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Explorations in Australia by John McDouall Stuart

Part 4 out of 7

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that I have before crossed nearer to the range, found water, and camped
to give my horses every chance. I have named this creek Barker Creek,
after Mr. Chambers' brother-in-law. I do not think this water is
permanent, but, from the number of birds that are passing up the creek, I
think there must be permanent water higher up. This range seems to yield
a deal of water on both sides. Native graves about.

Tuesday, 10th July, Barker Creek. Started at 6.30 on a bearing of 196
degrees towards Mount Strzelecki. At six miles crossed a gum creek,
coming from the range, and running to the west, on my former track. I
crossed it where it lost itself on the plain. The country is well
grassed, with a little spinifex occasionally, from the range to this
point. At twelve miles it became scrubby and sandy with a little grass,
spinifex predominating, which continued to where we camped. Wind,

Wednesday, 11th July, Scrub North-north-east of Mount Strzelecki. One of
the horses having parted from the others, and gone a long distance off in
search of water, it was 9 o'clock before we could get a start. At seven
miles arrived at a lagoon north-east of Mount Strzelecki. Found a little
water and feed for the horses. Camped to give them the benefit of it.
Wind, south-south-east. Cold.

Thursday, 12th July, Lagoon North-east of Mount Strzelecki. Made an early
start, crossing the range, on a south course. Very rough and difficult.
Could see no water. To the south-east of Mount Morphett there is the
appearance of a creek, and on the south-west there are also the signs of
a watered country, which is more hilly. Proceeded on through the thick
dead mulga scrub, to the north side of Forster range, where we camped at
dark without water. The country passed over to-day is splendidly grassed,
especially as we approached the range. There is also a little spinifex,
but not much. Distance to-day, thirty-two miles.

Friday, 13th July, North Side of Forster Range. Started early, proceeding
to the gum creek coming from the north side of Forster's range, where we
found a little water, numerous fresh tracks of natives, and a great
number of birds. I have named this the Barrow Creek, after J.H. Barrow,
Esquire, M.P. Crossed the range to the Stirling Creek, which we followed
down, and found an abundant supply of water. The upper part of it is now
dry, and it is difficult to say whether it is permanent or not; but, to
judge from the number of native tracks and encampments, and the many
birds, I should think it is. The wood-duck is also on some of the pools.
At dark we can hear the natives down the creek.

Saturday, 14th July, Stirling Creek. I shall give the horses a rest
to-day and to-morrow, for I do not expect to get water before we reach
the reservoir in the Reynolds range. I am afraid it will be all gone in
the Hanson and at the Centre.

Sunday, 15th July, Stirling Creek. Resting horses, etc., etc.

Monday, 16th July, Stirling Creek. The natives were prowling about during
the night, and startled three horses, which separated from the others,
went off at full gallop, and were not recovered till noon, about four
miles off. Too late to start to-day, for which I am very sorry, as every
hour is now of the utmost value to us, in consequence of the evaporation
of the water. Not the slightest appearance of any rain yet. Wind, south.

Tuesday, 17th July, Stirling Creek. Proceeded to the Hanson. Shortly
after we started, we were followed by the natives, shouting as they came
along, but keeping at a respectful distance. They followed us through the
scrub for about two hours, but when we came to the open ground at the
lagoons they went off. I intended to have halted and spoken to them
there, thinking it would not be safe to do so in the scrub. They were
tall, powerful-looking fellows, and had their arms with them. We then
went on to the Hanson, crossing numerous fresh native tracks. On nearing
the water, we saw five blacks, who took fright and went off at full
speed. There were many more in the distance; in fact, they seemed to be
very numerous about here. The country all round was covered with their
tracks. Found water still there, but had to clear the sand away a little
to give the horses a drink. Thinking that it would not be safe to camp in
the neighbourhood of so many natives, I went on to the Central Creek, and
in going through some scrub, we again disturbed some more, but could only
see children, one a little fellow about seven years old, who was cleaning
some grass seeds in a worley, with a child who could just walk. The
moment he saw us he jumped up, and, seizing his father's spear, took the
child by the hand and walked off out of our way. It was quite pleasing to
see the bold spirit of the little fellow. On nearing Central Mount Stuart
we saw two men, who made off into the scrub. Arrived at the creek after
dark, but the water is all gone. On examining the hole where the water
was, we discovered a small native well, with a very little water, too
little to be of any service to me. To-morrow morning I must push on
through the scrub to Anna's Reservoir. My horses are still very weak, and
I do not think they will be able to do it in a day. Wind variable.

Wednesday, 18th July, Centre. Starting early, we crossed the Hanson, and
got through the scrub to the gum plains, where we camped at sundown, the
horses not being able to do the whole journey in one day. The creeks
empty themselves into the plains, but there is no water. Still, from the
number of birds that are about, I think there must be water not far away,
but I have no time to search for it. If I do not find water in the gum
creek (which is doubtful) the horses will have another long day's
journey. They are suffering much from the dryness of the feed, three of
them being infected with worms. Wind, south-east.

Thursday, 19th July, Gum Plains. Made our way through the remainder of
the scrub, and arrived in the afternoon at the gum creek, where we found
a little water, and clearing away the sand, obtained enough for our
horses. There will be enough for them to-day and to-morrow morning. I
shall therefore stop here for the rest of the day. There are some heavy
clouds coming up from the west and south-west, which I hope will give us
rain. Wind still from the south-east. The natives have been upon our old
tracks through the whole of the scrub in great numbers, and there are
many traces of them about this creek, some of which are quite fresh. The
drying up of the water round about has compelled them to collect round
this and other creeks which are permanent.

Friday, 20th July, Gum Creek North-east of Mount Freeling. Crossed the
Reynolds range to Anna's Reservoir, which is still full of water. I may
now say that this is permanent. The water we camped at is gone, but there
is still a little down the creek. We could not get enough for the horses
this morning in the creek we have left. Judging from the number of native
tracks that we have crossed this morning, there must be permanent water
on the north side of the range, which is composed of immense blocks of
granite, apparently on the top of mica slate, with occasional courses of
quartz and ironstone. To the north-east of where we camped last night,
about three miles distant, is the point of the range, on which there is a
very remarkable high peak, composed of ironstone, with a number of very
rough rounded ironstone hills. I have named this Mount Freeling. Here I
found indications of copper, the only place I have seen it in all this
journey. The natives do not seem to have frequented this reservoir much
of late, as there were no fresh tracks within two miles of it. In the
creek close by, there were some very old worleys. No rain;
clouds all gone. Wind, still south-east.

Saturday, 21st July, Anna's Reservoir, Reynolds Range. I shall remain
here till Monday morning to rest the horses, for they need it much; they
all have sore backs. A small pimple made its appearance under the saddle,
and has gradually spread into a large sore, which we cannot heal up; it
makes them very weak. The clouds have again made their appearance from
the north-west, and the wind has also changed to that quarter. I hope we
shall now get some rain, so that I can make short journeys for my horses,
to enable them to gather strength. Two long journeys on successive days
without water would reduce them again to the same state of weakness as
they were in at the Bonney Creek. For the last fourteen days we have been
getting a quantity of the native cucumber and other vegetables, which
have done me a great deal of good; the pains in my limbs and back are
much relieved, and I trust will soon go away altogether if these
vegetables hold out. We boil and eat the cucumbers with a little sugar,
and in this way they are very good, and resemble the gooseberry; we have
obtained from one plant upwards of two gallons of them, averaging from
one to two inches in length, and an inch in breadth.

Sunday, 22nd July, Anna's Reservoir. On examining the creek near the
reservoir, we have found some more large and deep water holes. I have
named this Wicksteed Creek. The clouds are again heavy, and have every
appearance of rain; they and the wind both come from the north-west.

Monday, 23rd July, Anna's Reservoir. No rain has fallen; again all the
clouds are gone. Started early for the spring in the North gorge,
McDonnell range, which we noticed on April 14th. Camped at dark in the
thick scrub and spinifex. No feed for the horses, so we had to tie them
up during the night. Wind, south-east again.

Tuesday, 24th July, Dense Scrub and Spinifex. Started through the
remainder of the scrub to the gorge, where we arrived at 7 o'clock, after
twelve hours' journey. Camped outside, and drove the horses up to the
spring. There is still the same supply of water; it is an excellent
spring, and might be of great importance to future exploration. I have
named it Hamilton Spring. Wind, variable.

Wednesday, 25th July, Hamilton Spring, McDonnell range. Resting the
horses. Yesterday afternoon we passed a great number of fresh tracks of
natives apparently going to Hamilton Peak, which leads me to think there
must be permanent water there. The peak is very high--quite as high as
Mount Arden, but there is another part of the spur higher than it, to
which I have given the name of Mount Hugh; further to the west-north-west
is a mount, still higher, which I have named Mount Hay. Wind, north-east.
It has been very hot to-day.

Thursday, 26th July, Hamilton Spring, McDonnell Range. Started across the
ranges to Brinkley Bluff, and camped on the east side. There is still
plenty of water in the Hugh, although greatly reduced. The natives have
been following our former tracks in great numbers; some of their
foot-prints are very large. There is a great quantity of marble in this

Friday, 27th July, Brinkley Bluff, McDonnell Range. Started down the
Hugh, and camped on the south side of Brinkley Bluff, finding plenty of
water all the way, in holes of various sizes, with reeds and rushes
growing round them, with plenty of feed on the banks. Wind, variable.

Saturday, 28th July, The Hugh, South Side of Brinkley Bluff, McDonnell
Range. Proceeded towards the Waterhouse range, and stopped at my former
camp of the 11th April. The spring still gives out an abundance of water;
we have also found another good spring on the south side of the creek,
which is here very broad, nearly two hundred yards wide, with a good
feeding country all round, and a small strip of salt-bush on the banks.
Splendid gum-trees in the creek. Wind, east; sun, hot.

Sunday, 29th July, The Hugh, between McDonnell and Waterhouse Ranges.
Wind variable; some clouds coming from the south-west.

Monday, 30th July, The Hugh, between McDonnell and Waterhouse Ranges.
Proceeded towards the range; at four miles crossed the creek, and half a
mile further entered the ranges. We made our former camp of April 9th on
the creek, but no water, so followed it down to the westward, and after
clearing a hole, found sufficient for our wants in the sand. Camped. Very
unwell. Wind, south-east. Not a drop of rain has fallen since we were
here before.

Tuesday, 31st July, Between the Waterhouse and James Ranges. Started on a
course of 220 degrees, following down the creek through James range,
instead of crossing it. I am afraid there will be no water at our camp on
the south side. I have a chance of getting some in the range. At two
miles met with a good water hole, under a sandstone hill. At seven miles
the creek enters the range; the bed is broad, sandy, and gravelled. At
twelve miles we found some water, and camped, as I am too unwell to
continue in the saddle any longer. Cleared a hole, and obtained water
sufficient for our purpose. Wind, south-east.

Wednesday, 1st August, In James Range, on the Hugh. Followed the creek
through the remainder of the range, and found water in four different
places. I have not the least doubt that there is plenty, but the creek is
so broad, and divided into so many courses, that it would require four
men at least to examine it well. On arriving at our camp of the 7th
April, we found all the water gone. Scratched in the sand, and found a
little moisture, but no water; after a fruitless search of an hour, I was
going back to the last water that I had seen, six miles distant, when two
emus came into the creek, and made for a large gum-tree in the middle. On
going to it, I found a fine hole of water round its roots. Camped. Wind
the same.

Thursday, 2nd August, The Hugh, South Side of James Range. Went down the
south side of the creek, through good grassy country. At fourteen miles
in a side creek we found a native well about four feet deep. We camped
here, as there is little prospect of finding any more water in the Hugh,
which is become broad and sandy. As to surface water, my men have neither
the strength nor the appliances for digging. There is plenty of water
under this sand, but having only a small tin dish, the labour is too
great. My men have now lost all their former energy and activity, and
move about as if they were a hundred years old; it is sad to see them;
our horses, too, suffer very much from their sore backs. On the south
side of the creek are some isolated hills, chiefly composed of limestone,
ironstone, quartz, and granite. This morning there was ice on the water
left in the tin dish, and also in the canteens, an eighth of an inch
thick. It was very cold.

Friday, 3rd August, James Range. I find the water in the well is nearly
all gone this morning. It would take us nine hours to water the horses
here, so slowly does it come in; I must therefore go back to our last
camp. I shall follow the creek round, for there might be a chance of
getting some nearer. Saddled, and proceeded up the creek, and at four
miles found a little under the limestone rocks coming from a small side
creek; gave the horses a drink turning back, and made for the Finke on a
course of 160 degrees. Crossing a few stony hills and small plains, at
ten miles, we ascended a broken table range, which I have named Warwick
Range; it is composed of hard grey limestone and ironstone. We then
proceeded through a well-grassed country, with mulga bushes, and at
twenty miles camped under a redstone hill, not being able to get any
further. No water.

Saturday, 4th August, Small Hill between the Hugh and the Finke. The
horses strayed a long way in the night, so that I did not get them till
after 11 o'clock this morning, and could not start until noon. Passed
over a country of much the same description as yesterday, crossing three
stony hills running nearly east and west, and at nine miles camped,
without water, in a fine grassy country, which, as the grass is green,
will be quite a treat for the horses. About six miles north of Chambers
Pillar. Wind, south-east.

