Part 3 out of 5
the people of South Australia; but he must say he was much better pleased
at the reception he received from his Excellency Governor Weld and the
citizens of Perth on his return. He was sorry he did not see round the
table his companions of the expedition--some had gone out of town--but he
must say that during the whole of their long and severe march, oftentimes
without water, not one refused to do his duty or flinched in the least
for a single moment. On the part of himself and his companions, he
sincerely thanked them for the very kind manner in which they had drunk
their health. (Great applause.)
Mr. Landor rose and said he had a toast to propose--it was the Members of
the Legislative Council--and in doing so he would like to make a few
observations upon the old. That evening they had had the pleasure of
hearing one of the oldest of the Council, one who had seen more trial and
suffering than any other, and to whom the grateful task fell that evening
of introducing to you one who was new in travel; and, while admiring that
act, he could not but call to mind the hardships that that gentleman had
endured in former days. In times gone by parties were not so well
provisioned as they were now, and he remembered the time when Captain
Roe, short of provisions, discovered a nest of turkey's eggs, and, to his
consternation, on placing them in the pan found chickens therein. But
things have altered. Captain Roe belonged to an old Council, and it is of
the new he proposed speaking. From the new Council great things are
expected, and of the men who have been selected a good deal might be
hoped. We all wanted progress. We talked of progress; but progress, like
the philosopher's stone, could not be easily attained. He hoped and
believed the gentlemen who had been elected would do their best to try to
push the colony along. He trusted the gentlemen going into Council would
not, like the French, get the colony into a hole; but, if they did, he
trusted they would do their best to get it out of the hole. What the
colony looked for was, that every man who went into the Council would do
his duty. He had much pleasure in proposing the new members of Council
with three times three.
Mr. Carr begged to express his thanks for the very flattering manner in
which the toast of the new Council had been proposed and seconded. As a
proof of the confidence reposed in them by their constituents, he could
assure them that they would faithfully discharge their duties to them in
Parliament, and work for the good of the colony generally. (Cheers.)
Again thanking them for the honour done the members of the new Council,
Mr. Carr resumed his seat amidst great applause.
Mr. Leake (who, on rising, was supposed to follow Mr. Carr) said his
rising was not important. As the next toast fell to his lot, he would ask
them to charge their glasses. The toast that was placed in his hands was
to propose the health of his friend, Mr. Barlee, the Colonial Secretary.
He trusted they would join him in giving Mr. Barlee a hearty welcome
after his travels in foreign parts. Mr. Barlee started on his journey
with the approval of the entire colony, and that the acts of the
Government had always the approval of the colonists was more than could
be said at all times. (Laughter.) Mr. Barlee's visit to the other
colonies must have been beneficial, and he trusted Mr. Barlee would that
evening give them his experience of the other colonies. We have not had
an opportunity of hearing of Mr. Barlee, or what he has done since he was
in Adelaide. In Adelaide Sir J. Morphett, the Speaker of the House of
Assembly, had said that Mr. Barlee was a hard-working man, and that was a
good deal to say for a man in this part of the world. (Loud laughter.)
Mr. Barlee, no doubt, would that evening give them a history of his
travels, and tell them what he had done in Adelaide, Melbourne, and
Sydney. Mr. Barlee was a proven friend of the colonists and of West
Australia. He would ask them to join him in drinking the health of Mr.
Barlee with three hearty cheers. (Drunk with enthusiasm.)
Mr. Barlee, who on rising was received with unbounded applause, said it
would be impossible for him to conceal the fact that he was much pleased
at the hearty manner in which his health had been proposed and received
that evening. He did not require to leave the colony to know the good
feeling of his fellow-colonists for him, nor to acquire testimony as to
his quality as a public officer. There was one matter, however, he very
much regretted, and that was that he was not present at the ovation given
by the people of South Australia to Mr. Forrest and his party. Mr.
Forrest had passed through Adelaide one day before his arrival. Mr.
Forrest and his party had attracted attention not only in South
Australia, but also, as he found, in all the other Australian colonies.
Having done so much, we were expected to do more in the way of opening up
the large tract of country that had been discovered. It was our duty to
assure the other colonies that the country would carry stock, and stock
would be forthcoming. If Mr. Forrest in former days established his fame
as an explorer, his late expedition only proves that he must commence de
novo. Of the modesty and bearing of Mr. Forrest and his party in South
Australia he could not speak too highly. There was, however, one
exception, and that was his friend Windich (native). He was the man who
had done everything; he was the man who had brought Mr. Forrest to
Adelaide, and not Mr. Forrest him. He (Mr. Barlee) was in his estimation
below par to come by a steamer, and he walked across (laughter); and it
was an act of condescension that Windich even looked upon him. (Great
laughter.) He was quite aware Mr. Leake, in asking him to give an account
of his travels in foreign parts, never seriously intended it. If he did,
he would only keep them until to-morrow morning. He would say that his
was a trip of business, and not pleasure, and hard work he had. Morning
and night was he at work, and he trusted he would be spared to see the
results of some of his efforts to benefit West Australia. (Loud cheers.)
He considered, what with our lead and copper-mines, our Jarrah
coal-mines, and the prospect of an auriferous country being found, a new
era was dawning on the colony. (Cheers.) For the first time in the last
sixteen years he had the pleasure of drinking that evening the health of
the members of the Legislative Assembly. He was not yet a member of that
Council, but it was probable he would be a member, and have important
duties to discharge therein. He was proud to learn the quiet and orderly
manner in which the elections had been conducted, and the good feeling
and harmony that existed on all sides, and to learn that the defeated
candidates were the first to congratulate the successful ones on their
nomination. He sincerely trusted that the same quiet good feeling and
harmony would remain and guide the Council in their deliberations
Other complimentary toasts having been duly honoured, the company broke
While the citizens of Perth were thus exhibiting encouraging approval of
our exertions, official recognition, in a practical form, was not
wanting. On the 6th of October, Captain Roe forwarded to me the following
Surveyor-General's Office, Perth,
6th October, 1870.
Having submitted to the Governor your report of the safe return to
head-quarters of the overland expedition to Eucla and Adelaide, entrusted
to your leadership, I have much pleasure in forwarding to you a copy of a
minute in which his Excellency has been pleased to convey his full
appreciation of your proceedings, and of the judgment and perseverance
displayed in your successful conduct of the enterprise.
In these sentiments I cordially participate, and, in accordance with the
wish expressed in the minute, I beg you will convey to the other members
of the expedition the thanks of his Excellency for their co-operation and
As a further recognition of the services of the party, his Excellency has
been pleased to direct that the sum of Two Hundred Pounds be distributed
amongst them, in the following proportions, payable at the Treasury,
To the Leader of the expedition...75 pounds.
To the Second in command...50 pounds.
To H. McLarty and R. Osborne, 25 pounds each...50 pounds.
To the Aborigines, Windich and Billy, 12 pounds 10 shillings....25
Total 200 pounds.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
J.S. ROE, Surveyor-General.
John Forrest, Esquire,
Leader of Expedition, etc., etc.
The following is the minute referred to in the above:--
I beg that you will convey to Mr. John Forrest, leader of the Eucla
expedition, the expression of my appreciation of the zeal, judgment, and
perseverance which he has displayed in the successful conduct of the
enterprise committed to his charge. Great credit is also due to the
second in command, and to every member of the party. All have done their
duty well, and to them also I desire to render my thanks.
It is with much pleasure that, with the advice of my Executive Council, I
authorize a gratuity of 200 pounds, to be divided in the proportions you
have submitted to me.
(Signed) FRED. A. WELD.
1st October, 1870.
It will be remembered that the York Agricultural Society had previously
proposed an overland expedition, but had not succeeded in obtaining
official sanction, it being then believed that Eucla could be best
approached from the sea. After my return the Society held a meeting, at
which his Excellency the Governor was present, when my report of the
expedition was received with every mark of approval of my labours.
THIRD EXPEDITION. FROM THE WEST COAST TO THE TELEGRAPH LINE.
Proposal to undertake a New Expedition.
Endeavour to explore the Watershed of the Murchison.
Expeditions by South Australian Explorers.
Fight with the Natives.
Finding traces of Mr. Gosse's Party.
The Telegraph Line reached.
Arrival at Perth Station.
The success which had attended my previous expeditions, and the great
encouragement received from the Government and public of each colony,
made me wish to undertake another journey for the purpose of ascertaining
whether a route from Western Australia to the advanced settlements of the
Southern colony was practicable. I also hoped to contribute, if possible,
towards the solution of the problem, What is the nature of the interior?
My first journey, when I succeeded in penetrating for about 600 miles
into the unknown desert of Central Australia, had convinced me that,
although there might, and doubtless would, be considerable difficulties
to be encountered, there were no insuperable obstacles except a probable
failure in the supply of water. That certainly was the most formidable of
all the difficulties that would no doubt have to be encountered; but on
the previous journey the scarcity of water had been endured, not without
privation and suffering, but without any very serious result. At any
rate, the expedition I desired to undertake appeared to be of an
extremely interesting character. It might contribute to the knowledge of
an immense tract of country of which hardly anything was known; it might
also be the means of opening up new districts, and attaining results of
immense importance to the colonies. Perhaps, too, I was animated by a
spirit of adventure--not altogether inexcusable--and, having been
successful in my previous journeys, was not unnaturally desirous of
carrying on the work of exploration.
A NEW EXPEDITION PROPOSED.
In 1871 an expedition went out to the eastward of Perth under command of
my brother, Mr. A. Forrest, in search of fresh pastoral country. It was a
very good season, but the expedition was too late in starting. It
succeeded in reaching latitude 31 degrees South, longitude 123 degrees 37
minutes East, and afterwards struck South-South-East towards the coast;
then, with considerable difficulty, it reached Mount Ragged and the
Thomas River, and, continuing westerly, got as far as Esperance Bay, the
homestead of the Messrs. Dempster. This expedition discovered a
considerable tract of good country, some of which has been taken up and
stocked. It was equipped on very economical principles, and did not cost
more than 300 pounds.
The leader had been previously with me as second in command on the
journey to Adelaide in 1870, and afterwards accompanied me in 1874 from
the west coast through the centre of the western part of Australia to the
telegraph line between Adelaide and Port Darwin.
He received great credit from the Government for the energy and
perseverance displayed on this expedition--a character borne out by
future services as second in command with me.
In July, 1872, I addressed the following letter to the Honourable Malcolm
Fraser, the Surveyor-General:--
Western Australia, Perth,
July 12th, 1872.
I have the honour to lay before you, for the consideration of his
Excellency the Governor, a project I have in view for the further
exploration of Western Australia.
My wish is to undertake an expedition, to start early next year from
Champion Bay, follow the Murchison to its source, and then continue in an
east and north-east direction to the telegraph line now nearly completed
between Adelaide and Port Darwin; after this we would either proceed
north to Port Darwin or south to Adelaide.
The party would consist of four white and two black men, with twenty
horses, well armed and provisioned for at least six months.
The total cost of the expedition would be about 600 pounds, of which sum
I hope to be able to raise, by subscriptions, about 200 pounds.
The horses will be furnished by the settlers, many having already been
The geographical results of such an expedition would necessarily be very
great; it would be the finishing stroke of Australian discovery; would be
sure to open new pastoral country; and, if we are to place any weight in
the opinions of geographers (among whom I may mention the Reverend
Tenison Woods), the existence of a large river running inland from the
watershed of the Murchison is nearly certain.
