Part 2 out of 5
Barlee, the Colonial Secretary at Perth, announcing that his Excellency
the Governor, with a view to mark his sense of the value of my services
as leader of the expedition, had sanctioned the payment to me of a
gratuity of 50 pounds. Mr. Monger and Mr. Hamersley each received 25
pounds; Morgan, the probation prisoner, who had done good service in the
expedition, especially in looking after the horses, was promised a
remission of a portion of his sentence. Tommy Windich and Jemmy Mungaro,
the natives, had each a single-barrel gun, with his name
inscribed--presents which they highly valued.
So ended the first of my expeditions; and a very short time elapsed
before I was called upon to undertake a longer, more hazardous, and more
SECOND EXPEDITION. FROM PERTH TO ADELAIDE, ROUND THE GREAT BIGHT.
A new Exploration suggested.
Proposal to reach Adelaide by way of the South Coast.
The experience derived from Eyre's Expedition.
Survey of Port Eucla.
Dempster's Station near Esperance Bay.
The Schooner at Port Eucla.
Journal of the Expedition.
Immediately on my return to Perth a new expedition was suggested by Dr.
Von Mueller, whose anxiety for the discovery of Leichardt was rather
increased than abated by the disappointment experienced. He proposed that
I should start from the upper waters of the Murchison River with a light
party and provisions for six months, and endeavour to reach Carpentaria.
He thought, not only would such an expedition almost certainly find some
traces of the lost explorer, but probably would make geographical
discoveries of the highest interest and importance. In a paper in the
Colonial Monthly he argued that:
"While those who searched after traces of the lost party did not solve
the primary objects of their mission, their labours have not been without
importance to geographical science. The course of one traveller connected
the southern interior of Queensland in a direct route with the vast
pastoral depressions about Lake Torrens; the researches of another
explorer, bent on ascertaining Leichardt's fate, unfolded to us a tract
of table country, now already occupied by herds and flocks, not less in
length than that of Sweden and Italy...We should bear fully in mind how a
line in Leichardt's intended direction would at once enable the squatters
of North-East Australia to drive their surplus of flocks and herds easily
across to the well-watered, hilly and grassy country within close
proximity to the harbour of the north-west coast."
I should have been well satisfied to undertake an expedition in the
proposed direction, starting from the head of the Murchison, and trying
to connect my route with that of Mr. A. Gregory's down Sturt Creek; but
the difficulty of obtaining funds and lack of support caused the project
to be set aside or at least delayed. Mr. Weld, then Governor of Western
Australia, who always heartily supported explorations, was in favour of
an attempt to reach Adelaide by way of the south coast, and offered me
the command of an expedition in that direction.
I readily accepted the offer, and at once busied myself with the
necessary preparations, but was far from being insensible to the
difficulties of the undertaking. Of the route nothing was known except
the disastrous experience of Mr. Eyre in 1840 and 1841. His remarkable
narrative--interesting to all concerned in the history of explorations or
in the records of energy, courage, and perseverance under the most
discouraging circumstances--might have acted as a warning to future
explorers against endeavouring to follow in his track. The fearful
privations he endured, his narrow escape from the most terrible of all
forms of death, were certainly not encouraging; but his experience might
often be of service to others, pointing out dangers to be avoided, and
suggesting methods of overcoming difficulties. At any rate, I was not
deterred from the attempt to trace once more the coast of the Great
Bight, and to reach the sister colony by that route. Eyre had not
discovered any rivers, although it was possible that he might have
crossed the sand-bars of rivers in the night. The difficulties he
laboured under in his almost solitary journey, and the sufferings he
endured, might have rendered him unable to make observations and
discoveries more practicable to a better equipped and stronger party,
while the deficiency of water on the route appeared to offer the greatest
impediment. We were not, however, deterred from the attempt, and on the
30th of March, 1870, we started from Perth on a journey which all knew to
be dangerous, but which we were sanguine enough to believe might produce
That we were not disappointed the result will prove. Indeed, the
difficulties were much fewer than we had been prepared to encounter; and
in five months from the date of departure from Perth we arrived safely at
Adelaide, completing a journey which Mr. Eyre had been more than twelve
months in accomplishing.
THE EXPLORING PARTY.
My party was thus composed: I was leader; the second in command was my
brother, Alexander Forrest, a surveyor; H. McLarty, a police constable;
and W. Osborne, a farrier and shoeing smith, these with Tommy Windich,
the native who had served me so faithfully on the previous expedition,
and another native, Billy Noongale, an intelligent young fellow,
Before I enter upon the details of my journey it may be useful to state
as briefly as possible the efforts made to obtain a better acquaintance
with the vast territory popularly known as No Man's Land, which had been
traversed by Eyre, and afterwards to summarize the little knowledge which
had been obtained.
In 1860 Major Warburton--who afterwards, in 1873 and 1874, succeeded in
crossing the northern part of the great inland desert, after enduring
great privations--contrived to reach eighty-five miles beyond the head of
the Bight, and made several journeys from the coast in a north and
north-westerly direction for a distance of about sixty miles. Traces of
Eyre's expedition were then visible. The holes he had dug in search of
water twenty years before were still there, and the records of his
journey were of great value as guiding Warburton's movements. His
experience of the nature of the country amply confirmed that of the
previous explorer. He found the district to the north to be a dreary
waste, destitute of food and water. Rain seldom fell, and, when it did,
was immediately absorbed by the arid soil. Bustards and moles were the
only living creatures. To the north-west there was a little grass, but
the tract showing verdure was very small in extent, and beyond it was
again the scorched, barren, inhospitable desert.
Two years afterwards other explorations were attempted, and especially
should be noted Captain Delessier's. He was disposed to think more
favourably of the nature of the country. The enterprise of squatters
seeking for "fresh fields and pastures new," to whom square miles
represent less than acres to graziers and sheep farmers in England--is
not easily daunted. They made a few settlements; but the scanty pasturage
and the difficulty of obtaining water, by sinking wells, in some
instances to the depth of over 200 feet, have been great drawbacks.
DISCOVERY OF PORT EUCLA.
It might naturally be inquired why no attempts were made to reach the
coast of the Great Bight by sea? Why so much suffering has been endured
when a well-equipped vessel might have landed explorers at various points
and been ready to afford them assistance? In his explorations to the
north of Western Australia, Mr. F. Gregory had a convenient base of
operations in the Dolphin, a barque which remained on the coast. It might
seem that similar aid could have been afforded to Warburton and others
who attempted to trace the south-coast line. But for hundreds of miles
along the shores of the Bight no vessel could reach the shore or lie
safely at anchor. Long ranges of perpendicular cliffs, from 300 to 400
feet high, presented a barrier effectually forbidding approach by sea.
About 1867, however, an excellent harbour was discovered about 260 miles
to the west of Fowler's Bay. The South Australian Government at once
undertook a survey of this harbour, and Captain Douglas, President of the
Marine Board, the officer entrusted with this duty, reported in the most
favourable terms. The roadstead, named Port Eucla, was found to afford
excellent natural protection for shipping. There was, however, the less
encouraging circumstance that it was situated a few miles to the west of
the boundary of the colony, and consequently Western, and not South,
Australia was entitled to the benefit of the discovery.
It was evident that Port Eucla, which Captain Douglas carefully surveyed
by taking soundings and observing bearings, was the key to the
exploration of this vast portion of the continent. But, notwithstanding
the propositions made to the Government of Western Australia by the York
Agricultural Society for equipping an exploring party, nothing was done
until the beginning of 1870, when the Governor determined on equipping an
overland party intended to make its way, keeping as far inland as
possible, to Eucla, where assistance and supplies would await them. It
was this expedition which I was selected to command. The following copy
of official instructions will show the object of the exploration and the
preparations made to insure a fair prospect of a successful result:--
Colonial Secretary's Office, Perth,
March 29th, 1870.
His Excellency the Governor, confiding in your experience, ability, and
discretion, has been pleased to entrust to your charge and leadership an
overland expedition, which has been organized for the purpose of
exploring the country between the settled portions of this colony and the
Port of Eucla, situated near its east boundary.
Your party will consist of the following six persons, well armed, and
provisioned for two months, namely, yourself as leader; Mr. Alexander
Forrest, your brother, as second in command; H. McLarty, a
police-constable, third in command; W.H. Osborne, farrier, etc.; and two
reliable natives, one of whom will be your former well-tried companion,
Windich. An agreement to serve under you on the expedition in the above
capacities will be signed by each European named previous to starting.
Ample stores and supply of provisions have been prepared for your use,
and a suitable coasting vessel (the schooner Adur) is engaged, under an
experienced commander, to convey them where required, and to be at your
disposal in aiding the operations of the expedition.
It is desirable the party should start from Perth as soon as all
arrangements have been completed, and take the most convenient route to
Esperance Bay, where men and horses can be recruited, further supplies
from the coaster laid in, and a fresh start made for Eucla so soon as the
first winter rains may lead to a prospect of the country being
About 120 miles to the eastward of the station of Messrs. Dempster, at
the west end of Esperance Bay, lies Israelite Bay, under some islands, in
front of which there is said to be anchorage. That being the nearest
known anchorage westward of Eucla, it appears to offer a convenient spot
whence fresh supplies might be drawn from your coaster with which to
prosecute the remaining 300 miles; but this arrangement as to an
intermediate place of call will be liable to modification, after
consulting on the spot with the Messrs. Dempster, who are well acquainted
with that part of the coast.
Between Israelite Bay and Eucla the route should be as far from the coast
as circumstances and the nature of the country will admit.
At Eucla all the remaining provisions and stores that may be required
should be landed, and the coaster despatched on her return to Fremantle
with a report of your proceedings.
After recruiting at Eucla, five or six days might be employed with
advantage in exploring the country to the northward, care being taken to
place in security, by burying in casks or otherwise, such provisions,
etc., as might not be necessary for the northern excursion.
On returning to Eucla from the north, the expedition is to make a final
start overland for Adelaide, by such route as you may deem advisable. The
Surveyor-General is of opinion that via Port Lincoln, and thence to
Adelaide by steamer, would be the preferable route; but of this you will
be the best judge, after receiving information from the various
out-stations you will pass. Before leaving South Australia, you will
dispose of your horses and such remaining stores and provisions as may
not be further required, retaining all instruments and such pack-saddles
and other articles of outfit as you may deem worth preserving for future
On arriving at Adelaide you will report yourself to his Excellency the
Governor, and avail yourself of the first favourable opportunity of
returning to Perth with your party, and with the remains of your outfit,
either by any vessel about to proceed direct to the Swan, or by the
earliest mail-steamer to King George's Sound. On application to his
Excellency, Sir James Fergusson, you will be furnished with such means as
may be necessary to defray your expenses from South to Western Australia,
as well as during your stay in the former colony.
I am to impress on you the advisability of endeavouring, by every means
in your power, to cultivate friendly relations with the aboriginal
inhabitants of the country you are about to traverse.
