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McKinlay's Journal of Exploration in the Interior of Australia by John McKinlay

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an apparent northerly course; this hill is detached from the main mass of
range and distant from four to five miles. It and the most of the
intervening space between the camp and it is literally one mass of quartz
and quartz-reefs, mica, etc., and on top of range is a sort of flaggy
slate, all apparently having undergone the action of fire--this range I
have called Sarah's Range; it bears from camp 323 degrees seven miles; a
great deal of spinifex and abrupt creeks between camp and it, not a speck
of gold visible but it appears to have undergone the action of fire; this
is another day lost. Such detention makes me quite irritable and fidgety.

Thursday, April 24.

Camp 41. Night mild, warm morning. Bearing of 345 degrees for three
miles, within which distance three tributaries from the range from the
west cross us, not of any great size. Change course to 352 degrees, the
ground being rather stony and full of spinifex, and the side creeks very
sandy, and little hopes of water for the animals although plenty could be
had for our own use. At one mile, tributary; at two miles another; four
and a quarter miles another; at seven miles junction of two, where we
camp; although the distance is short, the bullocks being absent this
morning when I left camp, and it appears had gone towards our old camp
about eight miles before they were overtaken. I hope all the animals will
be at hand in the morning to enable us to make a good day of it tomorrow.
Just below the junction of these two creeks (although the southern one is
only a small one and in it we got the water) the creek is from 250 to 300
yards broad with splendid gums in it on its banks. Although I searched up
and down the main creek some distance still no water to be found, the bed
of the creek is so very sandy. My reason for camping at so short a stage
was that from the top of the hill I was on I fancy I could discern a
continuation of dry-looking country beyond this creek. Very little
spinifex on the way today; plenty of grass and very good travelling;
masses of quartz and mica all along our tracks; ridges low with some
spinifex run in considerably to the east towards the main creek--lots of
myall and other shrubs. The natives are busy burning on the ranges some
distance west of this and have been burning daily ever since we came on
the creek, and I suppose are still unaware of our presence or they would
have paid us a visit. For the last 150 miles at least there have been on
the slopes and tops of all the ranges decaying red anthills, not tenanted
and gradually decaying--many of them appearing like sharp spires and
washed in every shape by the rains and the weather.

Friday, April 25.

Camp 42. Mild night, warm morning. Animals all at hand for a good start.
Bearing of 352 degrees; crossed good-sized creek at three and a half
miles; another good-sized creek at eight miles; and at ten and a quarter
miles another, but deep. During first part of the journey over good open
white gum and myall forest; last part ridgy, with spinifex; quartz all
the way; at twelve miles and a half crossed creek; at fourteen and a half
miles crossed creek; native got water by digging in the sand; at sixteen
and a quarter miles changed course to 5 degrees, the ridges and spurs
coming too much in my way; four and three-quarter miles on this last
bearing to a mound of slabs of sparkling stony-like mica, about fifty
feet, and two mounds of similar form, but wooded on the right, no water;
left Middleton here to tell them to camp for the night and watch the
animals, and went myself westward to endeavour to find water for them in
the morning and found it at three miles on bearing of 301 degrees, so
returned; met them just having dinner; repacked and led them to
water--distance travelled twenty-four miles. This is an immense creek and
is still flowing slowly through and over the sand in its bed; it is
upwards of 300 yards wide, comes from the west and south through the
ranges, joins another about a mile north of this and passes round a small
stony hill on its right bank, then takes a northerly course then, and
lastly as far as I could discern, a north-east course. Very heavy gum
timber. I am sorry to say today our marking chisel was lost so we will
not be able to mark any more trees. The creek I have called the Marchant
after William Marchant, Esquire, of Mananarie. The main creek is now a
very considerable distance east. I hoped to have struck it before this
but the spurs from the main range keep it off. Passed today a vast number
of smaller tributaries from west; immense reefs and masses of quartz and
small ranges composed of shining slabs of a grey, tough and wavy stone
with masses of quartz. A good deal of spinifex but no scrub to interrupt
us. Will make for a distant low spur of main range tomorrow in my course.

Saturday, April 26.

Camp 43. Very mild night; a great many clouds; a likelihood of rain.
Started on bearing of 336 degrees over a vast quantity of strong
spinifex; bad travelling although not very stony. Not so much quartz
today although large piles of it are to be seen. Crossed Marchant's Creek
and at one mile crossed a tributary. At ten miles came to a very fine
creek about 400 yards broad, in one of its branches from sixty to eighty
yards; broad water completely fills the space as far as you can see
southward and westward. I have called it the Williams after Edward
Williams, Esquire, of the North of Adelaide. Immense holes in a light
blue rock in the creek a few hundred yards north of this full of water
and apparently very deep, an abundance immediately beyond in the creek,
which appears to flow northward. I have come rather a short journey today
as the sheep and bullocks had no time to feed yesterday. Very cloudy and
sultry. Lots of small fish in this creek, none yet seen longer than three
inches; amongst them are a lot of fish about the same size or a little
larger, with fine vertical black stripes commencing at the shoulder and a
black tip to lower part of tail--body generally lighter-coloured than the
other fish.

Sunday, April 27.

Camp 44, Williams Creek. Mild night, not so like rain this morning.
Bearing of 355 degrees crossing this creek at an acute angle, crossed
this creek again at three miles, crossed again at five miles--creek close
on the right; at six and one-eighth miles crossed a deep tributary at its
junction--heavy timber, plenty of water. Williams Creek still close on
the right full of spinifex on the slopes and short rough abrupt creeks;
bad travelling; at seven and three-quarter miles commenced travelling in
bed of the creek, west side, till eight and three-quarter miles, the
creek bearing off more to the east. At present I keep on my course of 355
degrees, over good country the latter part of course. At thirteen miles
came to and crossed a splendid creek with abundance of water and lots of
fish coming from the hills west and flowing apparently east. This creek I
have called the Elder after Thomas Elder, Esquire, of Adelaide.

Monday, April 28.

Camp 45, Elder's Creek. Last night we slept in the bed of the creek on
the sand. There must have been a terrific flood here lately, such as this
part of the world has not been visited with for many years; between
thirty and forty feet over our heads in the bed of this creek are now to
be seen logs, grass, and all sorts of rubbish left by it; and immense
trees torn up by the roots, and others broken off short at twenty to
thirty feet from their roots--showing the violence of the current. No
doubt there is plenty of permanent water in the range further up in the
last three creeks we have camped on. Mild morning with fleecy clouds.
Wind south-south-west. Another deep creek joins this where we struck it,
coming more from the south-west; water at its junction with this. Plenty
of water up this creek; did not go down it. Our journey today on bearing
of 355 degrees over sixteen and three-quarter miles was over good,
lightly-timbered, well-grassed country and a good deal of flooded
country. Saw no water but lots of birds. Shot an emu. Changed course to
347 degrees for a small hill in the distance and at two and a half miles
crossed several irregular watercourses from the north flowing to south
and east; went then to a small spinifex rise, timbered. At eight and a
half miles struck a creek with water; I have called it Poole's Creek
after Mr. R.T. Poole of Willaston. Distance travelled today twenty-five
and a half miles. After getting into camp myself and Middleton went on to
the hill in front and at two and a quarter miles arrived at it. It is
perfectly detached and stands in the open plain--is very stony or rather
rocky. Open plains to the north and west as far as you can discern; to
the north-north-east appears dark timber which I hope to be the main
creek, and appears to be bearing to north and west. A couple of isolated
hills from fifteen to twenty miles off bearing respectively, the southern
one 251 1/2 degrees, the northern one 254 degrees. The southern one I
have called Mount Elephant, the one to the north Mount McPherson, and the
one I am on Margaret. Another in the distance bearing 258 degrees.

Tuesday, April 29.

Camp 46, Poole's Creek. This creek takes its rise from the westward on
the plains between this and the hills which are now a considerable
distance from us; and after passing this encampment bears to east round
by north. Mild morning, wind easterly. Shot two young emus. Pass over
immense plains with small belts of bushes here and there and in places
more especially near the isolated hill on the plain. At eleven and a
quarter miles further came to a watercourse from the westward and flowing
considerably to north of east with plenty of water. Camped to give sheep
and bullocks time to feed, as it was half-past 8 p.m. ere they reached
their camp last night, and one of the bullocks considerably lame.
Distance travelled about thirteen and a half miles. Instead of plains, as
I have called this open country, it is rather very gentle undulations and
a considerable portion of it occasionally inundated as for instance of
late. Another large waterhole in this course at about a mile on bearing
of 355 degrees; the creek then appears to bear off to the eastward. I
will still hold on my course of 15 degrees, but would sooner it were 25
degrees west of north as on that course I would be going pretty direct
for the mouth of the River Albert, now I imagine about 150 miles distant,
if the watch has not put me too much out--it stops sometimes and when it
does go it gains one hour in twelve.

Wednesday, April 30.

Camp 47. Blackfellows burning grass to east-south-east of us; the first
bushfire we have seen; morning pleasant with wind from south-south-east.
Some or nearly all complained of being sick after eating the first emu,
but I liked it much and so did some of the others; they are a great
acquisition and have saved us three sheep; the largest weighed when ready
for the pot forty-eight pounds; the smaller ones when ready for use
thirty-one and thirty-three pounds, and are much better than the old one.
The grass passed over yesterday although abundant is rank and not of that
sweet description we have before seen, but no doubt excellent for cattle
and horses. Just as the animals were being brought in for packing Davis
found, in a small shallow pool nearly dry, numbers of small nice-looking
fish of two sorts--longest not more than three and a half inches; one
sort like the catfish of the Murray, the other spotted like a salmon. For
five miles over timbered plains on a bearing of 345 degrees; at three and
a half miles struck a small creek coming from west and south with plenty
of water; and at five and a quarter miles further an immense deep creek
with water (gum) crossed at rightangles from the western banks which are
very precipitous. I have called it the Jessie. At six miles came to and
crossed a noble river, now a creek as it is not running, but plenty of
water; from 300 to 400 yards broad. At crossing the first, cabbage palm
seen on its western bank between this and the last creek; on left of
course is a splendid belt of white gums on the dry sound flat; this
river, like the other creek, flows from south of west after crossing a
northerly and easterly course; I have called it the Jeannie after a young
lady friend of mine. At fourteen and a half miles came to a fine lagoon
running easterly and westerly; good water in abundance; went round it and
camped north-west side, as the natives are firing close by on the
south-east side; distance nineteen and a half miles. For some
considerable distance back it has been an open timbered country; plenty
of myall and useful white butt gum; drainage as yet all to the east and
slightly north. I thought the Jeannie bore more north but it bore off
again to the eastward; no game of any kind seen today except a turkey; a
great quantity of vines on which grows four or five black fruit, like
peas and extremely hard, from every flower, and on which the emu appears
to feed much. There were also two other vines or runners on which grow an
oblong fruit about one to one and a half inches long, green like
cucumber, but bitter; the other is a round fruit about the size of a
walnut, darker in colour than the other, not so abundant, and which the
emu seems to exist much on at present. Some seeds of each and many
shrubs, flowers, and fruits before new to me I have obtained. A number of
partially-dried lagoons all round this about three-quarters of a mile
long; one is about six feet deep; a very fine sheet of water.

Thursday, May 1.

Camp 48. Beautiful cool breeze from east-south-east; one native seen by
Palmer (who was behind with the bullocks) running the tracks of the
horses and camels, but when he saw Palmer he was off at full speed; it is
strange we don't fall in with more of them in a country where there
appears to be lots of food and water for them; started on bearing of 330
degrees, at 120 yards crossed a partially dry lagoon, at a quarter of a
mile another, then splendid open forest, well timbered and grassed; at
two and a quarter miles struck a creek flowing about 20 degrees north of
east, deep sandy bed, no water, followed it down for one mile bearing 70
degrees and crossed, not being able to get up the opposite banks being so
abrupt; although there is no water here no doubt from the look of the
creek there is abundance both above and below, dead palm tree branches
amongst the creek-wash; bearing of 330 degrees through splendid open
forest and well grassed; at one mile crossed the same creek flowing to
north of west, at three and a quarter miles struck it again and crossed
it flowing to north of east, and just in a turning to north, still no
water in its bed, at three and three-quarter miles struck it again but
did not cross it, it appearing to bear to north-east out of our tracks;
bearing of 290 degrees one mile, creek on right hand; bearing of 330
degrees five miles; then bearing of 322 1/2 degrees for one and
three-quarter miles; bearing of 330 degrees three miles over open plains
with a few shrubs occasionally, came to a small creek flowing to north of
east, plenty of water; distance travelled seventeen and three-quarter
miles; the grass on all the very open country was very dry and little
substance in it, along the large creek passed and crossed various times
reeds first met with; the large creek when last seen was bearing to west
of north a long distance off, beyond an open plain; the creek I am now
upon divides into several branches just here, which makes this one so
small. Shot a new bird--dark grey, large tail, something like a pheasant
in its flight; it always starts from the ground and settles awkwardly on
the trees, its tail appearing a nuisance to it; the specimen shot is too
much torn for preservation. The days now are very warm and the nights
very agreeable. Short as the time is since they must have had the rain
here it is astonishing how it has dried up in many places. The large
creek crossed yesterday I have called the William after a young friend of

Friday, May 2.