Sunday, 5th August, North of Chambers Pillar. At sunrise heavy clouds
came up from the south-east, bringing with them a very thick fog, through
which I had great difficulty in steering my course; it cleared off about
10 o'clock. I expected rain, but none has fallen; it is now quite clear
again. Arrived at the Finke at 12 o'clock, and was very much surprised to
find so little water. I had no idea it would have gone away so soon. The
bed is very broad and sandy, which is the cause of the rapid
disappearance of the large quantity that I saw when I crossed before.
This is a great disappointment, as it was my intention to run it down, in
the hope that it would take me into South Australia. I shall go one day's
journey down, and see what it is; if I can find no more water I must
return to this, to rest my horses, and push for the Stevenson. I cannot
remain here, for this water will only last a short time. My provisions
will barely carry me down, and there is not the least appearance of rain.
I am afraid my retreat is cut off. Wind, south-east. Clouds.

Monday, 6th August, The Finke. Thick fog again this morning. From the
heavy clouds that have passed yesterday to the south of us, I think a
shower of rain may have fallen there; I ought not to allow the chance of
it to escape, as it is likely to be my only one until the equinox, and I
have not provisions sufficient to remain until that time, so I must push
the horses as far as they will go, and then we must walk the rest, which
is a very black prospect, considering the weak state we all are in.
Proceeded to the south-east, having camped on my former course at two
clay-pans, where I think there is a chance of water, if a shower has
fallen there. Started on our former course and arrived at the clay-pans
without seeing a drop of water; neither is there any in them. Camped; the
horses being very tired, from coming through so many sand hills.

Tuesday, 7th August, Clay-pans in Sand Hills. A light dew fell last night
and this morning, which I am very glad of; it will be a good thing for
the horses. Kekwick was unwell last night, but I cannot stop on his
account. He must endure it the best way he can. If I find water at where
I suppose the Finke joins the gum creek that runs a little north of Mount
Humphries, I will remain there a day to give him rest. He is completely
done up. I hope he will not get worse. I must push back as quickly as
possible, and get him into the settled districts. At noon we made the
Finke. Still the same white, sandy bed; but here it is about a quarter of
a mile broad, and the east bank is composed of white sandstone, with a
course of light slate on the top of it, then courses of limestone and
other rocks, and, on the top of all, red sand hills. The gum-trees are
not so large as they are further north. On first striking the creek we
could find no water, but, by following it down for a short distance, we
discovered a little, which will do for us. It is more than I expected,
and I feel most thankful for it. Kekwick still very ill. Poor fellow, he
is suffering very much. I dare not show him much pity, or I should have
the other giving in altogether. I hope and trust he will soon get better
again, and that to-morrow's rest may do him good. He has been a most
valuable man to me. I place entire confidence in him. A better one I
could not have got. I wish the other had been like him, and then neither
he nor I should have suffered so much from hunger. Wind, south-east.

Wednesday, 8th August, The Finke. Resting Kekwick and shoeing horses.
This water was going away very rapidly, so I rode down the creek for ten
miles to see if there were any more, that I may risk following it down.
After joining the West Creek it spreads itself over a broad valley,
bounded on the north by sand hills and on the south by stony hills.
Course, eastward. It is divided into numerous courses; very sandy, and
immense quantities of drift wood about it. Some very large gum-trees
piled high on the banks, and a great number of birds of every
description; but I could find no water. It is so broad, with so many
courses, that it would require half a dozen men to examine it well. If we
were to stay searching for water here, and be unsuccessful, and the
creeks on ahead were to be dried up, we should lose our horses and have
to walk, which Kekwick could not do. I do not consider it would be right
thus to risk his life. I shall therefore make for the Stevenson, where I
am almost certain to find water. Wind, east.

Thursday, 9th August, The Finke. Started early on our former tracks,
passing Mount Humphrey and Mount Beddome. Camped at our old place. I
should think from the appearance of the country that the Finke takes a
south-east course from where I left it yesterday. The hills run that way.
Wind, south-south-east.

Friday, 10th August, South of Mount Beddome. Proceeded on our former
course to the Stevenson, which we made a little before dark, and found
water, but I am quite surprised to see so little of it left. The fine
large holes are nearly dry. Wind, east.

Saturday, 11th August, The Stevenson. The horses having lost some shoes,
I am forced to remain here to-day to put others on. There is more water a
little further down the creek, at which I camped. No rain seems to have
fallen since I was here before. The sun has been very hot to-day. Wind,

Sunday, 12th August, The Stevenson. I was too unwell to move yesterday,
but, feeling a little better this morning, I rode down the creek. For
three miles it takes a south-east course, then east-south-east through
table land, with rocky and precipitous hills on each side. I then went on
a south-east course for nine miles, through a splendidly-grassed country,
with numerous small creeks running into the Stevenson. During my ride I
found plenty of water, and splendid grass, up to the saddle-flaps, and
quite green. Ducks and numerous other birds abound here; the water is
quite alive with them. I regret that I have not provisions enough to
enable me to follow this creek round its different bends. It is a
splendid feeding country for cattle, and much resembles Chambers Creek.
Wind, south-east.

Monday, 13th August, The Stevenson. Started on a course of 135 degrees to
see if the Stevenson comes from the south; continued on the table land,
from where I left it yesterday for sixteen miles from last night's camp,
when we suddenly dropped into the bed of a large broad sandy gum-creek,
coming from the west, which I find to be the Ross. There are many rushes
about it; it runs in three or four courses, in all of which water can be
obtained by scratching in the sand. There are plenty of birds. It is
evidently raining to the east of this. Camped. My course takes me across
the middle of a range, which I shall endeavour to cross to-morrow. There
are two small springs, but they are brackish. Wind, south.

Tuesday, 14th August, The Ross. Started on the same course, 135 degrees,
and again ascended the stony table land. Crossing thence, we met two
small myall-creeks running north-east with birds upon them. At seven
miles crossed another, and found a fine large deep water hole with ducks
on it. We again ascended the table land, which continued to the range,
and at sixteen miles gained the top, which is table land about a mile
broad; the view is extensive to the east-north-east and north. We
descended on a course of 175 degrees to search for water in the creek
below. We crossed a number of myall-creeks, coming from the range, and
running south-east; in many the water has just dried up. At six miles on
the same course we found water and camped, the horses being tired by
their rough journey. This water hole is not permanent although when full
it is deep and large, and will last a considerable time. The Stevenson
and Ross seem to take a north-east course. On a further examination of
this creek I found a large hole of water about two hundred yards long and
thirty broad, with birds upon it, and plants that grow round permanent
water. I also found shells. This creek I have named Anderson Creek, after
James Anderson, Esquire, of Port Lincoln, and the range Bagot Range,
after the Honourable the Commissioner of Crown Lands.

Wednesday, 15th August, Anderson Creek. Started towards the south-east
point of Bagot range, which I find to be five miles distant. The country
between is undulating and stony, with plenty of grass. To the east, about
thirty miles, is a high isolated hill, bearing 100 degrees. At six miles
and a half crossed a myall and gum creek, in which, about a mile to the
east, under a red bank, is a large water hole, seemingly permanent. At
ten miles crossed the Frew, whose bed is sandy, and has many courses, the
banks being covered with rushes. The rest of the day's journey was
through mallee scrub and sand hills, in which we camped without water;
the feed, however, is abundant, yet not so thick as when I crossed
before.* (* See ante, March 28, 29, and 30.) Wind, south.

Thursday, 16th August, Mulga Scrub and Sand Hills. Started at 7 o'clock
on a course of 170 degrees, and in four hours made the Neale, and camped,
as there was still plenty of water.

Friday, 17th August, The Neale. Proceeded on a south-east course, and
camped on a side branch of the Neale, with plenty of water in large
holes. Wind, east.

Saturday, 18th August, Side Branch of the Neale. Proceeded towards the
gap in Hanson range, and camped near one of the large water holes. It is
very cloudy.

Sunday, 19th August, Gap in the Hanson Range. Still cloudy, and looks
like rain, so we must push on to-day, in case the Peake River should come
down and stop us, which would not suit the state of my provisions, as we
have lost a quantity of flour by the scrub scoring the bags, and we have
not enough to take us to Chambers Creek. At eight miles camped
west-north-west of Freeling Springs, having given the horses a drink in
crossing the Neale.

Monday, 20th August, Sand Hills West-north-west of Freeling Springs. It
still threatens for rain. Proceeded to Kekwick Springs to see if the
horse we had left in the Peake had got out. We found his bones; he does
not seem to have made a struggle since we left him, as he is in the same
position. From the number of tracks, the natives must have visited him.
Proceeded to Freeling Springs and camped. There were a number of ducks
and two swans on the large water hole. We shot one of the latter, which
was a great treat to our half-starved party. Wind variable.

Tuesday, 21st August, Freeling Springs. Still cloudy, and we had a few
drops of rain during the night; also distant thunder and lightning.
Resting horses. Wind, north-east.

Wednesday, 22nd August, Freeling Springs. Proceeded through Denison
range, and camped at the Milne Springs. Wind, north-east. Still cloudy,
but no rain.

Thursday, 23rd August, Milne Springs. Went on and camped at Louden Spa.
Wind variable.

Friday, 24th August, Louden Spa. Camped at the William Springs. Wind,

Saturday, 25th August, William Springs. Proceeded to the Strangway and
Beresford Springs, and camped at Paisley Ponds. Wind, north-east.

Sunday, 26th August, Paisley Ponds. During the night thunder and
lightning from the north-west, with a few drops of rain. Cloudy this
morning; had a few showers on our journey to Hamilton Springs. Found Mr.
Brodie camped there three miles south-east of Mount Hamilton. He received
and treated us with the greatest kindness.

Mr. Stuart and his party remained at Hamilton Springs until 1st
September, when they proceeded to Chambers Creek, where, having reached
the settled districts, his journal ends.


When Mr. Stuart reached Adelaide, in October, 1860, on his return from
his last expedition, bringing with him the intelligence that he had
penetrated to the northward almost as far as the eighteenth degree of
south latitude, and had only been forced to retreat by the hostility of
the natives, the South Australian Parliament voted a sum of 2500 pounds
for a larger, better-armed, and more perfectly organized party, of which
he was to be the leader. The ill-fated Victorian expedition, under Burke
and Wills, had already started from Melbourne, on the previous 20th of
August, amid all the excitement of a popular ovation, but a messenger was
instantly despatched by the Victorian Government to overtake them, in
order to give them what information the South Australian Government
allowed to be known. On the 29th of November Mr. Stuart was ready to
start once more, and left Moolooloo with seven men and thirty horses,
arriving at Mr. Glen's station on the 1st of December, and at Goolong
Springs on the 4th. He was delayed at the latter place for several days,
in consequence of the horses, and more especially the town horses, being
unmanageable and unequal to their work. The party reached Welcome Springs
on the 8th, and Finniss Springs on the 11th. The water at Finniss Springs
seemed to have an injurious influence on the town horses, but those that
had been with Mr. Stuart on his previous journeys were not so much
affected. The following evening they arrived at Chambers Creek, where
they remained until the end of the month.

During their stay at Chambers Creek they were occupied in killing and
drying bullocks, mending saddles, weighing rations, shoeing horses, and
generally preparing to start. Several of the horses, which had been
knocked up and left behind on the way, had to be brought up; others
became quite blind, one was lost, and one died. On the 31st of December
four fresh horses arrived, which had been kindly sent up by Mr. Finke the
moment he heard of the difficulty in which Mr. Stuart was placed. The
party was also further increased, both by horses and men, so that when it
left Chambers Creek, on the 1st of January, 1861, it numbered twelve men
and forty-nine horses. The following is the list of those who started:--

John McDouall Stuart, Leader of the Expedition.
William Kekwick, Second in Command.
F. Thring, Third Officer.
-- Ewart, Storekeeper.
-- Sullivan, Shoeing Smith.
-- Thompson, Saddler.
-- Lawrence.
-- Masters.
J. Woodforde.
-- Wall.
E.E. Bayliffe.
J. Thomas.

Shortly after starting, the horses that Mr. Finke sent up went off at a
gallop, taking with them one of the others; but, at about a mile, they
were headed by Ewart, Wall, and Lawrence, and brought back covered with
sweat. Not content with this gallop, in a short time afterwards they
bolted again. This last one seemed to content them, for they went very
quietly for the rest of the day; they had, however, lost a pick, which
could not be found. The party arrived at Mr. Ferguson's station, at
Hamilton Springs, that evening. Louden Spa was reached on the 8th of
January. The next day Mr. Stuart writes:

"Wednesday, 9th January, Louden Spa. I am obliged to leave two horses. I
thought that I should have been able to have got them down as far as Mr.
Levi's station. There are three others that I must leave behind; they are
now nearly useless to me, and cause more delay than I can afford. I shall
reduce my party to ten individuals, in order to lighten the horses that I
take with me. I shall take thirty weeks' provisions; the rest I shall
leave there (Mr. Levi's station). The two men who are to return are to
have a month's provisions to carry them down. They will be here two
weeks, and if the horses have not recovered by that time, they will
remain another week, when they will have one week's provisions to take
them to Chambers Creek, where they will get enough to carry them to the

Bayliffe and Thomas were the two men selected to return, and it may not
be without interest to follow them back to the settled districts. They
did not arrive at Melrose, Mount Remarkable, until the latter end of
March. Thomas was suffering severely from rheumatism, and had to be
conveyed in a cart for the last six miles of his journey from a place
where he and his companion had camped for the purpose of recruiting
themselves. They had been obliged to leave two of the horses at Mr.
Mather's station, and two more had died on the road. The men arrived with
one horse only, which they were using as a pack-horse.