Such are briefly the general instructions by which it is intended you
should be governed in conducting the expedition entrusted to your care
and guidance; and I may add that the fullest confidence is placed in your
energy, zeal, and discretion, for bringing it to a successful issue. The
main objects of the undertaking are alone referred to; and, although a
mode of accomplishing them is briefly alluded to, it is by no means
intended to fetter your judgment in adopting such measures of minor
details as may appear to you necessary for effectually carrying them out.
I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
FRED. P. BARLEE.
DEPARTURE FROM PERTH.
The Adur, chartered by the Government, was a vessel of thirty tons, owned
by Mr. Gabriel Adams. It gives me much pleasure to express my thanks to
him and to Mr. Waugh, the master, and to the crew of the vessel, for the
important services they performed, and the zeal they exhibited in
rendering me assistance, not only on board the vessel, but also on shore.
We started from Perth on the afternoon of Wednesday, the 30th of March,
1870. His Excellency the Governor accompanied us for about three miles on
the Albany Road. We had fifteen horses, and provisions sufficient for the
journey to Esperance Bay, a distance of about 450 miles, where, it was
arranged, further supplies would await us. By the 5th of April we had
reached Kojonup, travelling in a north-easterly direction, and then
rested four days, leaving for Jerramungup on the 9th, and reaching it on
the 13th. Our first day's journey brought us to Mr. Graham's homestead,
near which we bivouacked; thence our route lay in an easterly direction,
at first through good grassy country with jam and white gum trees and
shea oaks, by way of Etticup, Martinup (where we bivouacked on the night
of the 10th), and Nigalup, beyond which were scrubby sand-plains
extending southwards towards the Stirling range. On the following night
we camped near some granite rocks. The next day's journey extended to
Koorarkup, where we again rested. Our rate of travel was from twenty to
twenty-five miles a day, and already we began to experience inconvenience
from want of water. A little stream, the Pallinup, was salt, and there
were salt pools on the route between our last camping-place and
Koorarkup, where we were now resting.
Around Jerramungup was rich grassy country, but beyond it we passed over
scrubby undulating plains for about sixteen miles, camping, on the night
of the 14th, on a small branch of the Fitzgerald River, near some granite
rocks called Dwertup. At this spot there was water, but very little feed
for the horses. My observations showed that we were in latitude 33
degrees 1 minute 15 seconds south.
From this point the progress will be best narrated by extracts from my
Diary. A reference to the map will show that as yet we had not reached
the track of Eyre, who had followed the coast to King George's Sound; but
by the 16th of April we had reached his line of route.
Travelled to the north of east, and at seven miles crossed the main
branch of the Fitzgerald River; granite rocks in bed, and saltwater
pools. After travelling over stony undulating country for twenty-one
miles, camped on a small patch of feed, with water in some granite rocks,
Continuing easterly over rough stony country, crossing several brooks
with salt pools of water in them, we reached the Phillips River, and,
after a good deal of searching, found some fresh water in a small brook
near the river. The immense pools in the Phillips were as salt as sea
water. Distance travelled about twenty-five miles.
VIEW OF THE SEA.
Did not travel. Went this morning, in company with McLarty, to the summit
of a high hill in Eyre's Range, called Annie's Peak, which we reached
after one and a half hour's hard climbing. It is the steepest hill I ever
attempted to ascend. We had a splendid view of the sea--the first since
leaving Perth--and I also obtained a fine round of angles and bearings.
On our return, found Billy had shot five ducks, and Tommy soon returned
with an emu. In the evening it very suddenly came on to thunder and
lighten, and soon rained in torrents, and, as we were rather unprepared,
we did not pass a very pleasant night.
Just as we had collected the horses it commenced to rain in torrents; got
under way, however, by 9 o'clock, steering in about an easterly direction
over sandy, scrubby country, and at ten miles crossed a brook with salt
pools in it, and afterwards reached a large river of salt water, which we
followed about two miles, and then camped at a spring called Jerdacuttup.
It rained in torrents the whole day, blowing hard from the southward, so
that all were drenched when we halted.
After travelling about twenty-three miles, in an easterly direction, we
reached a salt lake, called Parriup, and camped. Procured water on some
granite rocks near camp.
Travelling nine miles, reached Mr. Campbell Taylor's station on the
Oldfield River, and rested for the remainder of the day.
After starting the party, with instructions to reach and camp on north
side of Stokes' Inlet, distant about twenty miles, I went with Mr. Taylor
to the mouth of the Oldfield River, in order to take bearings to East
Mount Barren, but was disappointed, the weather being very hazy.
Accompanied by a native of Mr. Taylor's, followed on the tracks, but,
night setting in, we made the best of our way to where I expected to find
the party, but could see nothing of them, and were obliged to camp for
the night without food, and, what was worse, without a fire, having
neither matches nor powder with us. Luckily I had a rug, by which means I
fared much better than my companion, who had only a small kangaroo skin.
As it blew and rained in torrents most of the night, our position can be
better imagined than described.
Early this morning we were looking for the tracks of the party, but
without success; finally we returned eight miles to the Margaret River,
and, after a good deal of searching, found the tracks almost obliterated
by the rain, and followed along them. Upon nearing Stokes' Inlet we met
Tommy Windich looking for us, he having seen the tracks and last night's
bivouac. He informed me that they had camped about four miles westward of
the inlet, and we had therefore passed them in the dark last night. Made
all haste to overtake the party; succeeded in doing so, after a great
deal of trouble, one hour and a half after dark. Encamped on north side
of Barker's Inlet, at a small well of water called Booeynup. We did
justice to the supper, as we had not had anything to eat for thirty-two
For the first nine miles over scrubby sand-plains, kangaroos very
numerous, when we came into and skirted a chain of salt lakes and
marshes. Continuing over generally low country, well grassed, for five
miles, we reached and camped at the old homestead of the Messrs.
Dempster, called Mainbenup.
Left camp in company with Billy Noongale, and proceeded to Esperance Bay,
distant twenty-four miles. On getting in view of the Bay, was much
disappointed to see no schooner lying at anchor, and felt very anxious
for her safety. Was very kindly received by Mrs. Andrew Dempster; the
Messrs. Dempster being away on Mondrain Island.
Went several times up on the hill, looking out for the Adur, but was each
time disappointed. On my return in the evening, found the party had
arrived from Mainbenup, and had camped.
Rained very heavily all last night. Shifted camp over one mile west of
homestead to a sheltered spot, where there was feed and wood. No signs of
27th and 28th.
Rested at camp; the weather very stormy. The Messrs. Dempster returned
from Mondrain Island this evening.
Shifted camp back to the homestead, and camped in a sheltered nook near
the Head. On ascending the Look-out Hill this evening, was rejoiced to
espy the Adur near Cape Le Grand, making in for the Bay, and at 8 o'clock
went off in Messrs. Dempster's boat, and had the great pleasure of
finding all hands well. They had experienced heavy weather, but
everything was dry and safe. I cannot find words to express the joy and
relief from anxiety this evening; all fears and doubts were at an end,
and I was now in a position to attempt to carry out my instructions.
The Messrs. Dempster, whose hospitality was so welcome, are good
specimens of the enterprising settlers who are continually advancing the
frontiers of civilization, pushing forward into almost unknown regions,
and establishing homesteads which hereafter may develop into important
towns. In ten days we had journeyed 160 miles, and had enjoyed a
foretaste of the nature of the country through which we should have to
make our way. Four days' rest recruited our energies, and the arrival of
the Adur, with stores, gave all the party excellent spirits.
The last day of April was occupied with landing the stores required for
immediate use, and the following day, being Sunday, we rested, and,
observing the practice adopted in my previous expeditions, I read Divine
Service to a somewhat larger congregation than I generally had around me.
The horses had suffered from sore backs, the result of saddles being
stuffed with straw; and on the two following days we were all busy
restuffing them with wool, and I set Osborn, the farrier, to work to
widen and alter the iron-work, so as to make the saddles more comfortable
and easy to the horses. From the 3rd to the 8th of May we remained at Mr.
Dempster's, and I made a survey of his location, a tract of forty acres.
On Saturday, the 7th, Mr. William Dempster left for Perth, and I had the
opportunity of sending a report of our proceedings to that date to the
Colonial Secretary, and also of forwarding private letters.
LAST DAY IN ESPERANCE BAY.
Sunday, the 8th, being our last day in Esperance Bay, was passed quietly,
all attending Divine Service at Mr. Dempster's house; and on the
following morning we prepared to start on the second stage of our
journey. The Adur was to meet us again at Israelite Bay, about 120 miles
to the eastward; and here I resume the extracts from my Diary:--
After collecting the horses, we saddled up and started en route for
Israelite Bay, where I had instructed the master of the Adur to meet us.
Bidding good-bye to our kind friends at Esperance Bay, travelled along
the north shore for about eleven miles, when we left the coast and
steered towards Mount Merivale, and camped at a spring on South-East
corner of a salt sake, Mount Merivale bearing North 60 degrees East
magnetic; Frenchman's Peak North 150 degrees East magnetic, and
Remarkable Island North 196 degrees East magnetic. The country for the
last few miles is beautifully grassed, with numerous brackish streams
running through. Commenced keeping watch this evening, two hours each,
from 8 p.m. to 6 o'clock a.m. Marked a tree with the letter F. at our
Travelled nearly due East for twenty-four miles, through scrubby, sandy
country without timber. Remarkable bare granite hills studded in every
direction. Camped at a spring on South-East side of granite hills,
resembling a saddle. Passed Mount Hawes, leaving it a little to the
north. From hill near camp, Mount Hawes bore North 295 degrees East
magnetic, Mount Merivale North 278 degrees East magnetic, Frenchman's
Peak North 243 degrees 30 minutes East magnetic, and the east side of
Mondrain Island North 207 degrees 30 minutes East magnetic.
The horses having strayed back on the tracks last night, we were delayed
till 10 o'clock, when only eight of them were brought in. Sent Tommy in
search of the remainder, and, after waiting until 3 o'clock for his
return, my brother, Osborn, and Billy went with seven horses and loads;
instructed to camp at the first place where there was feed and water,
there being no feed at this camp. McLarty and myself waited until Tommy
returned, which he did at sundown, having had to go back twenty-four
miles to the bivouac of the 9th. There being scarcely any feed here, and
it being too late to follow after the party, we tied up our horses for
the night. Found it rather long hours watching, namely, about four hours
each. By meridian altitude of sun, camp is in latitude 33 degrees 90
minutes 49 seconds South.
Packed up and followed on the tracks of the party, and at ten miles found
them camped on a branch of a creek which runs into Duke of Orleans Bay.
Brackish streams plentiful: scrubby, sandy country. By meridian altitudes
of sun and Arcturus, camp is in South latitude 33 degrees 51 minutes 35
THE ALEXANDER RIVER.