Camp 49. Beautiful morning; wind south-south-west. Bearing 330 degrees
over a plain and at three miles crossed a watercourse flowing east; at
three and three-quarter miles crossed another with plenty of water on
right hand flowing to north of east; at seven and three-quarter miles
came to and crossed a narrow deep creek, plenty water, about fifty yards
wide, and have named it the Dugald, flowing north-north-east; small
ranges visible at crossing this creek; beyond a plain at south-west; nice
open forest before crossing this creek; at ten and a quarter miles over
small stony plain, or rather bald hill, as it ascends and descends; came
to and crossed a box and gum small watercourse; dry at crossing; first
part over plain and latter part over myall forest undulations; at twelve
and three-quarter miles came to irregular small creeks flowing to
north-north-east, plenty of water; at eighteen miles came to a small
creek from the ridges on our left with sufficient water for all useful
purposes. From the last creek, undulations of fair and spinifex country;
and slopes of ridges covered with spinifex (slopes to northward). At this
creek there are a number of beautiful shady trees, leaves about four or
five inches broad and from five to six inches long; besides gums and
various other trees. Spinifex on both sides of the creek down to its
edge. A hill of no great height ahead of us in our course for tomorrow.
Saw plenty of turkey.

Saturday, May 3.

Camp 50. Fleecy clouds; wind east-south-east, blew pretty strong towards
morning. Started on bearing of 330 degrees; for first three miles over
spinifex ridge then small grass flat and another small spinifex ridge; at
four miles over a good-sized plain (drainage all towards south and west
towards heavy timber--where there is I suppose a large creek or river
from the south) and across a small spinifex stony range. Cleared it at
twelve and a quarter miles, following along the slopes of the hills,
drainage west and north; at fourteen miles came to a watercourse,
drainage north, abundance of water; followed along numerous watercourses
both on right and left with plenty of water, and along what is here the
principal creek--not so much water in it although it is better defined.
Camped at sixteen miles. The feed on the open ground is as dry as tinder
and not at all of first-class quality, the only green feed being about
the creek and watercourses. A great abundance of those fine shady
broad-leaved trees; they would be a great ornament in a park; it bears an
abundance of seed but not ripe at present although I have taken some of
it. Very sultry.

Sunday, May 4.

Camp 51. Mild night and morning. Our small stock of sheep got out of the
fold in the night and half of them are missing this morning; I hope they
may be got. Sky a good deal overcast. Wind east. I am glad that the
missing sheep, after a little looking for, were found close by; the loss
of them would have deprived us of at least seven days' food, which would
be no light matter in a country where we seldom can even shoot a duck,
much less sufficient for all the party who are now, I am happy to say, in
excellent health. As this creek--which I have called Davis Creek after
one of the party--bears a good deal on my course of yesterday, and has a
good many irregularities near the bank which make it rough travelling, I
have changed my course to north-west or 315 degrees; at one mile cleared
the creek although it keeps pretty close on my present course and appears
to be hemmed in on the right by the last ridge I crossed yesterday; then
over plains and belts of myall gum; at five and three-quarter miles
crossed a small creek flowing northward over similar country, but more
sound; at ten and a half miles crossed a couple of small creeks flowing
northward (the natives burning a short distance on our left); then over a
variety of fair open country and a small portion of very thick and
scrubby myall forest; then over spinifex ridge; then over well grassed
tablelands for several miles; then over pretty thickly timbered spinifex
rise of considerable length; and lastly for the last five miles over
plains, light belts of timber here and there; got to a creek with
sufficient water at twenty-seven and three-quarter miles. Long day,
rather; did not see a drop of water the whole way, but I fancy we could
have had what we desired at the early part of the day but we did not
require it. The sheep and bullocks got to camp about 8 o'clock p.m., an
astonishing journey for the poor little fellows; they are now, with the
constant travelling and the long coarse grass, falling off in condition,
but had they the feed they were accustomed to they would be much better;
as it is they are far from poor--kidneys well-covered yet and fairish
caul fat.

Monday, May 5.

Camp 52. Mild night with dew and calm, still morning; very cloudy and
rainy-like to north and south of east. Heard a native wailing for some
lost friend or relation during the night but as yet have seen none of
them, although they were burning on left of our track yesterday within
two miles. This creek comes from southward and flows to west of north
considerably; it is well defined with box timber, but not at all deep; it
appears more like a side creek to a larger stream. There is here a
considerable plain on both sides and as yet no main creek visible
although I fancy there must be one, all the drainage yesterday being to
left of our course, no doubt to meet some large creek to south and west.
Started on bearing of 315 degrees; crossed the creek obliquely at
starting; then over a plain; at three and a quarter miles into a mulga
forest, or rather belts of it, and amongst which there was at three and a
quarter miles a swamp with water; then over plains and a gentle rise,
thinly interspersed with small lots of shrubs and thin belts of timber
(light); at thirteen and a half miles to a watercourse, sufficient water
for our use, although rather opaque, but we can easily put up with that
once in a way. I have made the journey short today in consequence of
yesterday's one being so long. At the conclusion of today's stage from my
calculations it places me exactly on Gregory's track, twenty miles east
of where he crossed the Leichhardt River. I hope in reality it may be so,
but I am hardly sanguine enough to expect it, taking everything into
consideration--bad time-keeping watch and nothing to go by but the guess
of your horse's pace.

Tuesday, May 6.

Camp 53. Dull morning, cloudy, wind south-south-west. A vast number of
galahs, corellas, macaws, cockatoo parrots, hawks, and crows here.
Started on bearing of 310 degrees over alternate plains and through belts
of small timber. At seven miles passed swampy country where some heavy
belts of timber are to the right of course. A great number of birds;
water I am sure could be had if required; over alternate plains and
strips of forest as before. At seventeen and three-quarter miles came to
a native camp near swamp (water). Saw two of them in the distance some
few miles further, but they scampered off and I did not go after them.
Over similar country, latterly more open and even. At twenty-two and a
half miles struck the Leichhardt River at what appears an island. Plenty
of deep water; banks too precipitous for the animals to water. Followed
down it bearing 330 degrees for two and a half miles and came to a bend
of the river. Good sound watering-place; shingly and sandy beach for
about a mile. Camped near the upper end of it. Hodgkinson caught a small
fish; large one seen but not caught. It is a splendid river and from bank
to bank is from 150 to 180 yards where we are encamped; but the water is
here and for nearly a mile confined to a space of fifteen to twenty
yards. Here on the western side, and a little further in at a
crossing-place on the eastern side where it is still running a nice
little stream, stony bottom, and only a couple or three yards wide.

Wednesday, May 7.

Camp 54. Very dull morning and sultry; every appearance of rain, sky
perfectly overcast. Started down bed of river on east side on bearing of
37 degrees for one and one-eighth miles; crossed; a quarter of a mile on
bearing of 220 degrees; bearing 260 degrees for one mile, following along
the western banks of river, where it is full of sand and timber, and
fully 500 yards wide; bearing 282 degrees, still along the banks for half
a mile; then bearing of 310 degrees as the river goes suddenly off north
and eastward; one mile on last bearing through, since crossing river,
pretty open forest land; on bearing of 352 degrees at one and a quarter
miles came to a fine lagoon or swamp with plenty of water and green
grass; bearing of 352 degrees, at half a mile further crossed a deep dry
creek going west to or by the swamp, at one and a half miles further came
to and crossed a deepish creek from the south and west, sandy bottom
(water); at one and three-quarter miles further struck the river, plenty
of fresh water, and good crossing if necessary; at two and three-quarter
miles further came to a nice lagoon, plenty of water and feed, river
apparently some distance off, on the right; at seven and three-quarter
miles further over open forest and plains with light timber. Seeing no
chance of water ahead changed course for the Leichhardt; bearing of 109
1/2 degrees for 3 and one-third miles to river; crossed it and camped in
the sandy bed; lots of stones for the last two miles and stony about the

Thursday, May 8.

Camp 55. Strong south breeze, all appearance of rain blown away. Started
on bearing of 355 degrees, water in the way; at one mile, between the
start and that, there were stones and a little spinifex; then over open
plains, small belts of clumps of small trees; halted at nine and a half
miles; water quite sufficient for our use. I never saw such flights of
Sturt's pigeons--at times completely darkening the ground over which they
flew--a vast body of them seem to be wending their way to north-west from
south-east, but vast numbers are here on the plains notwithstanding;
natives burning on the Leichhardt in all directions, and one or two fires
towards the Albert; took Middleton with me to ascertain what kind of
country there is between camp and coast. On bearing of 355 degrees at six
miles came to and crossed a creek, plenty of water, flowing to
north-north-east; at sixteen and a half miles struck a creek with heavy
box and gum timber, and water where we struck it in small lagoons and
side creeks. Camped; natives burning ahead of us and a little east. A
great portion of the country we have come over from camp is inundated and
has now coarse grass and reeds. This creek flows here about north; south
of this it comes more to the north-north-east.

Friday, May 9.

Middleton and I still out; party in camp. Started on bearing of 40
degrees; wind strong, south; at three and a half miles struck the creek,
now a very considerable size and flowing to the eastward and a little
south; followed it for a quarter of a mile, keeping it on the left on
bearing of about 110 degrees, and crossed it at a long grassy flat; in
its bed native wurlies between where we first struck it and crossed it;
bearing of 40 degrees, long deep reach of water, banks well defined;
bearing of 40 degrees, at three-quarters of a mile, creek, recrossed same
on a bed of lava, all rent, abundance of water; at five and a half miles
further struck the Leichhardt, its bed vast sheets of stones--rocks and
small stones opposite side, lower down--the water in its bed is about or
upwards of 150 yards wide; at two miles, bearing of about 210 degrees,
struck the river at a stony and rocky fall and went westward half a mile
to avoid the bend; struck river again at three miles on same course as
above; then at four miles struck the river, water in its full width now
upwards of 250 yards, a splendid-looking place, and lined on its banks
with splendid timber of various kinds, with a variety of palms, etc.;
then to the southward of south-west for between six and eight miles, but
the rugged banks were so intricate that it was impossible to calculate
the distance correctly; in a great many places, half a mile from the
riverbanks, the plains drop off precipitously from three to ten feet, and
slope off in undermined deep earthy creeks, finishing at last in deep
reedy creeks close to the river; water in nearly all the side creeks and
compelled us to keep out, but sometimes we were caught in them, thinking
the timber we were advancing to was a lagoon or belt of timber, and then
we were compelled to go round it; then cross a very fine creek running
into the river the same, I believe, we crossed yesterday about six miles
from camp on our outward course. From this to our camp I make out about
thirteen miles on a bearing of about 200 degrees; got to camp about 8
p.m., for the last seven miles guided by a roman candle shot off at the
camp. Fireworks are most useful in expeditions of this kind as in many
cases some of our party have been guided up to camp near midnight.

Saturday, May 10.

Camp 56. Very cold during the night; in the morning wind south-east but
beautiful weather. Started on bearing of 20 degrees over land subject to
frequent inundations, with reeds thinly scattered over it and narrow belt
of small timber. At twelve miles came to and crossed the creek seen on
our way out on Thursday afternoon last, about six miles from camp (56 the
camp). At thirteen miles struck a lagoon, then another, and another at
fourteen and a quarter miles, all of which have abundance of water; at
the last of which I encamped, excellent feed. I forgot to mention that
yesterday on return to camp from first striking in Leichhardt's River I
observed apparently a native firing the grass a short distance on my
right. I made towards it and saw one coming steadily towards us, still
spying us, retreated at full speed; as I had some fish-hooks and line I
was determined to pull him or her up. Started off and overtook what
turned out to be a gin and her piccaninie, and had a load of something,
which in her retreat she dropped. She screamed and cooeed and set fire to
the grass all around us to endeavour to get rid of us, but all to no
purpose. I held out to her a fish-hook but she would not take them to
look at even, but busied herself screaming and firing the grass; upon
which I got off the horse and approached her. She immediately lifted up
her yam-stick in the position the men throw their spears, and prepared to
defend herself, until at last she quieted down on observing the
fish-hook, and advanced a step or two and took it from me, evidently
knowing the use of it. I then gave her a line and another hook, and by
signs explained to her that I would return in the direction the day
following. She wished me to understand something, holding up four of her
fingers, but what she meant I could not guess. I tried to make out from
her how far the coast was, making motions as if paddling a canoe, but
could not get any information; as soon as we were clear off she set to
work to make an immense smoke to attract the notice of her people to give
them the news. This afternoon three of the party went over
east-south-east about three-quarters of a mile to the river and caught
about a dozen fish of small size and three different sorts, and a turtle
about a foot long. The river during the day has almost always been in
sight from thirty six miles off till crossing the creek, when it was not
more than one mile off.