Referring to the map of Australia you will observe that the proposed
route is a very gigantic, hazardous, and long one; but, after careful
consideration, I have every confidence that, should I be allowed to
undertake it, there are reasonable hopes of my being able to succeed.
Minor details are purposely omitted; but, should his Excellency
favourably entertain this proposition, I will be too glad, as far as I am
able, to give further information on the subject.
Trusting you will be able to concur in the foregoing suggestions.
I have, etc.,
To this letter the Governor appended the following memorandum:--
Mr. J. Forrest, in a most public spirited manner, proposes to embark in
an undertaking, the dangers of which, though not by any means
inconsiderable, would be outweighed by the advantages which might accrue
to this colony, and which would certainly result in a great extension of
our geographical knowledge. Should he succeed in this journey, his name
will fitly go down to posterity as that of the man who solved the last
remaining problem in the Australian continent; and, whatever may come
after him, he will have been the last (and certainly, when the means at
his disposal and the difficulties of the undertaking are considered, by
no means the least) of the great Australian explorers.
The honour to be gained by him, and most of the advantages, will
ultimately fall to this colony, which is his birth-place; and for my own
part I shall be very proud that such a design should be carried out
during my term of office. I wish that the means of the colony were
sufficient to warrant the Government in proposing to defray the entire
cost of the expedition, and I think it would be a disgrace to the colony
if it did not at least afford some aid from public funds.
These papers will be laid before the Legislature, and the Government will
support a vote in aid, should the Legislature concur.
FRED. A. WELD.
July 20th, 1872.
This memorandum showed that his Excellency thoroughly sympathized with my
reason for desiring to undertake the expedition. The proposition,
supported by official approval, was acceded to by the Legislative
Council, which voted the 400 pounds stated to be required in addition to
the 200 pounds which I hoped to be able to raise by subscription.
Just at this time, however, South Australia was making great efforts to
solve the problem I had undertaken to attempt, preparations being made
for the departure of three expeditions. Stuart's great feat of crossing
the continent from south to north had been followed by other successful
efforts in the same direction. Another result was the establishing a line
of telegraph from Adelaide to Port Darwin. This might therefore be
considered the eastern boundary of the unknown districts, and moreover
was the point of departure for the South Australian expeditions in a
westerly direction. It was also the limit I desired to reach, and,
reaching it, I should achieve the object I had so much at heart. Of the
South Australian expeditions, only one was successful in getting to the
western colony, and that one, led by Colonel Warburton, involved much
suffering and was comparatively barren of practical results. Besides, as
we afterwards knew, the route selected by him was so far to the north as
not to interfere with my project.
The following letter to me expresses the official estimate of the result
of Colonel Warburton's expedition:--
Surveyor-General's Office, Perth,
March 27th, 1874.
The gist of the information I have from Colonel Warburton may be summed
up in a few words. From the MacDermot Ranges in South Australia to the
head of the Oakoon River (about 150 miles from the coast), keeping
between the parallels of 20 and 22 degrees south latitude, he traversed a
sterile country, in which he states horses could not possibly exist--they
would starve, as they could not live on the stunted scrub and herbage
which the camels managed to keep alive on.
The general character of the country seen was that of a high, waterless,
slightly undulating, sandy table-land, with in some parts sand deserts in
ridges most harassing to traverse. There was nothing visible in the way
of water courses in which water could be retained; but they were
successful in finding, at long distances, sufficient to maintain
themselves and their camels as they fled, as it were for their lives,
westward over the Sahara, which appears to be in a great part a desolate
wilderness, devoid of life, or of anything life sustaining. Though this
is a grim picture put before you, yet I would not have you daunted. Your
task is a different one, and one which all the colony is looking forward
to see successfully completed by you.
I have, etc.,
(Signed) MALCOLM FRASER, Surveyor-General.
Governor Weld, however, decided that it might be better to postpone my
expedition, as it would not be advisable to appear to enter into
competition with the other colony; besides which it might be of
considerable advantage to wait and avail ourselves of the results of any
discoveries that might be made by the South Australian explorers. Another
reason for delay was that I was required to conduct a survey of
considerable importance, which it was desirable should be completed
before undertaking the new expedition.
It may assist my readers to understand the references in the latter part
of my Journal if I state that in April, 1873, Mr. Gosse, one of the South
Australian explorers, quitted the telegraph line about forty miles south
of Mount Stuart; that the farthest point in a westerly direction reached
by him was in longitude 126 degrees 59 minutes East; and that Mr. Giles,
a Victorian explorer, had reached longitude 125 degrees, but had been
unable to penetrate farther.
Some records of these expeditions, and a copy of the chart made by Mr.
Gosse, were in my possession, when at length, in March, 1874, I set to
work on the preliminary arrangements for the expedition. Before leaving
Perth I received from the Surveyor-General the following outline of
instructions for my general guidance:--
Western Australia, Surveyor-General's Office,
Perth, 17th March, 1874.
The arrangements connected with the party organized for the purpose of
proceeding on an exploratory expedition to the north-eastern division of
this territory having now been completed, I am directed to instruct and
advise you generally in the objects and the intention of the Government
in regard to it.
The chief object of the expedition is to obtain information concerning
the immense tract of country from which flow the Murchison, Gascoigne,
Ashburton, DeGrey, Fitzroy, and other rivers falling into the sea on the
western and northern shores of this territory, as there are many good and
reasonable grounds for a belief that those rivers outflow from districts
neither barren nor badly watered.
Mr. A.C. Gregory, coming from the northwards by Sturt's Creek, discovered
the Denison Plains, and it may be that from the head of the Murchison
River going northwards there are to be found, near the heads of the
rivers above alluded to, many such grassy oases; and, looking at the
success which has already attended the stocking of the country to the
eastward of Champion Bay, and between the heads of the Greenough River
and Murchison, it will be most fortunate for our sheep farmers if you
discover any considerable addition to the present known pasture grounds
of the colony; and by this means no doubt the mineral resources of the
interior will be brought eventually to light. Every opinion of value that
has been given on the subject tells one that the head of the Murchison
lies in a district which may prove another land of Ophir.
In tracing up this river from Mount Gould to its source, and in tracing
other rivers to and from their head waters, detours must be made, but
generally your course will be north-east until you are within the
tropics; it will then be discretionary with you to decide on your route,
of which there is certainly a choice of three, besides the retracing of
your steps for the purpose, perhaps, of making a further inspection of
the good country you may have found.
Firstly, There is to choose whether you will go westward, and fall back
on the settlements at Nicol Bay or the De Grey River, on the north-west
Secondly, To consider whether you might advantageously push up Sturt's
Creek, keeping to the westward of Gregory's track.
Thirdly, To decide whether or not you will go eastward to the South
Australian telegraph line.
Possibly this latter course may be the most desirable and most feasible
to accomplish, as the telegraph stations, taking either Watson's Creek or
Daly Waters, are not more than 300 miles from the known water supply on
Sturt's Creek, and, supposing you do this successfully, the remaining
distance down the telegraph line to Port Darwin is a mere bagatelle,
provided an arrangement can be made with the South Australian Government
to have a supply of provisions at Daly Waters.
In the event of your going to Port Darwin, the plan probably will be to
sell your equipment and horses, returning with your party by sea, but in
this and in other matters of detail there is no desire to fetter you, or
to prevent the proper use of your judgment, as I am fully aware that your
sole object is in common with that of the Government--the carrying to a
satisfactory result the work to be done.
I hope that before you individually leave we shall have the pleasure of
welcoming Colonel Warburton, and I have no doubt will be able to obtain
some valuable information from him.
Having now dwelt generally on the objects of the expedition, I will go
more into details.
Your party will consist of yourself as leader, Mr. Alexander Forrest as
surveyor and second in command, James Sweeney (farrier), police-constable
James Kennedy, and two natives, Tommy Windich and Tommy Pierre, making
six in number and twenty horses. The party will be well armed; but by
every means in your power you will endeavour to cultivate and keep on
friendly relations with all the aborigines you may fall in with, and
avoid, if possible, any collision with them.
The provisions and other supplies already arranged for are calculated to
serve the party for eight months. The expedition will start from Champion
Bay, to which you will at once despatch by sea the stores to be obtained
here; and the men and horses should proceed overland without delay. You
will be probably able to charter carts or drays to take most of your
impedimenta from Geraldton to Mr. Burges's farthest out-station on the
Murchison; this will save you 200 miles of packing, and husband the
strength of your horses for that distance.
Having the assistance of Mr. Alexander Forrest as surveyor to the party,
you will do as much reconnaissance work in connexion with the colonial
survey as it may be possible; and also, by taking celestial observations
at all convenient times, and by sketching the natural features of the
country you pass over, add much to our geographical knowledge. All
geological and natural history specimens you can collect and preserve
will be most valuable in perfecting information concerning the physical
formation of the interior.
You will be good enough to get the agreement, forwarded with this, signed
by the whole of the party.
I am, etc.,
DEPARTURE OF THE EXPEDITION.
On the 18th of March, 1874, the expedition quitted Perth. Colonel
Harvest, the Acting-Governor, wished us a hearty God-speed, which was
warmly echoed by our friends and the public generally. The
Surveyor-General and a party accompanied us for some distance along the
road. Ten days afterwards we reached Champion Bay, where we intended to
remain for three days, having settled to commence our journey on the 1st
of April. We had enough to do in preparing stores, shoeing horses, and
starting a team with our heaviest baggage to a spot about fifty miles
inland. On the 31st March we were entertained at dinner by Mr. Crowther
(Member of the Legislative Council for the district) at the Geraldton
Hotel. It was from that point we considered the expedition really
commenced, and my Journal will show that we numbered our camps from that
place. Our final start was not effected without some trouble. The horses,
happily ignorant of the troubles which awaited them, were fresh and
lively, kicking, plunging, and running away, so that it was noon before
we were fairly on the move. Our first day's journey brought us to a place
named Knockbrack, the hospitable residence of Mr. Thomas Burges, where we
remained two days, the 3rd being Good Friday. On the 4th we were again on
our way--a party of friends, Messrs. E. and F. Wittenoom, Mr. Lacy, and
others, accompanying us as far as Allen Nolba. We camped that night at a
well known as Wandanoe, where, however, there was scarcely any feed for
the horses, who appeared very dissatisfied with their entertainment, for
they wandered away, and several hours were spent on the following morning
in getting them together.
Our route lay by way of Kolonaday, North Spring, Tinderlong, and Bilyera
to Yuin, Mr. Burges's principal station, which we reached on the 9th, and
remained until Monday the 13th. Then we started on a route
east-north-east, and camped that night at a rock water-hole called
Beetinggnow, where we found good feed and water. My brother and Kennedy
went on in advance to Poondarrie, to dig water-holes, and we rejoined
them there on the 14th. This place is situated in latitude 27 degrees 48
minutes 39 seconds South, and longitude 116 degrees 16 minutes 11 seconds
On the following day we were very busy packing up the rations, for I had
arranged to send back the cart, gone on in advance. We had eight months'
provisions, besides general baggage, and I certainly experienced some
difficulty in arranging how to carry such a tremendously heavy load, even
with the aid of eighteen pack-horses, and a dozen natives who accompanied
us. I intended to start on the 16th, but one of the horses was missing,
and, although Pierre and I tracked him for five miles, we were compelled
to give up the search for that night, as darkness came on, and return to
camp. On the following day, however, we followed up the tracks, and
caught the horse after a chase of twenty miles. He had started on the
return journey, and was only a mile from Yuin when we overtook him.