Travelled in an easterly direction towards Cape Arid, passing at five
miles a large creek, and at ten miles camped on a running brackish
stream, which I named the Alexander. Scrubby open country most of the
way. Shot a few ducks from thousands that are in these rivers.
Continuing a little to the south of East for ten miles, crossed a large
brook, and at fourteen miles reached another creek. Followed it up a mile
and camped on east side of a large salt lagoon, into which the brook
empties. Splendid green feed around camp, but no water. Went with Billy
to look for some, and, after going a mile and a half East, struck the
Thomas River, where we met two natives, quietly disposed, who showed us
the water, and, after filling our canteens, returned with us to camp.
Shifted camp over to the Thomas River, one mile and a half, where there
was plenty of water. Rained a little during the day. Grassy piece of
country round camp--the first good feeding land seen since leaving Mount
Merivale. About half a mile west of camp, Mount Ragged bore North 43
degrees 30 minutes East magnetic, Mount Baring North 53 degrees 15
minutes East magnetic, and South-West point of Cape Arid North 140
degrees 30 minutes East. By meridian altitude of sun, camp was in south
latitude 33 degrees 50 minutes 7 seconds, and longitude about 123 degrees
East. Billy shot five ducks this afternoon.
Got an early start and steered nearly East, accompanied by the two
natives, over scrubby sand-plains for about twenty-one miles. We camped
near the sea, a few miles to the westward of Cape Pasley. Filled our
canteens about two miles back from where we camped, from which point
Mount Ragged bore North 11 degrees East magnetic, Cape Pasley North 110
degrees 30 minutes East magnetic, and South-East point of Cape Arid North
214 degrees East magnetic.
Steering in an East-North-East direction for about nineteen miles, we
camped near Point Malcolm, Mount Ragged bearing North 327 degrees East
magnetic, and Point Dempster (Israelite Bay) North 35 degrees 15 minutes
East magnetic. Hope to reach Israelite Bay to-morrow, as it is only
sixteen miles distant. There was no water at Point Malcolm, but luckily
we had filled our canteens. The wind was strong from the westward,
accompanied with light showers all day. Tommy shot a kangaroo this
evening, and the two natives who were travelling with us from the Thomas
River did ample justice to the supper, literally eating the whole night.
After starting the party, went in advance with Billy to prepare camp at
Israelite Bay. When we reached it were delighted to find the Adur lying
safely at anchor there; proceeding on board, found all well. Procured
abundance of water by digging one foot deep in the sand-hills, and good
feed a short distance from camp.
Our friends on the Adur were looking anxiously for us. We were two days
behind the appointed time, and they feared some evil had befallen us, not
taking into consideration the many delays incidental to such a journey
through strange and difficult country as we had made. We had occupied ten
days in reaching Israelite Bay since leaving Mr. Dempster's station,
going an average of about twelve miles a day, which would be a slow rate
of progress in a settled country, but which had sufficiently tried our
horses, they being now in a very reduced condition from scarcity of feed.
I resolved to stay at the camp for eight or ten days to recruit the
horses, as there was good feed in the vicinity; and we re-stuffed and
re-fitted the saddles and had the horses shod. I made a correct chart of
the route from Esperance Bay, and found that the coast-line, as laid down
in the Admiralty charts, was in many places incorrect.
On the 24th of May we determined to celebrate the Queen's birthday. All
hands from the Adur came ashore, and I drew them up in line under the
Union Jack, which was duly hoisted near the camp. We presented arms; sang
God Save the Queen vigorously, and fired a salute of twenty-one guns,
finishing with three cheers. I venture to record that our vocal efforts
were as sincerely and heartily made in the Australian wilderness as any
which rang that day in any part of her Majesty's wide dominions. We were
all highly delighted--not only feeling that we had done our duty as loyal
subjects, but other celebrations in more civilized places were forcibly
recalled to memory.
I had fixed the 30th as the time for our fresh start, and we had enough
to do in packing bags, and making general repairs and improvements in our
outfit. Eucla Bay, the only other point at which we should be able to
communicate with the coaster, was 350 miles to the east of Israelite Bay.
The nature of the country was quite unknown, except so far as indicated
by the not very encouraging record of Eyre's journey. We felt that we
should inevitably have to encounter considerable difficulties, and
perhaps even fail to reach Eucla. I deemed it right to give explicit
directions to Mr. Waugh, the master of the schooner, so that, in the
event of not meeting with us at the appointed place, he should have no
difficulty as to the course to pursue, and to that end I gave him in
writing the following instructions:--
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SCHOONER.
Israelite Bay, 28th May, 1870.
It being my intention to start for Eucla on Monday, the 30th instant, I
have the honour to direct you will be good enough to make arrangements
for leaving this place on the 7th of June, wind and weather permitting,
and sail as direct as possible for Port Eucla, situated in south latitude
31 degrees 43 minutes, and east longitude 128 degrees 52 minutes East.
You will remain at anchor in Port Eucla until the 1st September, long
before which time I hope to reach and meet you there. No signs of myself
or party appearing by that date, you will bury in casks under the Black
Beacon, 400 pounds flour, 200 pounds pork, 100 pounds sugar, 10 pounds
tea, and four bags barley, together with the remainder of our clothing on
board. You will be careful to hide the spot of concealment as much as
possible, or by any other means that may suggest themselves. Also you
will bury a bottle containing report of your proceedings.
All these matters had better be attended to a day or two before, and on
the 2nd of September you will set sail and return with all despatch to
this place (Israelite Bay), where, if I have been obliged to return, I
will leave buried a bottle at this spot (arranged by us yesterday), which
will contain instructions as to your future proceedings.
No signs of our return being found here, you will sail for Fremantle,
calling at Esperance Bay on your way.
On arriving in Fremantle, you will immediately report your return to the
Honourable the Colonial Secretary, and forward him a report of your
proceedings, after which your charter-party will have been completed.
These arrangements are chiefly respecting your proceedings in the event
of our not reaching Eucla; and I may add that, although I have every hope
of reaching there in safety, still it is impossible to command success in
any enterprise, and I have to impress upon you the necessity of these
instructions being carried out, as nearly as possible, to the very
letter. Wishing yourself and crew a prosperous voyage, and hoping soon to
meet you in Port Eucla,
I have, etc.,
Leader of Expedition.
Mr. R.B. Waugh,
Master of Schooner Adur.
STARTING FOR EUCLA.
On Sunday, the 29th of May, all hands came ashore to dinner. It was
certainly a festive party under rather extraordinary circumstances, but
it was heartily enjoyed. So far as we were concerned the future was more
than usually uncertain; but there was no feeling of despondency, and we
separated in the evening with mutual good wishes and hopes for the
success of the expedition. I read Divine Service, and, situated as we
were, a small party remote from civilization, I think we all felt more
impressed than under ordinary circumstances would have been the case. We
had rested for eleven days. Good food had restored the condition of the
horses, and we rested in our camp in good spirits, ready for the work we
were to begin on the following morning. My observations showed that we
were in latitude 33 degrees 36 minutes 58 seconds South and longitude
about 123 degrees 48 minutes East, the variation of compass from a number
of azimuths being about 0 degrees 46 minutes westerly.
The narrative is now continued in extracts from my Diary:--
After bidding good-bye to the crew of the Adur, and to the two natives we
have had with us from the Thomas River, who were now at the end of their
country and were afraid to come any further with us, we left Israelite
Bay en route for Eucla, and steered in a northerly direction for about
fifteen miles over salt marshes and clay-pans, with dense thickets
intervening, destitute of grass. I was obliged to make for the coast,
and, following it for about eight miles, we camped close to it, without
water or feed, and tied up our horses in latitude 33 degrees 17 minutes
17 seconds by meridian altitude of Arcturus and a Bootes.
Saddled up at dawn and continued along the beach for four miles; came to
a large sand patch, and found abundance of water by digging one foot deep
in the hollows. Camped on east side of the sand-hills, with first-rate
feed for the horses. By meridian altitude of sun, camp is in latitude 33
degrees 13 minutes 46 seconds South.
After starting the party, went with Tommy Windich to examine the country
to the North-West, and then, travelling nine miles over salt marshes and
samphire flats, with dense scrub intervening, we reached what is named on
the Admiralty Charts The Front Bank, which, ascending, we found very
steep and rough. At last, gaining the summit, the country receded to the
north, level and thickly wooded, as far as the eye could reach. We
travelled about four miles to the North-West, from where we ascended the
range, and then climbed a tree to have a view of the country, which I
found very level and thickly wooded with mallee. I therefore determined
to turn east, and if possible, reach the party to-night. Accordingly, we
reached the sea, and, following the tracks of the party, came up with
them at about 10 p.m., encamped on North-East side of an immense
sand-patch, about twenty-five miles from our last night's bivouac. There
was abundance of water on the surface in the hollows of the sand-hills.
There being no feed near camp, saddled up and continued towards Point
Culver for four miles and camped, with only some coarse grass growing on
the white sand-hills for our very hungry horses. Found plenty of water by
digging. This is a poor place for the horses: intend making a flying trip
to the North-East to-morrow. By meridian altitude of sun and Arcturus,
camp is in latitude 32 degrees 55 minutes 30 seconds south, and longitude
124 degrees 25 minutes east.
Started with my brother and Billy to examine the country to the
North-East, and travelled in about a North-East direction for twenty-five
miles over very level country, but in many places most beautifully
grassed. We camped on a splendid flat, without water.
A VIEW OF THE SEA.
Started at dawn and travelled in a southerly direction for nine miles,
when we found a rock water-hole containing one gallon, and had breakfast.
Continuing for four miles, we reached the cliffs, which fell
perpendicularly into the sea, and, although grand in the extreme, were
terrible to gaze from. After looking very cautiously over the precipice,
we all ran back quite terror-stricken by the dreadful view. Turning our
course westward along the cliffs, we reached camp at 5 o'clock, and found
all well. We saw several natives' tracks during the day.
Rested at camp. Read Divine Service. Intend making preparations to-morrow
for starting on Tuesday morning, and attempt to reach the water shown on
Mr. Eyre's track, in longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes East, 150 miles
distant, by carrying thirty gallons of water with us and walking in
turns, so as to have the horses to carry the water. Intend allowing each
man one quart and each horse two quarts per day. Feel very anxious as to
the result, as it will take five or six days; but it is the only resource
left. After explaining my views to my companions, and pointing out the
great probability of our meeting with small rock water-holes, was much
relieved by the sanguine way in which they acquiesced in the plans, and
the apparent confidence they placed in me.
Filled the water-cans, and got everything ready for a start to-morrow
Started at 9 a.m., carrying over thirty gallons of water with us. One of
the drums leaked so much that we left it at camp. Travelled along our
outward tracks of the 4th, and camped at our former bivouac, with
splendid feed, but no water for our horses.
Started early, and steered about North-East through dense mallee
thickets, destitute of grass or water, for eighteen miles. We came upon a
small patch of open grassy land, and camped without water for our horses.