But to return to the rest of the party, who reached Mr. Levi's station
the same evening (January 9th) on which they parted from the two men. On
Friday, January 11th, Mr. Stuart writes:

"I have now all put in order, and consider myself fairly started, with
thirty weeks' provisions. Day extremely hot. An eclipse of the sun took
place at noon. Although our poor little dog Toby is carried on one of the
pack-horses, he is unable to bear this great heat. I fear he will not
survive the day. Arrived at Milne Springs about 5 p.m. At sundown poor
little Toby died, regretted by us all, for he had already become a great

On January 21st Mr. Stuart reached the Neale Creek, a little to the east
of where he struck it before, but found that the large bodies of water
had nearly all gone; by digging in the sand of the main channel, however,
they obtained sufficient for their immediate wants. Exploring parties
were despatched up and down the creek, and returned, reporting abundance
of water eight miles above and five miles below where they were. They
also brought back with them some fish, resembling the bream, which were
very palatable when cooked. An attack of dysentery prevented Mr. Stuart
from proceeding for a few days, and, during his stay, the natives, while
studiously keeping themselves out of sight, set fire to the surrounding
grass. On the 27th the expedition arrived at the Hamilton, after a heavy
journey of thirty-five miles. "I observed," says Mr. Stuart, "a peculiar
feature in one of the families of the mulga bushes; the branches seemed
to be covered with hoar frost, but on closer examination it turned out to
be a substance resembling honey in taste and thickness. It was
transparent, and presented a very pretty appearance when the sun shone
upon it, making the branches look as though they were hung with small

The course now taken was through Bagot range to the Stevenson, where they
arrived on February 1st. The next day they proceeded northward, and at
eight miles came upon a large water hole, which was named Lindsay Creek,
after J. Lindsay, Esquire, M.L.A. This water hole was one hundred and
fifty yards long, thirty wide, and from eight to fifteen feet deep in the
deepest parts. The native cucumber was growing upon its banks, and the
feed was abundant. Here they met with immense numbers of brown pigeons,
of the same description as those found by Captain Sturt in 1845. There
were thousands of them; in fact, they flew by in such dense masses that,
on two occasions, Woodforde killed thirteen with a single shot. The
travellers pronounced them first-rate eating. Many natives, tall,
powerful fellows, were seen, but they did not speak with them. After
trying for water in the neighbourhood of Mount Daniel, they were
compelled to return to Lindsay Creek, which they did not quit until
February 9th, when they camped on another creek, which was named the
Coglin, after P.B. Coglin, Esquire, M.L.A. From this place Mr. Stuart
started, accompanied by Thring and Woodforde, to examine the condition of
the Finke, and found its bed broad, and filled with white drift sand, but
without water. A hole ten feet deep was sunk in the sand, but just as the
increasing moisture gave them hope of finding water, the sides gave way,
and Thring had a narrow escape of being buried alive. After sinking
several other holes, but without success, they turned to another creek,
coming more from the westward, and in a short time discovered six native
wells near to what was evidently a large camping-place of the natives.
The ground for one hundred yards round was covered with worleys, and at
one spot they seemed to have had a grand corroberrie, the earth being
trodden quite hard, as if a large number had been dancing upon it in a
circle. They had left one of their spears behind, a formidable weapon
about ten feet long, with a flat round point, the other end being made
for throwing with the womera. On the 13th Mr. Stuart and his two
companions returned to the camp on the Coglin, after discovering a place
about four miles from the six native wells, where sufficient water could
be obtained by digging. On the 14th three of the men were sent in advance
to dig a hole at this place, and the following day the whole party moved
forward to join them. Here the natives annoyed them much by setting fire
to the grass in every direction.

Marchant Springs (on the Finke) were reached on February 22nd, and here
Mr. Stuart noticed a remarkable specimen of native carving. He says: "The
natives had made a drawing on the bark of two trees--two figures in the
shape of hearts, intended, I suppose, to represent shields. There was a
bar down the centre, on either side of which were marks like broad
arrows. On the outside were also a number of arrows, and other small
marks. I had a copy of them taken. This was the first attempt at
representation by the natives of Australia which I had ever seen."

Following the course of the Finke, they arrived on the 25th at some
springs which were rendered memorable by Mr. Stuart's favourite mare
Polly. She became very ill, and on the morning of the 26th slipped her
foal. Polly had been with her master on all his previous journeys, and
was much too valuable and faithful a creature to be left behind; besides,
she was second to none in enduring hardship and fatigue. They therefore
waited another night to give her time to recover, and Mr. Stuart named
the springs Polly Springs in her honour. On the 27th they again moved
northwards, still following the course of the Finke, and, after a short
journey of ten miles, camped at what were afterwards called Bennett
Springs. It is worthy of remark that while the horses were in this water
drinking, one of them kicked out a fish about eight inches long and three
broad--an excellent sign of the permanency of the water. Here several of
the horses were taken violently ill, and the next morning one of them
could not be found. Mr. Stuart writes:

"Thursday, 28th February, The Finke, Bennett Springs. Found all the
horses but one named Bennett. Sent two of the party out in search of him;
at 9 a.m. they returned, having been all round, but could see nothing of
him. I then sent out four, to go round the tracks and see if he had
strayed into the sand hills. At noon they returned unsuccessful. Sent
five men to search, but at 2 p.m. they likewise returned without having
discovered him. I then went out myself, and, in half-an-hour, found the
poor animal lying dead in a hole, very much swollen. Blood seemed to have
come from his mouth and nostrils. He must have died during the night. I
am afraid that there is some description of poisonous plant in the sand
hills, and that the horses have eaten some of it. As he lay he appeared
to have been coming from the sand hills, and making for the water. He
seemed to have fallen down three times before he died. I never saw horses
taken in the same way before--in a moment they fell down and became quite
paralysed. The cream-coloured horse, that was taken so ill last night,
must also have eaten the poison. We were upwards of two hours before we
could get him right. As soon as he got on his legs, his limbs shook so
that he immediately fell down. This he did for more than a dozen times.
As we were very much in want of hobble-straps, I sent Mr. Kekwick, with
three others, to take Bennett's skin and shoes off. We found no
indication of poison on opening him. This is a very great loss to me, for
he was one of my best packhorses--one that had been with me before, and
that I could depend upon for a hard push."

On the 2nd March, while still following the course of the Finke, they
passed two or three holes containing fish about eight inches long, and
enclosed by small brush fences, apparently for the purpose of catching
fish. They also saw a lot of shields, spears, waddies, etc., which the
natives had deposited under a bush. As to the aborigines themselves,
although it was evident there were plenty of them about, they never
allowed themselves to be seen. There was an abundance of timber which Mr.
Stuart says would be well suited for electric-telegraph poles.

Mr. Stuart's journal continues as follows:

Tuesday, 5th March, The Finke. Started at 8.5 a.m., bearing 345 degrees,
for the Hugh, with Thring and Lawrence. On arriving there found the water
nearly all gone, only a little in a well dug by the natives; cleared it
out, but it took us until 12 p.m. to water the four horses. At three
miles further, we passed round a high conspicuous table hill, having a
slanting and shelving front to the south; this I have named Mount Santo,
after Philip Santo, Esquire, M.P. The country passed over to-day has been
sand hills, with spinifex, grassy plains, with mulga and other shrubs,
and occasionally low table-topped hills, composed of sand, lime, and
ironstone, also the hard whitish flinty rock; kangaroo plentiful, but
very wild. Wind south-east. The day has been very hot; horses very tired.

Wednesday, 6th March, The Hugh. Started at 8.45 a.m. on a bearing of 209
degrees. At nine miles, finding the water gone that I had seen on my last
return, I dug down to the clay, and obtained a little, but not enough for
us. Followed the creek up into the gorge, and found it very dry. Our
former tracks are still visible in the bed of the creek. No rain seems to
have fallen here since last March. I had almost given up all hopes of
finding any water, when, at seven miles, we met with a few rushes, which
revived our sinking hopes; and, at eight miles, our eyes and ears were
delighted with the sight and sound of numerous diamond birds, a sure sign
of the proximity of water. At the mouth of a side creek coming from the
James range, on the eastern side of the Hugh, found an excellent water
hole, apparently both deep and permanent. We saw a native and his lubra
at the upper end at a brush fence in the water; they appeared to be
fishing, and did not see us until I called to them. The female was the
first who left the water; she ran to the bank, took up her child, and
made for a tree, up which she climbed, pushing her young one up before
her. She was a tall, well-made woman. The man (an old fellow), tall,
stout, and robust, although startled at our appearance, took it leisurely
in getting out of the water, ascended the bank, and had a look at us; he
then addressed us in his own language, and seemed to work himself up into
a great passion, stopping every now and then and spitting fiercely at us
like an old tiger. He also ascended the tree, and then gave us a second
edition of it. We leisurely watered our horses, and he was very much
surprised to see Thring dismount and lead the pack-horse down to the
water, so much so that he never said another word, but remained staring
at us until we departed, when he commenced again. This water being
sufficient for my purpose, I will go no further up the creek, but return
to the last night's camp. Wind, south-east.

Thursday, 7th March, The Hugh. As my horses are very tired, and the
distance between my main camp on the Finke and the water we discovered
yesterday being upwards of fifty miles, I will remain here to-day, dig
down to the clay, and try if I can obtain enough water for all the party;
for, owing to the extreme heat, and the dryness of the feed, many of our
weak horses are unable to go a night without water. By 8 p.m. we dug a
trench ten feet long, two feet and a half deep, and two feet and a half
broad; it is about twelve feet below the level of the creek. We have had
a very hard day's work. Wind, south-east. Day very hot.

Friday, 8th March, The Hugh. This morning very cold; wind, still
south-east. The trench is quite full; our four horses made very little
impression on it. I shall send up and enlarge the trench, so that we may
be enabled to water the whole lot. At 6.40 a.m. started back for the
camp. At 1.45 p.m. halted to give the horses a little rest. At 2.30 p.m.
changed to 184 degrees, and at four miles reached the table hills, but
there was no creek, only a number of clay-pans, all quite dry, with
stunted gum-trees growing round them. Changed my bearing to Mount Santo,
passing a number of clay-pans of the same description; from thence
proceeded to the camp; arrived there at sundown, and found all right.
Plenty of water; the horses make little impression on it. Wind,

Saturday, 9th March, The Finke. I shall give Thring a rest to-day, and
will send him with two others, and a part of the horses, to-morrow to the
Hugh, to make a place large enough to water all. From about 2 a.m. until
after sunrise the morning has been very cold. Wind, south-east.

Sunday, 10th March, The Finke. At 7 a.m. despatched Thring, Thompson, and
Sullivan, with eleven pack and three riding-horses, to the Hugh to dig a
tank. Wind, still south-east; clouds east.

Monday, 11th March, The Finke. Clouds all gone; wind still south-east. I
will remain here to-day with the rest of the party, to give the others
time to have all ready for us when we arrive. One of the horses missing;
found him in the afternoon. Wind variable.

Tuesday, 12th March, The Finke. Started at 8.30 a.m. for the Hugh, course
345 degrees, following our former tracks. The day has been exceedingly
hot; wind from east and south-east, with heavy clouds in the same
direction. About 3 p.m. missed the party that was behind; they were last
seen about one mile and a half back. Thinking that the packs had gone
wrong, and that they were remaining behind to repair them, I waited an
hour, but finding they did not come up, I sent Ewart back to the place
where they were last seen to find out what was wrong; in an hour he
returned, and informed me that their tracks were going away to the
eastward. As the James range was in sight, and two of the party had been
there before, I concluded that they must have lost my tracks and were
pushing on for the water. This loss of two hours would make it late
before we arrived there, so we hurried on; but within four miles it
became so dark, from the sky being overcast with heavy clouds, and the
mulga bushes being so thick, that we were in great danger of losing some
of our pack-horses, for we could not see them more than ten yards off. I
therefore camped until daylight, having to tie the horses during the
night. Wind variable.

Wednesday, 13th March, Between the Finke and the Hugh. Started at
daybreak; and in a little more than an hour arrived at the Hugh; found
that Thring had gone up the creek to the other water, not finding enough
here for the horses he had with him. We could only get sufficient for ten
of ours. As the fire was still alight, I was led to believe that the
other party had arrived here last night, having had two hours more
sunlight than we, and that they, seeing Thring's note to me, which he had
fastened on a tree, and also the small quantity of water, had watered
their horses last night, and gone on this morning, leaving the water that
had accumulated during the night for us and our horses; we cleared out
the hole in order to obtain sufficient for our other five. At about 10
a.m. had breakfast; before we finished, the other party came in sight;
they had lost the tracks, and could not find them again. They made the
creek about one mile to the eastward. Unsaddled and gave their horses a
rest, and as much water as we could get for the weak ones; those of mine
which have had none will have to go without. By 1 p.m. obtained a drink
for seven of them. Pushed on to the other water, fifteen miles up the
creek; arrived there a little before sundown. The day, although cloudy,
has been very hot. Found Thring and his party all right. They had seen no
more of our spitting friend. Wind variable, with heavy clouds from east
and south-east, but still no rain.

