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The readers of this pamphlet are no doubt aware that the anxiety entertained for the fate of Burke and Wills led to the formation of several expeditions in their search. The first of these was formed in Melbourne and entrusted to the command of Mr. Howitt. The second in Adelaide, under Mr. McKinlay. The third from Rockhampton, under Mr. Walker; and the fourth from Brisbane, under Mr. Landsborough. These several expeditions were organised and started within a short period of each other. The steamship Victoria, Commander Norman, was despatched by the Victorian Government to the Gulf of Carpentaria to assist the explorers in carrying out their objects.
Mr. Howitt, as is well-known, early succeeded in ascertaining the melancholy fate of Burke and Wills: but before his letter announcing it reached Melbourne the other expeditions referred to had set out.
The brig Firefly was chartered in Melbourne to take from Brisbane to Carpentaria Mr. Landsborough's party and equipments, and also some stores for Mr. Walker's party, the latter having been instructed to proceed from Rockhampton overland, by the shortest route, to a rendezvous at the Gulf. The Firefly, having reached Moreton Bay and shipped the horses, set sail for Carpentaria on the 24th August with Mr. Landsborough and his party.
As it is the object of this pamphlet to give details, especially of his expedition, the journal, letters, etc., which follow, are now presented.
BRISBANE PARTY, W. LANDSBOROUGH, ESQUIRE, LEADER, REPORT TO 30TH SEPTEMBER 1861.
Sweer's Island, Gulf of Carpentaria, 30th September 1861.
To Captain Norman of Her Majesty's Colonial War Steamer Victoria, and Commander-in-chief of Northern Expedition Parties.
I have the honour to inform you that the greatest attention was paid by my parties to the horses for the expedition on board the Firefly, and they ought, during the eight days after leaving Moreton Bay, while we had the finest weather, to have done well, if their allowance of five gallons of water each a day had been sufficient for them; but with that allowance they were so thirsty that they did not thrive well. That quantity of water may do well for horses intended for the Indian market, where they can be fattened afterwards; but for our expedition horses, which were intended for immediate service on landing, to be kept in a close hold, confined by the cargo of the vessel, and fed with dry forage (they did not eat the carrots at first, until they had acquired a taste for them) eight gallons of water each per day at least should have been allowed to them.
On Sunday the 1st instant, when Captain Kirby expected to get through the Raine Island passage on the following day, where he hoped to get such calm weather that it would admit of your giving him a fresh supply of water, he allowed our party to give the horses a good drink. On that occasion they drank each, on an average, nine gallons. Towards evening of the same day the breeze freshened into a gale, and about ten at night, when the Firefly was head-reaching under close-reefed sails, we had the misfortune to lose sight of H.M.C.S. Victoria, under your command.
On Monday the 2nd instant the gale continued, and during the night the ship was hove to with her head to the eastward.
On Tuesday the 3rd instant the gale still continued, but Captain Kirby, having got observations of the sun, he boldly made sail in for the reefs, and between eleven and twelve a.m. he sighted the Raine Island beacon, and early in the afternoon he went through the passage, and got into smooth water, where we congratulated ourselves, and were thankful, I hope, to God, for the comparative safety of ourselves, and also of the horses under our charge.
All the horses were alive except one, which, from the sand being pumped from under its feet, had not been able to stand during the gale, and in consequence had been trampled underfoot by the other horses and so much injured that we were compelled to destroy it. About an hour before dark we reached, with a fresh and favourable breeze, a point between the two largest of the Sir Charles Hardy's Islands, where one of the anchors was let go and, upon its dragging, another was let go, which dragged also, until we were close to the lee shore, when it held, fortunately, till after daylight of the morning of Wednesday the 4th instant when, the cable parting, the brig went ashore broadside onto the reef which extends for about half a mile from the base of the bold rocky island. The waves breaking over the ship, the masts were cut away and fell over the side. The smallest boat was then launched and immediately broke in pieces. While the wreck of a masts was being cleared away by a good swimmer called Muller, a Dutchman, in order to get a clear sea to launch the ship's large boat, our party took the opportunity of feeding and watering the horses, and in the meantime the tide had fallen so much that Muller found footing. The boat was launched safely and, on being asked by Captain Kirby, I went ashore with Mr. Martin, the supercargo, and a part of the crew. We found we could wade on shore; and, on the previous evening having seen the masts of a ship on the other side of the island, Mr. Martin and I went across and found it was a vessel which had sunk within half a mile of the shore in deep water.
At the abandoned camp of the shipwrecked crew we found a copy of The Argus newspaper of the 14th June, a barrel of peas, fragments of paper bearing the names of the Lady Kinnaird and Captain Chorley on them, a part of a child's dress, etc.
On our return to the wreck of a Firefly, we found the crew very busily engaged in carrying stores on shore on their backs, as Captain Kirby did not like using the boat for that service, being afraid of having it injured. In the evening we fed and watered the horses, and Mr. Campbell offered to remain on board if he got someone to assist him to attend to the horses during the night; but as there were drunken sailors on board, and I thought the breaking up of the old Firefly not improbable, I did not like remaining or asking anyone else to do so. After the ship struck, the officers and crew considered themselves under no discipline, taking from the stores whatever they wanted, and, I am sorry to say, much of the Expedition spiced beef and other things were stolen, and many things destroyed from recklessness; but I am pleased to add that, after your arrival, when order and sobriety became prevalent, from the prompt and wise measures adopted by you, a considerable quantity of the slops were recovered by a diligent search through the effects brought on shore by the crew of the Firefly.
Shortly after the ship struck I overheard one of the officers say that we were all alike; and now that the vessel was a wreck the cargo belonged to no one in particular; and one of our party overheard another officer say to the crew: "There are twenty-two pairs of (Expedition) boots; help yourselves. There are a pair each for all hands, and a pair to spare."
On the afternoon of Wednesday 4th instant (the day on which we were wrecked) with Captain Kirby's approval I offered the carpenter five pounds to cut the vessel close down to the water's edge to get the horses out. (This, under the circumstances, I hope will meet also your approval.) This he agreed to, and on the following morning when it was almost high-water, he (the carpenter) and Muller swam off to the wreck to do so, and shortly afterwards, when I had found a good place on the island for watering the horses, I accompanied Messrs. Campbell and Martin and three of my aboriginals to the wreck to assist the carpenter in making a breach in the side of the Firefly. To do this work the only tools the carpenter and his assistants had were two adzes and two small tomahawks. My aboriginals, Jamie, Fisherman, and Jackie, worked hard with the tomahawks, and were most able assistants in cutting the vessel down.
On Friday (the 6th instant) we landed safely twenty-five of the horses. We were obliged to land them chiefly at low-water, and then we had to use every precaution to prevent them swimming off to sea; for some of them in the first instance, when we were not watching them, swam off and did not drift ashore until they were exhausted, and one, after swimming for about an hour in different directions, reached the southern island, about a mile distant, with a strong wind and considerable waves against him.