This is the second night our horses have been without water, but the
grass has been fresh, and they do not yet appear to have suffered much.
Marked a tree at camp, F., 1870. My brother, I am sorry to say, left his
revolver at our last night's bivouac, and did not notice it until this
evening, when it was too far to send back to look for it. By meridian
altitude of Arcturus, camp is in latitude 32 degrees 34 minutes 20
seconds south, and longitude 124 degrees 59 minutes east.
SUFFERINGS FROM THIRST.
Made an early start, steering North-East, and at one mile found a rock
water-hole containing fifteen gallons, which we gave the tired, thirsty
horses, and, continuing, chiefly through dense mallee thickets, with a
few grassy flats intervening, for twenty-two miles, found another rock
water-hole holding about ten gallons, which we also gave the horses, and,
after travelling one mile from it, camped on a large grassy flat, without
water for the horses. Our horses are still very thirsty, and have yet
seventy miles to go before reaching the water in longitude 126 degrees 24
minutes East. Am very thankful for finding the little water to-day, for
if we had none, our situation would be somewhat perilous, and some of the
horses would probably show signs of distress to-morrow. Latitude of camp,
32 degrees 20 minutes 35 seconds South by Arcturus, and longitude 125
degrees 16 minutes East.
Steering East-North-East over generally open country, grassy flats, etc.,
thinly wooded, for twenty-one miles, found a small rock water-hole
containing three gallons, which we put into our canteens. After
travelling three miles further, camped on the edge of a grassy flat, and
gave our horses half a gallon each from our canteens. Our horses appear
fearfully distressed this evening. For the last ninety-six hours they
have only had two gallons each. Latitude of camp 32 degrees 11 minutes 5
seconds South, longitude 125 degrees 37 minutes East.
Found, on collecting the horses, that four were missing. Those found were
in a sad state for want of water, and there was not a moment to lose. I
therefore at once told Tommy to look for those missing, and, after
saddling up, sent the party on with my brother, with instructions to
steer easterly for nearly fifty miles, when they would reach the water in
longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes East. I remained behind to await Tommy's
return, and, after an hour's awful anxiety, was rejoiced to see him
returning with the ramblers. We lost no time in following after the
party, and at two miles came to a water-hole they had emptied and given
to the horses (fifteen gallons), and at five miles overtook them. After
travelling ten miles, found another water-hole with fifteen gallons,
which we also gave our horses, they being still very thirsty. At fourteen
miles found a water-hole holding three gallons, which we transferred to
our canteens; and at fifteen miles camped on a small but very grassy
flat, close to which we found a water-hole of ten gallons, which I intend
giving the horses to-morrow morning. Although the horses are still very
thirsty, they are much relieved, and are willing to feed. We all felt
tired from long, weary, and continued walking. By meridian altitude of
Arcturus, camp is in latitude 32 degrees 13 minutes South, and longitude
125 degrees 51 minutes East.
After giving the horses the little water found by Tommy last evening, we
struck a little to the south of east over generally grassy country,
slightly undulating for three miles, when, being in advance, walking, I
found a large water-hole with about 100 gallons of water in it. It being
Sunday, and men and horses very tired, I halted for the day, as there was
most luxuriant feed round camp. Our horses soon finished the water, and
looked much better after it. Although now without water, we are in
comparative safety, as the horses have had nearly sufficient. We are now
only thirty-two miles from the water shown on Mr. Eyre's chart, in
longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes East. Latitude of camp 32 degrees 13
minutes 35 seconds South, and longitude 125 degrees 54 minutes East.
Made an early start, and steering a little to the south of east, keeping
straight for the water in longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes East. At
eighteen miles got a view of the sea, and beheld the sand-hills about
fifteen miles ahead. Here we saw some natives' fires close to us.
Approaching them, we came upon an old woman, and my brother and Tommy
soon brought a man to bay. There were about twenty round us; they
appeared very frightened. After detaining them half an hour, and treating
them as kindly as possible, we bade them farewell and continued our
journey. The natives were entirely naked. After we left the natives, we
came to where the cliffs leave the sea, in longitude 126 degrees 12
minutes East. From here Point Dover was clearly visible, and I cannot
express my feelings when gazing on the scene. To the westward, those
grand precipitous cliffs, from 200 to 300 feet high, and Point Dover,
near which Mr. Eyre's overseer was murdered, could easily be discerned;
and while thinking over his hardships and miseries, we turned our faces
eastward, and there saw, within a few miles, the water we so much needed.
We then descended the cliffs and reached the sea shore, which we followed
for about twelve miles, reaching the first sand-patch at about 10 o'clock
p.m. There was good feed all around, but we could not, from the darkness,
find any water. Gave our horses all we had with us, about fifteen
A GLIMPSE OF THE ADUR.
This morning searched the sand-patches for water, without success; I
therefore packed up and proceeded towards another large patch, four miles
distant, going in advance with Billy. After we left, Tommy found a place
used by the natives, where water could be procured by digging. He,
however, followed after Billy and myself. On reaching the sand-patch we
saw the place where water could be procured by digging; we also found
sufficient to satisfy our horses on some sandstone flats. We were soon
joined by the party, who were overjoyed to be in perfect safety once
more, and we were all thankful to that Providence which had guarded us
over 150 miles without finding permanent water. We soon pitched camp, and
took the horses to the feed, which was excellent. Returning, we were
surprised to see a vessel making in for the land, and soon made her out
to be the Adur. Although the wind was favourable for Eucla, she made in
for the land until within about three miles, when she turned eastward,
and, although we made fires, was soon out of sight. I afterwards
ascertained that they were not sure of their longitude, having no
chronometer on board, and therefore wished to see some landmark.
Dug two wells to-day, and found good water at seven feet from the
surface. Lined them with stakes and bushes to keep them from filling in.
In the afternoon we all amused ourselves shooting wattle-birds, and
managed to kill fifteen.
Dug another well and bushed it up, the supply from the two dug yesterday
being insufficient, and obtained an ample quantity of splendid fresh
water. By a number of observations, camp is in latitude 32 degrees 14
minutes 50 seconds South, and longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes East, the
variation of compass being about 1 degree 6 minutes easterly. The horses
are improving very quickly, there being splendid feed round the
Went with Tommy Windich for a walk eastward along the beach, and returned
a little inland. Passed over some patches of beautiful grassed country.
Saw a pine pole standing on one of the hummocks near the beach, probably
erected by Mr. Eyre, as I am not aware of any one else having been here.
We could not find any of his camps, however; doubtless the sand has long
since covered them.
Making preparations for a flying trip inland on Monday.
Read Divine Service. Every appearance of rain.
Started this morning, in company with McLarty and Tommy Windich, to
explore the country to the northward. The first twelve miles north was
through very dense thickets and sandy hills, when we reached the cliffs,
which we ascended with difficulty, and steering about North-North-East
for the first three miles, through dense mallee thickets, we emerged into
a generally grassy country, and travelled over beautifully-grassed downs.
We camped at a rock water-hole of fifteen gallons, about twenty-five
miles from main camp.
Steering about north for one mile, we found a rock water-hole holding
about thirty gallons; and continuing for thirteen miles over grassy
plains, thinly wooded, the country became very clear and open, and at
twenty-five miles there was nothing but plains, gently undulating, of
grass and salt-bush in view. Far as the eye could reach to the
North-West, North, and North-East, this clear and grassy country
extended; and being now fifty miles from camp, with the prospect of
finding water diminishing as we travelled northward, I determined to
return. Accordingly struck South-West, and after travelling twelve miles
found a small water-hole of three gallons, and camped for the night. Set
watch as follows: myself 7 to 11, McLarty 11 to 3.30 a.m., and Tommy from
3.30 to 6 a.m. We found them rather long hours.
Saddled up at dawn, and steering southerly over clear, open, grassy
plains for twenty-eight miles, we reached the cliffs, and rested an hour;
after which we continued our journey and reached camp a little after
dark, finding all well.
A RELIC OF EYRE.
Made preparations for a start for Eucla to-morrow, and put everything in
travelling order. During my absence, Osborn had got the horses' feet in
order, and the pack-saddles had been overhauled, and repairs generally
made. In looking round the camp, Tommy Windich found shoulder-blade of a
horse, and two small pieces of leather. They no doubt belonged to Mr.
Eyre's equipment, and, on reference to his journal, I find he was here
obliged to kill a horse for food. In his journal he writes thus: "Early
on the morning of the 16th April, 1841, I sent the overseer to kill the
unfortunate horse, which was still alive but unable to rise from the
ground, having never moved from the place where he had first been found
lying yesterday morning. The miserable animal was in the most wretched
state possible, thin and emaciated by long and continued suffering, and
labouring under some complaint that in a very few hours, at the farthest,
must have terminated its life." I cut off part of the shoulder-blade, and
have since given it, together with the pieces of leather, to his
Excellency Governor Weld.
A PARTY OF NATIVES.
Started at 8.30 a.m. en route for Eucla. Steering in a North-North-East
direction for fifteen miles, reached the cliffs, and after following
along them two miles, found a large rock water-hole, but in an almost
inaccessible spot. While I was examining the cliffs near, to find a place
where we could get the horses up, Tommy heard a cooey, and after
answering it a good many times, we were surprised to see two natives
walking up towards us, unarmed. I approached and met them; they did not
appear at all frightened, and at once began to eat the damper I gave
them. We could not understand anything they said. I beckoned them to come
along with us, which they at once did, and followed so closely after me
as to tramp on my spurs. They pointed to water further ahead. After
walking about a mile, four more natives were seen running after us, who,
on joining, made a great noise, singing, and appearing very pleased.
Shortly afterwards two more followed, making seven in all; all entirely
naked, and every one circumcised. We found the water alluded to on the
top of the cliffs, but, it being too late to get the horses up, we turned
off to the southward half a mile, and camped on a small grassy flat,
without water for the horses. The seven natives slept at our fire. We
gave them as much damper as they could eat. They had not the least
particle of clothing, and made pillows of each other's bodies, and
resembled pigs more than human beings.
The horses began to stray towards morning, and at 3 a.m. I roused Billy
and brought them back. After saddling up, went to the cliffs, and with
two hours' hard work in making a path and leading up the horses (two of
which fell backwards), we managed to gain the summit. The seven natives
accompanied us, and giving one of them the bag containing my rug to carry
over to the water, I was surprised to see him trotting off with it.
Calling Tommy, we soon overtook him and made him carry it back to the
party. After giving our horses as much as they required from the fine
water-holes, I motioned five of the natives to leave us and two to
accompany us, which they soon understood, and appeared satisfied.
Travelling in an East-North-East direction for twenty-one miles, over
rich grassy table-land plains, thinly wooded, we camped on a very grassy
spot, without water for our horses. By meridian altitude of Arcturus,
camp is in latitude 31 degrees 52 minutes 30 seconds south, and longitude
126 degrees 53 minutes East.