Sunday, May 11.

Camp 57. Could not have finer weather for travelling; abundance of feed,
though on anything like high ground it has shed its seed and is now dry;
plenty of good water as yet and fair feed round it generally. Lagoons
wooded round generally with rusty gum, box, and white gum; wind
east-south-east and pleasant. Started to clear some broken slopes ahead
towards the river on bearing of 345 degrees. At two miles over plains
came to and crossed a creek running into the river about a mile off; at
two and a quarter miles changed course to 9 degrees, over open
country--generally sloping to north-east from river with plenty of water
on each side; at six and three-quarter miles struck the river at the
falls. Messenger overtook me to say that one of the bullocks we had been
using for the pack could not be brought on so determined to kill and jerk
him; and went west half a mile on a small creek with running water and
where the feed was better and more green than on the river. The bullock
was got to camp about evening and slaughtered; plenty of guardfish,
swordfish, and sharks under the falls, which are about fifty to sixty
feet high with no current. Deep water above and below, and water oozing
through the fissures of the rock which appears a sort of burnt limestone
and indifferent agate. Found an eatable fruit on a handsome tree of the
palm kind.

Monday, May 12.

Camp 58. Wind south-south-west; not an ounce of fat upon the bullock;
won't take so long to jerk. I started out today to examine the country
ahead, taking with me Middleton and Poole. At one mile over plain 5
degrees; changed course to 355 degrees; at five and a half miles struck
the river and changed course to 285 degrees; at five-sixths of a mile
struck and crossed creek from south to river; at two and five-sixths
miles crossed smaller one from same direction; at a quarter of a mile
further changed course to 340 degrees; at eleven and three-quarter miles
over very bad travelling country, plains subject to much inundation, to a
creek running into the river with splendid water and feed; at twelve and
a half miles came to the river, with an immense sand-spit opposite;
appears to be within the influence of the sea and is about 600 yards wide
and dry half across. A number of pelicans up some distance; water either
brackish a little or with some other peculiarity about it. Started for
apparently another bend of the river, on bearing of 329 degrees. One and
three-quarter miles saw a lagoon, on the left ahead; and as the horses
are tired will bear for it and turn them out. Course 282 degrees,
three-quarters of a mile; abundance of water and feed; lots of geese,
ibis, ducks, and spoonbills. North three-quarters of a mile from this is
the river, about 500 yards wide, treeless on the west bank and cliffs
about twenty to thirty feet high, all round an immense sweep; sandy beach
opposite, within the influence of the sea, a rise and fall of four feet
observed--and at high-water a little brackish. Caught a few fish; the
only thing we had for supper; would have done well had there been
sufficient of them.

Tuesday, May 13.

Started on bearing of 330 degrees for a distant point like river timber
which turned out to be a small hill or ridge with spinifex; a lagoon on
the left at its base; struck it at five miles. At five and a half miles
changed course to 355 degrees; at ten miles first part over firm, small,
stony plains, good country; then at four miles crossed a salty timberless
creek; and then over a succession of salt swampy flats with grassy plots
intervening. Middleton's mare Counterfeit knocked up and he had to stay
with her. I and Poole went on on a bearing of 355 degrees still; at two
miles came to a mangrove creek; at two and a quarter miles the banks of
the Albert River; salt arm, from half to three-quarters of a mile broad.
Returned to Middleton and started back for the Leichhardt River on
bearing of 110 degrees to camp, as soon as we could get water and feed,
to endeavour to get the mare back to camp or part of the way. On bearing
of 110 degrees for about four miles, first part over salt swamps; passed
a long rocky lagoon full of water and half a mile long from north to
south, and several other smaller ones between that and the river;
mangrove banks in all the flat parts. Banks on this side treeless;
country much burnt up. Top tide at least five hours earlier than when we
camped last night; caught a few fish--in all about enough for one but had
to do for the three of us. Rise and fall of river somewhere about five

Wednesday, May 14.

Wind south; was very cloudy during the night and this morning; mosquitoes
very troublesome during the night. Bearing homewards 170 to 215 degrees
for the first eight or ten miles, leaving Poole and Middleton to get on
to our first camp till I bring on the party on the morrow. Got to camp
myself a little after sundown, and to my disgust found all the camels
astray and Bell and Davis in search of them.

Thursday, May 15.

Start Hodgkinson and Maitland on to Middleton and Poole's camp with four
horses, bedding, and provisions on such a course, 25 1/2 degrees west of
north, as will cut their camp. No tidings of the camels. I went out and
hunted about for them till noon, and just as I got to camp Bell and Davis
returned, having camped out all night after them, but saw nothing of
them--the ground is so hard they leave so little impression on the ground
that it is a difficult thing to trace them; however they have got bells
and hobbles on and will at once be again sent after, with, I hope, more
success. I am exceedingly annoyed at the detention here, more so as the
animals don't do so well here as they have done. Hunted still during the
afternoon for them, but without success. All spare hands will start out
in search in the morning; it will be the sound of the bells or the sight
of them only that will recover them, as track them we cannot in this dry
country. Promised the party a treat on arriving within the influence of
the sea on the north coast, so had baked some flour kept in reserve and
each had a liberal allowance served out to him--that with fresh and
excellent mutton and some salt I brought back from the flats gave all
quite a treat. Sent Poole and Middleton theirs on by Hodgkinson and
Maitland, which in their present half-starved condition would be a still
greater treat. We would all have been in better spirits had the camels
not been absent, but will hunt well for them tomorrow and trust we may
recover them.

Friday, May 16.

I with Bell and Davis started out first thing after the camels, leaving
Palmer, Wylde and Kirby in camp. Searched back towards the old camp again
although they had assured me they had thoroughly searched all the leading
creeks, but I had little faith in their search, which the result proved.
At about six miles south-south-west in one of the creeks that they
particularly assured me had been well-searched I, with Davis, found their
traces (Bell having been sent in another direction) and after losing
their track for about six or seven hours succeeded in finding them about
twelve or thirteen miles south and west of this, I fancy more by accident
than anything else, at about an hour and a half to sunset, and
immediately started to camp where they arrived all right and are now tied
up for the night ready for a morning start, and very glad am I that they
are found.

Saturday, May 17.

Camp 58. Sultry, wind east. All the animals ready for a start and happy
am I to turn my back on this camp which I call Rowdy Creek Falls Camp
after the poor little bullock we killed here, which gave us about 70
pounds of such stuff as one could hardly imagine without seeing
it--nothing like a particle of fat visible anywhere and excessively
tasteless. It is fortunate our two remaining bullocks are in better
condition or we would not be in the most enviable plight on our arrival
at the settled districts, Queensland. Started on bearing of 335 1/2
degrees over good open country. At two and three-quarter miles came to
and crossed a creek coming up from south-south-west; in that direction
there are falls and sheets of rock quite across it and forming above and
below them splendid reaches of deep water with numberless ducks, etc.,
and black macaws and gillates in thousands. Plenty of water in our course
beyond the creek for half to three-quarters of a mile; then over plains
intersected with thin belts of small trees, the river not far off on our
right. At seven and a quarter miles changed course to 334 degrees,
keeping a little farther from the river. At fifteen and three-quarter
miles got to camp, found all right. Natives burning grass close upon our
right on the way here to windward at a furious rate. What their
particular object can be in burning so much of the country I cannot
understand. No natives as yet have voluntarily shown themselves. I met
the same lubra and child again near the same place that I before met her,
but she did not this time attempt to fire the grass round me. A short way
on further I met, or rather overtook, another lubra with two children;
she tried at first to conceal herself but when she saw that she was
observed she immediately set to work to burn the grass round us in all
directions. However I got off the horse and walked towards her, holding
out a fish-hook to her; she did not hesitate much but came forward and
took it and I went on my way. Saw no natives since but look where you
may, except north, and you will see fires raging. About two miles from
this and on our left as we came along is a fine lagoon in the midst of
timber. The tide it appears rises here now from six to ten feet. Not many
fish caught.

Sunday, May 18.

Camp 59. Wind easterly; heavy bank of dark clouds to the west and the sun
rose not so bright as usual. Over open plains, bad travelling; on bearing
of 340 degrees at four and a quarter miles struck an immense lagoon
(semicircular) and kept it on our right for nearly three-quarters of a
mile, then still bore 340 degrees for one-seventh of a mile further; then
changed course to 17 degrees; at half a mile struck and went through a
swampy lagoon going east; at three and a quarter miles river close by on
the right; at four and three-quarter miles came to large lagoons in our
course; went a little to the left and passed between two, appears to be a
very heavy one to the left close by. Still on bearing of 17 degrees; at
one and a quarter miles further large lagoon close on right; a couple of
hundred yards further on on the right is a fine creek with abundance of
water and game; at eight miles crossed it still on bearing of 17 degrees;
at two miles further on struck a fine large mangrove creek, a very pretty
spot like an orange grove. Bearing of 321 1/2 degrees for two miles; then
bearing of 35 degrees, crossed the sea running in through mangrove creeks
into the flats like a sluice, and camped at a lagoon and couple of fresh
water-holes close by the river at one mile. We are now perfectly
surrounded by salt water, the river on one side and the mangrove creeks
and salt flats on the other; I question much whether we shall be able to
get to the beach with the horses. Since noon the wind changed to
north-north-west; country very much burnt by the natives--it was dry
enough as it was without the additional use of fire. Lots of the
waterlily in bloom on all the deep waterholes and lagoons, and a very
handsome tree with dark green foliage and a beautiful yellow blossom, and
completely loaded with a round fruit of the size of a crab-apple, now
green, and containing a number of large-sized seeds, some of which have
been gathered, but I fancy they are too green to save the seed.

Monday, May 19.

Camp 60. In camp near the river where are caught occasionally by the
party a few fish, amongst others a young shark which however was not
eaten; started out this morning with the intention of going to the beach,
taking with me Middleton, Poole, Wylde and Kirby, but was quite
unsuccessful, being hindered by deep and broad mangrove creeks and boggy
flats over which our horses could not travel. I consider we are now about
four or five miles from the coast; there is a rise here in the river of
six and two-thirds feet today but yesterday it was a foot higher; killed
our three remaining sheep and will retrace our steps on 21st.

Tuesday, May 20.

Camp 60. Wind yesterday from north and north and east, at daylight this
morning from north, and during the day pretty nearly from all quarters;
afternoon kept more steady from east; sent Hodgkinson and Poole to the
salt flats to collect what will be sufficient for our homeward rambles,
or rather the Queensland settled districts, where we hope to arrive in
due time, the state of the clothing of the party and want of various
things--the principal thing, food, has prevented my directing the steps
of the party to the settled districts of South Australia. A few natives
came to the opposite side of the river this morning during flood-tide and
got up in the trees, and I was a long time in getting any of them
persuaded to cross; at length two of them and then another middle-aged
man ventured on my displaying a tomahawk to them; they were of the
ordinary stamp, and strange to say were neither circumcised nor had they
any of their front teeth out, but were marked down the upper part of the
arm and on the breast and back; after making them a few presents they
recrossed; no information from them, but perhaps we may see something
more of them on a future day. Hodgkinson and Poole returned with from
forty to fifty pounds of good salt, sufficient for our purpose, and we
start in the morning to proceed as far as the Falls, and cross the river
there in the event of not finding a crossing earlier, which I don't
expect. The camels I am sorry to say are getting lame by the burnt stumps
of reeds and strong coarse grass entering the soles of their feet, I hope
they will soon recover. If the bar at the mouth of the river will admit
vessels to enter there is a sufficiency of water at all tides to ship
horses or stock from alongside the banks without any wharf or anything
else, and good country to depasture upon, but the grasses too strong
generally for sheep.

Wednesday, May 21.

Camp 60. Commenced our journey for Port Denison, wind east-south-east. I
forgot to mention before that, running parallel with the river between
this camp and our last, are small ironstone and conglomerate ridges, with
abundance of feed and good sound ground wooded with the silver leaf,
dwarf gum-looking tree, and various others of no great growth but
sightly, and in the ridges, which are of no height to speak of, there are
splendid freshwater lagoons and creeks; came to a lagoon about two and a
half miles south-south-west of our 59 camp on nearly our old tracks;
splendid feed and water. Just as we had started in the morning the
natives made their appearance on the trees on the opposite side of the
river but did not attempt to cross. I suppose we will see enough of them
on our eastern route; this part of the country is well watered and no end
of feed; plenty of it higher than I am, and a considerable variety; the
remainder of our sheep, even with their long journey, fell off but

Thursday, May 22.