On Saturday the 7th instant, while we were attending to the surviving horse of four which had been trampled down by the stronger horses among the floating empty water tanks, we had the great pleasure of seeing H.M.C.S. Victoria coming to our relief; and I can assure you we were very thankful, and our spirits much cheered by your telling us, after Captain Kirby had intimated to us that he had abandoned the Firefly as a total wreck, and in our presence told his crew that as shipwrecked mariners he had placed them under your charge, that you would do your best under the circumstances to enable us yet to start on our expedition from the Albert River in search of Mr. Burke and his companions, and with that view you would endeavour to get the Firefly afloat again, and have her refitted as a transport hulk for the conveyance of our party, horses, and stores; and if you did not succeed in that undertaking (which I hope you will pardon us all for having thought a most hopeless affair) you would in several trips transport our party, horses, and stores in H.M.C.S. Victoria.
Now that the great exertions made by you and your officers and crew in getting the Firefly afloat again, in refitting her, in embarking twenty-five of the horses, with our party and stores, and in transporting them safely to the Gulf of Carpentaria, has been crowned with success, allow me to congratulate you on those events, and to assure you that, these difficulties being overcome, I have now great hopes of carrying out at least satisfactorily, with the assistance of my brave, trusty, and zealous companions, the instructions of the Victorian and Queensland Governments, with those which I may receive from yourself.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) W. LANDSBOROUGH,
Commander of the Victorian and Queensland Land Expedition.*
(*Footnote. Captain Kirby of the Firefly has since published a pamphlet in which he states that my party were at times in a great state of alarm, but in fairness to them I may mention that although they had frequently much reason to be so, I never saw them exhibit any traces of fear. He further states that from what he saw of them they showed great ineptitude for camping out. This is surely very unlikely as we were all old travellers, three of my party and myself had at one time been gold-diggers, a mode of life well calculated to give the necessary experience in this way. And as for Captain Alison, who had never been a gold-digger, I observed on the island that his tent was particularly well pitched.)
Sweer's Island, 8th October, 1861.
To Captain Norman, of H.M.C.S. Victoria, and Commander-in-chief of the Northern Expedition Parties.
I have the honour to inform you of the following particulars with regard to the Albert River:
On Tuesday morning (the 1st instant) at 8 o'clock we reached the mouth of the Albert River, on the sandy beach of Kangaroo Point.* There were about a dozen blacks, who appeared friendly and kept speaking to us as long as we were within hearing; but none in the barge (not even the native troopers) understood them. With the exception of Kangaroo Point, on the east bank, the river has an unbroken fringe of mangrove to a point two miles in a straight line from its mouth, and an unbroken fringe to a point three miles in a straight line from the mouth on the other side of the river. Above these points the lower part of the river has (where the edges have no mangrove) fine hard sandy sloping banks which are well adapted for landing horses or goods. A short time before we reached the point, above thirteen miles in a straight line from the mouth of the river where we anchored for the night, we saw about six blacks, who were very friendly and followed us for some time. We found that the water was fresh when we reached Alligator Point, about twenty miles in a straight line from the mouth of the river; above this point the fringes of mangrove are scarce on the edges of the river, and back from the river there is rising ground, consisting of fine, well-grassed, and slightly timbered downs. On passing up the river, on the left bank, we observed a blackfellow asleep. At sunset we anchored at a point about twenty-six miles in a straight line from the mouth of the river, where a river from the southward, which Mr. Woods called the Barkly, joins the Albert River.
(*Footnote. Kangaroo Point would in my opinion be a healthy site for a township. The ground is sufficiently high along the shore at that place, and without mangroves. We did not find water there, but, as there were a few blacks almost always in that neighbourhood, I have no doubt that there is some surface water, or that it is easily procured by digging.)
On going on shore on the western bank of the Albert River I found within a hundred yards of it a waterhole at which it would be more convenient to water stock than the river, as the banks of it are at this place too steep. Above the junction of the Barkly the Albert River is not navigable for even boats, from its being too full of snags. On the following morning we went up the Barkly on the barge for about two miles, to where it was too full of snags to proceed further up the river by water. We then took a walk over the Plains of Promise and crossed at a point about three miles from where we had left the barge. In doing so we started a black man and woman; they were both old and naked; the former went out of sight by running down the bank and plunging into the river, and the latter climbed up a tree, where, while we remained, she continued speechless. Where we crossed the Barkly it had a narrow muddy bed, the water in which was cool from its being shaded with pandanus, palms, and Leichhardt-trees. A short distance lower we recrossed by a tree which the carpenter felled for that purpose, at a point where the deep water in it is caused in some measure by the rise of the tide; afterwards we followed down the river to the barge. At different places we marked the trees, but did not see any that had been marked previously, nor indeed any traces of any European parties. After walking over the Plains of Promise we went down the river and anchored opposite the point where the cliffs are mentioned in the charts as thirty feet high. In the morning, accompanied by the native troopers Jemmy and Jackie, I went north-westerly over slightly timbered grassy plains, and reached in about a mile a waterhole, and in about another mile a narrow mere, which I called Woods Lake, extending northerly and southerly at least for a mile or so in an unbroken sheet of water. I went southward along the edge of Woods Lake to a clump of box and tea-trees, and while I was marking a tree Jackie shot (chiefly with one discharge of his gun) about half a dozen of whistling-ducks and a large grey crane. As I never saw so many aquatic fowls assembled as were at this place it is to be hoped that, when we reach the Albert River again, we will be able to shoot great quantities of them for fresh food.
The bank on which I marked the tree will, probably at no very distant time, be chosen as the site of a homestead for a sheep establishment, as it is surrounded by fine dry plains which are covered with good grasses, among which I observed sufficient saline herbage to make me feel satisfied that they are well adapted for sheep runs. As the wind was unfavourable during the afternoon the crew had to row down the river. On passing near where we saw the blacks on our way up we found about twenty, counting men, women, and children, waiting to see us as we passed. On the following morning we went ashore and got water in a waterhole near the bank, and also firewood off an old fallen tree, which, I think, is probably the real ebony. Late in the evening we reached a point on the eastern bank about three miles above Kangaroo Point.
We went ashore and in the course of a walk started on the wing two large bustards, and also, within shot of us, two or three wallabies.
In our way up and down the river the temperature ranged on the bar from 74 to 94 degrees. The nights were agreeable, and we were fortunately not troubled with mosquitoes or sandflies.
On the upper part of the river we saw altogether three crocodiles, but they were so shy that they remained in sight only a few seconds.
The slightly timbered downs and plains on the banks of the Albert River are, as I hoped they would be from their western position, of a similar character to good inland settled sheep country of New South Wales and Queensland; the trees that we saw are all small; but as sheep do best in Australia where the temperature is dry, the soil rich, and slightly timbered, and as this is the general description, I believe, of the country and climate of the Albert River, the sheep farmer should be willing to put up with the inconvenience caused from the want of good timber for building purposes.
We saw large quantities of the small white cockatoos, and the rose-coloured ones, which are to be found only in the inland settled country of New South Wales and Queensland. The Albert River being navigable will make the country on its banks very valuable, as I believe sheep will do well on it, more especially as they do well on inferior-looking country within the tropics to the north-west of Rockhampton.
