, are of the best quality. Altogether the interval
between Kendall Creek and to-night's camp, a distance of 30 miles,
would make a fine cattle run, being watered at every six or seven
miles by running creeks, besides a large swamp. It was found to be
an extensive plateau, sloping away to the eastward, terminating
abruptly in a perpendicular wall, overlooking the valley, on the head
of which the party camped. The camp was one of the best of the whole
journey, being pitched on a grassy rise, sloping gently to the
eastward, and was a grateful relief after the barren and waterless
camps of the journey. The latitude was 13 degrees 47 seconds.
Distance 16 miles. (Camp LVIII.)

'January' 3. - This morning the creek was followed down to near its
junction with a large sandy stream, coming from the north-east, which
was named Kinloch Creek, in honor of John Kinloch, Esq., Mathematical
Master of Sydney College. It was plentifully watered, and remarkable
for presenting the only iron-bark trees that were seen since leaving
the Einasleih. At 8 and 12 miles, two small very boggy creeks were
crossed, the first of which had to be bridged. Their banks were very
unsound and swampy, covered with tea-tree, pandanus, ferns, and all
kinds of valueless underwood. They were full of lilies, and appeared
to be constantly running, from which it was conjectured that they
must take their rise from springs. On passing the last, the party
emerged on to poorly grassed, desolate-looking sandstone ridges,
covered with grass-tree and zamia. A pine-tree ridge was then
passed, and a camp formed on a small water-course beyond, the total
distance being 16y miles on a bearing of N.N.E. 1/2 N. The latitude
was ascertained to be 13 degrees 35 minutes 54 seconds S. During the
day red kangaroos were seen, also the Torres Straits pigeon, and two
black cockatoos, with very large stiff crest, crimson cheeks, and
large black bill, the rest of the body black. This was the
('Microglossus Aterrimus'), a species peculiar to Northern Australia.
It is nearly one-third larger in size than the common black cockatoo,
from which it is mainly distinguished by the color of the bill, which
is black. (Camp LIX. Bloodwood.)

'January' 4. - A heavy storm of rain and thunder having been
experienced last night, the party made a short day's stage, and
camped early to enable them to dry their meat, saddlery, bags, etc.,
which had been thoroughly soaked. The horses backs too, were getting
sore from the use of wet saddles, and themselves tired. The course
was north, over stringy-bark and bloodwood ridges for 5 miles, to a
large running creek named Micketeeboomulgeiai,* from the north-east,
on which a crossing had to be cut; a mile-and-a-half further on, an
ana-branch was crossed, and the party camped. (Camp LX. Bloodwood.)

[footnote]*In the Wellington Dialect "place where the lightning struck."

'January' 5. - Still raining and wet to-day. A table-land of open
sandy ridges was traversed to a high point, the edge of which was
reached in five miles on a course N. by E. On reaching this point a
range was seen in front, extending east and west about 10 miles off,
between which and the party, a fine valley extended, traversed by a
large sandy river, which was named the Archer, in honor of Messrs.
Archer, of Gracemere. The river Archer flows from the north-east,
through a valley of great richness and beauty, and considered by the
explorers to be the best country for cattle seen north of Broadsound.
The banks of the river are fringed by a thick belt of vine-scrub,
containing very many Leichhardt and other handsome trees and shrubs
of great luxuriance and growth. The valley is also described as
being the first locality where any varities of flowers were seen,
some were of great beauty, particularly a bulb which bears a large
flower, shaped like a larkspur, of every tinge of red, from a
delicate pink to a rich purple. After crossing the Archer two
ana-branches were passed, the route laying over loamy black and
chocolate flats, and fine long sloping ridges, very thickly grassed,
quite free from stones, well-watered, and despite the heavy rains
that had fallen, perfectly sound. The range seen from the table-land
was low, and of much the same description. Distance travelled 15
miles N. by E. (Camp LXI. Applegum.)

'January' 6. - The march to-day was very trying to the poor horses,
being chiefly over rotten melon-hole country, of a yellow clayey
soil, timbered with stunted bloodwood and pandanus, the rain pouring
down all day. At two miles from camp a large creek was crossed
containing a little rain water, and subsequently nine or ten small
deep waterless creeks, their beds too sandy to be retentive. On one
of these the wearied party camped at the end of 16 or 17 miles. A
range 8 or 9 miles to the East, was sighted during the day.
Notwithstanding the rain, barely sufficient water was found at the
camp. Distance 17 miles. Course North. (Camp LXII. Poplar gum.)

'January' 7. - At rather more than a mile from camp, two branches of
a large deep creek, were crossed just above its junction. It runs
from W. by N., had a little water in it, and the usual fringe of dark
green vine scrub, interspersed with Leichhardt trees. A hill on the
north bank covered with large sandstone boulders, marks the
crossing-place of the party. Numerous small water-courses similar to
those of yesterday, were crossed to-day. The country slightly
improved but was of the same character, waterless but for the showers
of rain. I was strange to see the horses bogging leg deep during a
thunder-storm, and in five minutes after unable to get a drink of
water. Large red funnel-shaped ant-hills were seen, in some
instances as high as 18 to 20 feet. The timber in addition to the
usual varities comprised zamias, iron bark, acacia, pandanus, mimosa,
sterculia [(Currijong'), grevillia, coral, ('Erythrina'), and Nonda
('Walrothia') trees. Scrub turkeys ('Talegalla Lathami'), wonga
wongas, and Torres Straits pigeon were seen. The party camped at the
end of 15 miles in a shallow tea-tree gulley, with a little water
from last night's rain in its sandy bed, supplying themselves with
drinking water from the rain, caught by the tents. Course North.
(Camp LXIII. Acacia.)

'January' 8. -- The first 15 miles travelled over to-day were good
undulating forest country, timbered chiefly with box and applegum,
and a few iron-barks, and intersected with numerous canal-like
creeks, running north-west, but without water; the last three miles
was wretchedly bad, being similar to the tea-tree country of the
Staaten. The whole country between the Archer and Staaten is without
water, save immediately after rain, sufficiently heavy to set the
creeks running. The party camped on a small tea-tree "Gilgai," or
shallow water pan, and experienced another night of heavy rain with
high wind. Two more horses, Rasper and N'gress were found knocked
up. Distance 18 miles. Course N. The latitude of the camp was
ascertained to be 12 degrees 38 minutes 2 seconds. (Camp LXIV.

'January' 9. -- The fact of high land being observed to the west of
the course, and that the creeks all flowed eastward, induced the
party to think that they were near on the eastern slope of the
peninsula. This idea, however, was dispelled on their reaching at
the end of ten miles, a large river which was supposed to be the
Coen. It was running strongly W.N.W., and seemed distinctly to
divide the good and bad country, that on the south side being richly
grassed, open and lightly timbered, lucerne and other fine herbs
occurring frequently, whilst on the north side it relapsed into the
old barren tea-tree country of which so much had been traversed.
Considerable time was lost by the party in cutting a road for the
cattle through the thick scrub that fringes its banks, a kind of work
which was now becoming familiar. The Coen is about sixty yards wide,
sandy, and contains crocodiles. The country on it is described as
being of excellent quality for a cattle run. The party camped on a
tea-tree swamp with a few inches of water in it, 6 miles beyond the
crossing place. During the day wongas and Torres Strait pigeons were
observed, and scrub turkeys frequented the river scrubs. Distance 16
miles. Course North. (Camp LXV. Bloodwood.)

'January' 10. -- The journey to-day was one of unusual fatigue and
hardship. The country for the first two miles was comparatively
sound, but at this point the course was intercepted by a narrow boggy
creek, running strongly through a tea-tree flat. Although care and
time were taken in the selection of a proper spot, when the herd
began to cross, the leading cattle, breaking through the crust, sank
to their hips in the boggy spew below, and in a short time between 30
and 40 were stuck fast, the remainder ploughing through with great
difficulty. Four beasts refused to face it altogether, and it was
found necessary, after wasting considerable time and a deal of
horse-flesh, to let them go. The greater part of the day was
consumed in dragging out the bogged cattle with ropes. Even with
this method and with all the exertions that could be used by the
party, five had to be abandoned, nothing appearing above the ground
but their backs and heads. The horses were more easily crossed, but
their saddles, packs, and loads had to be carried over by the party.
They then camped on the creek, and spent the remainder of the day in
drying their arms, saddles, etc., and in jerking the beef of one of
the beasts which they had been unable to pull out of the slough.
Heavy rain again fell at night, which caused an apprehension that
their progress would be altogether stopped if it continued. Distance
2 1/2 miles. Course North. (Camp LXVI. Pomegranite.)