CAMELS AND HORSES IN THE DESERT.
By half-past nine on the morning of the 18th we had made a fair start.
The day was intensely hot, and as we had only three riding-horses, half
of the party were compelled to walk. We travelled in a north-easterly
direction for eleven miles, and reached a spring called Wallala, which we
dug out, and so obtained sufficient water for our horses. I may mention
here that Colonel Warburton and other explorers who endeavoured to cross
the great inland desert from the east had the advantage of being provided
with camels--a very great advantage indeed in a country where the water
supply is so scanty and uncertain as in Central Australia. As we
ascertained by painful experience, a horse requires water at least once
in twelve hours, and suffers greatly if that period of abstinence is
exceeded. A camel, however, will go for ten or twelve days without drink,
without being much distressed. This fact should be remembered, because
the necessity of obtaining water for the horses entailed upon us many
wearying deviations from the main route and frequent disappointments,
besides great privation and inconvenience to man and beast.
The 19th was Sunday, and, according to practice, we rested. Every Sunday
throughout the journey I read Divine Service, and, except making the
daily observations, only work absolutely necessary was done. Whenever
possible, we rested on Sunday, taking, if we could, a pigeon, a parrot,
or such other game as might come in our way as special fare. Sunday's
dinner was an institution for which, even in those inhospitable wilds, we
had a great respect. This day, the 19th, ascertained, by meridian
altitude of the sun, that we were in latitude 27 degrees 40 minutes 6
seconds South. We had several pigeons and parrots, which, unfortunately
for them, but most fortunately for us, had come within range of our guns.
While thus resting, Police constable Haydon arrived from Champion Bay,
bringing letters and a thermometer (broken on the journey), also a
barometer. When he left we bade good-bye to the last white man we were
destined to see for nearly six months.
After the usual difficulty with the horses, which had again wandered, we
started on Monday, the 20th, at half-past ten, and steering about 30
degrees East of north for seven miles, came to a spring called Bullardo,
and seven miles farther we camped at Warrorang, where there was scarcely
any water or feed. We were now in latitude 27 degrees 33 minutes 21
seconds South, Cheangwa Hill being North 340 degrees East magnetic.
I now take up the narrative in the words of my Journal, which will show
the reason for ultimately adopting the third of the routes which the
letter of instructions left to my discretion.
Continued on North 340 degrees East to Cheangwa Hill four miles; thence
northerly, passing Koonbun, and on to a place called Pingie, on the
Sandford River. From camp to Pingie, Barloweery Peaks bore North 322
degrees East magnetic, Cheangwa Hill North 207 degrees East, latitude 27
degrees 19 minutes 33 seconds. Found water by digging. Rather warm;
barometer rising. Clear flats along water-courses; otherwise dense
THE MURCHISON RIVER.
Continued northerly; at twelve miles crossed the dividing range between
the Sandford and other creeks flowing into the Murchison. Camped at a
granite hill called Bia, with a fine spring on its north side. Got a view
of Mount Murchison, which bore North 7 degrees East magnetic from camp.
Fine grassy granite country for the first eight miles to-day. Splendid
feed at this camp. Travelled about fifteen miles. Latitude by meridian
altitude of Regulus 27 degrees 7 minutes South. Walking in turns every
Steering a little west of north over level country for six miles, with a
few water-courses with white gums in them, we came into granite country
with bare hills in every direction. Kept on till we came to a brook with
pools of fresh water, where we camped about one mile from the Murchison
River. Latitude 26 degrees 52 minutes 38 seconds, Mount Murchison bearing
North 50 degrees East. Went with Pierre to a peak of granite North 50
degrees East, about one mile and a half from camp, from which I took a
round of angles and bearings. Travelled about eighteen miles to-day.
At one mile reached the Murchison River, and followed along up it. Fine
grassy flats, good loamy soil, with white gums in bed and on flats.
Travelled about fourteen miles, and camped. Rather brackish water in the
pools. Latitude of camp 26 degrees 42 minutes 43 seconds by Regulus. Shot
seven ducks and eight cockatoos. Saw several kangaroos and emus. Rain
much required. Mount Murchison bears from camp North 122 degrees East,
and Mount Narryer North 14 degrees East magnetic.
Continued up river for about nine miles, and camped at a fine spring in
the bed of river, of fresh water, which I named Elizabeth Spring; it is
surrounded by salt water, and is quite fresh. Mount Narryer bore from
camp North 4 degrees East magnetic, and Mount Murchison North 168 degrees
30 minutes East magnetic. Windich shot an emu, and some ducks were also
shot. Fine grassy country along river; white gums in flats; large salt
pools. Very hot weather; thermometer 90 degrees in pack-saddle.
Did not travel to-day. Plotted up track and took observations for time
and longitude. Barometer 29.18; thermometer 83 degrees at 6 p.m. Latitude
of camp 26 degrees 35 minutes 8 seconds South by Regulus.
Travelled up river for about sixteen miles; camped at a fine fresh pool
in latitude 26 degrees 24 minutes 52 seconds South, Mount Narryer bearing
North 238 degrees East, and Mount Dugel North 334 degrees East magnetic.
Fine grassy country along river. Shot six ducks; great numbers were in
the river, also white cockatoos. Very warm mid-day; cloudy in evening.
Marked a tree F on the right bank of river.
A SOLITARY CAMP OUT.
Followed up the river. Fine pools for the first six miles, with numbers
of ducks in them. After travelling about twenty miles we lost the river
from keeping too far to the east, and following branches instead of the
main branch--in fact, the river spreads out over beautifully-grassed
plains for many miles. Fearing we should be without water, I pushed
ahead, and after following a flat for about six miles, got to the main
river, where there were large pools of brackish water. As it was getting
late, returned in all haste, but could not find the party, they having
struck westward. I got on the tracks after dark, and, after following
them two miles, had to give it up and camp for the night, tying up my
horse alongside. Neither food nor water, and no rug.
I anxiously awaited daylight, and then followed on the tracks and
overtook the party, encamped on the main branch of the river, with
abundance of brackish water in the pools. Shot several cockatoos. From
camp Mount Narryer bore North 211 degrees 30 minutes East magnetic, and
Mount Dugel 225 degrees 15 minutes East magnetic. Camp is in latitude 26
degrees 6 minutes 12 seconds. Marked a tree with the letter F on right
bank of river.
Two of the horses could not be found till half-past twelve. After this we
continued up the river over well-grassed country for about ten miles.
Camped at a small pool of fresh water, in latitude 26 degrees 2 minutes
52 seconds, which we luckily found by tracking up natives. Large pools of
salt water in river. Three walking and three riding every day. Set watch
to-night, two hours each.
Followed up river, keeping a little to the south of it for about fifteen
miles. We camped on a splendid grassy flat, with a fine large pool of
fresh water in it. Shot several ducks. This is the best camp we have
had---plenty of grass and water--and I was very rejoiced to find the
month commence so auspiciously. Barometer 29.10; thermometer 78 degrees
at 5.30 p.m.; latitude 26 degrees 0 minutes 52 seconds South. Sighted
Mount Gould, which bore North 58 degrees East magnetic. Marked a white
gum-tree F 20, being 20th camp from Geraldton.
Steered straight for Mount Gould, North 58 degrees East, for sixteen
miles, when I found I had made an error, and that we had unknowingly
crossed the river this morning. After examining the chart, I steered
South-East towards Mount Hale and, striking the river, we followed along
it a short distance and camped at some brackish water, Mount Hale bearing
North 178 degrees East, and Mount Gould North 28 degrees East. Barometer
28.96; thermometer 77 degrees at 5.30 p.m. As Pierre was walking along,
he suddenly turned round and saw four or five natives following. Being
rather surprised, he frightened them by roughly saying, "What the devil
you want here?" when they quickly made off. Windich and I then tried to
speak to them, but could not find them. Latitude 25 degrees 57 minutes 32
seconds South; longitude about 117 degrees 20 minutes East.
Went to summit of Mount Hale in company with Pierre, and after an hour's
hard work reached it. It was very rough and difficult to ascend. The
rocks were very magnetic; the view was extensive; indeed, the whole
country was an extended plain. To the east, plains for at least thirty
miles, when broken ranges were visible. Mount Gould to the
North-North-East showed very remarkably. Mount Narryer range was visible.
To the south, only one hill or range could be seen, while to the
South-East broken ranges of granite were seen about thirty miles distant.
Mount Hale is very lofty and rugged, and is composed of micaceous iron
ore, with brown hematite; being magnetic, the compass was rendered
useless. Returned about one o'clock. Windich and the others had been out
searching for fresh water, and the former had seen three natives and had
a talk with them. They did not appear frightened, but he could not make
anything out of them. They found some good water. Barometer, at 6.30
p.m., 28.88; thermometer 76 degrees. Took observations for time and
longitude. We are much in want of rain, and thought we should have had
some, but the barometer is rising this evening. To-morrow we enter on
country entirely unknown.
Started at nine o'clock, and, travelling North-East for three miles, came
to junction of river from Mount Gould, when we got some fresh water, also
met two natives who were friendly, and they accompanied us. We took the
south or main branch of river, and, steering a little south of east for
about nine miles, over splendidly-grassed country, we camped on a small
pool of fresh water on one of the courses of the river, Mount Gould
bearing North 334 degrees 30 minutes East magnetic, and Mount Hale North
228 degrees 30 minutes East magnetic. Barometer 28.90; thermometer 76
degrees at 6 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 54 minutes 37 seconds by Regulus.
Marked a tree F 22, being 22nd camp from Geraldton.
We travelled up easterly along the river, which spreads out and has
several channels, sometimes running for miles separately, then joining
again. There were many fine fresh pools for the first four miles, after
which they were all salt, and the river divided into so many channels
that it was difficult to know the main river. After travelling about
sixteen miles over fine grassy plains and flats, we were joined by seven
natives, who had returned with the two who had left us this morning. They
told us that there was no fresh water on the branch we were following,
and we therefore followed them North 30 degrees East for seven miles
(leaving the river to the southward), when they brought us to a small
pool in a brook, where we camped, Mount Gould bearing North 285 degrees
30 minutes East magnetic, Mount Hale North 250 degrees East magnetic.
Latitude 25 degrees 52 minutes from mean of two observations. Barometer
28.78; thermometer 77 degrees at 6 P.M.
Three of the natives accompanied us to-day. We travelled east for six
miles, when I ascended a rise and could see a river to the north and
south; the one to the north the natives say has fresh water. As the
natives say there is plenty of water ahead, North 70 degrees East, we
continued onwards to a hill, which I named Mount Maitland. After about
twenty miles we reached it, but found the spring to be bad, and after
digging no water came. For our relief I tied up the horses for some time
before letting them go. Ascending the hill close to the camp, I saw a
very extensive range, and took a fine round of angles. The compass is
useless on these hills, as they are composed of micaceous iron ore, with
brown hematite, which is very magnetic. To the east a line of high,
remarkable ranges extend, running eastwards, which I have named the
Robinson Range, after his Excellency Governor Robinson. One of the
highest points I named Mount Fraser, after the Honourable Commissioner of
Crown Lands, from whom I received much assistance and consideration, and
who has aided the expedition in every possible way; the other highest
point, Mount Padbury, after Mr. W. Padbury, a contributor to the
Expedition Fund. The river could be traced for thirty miles by the line
of white gums, while to the south long lines of white gums could also be
seen. I am not sure which is the main branch, but I intend following the
one to the north, as it looks the largest and the natives say it has
fresh water. Barometer 28.45; thermometer 69 degrees at 6 p.m.; latitude
25 degrees 46 minutes South. The last thirty-five miles over fine grassy
plains, well adapted for sheep-runs; and water could, I think, be easily
procured by digging, as well as from the river.