Allow me to recommend for the depot which you propose forming with the Firefly hulk on the Albert River some place as convenient as possible to Woods Lake, or the waterhole that I mentioned that I had found near the head of the navigation, and as there is very little forage on board the Firefly it would be advisable to land, as soon as possible, the horses on the west bank of the river above the second inlet, that is, if there is any chance of the Firefly being delayed in proceeding up the river.
I have the honour to be, etc.,
(Signed) W. LANDSBOROUGH,
Commander of the Victorian and Queensland Land Expedition.
BRISBANE PARTY, W. LANDSBOROUGH, ESQUIRE, LEADER.
CONTINUATION OF REPORT ON THE ALBERT RIVER, ETC.
OCTOBER 15TH 1861.
Albert River, Gulf of Carpentaria, October 15 1861.
To Captain Norman of H.M.C.S. Victoria, and Commander-in-chief of the Northern Expedition Parties.
I have the honour to inform you that the senior lieutenant of H.M.C.S. Victoria, having been commissioned by you to take the Firefly hulk to the head of the navigation of the Albert River to form a depot there, shortly after midnight of the 14th October, at the flood of the tide, which occurs here only once in twenty-four hours, we stood in for the mouth of the river and, as the channel is of a winding character, and the ship almost unmanageable, we had to take her right over the bar. From thence we proceeded some time after daylight with a fair wind, several miles up the river to where we took grass on board, which some of my party, having preceded us, had in readiness. On the 16th, from the time of the tide, the wind being unfavourable, we had reached no further than Norman's Group of Islands, which are about ten miles in a straight line from the mouth of the river. At that place, from the small quantity of water on board it became necessary to decide on what bank the horses should be landed; consequently three parties started in search of water--a boat and two land parties. The former, under the command of Mr. Frost, found a good pond of water near the lowest water we had found when we first explored the Albert River. In the same neighbourhood Mr. Campbell's party, who went up the west bank of the river, found another waterhole, which was distant from the ship, by the road they went, about four miles, and passable for the horses, although partly over mudflats which during high tides are covered with water; and on that account I thought, having observed the country to be very low from the masthead, it would be impassable.
I accompanied Mr. Bourne, Mr. Hennie the botanist, and two native police-troopers to the eastward in search of water. In that direction we went about six miles, which was further than was necessary as we found water within that distance. The first three miles we went was chiefly over hard flats which at high tides are covered with water; the next was over such good country that Mr. Bourne, although I had given him my account of the Plains of Promise, said he did not expect to have seen such fine country on the Albert River. The character of the country is plains with the best grasses on them. Mr. Bourne and I agreed in thinking that the lowest of them (with the exception of there being on them no cotton and cabbage saltbush) resembled in appearance, and from their having salty herbage in abundance, some parts of the Murrumbidgee plains. The higher parts are more thickly grassed and are slightly wooded with stunted timber, consisting of box, apple, white-gum, cotton, and other trees. The cotton-trees I had never seen before; but Mr. Hennie told me they had been found by Dr. Mueller when in Mr. Gregory's party in the expedition to Northern Australia.
On this country we found abundance of waterholes, some of which were divided from each other by sandstone dykes and contained fresh, and others brackish, water. Near the waterholes, at the most conspicuous points of timber on our route, we marked trees. The north-easterly waterhole I called Mueller Lake. It is a fine long sheet of water which is brackish but not to an extent to render it undrinkable.
Before we reached any water on our way from the ship, we observed, at some distance from us, several blacks, of whom three gins and three children we overtook in their camps. These we tried to persuade by signs to lead us to the nearest water, but they were so extremely terrified that they clung to each other and would not move, except to point in the direction in which by our proceeding a short distance we found it ourselves.
On the 17th October the ship was taken alongside of the western bank of the river, and, a landing stage having been made, twenty-three of the horses were walked on shore and driven up to Frost's Ponds; the remaining two from their being too weak were kept on board. A few of the horses after their voyage were in good order, and the most of the others, which were in such low condition from their insufficient allowance of water from Moreton Bay to Torres Strait, now showed, from their having plenty of water since their reshipment at Hardy's Islands, that they were in a thriving state.
On the 20th Messrs. Bourne, Moore, Frost, and two troopers started up the river on a shooting and land excursion. I accompanied them to near Frost's Ponds where the horses were running, and I was glad to find the horses were doing well, as I expected they would do, from the herbage of the plains in that neighbourhood being of the most fattening character. Late in the evening our sportsmen returned and gave a most glowing description of about eight miles of the plains they had crossed in going to and returning from some waterholes they had found, one of which was within half a mile of the river. As they made their excursion an exploring rather than a sporting expedition they shot very little, although they saw several wallabies on the plains, and crowds of duck and other aquatic fowl at the waterholes they passed in the course of their walk.
On the 22nd, having made circulars to the effect that the Firefly hulk and the horses (broad arrow before L) were on their way up the river, the latter on the west bank, some of our party landed on the east bank and stuck them up in places where Mr. Walker's party would probably find them in the event of their passing us and following down that side of the river. In doing so we went over a fine grassed plain, and in that distance found two waterholes. On the 24th the blacks paid us a visit and we gave them presents; but afterwards, as they stole some clothes that were out to dry, we determined to give them no further encouragement unless they returned the stolen things. This Mr. Woods, on the following day, tried to explain to a few of them who swam across the river to the bank that we were alongside of.
When I see naked blacks I am very much tempted to give them clothes and tomahawks; but this should not be indulged for I have found from having done so that the more they have got the more they have wanted; and on the other hand I have found that when they got nothing from us they gave us very little of their company and thus rarely gave us any occasion for quarrelling with them.
On the 27th of October Mr. Campbell and the troopers went on shore and collected the horses and took them up as far as Moore's Ponds.
From twenty-two observations, chiefly taken during the day, the temperature has ranged from 69 to 89 degrees and averaged a fraction over 80 degrees. On the 29th we had a few drops of rain which reminded us that we had hardly had any since we started from Brisbane, upwards of a couple of months ago.
My party went in search of the horses yesterday and returned with them today to the place where the ship was aground, a point about fifteen miles in a straight line from the mouth of the river. The horses were so fresh that to hobble them two of the quietest had to be caught to round with them the others up. In the ten days that they had been ashore they had improved more in condition than any horses I have seen do in other parts of Australia in a similar period. To collect the horses they had to go as far as ten miles in a north-west direction, to a saltwater creek which, from Mr. Campbell's report, I believe is the River Nicholson. On the following day I accompanied Mr. Campbell and the troopers to the Nicholson River. The water in it we found not so brackish as that part of the Albert River where we left the ship. I was surprised to find it was not so broad as the river I have just mentioned. We encamped all night on the bank of the river, and near our camp marked a tree (broad arrow before L). On the 30th we returned to the ship after getting the troopers to collect the horses and shoot a quantity of ducks. By counting my steps I made the distance seven miles to a bend of the Albert River near which Moore's Ponds are situated, and two miles and three-quarters further brought us to the point near which the ship had reached. It is a grassy plain between the two rivers, with a few stunted trees upon it; that nearest the Nicholson River is the poorest soil, and the grass at present upon it is very much parched up. A fine large enclosure for stock might be formed by running a fence across from the Albert to the Nicholson River.