'January' 11. -- It is at this point that the heaviest troubles and
hardships of the party appear to have commenced, ,troubles that might
well appal hearts less stout than those of the Leader and his
brother, and hardships bearing heavily on each member of the party,
but doubly so on them who had to explore, mark, and clear the way for
the cattle, in addition to the ordinary labor of the journey. After
having travelled with the greatest difficulty for two miles over
execrable country, so boggy as to be barely possible to traverse,
their progress was stopped by a creek 25 yards wide, flooded "bank
and bank," and running like a mill sluice. This was the river
Batavia. The usual formidable fringe of vine scrub covered the
margin and approaches and had to be cut through before the cattle
could cross. This was done by the Brothers by the time they came up,
and in addition a large melaleuca which leant over the stream, was
felled across it, by means of which (by tying a rope above it, as a
leading line), they were enabled to carry over the packs, saddles,
stores, etc., on their heads. The cattle accustomed to swimming,
took the water in splendid style, one however getting entangled and
drowned. With the horses they were not so fortunate, for though a
head stall was put on each with a rope attached to the bit, to haul
them across, the rapidity of the current swept away two of them into
a tangle of vines in the middle of the stream, under which they were
carried and drowned, despite the exertions of four or five of the
party to pull them across by the rope. Their efforts to save them
nearly cost their own lives, and A. Jardine chronicles receiving a
"nasty crack" in the head from a log in attempting to disentangle his
own horse "Jack" from the vines, one which might have closed his
career, had it been a degree harder, the other, "Blokus," was a
Government horse, belonging to Mr Richardson; both were useful
horses, and a great loss to the party, but only the forerunner of
much greater ones. The creek at last crossed, the party attempted to
push forward on the other side, but after travelling a mile leading
the horses, slushing through bog and swamp under a heavy rain, they
were obliged to turn back and encamp on some high ground on the banks
of the creek, about half-a-mile above the crossing, where there was a
little good grass. Several of their horses were left behind bogged,
one mare in particular, "Nell Gwynne," being too weak to travel.
Distance 3 miles. Course N. (Camp LXVII.)

'January' 12. -- It was determined to camp here to-day, both to spell
the weak horses and dry many things that had got wet. The horses
left bogged the previous night were got out, when on returning to the
camp, it was found that a number of the others were poisoned, and one
missing. The black-boys were immediately sent out in search of him,
but were unsuccessful. Meanwhile the party being unable to shift
camp that day, a yard was immediately formed, all herbs carefully
pulled up in and about it, and the horses penned there. The
precaution came too late, for before evening five of them besides the
missing one ("Rasper") were dead. It was supposed that "Rasper" must
have got into the river and been drowned, as one of the effects of
the poison is complete blindness. The symptoms are thus described.
Profuse sweating, with a heaving of the flanks, the ears droop, the
eyes glaze, set, and the animal finally turns stone blind. He then
lies down, struggles fitfully for several hours, and never rises
again. This was a heavy blow. Ten of their horses were now gone,
eight of which were picked, and the best of the whole number, besides
being the best conditioned, one peculiarity of the poison being that
it appears to attack the fattest animals. A careful search was made
to detect the plant that caused this fearful loss, but
unsuccessfully. The number of horses being now reduced to
twenty-one, and those the poorest and worst, it became necessary to
take only what was actually wanted of their baggage, and to abandon
the remainder. A cache was accordingly dug, and 25 sets of
horse-shoes, a lot of nails and other miscellaneous articles were
buried at the foot of an iron acacia on the top of the ridge and
facing the creek, on which was marked in a sheild F J over LXVII.
over DIG in heart. The horses were kept in the yard all night, and
the rest of the day and evening spent in disposing of the reduced
loading, and making preparations for leaving this fatal camp. The
rain continued to fall heavily throughout the day, which could not
under the circumstances, have increased the cheerfulness of the
party. The Leader, however, closes the entry in his Diary with "Nil
Desperandum" merely marking the day of the week in parenthesis as
("Black Thursday.")

'January' 13. -- The poor condition of the horses, and the wretchedly
soft nature of the ground, making it impossible for them to be
ridden, or do more than carry the diminished loads of baggage and
stores, the party had no choice but to walk and in some cases even to
carry the packs of the horses. Mr. A. Jardine describes their
appearance this morning as "rather neat" at the starting from the
camp, the two Brothers, Mr. Binney, Scrutton, and the four black-boys
having doffed everything but their shirts and belts. It was well for
the whites that their previous habits on the journey had hardened
their feet and enabled them to travel without shoes, with but little
less hardship than their black companions. This they had acquired by
the custom on coming into camp, of going out with the boys opossum
and "sugar bag" hunting. With stout hearts and naked legs, therefore
they faced forward driving the horses and cattle before them, and by
the end of the day placed ten miles between them and "Poison Creek,"
as it was then named. This however was not accomplished without
great toil, the country traversed being red soil ridges, with black
soil tea-tree flats between them, which were so many bogs. In these
the cattle floundered and bogged at every hundred yards, and even the
spare unladen horses had to be pulled out. The latter were at length
so completely knocked up that it was necessary to leave some of them
at one side of a swamp, the party carrying their packs and loads
about a quarter-of-a-mile on to a dry ridge on the other. Here they
camped and tired as they were, were obliged to keep a vigilant watch,
as, to add to their many annoyances the natives had been following
them all day. Distance 10 miles N.E. by N. Box marked F.J. 68 cross.

'January' 14. -- At daylight this morning the horses were got over
the swamp, with less difficulty than was expected, being recruited by
their night's rest. The journey was resumed at 6.30. There had been
no rain on the previous day and night, and the ground with only this
twenty-four hours of dry weather had hardened sufficiently on the
crust to allow the horses to walk without bogging. This crust,
however, once broken through, they bogged hopelessly, until dragged
out with ropes. In this the water and sludge oozing out from the
tracks were great auxiliaries, as they formed a kind of batter, in
which, by pulling the horses on their sides, they slid along like
sledges. This process had continually to be repeated throughout the
day, causing so much delay, that seven or eight miles were with
difficulty accomplished. At each running stream the packs had to be
taken off and carried over. The country traversed was similar to
that of yesterday, undulating blood-wood red soil ridges,
sufficiently well-grassed, with the everlasting black soil, tea-tree
flats, and gullies running between them, some being very wide. Two
more horses died during the day from the effects of the poison, and
the Leader owns that he was beginning to be at his wits end as to how
they were to get along. Every superfluity and been abandoned, and,
with the exception of a few light things, such as clothes and
blankets, of too trifling weight to make it worth while to leave, and
only what was absolutely necessary, retained; yet there were barely
sufficient horses left to carry that. He had therefore good cause
for anxiety. The day kept tolerably fair until the party came into
camp, when the rain came down in torrents. Whilst in the hurry and
confusion of putting up the tents to protect the stores from the
deluge that was pouring, the alarm of "blacks" was again given. They
were fortunately unarmed, and the party easily chased them away.
This was fortunate, and was caused by the native custom of making the
gins carry their spears and shields on the march, themselves only
carrying a nulla or two. They were soon back again however, with
large bundles of spears, but not before the party had had time to
prepare for them. The rifles were dry and loaded. Frank Jardine
here owns to a feeling of savage delight at the prospect of having a
"shine" with these wretched savages, who, without provocation, hung
on their footsteps dogging them like hawks all through the thickest
of their troubles, watching with cowardly patience, for a favourable
moment to attack them at a disadvantage. Even then, however, he
would not be the agressor, but allowed them to come within sixty
yards, and ship their spears in the woomerahs, before they were fired
upon. The two foremost men fell to the only two shots that were
discharged, and their companions at once broke and fled; nor was the
advantage followed up, as the travellers were careful to husband
their ammunition, and their caps were running short. This, however,
was the last occasion on which the party was molested, their sable
adversaries having, probably, at length learned that "they were worth
letting alone," and never again shewing themselves. The distance
travelled was 8 miles. N.E. by N.

'January' 15. -- This being Sunday and horses, cattle, and men, being
in want of rest after the work of the last two days, it was
determined to make a rest day. The party employed part of the time
in spreading out the contents of the pack bags to dry, everything
having become mouldy with the constant wetting. The day was marked
too, by a grant feast of "stodge," doughboys, and jam, stodge being a
delicacy extemporised for the occasion, consisting of "flour boiled
with water to the consistency of paste, with some small pieces of raw
meat thrown into it"!! The Brothers spent part of the afternoon in
the mutual good offices of picking the pandanus thorns out of each
others feet and legs, the blackboys following their example. These
thorns were a constant source of small torture to the party. The
necessity of trying the ground in advance of the cattle prevented
them wearing boots, and thus feet and legs were left without any
protection, and exposed them day after day to the same annoyance.
Another horse, "Creamy," sickened from the effects of the poison. It
was thought that he had not taken enough to kill him, and that the
day's rest would set him to rights. A cow was also left bogged in
the swamp. The ground on which the party encamped was supposed at
first to be dry, being on a bloodwood ridge, with six or eight inches
of gravel on the surface, but the heavy rain of the previous night
caused the water to run through the tents to a depth of three inches.
It was only necessary to scratch a handful of gravel off the crust to
get clear running water for drinking. A heavy rain again fell during
the night, dispelling all hopes of sound travelling for the morrow.
(Camp LXIX. Bloodwood.)