Return Camp 1. Beautiful morning; this lagoon is about twelve feet deep,
surrounded by a marsh with abundance of green feed. Not a breath of wind
at sunrise. West of this camp about two and a half miles off is a
considerable-sized creek, by the overflow of which this lagoon is formed
and fed; plenty of water in the creek and in side creeks from it, and
most excellent timber on its banks and flats for building purposes; it
comes up from south-west and after passing this bears off considerably to
west of north. I have called it the Fisher after C.B. Fisher, Esquire, of
Adelaide. Returned today by my north-going track, the approaches to the
river were so abrupt that I could not get a crossing-place; some of the
banks nearly precipitous and from one hundred to one hundred and fifty
feet high, although I saw rocks right across the river and could have
gone over, but could not ascend the banks so came to camp at a lagoon
close to the creek, three and a half miles north 25 1/2 degrees west of
Falls camp. This creek, which comes up from the south-west and flows past
this for some miles yet before it joins the river about north-north-east
of this, I have called Boord's Creek after Samuel Boord, Esquire, of

Friday, May 23.

Camp 2. Started on bearing of 135 degrees; at starting crossed the creek,
and at three and a half miles made the river where it is joined by
another of quite equal size apparently but no crossing-place; so had to
go about one mile south-south-west to the Falls and crossed there with
some difficulty, getting one of the camels and several of the horses down
on the clefts of the rocks and barking their knees a little: just after
crossing and proceeding on bearing of 95 1/2 degrees a marked tree was
observed, the first we had seen, and then close by two others, evidently
by Mr. Landsborough. They were respectively marked on the large tree next
the Falls, a large broad-leafed tree, arrow at 1 o'clock LFE. 15, 1862.
C.5. On the northernmost of the other two trees, about twenty paces to
eastward of the large tree, are a large arrow at 1 o'clock and L facing
the west, and on the other gumtree, a few feet north-east, is the letter
E of large dimensions; facing the opposite way or east we dug round the
tree but could find nothing deposited; saw the remains of broken bottles
and fancied from the broad arrow being pointed upwards that a document in
a small bottle might have been suspended high up in the tree and got at
by the natives, but on after consideration I took the meaning of the
arrow being up that up the river was his course; we saw the traces of his
horses at the marked trees, but the tracks must be quite obliterated up
the river or we must have seen something of them; indeed the heavy rain
that inundated the whole country south commenced where we were on the
27th February, and perhaps he had it a little earlier, which may account
for our not seeing any traces of him ere this. Which way he may have gone
under the circumstances is hard to say, as no doubt he experienced very
rough wet weather indeed, and probably was put to many shifts in
consequence of the heavy overflow of the immense creeks. At scarcely one
mile on bearing of 95 1/2 degrees we came to the falls of the other
branch of the river, and crossed it much more easily than the other; it
is about 400 to 500 yards broad and all conglomerate stone, and quite
treeless or nearly so on its banks as far as the stones went, it then
bore off to the south-east or perhaps east of that; at three miles
further, seeing ridges ahead on our course, we camped at a swamp; lots of
geese and ibis. Marked a small tree near Landsborough's with MK
(conjoined), May 22, 1862, with a knife, as we had no chisel or gouge,
they being lost.

Saturday, May 24.

Camp 3. Heavy dew of late; last afternoon wind fresh from
west-south-west; same this morning but light; geese and all game very
difficult to be got at in this part of the country. Natives burning in
all directions but do not approach us; I almost fancy they have been
reproved for some of their misdeeds to some one or other of the parties
here lately, from their shyness. Bearing of 95 1/2 degrees, half a mile
stony flat; one mile, stony ridge and ironstone flat; two and
three-quarter miles small creek; lagoon with plenty of water.
North-north-east open undulations rather swampy; at three and
three-quarter miles struck and crossed a small creek with a little water,
stony ridges (ironstone) rusty gum, spinifex, etc.; at eleven and
three-quarter miles crossed creek with water from north-east. Left creek
at 11.45; stony ridges, ironstone and slate, with a little spinifex;
rather thickly wooded with rusty gum, silver-leafed gum, etc.; anthills,
turreted shapes. At twenty-one and three-quarter miles came to and
crossed a creek on a plain between ranges; it flows north and east and
takes its rise in the ranges close by to the south-west; plenty of water
and feed. Camped at 3.30 p.m.; take three and a quarter miles off journey
= eighteen and a half.

Sunday, May 25.

Camp 4. No dew; started at 8.35 a.m.; wind south a.m.; afternoon
south-east. Over half a mile open plain; then ridges, and on top of first
range at 9.53; very rocky; spinifex, rusty gum, etc. At twenty minutes
past ten stony flat; at twenty-five minutes past ten crossed creek; at 12
o'clock along creek on the left; at 12.15 rocky hill on right and lagoon
with water close under; top of next hill at 12.50; at 1.5 on the open
plains and undulations and pretty well clear of the stones. Tier of
ranges immediately on the left for a mile or so; at 2.18 crossed dry
creek from west-south-west; at 2.28 came to another creek from the
south-west. They are both dry where struck; followed the last one down,
bearing of 60 degrees for one-third of a mile; water in creek and in a
lagoon on the east side; travelling about six hours besides the one-third
of a mile. Creek flows to north-east; distance about eighteen miles.

Monday, May 26.

Camp 5. I find that my watch, the only one in going order or rather
disorder, gains eleven minutes in the hour with the regulator hard back
to slow--now and then, without any apparent cause, stops; until by sundry
shakings and bumps it is prevailed upon to go again--which is most
unsatisfactory, situated as I am here, in calculating distances. Wind all
night strong from south-east to south-south-east and very cold; no dew.
The waters are drying up very fast; during the afternoon of yesterday the
country looked well; nice open ranges on all sides with a large space of
open country, well grassed in the centre. Started at 8.15 a.m. on bearing
of 95 1/2 degrees; at 9.17 passed till this time rather thickly wooded
(low) small ironstone, pebbly country, well grassed--ridgy on both sides;
at 9.17 entered open plains; large creek ahead; first part of plain much
subject to inundation; at 11.24 lagoon apparently about one mile south.
Hills cease south about four miles; passed a couple of belts of timber,
mistaken in the distance for large creek. At 1 p.m. swampy (dry); at 1.15
small creek with plenty of water and feed, from west-south-west to
north-east or east-north-east; at 1.30 made a swamp with good feed and
water. Camped; distance about seventeen miles. The horizon appears to be
one dense cloud of fire and smoke on our way and on all sides of us; saw
no natives.

Tuesday, May 27.

Camp 6. Cold keen wind from south-south-east. The camels I am sorry to
say are very lame, caused by the burnt reeds running through the soles of
their feet whilst near the coast; boots of leather have been made for the
worst of them but they seem to suffer much, and it pulls the flesh off
them more than their work. Started at 8.40 a.m. on bearing of 95 1/2
degrees; at 9.15 lagoon close by on the left; country all burnt. At 9.45
struck large creek with abundance of water, boggy where struck; spelled,
looking for a crossing till 10.5. Went down the creek north-east or
east-north-east till 10.16; then on bearing of 95 1/2 degrees, till at
10.23 struck what I take to be Morning Inlet, about 150 yards broad with
reeds and grass, no water at crossing; 10.42 left Morning Inlet where we
watered horses. At 2.53 p.m. changed course to 32 1/2 degrees for a belt
of timber, thinking to camp; no water. At 3.12 p.m. changed course to 95
1/2 degrees till three minutes to five, when changed course to 135
degrees until 5.39, then on bearing of 75 degrees till 6.21; no water,
but a very little drop about half a mile back, to which place I returned
and found there was even less than I expected. This is a most deceitful
part of the country; every five minutes you are in expectation of coming
to water but it was our fate to meet none but this muddy little drop,
barely sufficient for our own use, and none for the animals. From about 3
p.m. till we camped heavy belts of swampy box and large gums; many
patches of reeds and coarse grass; water recently dried up; and belts of
plain. Numerous birds seen--cockatoos, hawks, crows, galahs, etc. etc.

Wednesday, May 28.

Camp 7. The bullocks (two) with Palmer and Kirby on horseback and
Maitland on foot did not come up to camp last night, but immediately
after sunrise the two horsemen and bullocks arrived, but not Maitland, he
being on foot from having injured his horse so much as to render him
unfit to ride, as is his usual way with every horse he gets, taking no
care of him whatever. I told him when he injured the last that if he did
the same to this one he should walk; and good to my word I made him walk
yesterday. Rode a short distance at sunrise, having heard some native
companions calling out after daylight, and found within a quarter of a
mile of us, almost within view, two splendid lagoons. Immediately
returned to camp and moved it at once to the nearest one; it bears from
last night's camp nearly due south, a quarter of a mile or little over;
the other lagoon is distant about 300 yards south-east of this. Great
abundance of feed. As the camels are lame and in need of a spell and we
want to kill a bullock and Maitland not come up yet I have made up my
mind to stop here till all are put in travelling order. In the morning
the wind bitterly cold from south-east to south-south-east. Middleton has
been laid up for the last three days and lost the use of his legs
yesterday afternoon but hope he will soon be all right again. He is much
better today; I should get on indifferently without him. Although we met
with no water coming along last afternoon I have no doubt but that there
was plenty of it, as the natives were burning everywhere as we came
along, particularly close on our right. It is still a splendid country
for grass and timber. As soon as we moved to camp we had one of the
bullocks (Boxer) up and killed; he is very fair beef. The other is not so
good, but stands being kept in hobbles; whereas this one would not or he
would have been kept till last on account of his better condition.
Providentially Maitland made his way to camp late this afternoon. Had we
been obliged to go on again a stage without luckily hitting upon this
place I think he would have gone frantic as he appeared in a sad state of
mind on his arrival; I hope it will be a caution to him in future to see
to his horse better.

Thursday, May 29.

Camp 8. Wind as yesterday and cool. I am sorry to say I have three of the
party on the sicklist--all seized first with cold shivering then
excessive heat, ultimately a numbness and want of proper use of their
limbs, sickness, and want of appetite and headache. They are Middleton,
Hodgkinson, and Kirby. They are confined to bed; but I hope with a little
care will soon recover, as it is an awkward part of the world to be taken
ill in. Getting the meat jerked and putting the pack-bags, etc., to
rights. The other bullock as yet appears to stay contented; he came up
during the night and took a survey of his dead companion and quietly
returned to his feed.

Friday, May 30.

Camp 8. Wind as usual, south-east to south-south-east; keen and cold, the
day pretty warm. The invalids I think a little better, but far from well.
The sore-footed camels improve; but my impression is that their feet will
not thoroughly get well till they arrive in the settled districts where
they can have a spell for some time. Meat-drying, bag-mending,
horse-shoeing, with other little matters. If these lagoons are permanent
(and no doubt there are many more) this is a splendid pastoral country,
feed good enough for any stock and timber to suit almost any purpose.
There are here several fruit-bearing trees but unfortunately the stone
happens to be the largest portion of the fruit and at present none of
them are ripe. A vast quantity of large beans are here on a runner, the
same that Dr. Leichhardt used, when burnt, for coffee and rather seemed
to like. None of our party seem to care trying it, although we have now
nothing but meat and salt and from four to five pounds of flour to make
gruel in case of sickness. All have been till within the last few days in
excellent health and nowise short of appetite. From the time we are out
beyond what was anticipated I suppose the people of Adelaide have given
us up as lost. I hope however they will not think it necessary to send a
search party out after us.

Saturday, May 31.

Patients about the same. Middleton rather worse. Wind in the morning from
south-east and south-south-east, at midday changed to east, then north
and afterwards to north-north-west. Meat nearly dry.

Sunday, June 1.

Still in Camp 8. Patients about the same, very weak and feverish, but
must endeavour to make a move tomorrow. Wind from north, north-west to
west, and rather warm. Had a visit from a number of natives, they do not
appear so shy as usual; they do not circumcise but have one or two teeth
out in front of upper jaw. From what I could see the young men are not
allowed to talk, but merely making a hissing and twittering noise to make
themselves understood, and pointing and motioning with the hand whilst
the old men do the talking business. I could make but little out of them.
I made them a few presents with which they seemed much pleased; got a few
words of their language and with a promise to return tomorrow they took
their leave. They are not at all such a good sample as are at the lakes
north and east of Lake Hope. They say there is plenty of water ahead on
the course I intend to take, but from want of knowledge of their language
could glean nothing of the parties that came in search to the north
coast; but that they have seen whites was quite evident from their
knowledge of the use of the axe. They seemed much in dread of the camels,
the only animals that were near the camp at the time, and expressed by
motions a desire that they should be driven away.

Monday, June 2.