The three natives ran away this morning, or at least left us without
asking leave. We had to keep watch all last night over the horses to keep
them from rambling. Got an early start, and steering North 70 degrees
East for about twelve miles, we reached the river, and camped at a fresh
pool of splendid water. This is a fine large branch; it is fresh, and I
believe, if not the main, is one of the largest branches. The country is
now more undulating and splendidly grassed, and would carry sheep well.
The whole bed of the river, or valley, is admirably adapted for pastoral
purposes, and will no doubt ere long be stocked. Latitude 25 degrees 42
minutes 12 seconds South, and longitude about 118 degrees 9 minutes East.
Barometer 28.57; thermometer 75 degrees at 5.30 p.m. Marked a white gum
on right bank of river F 25, being the 25th camp from Champion Bay.
Continued up the river for about fifteen miles, the stream gradually
getting smaller, many small creeks coming into it; wide bed and flat.
Fine grassy country on each side, and some permanent pools in river.
Camped at a small pool of fresh water, and rode up to a low ridge to the
North-East, from which I got a fine view to the eastward. I do not think
the river we are following goes much farther; low ranges and a few hills
alone visible. Barometer 28.48; thermometer 70 degrees at 6 o'clock p.m.;
latitude 25 degrees 47 minutes 53 seconds by meridian altitude of
Continued along river, which is gradually getting smaller, for about
thirteen miles over most beautiful grassy country, the best we have seen.
White gums along bed. I believe the river does not go more than twenty
miles from here, it being now very small. Found a nice pool of water and
camped. Barometer 28.48; thermometer 68 degrees at half-past five
THE DRY SEASON.
Went with Windich south about eight miles to a low range, which I rightly
anticipated would be a watershed. Could see a long line of white gums;
believe there may be a river to the south, or it may be the salt branch
of the Murchison. Returned to camp at two o'clock; plotted up track.
Barometer 28.52; thermometer 69 degrees at 6 p.m. Mount Fraser bears
North 328 degrees East magnetic from camp, which is in latitude 25
degrees 51 minutes 46 seconds, longitude about 118 degrees 30 minutes
East. The country is very dry indeed; in fact, we could not be more
unfortunate in the season thus far. I only trust we may be blessed with
abundance of rain shortly, otherwise we shall not be able to move
Continued up river, which is getting very small, over beautifully-grassed
country, and at seven miles came to a fine flat and splendid pool of
permanent water. Although a delightful spot, I did not halt, as we had
come such a short distance. Here we met six native women, who were very
frightened at first, but soon found sufficient confidence to talk and to
tell us there was plenty of water ahead. As they always say this, I do
not put any faith in it. We continued on about east for eight miles to a
high flat-topped hill, when we got a view of the country ahead and turned
about North-East towards some flats, and at about eight miles camped on a
grassy plain, with some small clay-pans of water. Splendid feeding
country all along this valley--I may say for the last 100 miles. Heard a
number of natives cooeying above our camp, but did not see them.
Barometer 28.37; thermometer 68 degrees at six o'clock p.m.; latitude 25
degrees 51 minutes South by meridian altitude of Jupiter.
Started East-North-East for four miles, then north three miles to the
range, where we searched over an hour for water without success. We then
travelled South-East for five miles and south one mile and a half to a
water-hole in a brook, by digging out which we got abundance of water.
About a quarter of a mile farther down the brook found a large pool of
water and shot six ducks. As soon as we unloaded, it commenced to rain,
and kept on steadily till midnight. I am indeed pleased to get this rain
at last, as the country is very dry. Splendid open feeding country all
to-day, and the camp is a beautifully-grassed spot. Marked a white
gum-tree F 29, close to the pool or spring on the right bank of this
Continued on, steering about south-east, as the flat we have been
following the last week is now nearly at an end. Afterwards determined to
bear southward, in order to see where the south branch of the river goes
to. For the first six miles over most magnificent grassed country.
Ascended a low range to get a view of the country. The prospect ahead,
however, not cheering. Took round of bearings. A very conspicuous range
bore about south, which I named Glengarry Range, in honour of Mr.
Maitland Brown, a great supporter of the expedition; while to the
south-east only one solitary hill could be seen, distant about twenty
miles. We, however, continued for about ten miles over most miserable
country, thickets and spinifex, when we reached some granitic rocks and a
low rise of granite, on which we found sufficient water to camp.
Barometer 28.12; thermometer 60 degrees at 5.30 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees
57 minutes 11 seconds South by Regulus.
Steered South-East for about fourteen miles to a stony low range, thence
East-North-East and east and south for six miles, turning and twisting,
looking for water. Windich found some in a gully and we camped. Spinifex
for the first fourteen miles, and miserable country. The prospect ahead
not very promising. Barometer 28.06; thermometer 83 degrees at 5 p.m.
Every appearance of rain. Latitude 26 degrees 8 minutes 31 seconds South,
longitude about 119 degrees 18 minutes East.
Raining lightly this morning. I did not proceed, but gave the horses
Continued east for five miles, when we found three of the horses were
missing; returned with Windich, and found them near camp, having never
started at all. Seeing white gums to the south-east, we followed for five
miles down a fine brook (which I named Negri Creek, after Commander
Negri, founder of the Geographical Society of Italy), with fine grassy
country on each side. Afterwards it joined another brook, and went
south-east for about three miles, where it lost itself in open flats.
Struck south for two miles to some large white gums, but found no water.
After long looking about I found water in a gully and camped. Distance
travelled about twenty miles. Spinifex and grassy openings the first five
miles to-day. Barometer 28.20; thermometer 67 degrees at 6 o'clock p.m.;
latitude 26 degrees 16 minutes 8 seconds by Jupiter. Windich shot a
MOUNTS BARTLE AND RUSSELL.
The horses rambled far away, and it was noon before they were all
collected. Shifted three and a half miles north, where there was better
feed and water. Went on to a low hill on the north of our last night's
camp, and got a fine view of the country to the south and south-east. Two
remarkable flat-topped hills bore South-East, which I named Mount Bartle
and Mount Russell, after the distinguished President and Foreign
Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society. Saw a long line of white
gums (colalyas) running East and West about ten miles distant, looking
very much like a river. To the east and north the view was intercepted by
long stony rises, apparently covered with spinifex. Large white gum
clumps studded the plains in every direction. Evidences of heavy rainfall
at certain times to be seen everywhere. Barometer 28.28; thermometer 72
degrees at 5 p.m.; latitude 26 degrees 13 minutes 4 seconds South.
Steered South-South-East for four miles, then South-East generally,
towards the flat-topped hills seen yesterday, and which bore 144 degrees
East magnetic from Spinifex Hill. At six miles crossed a low range
covered with spinifex, after which we passed over country generally well
grassed, some of it most beautifully, and white gums very large in clumps
were studded all over the plains. At about twenty-two miles reached the
flat-topped hills, and camped, finding some water in a clay-pan. The line
of white gums I find are only large clumps studded over extensive plains
of splendidly-grassed country. No large water-course was crossed, but
several small creeks form here and there, and afterwards run out into the
plains, finally finding their way into the Murchison. It was sundown when
we camped. Walked over twenty miles myself to-day. Barometer 28.38;
thermometer 60 degrees at six o'clock; latitude 26 degrees 27 minutes 38
seconds South, longitude about 119 degrees 42 minutes East.
Continued in a north-easterly direction for about eight miles over fine
grassy plains, and camped at some water in a small gully with fine feed.
I camped early in order to give the backs of the horses a good washing,
and to refit some of the pack-saddles. Passed several clay-pans with
water. We have not seen any permanent water for the last eighty miles. I
much wish to find some, as it is very risky going on without the means of
falling back. The country seems very deficient of permanent water,
although I believe plenty could be procured by sinking. Barometer 28.46;
thermometer 63 degrees at 5 p.m.; latitude 26 degrees 23 minutes 39
seconds South. Left a pack-saddle frame and two pack-bags hanging on a
Steering North-East for five miles over fine grassy plains, came to a low
stony range, ascending which we saw, a little to the south, a line of
(colalya) white gums, to which we proceeded. Then following up a large
brook for about five miles North-East, we camped at a small water-hole in
the brook. In the afternoon I went with Pierre about one mile North-East
of camp to the summit of a rough range and watershed, which I believe is
the easterly watershed of the Murchison River. All the creeks to the west
of this range (which I named Kimberley Range, after the Right Honourable
Lord Kimberley, the Secretary of State for the Colonies) trend towards
the Murchison, and finally empty into the main river. From this range we
could see a long way to the eastward. The country is very level, with low
ranges, but no conspicuous hills. Not a promising country for water, but
still looks good feeding country. This range is composed of brown
hematite, decomposing to yellow (tertiary), and is very magnetic, the
compass being useless. Bituminous pitch found oozing out of the
rocks--probably the result of the decomposition of the excrement of bats.
It contains fragments of the wing cases of insects, and gives reactions
similar to the bituminous mineral or substance found in Victoria.
Barometer 28.285; thermometer 63 degrees at 5 p.m. On summit of
watershed, barometer 28.15; thermometer 69 degrees; latitude 26 degrees
17 minutes 12 seconds, longitude about 119 degrees 54 minutes East.
Continued on North-East, and, travelling over the watershed of the
Murchison, we followed along a gully running North-East; then, passing
some water-holes, travelled on and ascended a small range, from which we
beheld a very extensive clear plain just before us. Thinking it was a
fine grassy plain we quickly descended, when, to our disgust, we found it
was spinifex that had been burnt. We continued till three o'clock, with
nothing but spinifex plains in sight. I despatched Windich towards a
range in the distance, and followed after as quickly as possible. When we
reached the range we heard the welcoming gunshot, and, continuing on, we
met Tommy, who had found abundance of water and feed on some granite
rocks. We soon unloaded, and were all rejoiced to be in safety, the
prospect this afternoon having been anything but cheering. Distance
travelled about thirty miles. Barometer 28.22; thermometer 56 degrees at
6 p.m. Cold easterly wind all day. About eighteen miles of spinifex
plains. Latitude 26 degrees 0 minutes 53 seconds by Arcturus and e
Did not travel to-day, the horses being tired, and the country ahead did
not seem very inviting. Windich found a native spring about a mile to the
North-East. This is a very nice spot, surrounded as it is by spinifex.
Variation 2 degrees 40 minutes West by observation.
Continued on North-East for about twelve miles over spinifex plains and
sandy ridges. Went on ahead with Windich, and came to a gorge and some
granite rocks with abundance of water, and were soon joined by the party.
Barometer 28.30; thermometer 60 degrees at 6 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 53
minutes 52 seconds by Altair.
We rested at camp. I was all day calculating lunar observations.
Barometer 28.22; thermometer 64 degrees at 5.30 p.m.