Finding the two natives entirely useless, as we could not understand
them, and had to give them part of the little water we carried with us,
motioned them to return, which they appeared very pleased to do. Steering
in an easterly direction for two miles, over downs of most luxuriant
grass, we found a large rock water-hole holding over 100 gallons. It was
Sunday, and all being tired, we camped for the day. In every direction,
open gently undulating country, most beautifully grassed, extended. By
meridian altitude of sun, camp is in latitude 31 degrees 53 minutes
South. Read Divine Service. Tommy and Billy went for a stroll, and
returned bringing with them two small kangaroos, (the first we have shot
since leaving Israelite Bay) which proved a great treat. The natives also
found a fine water-hole about a mile from camp. Gave the horses all the
water at this place. Every appearance of rain.
Made rather a late start, owing to some of the horses straying. Steered
in an East-North-East direction, and at ten miles found a small
waterhole, and at twenty-one miles another, both of which we gave our
horses, and at twenty-four miles camped on a grassy spot, without water
for our horses. For the first fifteen miles grassy, gently undulating,
splendid feeding country extended in every direction, after which there
was a slight falling off, scrubby at intervals. By meridian altitude of
Arcturus, camp was in latitude 31 degrees 46 minutes 43 seconds South,
and longitude 127 degrees 17 minutes East.
Had some difficulty in collecting the horses, and made a late start,
steering in about an East-North-East direction for the first five miles,
over very grassy flats, etc., when it became more dense and scrubby until
twenty miles, after which it improved a little. At twenty-four miles we
camped on a grassy rise, without water, in south latitude 31 degrees 41
minutes, and longitude 127 degrees 40 minutes East. Our horses appeared
distressed for want of water, the weather being very warm.
Had to go back five miles to get the horses this morning. After saddling
up, travelled in about an easterly direction for twenty-four miles, and
camped on a grassy rise, close to a small rock water-hole. During the
day, found in small rock-holes sufficient to give each horse about three
gallons. The country was generally very grassy, although in some places
rather thickly wooded. McLarty was very foot-sore from heavy and long
walking. By meridian altitude of Arcturus, camp is in latitude 31 degrees
45 minutes South, and longitude 128 degrees 2 minutes East.
Hearing the horses make off, I roused Billy and brought them back; they
had gone two miles. Packed up, and steering in an east direction over
generally very grassy country with occasional mallee thickets, for about
twenty-two miles, we came to a splendidly-grassed rise, and found a fine
rock water-hole on it, containing about 100 gallons, which our horses
soon finished being fearfully in want, the day being very warm. We are
now only thirty miles from Eucla. For the last two days McLarty has been
so lame that I have not allowed him to walk--his boots hurting his feet.
Made an early start, every one being in high spirits, as I told them they
should see the sea and Eucla to-day. Travelling about east over most
beautifully-grassed country, at five miles found a large water-hole,
holding 100 gallons; but our horses, not being thirsty, did not drink
much. This is the first rock water-hole we have passed without finishing
since we left Point Culver. After ten miles reached the cliffs, or
Hampton Range, and had a splendid view of the Roe Plains, Wilson's Bluff
looming in the distance, bearing North 77 degrees 30 minutes East
Descending the cliffs with difficulty, we followed along the foot of
them, which was beautifully grassed, and, after travelling twelve miles,
beheld the Eucla sand-hills. On my pointing them out, every heart was
full of joy, and, being away some distance, I heard the long and
continued hurrahs from the party! Eucla was all the conversation! I never
before remember witnessing such joy as was evinced on this occasion by
all the party. After travelling five miles further we camped close to the
cliffs, at a small water-hole, Wilson's Bluff bearing North 85 degrees
East magnetic, and the Delissier sand-hills North 90 degrees East
magnetic. We might have reached Eucla this evening, but I preferred doing
so to-morrow, when we could have the day before us to choose camp. We are
now again in safety, Eucla being only seven miles distant, after having
travelled 166 miles without finding permanent water--in fact, over 300
miles with only one place where we procured permanent water, namely, in
longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes East. I trust we all recognized with
sincerity and thankfulness the guiding and protecting Father who had
brought us through in safety. By observation, the camp was in latitude 31
degrees 42 minutes South.
Made an early start and steered straight for the anchorage, distant about
five miles, having first ascended the range to have a view of the
country, which was very extensive. Far as the eye could reach to the
westward the Roe Plains and Hampton Range were visible; while to the
eastward lay Wilson's Bluff and the Delissier sand-hills; and three miles
west of them we were delighted to behold the good schooner Adur, riding
safely at anchor in Eucla harbour, which formed by no means the least
pleasing feature of the scene to our little band of weary travellers.
Made at once for the vessel, and, on reaching her, found all well and
glad to see us. She was anchored between the Red and Black Beacons. The
latter had been blown down, but shall be re-erected. There being no water
at the anchorage, moved on to the Delissier sand-hills, where we found
water by digging two and a half feet from the surface. Camped on west
side of the sand-hills. Landed barley, etc., from the boat. There was
good feed for the horses under the Hampton Range, about a mile and a half
The next day was Sunday. The crew of the Adur came ashore and dined with
us, and, as usual, I read Divine Service. On the following morning I went
aboard the schooner and examined the log-book and charts. We painted the
Red and Black Beacons, and Mr. Adams having trimmed up a spar, we erected
a flagstaff thirty-four feet high. I occupied myself the next day with
preparing a report to be sent to the Colonial Secretary. My brother went
off to the boat and brought ashore the things we required. We were busy
on the following days packing up and shipping things not required for the
trip to Adelaide, and I gave the master of the Adur instructions to sail
with all despatch for Fremantle.
The following report, which I sent back by the Adur, describes the
progress then made with somewhat more detail than in my Journal:--
Port Eucla, 7th July, 1870.
It is with much pleasure I have the honour to report, for the information
of his Excellency the Governor, the safe arrival here of the expedition
entrusted to my guidance, as also the meeting of the schooner Adur.
Leaving Esperance Bay on the 9th of May, we travelled in an easterly
direction, over plains generally poorly grassed, to Israelite Bay
(situated in latitude 33 degrees 36 minutes 51 seconds South, and
longitude 123 degrees 48 minutes East), which we reached on the 18th May,
and met the Adur, according to instructions issued to the master. Here we
recruited our horses and had them re-shod, put the pack-saddles in good
order, packed provisions, etc., and gave the master of the Adur very
strict and detailed instructions to proceed to Eucla Harbour, and await
my arrival until the 2nd of September, when, if I did not reach there, he
was to bury provisions under the Black Beacon and sail for Fremantle, via
Israelite and Esperance Bays. Everything being in readiness, on the 30th
of May we left Israelite Bay en route for Eucla, carrying with us three
months' provisions. Keeping near the coast for sixty miles, having taken
a flying trip inland on my way, we reached the sand-patches a little to
the west of Point Culver, in latitude 32 degrees 55 minutes 34 seconds
South, and longitude 124 degrees 25 minutes East, on the 2nd of June.
On the 3rd went on a flying trip to the North-East, returning on the 4th
along the cliffs and Point Culver. I found the country entirely destitute
of permanent water, but, after leaving the coast a few miles, to be, in
places, beautifully grassed. On the coast near the cliffs it was very
rocky, and there was neither feed nor water. Finding there was no chance
of permanent water being found, that the only water in the country was in
small rocky holes--and those very scarce indeed--and the feed being very
bad at Point Culver, I determined, after very mature consideration, to
attempt at all hazards to reach the water shown on Mr. Eyre's track in
longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes East, or 140 miles distant.
In accordance with these arrangements, on the 7th day of June started on
our journey, carrying over thirty gallons of water on three of our riding
horses, and taking it in turns walking. Travelled about North-East for
four days, which brought us to latitude 32 degrees 11 minutes South, and
longitude 125 degrees 37 minutes East, finding, during that time, in
rocky holes, sufficient water to give each horse two gallons. On the
fifth day we were more fortunate, and were able to give them each two
gallons more, and on the sixth day (the 12th June, Sunday) found a large
rock hole containing sufficient to give them five gallons each, which
placed us in safety, as the water in longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes
East was only thirty-two miles distant. Continuing, we reached the water
on Tuesday, June 14th, and by observation found it to be in latitude 32
degrees 14 minutes 50 seconds South, and longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes
East, the variation of the compass being about 1 degree 6 minutes
The country passed over between Point Culver and longitude 126 degrees 24
minutes East, was in many places beautifully grassed, level, without the
slightest undulation, about 300 feet above the sea, and not very thickly
wood. It improves to the northward, being clearer and more grassy, and
the horizon to the north, in every place where I could get an extensive
view, was as uniform and well-defined as that of the sea. On the route
from Point Culver to longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes East, we were from
twenty to twenty-five miles from the sea.
Recruiting ourselves and horses till the 30th, I took a flying trip to
the northward. For the first twelve miles from the sea was through a
dense and almost impenetrable scrub, when we reached the cliffs, and
after ascending them we came into the same description of level country
that we travelled over from Point Culver, save that this was more open
and grassy, and became still clearer as we proceeded north, until, at our
farthest point north, in latitude 31 degrees 33 minutes South, and
longitude 126 degrees 33 minutes East, scarcely a tree was visible, and
vast plains of grass and saltbush extended as far as the eye could reach
in every direction. We found a little water for our horses in rock holes.
Returning, we reached camp on June 22nd. On the 23rd we were engaged
making preparations for a start for Eucla. In looking round camp, Tommy
Windich found the shoulder-blade of a horse and two small pieces of
leather belonging to a packsaddle. The shoulder-blade is no doubt the
remains of the horse Mr. Eyre was obliged to kill for food at this spot.
On June 24th started for Eucla, carrying, as before, over thirty gallons
of water, and walking in turns. On the 25th found on the top of the
cliffs a large rock hole, containing sufficient water to give the horses
as much as they required, and on the 26th were equally fortunate. From
the 26th to the 30th we met with scarcely any water, and our horses
appeared very distressed, more so as the weather was very warm. On the
evening of the 30th, however, we were again fortunate enough to find a
water-hole containing sufficient to give them six gallons each, and were
again in safety, Eucla water being only thirty miles distant. On the
morning of the 1st day of July we reached the cliffs, or Hampton Range
(these cliffs recede from the sea in longitude 126 degrees 12 minutes
East, and run along at the average distance of twelve or fifteen miles
from the sea until they join it again at Wilson's Bluff, in longitude 129
degrees East. They are very steep and rough, and water may generally be
found in rock holes in the gorges. I, however, wished to keep further
inland, and therefore did not follow them), and shortly afterwards we
beheld the Wilson's Bluff and the Eucla sand-hills. Camped for the night
near the Hampton Range, about five miles from Eucla Harbour, and on the
2nd July, on nearing the anchorage, discovered the schooner Adur lying
safely at anchor, which proved by no means the least pleasing feature to
our little band of weary travellers. Camped on west side of Delissier
sand-hills, and found water by digging.