Camp 8. The heaviest dew last night I have experienced for many years,
accompanied by a dense fog till between 8 and 9 a.m. Wind from
west-north-west. Palmer attacked with same fever that the rest have. The
others very weak but I think a little better. Made a start this morning
at 9.20 a.m. on bearing of 95 1/2 degrees; at 10.14 lagoon on right; at
10.27 crossed creek with plenty of water from south-south-west; at 11.50
lagoon on right--all forest land with a greater number of the paper-bark
tree than any other; at 11.15 much spinifex; at 11.20 creek close on left
with plenty of water; at 11.35 crossed creek, it goes off into many
lagoons southwards and eastwards; good grass and plenty of water, not
much spinifex, the country rather too thickly wooded to be open forest.
Halted at lagoons on the left at 1.20 coming from south of east and
flowing to north of west. Although this country is rather too thickly
wooded to be called open forest it is still an excellent pastoral
country, the grasses sweet and plenty of water, the lagoons being covered
with nymphans or waterlily, and the soil sandy. We passed many patches of
burnt ground, some burnt earlier than the rest, having green grass nine
to twelve inches high. Stopped short today on account of the patients who
are very weak, Kirby in particular; distance travelled twelve and a half
miles. In the afternoon wind from west-north-west. Saw nothing of the
natives this morning before starting. Several palms seen through the
forest, a few close by this camp of no great height; the feed in general
is very dry except in the neighbourhood of the creeks or lagoons.

Tuesday, June 3.

Camp 9. Wind south; considerable dew but nothing to the night before.
There is a good deal of spinifex here and the timber is nothing like so
strong or good as around yesterday's camp and for miles on all sides of
it. Three creeks appear to rise here and join and become one, all from
the southward of east to north of west. Started at 9.8 a.m., the horses
having strayed some distance back to the burnt feed. Bearing 95 1/2
degrees, open forest with spinifex; at 10.30 crossed small creek (dry);
at 10.45 crossed small sandy creek (dry) water on the right; at 11.30
watered horses and then crossed creek from west-south-west to
east-north-east, small creek from south joins close by; at 1.25 crossed
creek with water; at 2.12 crossed sandy creek from north-east to south
and another close by, then scrub and rather thick forest till 5.50, then
camped no water; distance about twenty-six and a half to twenty-seven
miles. One of the horses (Harry) after being ridden into camp appeared to
blow a good deal and from little to more till at last he got seriously
ill and died at 9 p.m. He must have been poisoned or bitten by a snake.

Wednesday, June 4.

Camp 10, or Harry's Camp, after our dead horse. Wind southerly. Started
at 7.18 a.m., still on bearing of 95 1/2 degrees; crossed sandy creek
(dry) from north-east to east-south-east; at 9.52 crossed same creek
still dry running to north of east; at 9.15 recrossed same; at 9.20
recrossed; at 9.25 recrossed the creek not far off on the right; country
rather scrubby. Sent Hodgkinson to follow the creek round to ascertain if
water existed in it and if so to stop or overtake us. Went on till about
10.30 when Hodgkinson overtook us having found sufficient water for our
use. Returned at once to it about a mile back and camped. The old female
camel done up; will leave her saddle as it is much knocked about and
divide her load between the others and the horses; she may follow which I
think she will; distance on course to camp about eight and a half miles.
The patients improving, Kirby remains very weak and spiritless. This
morning wind cool from southward; during the day changed round to
east-south-east and in the evening to west-south-west and rather cloudy.
This is a wretched little creek, for some miles sandy, now in its bed are
layers of stone and clay; it frequently loses itself on the flat land.
The timber in the forest consists of two kinds of papery-leafed bark
trees, box, gum, and a very handsome tree, leafless but bears a flower,
besides various shrubs, etc., and spinifex.

Thursday, June 5.

Camp 11. Mild morning, wind from southward and cool, no dew. Started at
9.4 on bearing of 95 1/2 degrees. Creek close on right. At 9.37 crossed
creek. At 9.48 receives a tributary from east-south-east (no water). Very
scrubby for a few miles and then more open forest. At 12.38 came to a
large and broad creek or mass of creeks or river. Water not abundant on
account of its being sandy in its bed. As the camels have had to be tied
up for the last two nights, the country being so densely timbered, I stay
here and camp. Followed the river down about three-quarters of a mile
west-north-west, which appears to be its course. Here it is upwards of
300 yards broad, banks no great height. Distance on course ten and
three-quarter miles. Wind about 11 a.m. changed round to east and north
of east and warm; as we got to camp it blew gently from west-north-west.
Patients except Kirby mending gradually. I should imagine the river to be
the Flinders but if so it must turn after it passes this very much to the
west to enter the sea near where it is laid down on the charts. Its bed
pretty well the whole way across is wooded with the paper-like barked,
narrow-leafed tree, and a few other shrubs. It appears as if there was
not at all a heavy flood down it this season as few or none of the trees
are washed down.

Friday, June 6.

Camp 12. Dull morning, rather cloudy. Patients much improved. The female
camel left behind yesterday has not made her appearance yet, still I have
little doubt but that she will follow. Not a breath of wind at sunrise.
Started at 8.17 a.m. Still on general course bearing of 95 1/2 degrees
over open-timbered, well-grassed land. Afterwards at 10.11 came to and
crossed same river from north-north-east to south-south-west. It was not
far off all the morning to the right. Spelled seven minutes till 10.18.
At 10.36 recrossed river where it is stony and rocky with sand in its
bed, coming from south. At 11.3 struck river on right but did not cross.
Followed along its north-east bank till 11.15. Still close by at 11.27.
At 12.50 crossed small sandy creek from south. Spelled for six minutes
till 12.56. Then bearing along the creek till 1.11 p.m. on bearing of 325
degrees three-quarters of a mile; distance on proper course 95 1/2
degrees thirteen and a quarter miles. Just after camping I found that
what I take to be the River Binoe is about 120 yards east of us, flowing
about 322 degrees, with a lagoon on east bank, with yellow lilies. The
small creek we are camped on has plenty of water. The Binoe River has
none just here. All the creeks and the river have lots of cork-screw
palms in and near them. Good forest all day and abundance of grass.

Saturday, June 7.

Camp 13. But little dew last night. The old camel has not come on;
perhaps she will remain until she freshens up a little and then shape her
way south or east. No wind, beautiful morning. Hodgkinson shot a native
companion; have seen no game for some days. Started at 8.40 on bearing of
110 degrees. In four minutes crossed the Binoe. At 9.8 came to and
recrossed river or creek Binoe. At 9.45 crossed creek with rocky bed and
with water from east by south. Spelled five minutes till 9.50. Quartz
ridges. At twelve o'clock spurs running to south and west. At 1.40 from
top of hill dismal view seen ahead; nothing but bare burnt up ranges.
Struck the River Flinders or one of its largest branches at 2.18 p.m.
Crossed over and camped at a long sheet of water in its bed on
south-eastern side. Distance on course sixteen and three-quarter miles.
The journey today has been over thick scrubby forest which tore our
pack-bags a good deal. From 9 a.m. the ground was a good deal strewed
over with small ironstone pebbles, not bronzed as they usually are, till
9.45 then ridges and ranges of quartz and sandstone. Drainage south and
west. A high range on the left, some 6 to eight miles off, wooded to its
top. Immediately below it runs the Binoe I think. Course of the range is
about 100 degrees. This watercourse comes here from the north-north-east
or even north of that, and bears away to the south-south-west as far as
discernible. Wind during the day from east to south-east. As this is a
good place for killing I will kill our last bullock as he has become a
nuisance in driving the horses by rushing among them on the march and out
through them in front and on all sides, causing them to travel in an
unsteady manner and assisting to further tear the bags. All the patients
getting on well. Natives burning down this creek or river some little
distance and ahead and a little to the left of our course today, the
first we have seen for a few days. I omitted to mention a couple of days
ago falling in with a number of frameworks about six feet long by four
wide and three high, risen by four forks placed on the ground, then side
pieces, and the top covered with similar pieces closely all over
lengthways, and on top of that grass; then fires at head, feet and both
sides. I should say to sleep on during wet weather. Killed our bullock
but little fat on him, but he is not of a fat kind.

Sunday, June 8.

Camp 14. Wind from east and north of east in the morning. Cutting up and
drying the beef; the fat drying won't detain us. A great abundance of the
River McKenzie bean here on the sandy parts of the watercourse. Here the
watercourse is about 100 yards broad, in many places bergues of sand
separating it into different channels. Wild dogs abundant. Saw traces of
kangaroo, emu, and wallaby on our way here yesterday. Wind changed during
the afternoon to south-east and south-south-east. This sheet of water is
from 250 to 300 yards long and twenty yards broad. Kirby much better and
the others getting quite convalescent.

Monday, June 9.

In Camp 14. Drying the beef, shoeing, mending pack-bags, and various
other little things etc. No dew last night. Still morning. Most beautiful
weather. What little wind there is is from south by west but hardly
perceptible. I took Middleton with me to go out to reconnoitre and feel
our way for next stage through the hills ahead. Found that the
watercourse comes from north or a little west of north from between the
heavy-timbered ranges to north and west, and bald hills, or nearly so, to
north and east, and probably winds round nearer its source more to the
east. A number of thinly-wooded hills with small creeks running from them
to west and south appear to run round south for some distance, perhaps
ten to fifteen miles or more. Beyond the highest in the distance the
natives are busy burning, and this leads me to suppose they are on the
other or principal branch of the Flinders River; but I shall know more
about it in a few days. Abundance of water in the small creeks as far
east and south as I went today and some lagoons in the flats. The natives
commence their range of fires from 20 degrees west of south to 30 degrees
east of south, and I think I shall find that it will meet me on my
course. Wind in the afternoon from south by east, strong occasionally,
towards evening it died away. Beef now dry. We start from here tomorrow
if all is right and we have nothing more to detain us. The horses are
shod except one and that one, one of the best, no shoes being large
enough. I hope he will be able to get along. Our food now consists of
about 230 pounds of dry and salt beef, everything else in the shape of
food gone but I think we will have sufficient to carry us into the
settled districts of Queensland on the Burdekin River where we will be
able to get a fresh supply. We have a little salt and amongst the lot
about half a pound of soap.

Wednesday, June 11.

Camp 14. The bed of this branch here is one mass of concrete and
conglomerate, with small and large masses of ironstone, just as if it had
lately escaped from a furnace, with pebbles and pieces of quartz, some
sandstone, and sandstone in which is a mass of quartz. In many other
places it is quite a bed of sand its full width, and in other places
separated into different branches by bergues of alluvial deposit and
sand, with trees of different kinds and shrubs and reeds upon them. There
is a table-topped hill down on or near the north-west bank a few miles,
lightly wooded from north-north-east to south-west and apparently stony.
Not a breath of wind at daylight; afterwards in forenoon from
east-south-east. Started at 8.30 a.m. on bearing of 110 degrees, for
first few miles through open forest intersected with small creeks flowing
to west and south, some containing water with lagoons on the flat
occasionally, the drainage of the ranges to the eastward and north of our
course. The spurs coming down close on our left stony but well-grassed
and very lightly timbered, in fact nearly bald ridges. Over first stony
ridge at 10.10 and considerable-sized double creek at 10.17, dry at
crossing. Top of next high range at 11.15; five and a quarter miles. Very
extensive view. Spelled on top of hill waiting for the camels for
forty-five minutes till noon. Then started on bearing of 127 1/2 degrees
for south-west end of large range in the distance that would otherwise
come right across my original course. There is an immense large black
circular range from 127 1/2 degrees round by east to west-north-west,
with reaphooky faces and scrubby tops, and a number of detached conical
and coronet-topped hills. At 1 p.m. water in a rocky creek close to the
right. Watered the horses. Spelled ten minutes till 1.10. Crossed creek
at 1.15. Sandy, scrubby forest. Crossed another sandy creek at 1.57.
Crossed another sandy creek at 2.3. At 3.15 on top of rocky mulga hill
with granite and mass of quartz pebbles. Some difficulty in getting over
and down a rocky range (granite principally). Struck a small creek with
sufficient water for our use and good feed, and camped at 3.50 at
distance of ten and three-quarters to eleven miles on last bearing.
Distance travelled about sixteen miles. Course of the ranges close by,
the one that we last crossed and the one just close by before us, 40
degrees west of south with the drainage in same direction.

Thursday, June 12.

Camp 15. Dewless night, wind at daylight east-north-east. Started at 8.6
a.m. on bearing of 127 1/2 degrees, top of first mulga range after
passing over very rough ranges; at 9.20 struck creek north-east of the
large range I am making for, watered horses, etc. After scrambling and
creeping over rocks and precipices arrived at south-west end of large
hill; at 10.15 at about three miles spelled for thirty-four minutes till
10.39. From top of hill on which there is a little spinifex you command
an extensive view; the whole country is black and dismal in appearance in
every direction; a fine large range appears in the distance from 100 to
150 degrees, with well-defined gaps, etc., drainage all to the southward
and westward. Now rounded this hill and went on a bearing of 100 degrees;
just after beginning to descend traced a party of horses going northward
under eastern side of large range, apparently when the ground was wet.
Descended much more easily than we ascended; we got into a fine valley
with good timber and plenty of grass, and at 11.50 about three miles came
to a running creek from northward. Traces of a hurricane along the creek,
tops of all the trees on the ground or suspended in the air by bits of
bark; the timber on each bank does not appear here at least to have been
touched. Obliged to stop here as Maitland has not overtaken us; he stayed
behind at the camp for some purpose or other and did not afterwards come
up; I am afraid he has missed the tracks as it is stony and rocky. This
large hill is composed of sandstone of various degrees of fineness,
quartz, pebbles, etc., principally; distance travelled six miles direct.
Here the creek or river is timbered across with the narrow-leafed
papery-barked tree; some short distance up the stream from here this
description of timber nearly gives place to gums. I have no doubt but
that some day or other this place will be taken up as a station. Fish are
in the deep holes, some that I saw about a couple of pounds weight. I
also saw some young guardfish from nine to twelve inches long and many
smaller. Lots of euro and kangaroo but very shy. Maitland made his
appearance shortly after camping.