Thursday, 14th March, The Hugh, James Range. As the done-up horses will
not be able to travel to-day, I have sent Thring and Wall up the creek to
look for other water. Sky still overcast. No rain. Thring and Wall
returned in the afternoon, having found water a little below the surface,
about nine miles up; a very light shower has fallen. Wind all round the

Friday, 15th March, The Hugh, James Range. A few drops of rain have
fallen during the night, but this morning it seems to be breaking up
again, which is a great disappointment. Started at 8 a.m., course 10
degrees west of north; passed through the gorge in James range, found all
the water gone that I had seen on my journey down; followed up the creek
to the native wells that Thring found yesterday. This water is situated
about one mile and a half from where the creek enters the gorge in James
range, and under a concrete bank on the north side. The natives seem to
have quitted this water on hearing us coming, for they have left behind
them a large, long, and unfinished spear, two smaller ones, and some
waddies, one of which was quite wet, as if the owner had been in the act
of clearing out one of the wells when he heard or saw us coming: he also
left a shield cut out of solid wood, which I think was, from its
lightness, cork-wood. I also observed on one of the gum-trees, marks
similar to those which I saw on the Finke, broad arrows and a wavy line
round the tree. Still cloudy, but much broken. No rain. Wind, south-east.

Saturday, 16th March, The Hugh, James Range. Rain all gone. Proceeded up
the creek, course 30 degrees, to examine the east bend before it enters
the Waterhouse range; in about six miles arrived and followed it upwards,
pushing on through the gorge to the large water I had previously seen on
the north side of the range; found it gone, but water in some native
wells in its bed. Proceeded on to the second bend of the creek from
Waterhouse range, to a water which I consider to be a spring (it is under
conglomerate rock), and am glad to see that there is still a large hole
of beautiful water, with bulrushes growing round about it. Camped. This
water I have named Owen Springs, after William Owen, Esquire, M.P. Wind
variable, from south-east to north-east. Cloudy.

Sunday, 17th March, Owen Springs, The Hugh. During the night we had a few
light showers, which will be of great advantage to us, causing the green
feed to spring up. The morning still cloudy; wind from the east, with a
few drops of rain. Wind still variable--all round the compass.

Monday, 18th March, Owen Springs, The Hugh. Very heavy clouds this
morning; and it seemed as if it was setting in for a wet day, but it
cleared off, and only a little rain fell. Wind still all round the

Tuesday, 19th March, Owen Springs, The Hugh. Saddled and started for
Brinkley Bluff, bearing 349 degrees. After entering the McDonnell range
the water is permanent. It has been here for twelve months; no rain has
fallen during that time, for my former tracks, both up and down, are as
distinct as if they had been made a month ago. At 3.30 p.m. camped at the
waterhole about a mile north-west of Brinkley Bluff; it is situated under
a rocky cliff. There are some seams of beautiful grey granite crossing
the creek, and abundance of marble of all colours, also a little iron and
limestone. We found some specimens of the palm tree, but there is neither
seed nor blossom at this season of the year. Lawrence got one of the
leaves, ate the lower end of it, and found it sweet--resembling
sugar-cane; he ate a few inches of it, and in about two hours became very
sick, and vomited a good deal during the evening. Wind variable; but
mostly south-east, with heavy thunder clouds.

Wednesday, 20th March, Brinkley Bluff, McDonnell Range. About 1 p.m. we
were delighted with the sight and feeling of heavy rain. At about 4 the
creek came down, and by sunrise it was running at the rate of five miles
an hour--a new and delightful sight to behold. At about 9 the clouds were
breaking and the rain lighter. We were all truly thankful for this great
boon. It is too wet to move to-day; the horses are bogging up to their
knees. After sundown we had a heavy thunder storm, accompanied by vivid
lightning, and heavy rain from south-east and east. Wind from
same direction.

Thursday, 21st March, Brinkley Bluff, McDonnell Range. Rain has continued
at intervals during the night; a great deal has fallen. A horse having
gone into the creek to drink during the night, one of his hobbles became
undone, and got fastened to his hind shoe. He was found this morning up
to his body in water, and unable to move. Having relieved him, it was
with difficulty he could get out. He is in a tremble all over, and can
scarcely walk. The ground is so soft, even on the hills, that we cannot
walk without sinking above the ankle. I should gain nothing by starting
to-day. It would injure the horses more than a week's travelling.

Friday, 22nd March, Brinkley Bluff, McDonnell Range. About 1 a.m. the
rain came down in torrents, and continued until nearly sunrise, from
south-east. Wind from same quarter. It is impossible to move to-day. The
creek is higher than it has been before, and running with great rapidity.
All the horses were found right this morning but the one which got into
the creek yesterday. After searching all the hills and the creeks round
about, he was found in a small gully by himself.

Saturday, 23rd March, Brinkley Bluff, McDonnell Range. Heavy shower of
rain about 4 a.m. this morning. After sunrise it all cleared away and
became fine. Started at 8.20 to cross the northern portion of the range
by following the creek up. We have had a very hard and difficult journey
of it. It is now 4 p.m., and we have arrived at Hamilton Springs. The
ground was so soft, even at the top of the ranges, that we had the
greatest difficulty in getting the horses through. We did so, however,
with the loss of a great number of shoes, and many of the horses were
very lame. Wind still south-east.

Sunday 24th March, Hamilton Springs. I am compelled to have some of the
horses shod to-day, and also to have a number of saddle-bags mended,
which were torn by the scrub yesterday. This afternoon there is a great
deal of thunder and lightning in the north and north-east.

Monday, 25th March, Hamilton Springs. Part of the horses missing this
morning in consequence of the green feed; did not get a start until 10.20
a.m.; bearing 43 degrees. The country became so boggy after seven miles
that we were unable to proceed further than eleven miles. There being no
surface water, although the ground was so soft that the horses kept
bogging up to their bodies, we were forced to retreat five miles to
obtain some for them. Wind south-east, the stormy weather apparently
breaking up. Camped at 5 p.m. Latitude, 23 degrees 28 minutes 51 seconds.

Tuesday, 26th March, Scrub North-east of Hamilton Springs. Started at 9
a.m. on a south-south-east course to round the boggy country. At about
six miles we were enabled to cross the lower part, and go in the
direction of a low range. Camped on the north-east side of it. The last
four miles were over fair travelling-country of a red soil, with mulga
and other bushes, in some places rather thick, abounding in green grass.
We also passed many bushes of the honey mulga, but the season is passed,
and it is all dried up. Wind, east. Latitude by Pollux, 23 degrees 24
minutes 51 seconds; by Jupiter, 23 degrees 24 minutes 52 seconds.

Wednesday, 27th March, Low Granite Range in Scrub. More than half of the
horses are missing this morning; at noon we have managed to get all but
ten; they are scattered all over the place; at 5 p.m. they cannot be
found, and the water is nearly all gone, and the country much dried
towards Strangway range. I have sent the horses four miles back to a
large clay-pan that we saw yesterday, to remain there to-night and in the
morning to return. Two of the party to separate from there, and to go in
search of the missing horses, which I suppose have gone back to the
Hamilton Springs; it is very vexing, some of our best are amongst them.
Wind, east.

Thursday, 28th March, Low Granite Range in Scrub. At 11 a.m. the horses
were brought back from the clay-pan. Two of the missing ones were found
about a mile after they started, making towards where they had camped
last night. I think that the other eight must be also in that direction;
we find that all the tracks have gone that way; I shall therefore move
down to-day to the south end of the swampy country, which I know they
cannot cross, and endeavour, if possible, to find them to-night. By 1
p.m. arrived at the end of the swamp; camped, and despatched Thring in
one direction and Sullivan in another to try and cut their tracks; at a
little before sunset Sullivan returned with three of the missing ones.
Five are still wanting. Wind, south-east.

Friday, 29th March, South End of Swamp in Scrub. At sunrise sent Thring
and Sullivan again to look for the missing horses; they arrived at 5 p.m.
with three of them. If we do not find the other two to-morrow, I shall
push on without them, and endeavour to pick them up on our return.

Saturday, 30th March, South End of Swamp in Scrub. Again sent Thring and
Sullivan in search of the two remaining horses; at about 11 a.m. they
returned with them. I shall now move up to our camp of 25th instant.
Camped at some rain water a little south of our former place, where there
is plenty of feed for the horses. Wind, south-east; clouds from

Sunday, 31st March, Rain Water in Scrub. All day the sky has been
overcast with clouds from the north-west. Wind from south-east.

Monday, 1st April, Same Place. Started at 7.30 a.m.; course, 330 degrees.
At 1 p.m. we came upon a very pretty flat of beautiful grass, with water
in the middle of it; and, as the afternoon has every appearance of rain,
I have camped--to go on in the rain will only spoil our provisions. We
had scarcely got the packs off when it came on heavily, and lasted about
an hour: it then ceased until sundown, when it came on again, and
continued till 10.30 p.m.

Tuesday, 2nd April, Green Flat in Scrub. Started at 8.20 a.m. on same
course, and camped at 1.30 p.m. under a prominent rocky hill, which I
ascended and have named Mount Harris, after Peter G. Harris, Esquire, of
Adelaide. I obtained bearings of the different points all round. The last
seven miles was sandy soil, with spinifex and scrub, which was mostly
young cork-tree, and the broad-leafed mallee.

Wednesday, 3rd April, Mount Harris. We have put up a small cone of stones
on the top of this mount. Started at 8 a.m. for Anna's Reservoir. Arrived
at the creek about two miles south-south-east of it, and, finding it
running, camped amongst excellent feed. By keeping to west of my former
track I have found the country much opener; but nearly all day the
journey has been through spinifex. Wind from west.

Thursday, 4th April, The Wicksteed, Reynolds Range. Started at 7.40 a.m.
to cross the range, bearing to Mount Freeling 312 degrees. At 1.30 p.m.
crossed the range, and arrived at the creek, camping at the same place as
I did on my previous journey, and finding water and feed abundant. I have
named this creek the Woodforde, after Dr. Woodforde, of Adelaide. After
crossing the range, we found the bean-tree in blossom; it was
magnificent. I have obtained a specimen of it; also some beans, a number
of which were of a cream colour; we have roasted a few of them, and find
that they make very good coffee. Wind, south-east.

Friday, 5th April, The Woodforde, Reynolds Range. Started at 7.30 a.m.
Camped at 4.30 p.m. on the Hanson, which is now a running stream. About
five miles back we passed a freshly-built native worley. I observed a
peculiarity in it which I never noticed in any before--namely, that it
was constructed with greater care than usual. It was thatched with grass
down to the ground. Inside the worley there was a quantity of grass laid
regularly for a bed, on which some one had been lying. Round about the
front was collected a large quantity of firewood, as much as would have
done for us for a night. Latitude, 22 degrees 5 minutes 30 seconds,
bearing to Central Mount Stuart, 25 degrees. Wind, south-south-west.

Saturday, 6th April, The Hanson. Started at 8 a.m., on a course of 46
degrees 30 minutes, to the springs in the Hanson; this course led me
through about four miles of very thick mulga. After crossing the central
line we arrived on the creek and camped, below the springs, at 1.30 p.m.
Bearing to Central Mount Stuart, 251 degrees 20 minutes. Wind variable.

Sunday, 7th April, The Hanson, East-north-east of Centre. Day hot. Wind
variable, with a few clouds.

Monday, 8th April, The Hanson, East-north-east of Centre. Five of the
horses missing this morning. Started at 9.45, course 45 degrees; camped
on the Stirling at 3.50 p.m. Through all the day's journey the country
abounded in grass and water. Wind from south.

Tuesday, 9th April, The Stirling, Forster Range. Started at 7.30 a.m., to
cross Forster range on the same course. At 10.50 a.m. camped on north
side of it, on a large gum creek with water. I have named this the
Taylor, after John Taylor, Esquire, of the firm of Messrs. Elder,
Stirling, & Co., of Adelaide. This is a most beautiful place, a plain
four miles broad between two granite ranges, completely covered with
grass, and a gum creek winding through the centre. I made a short journey
to-day in consequence of having some of the horses lame, and some weak
through the effects of the green grass, and to-morrow's journey will be a
long one. Had I gone on to-day, they would in all probability be without
water, and would require to be tied up during the night. I shall now be
able to get through in one day, and keep them in good condition for the
unexplored country, which I expect to commence next Monday.

Wednesday, 10th April, The Taylor. Started at 7.25 a.m. on a course of 11
degrees 30 minutes for Mount Morphett; at 12.30 ascended the summit. On
the north side we had some difficulty in getting the horses down;
however, we managed without accident. Ran a creek down and found some
water; gave the horses a drink; still followed it until it was lost in a
grassy plain. Proceeded on to the next hills, passed through a gap, and
made for a creek on the north side, in which we found water, and camped
at 4 p.m.