On the 1st November we commenced making a yard for the horses and, having got the assistance of two of the carpenters, we commenced to shoe the horses. On the 4th I got a passage in the barge to H.M.C.S. Victoria, which was stationed at the distance of seven miles from the mouth of this river, to consult with yourself respecting the plan to be pursued in the search for Mr. Burke and his companions, and to express my earnest desire to have rations at the Albert River depot to make a second expedition by the route which Mr. Gregory and I agreed to as the most likely way to find traces to follow Mr. Burke and his companions--namely by skirting the desert, and passing, as near as the country would admit of my doing, to their starting-point, and also to go to a place on the Bowen Downs (a well-watered country) to seek for a continuation of tracks seen by Messrs. Cornish and Buchanan, which they thought were made by a South Australian party, at a point rather less than 300 miles towards the Gulf of Carpentaria from Burke's depot on Cooper's Creek.
On the 6th instant we left the Victoria together (as you are aware) for the depot on the Albert River, and that evening after nine hours boating reached our destination.
On the following morning, having proceeded up the river on the previous day, reached the junction of the Barkly with the Albert River, near which we found the tree marked by Mr. Gregory and Captain Chimmo, the former on the left and the latter on the right bank; afterwards having marked lines of trees, and marked on trees directions to lead the exploring parties to the depot, we returned to it.
On the 15th, intending to start tomorrow on the inland expedition, I had all the horses, in number twenty-three, brought up, the two weak ones having died since our arrival at the Albert River, besides the five I mentioned as having died on the voyage. We saddled and packed a few of the wildest of the horses* to make them more tractable tomorrow, when I hope, as I have mentioned, to start on our journey.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) W. LANDSBOROUGH,
Commander of the Victorian and Queensland Land Expedition.
(*Footnote. The freshness of the horses was surprising: because so soon after the hardships of their voyage, and the destruction of their forage on board the Firefly by seawater, they were chiefly sustained, from Hardy's Island till landing at Carpentaria, by grass cut by our party: this was a task of some difficulty, as we had no implements for doing so excepting our knives.)
Albert River, October 18 1861.
To Captain Norman, H.M.C.S. Victoria.
I have the honour to inform you that I have much pleasure, after the conversation that we had with regard to Lieutenant Woods, in applying to you for that gentleman to accompany me in the expedition, of which I have the command, in search of Mr. Burke and his companions; and I feel that for the unsurveyed western country in the route which I am instructed to take, I have much more necessity for the services of that officer in an astronomical point of view than Mr. Walker can have.
I have got a sextant for taking the latitude, but I have not a chronometer, as Mr. Gregory thought the jolting it would get should render it useless.
I hope, therefore, for the cause of science, etc., you will reconsider the conversation I have had with you on the subject.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) W. LANDSBOROUGH,
Commander of the Victorian and Queensland Land Expedition.
Victoria, off the Albert River, October 19 1861.
In reply to your letter of yesterday, containing an application for Lieutenant Woods to be allowed to accompany you on the expedition which you command, in order to fix your position in a correct and proper manner:
I have the honour to inform you that it was the desire of the Exploration Committee I should furnish that assistance to Mr. Walker, and, having only one officer that I can spare for that duty, I must withhold my consent until I see Mr. Walker and you are nearer your departure. And further, as I understood from Mr. Gregory that Captain Alison was engaged for the purpose of carrying out that important part of the duty, you will be so good as to explain your reasons for want of confidence in him.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) W.H. Norman, Commander.*
W. Landsborough, Esquire.
(*Footnote. I answered this letter; but, having sent a copy of it with other papers from Carpentaria to Brisbane, I cannot at present present it for publication.)
Norman's Group, Albert River, October 18 1861.
My dear Captain Norman,
I have much pleasure in informing you that we have landed safely twenty-three horses, and have sent them to a waterhole which we have called Frost's Ponds, where they had a great roll in the mud, which will, I hope, protect their tender skins in some measure from the sun and sandflies; two of the weak ones we have kept on board.
The wind and the time of high-water (at night) was very unfavourable for going up the river, and, as we were short of water, I need not tell you how glad I was to know of waterholes to which I could drive the horses. Three parties went in search of water the day before yesterday, and were all successful in finding it. Mr. Campbell went with one party and found water on the west bank up the river. I went on the east bank, and in an easterly direction got onto a finely grassed, openly timbered country, within three miles, and at the edge of the timber, in less than three miles further, found a fine waterhole, besides shallow ones, nearly all along the last-mentioned distance. Mr. Frost found a fine waterhole within five miles of here, to which we have driven the horses, as it was on the route which we had previously determined upon as the best to take if practicable.
I have not time at present to write you an official letter, except the one I sent respecting Mr. Woods. The horses, from our having had from you a liberal supply of water, are in much better condition than when they left Hardy's Island.
I remain yours very truly,
(Signed) W. Landsborough.
Being at the depot to start Landsborough on the South-West Expedition from November 5th to 16th, and Walker not having arrived, I offered the services of Lieutenant Woods, which Landsborough declined to accept of, stating he considered they could do very well without any assistance.
(*Footnote. At Brisbane, where I met Captain Norman before I had started on the expedition, he led me to expect that Lieutenant Woods would accompany me to make astronomical observations whilst on my search for Burke, provided I made application for his assistance. At Carpentaria, having ascertained that Lieutenant Woods was himself anxious to accompany me, I wrote the foregoing letter (Number 1) applying for that officer. Captain Norman's reply to this letter I considered tantamount to a refusal, and accordingly arranged to take Captain Alison. Having done so, I may have stated to Captain Norman that I considered I could do very well on this occasion without any assistance from him.)
Albert River, 15th November 1861.
After the unexpected delay of this expedition, from circumstances and accidents over which we had no control, on the 4th instant, in consultation on board the Victoria, I informed you that my stock of provisions for the crew of that vessel would only permit my remaining in the Gulf for 115 days, and that in accordance with the spirit of my instructions you ought to start so soon as possible for Central Mount Stuart, or as near thereto as the nature of the country will admit of your approaching it, and returning to this depot within ninety days from this date.
You having reported yourself ready for starting tomorrow, and that you have ninety days provisions at full allowance, with all the other stores complete for the same time, it therefore only remains for me to fulfil the wishes of the committee, and to inform you that they expect, on your return to Queensland, to be furnished with a copy of your journal and surveys; and that, as Mr. Walker has not arrived so as to enable me to make arrangements for meeting him at the Limmon Bight River, you are to consider that no such arrangement will be made, and that I shall look for your return to this depot within the time specified. And as you have full instructions for your guidance, the same as myself, I feel well assured you will do all in your power to fulfil them, and will make such deviations as the country will admit of in order to find any track of the missing explorers, as well as to meet the wishes of the Exploration Committee.
With reference to your suggestion of starting on a south-easterly exploration after you return to this depot, rest assured I will do all in my power to assist you in anything that may be likely to lead to the discovery of the tracks of the missing explorers.