Friday, June 13.

Camp 16. Dewless night, wind from east by north. I take this to be the
main branch of the Flinders; the hills on its right proper banks are very
bold and must be over 3000 feet high. If they are not before named I have
called them Gregory's Ranges after Augustus Gregory, Esquire, now
Surveyor-General of Queensland. The point I changed my course at
yesterday I have called Mount Wildash after F. Wildash, Esquire, of
Queensland. Immediately east of Mount Wildash close by is another bluff
equally high which I have called Hawker's Bluff after the Honourable G.C.
Hawker. Started at 7.58 a.m. on bearing of 100 degrees for the southern
end of dark range in the distance; at 8.30 south of conspicuous sandstone
rocky peak which I have called Morphett's Peak after John Morphett,
Esquire, of Adelaide; dip of about 35 degrees in the sandstone to about
north-east or a little more east. Kept the above course three miles over
good travelling country; spelled a few minutes then up and down and over
very rocky ranges, in many places precipitous and most intricate
travelling from 9 a.m. till 11.30; three and a half miles farther, then
table-land till 1.50, the drainage is to the east, no doubt to go south
after it has cleared the rocky ranges; spelled, watering the camels from
2.25 to 2.45 p.m., up to this eight and three-quarter miles further.
Commenced ascending another mass of similar rocky ranges; stopped at 3.40
two and a quarter miles further to look out a track to endeavour to get
out of this awful place. Started again at 4.55 p.m. after spelling one
and a quarter hours, could not get the animals over. Went back till 5.22
one mile on our track, or to sixteen and a half miles on bearing 100
degrees, to try another place, southerly and westerly along and over very
rocky ranges till 6.15, about two miles on average bearing of 215 to 220
degrees. Came to a small sandy creek, then another, where by digging we
will be able to give the animals some water, there is plenty of feed; it
has been a very distressing day for the poor brutes; distance sixteen and
a half miles on course of 100 degrees, and two miles on 220 degrees; gave
each of the animals from two to five buckets. Although when first seen
the little water that was visible did not exceed a quart with a few small
dead fish about 1 1/2 inches long, but after digging and clearing away
the sand we got sufficient for tonight and tomorrow morning. It has been
close and oppressive which has added to the distress of the horses and
camels. One of the latter, an old Indian, could hardly be persuaded to
come along. Very light rain commenced about dark or a little after, but I
doubt whether it will come to anything; however it will damp the grass
for the poor animals and make it more palatable.

Saturday, June 14.

Camp 17. Only rained sufficient to damp the grass. Still cloudy; not a
breath of wind at daylight. Craggy hills to commence the journey with
this morning. This sandy watercourse flows to west and south, a mere
narrow channel, but it was of much service to us; we would have fared
badly for the poor animals had we not fallen in with it, insignificant as
it appears. Our pack-bags got sadly torn yesterday with broken timber and
rocks, all of which latter is sandstone. We passed much splendid
splitting timber on our way yesterday, stringy-bark and other trees I
don't know the names of, but useful timber. Crossed the creek at 8.38
a.m. on bearing of south by east till 8.55 three-quarters mile; spelled
looking out on top of hill sixteen minutes, then on east course chiefly;
at 11.30 six miles south one mile from the hill I was making for
yesterday. Still on easterly course up and over a rugged and scrubby
range till 2 p.m. about three and three-quarter miles. Lost an hour in
searching for one of the horses that bolted and kicked off all his load
prior to this. Boco (horse) obliged to be left behind. Then about
north-north-east descended a range very steep and rough, then spinifex
precipices, sharp ledges of rocks and every roughness one could imagine
for about two miles or thereabouts, chiefly in the creek, then creek bore
about east by north to east-north-east which I followed till after dark
about six and a half miles, altogether about nineteen miles. Obliged to
leave another horse (Governor) in the creek, fairly knocked up. He has
been very soft although the highest priced horse of the lot, one bought
of Mr. Boord for 50 pounds. There is another will have to be left if the
country does not immediately change for the better; fortunately we found
water in several places in the bed of the creek or the horses would have
fared badly--a little grass of a very coarse nature just in the sides of
the creek, the rest all spinifex and scrub, the latter the camels
greedily devour; the rough country has told much on the feet of the
latter, another of which, the old Indian, I am afraid will have to be
left behind. First pines seen today since crossing Lake Torrens.

Sunday, June 15.

Camp 18. Very cloudy, every appearance of rain. Started at 9.10 along the
bed of the creek still about east by north; at 10.35 three miles the
creek receives a considerable tributary from the south-east, in fact it
is the main channel and the one we are in the tributary, then it flowed
north 15 degrees west to north or nearly so till 11.45 when the horses
knocked up, must camp and give them the rest of the day and probably
tomorrow; on this latter course about two miles; distance travelled
between five and six miles. After getting to camp ascended the hills on
the right or eastern side of the river and never beheld such a fearfully
grand country in my life, nothing but towers and pinnacles of sandstone
conglomerate, fit for nothing but wallaby and euro; and if it is for a
thousand years from this time it can be used by no other animals but them
and the natives as it is at present. The apparent course of this river
from the greatest height I could get to is about 305 degrees, going in
the first place after passing the camp a little more north for three or
four miles--it is a terrible country. Should the river, on a closer
examination tomorrow, prove to go as I imagine it does, I have nothing
for it but to retrace my steps and go up the main branch and try and
cross the range at top. Still very cloudy and looks as if it would rain
every minute. I wish I had a little more food, if I had I would give the
animals a week here but I have barely sufficient for six days. Oaks have
been seen today in the bed of the river since the junction of the two
channels. The river runs below the junction of the two branches for some
distance, but here it is dry its full width which is about 150 to 200
yards and is very picturesque, with beautiful drooping gums, papery-bark
trees, and various others, and the bold cliffs towering one above the
other with awful grandeur. No one can conceive how much effect the travel
of the last few days and the shortness of nourishing food has had upon
our animals which ten days ago were fit for anything--always excepting
this description of awful country. Wind from all points of the compass.

Monday, June 16.

Camp 19. In the bed of the River Gilbert (I take it to be) no room for
camp anywhere else. The country is literally teeming with euro and
wallaby, but as the natives are about in the rocks and precipices hunting
we have no chance of shooting any. Very cloudy yet; rained a little
during the night but nothing of any consequence; we cannot now be more
than from sixty to seventy miles from the River Burdekin but from this
spot utterly impracticable. Had to come down this length for anything
like feed; traces of numbers of natives and their fires still burning.
Went up the rocks and precipices on the eastern side of the river, and
found that a high range extends eastwards, running north-west and
south-east, completely blocking us in from here. Rode down the river to
see if there is any likelihood of our getting out east by a tributary
that it receives about one and a half miles down but found not. Rained a
little in the forenoon and slight showers during the afternoon. Found
that the old Indian camel (Narro) was unable to get up and go about to
feed so, considering that the horses and the two remaining camels (Arabs)
wanted a spell for a few days, I resolved upon killing the old camel and
using him whilst here to save our dried beef, reluctantly as he is
everything but a favourite morsel, but when we are compelled it is no use
hesitating so had him shot; and firstly had his liver stewed or steamed,
which I must say was the most extraordinary morsel I ever attempted to
eat; it was as dry and juiceless and of as little flavour as if it had
never formed a component part of any living animal; scarcely any of the
party could touch it.

Tuesday, June 17.

In Camp 19, sandy bed of river. Rained pretty heavily during the night in
showers. Cut up the meat of the camel to dry but the weather is very
unfavourable; the rest of him eats much better than the liver; the heart
is quite as good as a bullock's and the meat, considering the condition
of the animal, not at all as tough as one would expect; the party after
starving for two or three meals have quietly taken to him now and rather
like the meat.

Wednesday, June 18.

Still in Camp 19--not the most enviable place in the world. Heavy dew
last night. I am afraid the meat we are attempting to dry will be a
failure on account of the moist state of the weather. I was sadly grieved
on return of the party that went to see after the horses to learn that
one of our very best horses (Rowdy) was lying dead a short distance down
the river, still warm; he must have been poisoned or bitten by a snake;
at present we will feel his loss much as he was so strong and always kept
fat. Although the meat will not be quite dry I will see and make a start
out of this in the morning in case it may be some poisonous herb that may
happen to be in the bed of the river. I will return up the river to where
the main branch joined the tributary we came down, and try by following
it for some distance to get some place where I can ascend the ranges to
the east, but I expect it to be a work of great difficulty; however that
I will think nothing of if I only succeed and get the animals all over
safe. The weather seems taking up now.

Thursday, June 19.

Camp 19. Beautiful morning, not a breath of wind. Try what success we
will have up the main branch of this river in finding a passage over the
range to eastward. Have got rid of everything we can possibly spare and
that will now be of little use to us and had them buried on the
south-west side of creek, under the creek side of large broken-off
standing dead tree, and up the bank about forty yards from a large
gumtree, with a large square patch of bark taken off and small arrow at 4
o'clock in the direction should they be sought for, which I much doubt.
The horses don't look at all the thing I am sorry to see, knowing that
they have some heavy work immediately before them; even before attempting
to ascend the ranges we have to travel in the bed of the river where the
sand is excessively heavy and trying on the poor animals in their present
leg-weary state and want of condition. I never saw animals fall off so
suddenly in my life. Followed our tracks back to the junction of the two
branches about two and a half miles, then took the left-hand or
south-east branch, found it improve much more than I had anticipated; the
rocky hills recede occasionally and leave a nice bank of grass, but most
of it recently burnt by the natives; on our left the rock appeared now to
be chiefly slate, while on the right it still remained sandstone and
quartz; the bed is broad and generally very open and sandy, upon which we
have principally to travel; followed it for about eight miles in about an
east-south-east course. From here (Camp 20) for some distance (seen from
a hill here) the river appears to receive from the east by south
generally plenty of water at intervals and generally at those places
running; no doubt all the way it runs either over or under the land.
Where we are now encamped the river is upwards of 150 yards broad. We
found on turning out the camel meat to air that it was quite putrid and
had consequently to throw the whole of it away; at this time it is a very
great loss to us, the loss of upwards of seventy pounds of food. Even
with the spell our horses have had they come along very indifferently,
and I am almost afraid some more of them will have to be left behind as I
have not sufficient food to wait spelling for them till they get flesh;
there does not appear to be the same nourishment in the grass that there
is almost anywhere else. Saw the smoke of natives a few miles ahead of
us; I suppose we will see something of them tomorrow. Shot a new pigeon,
will try to preserve the skin. Some figs were got by some of the party
this morning before starting; I ate one of them apparently ripe, it was
very insipid, the principal part of them were full of small flies.
Distance travelled by bed of river not direct about ten and a half miles.

Friday, June 20.

Camp 20. Heavy dew last night; sky completely overcast with very heavy
rainy-looking clouds. We have now on hand dried meat sufficient for about
five and a half days, at the rate of one pound three ounces per day
without salt or anything else, which is not very heavy diet. I never saw
a country where less game was to be obtained; what euro and wallaby are
here are so very wild there is no getting near them. Just here the hills
are not so high or so rough as some distance further down; I hope they
may continue so, that the animals won't be distressed more than possible.
Not a breath of wind this morning. Our course as seen from a hill close
by last night will be about east-south-east for some distance this
morning. Started at 8.10 a.m.; at three and a quarter miles came to a
barrier right across from range to range, and after considerable
detention succeeded in finding a road on our left round the range that
the barriers form from; at four miles came to where one branch (the
largest) comes from the south with plenty of water in its bed in the
stone and rocks; the other branch is considerably to the east so will try
it, although it does not at all look a watery branch but is much more in
the direction I want to go. About the same course, over much more open
country, hilly and thinly clad with small ironbark timber, and is chiefly
of slate formation and well-grassed, but no water in its bed as far as we
went, say about five and a half miles further where we fortunately got
sufficient at the junction of a small side creek with the main
watercourse to suit our immediate wants. It is perfectly surprising to
see such a broad channel with such ranges close by and no water. One
other of our best horses obliged to be left behind today; he has been
ailing for some short time and all at once refused to proceed. A few
kangaroo seen today. I trust we will fall in with plenty of water
tomorrow, our horses never do so well as when they can go to water
themselves instead of watering out of buckets. For some distance the
creek bears to north of east; in fact the next bend, about a mile long,
is from north or so, when it appears to turn to south and east. We
managed occasionally during today to get upon the slopes from the hills
on either side of the creek, which was much better travelling than in the
soft sandy bed of the creek, which I have called Stuart's Creek after Mr.
McDouall Stuart, the indefatigable explorer of South Australia. This part
would make a good sound sheep country if water at all times was
obtainable. A number of oaks all along this branch, and more just here on
our left side of the creek where the water is, and we are encamped.