The country passed over between longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes East, as
a grazing country, far surpasses anything I have ever seen. There is
nothing in the settled portions of Western Australia equal to it, either
in extent or quality; but the absence of permanent water is the great
drawback, and I do not think water would be procured by sinking, except
at great depths, as the country is at least three hundred feet above the
sea, and there is nothing to indicate water being within an easy depth
from the surface. The country is very level, with scarcely any
undulation, and becomes clearer as you proceed northward.
Since leaving Cape Arid I have not seen a gully or watercourse of any
description--a distance of 400 miles.
The route from longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes East to Eucla was
generally about thirty miles from the sea.
The natives met with appeared friendly and harmless; they are entirely
destitute of clothing, and I think not very numerous.
Very little game exists along the route; a few kangaroos were seen, but
no emus--an almost certain sign, I believe, of the scarcity of water.
The health of the party has been excellent; and I cannot speak too highly
of the manner in which each member of the expedition has conducted
himself, under circumstances often of privation and difficulty.
All our horses are also in splendid condition; and when I reflect how
great were the sufferings of the only other Europeans who traversed this
route, I cannot but thank Almighty God who has guarded and guided us in
safety through such a waterless region, without the loss of even a single
I am afraid I shall not be able to get far inland northward, unless we
are favoured with rain. We have not had any rain since the end of April,
and on that account our difficulties have been far greater than if it had
been an ordinary wet season.
I intend despatching the Adur for Fremantle to-morrow. The charter-party
has been carried out entirely to my satisfaction. With the assistance of
the crew of the Adur I have repainted the Red and Black Beacons. The
latter had been blown down; we, however, re-erected it firmly again. I
have also erected a flagstaff, thirty feet high, near camp on west side
of Delissier sand-hills, with a copper-plate nailed on it, with its
position, my name, and that of the colony engraved on it.
We are now within 140 miles from the nearest Adelaide station. I will
write to you as soon as I reach there. It will probably be a month from
Trusting that the foregoing brief account of my proceedings, as leader of
the expedition entrusted to my guidance, may meet with the approval of
his Excellency the Governor,
I have, etc.,
Leader of Expedition to Eucla and Adelaide.
The Honourable the Colonial Secretary,
We had now accomplished rather more than half the distance between Perth
and Adelaide, but there was still a gap of 140 miles to be bridged over.
We bade good-bye to our friends on board the Adur, and were now thrown
entirely on our own resources. I resume the extracts from my Journal:--
LOOKING FOR WATER.
Started in company with my brother and Billy, having three riding horses
and a pack horse, to penetrate the country to the northward. Travelled in
a northerly direction for about twenty-seven miles, over plains generally
well grassed, and then bivouacked. From the camp only plains were in
sight, not a tree visible. Did not meet with a drop of water on our way,
and, having brought none, we had to do without it. This season is too dry
to attempt to cross these vast grassy plains, and I shall return to camp
to-morrow--the attempt to get inland without rain only exhausting
ourselves and horses to no purpose.
After collecting the horses, which had strayed back on the tracks, we
steered in a South-South-West direction, and reached camp a little after
sundown. Did not find any water, except about half a gallon, during the
two days, and, the weather being warm, the horses were in a very
exhausted state when they reached camp. Found the Adur had left yesterday
Rested at Eucla. Read Divine Service.
Osborn busy with the shoeing. Went with Billy to Wilson's Bluff, and saw
the boundary-post between South and Western Australia, placed by
Lieutenant Douglas. Returned at sundown.
Erected the flagstaff with the Union Jack flying, and nailed a copper
plate to the staff, with the following engraved on it:--
WESTERN AUSTRALIA. ERECTED BY
J. FORREST, JULY 12TH, 1870.
From the flagstaff, Wilson's Bluff bore North 70 degrees 15 minutes East
magnetic, and the Black Beacon North 246 degrees 20 minutes East
magnetic, and it is situated in latitude 31 degrees 41 minutes 50 seconds
There was a total eclipse of the moon in the morning. All busy preparing
for a start for the Head of the Bight to-morrow. Buried a cask eight feet
west of flagstaff, containing 100 pounds flour, 130 pounds barley, 16 new
sets of horse-shoes, shoeing nails, etc. Nailed a plate on flagstaff,
with DIG 8 FEET WEST on it. Took a ride to the Black and Red Beacons, to
examine country round Eucla.
Bidding farewell to Eucla and the Union Jack, which we left on the
flagstaff, we started for the Head of the Bight, carrying over thirty
gallons of water with us, and walking in turns. Ascended the cliffs
without difficulty, and passed the boundary of the two colonies; then
left the sea, and, steering in an East-North-East and North-East
direction until a little after dark, camped on a grassy piece of country,
without water for our horses. Distance travelled about twenty-six miles.
By observation camp is in latitude 31 degrees 30 minutes 42 seconds
South, and longitude 129 degrees 20 minutes East.
SUFFERING FROM THIRST.
Started at daylight, and travelled East-North-East for seven miles, when
we bore East over generally level country, well grassed, but entirely
destitute of water. We camped at sundown on a grassy rise, without water
for our horses. Distance travelled, thirty-four miles. The horses have
not had any water for two days, and show signs of distress. Intend
starting before daylight, as there is a good moon.
At 1 a.m. went with Billy to bring back the horses, which had again made
off. After returning, saddled up, and at 4.50 a.m. got under way,
steering a little to the south of east in order to make the cliffs, as
there might be water in rock holes near them. At eighteen miles came to
the sea, but could find no water. At thirty miles saw a pile of stones,
and at thirty-three miles saw a staked survey line. Camped on a grassy
piece of country, two miles from the sea. This is the third day without a
drop of water for the horses, which are in a frightful state. Gave them
each four quarts from our water-drums, and I hope, by leaving a little
after midnight, to reach the Head of the Bight to-morrow evening, as it
is now only forty miles distant. By observation, camp is in latitude 31
degrees 32 minutes 27 seconds South, and longitude 130 degrees 30 minutes
Was obliged to get up twice to bring back the horses, and at four o'clock
made a start. The horses were in a very exhausted state; some having
difficulty to keep up. About noon I could descry the land turning to the
southward, and saw, with great pleasure, we were fast approaching the
Head of the Great Australian Bight. Reached the sand-patches at the
extreme Head of the Bight just as the sun was setting, and found
abundance of water by digging two feet deep in the sand. Gave the horses
as much as I considered it safe for them to have at one time. I have
never seen horses in such a state before, and hope never to do so again.
The horses, which four days ago were strong and in good condition, now
appeared only skeletons, eyes sunk, nostrils dilated, and thoroughly
exhausted. Since leaving Eucla to getting water at this spot, a period of
nearly ninety hours, they had only been allowed one gallon of water each,
which was given them from our water-drums. It is wonderful how well they
performed this journey; had they not started in good condition, they
never could have done it. We all felt very tired. During the last sixty
hours I have only had about five hours' sleep, and have been continually
in a great state of anxiety--besides which, all have had to walk a great
SIGNS OF CIVILIZATION.
This is a great day in my journal and journey. After collecting the
horses we followed along the beach half a mile, when I struck North for
Peelunabie well, and at half a mile struck a cart track from Fowler's Bay
to Peelunabie. After following it one mile and a quarter, came to the
well and old sheep-yards, and camped. Found better water in the
sand-hills than in the well. There is a board nailed on a pole directing
to the best water, with the following engraved on it:
G. Mackie, April 5th, 1865, Water [finger pointing right] 120 yards.
Upon sighting the road this morning, which I had told them we should do,
a loud and continued hurrahing came from all the party, who were
overjoyed to behold signs of civilization again; while Billy, who was in
advance with me, and whom I had told to look out, as he would see a road
directly, which he immediately did, began giving me great praise for
bringing them safely through such a long journey. I certainly felt very
pleased and relieved from anxiety, and, on reviewing the long line of
march we had performed through an uncivilized country, was very sensible
of that protecting Providence which had guided us safely through the
Steered in an easterly direction along an old track towards Wearing's
well, as I intend going inland, instead of along the coast to Fowler's
Bay. Travelled for sixteen miles through a barren and thickly-wooded
country, sand-hills, etc. We camped on a small grassy flat, without
water. Being now in the settled districts I gave over keeping watch,
which we had regularly done since the 9th of May.
Continuing for fifteen miles, we reached a deserted well called
Wearing's; it was about 200 feet deep, and after joining all the
tether-ropes, girths, bridle reins, halters, etc., we managed to get up a
bucket full, but after all our trouble it was quite salt. We therefore
continued our journey South-East for Fowler's Bay, and at four miles saw
some fresh sheep tracks, and shortly afterwards saw the shepherd, named
Jack, who was very talkative. He told us he had been to Swan River, and
thought it was quite as good as this place. He also said there was a well
of good water about eight miles further on. This was a pleasant surprise,
the nearest well on my chart being sixteen miles distant: this was a new
well sunk since the survey. We therefore pushed on, although our horses
were very tired, and reached the well, where there was a substantial
stone hut; met the shepherd, whose name was Robinson. He said he knew who
we were, having heard about three months ago that we might be expected
this way. He was as kind and obliging as it was possible to be in his
circumstances. Had a difficulty in drawing water for the horses, the well
being nearly 200 feet deep, and there was not a bite for the poor
creatures to eat, except a few miles off. As it was now an hour after
dark, I turned them out, and left them to do the best they could. The old
shepherd kept talking most of the night, and said we looked more like
people just come from Fowler's Bay than having come overland from Western
The horses strayed off in many directions during the night, and they were
not all collected till after noon, when we continued our journey for four
miles, and finding a small piece of feed, we camped without water for the
horses. Many of the horses were in a very critical state, and one was
completely knocked up.
Again were delayed by the rambling of the horses until nearly noon, when
we travelled along the road towards Fowler's Bay. After ten miles,
watered the horses at a well called Waltabby, and two miles further on
camped, with scarcely any feed for the horses. One of the horses
completely gave in to-day, and we had great difficulty in getting him to
camp. By meridian altitude of Arcturus, camp is in latitude 31 degrees 34
minutes 28 seconds South.
REACHING A STATION.
Although the feed was short, our horses did not stray, and after saddling
up we continued along road for two and a half miles, and reached Colona,
the head station of Degraves and Co., of Victoria, where we were most
hospitably received by Mr. Maiden, the manager. At his desire camped, and
turned out the horses on a piece of feed kept for his horses, and intend
remaining over Sunday. We accepted his kind invitation to make ourselves
his guests while we remained. He informed me that the South Australian
Government had instructed the mounted trooper at Fowler's Bay to proceed
to the Head of the Bight and give us every information and assistance in
his power. I am glad we have saved him the journey.
Rested at Colona. In the afternoon was rather surprised at the arrival of
Police-trooper Richards and party, who were on their way to try and find
out our whereabouts. He handed me a circular for perusal, stating that
anything I required would be paid for by the South Australian Government.