'January' 16. -- The absolute necessity of getting at or near their
destination before the setting in of the periodical rains, stimulated
the Leader to urge the party to long stages, which was not at all
relished by some of the number, two of whom at starting made repeated
requests to camp for another day, alleging that they could not walk
any further. To this Mr. Jardine could not listen, and being further
importuned, disposed of the request summarily by packing their rifles
on the horses, and telling them that they might remain or come on as
they might elect. He heard no more grumbling, and a good stage was
accomplished. The country for the first two miles was similar to
that of the last two stages. It then suddenly changed into red sandy
stringy-bark ridges, with a dense under-growth of vines, zamias, and
pandanus, which made the walking difficult and painful. Several
creeks were crossed, the largest of which was at ten miles from the
camp, and running W. by N., and the party halted at another six miles
further on, which received the name of Dalhunty Creek. Its course
was west, and it was remarkable for the palms ('Seaforthia Elegans')
growing in its bed. All these creeks were supposed to be tributaries
of the Batavia River. The party had only to unpack the horses twice
during the day, and made a capital stage, but not without paying for
it, for even the Black-boys shewed signs of fatigue. Their legs and
feet, as well as those of most of the party were in a frightful
state, cut in peices by the thorny vines which covered the line of
march. They were now completely out of meat, but it would have been
unwise to halt to kill a beast for three reasons: first, the
weather; next, the fact that they could not pack the meat without
leaving behind something to make place for it, another of their
horses, Combo, having died to-day from the effects of the poison; and
lastly, the urgency of getting forward whilst the weather would admit
of it. The morning had been rainy, but in the afternoon it cleared
up and gave promised of a few fair days, of which it was expedient to
take advantage. In addition to the horse that died (Combo), two more
of their best horses (Rocket and Creamy) were fast sinking. It was a
fearful thing to see them dwindling away day by day, without power to
help or time to halt for them; but to press forward was a paramount
necessity. Distance 16 miles North. (Camp LXX. Applegum.)

'January' 17. -- The country traversed to-day was similar to that of
yesterday, save that the ridges were higher and more stony. Creeks
were crossed at two and ten miles, running strongly westward, which
appeared to be permanent. Five miles further on, the party camped on
a smaller one of the same character, having vine scrub and seaforthia
palms on its banks, which was named Skardon's Creek. The horse
Creamy died during the day, and Rocket through the night. These
losses reduced their horses from forty-two, with which they started,
to fifteen of the culls. They were in latitude 11 degrees 51 minutes
50 seconds, and by their dead reckoning, just about the track of
Kennedy, supposing it to have been correctly charted, and therefore
on the western slope of the dividing range. The Torres Strait pigeon
('Carpophaga Luctuosa') was again seen, and the bitcher
plant('Nepenthes Kennedya') first noticed. Two of the police saddles
had to be left at this camp in consequence of the loss of the horses.
Distance 15 1/2 miles. North. (Camp LXXI.)

'January' 18. -- The march to-day is described as being through the
most abominable country that can well be imagined, being a
continuation of loose white sandy ranges, thickly covered with low
bush from three to eight feet in height, broom, fern, grass-tree
('Xanthoraea'), pandanus, and "five-corner" bushes, being thickly
matted together with prickly vine. Not a tree relieved the monotony
of this waste, and what was worse, not a blade of grass was seen for
miles. Several deep creeks were crossed, all running strongly with
clear pelluced water to W. and N.W. The timber when it occured was
bloodwood, stringy and iron-bark on the ridges, banksia, grevillia,
and several kinds of tea-trees in the gullies, which were
honey-combed and boggy. Two new kinds of palm were seen. The bush
which seems to be what Kennedy alluded to as "heath," could only be
got through by leading a horse ahead, the others following slowly
behind him, the cattle then following in their track. A straight
course was impossible, as all the boggy creeks and gullies had to be
run up to their heads before they could be crossed. A general
course, however, was kept of N. by E. The packs were continually
being knocked off the horses, occasioning great delay, so that only
12 miles were accomplished. Some black perch were caught in one of
the creeks, and scrub turkeys were seen. Poor "Nell Gwynne's" foal
knocked up to-day, after having kept up bravely since the mare's
death. Nothing remained therefore but to kill him. The party being
without meat, and it being impossible to stop in such a country to
kill a beast, part of his flesh was dressed and carried on, which was
a grateful addition to the food, and although two or three at first
refused to eat of it, the craving of hunger soon made them forget
their repugnance to horse-flesh. At night the horses had to be short
hobbled and a watch kept over them. The weather kept fine, raising
the hopes of the Leader of getting in before the rains.

'January' 19. -- Despite the watch kept over the horses, they got
away during the night, and a late start was the consequence. Several
hours were also lost at the first mile on the journey, in consequence
of some of the horses getting "upside down" in one of the deep narrow
creeks, which were constantly recurring, and having to be extricated.
These creeks run N.W., and take their rise from springs. They are so
boggy that in some cases, though perhaps only eighteen inches wide,
they had to be headed before the cattle could pass. The summit of
the range was reached in seven miles of similar country to that of
yesterday, resembling (identical in fact) in appearance and botanical
character, to the worst country of Botany Bay, the Surry Hills, and
coast about Sydney. A thick vine scrub was then passed, when the
party emerged on to some open ridges of red sandy soil, timbered with
bloodwood, stringy-bark, and nonda. They were now satisfied that
they were on eastern waters, as, whilst out sugar-bag hunting in the
evening, the Brothers saw the blue waters of the ocean about twelve
or fifteen miles to the eastward, a small arm of which was supposed
to be a bay to the northward of Cape Grenville. Their latitude was
11 degrees 46 minutes 36 seconds. The camp was pitched at the head
of a small creek running eastward.

'January' 20. -- After 4 miles of brushwood and scrubby range had
been accomplished this morning, further progress was stopped by a
dense pine and vine scrub stretching across the course. The cattle
were halted outside, whilst the Brothers made search for an opening
for them to get through, in doing which they came on to a narrow
track cut by the blacks. This they followed for more than two miles,
but were obliged to return at last, the vine ropes, tangle, and dense
scrub, making it hopeless to attempt taking the cattle along it. A
further search proved equally unsuccessful. The whole party had
therefore to turn back along their tracks for a couple of miles, then
turning east they travelled on that bearing. At about half-a-mile
they reached the eastern slope, from which the sea was distinctly
visible. A spur of the range was followed for about four miles into
rather better country, where the party camped, being well-grassed and
slightly timbered, though stoney. Although about 9 miles were
travelled over, the distance in latitude from the last camp could not
have been more than one-and-a-half miles. From a bluff on the range
a fine view of the low country and sea was obtained, and a bearing
taken to Cape Grenville of 117 deg. Blacks' tracks were very
numerous to-day, and it was evident by the neat cutting of the marks
on the trees that they were provided with good iron tomahawks. Many
turkeys' nests were found, but the eggs only benefitted the stronger
stomachs of the party, having young ones in them in most cases. In
crossing one of the boggy creeks, one of the horses jumped on to a
pack-saddle, and a hook entering his skin lacerated it dreadfully.

'January' 21. -- The course to-day was N.E. by N., along the eastern
slope of the Richardson Range, through a fearfully difficult country.
Seven deep scrubby creeks had to be crossed running strongly to the
westward, whose banks were invariably fringed with a thick scrub,
which had in each case to be cut through before the cattle could
pass: one in particular was so dense that it alone occupied three
hours in cutting. The cattle occasionally got their horns entangled
in the vines, and had to be cut loose. One cow got fearfully furious
at being thus arrested, and when extricated, galloped straight away,
and was no more seen. Over seven hours were occupied in making a
distance of about 8 miles, only 3 of which were spent in actual
travelling. A great variety of palms were seen in the scrubs, which
were covered with fruit and berries, but only the "Seaforthia," the
most graceful of the family, the 'Caryota Urens', remarkable for its
star-shaped fronds and the more common 'Corypha', of which the
colonial straw-hats are made, were known to the travellers. Latitude
11 degrees 37 minutes 46 seconds.

'January' 22. -- The country traversed to-day was of the same
description as that of yesterday, utterly without grass, and the same
tedium and toil were experienced in cutting through the vine scrubs
which bordered the running creeks. These were very numerous, and
quite uniform in their difficulty, a lane for the cattle having to be
cut through each. Some very large pines were noticed to-day (most
probably 'Araucaria Cunninghamii'), which, forming large and dense
scrubs, twice forced the party out of their course. The camp
to-night was a very miserable one, surrounded by scrub and brushwood,
without a blade of grass for the stock, or even a tree that could be
marked, and to add to their wretchedness, a heavy rain came down
which lasted till near midnight. Course N.W., 10 miles. (Camp

'January' 23. -- A steady rain poured down all to-day, and as
yesterday, the route alternated over and through desert wastes of
brush and tangled scrubs, the former telling with great severity on
the lacerated feet of the travellers. Their legs had the appearance
of having been curried by a machine. At the end of 9 miles they
luckily came on to a creek comparatively well-grassed on the banks.
This being the first that had been seen for three days, they joyfully
encamped on an open ridge. The timber comprised nonda, grevillea,
banksia, tea-tree, mahogany, and many other tropical trees not known.
The total distance travelled was 10 miles. N. by W. (Camp LXXVII.)