Thursday, 11th April, North Side Mount Morphett, Crawford Range. Started
at 7.45 a.m. on a course of 10 degrees. The first four miles was over a
beautiful grassy plain, with mulga wood, not very thick; it then became
more sandy, and covered with gum, cork-trees, and other scrubs, which
continued within a mile of where we camped, in a small, but beautiful
grassed plain; no water. Latitude 20 degrees 38 minutes 33 seconds. Wind,

Friday, 12th April, Grassy Plain. Started at 6.15 a.m., same course. At 1
p.m. arrived at the Bonney; it is now running--green feed abundant. As
some of the horses are still very lame, I will rest them to-morrow and
Sunday, and start into the unexplored country on Monday morning. Wind
from south-east; a few clouds from north-east.

Saturday, 13th April, The Bonney. Sent Thring down the creek to see what
its course is, and if the country gets more open; the men mending
saddle-bags, cleaning and repairing saddles, shoeing horses, etc. While I
and Woodforde were endeavouring to get a shot at some ducks on the long
water holes, a fish, which he describes as being about two feet long,
with dark spots on either side, came to the surface; he fired at it, but
was unsuccessful in killing it. A little before sundown Thring returned;
he gave a very bad account of the creek; it was a dry deep channel. Wind,
variable; cloudy.

Sunday, 14th April, The Bonney. Wind from every quarter, with clouds; a
few drops of rain fell about the middle of the day; after sundown much
lightning in the south-west.

Monday, 15th April, The Bonney. Cloudy; wind still variable. Mount
Fisher, bearing 120 degrees. Started at 7.15 a.m., bearing 290 degrees;
at 11.40 changed to 264 degrees, to some rising ground; at 12.45 p.m.,
after crossing stony hills, we crossed a gum creek on the west side, with
long reaches of water in it running north-west, which I supposed to be
the Bonney; but as there appeared to be more and larger gum-trees farther
on, I continued, to see if there were not another channel. Proceeded
three miles over low limestone rises, with small flats between, on which
was growing spinifex, and the gum-trees which I had seen--exactly the
same description of country from which I was forced to return through
want of water on my former journey from Mount Denison to north-west. I
therefore returned to the creek, which I find to be the Bonney, now much
smaller, but containing plenty of water--followed it down to
north-north-west for about one mile, and then camped. The water is in
long reaches, which I think are permanent.

Tuesday, 16th April, The Bonney. Still cloudy. Started at 8 a.m. on a
bearing of 380 degrees. At 11.15 changed to 40 degrees, with the
intention of cutting the McLaren. Camped at 3.40 p.m. Three miles from
our start the creek spreads itself over a large grassy plain, thickly
studded with gum-trees, covered with long grass, and a great number of
white ants' nests of all sizes and shapes, putting one in mind of walking
through a large cemetery. In many places it was very boggy. We followed
it for ten miles, but it still continued the same; I could not see more
than one hundred yards before me, the gum-trees, and sometimes a low
scrub, being so thick. Not seeing anything of the McLaren coming into the
plain, I changed my course to cut it and run it down, as I think that it
will form a large creek where they join. In three miles we got out of the
plain upon a red sandy soil, with spinifex, and scrubs of all kinds, in
some places very thick, and difficult to get the horses through. When we
were in the gum plain the atmosphere was so close and heavy, and the
ground so soft, that the sweat was running in streams from the horses;
and when we halted for a few minutes they were puffing and blowing as
though they had just come in from running a race. I continued the second
course for fourteen miles, but saw nothing of the McLaren; it must have
joined the plain before I left it. Thus ends the Bonney and the McLaren.
We passed over several quartz and ironstone ranges of low hills crossing
our course, and camped under a high one, without water. Wind south-east.

Wednesday, 17th April,* (* The Journal of this Expedition, as published
by the Royal Geographical Society, commences here.) Quartz Hill, West
Mount Blyth. Started at 7.25 a.m. on a bearing of 70 degrees. We again
passed quartz hills running as yesterday; the spinifex still continuing,
with a little grass, until we came within a mile of the hills in the
Murchison range; finding some water, I camped, and gave the horses the
rest of the day to recruit. Last night after sundown, and during the
night, we had a few slight showers of rain, and a great deal of thunder
and lightning, mostly from south-west. About 11 to-day the clouds all
cleared away. About a mile before camping, we observed the ground covered
with numerous native tracks; also that a number of the gum-trees were
stripped of their bark all round.

Thursday, 18th April, West Mount Blyth. Started at 7.40 a.m., same
bearing, across the Murchison range, in which we found great difficulty.
On the north-east side of Mount Blyth we found a large gum creek of
permanent water, and camped. I have named this Ann Creek. I then rode to
the highest point of the range, taking Thring with me, to see if there is
any rising ground to north-west by which I may cross the gum plain. I
could see no rise, nothing but a line of dark-green wood on the horizon.
We had great difficulty in getting to the top, the rocks being so
precipitous. In coming down the eastern side we were gratified by the
sight of a beautiful waterfall, upwards of one hundred feet high, over
columns of basaltic rock, its form, two sides of a triangle, the water
coming over the angle. Wind, south-east.

Friday, 19th April, Ann Creek. Started at 7.45 a.m., on a course of 324
degrees, towards Mount Samuel. After sundown arrived at Goodiar Creek;
one of the horses done up; had to leave him a little distance back; he is
unwell. On leaving the Murchison range we crossed a number of quartz
reefs and hills running east and south-west. Wind, south-south-east.

Saturday, 20th April, Goodiar Creek. Three horses missing this morning,
in consequence of the scarcity of feed. The horse left behind last night
has been brought in; he looks very bad indeed. About 11 a.m. the other
horses were found, brought in, and saddled, and we proceeded on a
north-north-west course for Bishop Creek, but found the sick horse too
ill to proceed further than Tennant Creek, where we camped, there being
plenty of water and feed. Two natives were seen by Masters this morning
when in search of the horses--he could not get them to come near him.
Wind, south-west.

Sunday, 21st April, Tennant Creek. Wind from south-west; a few clouds
from east.

Monday, 22nd April, Tennant Creek. Started at 7.30 a.m., course 21
degrees, for Bishop Creek, and at twelve miles made it. I find that two
of the horses are so weak that they are unable to go any further without
giving in, I have therefore camped, giving them the remainder of the day
to recruit. Native fires are smoking all around us, but at some distance
off. Wind, east.

Tuesday, 23rd April, Bishop Creek. It is late before we can get a start
to-day, in consequence of one of the horses concealing himself in the
creek. He is an unkind brute, we have much trouble with him in that
respect; he is constantly hiding himself somewhere or other. Started at
9.30 a.m., on a course of 17 degrees, to cross Short range. Found plenty
of water in Phillips Creek; the grass on its banks, and on the plains
where it empties itself, is splendid, two feet and a half long, fit for
the scythe to go into, and an abundant crop of hay could be obtained. We
then crossed the range a little north of where I passed before, and found
some slight difficulty. After descending, we struck a small creek which
supplies Kekwick Ponds, and is a tributary to Hayward Creek; found plenty
of water and camped at 3 p.m. Feed abundant. Wind, south-east.

Wednesday, 24th April, Hayward Creek. Started at 7.40 a.m.; course 17
degrees. At 9.30 changed to 14 degrees 30 minutes west of north, and at
12.30 arrived at Attack Creek; camped at the same place that I did on my
former journey. Tracks of natives about, but we have seen none of them. I
kept about a mile to the west of my former track, and found the country
much more open. The banks of both creeks for two or three miles are
splendidly covered with grass, in some places over the horses' heads.
Four of the horses are ill, and looking very bad indeed. Wind,

Thursday, 25th April, Attack Creek. Started at 7.50 a.m., on a course of
294 degrees, to the top of the range, which I have named Whittington
Range, after William S. Whittington, Esquire, of Adelaide. At six miles
reached the top. At 9.50 changed to north-west, and at 11.30 struck a
large gum creek running east, with large water holes in it. At about two
hundred yards crossed it again, running to the west, and shortly
afterwards crossed it again, running to the east. I have called it
Morphett Creek, after the Honourable John Morphett, Chief Secretary. We
then ascended another portion of the range, and continued along a spur on
our course. This range presents quite a new feature, in having gums
growing on the top and all round it; it is composed of masses of
ironstone, granite, sand, and limestone, and in some places white marble.
Thinking that the creek we had passed might break through a low part of
the range, which I could see to the north-west, at ten miles I changed to
west, and crossed to the other range, but found the dip of the country to
the south. We could find no water; traced the creek to the south-east for
two miles, found some water and camped. The range is very rough and
stony, covered with spinifex; but the creeks are beautifully grassed.
Native smoke to east. This is one of the sources of Morphett Creek, and
flows to the east; it is as large, if not larger, than Attack Creek, and,
in all probability, contains water holes quite as fine to the eastward.
Latitude, 18 degrees 50 minutes 40 seconds.

Friday, 26th April, Morphett Creek. At 8 a.m. started on a course of 300
degrees to cross the north-west part of the range. Camped upon a plain of
the same description as John Plain, that I met with on my former journey
to the north-east of Bishop Creek, a large open plain covered with grass,
and with only a few bushes on it. The journey to-day has been very rough
and stony. Not a drop of water have we passed to-day, nor is there the
appearance of any on before us. I shall be compelled to fall back
to-morrow to the water of last night. Four of the horses, I am afraid,
will not be able to get there. I must try more to the north, and
endeavour to get quit of the plains, and get amongst the creeks. There is
no hope of success on this course. Latitude, 18 degrees 38 minutes. Wind,

Saturday, 27th April, Grassy Plains. Started at 7.10 a.m., course 110
degrees, to the other side of the plain. At three miles came upon a small
creek running towards the north; I followed it down to the north. At
three miles came upon a fine large creek, coming from the south-east,
with plenty of water. Returned to the party, took them down to the large
creek on north course, and at three miles camped. Two of the horses are
nearly done up. Wind, south-east. Latitude, 18 degrees 35 minutes 20

Sunday, 28th April, Tomkinson Creek. Sent Thring down to examine and see
how the creek runs. I have named it after S. Tomkinson, Esquire, Manager
of the Bank of Australasia, at Adelaide. We have found many new plants
and flowers, also some trees, one of which grows to a considerable size,
the largest being about a foot in diameter. The fruit is about the size
and colour, and has the appearance of plums; the bark is of a grey
colour; the foliage oval, and dark-green. Another is more of a bush, and
has a very peculiar appearance; the seed vessel is about the size of an
orange, but more pointed. When ripe it opens into four divisions, which
look exactly like honeycomb inside, and in which the seeds are
contained; they are about the size of a nut, the outside being very
hard. The natives roast and eat them. The leaves resemble the mulberry,
and are of a downy light-green. We have obtained a few of the seeds of
it. The bean-tree does not seem to grow up here. Mr. Kekwick, in looking
for plants this morning, discovered one which very much resembles wheat
in straw (which is very tough), ear, and seed. It grows two feet high.
The seed is small, but very much like wheat both in shape and colour. At
about 3 p.m. Thring returned, having run the creek out into a large
grassy plain. The course of this creek is west-north-west for about nine
miles; it then turns to west, and empties itself into the plain. There
is plenty of water about, but where it empties itself it becomes quite
dry. The native companion, the emu, and the sacred ibis are on this
creek. The country is splendidly grassed. We have got to the north side
of the Whittington range. I shall have to leave my two done-up horses
here, and will get them when I return. The hills and rocks are of the
same description as the first part of the range. Wind, south. Sun hot,
but the nights and mornings are very cold.

Monday, 29th April, Tomkinson Creek. Had a late start this morning in
consequence of my having to take a lunar observation. Started at 10.30
a.m. At 2.10 p.m. reached the top of a high hill; from this we could see
a gum creek. Started at 2.30 to examine it; found water, and camped at 4.
I have named the hill Mount Primrose, after John Primrose, Esquire, of
North Adelaide. This water will last us six or eight weeks. The country
passed to-day has been mostly stony rises of the same description as the
other parts of the range. The valleys have a light sandy soil, nearly all
with spinifex and scrub. The view from the top of Mount Primrose is not
extensive, except to the west and south-west, which appears to be thick
wood or scrub. Near the top we met with the Eucalyptus Dumosa. Wind,
south-east. Latitude, 18 degrees 25 minutes.

Tuesday, 30th April, Carruthers Creek. The creek in which we are now
camped I have named Carruthers Creek, after John Carruthers, Esquire, of
North Adelaide. Started at 8.50 a.m. At 1.50 p.m. found a creek running
from the range, with a splendid hole of permanent water situated under a
cliff, where the creek leaves the range; it is very deep, with a rocky
bottom. From the top of the range the country seems to be very thick,
which I am afraid is scrub; no high hills visible. To the north of this
the range appears to cease; I wish it had continued for another sixty
miles. The country passed to-day has been stony rises coming from the
range, very rough and rocky indeed. My horses' shoes are nearly all gone;
I am obliged to let some go without--they have felt the last four rough
days very much. Spinifex, scrub, and stunted gums all the day, with
occasionally a few tufts of grass; this is very poor country indeed.
Smoke of native fires still in south-east. The hills of the same
formation as those we first came upon in entering the ranges from Attack
Creek. I have named this creek Hunter Creek, after Mr. Hunter, of Messrs.
Hunter, Stevenson, and Co., of Adelaide. Camped. The horses seem very
tired. Wind, east. Latitude, 18 degrees 17 minutes.