Travelled onwards about North 40 degrees East for eight miles, passing a
low granite range at six miles. Came to a fine brook trending a little
south of east, which we followed downwards seven miles, running nearly
east. This brook was full of water, some of the pools being eight or ten
feet deep, ten yards wide, and sixty yards long. It flowed out into a
large flat, and finally runs into a salt lake. I named this brook Sweeney
Creek, after my companion and farrier, James Sweeney. Leaving the flat,
we struck North-North-East for four miles, and came to a salt marsh about
half a mile wide, which we crossed. Following along, came into some high
ranges, which I named the Frere Ranges, after Sir Bartle Frere, the
distinguished President of the Royal Geographical Society. Found a small
rock water-hole in a gully and camped. Water appears exceedingly scarce
in these ranges. It is very remarkable that there should have been such
heavy rain twelve miles back, and none at all here. Rough feed for
horses. Distance travelled about twenty-seven miles. These ranges run
east and west, and are the highest we have seen. The marsh appears to
follow along the south side of the range. Barometer 28.38; thermometer 70
degrees at 5.30 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 43 minutes 44 seconds by
Ascended the Frere Ranges and got a fine view to the north and east. Fine
high hills and ranges to the north; a salt marsh and low ranges to the
east and South-East. Continued on North-East for four miles, then
North-North-West for three miles, passing plenty of water in clay-holes
and clay-pans in bed of marsh, we camped at a fine pool in a large brook
that runs into the marsh, which I called Kennedy Creek, after my
companion James Kennedy. The prospect ahead is very cheering, and I hope
to find plenty of water and feed for the next 100 miles. Latitude 25
degrees 38 minutes 44 seconds South; barometer 28.42; thermometer 41
degrees at 10 p.m. Marked a white gumtree F 40 close to camp in bed of
river. The banks of the brook at this spot are composed of purple-brown
Followed up the Kennedy Creek, bearing North-North-East and North for
about seven miles, passing a number of shallow pools, when we came to
some splendid springs, which I named the Windich Springs, after my old
and well-tried companion Tommy Windich, who has now been on three
exploring expeditions with me. They are the best springs I have ever
seen--flags in the bed of the river, and pools twelve feet deep and
twenty chains long--a splendid place for water. We therefore camped, and
found another spot equally good a quarter of a mile west of camp in
another branch. There is a most magnificent supply of water and
feed--almost unlimited and permanent. A fine range of hills bore
north-west from the springs, which I named Carnarvon Range, after the
Right Honourable the present Secretary of State for the Colonies. The
hills looked very remarkable, being covered with spinifex almost to their
very summit. We shot five ducks and got three opossums this afternoon,
besides doing some shoeing. There is an immense clump of white gums at
head of spring. Barometer 28.34; thermometer 46 degrees at 11 p.m. Marked
a large white gum-tree F 41 on west side close to right bank of river,
being our 41st camp from Geraldton. Latitude 25 degrees 22 minutes 26
seconds South, longitude about 120 degrees 42 minutes East.
Steering North 30 degrees East for eleven miles, we came to a rough hill,
which I ascended, camped on north side of it, and found water in a gully.
The view was very extensive but not promising--spinifex being in every
direction. A bold hill bore North 31 degrees East magnetic, about seven
miles distant to the North-North-West, which I named Mount Salvado, after
Bishop Salvado, of Victoria Plains, a contributor to the Expedition Fund.
The Carnarvon Ranges looked very remarkable. To the East and North-East
spinifex and low ranges for fifteen miles, when the view was intercepted
by spinifex rises--altogether very unpromising. Barometer 28.26;
thermometer 70 degrees at 5 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 24 minutes 11
Steered East-North-East for seven miles, when we came to some fine water
in a gully, which we did not camp at, owing to my being ahead with
Windich, and my brother not seeing a note I left telling him to remain
there while I went on to get a view ahead. Passing this at ten miles, we
reached a low spinifex hill capped with rock, from which a remarkable
hill was visible, which I named Mount Davis, after my friend Mr. J.S.
Davis, who was a contributor to the Expedition Fund. Mount Salvado was
also visible. Spinifex in every direction, and the country very miserable
and unpromising. I went ahead with Windich. Steering about North 15
degrees East for about eight miles over spinifex sand-hills, we found a
spring in a small flat, which I named Pierre Spring, after my companion
Tommy Pierre. It was surrounded by the most miserable spinifex country,
and is quite a diamond in the desert. We cleared it out and got
sufficient water for our horses. To the North, South, and East nothing
but spinifex sand-hills in sight. Barometer 28.44; thermometer 70 degrees
at 5 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 14 minutes 34 seconds South by Altair.
SEARCHING FOR WATER.
Steering East-North-East over spinifex red sand-hills for nine miles, we
came to a valley and followed down a gully running North-North-East for
two miles, when it lost itself on the flat, which was wooded and grassy.
About a mile farther on we found a clay-pan with water, and camped, with
excellent feed. The country is very dry, and I should think there has not
been any rain for several months. The appearance of the country ahead is
better than it looked yesterday. I went onwards with Windich to-day, and
found the water. Barometer 28.46; thermometer 66 degrees at 5.30 p.m.;
latitude 25 degrees 10 minutes 32 seconds.
Rested at camp. Took observations for time. Left two pack-saddle bags
hanging on a tree.
Barometer 28.38; thermometer 45 degrees at 8 a.m. In collecting the
horses we came on an old native camp, and found the skull of a native,
much charred, evidently the remains of one who had been eaten. Continued
on about North-East along a grassy flat, and at five miles passed some
clay-pans of water, after which we encountered spinifex, which continued
for fifteen miles, when we got to a rocky range, covered with more
spinifex. Myself and Windich were in advance, and after reaching the
range we followed down a flat about North for six miles, when it joined
another large water-course, both trending North-North-West and
North-West. We followed down this river for about seven miles, in hopes
of finding water, without success. Night was fast approaching, and I
struck north for four miles to a range, on reaching which the prospect
was very poor; it proved to be a succession of spinifex sand-hills, and
no better country was in view to the North-East and East. It was just
sundown when we reached the range; we then turned east for two miles, and
south, following along all the gullies we came across, but could find no
water. It was full moon, so that we could see clearly. We turned more to
the westward and struck our outward tracks, and, following back along
them, we met the party encamped at the junction of the two branches
mentioned before. We kept watch over the horses to keep them from
straying. Mine and Windich's horses were nearly knocked up, and Windich
himself was very ill all night. Latitude 24 degrees 55 minutes 19 seconds
AT WELD SPRINGS.
Early this morning went with Pierre to look for water, while my brother
and Windich went on the same errand. We followed up the brook about south
for seven miles, when we left it and followed another branch about
South-South-East, ascending which, Pierre drew my attention to swarms of
birds, parroquets, etc., about half a mile ahead. We hastened on, and to
our delight found one of the best springs in the colony. It ran down the
gully for twenty chains, and is as clear and fresh as possible, while the
supply is unlimited. Overjoyed at our good fortune, we hastened back,
and, finding that my brother and Windich had not returned, packed up and
shifted over to the springs, leaving a note telling them the good news.
After reaching the springs we were soon joined by them. They had only
found sufficient water to give their own horses a drink; they also
rejoiced to find so fine a spot. Named the springs the Weld Springs,
after his Excellency Governor Weld, who has always taken such great
interest in exploration, and without whose influence and assistance this
expedition would not have been organized. There is splendid feed all
around. I intend giving the horses a week's rest here, as they are much
in want of it, and are getting very poor and tired. Barometer 28.24;
thermometer 71 degrees at 5 p.m. Shot a kangaroo.
Rested at Weld Springs. Light rain this morning. The horses doing well,
and will improve very fast. Towards evening the weather cleared, which I
was sorry for, as good rains are what we are much in need of. Did some
shoeing. Barometer 28.13; thermometer 61 degrees at 5 p.m.
Barometer 28.16; thermometer 53 degrees at 8 a.m. Rested at Weld Springs.
Shod some of the horses. Repairing saddles. Rating chronometer. Windich
shot an emu. Horses doing first-rate, and fast improving.
Barometer 28.28; thermometer 53 degrees at 6 p.m. Rested at Weld Springs.
Shoeing and saddle-stuffing. Ten emus came to water; shot twice with
rifle at them, but missed. Rated chronometer.
Rested at Weld Springs. Took three sets of lunars. Pierre shot a
kangaroo. Marked a tree F 46 on the east side of the spring at our
bivouac, which is in latitude 25 degrees 0 minutes 46 seconds South,
longitude about 121 degrees 21 minutes East. Mended saddles. Horses much
improved, and some of them getting very fresh.
Pierre shot an emu, and the others shot several pigeons. This is a
splendid spot; emus and kangaroos numerous, pigeons and birds
innumerable, literally covering the entire surface all round the place in
the evenings. We have been living on game ever since we have been here.
Intend taking a flying trip to-morrow; party to follow on our tracks on
Tuesday. Read Divine Service. Barometer 28.38; thermometer 55 degrees at
Started with Tommy Pierre to explore the country East-North-East for
water, leaving instructions for my brother to follow after us to-morrow
with the party. We travelled generally East-North-East for twenty miles
over spinifex and undulating sand-hills, without seeing any water. We
turned east for ten miles to a range, which we found to be covered with
spinifex. Everywhere nothing else was to be seen; no feed, destitute of
water; while a few small gullies ran out of the low range, but all were
dry. Another range about twenty-four miles distant was the extent of our
view, to which we bore. At twenty miles, over red sandy hills covered
with spinifex and of the most miserable nature, we came to a narrow
samphire flat, following which south for two miles, we camped without
water and scarcely any feed. Our horses were knocked up, having come over
heavy ground more than fifty miles. The whole of the country passed over
to-day is covered with spinifex, and is a barren worthless desert.
BACK TO THE SPRINGS.
At daybreak continued east about four miles to the range seen yesterday,
which we found to be a low stony rise, covered with spinifex. The view
was extensive and very gloomy. Far to the north and east, spinifex
country, level, and no appearance of hills or water-courses. To the south
were seen a few low ranges, covered also with spinifex; in fact, nothing
but spinifex in sight, and no chance of water. Therefore I was obliged to
turn back, as our horses were done up. Travelling south for five miles,
we then turned West-North-West until we caught our outward tracks, and,
following them, we met the party at 3 o'clock, coming on, about twenty
miles from the Weld Springs. Our horses were completely done up. We had
not had water for thirty-one hours. We all turned back, retreating
towards the springs, and continued on till 10 o'clock, when we camped in
the spinifex and tied up the horses.
We travelled on to the springs, which were only about three miles from
where we slept last night, and camped. I intend staying here for some
time, until I find water ahead or we get some rain. We are very fortunate
in having such a good depot, as the feed is very good. We found that
about a dozen natives had been to the springs while we were away. They
had collected some of the emu feathers, which were lying all about.
Natives appear to be very numerous, and I have no doubt that there are
springs in the spinifex or valleys close to it. Barometer 28.08;
thermometer 62 degrees at 5.30 p.m.
Rested at the Weld Springs. Shot an emu; about a dozen came to water. My
brother and Windich intend going a flying trip East-South-East in search
of water to-morrow. Barometer 28.15; thermometer 60 degrees at 5 p.m.
My brother and Windich started in search of water; myself and Pierre
accompanied them about twelve miles with water to give their horses a
drink. About ten o'clock we left them and returned to camp.
FIGHT WITH THE NATIVES.