'January' 24. -- For the first three miles to-day, the country
remained similar to the generality, that is, scrub and heath, after
this it slightly improved, opening into coarse sandstone ridges, in
some parts strewed with quartz pebbles, either white or tinted with
oxide of iron. At two miles from the start a stream was struck,
running north, having a clear sandy bed thirty yards wide, which was
immediately concluded to be a head of the Escape River, and a
continuation of that crossed on the 22nd. Into this, numerous short
steep scrubby creeks discharge themselves from the range or ridge to
the eastward. These had, as usual, all to have passages cut through
them for the stock. At the end of about six miles, a heavy
thunder-storm coming on whilst the party were engaged in clearing,
the creek they were upon was sent up bank and bank by the storm
water, and barred their further progress. They were therefore
compelled to camp. At sundown it was again nearly dry, but the rain
continued at intervals till midnight. During the day a large low
table-topped mountain was passed about 4 miles to the eastward. It
was either bare of timber or heath clad, and received the name of
Mount Bourcicault. (LXXVIII.) Distance 6 miles. N. by W.

'January' 25. -- A ten-mile journey was accomplished to-day, the
country for the first seven having slightly improved into red soil
ridges coarsely grassed, having patches of scrub along their summits.
The remaining three were of the usual character, heath and brushwood,
in the midst of which, in a miserable hole as it is described, they
were obliged to camp. A delay of a couple of hours occured in
consequence of a thunder-storm flooding a narrow gutter that might be
hopped over. It was not until this subsided that the horses and
cattle could be made to face it, the poor brutes having been so
frightened with bogs and water, that the horses had to be led over
the smallest of them. The rain still continued to pour heavily at
intervals during the day. (Camp LXXIX.) No trees to mark. The
course was N. by W.

'January' 26. -- After two miles of travelling, the party again
struck the supposed Escape River. The stream was flooded, and at
this point fifty yards wide, and the bed clear of fallen timber. A
bloodwood tree was marked on both sides, on the S. bank. The country
on either side is of a red and white sandy soil, timbered with
bloodwood, mahogany, melaleuca and black and white tea-tree, coarsely
grassed, with heath and scrub running down to the banks in many
places. The river was followed down for 7 or 8 miles, its general
course being N.W., the party having to cut roads for the cattle
through the thick scrubs which lined the tributary creeks and
gullies, in four instances. At this distance a large branch nearly
equal in size, joins it from the south-east, to which the name of the
"McHenry"* was given. It being flooded and deep, the party traced it
upwards for about a mile from its junction and encamped. The tents
being pitched and everything made secure for the night, the Brothers
explored up the stream in search of a good crossing place for the
morrow. After several trials were made, a spot was finally decided
upon, about three-quarters-of-a-mile from the camp, and they returned
with the pleasing prospect of having to swim the cattle and horses
over next day, and carry the packs on their heads. Black and white
cockatoos, some parrots, scrub turkeys ('Talegalla Lathami'), and
white pigeons (Torres Straits), were seen on the march, throughout
which the rain still continued to fall, as it did also during the
night. At this camp (80) the last of the sugar was finished, but
this was not thought much of, as from the latitude being ascertained
to be 11 degrees 10 minutes, it was supposed that Somerset could not
be more than 20 or 30 miles distant. How they were undeceived in
their conjecture, and had their hopes disappointed, will be seen.

[footnote] *After Captain J. McHenry, of Arthur Downs, Isaac River.

'January' 27. -- Early this morning the party addressed themselves to
the task of crossing the McHenry. This was accomplished in safety,
cattle and horses taking the water like dogs, the greater difficulty
being in getting over the packs, saddles, and stores, which had to be
carried on the heads of the swimmers of the party, and this necessary
part of a bushman's education was not common to all, or at least
sufficiently to be of use. The course was then continued on the
other side to the junction of the two streams. The rain continued to
fall steadily during most of the day, filling up every little creek
and gutter. Some of the former had to be swum over, whilst the
latter occured at every mile. Just below the junction there is a
large dense vine-scrub, which had to be skirted, after which, the
party continued their course down the supposed Escape, which had now
increased its width to a hundred yards. Its width when first struck,
was only twenty, increasing to forty or fifty at its junction with
the McHenry, when the united streams form an imposing river. Its
course is extremely winding, whilst the numberless creeks and gulleys
which join it, all with scrubby banks, make travelling along its
banks, a work of great labor and difficulty. The country on this
day's march slightly improved, being more open and better grassed,
the best being on the river banks, but coarse and sparse at best.
The timber chiefly bloodwood and black tea-tree. Several trees were
marked with a cross at the crossing place of the McHenry, and one
similarly at the point of the scrub below the junction. In
consequence of the many delays to-day the total distance travelled
was only 5 miles. Course N. by W. (Camp LXXXI.)

'January' 28. -- The course of the river was followed down to-day for
about two-and-a-half miles, but the endlessly recurring water
courses, each with its eternal fringe of thick vine scrub, at last
compelled the party to turn to the west in order to avoid them, there
being no time to cut roads for the cattle. They were constantly
getting entangled by the horns in the hanging vines of the 'Calamus
Australis' and 'Flagetlaria', so often referred to. The effect of
this on some was to work them into such a perfect fury, that when
released by the party cutting them clear, they would in some
instances rush blindly away from the herd and be lost, as described
before. The intention on starting was to run the river down to the
head of the tide, and then establish a camp, where the cattle could
stay, whilst the Brothers went on to find Somerset, now supposed to
be not far distant. On leaving the river the course was shaped west,
to head the scrubs on the tributaries, but this, far from improving
the travelling, made it worse as they got into a maze of scrub,
heath, and swamps, through which they had to thread their course.
They, had therefore, to make their way back to the river, which was
again struck in about 7 miles. It was here running north, the bed
free from fallen timber, and about 150 yards wide, and so full and
flooded as to make it impossible to discover whether it was within
the tidal influence or not. Following the river for 4 miles, making
a total journey of 12, the rain pouring the whole day, the party
camped on the bank, where alone grass was to be found, and that even
very poor and thin. Two of the horses "Tabinga," and "Pussey," had
to be left about three miles back from the camp with their saddles,
utterly knocked up. A lame heifer was killed and cut up for jerking,
on the morrow. Course N.W. by N. Distance 12 miles. (Camp LXXXII.)

'January' 29. -- This day was devoted to rest, with the exception of
the necessary duties of jerking the beef of the heifer, and preparing
for the start of the Brothers to find Somerset. The horses left
behind were sent for and brought into camp, and dispositions made for
a halt, until the return of the Leader. The packs, saddles, and
stores were "overhauled," and found for the most part to be
completely rotted, from the constant rain and severe duckings they
had undergone, making the party congratulate themselves that they
were near their destination. At the request of Frank Jardine, Mr.
Richardson plotted up the route, as far as this camp, and gave him
his position on the chart, with a note "that camp 82 was on the
Escape River, eight miles in a direct line from where it joins the
sea, and sixteen miles from Somerset." In this, as in the case of
the position of the Lynd, he was mistaken, the reason for which, he
states to be that his sextant was out of order. This was much to be
regretted, as failing the correctness of the surveyor's observations,
Mr. Jardine might just as well trust to his own dead reckoning. It
might be supposed that Mr. Richardson having had an opportunity of
checking his position by the bearing to Cape Grenville, when he
sighted the sea on the 20th inst, at camp 74, should have been able
more accurately to have determined his present position, but he
excuses himself on the score of the difficulty of estimating the
daily distance whilst walking.* This is a very admissable
explanation, considering the tedium and slowness of their progress in
winding through scrubs, and being delayed by crossings, the
tortuousness of their route making it difficult to keep the course.
It was the more unfortunate, therefore, that the sextant, which was
naturally depended upon for keeping them informed of their progress,
should have been allowed to become so deranged, as to be less
reliable than the result of mere dead reckoning.

[footnote] *See his Journal.


First Start in Search of Settlement -- Character of the Jardine --
The Eliot -- Return to Main Camp -- Flooded State of River --
Impromptu Raft -- Crossing Horses -- Uncertainty -- Second Start in
Search of Settlement -- View of the Ocean -- Reach South Shore of
Newcastle Bay -- Reach Mouth of True Escape -- Unable to Cross -- A
Dainty Meal -- Character of the Escape -- Return to Main Camp --
Horses Knocked-up -- Another Horse Dead -- Flour Exhausted --
Wretched Condition of Horses -- More Baggage Abandoned -- Prospects
-- The Whole Party Again Move Forward -- Another Horse Abandoned --
Reach Head of Tide View of the Gulf -- Barne Island -- Return up the
Jardine -- Third Start in Search of Settlement -- Wild Grape --
Crossing Saddles -- a Disappointment -- Head the Escape River -- Meet
Friendly Natives -- Natives Act as Pilots -- Native Bread -- Canoes
-- Corroboree -- Native Drums -- Arrival at Somerset -- Mr. Jardine's
Marked-tree Line -- Meeting with their Father -- A Heroine.