Left Colona, accompanied by Police-trooper Richards and party. Mr. Maiden
also accompanied us a few miles, when he returned, bearing with him my
sincere thanks for his kindness to myself and party. After travelling
eleven miles, we reached the hospitable residence of Messrs. Heathcote
and Mathers, where we stayed to dinner, and, although pressed to stay,
pushed on seven miles, and camped at a well called Pintumbra.
Rested at Pintumbra, as there was good feed for our tired and hungry
horses. Police-trooper Richards and party also remained with us.
AT FOWLERS BAY.
Travelled towards Fowler's Bay, and at ten miles reached Yallata, the
residence of Mr. Armstrong, where we had dinner, and afterwards reached
Fowler's Bay and put up at the Police-station.
28th to 31st.
Remained at Fowler's Bay, recruiting ourselves and horses, and wrote the
following letters to the Honourable the Colonial Secretary, Western
Australia, and to his Excellency Sir James Fergusson, Governor of South
Fowler's Bay, 29th July, 1870.
I have the honour to report, for the information of his Excellency the
Governor, the safe arrival here of the exploring expedition under my
command, and beg to give you a brief outline of our proceedings since the
departure of the schooner Adur from Port Eucla.
On the 8th of July, started on a flying trip north from Eucla, with
fourteen days' provisions, but was unable to penetrate more than thirty
miles (which was over clear open plains of grass, etc., scarcely a tree
visible), on account of the scarcity of water, not meeting with a drop of
water on the whole journey. Returned to Eucla on the 9th, and, as summer
had apparently set in, and there appeared no likelihood of rain, I
decided to at once start for Fowler's Bay and Adelaide.
On the 14th, therefore, we started, carrying with us about thirty gallons
of water. After great privation to our horses, and not meeting with a
drop of water for 135 miles, by travelling day and night we reached the
Head of the Bight on the evening of the 17th July, and found abundance of
water by digging in the sand-hills.
Our horses had been ninety hours without a drop of water, and many of us
were very weary from long marching without sleep. Many of the horses
could scarcely walk, and a few were delirious; they, however, all managed
to carry their loads. They have not, however, yet recovered, but with a
few days' rest I hope to see them well again. There being very little
feed at the Head of the Bight we continued our journey, and on the 23rd
July reached Colona (head station of Degraves and Co.), where we met
Police-trooper Richards, who was on his way to the Head of the Bight to
meet us, in accordance with instructions from his Excellency Sir James
Leaving Colona on the 25th, we reached Fowler's Bay on the 27th July, all
We are now about 600 miles from Adelaide. Our route will be through the
Gawler Ranges, skirting the south end of Lake Gairdner, and thence to
Port Augusta and Adelaide, which we shall probably reach in five or six
weeks from date.
By this mail I have written to his Excellency Sir James Fergusson,
apprising him of our safe arrival, as well as giving him a brief account
of our journey. According to present arrangements we shall, at latest, be
in Perth by the October mail.
Trusting that these proceedings may meet with the approval of his
Excellency the Governor, I have, etc.,
Leader of Expedition to Eucla and Adelaide.
The Honourable the Colonial Secretary, Perth, Western Australia.
Fowler's Bay, 29th July, 1870.
In accordance with my instructions from the Government of Western
Australia, I have the honour to report, for the information of his
Excellency Sir James Fergusson, that the exploring expedition organized
by that Government and placed under my command, has reached this place in
With his Excellency's permission, I will give a brief account of our
journey since leaving Perth.
Leaving Perth on the 30th March, we reached Esperance Bay, the station of
the Messrs. Dempster, on the 25th April, and remained to recruit our
horses until the 9th May, when we continued in an easterly direction for
about 130 miles, and reached Israelite Bay, in latitude 33 degrees 37
minutes South and longitude 123 degrees 48 minutes East, where we met a
coasting vessel with our supplies, etc.
Left Israelite Bay on May 30th, and reached the water shown on Mr. Eyre's
track in longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes East on the 14th June,
depending wholly on rock water-holes during the journey. Here we
recruited and made a trip inland for fifty miles, finding the country to
be very clear and well grassed, but entirely destitute of permanent
Leaving longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes East on 24th June, we reached
Eucla on the 2nd July, depending again solely on rock water-holes, our
horses often being in great want of water. At Eucla we again met the
coaster with supplies, etc.
After despatching the coaster on her return to Swan River, attempted to
get inland north of Eucla; but, owing to the scarcity of water and the
dryness of the season, was unable to get more than thirty miles inland. I
therefore concluded to continue the journey towards Adelaide, and
accordingly left Eucla on July 14th, reaching the Head of the Great
Australian Bight on the evening of the 17th, after a very hard and
fatiguing journey, without a drop of water for our horses for ninety
hours, in which time we travelled 138 miles.
Men and horses were in a very weary state when we reached the water,
which we found by digging in the sand-hills at the extreme Head of the
Bight. Continuing, we reached Fowler's Bay on the 27th July.
From longitude 124 degrees 25 minutes East to Port Eucla, in longitude
128 degrees 53 minutes East, our route was from twenty to thirty miles
from the sea, and in the whole of that distance we only procured
permanent water in one spot, namely that shown on Mr. Eyre's track in
longitude 126 degrees 24 minutes East.
On our route we passed over many millions of acres of grassy country, but
I am sorry to say I believe entirely destitute of permanent water. The
natives met with were friendly, but to us altogether unintelligible. The
health of my party has been excellent, and we have reached this place
without losing a single horse.
Before reaching Fowler's Bay, we were met by Police-trooper Richards, who
was on his way to meet us, in accordance with instructions from his
Excellency. I am truly thankful for this, as he has been of great service
to us, and has been very attentive to our requirements. I hope to reach
Adelaide in five weeks from date. My route will be through the Gawler
Ranges to Port Augusta, and thence to Adelaide.
Trusting that this short account of our journey may not be wholly
uninteresting to his Excellency, I have, etc.,
Leader of Expedition from Western Australia.
The Private Secretary, Government House, Adelaide, South Australia.
Left Fowler's Bay, accompanied by Police-trooper Richards, en route for
Port Augusta. Travelled fourteen miles in about an East-North-East
direction and camped. Rained lightly this evening.
Reached Pinong station. Distance travelled, thirty miles. Passed several
huts and wells. The whole journey was over most beautifully-grassed
Left Pinong, and, after travelling thirty miles, reached a spot called
Athena; then camped, leaving Charra station about seven miles to the
southward. Passed a few huts and wells during the day.
At seventeen miles reached Denial Bay, when we turned off towards Hosken
and Broadbent's stations, and at thirteen miles further camped on a very
grassy rise, with two small rock water-holes, called Merking. By meridian
altitude of a Lyrae (Vega), found it to be in latitude 32 degrees 12
minutes 36 seconds South.
After travelling eight miles, came to a deserted station of Hosken and
Broadbent's, and found abundance of water in a rock water-hole called
Chillandee. As the horses were very tired, and there was splendid feed
for them, we camped here for the remainder of the day.
Left Chillandee, and after travelling twenty-six miles, passed
Madebuckela, the homestead of Mr. Hosken, where we camped at a deserted
hut, with splendid feed and water for the horses.
Travelled towards Gawler Ranges for thirteen miles, and camped at a spot
called Conkabeena, from which the ranges were clearly visible.
Continuing in an easterly direction for twelve miles, we reached
Wollular, a granite hill with plenty of water on the rocks; after which
proceeded due east for twelve miles, through dense thickets and sandy
hills, when we came on a small patch of grassy land and camped, Mount
Centre bearing North 95 degrees East magnetic.
Continuing towards Mount Centre for eighteen miles, over a succession of
salt lakes and very sandy hills and scrub, we reached a road making a
little farther north, which was followed, and after travelling five miles
came to Narlibby, and camped on most beautiful feed.
After taking wrong roads and going a good deal out of our way, we reached
Paney station and camped at the police-station.
11th and 12th.
Rested at Paney, as the horses were very tired, and there was splendid
feed for them. Police-trooper Richards intends returning to-morrow to
Fowler's Bay. He has given us every assistance in his power, and deserves
our very sincere thanks for his kindness and attention.
13th to 17th.
Travelling towards Port Augusta, accompanied for half the distance by
Police trooper O'Shanahan, from Paney station.
Reached Port Augusta. Telegraphed to his Excellency Sir James Fergusson,
informing him of our arrival. Camped five miles from Port Augusta, at a
small township named Stirling.
Received telegram from his Excellency Sir James Fergusson, congratulating
us on our success. Camped a few miles from Mount Remarkable.
Passed through Melrose, and on the 23rd reached Clare, where I had the
pleasure of meeting Mr. John Roe, son of the Honourable Captain Roe, our
On August 24th reached Riverton, and on the 25th Gawler. On the 26th we
arrived at Salisbury, twelve miles from Adelaide. Through all these towns
we have been most cordially received, and I shall never forget the
attention and kindly welcome received on the journey through South
RECEPTION AT ADELAIDE.
On the 27th August we left Salisbury, and for an account of our journey
from there to Adelaide I cannot do better than insert an extract from the
South Australian Register of August 27th, 1870:--
"On Saturday morning the band of explorers from Western Australia, under
the leadership of Mr. Forrest, made their entrance into Adelaide. They
left Salisbury at half-past nine o'clock, and when within a few miles of
the city were met by Inspector Searcy and one or two other members of the
police force. Later on the route they were met by an escort of horsemen,
who had gone out to act as a volunteer escort. At Government House Gate a
crowd of persons assembled, who gave them a hearty cheer as they rode up.
The whole party at once rode up to Government House, where they were
received by his Excellency, who was introduced to all the members of the
expedition, and spent a quarter of an hour in conversation with Mr.
Forrest, and in examining with interest the horses and equipments, which
all showed signs of the long and severe journey performed. Wine having
been handed round, the party withdrew, and were again greeted at
Government Gate by hearty cheers from the crowd, which now numbered
several hundreds. They then proceeded by way of Rundle Street to the
quarters assigned them at the police barracks. The men are to remain at
the barracks, and the officers are to be entertained at the City of
From August 28th to September 12th we remained in Adelaide, having been
most kindly received by all with whom we came in contact. We saw as much
of the country as possible. I disposed of my horses and equipment by
public auction; then left in the steamer Alexandra with the whole of my
party on the 12th, reaching King George's Sound on the 17th at 1 a.m.
Left King George's Sound on the 19th, and arrived in Perth on the 27th,
where we were most cordially welcomed by his Excellency the Governor and
the citizens of Perth, having been absent 182 days.
In the foregoing I have attempted to give a faithful and correct account
of our proceedings, and, in conclusion, beg to make a few remarks
respecting the character and the capabilities of the country travelled
In about longitude 124 degrees East the granite formation ends, at least
on and near the coast; but from longitude 124 degrees to the Head of the
Bight, a distance of over 400 miles, there is no change in the formation,
being limestone and high table land the whole distance.