About one o'clock Pierre saw a flock of emus coming to water, and went
off to get a shot. Kennedy followed with the rifle. I climbed up on a
small tree to watch them. I was surprised to hear natives' voices, and,
looking towards the hill, I saw from forty to sixty natives running
towards the camp, all plumed up and armed with spears and shields. I was
cool, and told Sweeney to bring out the revolvers; descended from the
tree and got my gun and cooeyed to Pierre and Kennedy, who came running.
By this time they were within sixty yards, and halted. One advanced to
meet me and stood twenty yards off; I made friendly signs; he did not
appear very hostile. All at once one from behind (probably a chief) came
rushing forward, and made many feints to throw spears. He went through
many manoeuvres, and gave a signal, when the whole number made a rush
towards us, yelling and shouting, with their spears shipped. When within
thirty yards I gave the word to fire: we all fired as one man, only one
report being heard. I think the natives got a few shots, but they all ran
up the hill and there stood, talking and haranguing and appearing very
angry. We re-loaded our guns, and got everything ready for a second
attack, which I was sure they would make. We were not long left in
suspense. They all descended from the hill and came on slowly towards us.
When they were about 150 yards off I fired my rifle, and we saw one of
them fall, but he got up again and was assisted away. On examining the
spot we found the ball had cut in two the two spears he was carrying; he
also dropped his wommera, which was covered with blood. We could follow
the blood-drops for a long way over the stones. I am afraid he got a
severe wound. My brother and Windich being away we were short-handed. The
natives seem determined to take our lives, and therefore I shall not
hesitate to fire on them should they attack us again. I thus decide and
write in all humility, considering it a necessity, as the only way of
saving our lives. I write this at 4 p.m., just after the occurrence, so
that, should anything happen to us, my brother will know how and when it
5 p.m. The natives appear to have made off. We intend sleeping in the
thicket close to camp, and keeping a strict watch, so as to be ready for
them should they return to the attack this evening. At 7.30 my brother
and Windich returned, and were surprised to hear of our adventure. They
had been over fifty miles from camp East-South-East, and had passed over
some good feeding country, but had not found a drop of water. They and
their horses had been over thirty hours without water.
The natives did not return to the attack last night. In looking round
camp we found the traces of blood, where one of the natives had been
lying down. This must have been the foremost man, who was in the act of
throwing his spear, and who urged the others on. Two therefore, at least,
are wounded, and will have cause to remember the time they made their
murderous attack upon us. We worked all day putting up a stone hut, ten
by nine feet, and seven feet high, thatched with boughs. We finished it;
it will make us safe at night. Being a very fair hut, it will be a great
source of defence. Barometer 28.09; thermometer 68 degrees at 5 p.m. Hope
to have rain, as without it we cannot proceed.
Finished the hut, pugging it at the ends, and making the roof better. Now
it is in good order, and we are quite safe from attack at night, should
they attempt it again, which I think is doubtful, as they got too warm a
reception last time. I intend going with Windich to-morrow easterly in
search of water. Barometer 29.09 at 5 p.m.; thermometer 62 degrees.
Left the Weld Springs with Windich and a pack-horse carrying fourteen
gallons of water. Steered South-East for twelve miles over spinifex,
after which we got into a grassy ravine, which we followed along three
miles, passing some fine clay-holes which would hold plenty of water if
it rained. We then turned East-North-East for twelve miles over spinifex,
miserable country, when we struck the tracks of my brother and Windich on
their return, June 13th. We followed along them South-East for four
miles, and then South-East to a bluff range about eighteen miles, which
we reached at sundown. Spinifex generally, a few grassy patches
intervening, on which were numbers of kangaroos. We camped close to the
bluff, and gave the horses one gallon of water each out of the cans. Just
when the pannicans were boiled, heard noises which we thought were
natives shouting. We instantly put out the fire and had our supper in the
dark, keeping a sharp look-out for two hours, when we were convinced it
must have been a native dog, as there were hundreds all round us, barking
and howling. The weather is heavy and cloudy, and I hope to get some rain
shortly. We slept without any fire, but it was not very cold.
As the horses did not ramble far, we got off early and followed along and
through the ranges East-South-East about, the distance being eighteen
miles. Passed some splendid clay-pans quite dry. The flats around the
ranges are very grassy, and look promising eastwards, but we cannot find
any water. Kangaroos and birds are numerous. Being about seventy miles
from camp, we cannot go any farther, or our horses will not carry us
back. We therefore turned, keeping to the south of our outward track, and
at about eleven miles found some water in some clay-holes, and camped at
about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. There is sufficient water to last the
party about a week, but not more. The weather is dark and threatening,
and I believe there will be rain to-night, which will be a great boon,
and will enable us to travel along easily. It is in circumstances such as
I am at present placed that we are sure to implore help and assistance
from the hand of the Creator; but when we have received all we desire,
how often we forget to give Him praise!
Rained lightly last night, and we had a nice shower this morning. Yet did
not get very wet, as we had our waterproofs. Fearing that the rain would
obliterate the tracks and the party be unable to follow them, I decided
to return towards Weld Springs. Therefore followed along our outward
track, but found, to our sorrow, that there had been no rain west of our
last night's camp. We pushed along and got within eighteen miles of Weld
Springs and camped without water, having left the cans behind, thinking
we should find plenty of rain-water.
We had to go about two miles for our horses this morning; after which, we
made all haste towards Weld Springs, as I knew the party would be coming
on along our tracks to-day. When we were within six miles of the spring
we met the party, but, being obliged to take our horses to water, I
decided that all should return and make a fresh start to-morrow. The
natives had not returned to the attack during our absence, so I conclude
they do not intend to interfere with us further. On our way to-day we
passed some fine rock holes, but all were quite dry. Rain is very much
required in this country.
Started at 9.30 a.m., and steering South-East towards the water found on
the 17th for twenty-four miles; thence East-South-East for eight miles,
and camped without water on a small patch of feed. The last ten miles was
over clear spinifex country of the most wretched description. The country
all the way, in fact, is most miserable and intolerable. Barometer 28.50;
thermometer 56 degrees at 8 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 13 minutes 36
seconds South by meridian altitude of Arcturus. Left the rum-keg and a
pair of farrier's pincers in the stone hut at Weld Springs.
Got an early start, and continued on East-South-East. At about three
miles reached a spring on a small patch of feed in the spinifex and
camped, but found, after digging it out, that scarcely any water came in.
I have no doubt that it will fill up a good deal in the night; but, our
horses being thirsty, I re-saddled and pushed on to the water about
sixteen miles ahead, which we reached at 4 p.m. There is not more than a
week's supply here, therefore I intend going ahead with Pierre to-morrow
in search of more. The country ahead seems promising, but there is a
great deal of spinifex almost everywhere. From Weld Spring to our present
camp is all spinifex, with the exception of a few flats along short
gullies. Latitude 25 degrees 22 minutes 50 seconds South, longitude about
121 degrees 57 minutes East. Barometer 28.50; thermometer 62 degrees at 5
Left camp in company with Tommy Pierre, with a pack-horse carrying
fifteen gallons of water. Steered South-East for four miles, then east
for about eight miles over fine grassy country, then South-East towards a
high range about twenty-five miles distant. After going about three
miles, struck a flat trending South-South-East, which we followed down
about four miles, passing two small clay-holes with water in them; then
we struck South-East for four miles, and came to a large brook trending
South-East, which we followed along until it lost itself on the plain
about six miles. Fine grassy country all the way, and game abundant.
There were a few gallons of water here and there in the brook, but none
large enough to camp at. I then turned east, and at about seven miles
reached the hill seen this morning, which I named Mount Moore, after Mr.
W.D. Moore, of Fremantle, a subscriber to the Expedition Fund. Ascending
the hill we had an extensive view to the South-West, South, and
South-East. Fine grassy country all round and very little spinifex. To
the south about nine miles we saw a lake, and farther off a remarkable
red-faced range, which I named Timperley Range, after my friend Mr. W.H.
Timperley, Inspector of Police, from whom I received a great deal of
assistance before leaving Champion Bay. A remarkable peak, with a reddish
top, bore South-South-East, which I named Mount Hosken, after Mr. M.
Hosken, of Geraldton, a contributor to the expedition. I made south
towards the lake, and at one mile and a half came on to a gully in the
grassy plain, in which we found abundance of water, sufficient to last
for months. We therefore camped for the night, with beautiful feed for
the horses. I was very thankful to find so much water and such fine
grassy country, for, if we had not found any this trip, we should have
been obliged to retreat towards Weld Springs, the water where I left the
party being only sufficient to last a few days. The country passed over
to-day was very grassy, with only a little spinifex, and it looks
promising ahead. Distance from camp about thirty-five miles.
Steering south for about eight miles, we reached the lake, which I named
Lake Augusta. The water is salt, and about five miles in circumference.
Grassy country in the flat; red sand-hills along the shore. It appeared
deep, and swarmed with ducks and swans. Pierre shot two ducks, after
which we pushed on North-East for about twelve miles to a low rocky
bluff, which we ascended and got a view of the country ahead--rough
broken ranges to the east and south. We continued on east for six miles,
when, on approaching a rocky face of a range, we saw some natives on top
of it, watching us. Approaching nearer, we heard them haranguing and
shouting, and soon afterward came within thirty yards of one who was
stooping down, looking intently and amazedly at us. I made friendly
signs, but he ran off shouting, and apparently much afraid. He and
several others ran up and joined the natives on the cliff summit, and
then all made off. We turned, and steering East-North-East for six miles,
and then east for about fourteen miles, the last few miles being
miserable spinifex country, we camped, with poor feed, amongst some
spinifex ranges. A good deal of grassy country the first part of the day.
Kangaroos very numerous, and emus also. Evidences of the natives being in
Ascended a red-topped peak close to our bivouac and got a view ahead. A
salt lake was visible a few miles to the east, towards which we
proceeded. Passing along samphire flats and over red sand-hills, we got
within a mile of the lake. The country close to it not looking promising,
I determined to turn our faces westward towards the party. Steering a
little south of west for three miles, we struck a large brook trending
North-East into the lake, and, following it up a mile, found a fine pool
of fresh water, with splendid feed. This is very fortunate, as it is a
good place to bring the party to. Elated with our success, we continued
on westerly, passing some fine rock water-holes, half full of water, and
at twenty miles from the pool we found a springy hole, with plenty of
water in it, within a few hundred yards of our outward track. We had
missed it going out; it is in the centre of a very fine grassy plain.
Kangaroos and emus numerous, also natives. Giving the horses water, we
pushed on for twelve miles and camped on some fine grassy flats. Every
appearance of rain.
Having finished all our rations last night, I shot two kangaroos while out
for the horses, and brought the hind quarters with us. Continuing westerly
for about ten miles, we reached the water, our bivouac on the 22nd. I
awaited the arrival of the party, which should reach here this morning. At
two o'clock heard gunshots, and saw my brother and Windich walking towards
us. Found that they had missed our tracks and were camped about a mile
higher up the gully, at some small clay-holes. We got our horses and
accompanied them back. Rained this evening more than we have had before.
Very cloudy. Barometer 28.18, but inclined to rise. Everything had gone on
well during my absence.
Did not travel to-day, as there was good feed and water at this camp. My
brother, Windich, and Pierre rode over to Lake Augusta to get some
shooting, and returned in the afternoon with a swan and two ducks. On
their way out they saw a native and gave him chase. He climbed up a small
tree, and, although Windich expended all his knowledge of the languages
of Australia to get him to talk, he would not open his lips, but remained
silent; they therefore left him to get down from the tree at his leisure.