'January' 30. -- This morning, Mr. F. Jardine with his Brother and
the Blackboy, Eulah, started to find the Settlement, leaving the rest
of the party encamped with the cattle, in charge of Mr. Scrutton.
They took with them a week's ration of 25 lbs. of flour, and 12 lbs.
meat (tea and sugar had long been things of the past), intending to
follow the supposed river down to the head of the tide. It was
accordingly followed for about 21 miles, but to their astonishment,
instead of trending N.N.E., its general course was found to be
North-west 1/2 West. This led them to the conclusion that it was a
western water, and not as they had hitherto supposed, the Escape
River. Of this they were now convinced, but to make certain, agreed
to continue travelling down it for two days more, and with this
intent camped on a creek coming in from the southward. The margin of
the river is generally open and coarsely grassed, timbered with
mahogany, bloodwood, and melaleuca, the points of scrubs and
brushwood occasionally closing down to the stream. Its width varies
from one to two-hundred yards, with a sandy bed, entirely free from
fallen timber. Its banks are steep in many places, of white clay and
coarse sandstone, and fringed with tall melaleuca, whose long
drooping branches and leaves swept the rapid and deep stream. A
straight course was impracticable, for as soon as attempted, and the
river was out of sight, the party got entangled in thick brushes and
tea-tree swamps, without a blade of grass. They were obliged,
therefore, to follow the course of the river in all its windings.
The only birds seen were scrub turkeys, and Torres Strait pigeons.
The weather at starting was fine, but about 11 o'clock the rain
commenced, and continued steadily the whole of the day. At night, on
camping, a "bandicoot gunyah" was erected, and covered with the broad
pliable paper bark of the melaleuca, which made a snug shelter for
the night from the still pouring rain. Course generally N.W by W.
Distance following the river, 21 miles.

'January' 31. -- Crossing the creek immediately after leaving the
camp, the party still continued to follow the windings of the river
through similar country to that of yesterday, save that the ground
was more boggy, the swamps, ana-branches, and small lagoons more
numerous. On the latter some Coromandel geese were seen, of a
species different from those found near Rockhampton. The heavy rain
which had continued all last night had caused the river to rise
several inches. At about ten miles the progress of the party was
stopped by a large stream coming in from the South-east, about the
same size as the McHenry. A tree was marked AJ at the junction which
was very scrubby, and the new stream received the name of the Eliot.
It was running strongly, and had to be traced up for two miles,
before the party could cross in safety. This they fortunately
accomplished without accident, although the water was up to their
necks, as they waded across with their saddles and packs on their
heads, giving them all they could do to stem the rapid current. They
then proceeded on their way for 7 miles further, the last two of
which were through thick brush, and camped on the bank of the main
stream, now much augmented in size after receiving the waters of the
Eliot. There was but little grass for the poor horses, but no
choice, the country back from the river being all scrubs and swamps,
covered with tea-tree, but barren of grass. The total distance
travelled was 17 miles. The course generally West by South, clearly
proving that they could not be on the Escape.

'February' 1. -- The river was again followed for about seven miles
further, but as the course still continued to trend West, and even
south of West, the Brothers in disgust determined on re-tracing their
steps, satisfied, if satisfaction can be predicated of such a
disappointment, that they were on western waters, and that they had
not yet reached the looked-for Escape River. At this point,
therefore, they turned, intending to swim the river at the main camp,
and make another exploration to find the Settlement from the North
side, or right bank. By night-fall they reached their first night's
camp, where they found the "gunyah" very acceptable. They had now
followed the supposed Escape 45 miles; deducting a third for its
sinuosities, a distance of at least 30 miles in a straight line
Westward had been travelled, and they were filled with surprise that
so large and important a stream should have remained undiscovered.
Its width at their turning-point was over two-hundred yards, the
banks commencing to be very swampy, and it is described by Mr. A.
Jardine, as the most compact river, with the exception of the
Fitzroy, he had seen in the North. The rain continued as yesterday
during the whole of the day, accompanied with cold winds. This,
together with their disappointment, was sufficient to depress the
spirits of most men. There is not, however, in the journals of
either of the Brothers the slightest indication of despondency or

'February' 2. -- The main camp was reached this morning early, and
everything found safe and right, save in one particular, that
deserves recording. In looking over the ration account, Mr. Jardine
found a deficiency of 30 lbs. of flour, accruing in the interval of
the four days of his absence. All denied any knowledge of it, and
all were equally certain that the allowance had not been exceeded;
"so" writes Frank Jardine, "where it is gone to, I am never likely to
know," and there the matter dropped. It is humiliating to think,
that amongst white men banded together in exploring parties, where
the success and safety of the enterprise are much dependent on the
good conduct of each individual member, there should be found
individuals so ignoble, as to appropriate an undue share of the
common stock of food on which the health, and perhaps the life of
each equally depends; and yet, sad to say, such instances are not
singular. The well-proved charge against Gray of cooking flour for
himself privately, for which he was chastised by poor Burke, is one
instance. Gray's excuse was that he was so ill, and his apologists
point to the fact that he subsequently died. Either Burke or Wills
would have died on the spot, rather than have taken an ounce more
than their meanest companion, and yet it has been asked why this man
has had no monument. Again, in the unfortunate expedition of poor
Kennedy (not far from their present camp), the storekeeper of the
partyof the name of Niblett, was discovered to have largely pilfered
from the stores for a considerable time previously. Who knows that,
but for the deficiency his greed caused, more of that ill-fated party
might have held out until the succour arrived, guided by the heroic
black, Jacky, who risked his own life to save that of his master, and
whose name is as worthy of being held up for honour as that of the
white man's for contempt.

'February' 3. -- This day was spent by the Brothers with their
black-boys in hunting for a good crossing place, or as they described
it, "doing a little water dogging." The river being two hundred
yards wide, and running rapidly, made it a difficult matter, and
after trying a number of places, it was found that as they were all
alike, deep and wide, they might as well cross opposite the camp.
This would not be without risk and danger, but the exigency of the
party made it necessary. Their flour was nearly exhausted, and they
had nothing else but the jerked meat of the beef they killed, and
what they could catch in the bush, to depend on. In this last,
however, as old hunters and bushmen, they were generally pretty
successful, supplementing and eking out their ordinary rations very
largely. The day previous their larder had been recruited by three
iguanas' eggs, a brush turkey ('Megapodius Tumulus'), and nine
turkeys' eggs. The rain came down as usual at intervals during the
day, which, added to the almost incessant rain of the four previous
days, brought the river down during the night, increasing its volume
and current so much as to make it dangerous to attempt crossing.

'February' 4. -- The river being too high to cross, the start for the
Settlement was postponed, the fagged horses getting the benefit of
the delay. A beast was killed in the evening. The weather clearing,
Mr. Richardson was enabled to get correct observations for the
latitude, having succeeded in putting his sextant into tolerable
adjustment. The readings gave the latitude of camp 82 to be 11
degrees 11 minutes 39 seconds, or about 33 miles south from Cape
York. Part of the day was employed in constructing a raft to float
over the saddles, rations, etc. This was done by stretching a hide
over a frame of wood, but not without some trouble, as it was found
that the only wood light enough for the purpose, was dead nonda, and
this being scarce, had to be searched for. Before evening, however,
a raft was finished sufficiently light for the purpose.

'February' 5. -- The river having sunk considerably during the night,
the crossing was commenced this morning, despite the downpour of
rain, which lasted all day without a break. The stream was one
hundred and thirty yards wide, the banks fringed with scrub and
vines, and the current still running rapidly. It required therefore
strong and expert swimmers to get the horses across, the method being
as follows: -- One of the party went in first with a line made fast
to the bit of the horse's bridle, and another followed, holding on to
his tail by way of rudder. Now as a horse can swim faster than a
man, and is of course heavier in the water, the leader has no easy
task even if the horse swim honestly for the opposite bank, but
should he turn back or boggle at all, man and line are alike
powerless; the use of the rudder therefore will be seen. When the
leader reaches the opposite bank, he has to scramble up nimbly, or he
may have the horse on him, and arrived there, be in readiness with
the line to assist him should he get entangled in the saplings and
vines which fringe the banks. It will be remembered that in crossing
the Batavia on the 11th January, two horses were drowned, in spite of
every care and precaution. Here, however, they were fortunate enough
to cross their four horses without accident, Mr. Scrutton, old Eulah,
and the black-boys doing good service, being all excellent swimmers.
The saddles and rations were then floated over in the raft, also
without accident, and the advanced party (the Brothers and Eulah)
camped on the north side, leaving the remainder of the party and
cattle in charge of Mr. Scrutton. Even now, Frank Jardine was
uncertain as to what stream they were on, and still leaned to the
belief that it was the Escape, his faith in the result of the
observations, having been shaken by the accident to the sextant.
They failed to assist him in his opinion, which was sorely puzzled by
the river running westward. He considered it, therefore, absolutely
necessary to find the Settlement before moving the cattle forward,
his horses being so weak, as to make it useless to travel on in
uncertainty. The necessity for reaching their journey's end was
becoming urgent, for their tea and sugar were exhausted, their flour
nearly so, and some of the party were complaining of being unwell,
and getting very weak.

'February' 6. -- The second start was made this morning, the Brothers
intending to find either the Settlement or the mouth of the Escape.
Their course for the first 15 miles was N.N.East, over barren white
sandy country, covered with brushwood and scrub. At 7 miles a large
deep running creek was crossed, running westward. Its south bank was
so densely covered with vine scrub, that they had to walk and cut
their way through it with their tomahawks. After crossing it, the
country suddenly changed to thickly timbered sandy ridges, some being
rocky, of course sandstone, the more elevated ones having belts of
impenetrable scrub running along their crest. At 12 miles a fine
sheet of water was passed, surrounded by sandy coarsely-grassed
ridges. At 15 miles, from a line of high ridges forming a
saddle-range, they had a view of the ocean, and could distinguish a
few small islands out to sea. It might have been seen sooner but for
the drizzling rain which fell with little intermission. The range
was of red soil, timbered with bloodwood, and stringy-bark. Two
miles further on the country improved still more, continuing from
thence into their camp, 6 miles. The course was altered from the
range to N. by E., and at 20 miles a white hill was reached, from
which they looked down on the sea about half-a-mile distant beneath
them. This was Newcastle Bay. Turning westward and skirting the
coast, they travelled 3 miles further on, and camped on a palm creek,
with very steep banks. Large flocks of the Torres Strait pigeons
flew over in the evening. Distance travelled 23 miles.