Saturday, June 21.

Camp 21. The clouds of yesterday passed over with only a few drops of
rain just after starting. Today cloudy again; wind from east by north;
started at 7.53 a.m. As the horses came in to water, just before
starting, we found that the horse Jamie had come up during the night but
looks hardly able to drag his legs after him. It is a great pity as he is
a splendid hackney and is a great loss at present. The narrow-leafed
papery-barked tree grows on the sides of the creek to a great size and
height, completely overtopping the gums, oaks, etc. There is very little
feed in this part of the country that the camels are fond of. At about
four miles, creek running, with plenty of feed; for three and a half
miles further the creek comes from north-east by north, then a little
more east. General course today about north-east and distance travelled
about sixteen miles, when we fortunately got sufficient water in a
barrier in the creek, evidently from recent rain, the bed of the creek
otherwise perfectly dry. Three more horses knocked up and obliged to be
left behind, namely Bawley, Fidget, and Camel (mare) although good
travelling. Ascended hill at camp and found that the first leading main
range bears east and about 40 degrees north, which I intend making for.

Sunday, June 22.

Camp 22. Wind from east by north and cloudy; obliged to lighten further
our load by leaving the tents and spare pack-saddles and bags here on
north side of creek; started at 8.20 a.m. The barrier here is composed of
a yellow close-grained stone impregnated with small specks of quartz, and
the hills on either side, pieces of granite of the same kind are also
strewed in the bed, brought down by the currents. A few oak-trees
immediately above this camp. Passed over hilly well-grassed ironbark
granite country on a bearing of about 90 degrees (but first of all a
little to the north of that, and afterwards as much to the south, which
equalised the bearing) for the point of a range which I mean to ascend.
Got to it at eleven and a half miles; then quarter of a mile along top of
range, the ascent of which we found excessively difficult, and had two of
our best horses nearly killed by falling backwards down the hill, and
only being brought up from going to the bottom and getting smashed by
some trees and rocks; the camels especially we had to unpack twice (two
ascents) and I once thought we were not to get them up they are so weak,
especially the smallest one--a splendid little animal. Then we got a
comparatively easy descent and made for north end of a heavy range close
by on a bearing of 85 degrees. At three-quarters of a mile got to the end
of it, over rough country intercepted with innumerable creeks, hills,
rock, and timber; then bore east-south-east for distant bluff of range
along well-grassed but very hilly sound country for two miles. Could
hardly get the small camel along, and no appearance of water, and it
within an hour of sunset. Went down the spur of a small range we were on
and providentially at the bottom found in a little blind creek sufficient
excellent water for ourselves and all the animals. I'm sure I don't know
what the poor animals would have done had we not found them water; and to
our uneasiness two of the men, Maitland and Kirby, were seized with
sickness on the road and useless to us. I found after getting over the
large range that I could have got round it had I kept south, and by
travelling a circuitous route, but from the western side of the range the
way I came was the only way visible that was passable, and it was nearly
as impassable as it was possible for it to be. From the top of it you
command a very extensive view in all directions. To the south in the
distance is a fine long leading range, apparently running from
west-north-west to east-south-east; to the north and west high black
ranges; to the east heavy dark ranges but don't appear united. Drainage
can't make out.

Monday, June 23.

Camp 23. Heavy dew, cloudy morning. Will be obliged to stay here to
recruit the animals where there is plenty of excellent feed and
sufficient water, and am sorry to say kill a horse and endeavour to dry
or jerk him, in the meantime I hope the weather may prove favourable for
that purpose. I did hope not to be driven to killing the horses; had I
for a moment thought so when at the Gulf I would have shaped my course
south for Adelaide, but I never dreamt of such a rough country as I found
in this direction, Walker and Landsborough will have found it so
likewise. Ascended one of the ridges close by but could not tell which
way the principal drainage went, it is open forest land from north of
east by south round to north of west for a great extent of miles, with
heavy ranges beyond, and a couple of breaks apparently in the range at
110 and 145 degrees, which to take I have not yet made up my mind, and
the horses are so weak that I don't wish to take more out of them than
can possibly be avoided, and reconnoitring at present would only cause
probably another horse or two to be left, which is everything but
advisable. Wind was fresh during the night. Killed one of the horses had
of Mr. Scott, being most suitable for our purpose, and an excellent
packhorse he was, always having carried during our travels one of the
heaviest packs, and was one of the unfortunate animals that fell down the
range yesterday. It is a little cloudy but I hope it will blow off and
give us favourable weather for drying his flesh; ate his heart, liver,
and kidneys, and found them excellent made into a sort of hash with a
little remnant of pepper we had.

Tuesday, June 24.

Camp 23. A little dew early part of the night, but little the remainder.
Keen cold wind from all quarters, chiefly from north-east to south-east
and clear sky; if it continues will suit our meat-drying well, which will
be of vast advantage to us; to lose the flesh of another animal as we did
the camel's would indeed be a serious loss. Our two patients Maitland and
Kirby deadly sick; whatever can be wrong with them I can't imagine; the
latter has been ailing off and on for some time and has got dispirited in
the rough country. Busy this morning cutting up the flesh of the horse
and tying it on the lines to dry; had he been in good condition it would
take a good judge to distinguish his flesh from beef; it makes most
excellent hash and soup. One of our horses has mysteriously got lame in
his stifle since coming here, I hope not permanently.

Wednesday, June 25.

Camp 23. Wind the same as yesterday and fluctuating--very heavy dew last
night and very cold. The last two days have been warm and suit our
purpose for meat-drying admirably. The two invalids are still very
unwell, but trust they will be better by the time the meat is thoroughly
dry and cause us no unnecessary detention till we get into the stations
on the river Burdekin, where they can have a change of food. The horses
appear to benefit on this spell and feed.

Thursday, June 26.

Still in Camp 23. Heavy dew, foggy morning till about 10 a.m. when the
meat was hung out to dry. Wind from all quarters but turned out rather a
nice warm day, and will be about sufficient to dry our meat to enable us
to start in the morning. Shoeing some of the horses that cast their shoes
over the rough country, and preparing for a start; the lame horse is a
little better; the invalids I cannot say are much improved. There is a
great scope of good pastoral land here but rather hilly. I have made up
my mind to try what appears to be the easiest and, from here, the
straightest course on a bearing of 110 degrees. The drainage appears to
go from here firstly to the south-east, receiving all the drainage of the
large ranges apparently from 110 degrees round to south, when it appears
to turn suddenly round some prominent ranges after receiving drainage
from the westward of this, and uniting in one large watercourse and
flowing behind a large leading range to south and east. Probably the head
of the River Clarke takes its rise here.

Friday, June 27.

Wind as usual for the last few mornings--northerly; heavy dew but a
beautiful morning. The natives were busy grass-burning south-south-east
of this in the valley last afternoon. It was observed too late or I would
have gone down to them and might have got some information from them as
regards the courses of the different creeks, etc. etc., and probably the
whereabouts of the nearest station on the Burdekin or one of its
tributaries, so that we might be enabled to get a supply of food by the
time this is exhausted. The horse turned out for us about seventy pounds
of nearly dry meat which I trust will last us till we get to where there
is beef or mutton. Started at 8.30 a.m., first on bearing of 119 degrees
for a saddle in a low ridge between this and the large range for two and
a half miles, then drainage to this point southerly; then bearing of 110
degrees for five and a half to six miles farther, drainage for two-thirds
of this distance to the northward; at the end of the distance arrived at
a nice brook running to southward close under the range. Got to a peak in
the pass at two miles farther on last bearing (110 degrees) then bearing
of 101 degrees, firstly over rather rough granite country, latterly over
good pastoral, and latterly to a reedy swamp with small water-creeks
coming in from right and left. Followed on the south-eastern side of the
swamp for some little distance and camped at two and a half miles
further. The whole country today is I may say composed of granite, and
sound country well-grassed and watered. Distance travelled about ten and
three-quarters to eleven miles. After getting to camp went and ascended
one of the highest hills near to get a view of the country ahead; had a
very extensive view from it, apparently comparatively level country from
62 1/2 to 103 1/2 degrees for some distance, with a sudden dip at about
twelve to eighteen miles distant, heavy ranges in the distance beyond,
and as seen from this hill very rugged and mountainous country from 62
1/2 degrees by north round considerably to east of south. On a bearing of
about 140 degrees under the range I am now on there appears to be a
considerable tract of openly timbered and level country, but which way
the drainage goes is difficult to determine from top of hill. The swamp
and creek we are encamped on and after passing this appears to flow about
north, or a little to west of that, but from the top of the hill could
see no break in the main ranges to allow of its passing through to either
northward or westward.

Saturday, June 28.

Camp 24. Course 90 degrees, heavy dew, beautiful morning. The water
although running strong here is of a milky appearance. Started at 8.10
a.m. over granite ridge and crossed swamp and water-creek to north. At
two and a quarter miles boulders of lava on the eastern side; at two and
three-quarter miles crossed large creek with plenty of water, which I
have called Frank's Creek after F. Marchant, Esquire, of Arkaba north of
Adelaide. It comes from southward. At four and a half miles crossed small
running rivulet from south; at five miles crossed a larger one from same
direction; at six and three-quarter miles crossed a running creek in a
swamp from south also; at seven and three-quarter miles crossed a
splendid creek with oaks, etc., quantity of swampy ground on either side
flowing same as last, which I have called the George after George
Marchant, Esquire, of Wilpena north of Adelaide. At ten and a quarter
miles crossed rivulet running to south; at ten and three-quarter miles
examined boggy swamp with plenty of water, drainage to south. At eleven
miles on top of small rocky range. Most extensive view ahead of
level-looking country. At twelve and a half miles boggy swamp, went round
the south end of it, its drainage is northward; at fifteen miles crossed
a good-sized creek with sandy bed, some oaks, the water merely trickling
through the sand but sufficient for all our wants; good timber. Camped
here. Two of the horses nearly knocked up. Creek flows east on passing

Sunday, June 29.

Camp 25. Maitland very unwell, Kirby only so-so. There is also water in a
small creek close by to south which joins this creek close by; ranges
visible within a few miles to south of south-west; wind from southward
chiefly but variable; I have called the creek we encamped on last night
Burt's Creek after G. Burt, Esquire, of Adelaide. Started at 8.18 a.m. on
course of 90 degrees; at half a mile crossed large rocky creek from the
south with boulders of lava in its bed; there was lava also at starting;
a continuation of rough lava country for three miles; bad travelling. At
three and three-quarter miles crossed strong running river or creek,
granite bed; fish; with oaks, current to northward. At six miles crossed
small dry sandy creek to east-north-east; top of granite ridge at six and
one third of a mile: spelled nineteen minutes for a view; bearing of 84
1/2 degrees for a distant knoll in what appears a leading range, and a
possibility of getting easily over it. At one mile crossed a small dry
creek to east-north-east; at two miles crossed dry sandy creek to
east-north-east; at two and three-quarter miles crossed oak creek (dry)
to east-north-east; at five and two-third miles crossed large oak creek
(dry) to east by north; at one and three-quarter miles further came to
lagoon, not very large but suits our purpose for a camp as one of the
horses can't be persuaded to come on. I expect I will have to kill him to
live upon for a few days whilst the other horses spell; some of them are
very weak but the feed is too dry to kill him here; distance travelled
about thirteen and three-quarter miles. Saw three emus today and a few
turkeys; kangaroos were also seen for the last two days; the strong
running river that we crossed at three and three-quarter miles from camp
this morning I have called the McKay after G. McKay, Esquire, of Mellia,
William's River, New South Wales. The latter part of today the feed has
been very dry but generally speaking it is an excellent country for any
kind of stock; the only impediment to sheep is the very abrupt banks of
the creeks for drays for the cartage of wool, but that would be got over
with well searching; saw a native but he made off at full speed when he
observed us.

Monday, June 30.