In conclusion, if any unforeseen accident should delay your return here before my departure, I will bury one of the iron tanks and mark on the large tree at the smithy where you will find it.
I will also take other precautions to ensure your getting the same information by marking other trees, and sinking bottles with letters in the ground. In the tank I will secure all the best stores, and if necessary sink two to hold them.
With every good wish for your safe conduct, and speedy return before I am compelled to depart,
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) W.H. NORMAN,
Commander, and Commander-in-Chief of Northern Exploring Parties.
W. Landsborough, Esquire.*
(*Footnote. It will be seen by this letter that Captain Norman approved of my searching to the south-east when I returned from the south-west. I may mention that, when bidding Captain Norman goodbye, before starting, he told me that he would be very glad to see me return to the depot at the end of two months.)
Albert River Depot, November 15 1861.
I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this day, and to state that I hope to start on the journey recommended by you in accordance with the instruction of the Exploration Committee.
I shall do my utmost to find traces of Mr. Burke and his companions between here and Central Mount Stuart, and will, D.V., return within the time (ninety days) which you have given me for that purpose, if I am not delayed from sickness, or from the country being rather too dry or too wet. I am very much pleased to learn from you that you are willing, as well as lies in your power, to assist me in making a second journey in search of Mr. Burke and his companions, between here and his depot on Cooper's Creek; because I believe the traces seen of an exploring party by Messrs. Cornish and Buchanan, nearly three hundred miles this side of it, were of the parties we want to find, especially as that is a route which the Victorian and South Australian parties may not be able to explore, and one upon which my knowledge of the country will, I hope, be of service to me.
With many thanks for the able assistance you have at all times given in carrying out the views intended by this expedition, etc.,
I have the honour to be, Sir, with best wishes for your own health and welfare,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) W. LANDSBOROUGH,
Commander of the Victorian and Queensland Land Expedition.
Captain Norman of H.M.C.S. Victoria.
Depot, Albert River, December 20 1861.
Mr. Walker's party having arrived here for supplies on the 7th instant, and left again this day, to return to the Flinders River for the purpose of following up the tracks they have found of Mr. Burke to wherever they may be led by them, I deem it my duty to inform you that for the relief of Mr. Burke I consider it is not necessary you should return by the overland route, as Mr. Walker's party will, no doubt, do all that is possible, and not give up the following of the missing party by their tracks to wherever they may lead to.
And notwithstanding my sanction to the contrary I deem it my duty to inform you that for the relief of the missing explorers it is not necessary for you return overland with your party, and that you ought to return by the Victoria to Queensland in accordance with the instructions of the Royal Society.
But as much will depend on the time you return here, and condition of your horses and party for immediate service, to overtake and render assistance in pursuing the tracks found, I must leave it to your own decision to determine whether you do so or abandon your horses and return by water.
As all the stores are at the depot that can be spared from the Victoria (ammunition included) and I have left instruction for their being packed in 50-pound packages ready for immediate use, should you arrive here in time to overtake Mr. Walker your party might render some service towards the main object of the expedition by joining in the following up of the tracks found.
I have the honour to be, etc.,
(Signed) W.H. NORMAN,
Commander, and Commander-in-Chief of Northern Expedition Parties.
W. Landsborough, Esquire,
Leader of Brisbane Party for relief of Burke, etc.
H.M.C.S. Victoria, off the Albert River, February 7 1862.
I do myself the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 22nd ultimo reporting your return, and containing an outline of your proceedings, and the nature of the country you passed through going towards and returning from the direction of Central Mount Stuart; also a tracing of your route for the Royal Society of Victoria.
In reply to your requisition in the same for a further supply of stores for use on going on the south-east route, I regret to inform you that, from not having them, I shall be unable to supply you with tea, sugar, and rum; but such other articles as we have and can spare you will be furnished with; but should you consider it will in any way endanger your party going overland without the stores you have asked for, or from the smallness of the number for which you can carry stores, or for protection, I do not consider that it is imperative you should do so, having every reason to believe that Mr. Walker's party will do everything that is possible and necessary to continue following up of Mr. Burke's tracks, and you can all return by Victoria; but, as you have stated, there is a possibility of Walker losing the tracks, and you will have the same chance of finding and following them up as he will by going on the south-eastern route, you have my sanction to proceed if you consider you can with safety do so, taking with you as many of your party and whom you think proper, and the remainder will be taken round by this vessel.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) W.H. NORMAN,
Commander, and Commander-in-Chief of Northern Exploring Expedition to Gulf of Carpentaria.
W. Landsborough Esquire, Leader of Brisbane party, etc.
H.M.C.S. Victoria, off Albert River, Gulf of Carpentaria, February 6 1862.
In reply to your letter of the 20th December 1861, in which you tell me you do not deem it necessary for me to go on the second expedition I proposed, namely, to the south-east, as Mr. Walker will no doubt do all that is possible and not give up following the missing party, I beg to disagree with you. I think, now that the tracks have been found, that it is an additional reason for my going on the expedition, and that I will have a much better chance of being successful in the main object of the expedition than I had on my last one.
Mr. Walker will not be able probably to follow the tracks of Mr. Burke and his companions, as too long a time has elapsed since these tracks were made.
In conclusion I thank you for the sanction you have given me to proceed on this expedition, especially as I never would have had anything to do with it had I imagined that I would have been checked in going the way I now propose; for all along I thought it would be the way where Burke's tracks were most likely to be found, and more particularly after I learned from Messrs. Cornish and Buchanan that they had seen what they believed to be the tracks of Burke's party, about 200 miles to the westward of Mount Narien.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) W. LANDSBOROUGH,
Commander of the Victorian and Queensland Land Expedition.
Captain Norman, H.M.C.S. Victoria, Commander-in-Chief of Northern Expedition Parties.
Depot, Albert River, January 22.
I have the honour to inform you that our party arrived here all safe and in good health on the morning of the 19th instant, when we were informed of the successful overland journey, through, in a great measure, an unknown country, of Walker's party, and of the glorious news of their having found the tracks at the Flinders River of Burke's party returning from the Gulf of Carpentaria; and also of your having found tracks lower down the river, which were probably older than those found by Mr. Walker's party, as the latter were the return tracks.
Mr. Walker's party, as you observe in your letter of the 20th ultimo, will no doubt do all that is possible and not give up (if he can follow the tracks) following the missing party, in whatever direction they may go. This however they will find difficult and tedious, if not altogether impossible.
I have brought back all the horses with the exception of two that were drowned. I shall therefore, as I have your sanction, so soon as I have recruited the horses and rested till there is a probability of my party being able to travel, which we cannot do at present, as the country is, I think, too boggy, start again, with a better hope of success in the main object of the expedition than I had on my last journey, when, in accordance with my instructions, I went as far as the dry state of the country and my time would admit in the direction of Central Mount Stuart.
For our next expedition we have, as you are aware, no tea nor sugar. When you are leaving, I am sure, if you can spare us any of these necessary articles, you will do so; also some lime-juice, rum, quinine, caster oil, and laudanum, which are so useful for the prevention or cure of diseases to which we will be liable during or after wet weather.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Commander of Victorian and Queensland Land Expedition.