Wednesday, 1st May, Hunter Creek. Started at 8 a.m., course, 305 degrees.
At 8.45 crossed the Hunter going south-west; it came round again and
continued crossing our course thirteen times in nine miles, after which
it was lost in a large grassy and gum plain. At 5.15 camped. The plain in
which the creek loses itself bears south-west; the banks are beautifully
grassed, but about a mile on either side the soil is sandy, with spinifex
and scrub, which continued for nine miles; we then entered upon a scrub
and grassy plain. Here I noticed a new and very beautiful tree--in some
instances a foot in diameter--with drooping branches. Its bark was grey
and rough, and it had a small dark-green leaf, shaped like a butterfly's
wing. Not finding a creek, nor the least indication of a watercourse, and
the scrub becoming very thick, I changed to north, to see if I could find
any water; but at three miles we lost the gums, the new tree taking their
place, and becoming very thick scrub with plenty of grass, but no signs
of a watercourse. I again changed to east in the hope of cutting one in
that direction. At one mile and a half again came upon small gums; and at
three miles, seeing neither creek nor any hope of getting water, camped.
The horses very tired. Wind light from west-north-west. Latitude, 18
degrees 3 minutes 19 seconds.

Thursday, 2nd May, Large Scrubby and Grassy Plain. Started at 10 a.m. in
consequence of some of the horses having strayed a long way to the east
during the night; course, 143 degrees 30 minutes, back to Hunter Creek. I
have taken a different course to see if there is any creek that supplies
this plain with water. For about nine miles we passed over a splendidly
grassed plain, with gum-trees, the new tree, and a number of all sorts of
bushes. One part for about three miles is subject to inundation, and the
Eucalyptus Dumosa grows thickly on it. We then passed over about two
miles of spinifex and grass, and again entered the grassy plain, which
continued to Hunter Creek. During the whole day we have not seen the
shadow of a creek or watercourse. If there had been any sign of a
watercourse, or if I could have seen any rising ground near our course, I
would have gone on another day. I sent Wall to the top of the highest
tree to see if there was anything within view; he could see nothing but
the same description of plain. If my horses can travel to-morrow, I will
try a course to the north, and run down the creek, to see if there is one
that will lead me through this plain. If I could get to some rising
ground, I think I should be all right; but there is none visible except
the end of the range, which is lost sight of to the north-east. Wind
again south-east, with a few clouds. Latitude, 18 degrees 13 minutes 40

Friday, 3rd May, Hunter Creek. Started at 8.40 a.m.; course, north. At
11.15 (nine miles), came upon a creek; bed dry and sandy; searched for
water, and, at three quarters of a mile to east, found a nice hole;
watered the horses and proceeded on the same course--starting at 12. At
3.20 p.m. changed to 20 degrees north of east; the first ten miles were
over a plain of gums covered with grass two feet long; we had then six
miles of spinifex, and a thick scrub of dwarf lancewood, as tough as
whalebone. After that we entered upon another gum plain, also splendidly
grassed, which continued for four miles, when the gums suddenly ceased,
and it became a large open plain to north, as far as I could see. Seeing
no appearance of water, I changed my course to 30 degrees north of east,
to some high gums; and, at one mile, not finding any, I camped without
it. This seems now to be a change of country; there is no telling when or
where I may get the next water on this course, so that I shall be
compelled to go towards the range to-morrow to get some, and have a long
day's journey to the new country. The wind has been from east all day.
Latitude, 17 degrees 56 minutes 40 seconds.

Saturday, 4th May, Sturt Plains. Started at 7.15 a.m., course east, to
find water. At 3.20 p.m. came upon a little creek and found a small
quantity of water, which we gave to the horses. Started again at 9 p.m.,
course south-east, following the creek to find more; at a mile and a half
found water which will do for us until Monday morning. I proceeded to the
top of the range to obtain a view of the country round, but was
disappointed in its height; from the plain it appeared higher than it
really is. This range I have named Ashburton Range, after Lord Ashburton,
President of the Royal Geographical Society. The point upon which I am at
present is about three miles east of our camp; the view from south to
north-west is over a wooded plain; from north-west to north is a large
open plain with scarcely a tree upon it. On leaving our last night's
camp, we passed over three miles of the plain, which is subject to
inundation. There are numerous nasty holes in it, into which the horses
were constantly stumbling. It is covered with splendid grass, and is as
fine a country as I have ever crossed. These plains I have named Sturt
Plains, after the venerable father of Australian exploration and my
respected commander of the expedition in 1845. Ashburton range is
composed of sandstone and ironstone, granite, and a little quartz; it is
very rough and broken. Native tracks about here. Wind, south-east. This
creek I have named Watson Creek, after Mr. Watson, formerly of Clare.

Sunday, 5th May, Watson Creek, Ashburton Range. Sent Thring to the north
along the range to see if there is permanent water; at eight miles he
returned, having found plenty. One large hole is about a mile from here;
in another creek it is apparently permanent, having a rocky bed. A flight
of pelicans over head to-day; they seem to have come from the north-west,
which course I will try to-morrow. Wind, south-east. Latitude, 17 degrees
58 minutes 40 seconds.

Monday, 6th May, Watson Creek, Ashburton Range. Started at 8.20 a.m.,
course 300 degrees, to cross Sturt Plain. At eleven miles arrived at the
hill which I saw from Ashburton range. It turned out to be the banks of
what was once a fresh-water lake; the water-wash is quite distinct. It
had small iron and limestone gravel, with sand and a great number of
shells worn by the sun and atmosphere to the thinness of paper, plainly
indicating that it is many years since the water had left them. Judging
from the water-marks, the lake must have been about twelve feet deep in
the plain. The eucalyptus is growing here. We then proceeded over another
open part of it, for about two miles, when the dwarf eucalypti again
commenced, and continued until we camped at twenty-one miles; the horses
quite worn out. This has been the hardest and most fatiguing day's work
we have had since starting from Chambers Creek; for, from the time we
left in the morning until we camped, we have had nothing but a succession
of rotten ground, with large deep holes and cracks in it, caused at a
former period by water, into which the poor horses have been constantly
falling the whole day, running the risk of breaking their legs and our
necks, the grass being so long and thick that they could not possibly see
them before they were into them. I had a very severe fall into one of
these holes; my horse came right over and rolled nearly on top of me. I
was fortunate enough to escape with little injury. Some of the shells
resemble the cockle shell, but are much longer, many of them being three
or four inches long; the others are of the shape of periwinkles, but six
times as large. Both sorts are scattered over the plain, which is
completely matted with grass. The soil is a dark rich alluvial, and
judging from the cracks and holes, some of which are of considerable
depth, they are splendid plains, but not a drop of surface water could we
see upon them, nor a single bird to indicate that there is any. It was my
intention at starting to have gone on thirty miles, but I find it quite
impossible for the horses to do more; it would be madness to take them
another day over such a country, when from the highest tree we can see no
change. If I were to go another day and be without water, I should never
be able to get one of the horses back, and in all probability should lose
the lives of the whole party. If I could see the least chance of finding
water, or a termination of the plain, I would proceed and risk
everything. I see there is no hope of my reaching the river by this
course. I believe this gum plain to be a continuation of the one I met
with beyond the Centre, and that it may continue to the banks of the
Victoria. The features of the country are nearly the same. The absence of
all birds has a bad appearance. Day very hot. Wind, south-east. Latitude,
17 degrees 49 minutes.

Tuesday, 7th May, Sturt Plains. Before sunrise this morning I sent Wall
up a tree to see if any hills or rising grounds would be visible by
refraction. To the west, with a powerful telescope he can just see the
top of rising ground. As the grass is now quite dry, the horses feel the
want of water very much; many of them are looking wretched, and I hardly
think will be able to reach it. However reluctant, I must go back for the
safety of the party. At 3 p.m. arrived at the creek which Thring found
about one mile to the north of my former camp, with the loss of only one
horse; we had to leave him a short distance behind, he would not move a
step further, although during a great part of the journey he had been
carrying little or nothing. This water will last two months at least;
feed good. It is inside the first ironstone rise in Ashburton range, in a
gum creek which empties itself into the plains. This creek I have named
Hawker Creek, after James Hawker, Esquire, of her Majesty's Customs at
Port Adelaide. The day has been very hot. Wind, south-east. Latitude, 17
degrees 58 minutes.

Wednesday, 8th May, Hawker Creek, Ashburton Range. I have sent Masters
back to bring up the horse we left behind. Sturt Plains have been at one
time the bed of a large fresh-water lake; our journey of the 6th instant
was over the middle of it, and we were not at the end of it when I was
forced to return; the same rotten ground and shells continued, although
we had got amongst the eucalypti. I shall give the horses a rest to-day,
and to-morrow will take the best of them (those that I had out on my
former journey), and endeavour to cross the plain to the rising ground
seen yesterday morning; I shall take Thring and Woodforde, with seven
horses and one week's provisions. I may be fortunate enough to find some
water, but from the appearance of the country I have little hope. I
shall, however, leave nothing untried to accomplish the object of the
expedition. In the morning the horse we left behind could not be found;
sent Masters and Sullivan in search of him; in the afternoon they
returned with him looking miserable. He had wandered away beyond the
other camp.

Thursday, 9th May, Hawker Creek, Ashburton Range. Started at 7 a.m., with
Thring and Woodforde, and seven horses, following our tracks through the
rotten ground to the first eucalypti, for about twelve miles, as it made
it lighter for the horses, the tracks being beaten to that place. Changed
our course to 282 degrees, still journeying over Sturt Plains; at
twenty-seven miles arrived at the end of the portion of them that had
been subject to inundation, but there are still too many holes to be
pleasant. I certainly never did see a more splendid country for grass; in
many places for miles it is above the horses' knees. We entered upon red
sandy soil, with spinifex and grass, from which we changed our bearing.
The country became thickly studded with eucalypti, in one or two places
rather open, but generally thick. After the twenty-seven miles we again
met with the new small-leafed tree, the broad-leafed mallee, the
eucalypti, and many other scrubs. At sundown we camped; distance,
thirty-three miles, but not a drop of water have we seen the whole day,
or the least indication of its proximity. I hope to-morrow we may be more
fortunate, and find some. Wind, south.

Friday, 10th May, Sturt Plains. This morning there are a few birds about.
Started at 8.15 a.m., same course; at 10.30 arrived on first top of
rising ground seen from the camp of 7th instant, which turns out to be
red sand hills covered with thick scrub. Changed our course to
north-west, and at 11.15 arrived at the highest point; the view is very
discouraging--nothing to be seen all round but sand hills of the same
description, their course north-north-east, and south to west. No high
hills or range to be seen through the telescope. We can see a long
distance, apparently all sand hills with scrub and stunted gums on them.
The first ridge is about two hundred feet above Sturt Plains, but further
to the west they are much lower, and become seemingly red sandy
undulating table land; but further to the west they are much lower. There
is no hope of reaching the Victoria on this course. I would have gone on
further to-day had I seen the least chance of obtaining water to-night;
but during the greater part of yesterday and to-day we have met with no
birds that frequent country where water is. Both yesterday and to-day
have been excessively hot, and the country very heavy. From this point I
can see twenty-five miles without anything like a change. To go on now
with such a prospect, and such heavy country before me, would only be
sacrificing our horses and our own lives without a hope of success--the
horses having already come forty-five miles without a drop of water, and
over as heavy a country as was ever travelled on. I have therefore, with
reluctance, made up my mind to return to the camp and try it again
further north, where I may have a chance of rounding the sand hills; the
dip of them from here seems to be south-south-west. Turned back, and at
eighteen miles camped on Sturt Plains, where there is green grass for the
horses. Wind, south.

Saturday, 11th May, Sturt Plains. At dawn of day started for the camp;
arrived at 2 p.m. It was fortunate I did not go on further, for some of
the horses were scarcely able to reach it; a few more hours and I should
have lost half of them. The day has been so hot that it has nearly
knocked them all up. Found the rest of the party all right at the camp.
We had a job to keep the horses from injuring themselves by drinking too
much water. I gave them a little three separate times, tied them up for
twenty minutes, and then gave them a good drink, and drove them off to
feed. They took a few mouthfuls of grass, and were back again almost
immediately, and continued to do so nearly all the afternoon. They drank
an immense quantity. Wind, south.

Sunday, 12th May, Hawker Creek, Ashburton Range. My old horses that were
out with me before look very well this morning, but the others, whose
first trip of privation this has been, are looking very bad indeed. They
could not have gone another night without water; it has pulled them down
terribly. Yesterday, while Masters was looking for the horses, he saw
what appeared to him to be a piece of wood stuck upon a tree, about two
feet and a half long, sharp at both ends, broad at the bottom, and shaped
like a canoe. Having pulled it down, he found it to be hollow. On the top
of it were placed a number of pieces of bark, and the whole bound firmly
round with grass cord. He undid it, and found the skull and bones of a
child within. Mr. Kekwick brought it to me this morning for my
inspection. It certainly is the finest piece of workmanship I have ever
seen executed by natives. It is about twelve inches deep and ten wide,
tapering off at the ends. Small lines are cut along both sides of it. It
has been cut out of a solid piece of wood, with some sharp instrument. It
is exactly the model of a canoe. I told him to do it up again, and
replace it as it was found. If it is here when I return, I will endeavour
to take it to Adelaide with me. Wind, variable. A few clouds about.