Camp 26. A good deal of box and apple-tree about here; our chief timber
of late has been ironbark and other very useful trees, with gums always
about the creeks and swamps. Saw yesterday on the way a few of that
ornamental fruit-tree of Cooper's Creek, which I have not seen for some
time, but it was of small growth; the soil I suppose not being suitable.
Will go on for some distance on same bearing as yesterday, to see if I
meet better and more green feed accompanied with water to spell the
horses. Although I am quite satisfied that I am close upon the Burdekin
still I may not be close upon any of the stations. Little dew last night,
wind light, and latterly a little inclined to be cloudy; sun rose 58
degrees east of north. Started at 8.3 a.m. At three-quarters of a mile
crossed a creek from the east-south-east, deep and dry; rather thickly
timbered country and not so rich. Gradual ascent to top of ridge;
division of waters about three-quarters of a mile west of the mound or
peak I was steering for at four miles. Abreast of peak at four and
three-quarter miles; went to top of it; it was very steep and composed of
very rough sandstone, granite, and decaying slaty stones. Had a pretty
extensive view from it; but my view north, of 62 1/2 degrees, was
intercepted by rough ranges. The drainage from this tier of ranges,
eastern side, appears in the first instance to go to east-south-east or
even south of that; and afterwards when all the watercourses unite in the
flat some distance off to go to north and east. Started from this peak on
bearing of 62 1/2 degrees for a break I observed in the distant range; at
one mile crossed an oak creek (dry) to east-south-east; at three and a
half miles crossed another oak creek (dry) lots of kangaroo about, and no
doubt there is water although we did not see it in our course; at four
and a quarter miles came to and crossed a swamp and creek with water in
one hole that will be sufficient for us and camp. Maitland so ill he can
hardly hang on the horse's back and the horse Jack knocked up; killed him
during the afternoon; although a bag of bones he will make soup for a few
days and give Maitland a chance of recruiting, and will be a means of
refreshing the horses and camels. Journey today about nine miles, the
latter part very ridgy and rather rough although well-grassed; but
indifferent travelling on account of the watercourses down the slopes
being rather deep and steep on both sides. Kirby still keeps about the
same thing; he is a mere bag of bones compared to what he used to be.
Palmer has been complaining for some time and gets little better or
worse; a violent headache generally seizing him about noon every day.
Hodgkinson is also generally complaining. Wind afternoon from north.

Tuesday, July 1.

Camp 27, or Jack's Swamp after our unfortunate horse; poor old fellow,
many a score miles he carried me till some time ago he got a little lame
and has never done so well since. No dew last night. Bell is, as he has
always been, a day complaining and a day well; Davis something similar;
Middleton has now got quite well and the rest of us are all pretty right
but would be all the better of a change of food for the better; none of
us appear very energetic on horse-food; unfortunately maggots got into it
and did not improve it either in appearance or quality, but we are not
over nice now. Plenty of splendid timber in this part of the country.
Wind rather strong from north and continues steady in that quarter.
Trying today to jerk a portion of the horse to cause what we have got to
spin out. A good many fleecy clouds flying about early part of afternoon
and the wind has changed a little to the west of north. In our present
state we don't want to see any rain till we get into the stations, as now
we are tentless and of course have nothing to cover the sick in case of
wet. Late in the afternoon wind considerably to the west, at sunset quite
a calm, very cloudy and every appearance of rain, trust that it will blow
off. A great number of large-sized kangaroos here but rather shy.
Although there is abundance of grass of different kinds here the camels
eat but little of it and do very badly; about the lakes north-east of
Lake Torrens is the place for them; they eat nearly everything in the
shape of grass and shrubs that grow there, but here it is quite
different; but few acacias here of which they are very fond.

Wednesday, July 2.

Camp, Jack's Swamp. No rain last night and but little dew; the clouds
have all dispersed. Wind from north varying to east and west of that
point and a beautiful hot day. The horses appearing to do well. Maitland
improving; Kirby about the same, also Palmer.

Thursday, July 3.

Camp, Jack's Swamp. Little dew again last night, wind northerly and
easterly throughout the day, sun rather warm but not disagreeably so. The
hills hereabouts are composed of substrata of decomposing sandstone with
roots growing or dead in the fissures, the top rugged at and near the
crest, with a description of stone like decaying burnt brick, broken into
fragments although apparently united; very precipitous and often
overhanging near the tops of the ranges, with table-tops, generally
scrubby, still with good timber even on top and where it is more open,
fair grass in places and spinifex in others, with heavy deep ravines down
the slopes on all sides and well-grassed and timbered in the valleys.
From the top of range near our camp one has an extensive view; southward
is a large valley, the receiver of all the drainage of the hills east and
west of it; south the range is low and over it can be discerned several
conical wooded hills of greater and lesser sizes; beyond them in the
distance can be seen two considerable ranges from north-north-east to
south-south-west; at the latter point they suddenly terminate in nearly
precipitous bluffs, showing that there must be a stream of some
importance skirting that end of them, or some extensive valley; an easy
way of arriving at them would be south from this camp and over the low
dividing ridge; the waters or creeks in this valley, after uniting into
one or more large courses, flow to north and east till they pass east of
this a few miles off; further view is intercepted by the ranges north and
east of that. Maitland appears much better today and Kirby I think is
improving a little; Palmer is not quite so well. I hope he will soon get
over his illness; he is a very useful man; neither shoeing horses nor
almost anything comes wrong to him; indeed he has shod all the horses I
may say since he joined the party, and has been a very useful fellow.

Friday, July 4.

Camp 27, Jack's Swamp. Very cold during the night. Every appearance of a
nice day. What little wind there is is from north. We start from this
with 46 pounds of dried horse flesh which I hope will be sufficient to
carry us to stations on the Burdekin. The invalids and animals have
improved during their stay here, and we start this morning on about our
last bearing generally, although we cannot go direct from the hilliness
of the country. Bearing 62 1/2 degrees. All round this quarter quartz of
colours is strewed over the face of the country in addition to the
decomposing stones. Started at 8.6 a.m. firstly up the swamp side
northerly a short distance, then easterly over a saddle in the range for
the eastern slopes towards the main drainage to the northwards. At half a
mile on top of the saddle in the range with drainage to the east. Then
had to keep a little northerly of our course to avoid a rugged range on
the right. At about eleven miles direct struck the main drainage creek
(Ross's Creek after W. Ross, Esquire, Mulma, Murray, New South Wales) but
the actual distance travelled was considerably over that. Then followed
the creek on a bearing of about 20 degrees off and on. At one and a
quarter miles it receives a considerable tributary from west-south-west
(Cole's Creek after S. Cole, Esquire, Commissioner of Crown Lands,
Euston, New South Wales). A large mass of hard dark-coloured,
slaty-coloured rock in the centre of the two creeks with a passage on
each side. At four miles it receives a very deep but narrow creek from
the west (Beveridge's Creek after Peter Beveridge, Esquire, Swan Hill,
Victoria). Obliged to get into the main creek to pass it. Plenty of water
and feed. Camped. A splendid creeper (scarlet) is here upon a number of
trees, climbing to their very top. The fruit is very showy, oblong and
quite the size of an orange but tastes exceedingly nauseous, full of
pulpy seeds, birds and opossums eat them. After getting to camp went to
top of a high range at three-quarter mile distant east-south-east. From
it I had an extensive view. At 40 degrees easy to pass through range.
From 82 to 90 degrees very mountainous. 5 degrees a very extensive valley
apparently inclining westwards. Blacks burning at 10 degrees in the
distance. North is a large irregular peak range; in the distance another
a little east of it.

Saturday, July 5.

Camp 28. Dewless night as was also the night before and several others
previous. Very hot yesterday. Last night during the whole night the sky
was completely overcast and close, this morning the same. The main creek
here is well lined with gums and well-grown oaks, the bank fringed with
reeds; low down is about fifty yards wide at the bottom level and twice
that width at top and steep but grassed all down the slopes. The forest
over which we travelled yesterday was very much cut up with sudden and
deep watercourses, making the travelling more difficult, and in many
places was stony (brown stone). Started at 8.23 a.m., the horses having
ranged rather far. Crossed the creek and on bearing of 22 degrees along
it pretty good travelling through open timber, till at about two and
three-quarter miles the creek came too close under a range to allow us to
follow anywhere near its banks. Ascended the range and at three miles the
creek on the left changed course to from 40 to 45 degrees; sometimes to
the north of that, at other times to the south of it. At a short distance
over the flat, after descending the range which was of no great
elevation, came on the creek again and followed it on the above bearing.
As we struck the creek the footprints of two horses in the bed of the
creek, and shortly after more and more, which at first led us to suppose
that the country was stocked thus far up; but after following along in
the bed we found the traces to be all about the same age and that some
time back. At length on right side of creek on the bank, at the distance
on our last course of three and a quarter miles, we saw the remains of an
old camp, ridge pole, and uprights, with the letter K cut on a couple of
gumtrees, which at once led us to believe it was some party or other
marking the boundaries of their runs. Got up out of the creek at this
place and went on bearing of about 20 to 25 degrees. Immediately after
starting on this bearing we passed over rather open ground with spinifex
but not very strong. The creek now out of sight on the left. At three and
one-eighth of a mile struck what I take to be the Burdekin, but no tracks
of drays or stock of any kind up this length. It flows east at this
place. Went about three-quarters of a mile on this course and two of the
horses becoming knocked up I am obliged to halt. What told upon them so
much today was that the banks of the creek were so rugged we were obliged
to travel in the loose sand in the bed of the creek. We hope to make
better progress tomorrow. From here the river appears to flow about 15
degrees north of east but that won't continue far; I imagine we are a
little above the junction of the Perry with this river. The bed of the
Burdekin at this camp is about from 90 to 100 yards, and the
strong-running stream is confined between bergues on the north side to a
space of about twenty yards, and little better than knee-deep. Only a few
small fish visible. Magnificent gums on its banks and plenty of excellent
timber in every direction. This will be a most difficult part of the
country for drays travelling on account of the many steep-sided creeks.
At anything like a flood quite impracticable.

Sunday, July 6.

Camp 29. Last evening the wind blew for a short time fresh from east by
north then lulled down; shortly after the sky became overcast and during
the night we had a light Scotch mist; this morning no wind but sky
overcast with every appearance of rain. We tried some green hide that we
were reserving for camel's boots in our soup of this morning, and being
pickled in salt when taken from the bullock it imparted quite an
agreeable flavour to our scanty meal and we all enjoyed it much. Some of
the party put up badly with this short diet and appear to get quite
dispirited, although at sight of the tracks yesterday they are quite
elated, but it was only for a short time to become further depressed
after. Horses all about amongst the bergues and high grass; late at
starting. Started at 9.12 a.m.; for the first three and three-quarter
miles through open forest, good country; large oak creek from the
south-west joins the river at that distance. Our course to this was to
south of east-south-east nearly south-east; the river then bears east for
some distance, then north, then south, and afterwards to about
south-east; first part through some exceedingly intricate country, hills
close on the river with deep ravines and most difficult travelling. In
its present state no dray in the world could pass by it; first of all we
got one of the camels down in a creek, next one of the horses rolled over
into the creek and we had to make a road for them at last to descend into
the creek; now into and along the bed of the river; now up the steep
banks and then up stony hills to head, or more easily cross the ravines,
which was very trying to our animals, and finally completely knocked up
one of the weak horses which was with much persuasion got to the camp in
the afternoon after the camp was formed. After arriving he was killed and
we commenced to use his flesh to save the other dry meat as we must spare
a day here to refresh the animals; the latter part of the day's journey
was over rather better travelling; the hills still close to the river
with deep ravines. On this last bearing fully six miles on the opposite
or left bank of the river, at about two miles distance from our camp here
a large creek with abundance of running water joins from north-west by
north through apparently a not prepossessing country, very hilly and
little or no valley belonging to it; in travelling along the bed of the
river occasionally the bed is of a quicksand nature and very heavy. Sun
quite overcast all day, at night it cleared off. Wind south-east.

Monday, July 7.

Camp 30. Although the stars were out during the night and no dew we have
it very cloudy again today. I went to top of one of the highest hills on
right bank of river today and had an extensive view. The river appears to
bear nearly east generally for the north end of some large mountains in
that direction, at which place I think the river receives the River Perry
from the north and then flows south. Between the hill I was on and that
there appears to be a good deal of level-looking country, and the hills
on this side seem in a great measure to cease a short distance off. In
every other direction it is rugged with high broken hills and an
indifferent grass upon them with the exception of the very limited flats
near the river, on which latter there is always abundance of good feed
and splendid timber. Wind still from south-east by east but little of it.
The creek that joins this river about two miles up coming from north-west
by north I have called Clark's Creek after Walter Clark, Esquire, of Deep
Creek near Melbourne. The banks of the river are here very steep and
difficult of access.

Tuesday, July 8.

Camp 30. Heavy dew last night; foggy this morning. Very dense vegetation
along the banks and bergues of the river. The fish seen as yet are but
small, the largest are of the catfish kind. Started at 8.45 a.m., late,
the horses, even with the abundance of feed here, having strayed in all
directions. At one and three-quarter miles crossed narrow and deep
running creek from south by east. One of the camels in going up the hill
out of it tumbled over backwards, and detained us forty-two minutes. Then
ascended stony hills to avoid the ravines close to the river. At four and
a quarter miles a conical stony-topped hill close by on right, south, and
south of that a swamp with poplar, gums, etc., river close on left,
country open both sides of river, particularly opposite side to
north-north-east; at five and three-quarter miles crossed creek from
south-east (good, not broad nor deep but abundance of water) then

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