Captain Norman, of H.M.C.S. Victoria,
Commander-in-Chief of the Northern Expedition Parties.
COPY OF JOURNAL.
W. LANDSBOROUGH, ESQUIRE, LEADER OF BRISBANE PARTY.
Albert River, November 18 1861.
Camp Number 2. Situated near the junction of Beames Brook.
Monday November 18.
From the Post-office Lagoon we went one and a half miles west, thence over fine downs, chiefly wooded with acacia, two and a half miles south-west, and reached a pond on the left bank of Beames Brook, near which we had a dinner of young wood from a cabbage-palm-tree which Fisherman felled near the steep bank of the running stream, at which place we marked a tree (broad arrow before L) and likewise marked in the same way a more conspicuous tree which stands a little further out from the brook; thence eight miles south-west, over fine rich plains with a good variety of grass upon them, and a few plants of saline herbs. It was then time to encamp, as we had been travelling for five hours; we therefore changed our course to north-west for three-quarters of a mile, and reached a branch of the Nicholson River consisting of at least four channels, one full of fine clear running water, on the right bank of which we formed our Number 3 Camp.
Tuesday November 19. Camp Number 3.
The channels are shaded by drooping tea-trees, swamp-oaks, etc. As it was unnamed on the charts I gave it the name of Gregory River. Some blacks came up and watched the camp while we were packing. We started up the river at 8.45 a.m.; we followed the right bank of the watercourse in a south-south-west direction. At 9.50 we reached a fine point for a station for stock, about two and a quarter miles by the river from camp, the first mile and a half of which was in a south-south-west, and the last three-quarters of a mile in a south by east direction. We could not cross the river easily, so we kept on the right bank. At 10.20 we reached a point on the riverbank half a mile south-west from the last. At 10.35 we made half a mile south. At 10.45, steering south-west by south half a mile we came to what seemed to be the junction of the creek. The course of the river was then from south-west to north-east, so we followed it up for three miles, where we unpacked the horses, as we wanted to water them. The approach to the river was boggy. We stopped here and had some dinner. On the bank marked a tree (broad arrow before L). In the afternoon we travelled from 4.4 to 6.13, in the following courses:
At 4.20 half a mile south-west by south where we passed a fine waterhole.
At 4.40, one mile south-west by south.
At 5.5 one mile south-west.
At 5.30 one mile south-west by south.
At 5.55 one mile south-west to where we passed a broad reach of water.
At 6.10, three-quarters of a mile south-east to a point above junction of a dry watercourse where we made our Number 4 camp. The edges of the plain which we saw today in following up the river are of the richest soil, and only sufficiently timbered to afford firewood for a pastoral population. The grasses are of the best description. This is the character of the whole of the country we have seen since we left our first camp. There is no appearance on the country we have crossed of its having had rain for a long time; but from the strong stream of water in the river I think there must have been plenty of rain on the country higher up. I saw today, on several low places, saltbush which the horses ate, of a kind I have often seen in the western country from Rockhampton, but never before so near to the coast. By following the river it has taken us nearly right on our course towards Mount Stuart.
Wednesday November 20. Camp Number 4.
Situated on right bank of the Gregory River. Started at 8.13 a.m. and steered south for about three miles, until 9.25; then I had to change our course to south-south-east for about half a mile to where we tried to cross the river, but could not find a suitable place for doing so. Started again at 10.15 and reached at 11.15, by a south course, two and a quarter miles to where we crossed a dry creek near its junction with the river. We continued steering on the same course south for about one mile, when we reached the bank of the river, and a further continuation of the same course for one mile brought us to a place on the river where we watered the horses. The watering-place was boggy but we could find no better. Started again at 2.4 p.m., and at 3.30 made one and a half miles south-south and by east; at 4 made one and a half miles in a south-east direction, to where I went in search of a crossing-place, and in doing so followed the river in a south-east direction for two and a half miles without finding a place where the horses could approach even near enough to the river to get a drink without a risk of their falling into the deep water. We followed up the Gregory River thirteen miles by the courses I have mentioned. We found the branding-irons did not answer for branding trees, as it took a much longer time to do so than to mark them with a tomahawk, so we buried them at a tree marked Dig, at the camp we left this morning. Last night we had a potful of the young wood of the cabbage palm, which tasted like asparagus. All the country we have seen today is of a similar character to that described in yesterday's journal. This afternoon we reached country on which rain had fallen recently and it was in consequence covered with herbage so green that we did not think the horses on it would require water during the night, so their not having been able to approach it earlier in the day was not of any consequence. We encamped but the night was so short and the mosquitoes so troublesome that, what with watching and getting up at 3.45, we had hardly sufficient sleep. I found at this time that the duties of exploring gave very little time for fishing or shooting. At this period of our journey the sextant was too much out of order for making sufficiently accurate observations of the stars.
Thursday November 21. Camp Number 5.
On right bank of the Gregory River. Started at 8.30 a.m., and at 8.55 had made along the same bank three-quarters of a mile in a south-south-east direction; at 9.25 we made a mile further in the same direction; at 10.13 also in the same direction (south-south-east) two miles; at 10.30 changed our course and made three-quarters of a mile south-east; at 10.45 by following up the river we made half a mile south-east by south to a point where I marked a tree with a broad arrow before LC+, where the river assumed a new character. It has a broad hard bed with only a boggy spot at the western bank. The crossing of the horses over this place was more difficult than I expected, and had to be accomplished by strewing the ground with grass. We started from the left bank of the river at 3.13 p.m., and at 3.40 made one mile and a quarter south and by east; at 4.18 two miles in the same direction; at 4.40 one mile south-east; at 4.54 half a mile further in the same direction; at 5.12 three-quarters of a mile south in a fruitless search for water. Returned to the same bank by an east-north-east line of one mile and a quarter in length, where we encamped. The country we have seen on this side, although fine fattening plains, is more thinly grassed and not nearly so rich as that on the plains we saw lower down the river. At the camp we found marjoram, which makes a pleasant drink. On this side of the river also we observed a white stunted gum with leaves like that of the apple tree. I may mention a few common trees which I have observed today--first, on the edges of the river fine large tea-trees, with foliage (melaleuca) like the drooping willow; beautiful Leichhardt-trees, pandanus, and cabbage-palm-trees: on the banks and scattered over the plain, stunted box, bauhinia, white cedar, and bloodwood; with the pandanus I got too intimately acquainted for, while with merely a shirt upon me, leading a restive horse across the river, I fell back and, rolling, got its thorns into all parts of my body.
Friday November 22. Camp Number 6.