Monday, 13th May, Hawker Creek, Ashburton Range. Started at 8 a.m.,
course 360 degrees. At five miles crossed the large gum-tree creek, with
water, that Thring found; proceeded along the side of Sturt Plains. At
ten miles ascended the north point of Ashburton range; descended, and the
country became red sand with spinifex, gum-tree, the new tree, and other
shrubs very thick; at fifteen miles, gained the top of another stony
rise; followed three creeks down in search of water; found a little, but
not sufficient for us; followed it still further down, leading us to the
south for about six miles, but could find no more. I thought it best to
return for water to the large creek, which I have named Ferguson Creek,
after Peter Ferguson, Esquire, of Gawler Town. From the top of the range
the view is limited. To the north and north-east are stony rises, at
about nine miles distant; from north to west are Sturt Plains, in some
places wooded; to the north they are open for a very long distance; the
country in the hills is bad, but in the plains is beautiful. I am afraid,
from the view I have of the country to the north, that I shall again meet
with the same description of sand hills that I came upon on my last
western course. Wind east-south-east, blowing strong. Latitude, 17
degrees 53 minutes 20 seconds.

Tuesday, 14th May, Ferguson Creek. Started at 8.30 a.m., on a north
course, to the place I turned back from yesterday; arrived at noon;
changed course to 345 degrees. Started again at 12.20. At 1 p.m. crossed
a gum creek that has the appearance of water. At 1.40 changed course to
260 degrees, and came upon two large water holes, apparently very deep,
situated in the rocks--they are seemingly permanent. Camped. I named this
creek Lawson Creek, after Dr. Lawson, J.P., of Port Lincoln. A number of
natives have been camped about them. We found another canoe, of the same
description as the one in which the bones of the child were found--it is
broken and burned, and seems to have been used as a vessel for holding
water. Wind south-east, blowing strong. Mornings and evenings very cold.
Latitude, 17 degrees 43 minutes 30 seconds.

Wednesday, 15th May, Lawson Creek. Started at 8.10 a.m.; went a mile west
to clear the stones; changed course to 340 degrees. At 2.45 p.m. changed
again to 45 degrees. Camped at 4.15. The first twelve miles is poor
country, being on the top of stony rises, with eucalypti, grass, and
scrubs. After descending from the rises, we crossed a wooded plain,
subject to inundation; no water. The trees are very thick indeed--they
are the eucalyptus, the Eucalyptus Dumosa, the small-leaved tree, another
small-leaved tree much resembling the hawthorn, spreading out into many
branches from the root; it rises to upwards of twenty feet in height. We
have also seen three other new shrubs, but there were no seeds on them.
After crossing the plain we got upon red sandy rises, very thick with
scrub and trees of the same description. We continued on this course
until 2.45 p.m.; then, as there is an open plain in sight, with rising
ground upon it to north-east, and as this scrubby ridge seems to
continue, without the least appearance of water, I have changed to
north-east. Crossed the plain, which is alluvial soil, covered with
grass, but very dry. At 4.15 camped on north-east side, without water. I
would have gone on to the rise, but I feel so ill that I am unable to sit
any longer in the saddle. I have been suffering for the last three days
from a severe pain in the chest. Wind, east. Latitude, 17 degrees 16
minutes 20 seconds.

Thursday, 16th May, Sturt Plains. Sent Thring to see if there is a creek
or a sign of water under the rise. At 8.20 a.m. he returned, having found
no water. It is a low sandy rise, covered with a dense scrub. Started at
8.20 a.m.; course, east. At three miles I was forced to return; the scrub
is so dense that it is impossible to get through. Came back two miles;
changed to 20 degrees west of south to get out of it. At two miles gained
the plain, then changed to the east of south at 10.45. At 2 p.m. there is
no hope of a creek or water. Changed to south-west. At two miles and a
half struck our tracks and proceeded to Lawson Creek. We found the open
parts of the plain black alluvial soil so rotten and cracked, that the
horses were sinking over their knees; this continued for six miles. It is
covered with long grass and polygonum; also a few eucalypti scattered
over it. The scrub we were compelled to return from was the thickest I
have ever had to contend with. The horses would not face it. They turned
about in every direction, and we were in danger of losing them. In two or
three yards they were quite out of sight. In the short distance we
penetrated it has torn our hands, faces, clothes, and, what is of more
consequence, our saddle-bags, all to pieces. It consists of scrub of
every kind, which is as thick as a hedge. Had we gone further into it we
should have lost everything off the horses. No signs of water. From south
to west, north and north-east nothing visible but Sturt Plains, with a
few sand rises having scrub on them, which terminate the spurs of the
stony rises. They are a complete barrier between me and the Victoria. I
should think that water could be easily obtained at a moderate depth in
many places on the plains. If I had plenty of provisions I would try to
make it by that way. The only course that I can now try is to the
north-east or east, to round the dense scrub and plains. At sundown
arrived at Lawson Creek. The horses, owing to the dryness of the grass,
drank a great quantity of water; they are falling off very much. Wind,

Friday, 17th May, Sturt Plains. I must remain here to-day to mend
saddle-bags, etc. I have sent Thring to north-east to see if the stony
rises continue in that direction. He has returned and gives a very poor
account of the country. He crossed them in about six miles, and again
came upon the plain that we were on yesterday, extending from north-east
to south. Nothing but plains. To the north is the dense scrub, thus
forming a complete stop to further progress. From here I fear it is a
hopeless case either to reach Victoria or the Gulf. The plains and forest
are as great a barrier as if there had been an inland sea or a wall built
round. I shall rest the horses till Monday, and will then try a course to
the north-west, and another to north-east. I have not the least hope of
succeeding without wells, and I have not sufficient provisions to enable
me to remain and dig them. It is a great disappointment to be so near,
and yet through want of water to be unable to attain the desired end.
Wind, south-east.

Saturday, 18th May, Lawson Creek. Resting horses, etc. Wind, south-east.

Sunday, 19th May, Lawson Creek. Wind, south-east.

Monday, 20th May, Lawson Creek. Started at 7.25 a.m., course 45 degrees,
with Thring, Woodforde, and seven horses. The first four miles was over
the stony rises; the next three, sandy table-land, with spinifex,
eucalyptus, and scrub. Crossed part of Sturt Plains, open and covered
with grass. Five miles of it were very heavy travelling-ground, very
rotten, and full of holes and cracks. At about thirty miles camped on the
plains. We have seen no birds, nor any living thing, except kites and
numerous grasshoppers, which are in myriads on the plains. From this
place to the east, and as far as south-south-west, there is no rising
ground within range of vision--nothing but an immense open grassy plain.
The absence of birds proclaims it to be destitute of water. We have not
seen a drop, not a creek, nor a watercourse during the whole day's
journey. To-morrow I shall again try to get through the scrub. On leaving
the camp this morning, I instructed Kekwick to move the party about three
miles down the creek to another water hole, the feed not being good.
Wind, east.

Tuesday, 21st May, Sturt Plains, East. Started at 7.10 a.m. Passed
through a very thick scrub seven miles in extent. We again entered on
another portion of the open plains at ten miles from our last night's
camp. Nothing to be seen on the horizon all round but plains. Changed to
300 degrees, to where I saw some pigeons fly. At two miles came across
their feeding-ground; skirted the scrub until we cut our tracks. No
appearance of water. This is again a continuation of the open portion of
Sturt Plains; they appear to be of immense extent, with occasional strips
of dense forest and scrub. We had seven miles of it this morning as thick
as ever I went through; it has scratched and torn us all to pieces. At my
furthest on the open plain. I saw that it was hopeless to proceed, for
from the west to north, and round to south-south-west, there is nothing
to be seen but immense open plains covered with grass, subject to
inundation, having an occasional low bush upon them. I think with the aid
of the telescope I must have seen at least sixty miles; there is not the
least appearance of rising ground, watercourse, or smoke of natives in
any direction. The sun is extremely hot on the plain. Having no hope of
finding water this morning, I left Woodforde with the pack and spare
horses where we camped last night, as the heat and rough journey of
yesterday have tired them a great deal; so much so, that I fear some of
them will not be able to get back to water. Returned to where I had left
him, and followed our tracks back to the open plain. After sundown camped
among some scrub. Wind, south-east.

Wednesday, 22nd May, Sturt Plains. After sunset we saw a number of
turkeys flying towards the stony rises where our main camp is; they
appear to come from the north-west. Upwards of fifty passed over in twos
and threes; and this morning we observed them going back again. Two of
the horses which had been short hobbled walked off during the night,
following our tracks. Saddled and followed, overtaking them in three
miles and a half, standing under the shade of a tree. Unhobbled and drove
them on before us. At 12 o'clock arrived at Lawson Creek. Had great
difficulty in preventing the horses from drinking too much, and, as there
are other holes down the creek, I gave them a little at a time at each.
Found that Kekwick had moved with the party. Followed them, and at three
miles and a half west-south-west arrived at their camp, and allowed the
horses to drink as much as they chose. Poor brutes! they have had very
hard work, eighty miles over the heaviest country, under a burning sun,
without a drop of water. Three of them were those I had on my former
journeys; I could depend upon them; the rest were the best I could pick
from the other lot. They have all stood the journey very well, but could
not have done another day without water. Natives seem to have been about
this water lately, but we have not seen one since leaving our spitting
friend on the Hugh. Wind, east.

Thursday, 23rd May, Lawson Creek. Started 7.45 a.m., course 315 degrees,
with Thring, Woodforde, and seven fresh horses. At fourteen miles came
across a splendid reach of water, about one hundred and fifty yards wide,
but how long I do not know, as we could not see the end of it. It is a
splendid sheet of water, and is certainly the gem of Sturt Plains. I have
decided at once on returning, and bringing the party up to it, as it must
be carefully examined, for it may be the source of the Camfield, or some
river that may lead me through. On approaching it I saw a large flock of
pelicans, which leads me to think that there may be a lake in its
vicinity. There are mussels and periwinkles in it, and, judging from the
shells on the banks, the natives must consume a large quantity. The
gum-trees round it are not very large. The first ten miles of that part
of the plain travelled over to-day is full of large deep holes and
cracks, black alluvial soil covered with grass, with young gum-trees
thicker as we approached the water. This I have named Newcastle Water,
after his Grace the Duke of Newcastle, Secretary for the Colonies. Duck,
native companion, white crane, and sacred ibis abound here. Returned to
bring the party up to-morrow. Wind, south-east.

Friday, 24th May, Lawson Creek. Started at 8 a.m. for Newcastle Water;
arrived at noon. Camped. Sent Kekwick to north-east and Thring to west to
see the length of it; I have had the depth tried. It is about six feet
deep ten yards from the bank, and in the middle seventeen feet. I should
say it was permanent. Thring found it still the same at three miles west.
Kekwick returned after following it for four miles. At two miles there is
a break in it. At four miles it is more of a creek coming from
north-east. Gum-trees much larger. Woodforde succeeded in catching four
fish about ten inches long, something resembling the whiting. I had one
cooked for tea; the skin was as tough as a piece of leather, but the
inside was really good, as fine a fish as I have ever eaten. To-morrow I
shall follow the water to the west; its bed is limestone. Wind,
south-east, with a few clouds. Latitude, 17 degrees 36 minutes 40

Saturday, 25th May, Newcastle Water, Sturt Plains. Started at 7.50 a.m.
and followed the water nine miles round. It still continued, but became a
chain of ponds. As I could see some rising ground north-north-east about
four miles distant, I camped the party and took Thring with me to see
what the country was before us. At four miles we found that the first
part of the rise was stony, but on the top it was sandy table-land,
covered with thick scrub. The view is obstructed to the east-north-east
to north by it; but to the north-west and west there is an appearance of
rising ground, thickly wooded, about twenty miles off. Wind, west.
Latitude, 17 degrees 30 minutes 30 seconds.