Re-stuffed some of the pack-saddles. Marked a tree F 50, being our 50th
camp from Geraldton. Barometer 28.40; thermometer 50 degrees at 6 p.m.;
weather cleared off and fine night. Latitude 25 degrees 37 minutes 38
seconds South; longitude about 122 degrees 22 minutes East.
Erected a cairn of stones on South-East point of Mount Moore, after which
continued on and reached the spring found by me on the 24th; distance
fifteen miles. The last six miles poor spinifex country. Fine and grassy
round spring. Barometer 28.54; thermometer 56 degrees at 7 p.m.; latitude
25 degrees 37 minutes 53 seconds by Arcturus. Marked a tree F 51, being
the 51st camp from Geraldton.
Rested at spring. Found the variations to be 1 degree 52 minutes West by
Reached the pool found by me on the 24th; distance seventeen miles.
Latitude 25 degrees 41 minutes 22 seconds South; longitude about 122
degrees 53 minutes East. Splendid feed round camp. Marked a tree F 52,
being the 52nd from Geraldton. About two miles west of camp I ascended a
remarkable hill and took a round of bearings, naming it Mount Bates,
after the Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society.
Left camp F 52 in company with Tommy Windich, taking one pack-horse, to
find water ahead eastward. Steered East-North-East over salt marshes and
spinifex sand-hills, and at about eleven miles found water in some
clay-pans, and left a note telling my brother to camp here to-morrow
night. Continued on and found several more fine water-pans and fine
grassy patches. Ascended a range to get a view ahead. In every direction
spinifex, more especially to the north; to the east some low ranges were
visible, about twenty miles distant, towards which we proceeded. On our
way we surprised an emu on its nest and found several eggs; we buried
four with a note stuck over them, for the party to get when they came
along, and took three with us. Soon after this the horse Windich was
riding (Mission) gave in, and we had great difficulty in getting him
along. I was much surprised at this, for I considered him the best horse
we had. We reached the range and found water in some of the gorges, but
no feed; spinifex everywhere. We continued on till dark, passing some
natives' fire, which we did not approach, then camped with scarcely any
feed. I hope to have better luck to-morrow. We have found plenty of
water, but no feed; this is better than having no water and plenty of
feed. We had one wurrung, four chockalotts, and three emu eggs, besides
bread and bacon, for tea to-night, so we fared sumptuously.
Got off early and continued easterly to a low stony range three miles
off, over spinifex sandy country. Found a rock water-hole and gave our
horses a drink. Continuing about east to other ranges, which we followed
along and through, and from range to range, spinifex intervening
everywhere, and no feed, a few little drops of water in the gullies, but
not sufficient for the party to camp at. When we had travelled about
fifteen miles, we turned north for three miles, and again east, through
and over some ranges. No feed and scarcely any water. Saw a range about
twenty-five miles farther east--spinifex all the way to it. Mission being
again knocked up, although carrying only a few pounds, we camped about
three o'clock at a small hole of water in a gully--only large enough to
serve the party one night--the first to-day that would even do that. The
last forty miles was over the most wretched country I have ever seen; not
a bit of grass, and no water, except after rain; spinifex everywhere. We
are very fortunate to have a little rain-water, or we could not get
Steered towards the range seen yesterday a little south of east, and,
after going twelve miles, my horse completely gave in, Mission doing the
same also. I had hard work to get them along, and at last they would not
walk. I gave them a rest and then drove them before me, following Windich
till we reached the range. Found a little water in a gully, but no feed.
Spinifex all the way to-day; most wretched country. We ascended the
range, and the country ahead looks first-rate; high ranges to the
North-East, and apparently not so much spinifex. We continued North-East,
and after going four miles camped on a patch of feed, the first seen for
the last sixty miles. I was very tired, having walked nearly twenty
miles, and having to drive two knocked-up horses. I have good hopes of
getting both feed and water to-morrow, for, if we do not, we shall be in
a very awkward position.
Soon after starting, found a little water in a gully and gave our horses
a drink. Ascended a spur of the range and had a good view ahead, and was
very pleased with the prospect. Steering North-East towards a large range
about fifteen miles off, we found a great deal of spinifex, although the
country generally was thickly wooded. I rode Mission, who went along
pretty well for about twelve miles, when Williams gave in again, and
Mission soon did the same. For the next six miles to the range we had
awful work, but managed, with leading and driving, to reach the range;
spinifex all the way, and also on the top of it. I was very nearly
knocked up myself, but ascended the range and had a very extensive view.
Far to the north and east the horizon was as level and uniform as that of
the sea; apparently spinifex everywhere; no hills or ranges could be seen
for a distance of quite thirty miles. The prospect was very cheerless and
disheartening. Windich went on the only horse not knocked up, in order to
find water for the horses. I followed after his tracks, leading the two
poor done-up horses. With difficulty I could get them to walk. Over and
through the rough range I managed to pull them along, and found
sufficient water to give them a good drink, and camped on a small patch
of rough grass in one of the gorges. Spinifex everywhere; it is a most
fearful country. We cannot proceed farther in this direction, and must
return and meet the party, which I hope to do to-morrow night. We can
only crawl along, having to walk and lead the horses, or at least drag
them. The party have been following us, only getting a little water from
gullies, and there is very little to fall back on for over fifty miles. I
will leave what I intend doing until I meet them. I am nearly knocked up
again to-night; my boots have hurt my feet, but I am not yet
We travelled back towards the party, keeping a little to the west of our
outward track; and after going five miles found some water in clay-holes,
sufficient to last the party about one night. Two of our horses being
knocked up, I made up my mind to let the party meet us here, although I
scarcely know what to do when they do arrive. To go forward looks very
unpromising, and to retreat we have quite seventy miles with scarcely any
water and no feed at all. The prospect is very cheerless, and what I
shall do depends on the state of the horses, when they reach here. It is
very discouraging to have to retreat, as Mr. Gosse's farthest point west
is only 200 miles from us. We finished all our rations this morning, and
we have been hunting for game ever since twelve o'clock, and managed to
get a wurrung and an opossum, the only living creatures seen, and which
Windich was fortunate to capture.
LOSS OF HORSES.
Early this morning Windich and I went in search of more water. Having
nothing to eat, it did not take us long to have a little drink of water
for our breakfast. Went a few miles to the North-West and looked all
round, but only found a small rock water-hole. Windich got an opossum out
of a tree. We returned about twelve o'clock and then ate the opossum. At
about one o'clock we saddled up and made back towards the party, which I
thought should have arrived by this time. When about two miles we met
them coming on; they had been obliged to leave two horses on the way,
knocked up, one named Fame, about twenty-four miles away, and Little
Padbury about eight miles back; all the others were in pretty good trim,
although very hungry and tired. We returned to the little water, which
they soon finished. I was glad to meet the party again, although we were
in a bad position. Intend returning to-morrow to the range left by the
party this morning, where there is enough water for half a day, and
search that range more thoroughly. The horses will have a good night's
feed and I have every confidence that, if the worst comes, we shall be
able to retreat to a place of safety. Found my brother in good spirits.
We soon felt quite happy and viewed the future hopefully. I was sorry to
lose the horses, but we cannot expect to get on through such a country
without some giving in. The country is so dry; the season altogether dry,
otherwise we could go ahead easily. A good shower of rain is what is
required. It has been very warm the last three days, and I hope much for
a change. Read Divine Service. Latitude 25 degrees 31 minutes 45 seconds
South, longitude about 124 degrees 17 minutes East. Barometer 28.62 at 4
Retreated back to the water left by the party in the range fourteen miles
South-West. At one mile we gave the horses as much water as they required
from some rock holes. After reaching the water and having dinner, Pierre
and myself, and my brother and Windich, started off on foot to examine
the range for water, but could find only a few gallons. I think there
will be sufficient water to last us here to-morrow, and we will give the
country a good searching. If we fail, there must be a retreat westwards
at least seventy miles. Barometer 28.53; thermometer 64 degrees at 5 p.m.
Early this morning Pierre and I and my brother and Windich started off in
search of water, as there was scarcely any left at camp. Unless we are
fortunate enough to find some, retreat is inevitable. Pierre and myself
searched the range we were camped in, while Windich and my brother went
further south towards another range. We searched all round and over the
rough ranges without success, and reached camp at one o'clock. To our
relief and joy learnt that my brother and Windich had found water about
five miles South-South-East, sufficient to last two or three weeks. This
was good news; so after dinner we packed up and went over to the water.
The feed was not very good, but I am truly thankful to have found it, as
a retreat of seventy miles over most wretched country was anything but
cheering. Barometer 28.52; thermometer 70 degrees at 5 p.m.; latitude 25
degrees 43 minutes 8 seconds by Arcturus.
Rested at camp. Devoted the day to taking sets of lunar observations.
There is very little feed about this water, and to-morrow my brother and
Pierre go on a flying trip ahead. It is very warm to-day, and has been
for the last week. Barometer 28.59; thermometer 79 degrees at 5 p.m.
Very cloudy this morning, although the barometer is rising. My brother and
Pierre started on the flying trip; intend following on their tracks on
Saturday. Could not take another set of lunars on account of the cloudy
weather. Was very busy all day repairing pack-saddles and putting
everything in good order. Did away with one pack-saddle, and repaired the
others with the wool. Shall leave here with twelve pack-horses, and three
running loose and two riding, besides the two that are on flying trip.
Barometer 28.59 thermometer 69 degrees at 5 p.m.
Finished repairs and got everything ready for a good start to-morrow
morning, when we will follow my brother's and Pierre's tracks. Cloudy
day, but barometer does not fall. Marked a tree F 59, being our 59th
bivouac from Geraldton. Hung up on the same tree four pack-bags and one
pack-saddle frame. Barometer 28.56; thermometer 74 degrees at 5 p.m.
Tommy Windich shot a red kangaroo this afternoon, and also found a fine
rock water-hole about one mile North-East of camp.
Followed on the tracks of my brother and Pierre, south seven miles to a
rough broken range--spinifex and rough grass all the way. Thence we
turned South-East for three miles; then North-East and East over most
wretched spinifex plains for nine miles, when we got on to a narrow
grassy flat, and, following it along about four miles, came to some water
in a clay-pan, sufficient for the night, and camped. With the exception
of this narrow flat the country passed over to-day is most miserable and
worthless, and very dusty. Another hot day. Barometer 28.70; thermometer
67 degrees at 5 p.m.; latitude 25 degrees 52 minutes 30 seconds South.
Our horses finished all the water. We got off early, and, steering east,
followed my brother's and Pierre's tracks for eight miles, when we
reached a low rise, and a fine rock water-hole holding over a hundred
gallons of water. While we were watering our horses we heard gunshots,
and soon beheld my brother and Pierre returning. They had good news for
us, having found some springs about twenty-five miles to the eastward.
They had seen many natives; but for an account of their proceedings I
insert a copy of his journal. Barometer 28.60; thermometer 60 degrees. We
camped for the day. Latitude 25 degrees 53 minutes 23 seconds South. Read
A. FORREST'S JOURNAL.
Steered east from the rock hole for the first fifteen miles, over clear
open sand-plains and red sand-hills covered with spinifex; then
South-South-East for ten miles over similar country to a rough range;
after going nearly all round it only found about one gallon of water. As
my horse was very tired, I almost gave up all hopes of finding any, as it
would take us all our time to get back; however, I went South-East for
seven miles further, and found about fifty gallons in a rock hole, but
not a blade of grass near it. As it was nearly dark, and no feed near, I
bore south for a low range about five miles distant, and found a little
feed but no water, and camped. My horse completely gave in; I had great
difficulty in getting him to the range.