Situated on the left bank of the Gregory River. At 9.44 a.m. steered south and by east for two miles, and by doing so went across a bend of the river; at 9.58 made half a mile in a south by west direction; at 10.20 made a quarter of a mile in the same direction, to the left bank of a watercourse, which was evidently a new one, and which I called the Macadam, after the Secretary of the Royal Society. Stopped to fill water-bottles and water the horses as I was afraid of the creek being dry further up. Started again at 11.40 a.m. at a quicker pace, and at 12.10 p.m. made one mile and a half south; at 12.40 p.m. halted to adjust the pack of a packhorse after having made one mile and a quarter further in the same direction. Started again and at 1 p.m. made south and by west (by following up the Macadam Creek) half a mile; at 1.20 one mile south-west by south to where we stopped, and started again at 1.26; at 1.55 one mile south-west by south made a point near which there was water in the Macadam Creek, and encamped.
With respect to the Macadam Creek, it is badly watered and has a dry shallow aspect, and appears from the scarcity of flood-marks to have seldom a stream of water in it, and I am of opinion flows chiefly through flat country. This character of a river has in the settled parts of Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, the best sheep country on its banks; but here, where all the country is dry enough for sheep, this will not be a qualification. Following it will be an unpleasant exchange to the Gregory River with its beautiful stream of water, which I daresay comes from well-watered highlands. At present the plains are dry and parched.
The water at our encampment was very bad, in a great measure from its being warm, shallow, and frequented by ducks and other birds. This is the hottest day we have had. At first we thought we were going to have a miserable camp, from the badness of the water; but in the afternoon a fine cool breeze sprang up and at the water, or near it, we shot several ducks, a large waterfowl, and some rose cockatoos; we had also as many nice little figs as we liked to eat from a large shady clump of bushes near the camp.
Saturday November 23. Camp Number 7, situated on Macadam Creek.
We started at 8.48 a.m. and at 9.23 had made two and a quarter miles in a south-west by south direction. At 9.40 we made one mile further in the same direction; from thence we went in a south line for one mile and a quarter, and reached, at 10.10, at the end of that distance, a very fine waterhole, 300 yards long and forty yards wide, very deep, with basaltic dykes at both ends. I thought they were like white limestone. Here we watered the horses. Started again at 10.55. At 11.55 made south along the bed of the creek three-quarters of a mile. At 11.40 made a mile south-west by south, where we stopped to adjust a pack, and started again at 11.45. At 11.58 we reached in half a mile south-west by south a waterhole in the Macadam Creek, near which there are a great many rocks like white limestone. At this water we made another stop, and started at 12.20 p.m. At 1.3 made one mile and three-quarters south-south-west, where we sighted the first hills we have seen since leaving the depot. We went on the plain a quarter of a mile south-west by south to get observations of the hills. They appeared to be twenty or thirty miles distant. Started again at 1.37, with Fisherman, following the rest of the party, who had gone on; and at 1.58 made three-quarters of a mile south-west by west. At 2.6 a quarter of a mile south to a dry creek, which we crossed. 2.40 we reached Macadam Creek in one mile and a half in a south by east direction, where we overtook our companions. At 3 we went in search of water up Macadam Creek three-quarters of a mile south. We stopped to have a drink, and although the water from the leather bottles was full of impurities we found it agreeable to our parched palates. We started again at 3.20, and made south-west one mile to Gregory's River, where we formed our seventh camp. The river is here a quarter of a mile wide, running strong in two channels. It is uncrossable for horses, and the intervening parts are crowded with fine large weeping tea-trees, large Leichhardt-trees, tall cabbage-palm, pandanus, and other trees. It is the finest and greenest-looking inland river I have seen in Australia, and the country it runs through consists of rich-soiled plains, just sufficiently wooded for pastoral purposes. Since we left the depot we have not seen any country on which sheep would not do well, excepting during the wettest and driest seasons. In country such as this it is a singular fact that sheep do better, on the whole, in a wet season than on ridgy country. With one exception, where the soil was clayey, the country we have seen on this river is of the very richest description. At present it is parched up, with the exception of a few patches of young grass near the river. In many places the old grass is three feet high. Notwithstanding the parched state of the grass, the horses have done well upon it, indeed they could not look better if they had been corn-fed.
Sunday November 24. Camp Number 8.
We rested ourselves and the horses. Mr. Alison made a traverse table of our course and found that we had made 55 miles south and 25 miles west from Post Office Camp, near the junction of the Barkly with the Albert River, and the latitude 18 degrees 45 minutes. The sun is too vertical for taking it with my sextant and artificial horizon. We were rather late in making observations of the sun, and we only got one sight of it, which was made by myself. I brought it to a point within 180 yards of me on the level bank of the river, which altitude made our latitude 18 degrees 57 minutes. Thermometer showed 90 degrees at 7 a.m. and 103 degrees at noon. We got a fine potful of cabbage-tree sprouts, which eat like asparagus.
Monday November 25. Camp Number 8. Situated on the Gregory River.
From this camp we started at 8 a.m., but had almost immediately to halt for ten minutes to adjust a pack on a riding-saddle. The other packsaddles were constructed on Gregory's principle, and required less adjusting. At 8.45 made one mile and a quarter south by west along the bank of the river. At 9 made one mile and a half south-west by south. At 9.16 made half a mile further along the river in the same direction to outlet of creek, which is probably what I have been calling Macadam Creek (or River). At 9.23 made a quarter of a mile still further along the bank of the river in the same direction, at which place hills were in sight a short distance from our course. Fisherman and I started for the hills, bearing 231 1/2 degrees, and in two miles we reached the hill, and from the top of it we saw ranges from 67 to 328 degrees; but none of them were remarkable. The hill we ascended was rocky and barren. Having taken observations of these hills, Fisherman and I started to rejoin our companions. The country was so parched up that Fisherman said, "Suppose you leave him river, you won't find other fellow water." At 11.49 we made one mile and a quarter south; at 12.10 we steered south-south-west for about three-quarters of a mile, and reached the river, where, at a blacks' camp, we overtook our companions. There were three gins and six children, who were trembling with fear in and at the edge of the water. In a short time they recovered courage, and one of the gins, to whom I gave a red woollen neck comforter, wanted to get up behind one of my companions, and although her advances were rejected she followed us until Jemmy, the trooper, made signs to her to return to camp. We started again at 12.30, and at 12.42 made half a mile south-west by west. At 12.56, by following up the river, we made half a mile in a south-west direction. At 1.17 p.m. made three-quarters of a mile south by west along the bank of the river. At 1.27 quarter of a mile south-west, where on the bank of the river we had dinner, and had for salad cabbage-tree sprouts. The holes in the river are here deep and long. Hills confine the river on both sides, just above where we had dinner. The one on the right bank of the river I have named Heales Ranges, and the one on the left Mount Macadam. Started again at 4.53 p.m. At 5.20 followed up the river, one mile in a westerly direction, over fine ridges of rich soil. At 5.27 quarter of a mile south-west by west. At 6.25 made two and a half miles west-south-west to left bank of the river, where we formed our ninth camp--the worst camp the horses have had as the grass was completely burned up.
Tuesday November 26. Camp Number 9, situated on the Gregory River.