'February' 7. -- The good country traversed yesterday ceased at a
creek half-a-mile from the camp, on crossing which the party had to
cut their way as usual, after which the course skirting the coast lay
over a villainous country, boggy swamps, brushwood and scrub. After
travelling 7 or 8 miles their progress was arrested by a large stream
three-quarters-of-a-mile in width, running rapidly from the W.N.W.
Its banks were low and muddy, covered with a wide belt of dense
mangroves, its muddy and swollen waters carrying down quantities of
rubbish. This they correctly surmised to be the mouth of the
veritable "Escape" but Frank Jardine was again in error in supposing
it to be the same stream that they had left the cattle on. Seeing so
large a stream he naturally reverted to the idea that it had turned
on itself, and that their first exploration had stopped before
reaching the turning point. His case was dispiriting in the extreme.
The main camp was not more than 15 miles in latitude south of his
present position. The Settlement, the long-wished end of their
journey, could not be more than 20 to the North, yet his progress was
arrested by a broad and rapid river, to head the supposed bend of
which he had ineffectually travelled nearly 50 miles. His plan was
now to follow the Escape up in hopes of being able to cross at the
head of the tide, and so reach Somerset, but this, as will be seen,
was more easily planned than executed. Following up the course of
the river the way lay over a country which Alexander Jardine mentions
in his notes as "too bad to describe," pandanus swamps, vine scrubs,
and small creeks swollen by the rains to a swimmable depth,
succeeding one another along the whole stage. At the latter the
horses had always to be unpacked and their saddles taken over on the
heads of the party. Three hours were consumed in cutting their way
through the last of the vine scrubs, when they camped on the outside,
three of the horses being completely knocked up. The Brothers then
walked to the river in hopes of finding a crossing place. This
however, proved hopeless. A thick matted fringe of mangroves nearly
three miles wide intervened between them and its bank, through which
it was next to impossible to make any headway. Their supper to-night
was augmented by a lucky "find" during the day of thirteen scrub
turkeys' eggs, which, though they would scarcely have been
appreciated at an ordinary breakfast table, were very acceptable to
tired and hungry travellers existing principally on jerked beef.
Eating what yolk or white they contained, they plucked and roasted
the chicks as a "bonne-bouche." Fires had to be kept going day and
night to drive away, and protect the poor miserable horses from the
march and sand-flies by day, and mosquitoes by night. These were, in
fact, the principal cause of the poverty and debility of the poor
brutes, who could never get a moment's rest to feed or sleep.
Twenty-two miles were accomplished to-day, despite their difficulties.

'February' 8. -- The journey was continued to-day up the Escape, the
course of which was very crooked, but generally N.W. by N. The
horses knocked up a few miles after starting. The party were
therefore obliged to walk and drive them before them. The country
traversed was similar to that of yesterday, so that they could not
get more than a-mile-and-a-half an hour out of the poor jaded beasts.
Three times they tried to make into the river bank, but without
success, from the great width and the density of the belt of
mangroves, and the soft mud. An old black's camp was passed in which
they found heaps of shells, turtle, and shark bones. In the evening
they caught a quantity of whelks and cockles, which, with an iguana,
and three turkeys' eggs, made a good supper.

'February' 9. -- The course of the river to-day was even more crooked
than yesterday, the nature of the country continuing the same, save
that the swampy ground was occasionally broken by ridges of
bloodwood, and stringy-bark. From a tree on one of these they had a
fine view of Newcastle Bay, and what was supposed to be Mount
Adolphus Island, the latter about 25 miles away, and could trace the
course of the river to where it debouched, by the stretch of
mangroves. Here, therefore, they were within 20 miles of their
destination, which they were tantalised by seeing, without being able
to reach. With difficulty they drove their horses before them for 7
miles, when they turned out and camped, as well to hunt, as again to
try and reach the river. In the first they were pretty successful,
getting some turkeys' eggs and shell-fish, but the last they were
unable to do, mud and mangroves barring their way, whilst the salt
water proved to them that they were still within the influence of the
tide, and the stream was still between three and four hundred yards
wide. Despairing of being able to find a crossing to which they
could fetch the cattle, their horses being unable to cross the river,
to continue the search for Somerset in advance, and their scanty
provision of flour being nearly exhausted, Frank Jardine, reluctantly
abandoning the idea of getting into the Settlement, determined to
return to the cattle, and with them, head the supposed bend of the
Escape. Disheartening as this was, there was nothing else to be done
in the present state of the country. Distance travelled, 7 miles

'February' 10. -- Turning their backs on the mangroves and swamps of
the Escape River, the little party faced for the camp, steering
S.S.E. The first four miles was through boggy, swampy country,
through which they walked, driving their horses before them. The
remainder was over the usual iron-bark and bloodwood ridges, fairly
grassed with coarse grasses, intersected with swamps and belts of scrub,
through one of which they were three hours in forcing their way two
miles. After 11 miles of this kind of travelling they camped, the
horses completely knocked up, the men in not much better condition,
having had to drag the horses out of bogs several times, besides
cutting through the hanging vines of the scrubs. Distance 12 miles.

'February' 11. -- The main camp was reached to-day, after another
fatiguing journey of 11 or 12 miles, the first 6 miles similar to
that of yesterday, the remainder through heath and brushwood. It was
sundown before they reached the river, which they found much swollen.
A heavy thunder-shower of two hours' duration, put up all the creeks
bank high, one of which, at about two miles from the river, they had
to swim across. Having struck it immediately opposite the camp, they
left their jaded horses with their saddles on the north side, and
swam across themselves to the party. During their absence another of
the horses, "Pussey," had died from exhaustion.

'February' 12. -- The meat at the camp being all consumed, it became
necessary to halt for a couple of days, in order to kill and jerk a
beast. The flour too was now exhausted, save 10 lbs., which was
judiciously put by and reserved for an emergency. The day was spent
in crossing back the four horses, with saddles and swags. The cattle
were counted and some found missing; the Black-boys were therefore
sent in search of them. A beast was killed, cut up, and jerked, a
tedious task, from the absence of the sun. Although there were only
a few light showers towards evening, the air was damp; the meat,
therefore, had to be smoked under a covering.

'February' 13. -- The lost cattle were found to-day, the jerking of
the meat finished, and preparations for a final start on the morrow
completed. The unfortunate horses were in such wretched condition,
that it was found necessary to lighten the loads to the Settlement.
Four pack-saddles, two police saddles, and the two belonging to the
Brothers were therefore abandoned, with the remainder of the odds and
ends. The prospect before them was not very bright. With no
provision save jerked meat, and with knocked-up horses, they were
starting on a journey of at least 100 miles, when their destination
was not more than 30 miles away from them. they hoped to head the
bend of the river they were on (having reverted to the opinion that
it was the Escape), without knowing how far beyond the lowest point
of their first exploration this turning-point might be, or what
obstructions might be a-head of them. On the other hand, the whole
of the party were without sickness, and they had plenty of cattle to

'February' 14. -- A final start was made this morning from camp 82,
of dreary memory, after a good deal of trouble in packing, choosing
and rejecting what was too heavy or useless, and the other delays
attendant on the breaking up of an established camp. The river was
followed for 11 miles with the usual amount of bogging and
difficulty, in crossing the small trench-like creeks already
mentioned. In one of these they were compelled to abandon another
horse (Tabinga). The poor brute fell in trying to cross, and when
pulled out and set on his legs was too weak to stand. He had to be
left, therefore, saddle and all. Another (Pussy) having died at the
last camp, their number was now reduced to thirteen. Their loads
were reduced to the slightest possible, and consisted merely of the
jerked meat, the ammunition, and swags of the party. Distance 11
miles. (Camp LXXXIII.)

'February' 15. -- A gloomy morning with light showers, 10 miles were
accomplished to-day. Three hours were consumed in crossing one of
the boggy gullies. Every horse had to be unpacked, and half of them
had to be pulled across with ropes. The pack of another horse (Lady
Scott) had to be abandoned. She was too weak to carry even the empty
saddle. The camp was pitched in the angle formed by the large creek
running into the river just below the gunyah camp of their first
trip, mentioned January 30th. (Camp LXXXIV.)

'February' 16. -- The Eliot was reached to-day 8 miles from the camp.
It had fallen considerably, but was still too high to allow of
crossing without taking off the packs. It was about thirty yards
wide, and running clear, about five feet deep, where the party
crossed. The camp was pitched on the main stream two miles further,
making a total of 10 miles for the day's journey. (Camp LXXXV.