Sunday, 26th May, Newcastle Water, Sturt Plains. This morning we were
visited by seven natives, tall, powerfully-made fellows. At first they
seemed inclined for mischief, making all manner of gestures and shaking
their boomerangs, waddies, etc. We made friendly signs to them, inviting
them to come nearer; they gradually approached, and Kekwick and Lawrence
got quite close to them; in a short time they appeared to be quite
friendly. I felt alarmed for the safety of J. Woodforde (who had gone
down the water in search of ducks, and in the direction from which they
had come), and endeavoured to make them friends by giving them pieces of
handkerchiefs, etc. During the time we were talking with them I heard the
distant report of his gun; at the same time Thring and Masters returned
from collecting the horses that were missing. I told them to remain until
the natives were gone, as I wished to keep them as long as possible to
give Woodforde a chance of coming up before they left us; shortly
afterwards they went off apparently quite friendly. Sent Thring and Wall
to round up the horses which were close at hand, and while they were
doing so the natives again returned, running quite close up to the camp
and setting fire to the grass. It was now evident they meant mischief. I
think they must have seen or heard Woodforde, and have lit the grass in
order to engage our attention from him. I felt very much inclined to fire
upon them, but desisted, as I feared they would revenge themselves on him
in their retreat. They did very little injury by their fire, which we
succeeded in putting out. By signs I ordered them to be off, and after
much bother they left us, setting fire to the grass as they went along. I
now ordered Thring and Wall to go with all speed to protect Woodforde. In
about twenty minutes he came into the camp. After leaving us they had
attacked him, throwing several boomerangs and waddies at him; he had only
one barrel of his gun loaded with shot; they all spread out and
surrounded him, gradually approaching from all sides. One fellow got
within five yards of him, and was in the act of aiming his boomerang at
him. Seeing it was useless to withhold any longer, while the black was in
the act of throwing he gave him the contents of his gun in his face, and
made for the camp. In a short time Thring and Wall returned at full
speed; they had passed where he was, and hearing the report of his gun,
made for the place, overtook the blacks, gave chase and made them drop
the powder-flask and ducks (which Woodforde had laid down before firing
when they attacked him); knowing them to be his, they gave up the chase
to look for him, but seeing nothing of him, and two of the natives
supporting one apparently wounded, they returned to the camp, where they
saw him all safe, relating his adventure, his shot-belt still missing. I
sent Thring and him to look for it, and to bring up the missing horses
which they had seen. Wind variable. Cloudy.

Monday, 27th May, Newcastle Water, Sturt Plains. Started at 8.10 a.m.,
course 335 degrees. At 10.20 changed to north; at 1.20 p.m. changed to 90
degrees; and at one mile found water; gave the horses some, and proceeded
north-north-east; at 3.40 changed to 90 degrees to some gums: at one mile
and a half camped. The gums turn out to be thick wood. I went
north-north-west this morning, with the expectation of meeting with
water, or rather a chain of ponds; at four miles, I could see nothing of
them; and, as we were getting into a very thick scrub of lancewood, I
changed to north; and at ten miles on that course, still seeing nothing
of them, I changed to east; at one mile came upon them, found water, and
followed them; their course now, 20 degrees; at one mile found another
pond; in a short time, lost the bed of them in a thick wooded plain.
Found a native path running nearly in my course; followed it, thinking it
would lead me to some other water, but in a few miles it became
invisible. I continued on the same course for nine miles, and found
myself on Sturt Plains, with belts of thick wood and scrub; to the north,
nothing visible but open plains; to north-east, apparently thick wood or
scrub; to north-west and west, apparently scrubby sand hills. The ponds
seem to drain this portion of the plains. Changed to east, to what seemed
to be large gum-trees, thinking there might be a creek; arriving there, I
found them to be stunted gums on the edge of the plain. There is no hope
of succeeding in this quarter. Camped without water. Wind, east.
Latitude, 17 degrees 12 minutes 30 seconds.

Tuesday, 28th May, Sturt Plains, North. Fourteen of the horses missing
this morning before sunrise. From the highest tree nothing is to be seen
from east to north and north-west but immense open grassy plains, without
a tree on them; no hope of water. I must go back to the ponds and try
again to the westward. Did not find the horses until 9.30 a.m., and
started at 10. I observed very large flocks of pigeons coming in clouds
from the plains in every direction towards the ponds. Some time
afterwards we saw them coming back and flying away into the plains as far
as the eye can reach, apparently to feed. Arrived at the water at 1.30
p.m. Wind, east-north-east.

Wednesday, 29th May, Chain of Ponds. Started at 7.20 a.m. with Thring,
Woodforde, and Wall, and nine horses, to follow a native track, which is
leading to the westward. At 9.20 made the track; its course,
west-north-west. At twenty-eight miles camped without water. The track
led us into very thick wood and scrub, and at five miles became
invisible. I still continued on the same bearing through the scrub. We
have again met with the mulga--a little different from what we have seen
before, growing very straight, from thirty to forty feet high, the bark
stringy, the leaf much larger and thicker. Amongst it is the hedge-tree.
We had seven miles of it very dense, when we again met with an open
plain. At three miles entered another dense wood and scrub, like that
passed through in the morning. To-day's journey has been over plains of
grass, through forest and scrub, without water. In the last five miles we
passed through a little spinifex, and the soil is becoming sandy. Wind,

Thursday, 30th May, Sturt Plains. As I can see no hope of water, I will
leave Woodforde and Wall with the horses, take Thring with me, and
proceed ten miles, to see if there will be a change in that distance.
Went into a terrible thick wood and scrub for eleven miles and a half,
without the least sign of a change--the scrub, in fact, becoming more
dense; it is scarcely penetrable. I sent Thring up one of the tallest
trees. Nothing to be seen but a fearfully dense wood and scrub all round.
Again I am forced to retreat through want of water. The last five miles
of the eleven the soil is becoming very sandy, with spinifex and a little
grass. It is impossible to say in which way the country dips, for, in
forty-five miles travelled over, we have not seen the least sign of a
watershed, it is so level. Returned to where I left the others, followed
our tracks back, and at eleven miles camped. Horses nearly done up with
heavy travelling and the heat of the sun, which is excessive. It is very
vexing and dispiriting to be forced back with only a little more than one
hundred miles between Mr. Gregory's last camp on the Camfield and me. If
I could have found water near the end of this journey, I think I could
have forced the rest. It is very galling to be turned back after trying
so many times. Wind, east.

Friday, 31st May, Sturt Plains. Not having sufficient tethers for all the
horses, we had to short hobble two, and tie their heads to their hobbles;
and, in the morning, they were gone. I suppose they must have broken
their hobbles or fastenings; they will most likely make on to our outward
tracks. I have sent Thring and Woodforde to follow them up, while Wall
and I, with the other horses, proceed on our way to the camp. In two
hours they made the tracks before us, and I then pushed on as hard as I
could get the horses to go; being very anxious about the safety of the
party--for, on the first day that I left them, at about seven miles, we
passed fourteen or fifteen natives going in the direction of their camp;
I also observed, this morning, that they had been running our tracks both
backwards and forwards. At three o'clock we arrived, and found all safe;
they have not been visited by them, although I observed the prints of
their feet in our tracks, a short distance from the camp. It was as much
as some of our horses could do to reach the camp. The day has been
excessively hot; wind from north-north-east, with clouds. Latitude, 17
degrees 7 minutes.

Saturday, 1st June, Chain of Ponds. I must rest the horses to-day and
to-morrow, for they look very miserable; our longitude is 133 degrees 40
minutes 45 seconds. Before leaving the Ponds I shall try once more to the
westward--starting from a point three miles west of my first camp on
them. To try from this, for the Gulf of Carpentaria, I believe to be
hopeless, for the plain seems to be without end and without water. If I
could see the least sign of a hill, or hope of finding water, I would try
it; but there is none--if there is a passage it must be to the south of
this. Wind variable, with clouds.

Sunday, 2nd June, Chain of Ponds. The day has again been very hot. Wind

Monday, 3rd June, Chain of Ponds. Started back to the commencement of the
Chain of Ponds, and camped. During the day the sky has been overcast with
heavy clouds. Wind, south-east.

Tuesday, 4th June, Chain of Ponds. Last night one of the horses was
drowned in going down to drink at the water hole. He went into a boggy
place, got his hind foot fastened in his hobbles, from which he could not
extricate himself, and was drowned before we could save him. This is
another great loss, for he was a good pack-horse, and was one that I
intended taking on my next trip to the westward. At about 8 p.m. it began
to rain, and continued the whole night, coming from the east and
east-south-east. It still continues without any sign of a break. The
ground has become so soft that when walking we sink up to the ankle, and
the horses can scarcely move in it. At sundown there is no appearance of
a change. It has rained without intermission the whole of last night and
to-day. I do not know what effect this will have on my further progress,
for now it is impossible to travel. The horses in feeding are already
sinking above their knees. Wind and rain from east and east-south-east.

Wednesday, 5th June, Chain of Ponds. There is a little sign of a break in
the clouds this morning. The rain has continued the whole night. Ground
very soft; it has become about the thickness of cream. The horses can
scarcely get about to feed. Sundown: It has been showery all day; sky
overcast; clouds and rain from same direction, south-east. In the
afternoon some natives made their appearance at about six hundred yards'
distance. As the rain had damped the cartridges I caused the rifles to be
fired off in that direction; and, as the bullets struck the trees close
to them they thought it best to retreat as fast as possible, yelling as
they went.

Thursday, 6th June, Chain of Ponds. During the night it has been stormy,
with showers of rain, and is still the same this morning. Sundown: Still
stormy, with a few drops of rain. Wind, east.

Friday, 7th June, Chain of Ponds. During the night the rain ceased, and
this morning is quite bright. Ground so soft that it is impossible to
travel. Latitude, 17 degrees 35 minutes 25 seconds. Sent Thring some
miles to the west, to see in what state the country is, if fit for us to
proceed, and if he can see any water that I could move the party to, for
I do not like this place. If more rain falls it will lock us in all
together--neither do I like leaving the party with so many natives about.
At one o'clock he returned. The ground was so heavy that he had to turn
at five miles. He could see no water, but a number of native tracks going
to and coming from the west. I shall be obliged to leave the party here,
and on Monday try another trip to the west. If I find water I shall
return and take them to it. The day has been clear, but at sundown it is
again cloudy. Clouds from north-west. Wind from east.

Saturday, 8th June, Chain of Ponds. This morning it has again cleared
off, and there is every appearance of fine weather. If it hold this way I
shall be able to travel on Monday. Sundown: A few clouds. Wind,

Sunday, 9th June, Chain of Ponds. The day has again been fine. Wind,
still south-east.

Monday, 10th June, Chain of Ponds. Started at 7.55 a.m., course 275
degrees, with Thring, Woodforde, and Wall, nine horses, and fourteen
days' provisions. The first five miles were over a grassy plain, with
stunted gum and other trees. It was very soft, the horses sinking up to
their knees. We met with a little rain water at three miles, where the
soil became sandy; continued to be more so as we advanced, with lancewood
and other scrubs growing upon it. At fourteen miles gained the top of a
sand rise, which seems to be the termination of the sand hills that I
turned back from on my west course south of this. From here the country
seems to be a dense forest and scrub; no rising ground visible. Camped at
5 p.m., distance thirty-two miles. The whole journey from the sand hills
has been through a dense forest of scrubs of all kinds--hedge-tree, gum,
mulga, lancewood, etc. We have had great difficulty in forcing the horses
through it so far; they are very tired. It is the thickest scrub I have
yet been in. Ground very soft; heavy travelling, with the exception of
the last five miles, where little rain seems to have fallen. I am afraid
this will be another hopeless journey. I fully expected to have got water
to-night from the recent rains, but there is not a drop. The country is
such that the surface cannot retain it, were it to fall in much larger
quantities. I shall try a little further on to-morrow. I had a hole dug,
to see if any rain had fallen, and found that it had penetrated two feet
below the surface, below which it is quite dry. Wind, east.

Tuesday, 11th June, Dense Forest and Scrub. Leaving Woodforde, Wall, and
the pack-horses, I took Thring with me, and proceeded on the same course
to see if I could get through the horrid forest and scrub, or meet with a
change of country, or find some water. At two miles we came upon some
grass again, which continued, and at another mile the forest became much
more open and splendidly grassed, which again revived my sinking hopes;
but alas, it only lasted about two miles, when we again entered the
forest thicker than ever. At eleven miles it became so dense that it was
nearly impenetrable. The horses would not face it; when forced, they made
a rush through, tearing everything we had on, and wounding us severely by
running against the dead timber (which was as sharp as a lancet) and
through the branches. I saw that it was hopeless to force through any
further. Not a drop of water have we seen, although the ground is quite
moist--the horses sinking above the fetlock. The soil is red and sandy;
the mulga from thirty to forty feet high and very straight; the bark has
a stringy appearance. There is a great quantity of it lying dead on the
ground, which causes travelling to become very difficult. I therefore
returned to where I left Woodforde and Wall, and came back ten miles on
yesterday's journey, and camped. This morning, about 5.30, we observed a
comet bearing 110 degrees; length of tail, 10 degrees, and 10 degrees
above the horizon. Wind, south-east.

Wednesday, 12th June, Western Dense Forest and Scrub. Proceeded to camp
and found all well. This is the third long journey by which I have tried
to make the Victoria in this latitude, but have been driven back every
time by the same description of country and the want of water. There is
not the least appearance of rising ground, or a change in the
country--nothing but the same dismal, dreary forest throughout; it may in
all probability continue to Mr. Gregory's last camp on the Camfield. My
farthest point has been within a hundred miles of it. I would have
proceeded further, but my horses are unable to do it; they look as if
they had done a month's excessive work, from their feet being so dry, the
forest so thick, and the want of water. Thus end my hopes of reaching the
Victoria in this latitude, which is a very great disappointment. I should
have dug wells if my party had been larger, and I had had the means of
conveying water to those engaged in sinking the wells. I think I could
accomplish it in that way; but by doing so, I should have to divide the
party into three, (one sinking, one carrying water, and one at the camp),
which would be too small a number where the natives appear to be so
hostile. I have not the least doubt that water could be obtained at a
moderate depth, near the end of my journeys, amongst the long thick
timber, which seems to be the lowest part of the country. I had no idea

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