The portion most suited for settlement is, I believe, between longitude
126 degrees 12 minutes East and longitude 129 degrees East, near Eucla
harbour, or, in other words, the country to the north of the Hampton
Range--the country north of the range being most beautifully grassed, and
I believe abundance of water could be procured anywhere under the range
by sinking twenty or thirty feet. There is also under the same range a
narrow strip of fine grassy country for the whole length of the range,
namely about 160 miles. I have every confidence that, should the country
be settled, it would prove a remunerative speculation, and, if water can
be procured on the table land, would be the finest pastoral district of
Before I conclude, I have the pleasing duty to record my entire
appreciation of every member of the party. I need not particularize, as
one and all had the interest and welfare of the expedition at heart, and
on no occasion uttered a single murmur.
Finally, sir, my best and most sincere thanks are due to his Excellency
Governor Weld for the very efficient manner in which the expedition was
equipped. It is chiefly owing to the great zeal and desire of his
Excellency that I should have everything necessary that the success of
the enterprise is attributable.
I have, etc.,
Leader of Expedition.
The Honourable F.P. Barlee, Esquire,
Colonial Secretary, Western Australia.
RECEPTION AT ADELAIDE AND RETURN TO PERTH.
Departure from Gawler and Arrival at Adelaide.
Appearance of the Party.
Grant by the Government of Western Australia.
ARRIVAL AT ADELAIDE.
On Saturday, the 27th of August, we reached Adelaide. On the previous day
we had left Gawler for Salisbury, where we rested until the following
morning, when we started at half-past nine o'clock for Adelaide. A few
miles from there we were met by the chief inspector of police and some
troopers sent to escort us, and soon afterwards a volunteer escort of
horsemen gave us a friendly welcome. We were heartily cheered as we
entered the town and then rode to Government House, where we were
received in the most cordial manner by the Governor, Sir James Fergusson.
After a brief time spent in examining the horses (which were all the
worse for the long and arduous journey) also the equipments, and in
partaking of refreshments, we left the Government House, the people
cheering lustily, and passed through King William and Rundle Streets on
the way to the City of Adelaide Club. My brother and self stayed there
while in town, and the others at the police barracks, where man and horse
enjoyed the much-needed rest and refreshment.
It may interest the reader to quote from the South Australian Advertiser
the description of our appearance when we first entered Adelaide: "It was
a genuine Australian bush turnout, the trappings, water-drums, and other
necessaries being admirably adapted for the purpose. The horses looked
somewhat the worse for wear; but, considering the immense distance that
they have travelled, their condition was not to be complained of, and a
few weeks in the Government paddocks will put them in capital condition.
The officers and men, both white and black, look the picture of health,
and their satisfaction at having completed their long and arduous task is
beaming from their countenances."
Whatever our countenances may have expressed, I know we felt an intense
satisfaction at having been enabled to discharge the duty we had
On the evening of the 3rd of September Sir James Fergusson entertained us
at dinner, and many old colonists who, in their time, had been engaged in
exploring expeditions, were among the guests. Mr. Barlee, the Colonial
Secretary of Western Australia, who arrived in Adelaide a day or two
after we had reached it, was present with me at the luncheon on the
occasion of the inauguration of the Northern Railway Extension at
Kooringa. In replying to the toast of The Visitors, he took the
opportunity of thanking the South Australian people and the Government
for the courtesy and kindness extended to me and the members of my party,
who, he said, had carried out the instructions so successfully and in a
manner which made him proud of the colony to which he belonged. He hoped
that the line of communication that had been opened might soon lead to
much better and closer intercommunication between the colonies.
With characteristic consideration and kindness Governor Weld, immediately
on receiving my report from Eucla, addressed a private letter to my
father, congratulating him on my success.
RECEPTION AT PERTH.
Anxious to lose no time in reporting myself to my Government, I only
remained in South Australia about a fortnight, and then left for Perth in
the Branch mail steamer, and arrived there on Tuesday, the 27th of
September. The City Council determined to give us a public reception and
present an address. A four-in-hand drag was despatched to bring us into
the city, and a procession, consisting of several private carriages, a
number of the citizens on horseback, and the volunteer band, escorted us.
The city flag was flying at the Town Hall, and there was a liberal
display of similar tokens from private dwellings. The Governor and his
aide-de-camp came out five miles to meet us, and accompanied us to the
beginning of the city, where he handed us over to the Council, meeting us
again at the Government offices. A crowd had collected in front of the
Government offices, where we were to alight, and amid cheering and
general hand-shaking we entered the enclosure.
Here his Excellency the Governor received us with warm congratulations,
and the City Council presented the address, which was read by the
chairman, Mr. Glyde. He said:--
In the name of the citizens I have the very great pleasure to bid you a
cordial welcome on your safe return to Perth. We sincerely congratulate
yourself and party on the success which has attended your adventurous
expedition overland to Adelaide. It must have been gratifying to you to
have been selected to lead this expedition, and to follow such explorers
as Captain Roe, Gregory, Austin, and others, of whom West Australia may
well be proud. Your expedition, however, has an additional interest from
the fact that its leader and members were born in the colony. I trust,
sir, that at no distant date you may have the satisfaction to see the
advantages realized which the route opened by your expedition is
calculated to effect."
I had had no reason to expect such a marked official reception, and could
only express the pleasure I experienced in knowing that the colonists so
fully appreciated my efforts to carry out successfully the task confided
The Governor also offered his congratulations, and three cheers having
been given the party, and three more for the Governor, we left for our
quarters highly gratified with the reception. His Excellency gave a large
dinner-party to celebrate our return, and on Monday, the 24th of October,
a public demonstration of welcome was afforded by a banquet to which we
were invited by the citizens. The following is a report from the Perth
COMPLIMENTARY BANQUET TO MR. JOHN FORREST.
On Monday evening last a Complimentary Banquet was given to Mr. Forrest,
the explorer, at the Horse and Groom tavern. About seventy sat down to
dinner, among whom were his Excellency the Governor, the Private
Secretary, the Colonial Secretary, the Surveyor-General, Captain Roe, and
many of the leading inhabitants of Perth and Fremantle. The chair was
taken by Captain Roe. On his right was his Excellency the Governor, and
on his left the guest of the evening--Mr. Forrest. The vice-chair was
filled by Mr. Landor. After the cloth had been removed, the chairman,
Captain Roe, rose and proposed the Queen, a lady whom the people could
not consider without being proud of the sovereign by whom they were
The Chairman said he rose to propose another toast, which, he trusted,
was not always given as a matter of course, but with heartfelt
satisfaction. It was the health of the Heir Apparent to the Throne.
(Cheers). The Prince of Wales will, it is hoped, one day fill the throne
of his illustrious mother--may that day be far distant!--but, when that
day does arrive, may he display the exemplary virtues of his illustrious
mother and the sterling qualities that distinguished his great father!
The Chairman, in proposing the next toast, His Excellency the Governor,
said he had some difficulty in doing so, particularly as the subject of
it was on his right hand that evening; yet he considered the gratitude of
the colonists was due to her Majesty's Government for selecting a
gentleman who was so well qualified to benefit the colony. He believed
his Excellency was the man to drag the colony out of the hole (cheers);
and he believed his Excellency was the man to attain for us that
prosperity we so much desired (hear, hear); but we must do our utmost to
support him in the effort to secure it. It was impossible for any man to
perform one hundredth part of what was wanted of him; yet he believed his
Excellency would do all in his power to benefit the colony in every way.
Let every one give his Excellency that strenuous support necessary to
attain prosperity, and we would attain success. He trusted that when the
term of his Excellency's sojourn amongst us had arrived, he would
remember with pleasure the days he had spent in Western Australia. The
toast was drunk with cheers and enthusiasm.
His Excellency the Governor, who was received most cordially, rose to
thank them for the very kind manner in which they had received the toast
which had been proposed by the worthy chairman. The chairman was right in
saying that they might rely upon his doing his best for the benefit of
the country, but they must not be disappointed; he could not do
everything, but they might depend upon it he would do what he considered
right for the people and the colony, without the fear or favour of any.
But "many men of many minds," as the old school copy says. People thought
widely different, but he would do his best for the welfare of the colony.
(Cheers). He did not, however, rise to speak of himself; the toast that
evening was in honour of Mr. Forrest, and at the present moment, viewing
the state of Europe, looking at the fact that at this very time two of
the largest nations in the world are carrying on a deadly strife; that on
either side deeds of daring have been done, which we all admire, and by
which we are all fascinated--and why? Because the human mind admired
daring and enterprise. But war devastated the world--war meant misery,
destitution, widows, orphans, and destruction, yet we behold all these
with a species of fascination. But not only in time of war, but at a
period of peace, are the highest feelings of human nature and the noblest
instincts of mankind brought out. It was in a spirit of daring, of
self-sacrifice, of love of fame and science, that induced the gentleman,
whose health will be duly proposed to you this evening, to undertake the
task he has so successfully completed. The same motives, no doubt, led
the warrior into the battle-field, as the explorer into a new and unknown
country. He, like the warrior, combated dangers regardless to self.
Peace, then, has triumphs as well as war. Mr. Forrest and his party well
deserve the triumphs they have secured in their successful journey from
this colony to Adelaide. The benefits conferred on the colony can best be
appreciated by those who have the greatest capacity of looking into
futurity, and as long as Australia has a history, the names of Mr.
Forrest and his companions will be borne down with honour. To himself it
will be a source of pleasure to know that the first year of his
administration will be rendered memorable by the exertion, zeal, and
enterprise of Mr. Forrest. His Excellency resumed his seat amidst loud
and continued applause.
Captain Roe said a very pleasing duty now devolved upon him; it was to
recognize services well done and faithfully performed. It was always
satisfactory to have our services recognized, and the leader of the
expedition over a distance of more than 2000 miles, from Perth to
Adelaide, so successfully, was deserving of esteem. That expedition had
brought the colony into note, and the good results from it would soon be
apparent. He personally felt more than he could say on the subject. He
felt more in his heart than he could express in words. He trusted that
the success of Forrest and his party would be a solace to him in his
latest day, and that in their latter days they would look back with pride
to the energy and pluck they displayed in their younger. He called upon
them to drink The health and success of Mr. Forrest and his companions
during life. (Loud and continued cheering.)
Mr. Barlee: One more cheer for the absentees--Mr. Forrest's companions.
A Voice: One cheer more for the black fellows. (Applause.)
Mr. Forrest, who was received with enthusiasm, said he felt quite unequal
to the task of responding to the toast which had been so ably and
feelingly proposed by Captain Roe, and so kindly received by his
fellow-colonists. He was extremely gratified to find that his services
had been so highly appreciated, and were so pleasing to his friends and
fellow-colonists. He was much flattered at the kind way in which himself
and his party had been received by his Excellency Governor Fergusson and