'February' 17. -- The lowest camp of the Brothers on their first trip
was passed to-day at about 6 miles. The total distance they
estimated they had travelled down the river on that occasion was 40
to 45 miles, as it will be remembered that they went 6 or 7 miles
beyond this camp on the 1st of February. The true distance to the
turning point by Mr. Richardson's reckoning, was estimated at 35
miles, which is probably correct. Mr. Richardson in his journal of
to-day's date says, "they told me they had travelled 20 miles North
and 30 miles West." A glance at sheet No. 14 will shew this to have
been an error; and in a foot-note at February 2nd, he states, "I
afterwards found that these distances were incorrect. The true
distances West and North respectively from the 82nd camp to the point
in our track where the Leader turned back, are about 24 miles W. and
7 N." Now, considering the tortuous course of the river, the nature
of the country, the weather, and obstacles of the creeks, 6 miles is
not a great error in westing. Mr. Richardson's own reckoning,
generally, despite his advantage over the Brothers, in having nothing
to do but follow the cattle, was not more to be depended upon, whilst
the results of his observations by the sextant were not so much so,
as he naively informs us he did not think he error in Latitude was
more than 15 miles! It appears evident therefore that the dead
reckoning of the explorers was of equal, if not greater value, as far
as the journey was concerned, than the surveyor's, the chief result
and use of whose presence in the party is, that we have been
furnished with a very excellent and interesting map of the route; but
it by no means assisted the Leader in the piloting of the Expedition,
or resolved his doubts when at fault, either at this point or on
leaving the Einasleih in search of the Lynd. The party camped at the
end of about two miles on the right bank of a broad deep creek
running in from S.W., when after turning out, some of them went
fishing, but only one small cat-fish was caught.

'February' 18. -- A slight rain fell during last night, but cleared
off before morning. The creek was crossed at about a mile from the
camp, cattle, horses, and men having to swim. The former took it
like water-dogs, and the latter had as usual to carry their saddles,
packs, and "traps" over on their heads. After ten miles of
travelling over poorly-grassed stringy-bark ridges, the country
resumed its old character of swamp, brushwood, and low scrubby banks,
flooded for four or five feet, the overflow filling swamps running
parallel, and about two or three hundred yards distant from the
river. This was followed during the day's march, and they were
elated with the hope that they had at length reached the much wished
for bend, the course being slightly to the eastward of north. It was
Mr. Jardine's intention to have again halted the party when they
reached this point, and once more pushed forward in search of
Somerset, but they were out of meat, and the party had started
without breakfast, there being nothing to eat. He therefore camped
at the end of 10 miles to kill a beast. there were a good many
delays during the march, chiefly to pull the exhausted horses out of
the constantly recurring bogs. Poor "Lady Scott" especially was with
great difficulty got into camp. Distance 10 miles, N. 1/2 E. (Camp
LXXXVII. Bloodwood)

'February' 19. -- To-day was chiefly devoted to rest, and the cutting
up, jerking, and smoking of the beef by the whites, the black-boys,
after the manner of their race, dividing it pretty equally between
sleeping and stuffing. The meat curing was as usual a slow process,
there being no salt, and a gunyah having to be made to smoke it in.
The river was here first observed to have a rise and fall in it of
about six inches. Its width was about a quarter of a mile.

The latitude of this camp (87) is 11 degrees 11 minutes 13 seconds
The latitude of camp (82) is 10 degrees 58 minutes 2 seconds
The Northing therefore equals 13 minutes 11 seconds

'February' 20. -- It commenced to rain at two o'clock this morning,
and continued heavily as the party started. The river again turned
to the Westward, to their great disappointment. The course was
continued along it for 9 miles, when they were brought to a
stand-still by a deep creek with boggy banks, twenty yards wide,
flowing from the South. It was evidently affected by the tide, as
the water was slightly brackish and the edge fringed by a species of
mangrove. A crossing-place was looked for without success, and the
camp was finally pitched, as the rain was pouring heavily. (Camp

'February' 21. -- This morning the Brothers, taking old Eulah with
them, swam across the creek, alligators notwithstanding, and walked
to the top of a high stringy-bark ridge on the south side. Selecting
the highest tree he could find (a bloodwood) Alexander Jardine
ascended it with Eulah, and from its top branches got a view that
finally dispelled the doubts as to their position, and the identity
of the stream they had traced down. Before him, at about 3 miles
distant lay the mouth of the river, about 2 miles wide. Its course
could without difficulty be traced from where they were till it
debouched into the Gulf waters opposite a small island, which was
easily recognized as Barn Island, whilst to the North, Endeavour
Straits, and Prince of Wales Island could be distinctly seen. It was
now perfectly plain that the river they had followed was not the
Escape. They had therefore, been deceived a second time. It
received the very appropriate name of Deception, but has since, by
the direction of his Excellency Sir George Bowen, been charted, and
is now known by the name of the Jardine. Descending from his perch,
after half-an-hour spent in taking bearings by the compass to the
different points of interest, Mr. Jardine joined his brother, who at
once determined to return to camp 87, it being impossible to cross
where they were. Re-crossing the creek, they rejoined the party,
reaching the camp at sun-set, under a heavy downpour of rain.

'February' 22. -- Although it was raining heavily with every
appearance of a continuance, the party started to return up the river
in excellent spirits. The Brothers were now certain that they should
have no difficulty in finding the Settlement on their next trip.
They were, however, very much puzzled as to where such a large stream
as the Escape was found to be, should rise. They now re-traced their
steps, and camped close to their last camp LXXXVII. Six miles.

'February' 23. -- To-day was spent in killing and jerking a beast,
and preparing for the Leader's third start in search of the
Settlement. The rain poured down heavily, causing the river to rise
very fast. Another raft similar to that made at camp 83, had to be
constructed, a work of some time, for the only wood fit for making
the frame was dry nonda, which was scarce. The rain too, very much
impeded the drying of the beef, for which, as usual, a bark gunyah
had to be erected. Everything, however, was got well forward for the
important business of crossing the next morning.

'February' 24. -- The horses, saddles, and rations were all crossed
in safety to-day, though not without difficulty. In swimming the
horses particular care had to be taken, for there was only one small
spot on the other side at which they could be landed. As explained
on the 5th, on the occasion of the second start, it requires a strong
swift swimmer to lead a horse across a stream, and in this the white
men, or at least, three of them, were much superior to the
black-boys, who, although all good swimmers, were much more efficient
in the service of the raft. This only illustrates the rule that most
white men can beat the aboriginal in swimming fast, whilst the latter
has superior endurance; but there is no doubt, that under the same
conditions of education and practice, the civilized white man is
superior to the savage in any physical function or exercise. The
rain poured down consistently during the whole of the day, and a cold
cutting wind drove the swimming party at intervals to the fires,
where, whilst toasting the outward, they solaced the inner man with a
decoction of Scrutton's, by courtesy called, soup, being an 'olla
podrida', or more properly "bouillon," of the bones, gristle, head,
and oddments of the lately-killed beast. This was always a stock
repast after each kill-day, and there is but little doubt but that
its "osmazome" contributed not a little, to the good health and heart
of the party. Almost every exploring party on short commons, records
some favourite cookery, some dish that their souls loved. In
McKinlay's journey, the dish most in vogue was a kind of "amorphous"
black-pudding, made of the carefully-saved blood of the bullock,
horse, or sheep, as the case might be, boiled with some fat, and
seasoned with a little condiment, which being of light carriage, can
always be saved for such high occasions. In the present instance,
the fat was always devoted to the greasing of the saddles,
pack-straps, etc., during the latter part of the journey, when
clothing was at a premium; of the explorers themselves, "more
aboriginum," who found that the protection it afforded them against
cold, wet, and mosquitoes, far outweighed any slight redolence,
which, after all, could only be offensive to anyone not equally
anointed. At night the Brothers camped on the north side of the
Deception, or Jardine, leaving the party again to await their report
and return, the cattle being in charge of Scrutton.

'February' 25. -- There was an early start this morning, but the
little party did not make much headway that day, for after two miles
of boggy brushwood country their progress was suddenly arrested by a
sea of water, the overflow of a large creek, the outline of which
could be traced by a fringe of dark green foliaged trees. Some
fruitless attempts were made to cross it at different points. At the
narrowest part they could find, on running it down at a spot where
the channel was hemmed in by ridges on either side, it was still
half-a-mile wide, and running very strongly in the actual channel.
They therefore had to resign themselves to wait patiently till the
flood went down, apparently not a near prospect, for the rain still
continued to drizzle unceasingly. After hunting about for some time
they were fortunate enough to find a good dry camp when turning out,
they disposed themselves to await the subsidence of the water, with
what patience they might. The next two days were spent in hunting
for the pot, and exploring for a good crossing place. In the former
they met with no success, all they were able to find being a kind of
wild grape, about the size of a small marble. They are black and
sweet, and as Alexander Jardine describes, "very good to eat, but
they take all the skin off the tongue and lips!" On the evening of
the second day they had the pleasure of seeing that the creek was
slowly going down, giving promise that they might be able to cross it
on the morrow.