Again bore west on our return to meet the party. After going seven miles
we saw a beautiful piece of feeding country--the first we had seen for
the last 130 miles--and after looking for water, and our fondest hopes
beginning to fail, we at last followed what seemed to be the largest
gully to its head, when we were gratified in beholding abundance of
water, with several springs, and good feed in the flats below. My horse
was completely knocked up, and I was glad to be able to give him a rest.
After being an hour here, Pierre, who is always on the look-out, saw two
natives, fully armed and in war costume, making for us. I was soon on my
legs and made towards them, but as soon as they saw us they began to move
off, and were soon out of sight in the thicket. At two o'clock continued
on West-North-West for twelve miles, camped in a thicket, and, after
taking off our saddles and making a fire, were very much surprised to
find a party of eight or nine natives going to camp close to us, and a
number more coming down the hill. As it was just dark we thought it best
to move on a few miles, which we did after dark. I believe, myself, they
intend attacking us after dark.
Steering straight for the water found by my brother, about
East-South-East for twenty-five miles, over most miserable spinifex
country, without a break. Just before we got to the water Windich shot an
emu. We saw two natives, who made off. Many fires in every direction.
Latitude 26 degrees 5 minutes 10 seconds South, longitude about 124
degrees 46 minutes East. Fine water at this place. I have no doubt water
is always here. I named it the Alexander Spring, after my brother, who
discovered it. Abundance of water also in rock holes.
Rested at Alexander Spring. Eating emu was our chief occupation to-day, I
think. Weather cloudy. Barometer 28.75; thermometer 60 degrees at 5 p.m.
Rested at Alexander Spring. Went for a walk to a flat-topped hill about
South-South-East 50 chains from camp, which I have since named Mount
Allott, and placed a cairn on it; another hill close by I named Mount
Worsnop, after respectively the Mayor and Town Clerk of Adelaide. Found
two natives' graves close to camp; they were apparently about two feet
deep, and covered with boughs and wood; they are the first I have ever
seen in all my travels to the eastward in Australia, and Windich says he
has never come across one before either. We also found about a dozen
pieces of wood, some six feet long and three to seven inches wide, and
carved and trimmed up. All around were stones put up in the forked trees.
I believe it is the place where the rite of circumcision is performed.
Barometer 28.84; thermometer 60 degrees at 5 p.m.
Left Alexander Spring, in company with Windich, to look for water ahead.
Steered east for twelve miles, over spinifex sand-hills with some
salt-marsh flats intervening. We then turned South-East for seven miles
to some cliffs, and followed them along east about one mile and a half,
when we saw a clear patch a little to the North-East, on reaching which
we found a fine rock water-hole holding over 100 gallons of water. We had
a pannican of tea, and gave our horses an hour and a half's rest. Left a
note for my brother, advising him to camp here the first night. We
continued on a little to the south of east for about fifteen miles over
spinifex plains, when we camped on a small patch of feed. Saw a fire
about three quarters of a mile south of our camp, and supposed that
natives were camped there.
Early this morning we proceeded to where we saw the fire last night, but
could not find any natives: it must have been some spinifex burning. We
continued about east for two miles; found a rock water-hole holding about
fifty gallons, and had breakfast. After this, continued on a little south
of east for twelve miles, when we turned more to the north, searching
every spinifex rise that had a rocky face, first North and then
North-West and West, all over the country, but not over any great extent,
as my horse (Brick) was knocked up. About one o'clock we found enough to
give the horses a drink, and to make some tea for ourselves. We saw some
low cliffs to the north, and proceeding towards them we saw ahead about
North-North-East a remarkable high cliff. I therefore decided to make for
it. I had to walk and drive my horse before me, and before we reached the
cliff we had hard work to get him to move. When we got close we were
rejoiced to see cliffs and gorges without end, and descending the first
hollow found a fine rock hole containing at least 250 gallons. We
therefore camped, as it was just sundown. I am very sanguine of finding
more water to-morrow, as our horses will soon finish this hole. There was
very little feed about the water.
SEARCHING FOR WATER.
This morning we began searching the ranges for water. First tried
westerly, and searched some fine gullies and gorges, but without success.
My horse soon gave in again, and I left him on a patch of feed and
continued the search on foot. I had not walked a quarter of a mile before
I found about 200 gallons in a gully, and, following down the gully, we
found a fine pool in a sandy bed, enough to last a month. We were
rejoiced at our good fortune, and, returning to where we left the horse,
camped for the remainder of the day. There is not much feed anywhere
about these cliffs and gullies, but as long as there is plenty of water
the horses will do very well. To-morrow I intend going back to meet the
party, as the way we came was very crooked, and I hope to save them many
miles. It is certainly a wretched country we have been travelling through
for the last two months, and, what makes it worse, the season is an
exceptionally dry one; it is quite summer weather. However, we are now
within 100 miles of Mr. Gosse's farthest west, and I hope soon to see a
change for the better. We have been most fortunate in finding water, and
I am indeed very thankful for it.
Started back to meet the party, leaving old Brick hobbled, and my saddle,
rug, etc., hidden in a tree. After travelling about twenty miles, met the
party coming all right. Everything had gone on well during my absence.
They had slept last night at the rock hole, where we stayed on the 16th,
and found sufficient water for the horses in it. The note I left had been
taken away by the natives, who were very numerous about there. Many
tracks were seen, following mine and Windich's for several miles. The
party had not, however, seen any of them. They were rejoiced to hear of
the water ahead, and we steered for it, keeping to the west of our return
route to search some cliffs on the way for water. After travelling nine
miles we camped without water, on a grassy flat close to some cliffs;
most miserable spinifex country all day; this is the first grass seen.
Walked over twenty miles to-day myself.
Steered North-East straight for the water found on the 18th for fourteen
miles; reached it and camped. Found the horse Brick I left behind, and
saddle, rug, etc., as we left them. Horses were very thirsty, but there
is plenty of water for them. Feed is rather scarce. I named this creek
and pool after the Honourable Arthur Blyth, Chief Secretary of South
Rested at camp. I took observations for time, intending to take several
sets of lunars, but the day was cloudy, and I only managed to get one.
Intend going ahead to-morrow in search of water.
Started in company with Pierre to look for water ahead, steered a little
north of east for about twelve miles to the points of the cliffs, and
ascended a peak to get a view ahead. The line of cliff country ran
North-East, and to the east, spinifex undulating country; nevertheless,
as I wished to get a view of some of the hills shown on Mr. Gosse's map,
I bore East and East-South-East for over thirty miles, but could not find
a drop of water all day, and we had come nearly fifty miles. Camped on a
small patch of feed. Very undulating spinifex country, and no place that
would hold water, even after rain, for more than a day or two.
Decided not to go any further, although I much wished to get a view
further to the east, but our horses would have enough to do to carry us
back. Steered north for a few miles, and then North-West for twenty
miles, thence West-South-West to camp, which we reached after dark, not
having had any water for ourselves or horses since we left it yesterday
morning. The weather was very warm, and our horses were done up when they
reached camp. On our return we got a fine view to the North-East, which
looks more promising. My brother and Windich intend going to-morrow in
that direction in search of water.
My brother and Windich started in search of water. We rested at camp.
Took lunar observations, but did not get results which I care much to
rely on, owing to the distances being too great.
Rested at camp. My brother and Windich did not return, so I have good
hopes that they have found water ahead. Took several sets of lunars this
evening. Barometer 28.80 at 5 p.m.; warm weather.
Rested at camp. My brother and Windich returned late this evening, having
been over sixty miles to the East-North-East, and having found only one
small rock water-hole with water in it. Many rock holes had been seen,
but all dry. They had met several natives. One woman and child they had
caught and talked to. She did not seem frightened, and ate readily the
damper and sugar given her. The country appears more parched than it has
been, which I had thought scarcely possible. A range and flat-topped hill
were seen about fifteen miles to the east of their farthest point, but
they were unable to reach it. Barometer 28.70; fine.
Rested at Blyth Pool. Intend going a flying trip to-morrow. Worked out
several lunar observations, and the position of Blyth Pool is in latitude
26 degrees 1 minute, 50 seconds South, longitude 125 degrees 27 minutes
East. Barometer 28.72; thermometer 67 degrees at 5 p.m.
Left camp in company with Windich to look for water ahead, taking a
pack-horse and ten gallons of water, besides two small tins for our own
use. Steered North-East nearly along my brother's tracks for twenty
miles, and reached the water in the rock hole seen by him, and had
dinner. In the afternoon continued on a little south of east for about
seven miles. Camped without water for the horses on a small patch of old
feed. The weather is dark and cloudy, and there is much thunder about. I
expect rain this evening; if it comes it will be a great boon, and will
enable us to travel on easily.
Rained lightly during the night; my rug got wet. Thinking we could get
plenty of water ahead, I left the drums and water, as the horses would
not drink. We steered about east over miserable spinifex country, and cut
my brother's return tracks. Passed a rock hole seen by him, and found
only a few pints of water in it, proving to us that very little rain had
fallen. We sighted the range and hill seen by my brother, and reached it
at sundown. I have named it the Todd Range, and the highest hill, which
is table-topped, I have named Mount Charles, after Mr. C. Todd, C.M.G.,
Postmaster-General of South Australia. No sign of water, and apparently
very little rain has fallen here last night. Found an old natives'
encampment, and two splendid rock holes quite dry; if full they would
hold 700 or 800 gallons. Was very disappointed at this, and it being now
after dark we camped without water for the horses, having travelled over
forty miles. Before we reached the range we had most miserable spinifex
sand-hills. Scarcely any feed in the range, and spinifex everywhere. What
grass there is must be over two years old.
Very thick fog this morning. We bore north for four or five miles, and
then South-East for about five miles, when we got a fine view to the
east, and could see some hills, which are no doubt near Mr. Gosse's
farthest west. They bore South-East about eighteen miles distant. I could
not go on to them, as I was afraid the party would be following us, on
the strength of the little rain we had the night before last.
Reluctantly, therefore, we turned westward, and soon after came to an old
native encampment with a rock hole quite dry, which would hold 1000
gallons if full. It must be a long while since there has been rain, or it
would not have been dry. We continued on, searching up and down and
through the Todd Ranges, finding enough for our horses from the rain.
Late in the afternoon we found another camping-place with four rock holes
quite empty, which, if full, would hold 3000 or 4000 gallons at least.
This was very disheartening, and we felt it very much. It appeared to us
that there was no water in this country at this season, and we felt it
was useless looking for it. We now decided to make back towards the
party; but being uncertain that my brother would not follow, on the
strength of the rain, determined to bear South-West until we struck our
outward tracks. After going six miles, camped without water, and nothing
but some old coarse scrub for the horses. One good shower of rain would
enable us to get over this country easily; but in this season, without
rain, it is quite impossible to move a number of horses.
A NATIVE HUSBAND.
Steering about South-East towards our outward tracks, came across a
native with his wife and two children, the youngest about two years old.
As soon as they saw us, the man, who had a handful of spears, began
talking at us and then ran off (the eldest child following him), leaving
his wife and the youngest child to take care of themselves. The child was