'February' 28. -- This morning they had the satisfaction of seeing
that the creek had fallen sufficiently to enable them to cross, but
not without swimming. At the spot they chose for going over the
stream was about fifteen yards wide, but the current very rapid. The
horses were crossed in the usual manner, swimming with their saddles
on their backs, but the rations, etc., were passed over by a
different method, one which did credit to the projector. A kind of
flying suspension bridge was improvised, by which they were slung to
the other side, in a manner proving that necessity is the mother of
invention. By attaching one end of their light tent-line to the
branches of an over-hanging tree on the hither side, and the other
end to a butt on the opposite bank, the "swag" slid down by its own
gravity, and was safely crossed. Their 'impedimenta' were thus
safely transported to the opposite bank, the whole process occupying
about an hour. They were well re-paid for their long patience, for
immediately on attaining the other side, the country changed into
good sound well-grassed stringy-bark ridges, which continued
throughout the whole stage, with the exception of a few broad
tea-tree gullies. They encamped at about 10 miles. Poor old Eulah
experienced to-day, what he felt was a cruel disappointment. Just
before getting into camp he espied what he supposed to be a fresh
turkey's nest (the 'Talegalla Lathami'); jumping off his horse, he
eagerly commenced rooting it up, expecting to be rewarded by a fine
haul of eggs. These, as is the habit of that bird, were deposited in
a large mound formed of sticks, earth, and leaves. His
disappointment and disgust were equal, and his language forcible and
deep, on finding that he had been anticipated -- the big mound was
the abode of emptiness. The mystery was cleared up on going on a
little way, when they found a black's camp about two days old, where
the egg-chips shewed that the occupants had enjoyed Eulah's
anticipated feed, the piccaninnies probably amusing themselves
afterwards by filling up the nest to its original appearance. In the
evening, whilst Alexander Jardine, was preparing the frugal supper
(they generally ate their jerked meet raw, but on this occasion he
was cooking it for a change), the Leader and Eulah walked to the top
of a small sandy conical hill, about half-a-mile distant, when
climbing the highest tree, they could find, they were rewarded by a
fine view of Newcastle Bay, on the south-east of the bight, on which
they were now camped. They had also the great satisfaction of
finding that they had at last headed the Escape River.

'March' 1. -- "A nasty wet morning." The trio started early,
thinking it quite possible that they might "pull up" something or
other belonging to the Settlement before night, but they kept their
thoughts to themselves. They had had so many disappointments that
they felt that to hazard a guess even, was a mistake. After
travelling over a great deal of low scrub and brushwood, which,
however, was better than boggy ground ("to be without one or the
other," says Alexander Jardine "would have been too much to expect")
during a heavy shower of rain, about three o'clock, whilst riding
over some low sandy ridges they suddenly came on to a number of
blacks, camped on the outside of a thick scrub, at a point where it
abutted on a small creek. The travellers immediately unslung their
carbines, very dubious however as to whether they would go off (for
they were all damp,) and prepared for the customary "set-to." As
hitherto, in all these encounters, they had always without any show
of hostility on their part, been at once attacked, they were
surprised to find the blacks, who were very numerous, bolt into the
scrub, with the exception of three who stood their ground, and
holding up their empty hands shewed that they were unarmed, dancing
and shouting vociferously. Eulah was the first to detect what they
said, and reining up called out "hold on, you hearim, that one bin
yabber English." the brothers halted and listened. Sure enough they
distinctly heard the savages shouting excitedly "Alico, Franco,
Dzoco, Johnnie, Toby, tobacco, and other English words. It was now
evident that they had met with friendly natives, who were acquainted
with the Settlement, so they went forward and spoke to them. The
blacks still continued to shout their shibboleth, pointing to
Somerset, which they called "Kaieeby." After taking a rough
inventory of the camp, without, however, finding anything that could
have come from the Settlement, they started two of the most
intelligent in front of them, making them understand by signs, that
they wanted to be guided by the shortest route to Cape York. This
they had no difficulty in doing, for they were by far the most
intelligent blacks they had met with. The whole party now started
forward, the sable guides piloting them over the best ground. In
about 7 miles they arrived at a shallow salt-water creek, that
empties itself into a northern inlet of Newcastle Bay. Here they met
with a large body of unarmed blacks, who after making a great many
signs, came up and presented them with some spears and wommerahs,
which they had concealed in the mangroves, possibly as an earnest of
peace. They also brought them a villainous compound, in some
dilly-bags, a mixture of mangrove-roots and berries, pounded up into
a pulp, of a yellowish color. Although it was very disagreeable to
the taste, the travellers eat of it in token of confidence in their
hosts, or rather to make them believe that they trusted them, for
they were too well acquainted with the aboriginal nature to trust
them in reality, and kept a wary though unobserved watch. The tide
being in, and it being very late when the salt-water creek was
reached, the Brothers determined to camp with their newly-made
friends at their main camp, and accordingly followed them for about
two miles, when they again hit the salt creek. Here three large
canoes were moored to the mangroves, the largest was about 28 feet
long, and 30 inches wide, cut out of the solid butt of some large
tree, and very neatly finished. The tent was pitched, but not made
much use of, for after dark the travellers left it and camped
separately, each keeping vigilant watch all night. The natives spent
it very differently, and, whether in honor of the whites, or in
anticipation of picking their bones (it might have been either) they
held high corroboree till about midnight, keeping up a fearful din,
in which two large drums formed a prominent part. The name of this
kind of drum is "Waropa" or "Burra Burra," and it is procured in
barter or war from the Islanders of Torres Straits, who frequently
visit the continent. It is neatly made of a solid piece of wood
scooped out, in shape like an elongated dice box. One end is covered
with the skin of a snake or iguana, the other being left open. When
this instrument is played upon by a muscular and excited "nigger," a
music results which seems to please him in proportion to its
intensity; keeping time with these, and aiding with their voices,
they kept up their wild dance varying the chant with the peculiar
b-r-r-r-r-r-r-oo, of the Australian savage (a sound made by
"blubbering" his thick lips over his closed teeth,) and giving to
their outstretched knees the nervous tremor peculiar to the
corroboree. But a corroboree, like the ball of civilized life must
have an end, and at length the tired dancers sought their several
lairs, leaving the whites to watch the watery moon and lurid stars,
and listen to the dull plashing of the tide through the mangroves,
whilst waiting for daylight.

'March' 2. -- At daylight the party started forward, accompanied by a
strong detachment of "black guards," who were much disgusted when the
greater number of them were dismissed before they had proceeded far,
no doubt wishing and expecting to share in the "bacca" or "bissiker,"
which would reward the pilots. Mr. Jardine selected the three they
had first met as guides, who turned out capital fellows. They
explained that to go straight they would have "mouro pia" much scrub,
and therefore led the way along the beach, carefully shewing the
horsmen the hardest places on the sands. In rounding one of the
rocky headlands, Eulah's horse fell with him, causing the greatest
amusement and merriment to the body-guard. To be laughed at by
Myalls was nearly too much for Eulah's equanimity, and could he have
had his own way he would probably have resented the insult. As it
was, his ire could only find vent in deeply muttered objurgations and
abuse. At about noon the party sighted the Settlement, and
involuntarily pulled up to gaze at the scattered and insignificant
buildings they had so long and ardently desired to see and struggled
to reach, hardly realizing that the goal was at last attained; when
they again moved forward theguides set up an admonitary yell, which
had the effect of bringing Mr. Jardine and their brother John to the
door. For a considerable time before the arrival of the overland
party, Mr. Jardine had not been without some uneasiness for the
success and safety of the expedition. The time for their probable
arrival had long elapsed. A report had reached him by the
"Salamander" from Rockingham Bay, that the party were on the Lynd,
unable to move forward for want of water, and that their provision
was exhausted, and finally the wet season had set in. To facilitate
their endeavours in finding the Settlement (a work of more than
ordinary difficulty, arising from the intricacy of the rivers and
scrubby nature of the country, at the apex of the Cape York
peninsula,) Mr. Jardine had cut a marked tree line for 30 miles in a
south-westerly direction, meeting a similarly marked line running
east and west from the head of the Kennedy to the west or Gulf Coast,
a distance of about 10 miles. On the latter and on either side of
the longitudinal line, trees were marked at intervals, with
instructions for their course, so that the party hitting the east and
west line would be guided to the junction of the first one leading
into the Settlement. The east and west line, it has been seen they
overran, the rapid tropical growth of the scrub having so far
obliterated it as to make it difficult to notice, or find, even if
sought for. Yet through any depression that might naturally be
induced by the delay, whatever his fears might have been for the
success of the expedition, he felt none for the safety of his sons,
well knowing and relying on their dauntless pluck, energy, and
fitness for the work. His parting injunction to them had been, that
whatever might betide, 'they should keep together'. He knew that he
would not be disobeyed, and felt firm in the faith that, should the
party by misfortune be reduced to their own two selves, with only
their tomahawks in their hands, they would make their way to him.
Thus, firmly reliant on the qualities of his boys, he waited with
patience, and his faith was well rewarded. On the morning of the 2nd
of March, Mr. Jardine being employed in some matters about the house,
during an "evendown" pour of rain, was disturbed by a loud shouting,
and looking out saw a number of blacks running up to the place.
Imagining that the Settlement was about to receive another attack,
(for the little community had already had to repulse more than one,)
he seized his gun, always in readiness for an "alerte" and rushed
out. Instead, however, of the expected enemy, he had the pleasure of


Back to Full Books