From this camp there are three hills on this side--the left--of the river, visible from the camp; ranges bearing from north by east to north by west I call the Hull Ranges; a hill west half south I call Mount Moore. Fisherman and I set off when Campbell, Allison, and the horses were all but ready to start, to go along the ranges to have a view of the country. We went along the ranges which confine the river on the left bank for forty-eight minutes, when we reached a point about two miles west by south from camp. At 9.20 we started to overtake our companions. At 10.12 made two miles and a quarter west by north, partly over ridges of good soil, and partly over barren ridges, all of which were as dry as a chip, to the track of our main party on the way up the river. At 10.40 made one mile southerly, and reached in that direction and distance the bank of the river, where it washes the base of a steep hill on the opposite side. At 11 we made three-quarters of a mile along the bank of the river in a south-west and by west direction. At 11.12 made half a mile west-south-west to a point on the bank where a hill on the left bank is about quarter of a mile distant to the north-west. At 11.25 made half a mile west-south-west to old channel of river. At 11.37 made half a mile west along the river to a point where an isolated hill bore west-south-west and by south. At 11.43 made quarter of a mile west and watered our horses at the river. Started again at 12 noon. At 12.20 steered one mile west, overtook our companions, and halted to water the horses of the main party. Started at 1 p.m., and at 1.50 made two miles south-west by following up the river. At 2.24 made a mile and a quarter south-west by west through a pass confined by hills on the right and the river on the left. As soon as we got out of it we observed similar ones on the opposite side of the river. At 2.45 made three-quarters of a mile south-west by south to a point where we made our Number 10 camp. Today we went up the river twelve miles and a half. During that space it is confined more or less by ranges, which the river on either one side or the other washes the base of when it is flooded. The troopers agree with me in thinking that the river has the appearance of having a constant stream of water. A small log of wood on the edge of the water I observed was covered over with a stony substance formed by sediment from the water. At one place in the river where we bathed the current was so strong that it took our feet from under us in wading across. It is so deep that it is not fordable except at the bars between the waterholes, where it runs rapid. Its bed is full of large trees, among which I observed gum, Leichhardt, tea, and cabbage-palm-trees. Along the edge of the water it has a fringe of pandanus. Among the trees in the second bed by the river there is coarse grass and other herbs. If we had seen the country under more favourable circumstances, a short time after rain had fallen instead of now, when the grass is dry and withered, I should have called it most beautiful country; for, with the exception of a few barren ranges the soil is very rich and clothed with the best of grasses. The trees upon it are chiefly bauhinia, and stunted box and gumtrees, without ironbark.
Wednesday November 27. Camp Number 10, situated on the banks of the Gregory River.
Ginger, the old black horse, was missing until eleven o'clock, when the troopers reported that they had found him in the river drowned, and floating down with the stream. I had the horses brought down on the previous evening to the only watering-place which was safe, but as they were watered a few hours before they did not all of them drink so soon again. From camp we crossed a bad gully and from it made a fair start at 11.52, having made at that place half a mile south-west by south. The river is at this place closely confined on both sides by stony ranges; a few drops of rain fell on us in that pass. At 12.40 p.m. made two miles west to a small dry watercourse from the north, which is full of pandanus at its mouth. The ranges on the left bank had on them dykes like artificial ones, which run at different places across the hills. At 1 p.m. we made three-quarters of a mile in the same direction south to another dry small creek from the north. At 1.14 we made half a mile west by south to rapids with a fall of at least three feet, where the river was still closely confined on both sides. At 1.45 made a mile south-west to a small basaltic hill, opposite what appeared the junction of a larger river from the west-south-west. As the crossing-place was bad in this river the troopers and I crossed to look at the large watercourse; it was running and so full of pandanus that we could not see it well. It might be only another channel of the Gregory River. It has the broadest bed but has not so much running water in it. The basaltic hill rose too close to the river to let us pass so we had to go round it, and as soon as we had done so we reached the junction of a creek from the north. The country about here consists of stony barren hills and ridges, with the exception of a few spots which have rich soil and excellent grass. There is slate in abundance, and the country is like that of some goldfields I have seen. At 3.40 made half a mile north-west up the creek, which has a slaty bed, where we crossed. A little higher it has reeds and water in it. I have called it the Stawell Creek. At 3.48 quarter of a mile south-west to the river; we observed in crossing this point patches of triodia, or more commonly called spinifex. The country near this part of the river is wooded with stunted bloodwood. At 4.30 made one mile south-west up the river. At 4.43 half a mile south-south-west to a point between river and small basaltic hill with two little cones on the top of it, like the cairns Mr. Stuart draws of those he made on Central Mount Stuart. (Direction omitted, probably about south.) At 4.10 one mile and a quarter to where we made our Number 11 camp, at which place I observed some first-rate grasses, and for the first time on the Gregory River a few tufts of kangaroo-grass. The country we have seen today is fine fattening healthy sheep country; but it will not carry much stock as the grass is thin. The horse drowned had been an unfortunate brute from the time of our leaving Brisbane. On board ship he was nearly kicked to death by other horses, having been trampled down during the wreck.
Thursday November 28. Camp Number 11, situated on the Gregory River.
Mr. Allison and I made from time to time observations of the sun and stars; but as the sextant, which had been injured at the wreck of a brig, was out of order, we had no confidence in those observations, and have not preserved them. From Camp Mount Kay, a hill confining the river closely on the left bank, about one mile and a half distant (looks about three miles) bore 119 degrees; another hill about two miles distant bore 28 degrees; and another, two miles, bore 312 degrees; also a hill forming the south end of the gorge of the river, about one mile distant up the river 249 degrees. There is marjoram in abundance at the camp; but that is hardly worthy of remark as it is very common all up the river from the commencement of the high grounds. We were detained this morning as I had a shoe to put on one of the horses and other things to do. At 9.20 a.m. Messrs. Campbell, Allison, and Jemmy started up the river, and Fisherman and I started to look for a river from the southward. At 10.5, after having crossed the river, we made one mile and three-quarters south-south-west over rising ground, of the richest soil with hardly a tree upon it, to the foot of the ranges, at which place Mount Kay bore 56 degrees; the hill, probably, with the cairn on the top, 53 degrees; the ranges bearing 68 to 71 degrees, which I think are on the right bank of a watercourse we found soon afterwards, which I named the O'Shanassy River, just above its junction with the Gregory River. A table hill, about a mile distant 92 degrees. At 10.50 we made half a mile south-south-west to the top of a range which has a basaltic stony character. From it we observed that we were 327 degrees from a distant long-topped table hill. Having got into broken country I depended too much on Fisherman to take me out of it into the next valley, but he took me on to the river at a point a considerable distance up its course. At 1 p.m. we returned to the point, which is one mile and three-quarters south-south-west from the camp we left in the morning. At 1.30 we made east-south-east, past the little table hill to a beautiful valley of the richest soil, but now without water, and all the grass parched up, at which point Mount Kay bore north-north-west, about one mile distant. We then searched for the river we expected to find coming from the southward, and found it by following down the river north-east for one mile and a half below Mount Kay, where we marked a tree--broad arrow before L. We then followed the river up for half a mile and observed that it was running. It does not join at the place which we the previous day thought was the junction of a river. Just above the junction there is a scrub of large fig-trees, on which there were a great number of flying foxes. There is a hill on the right bank of the river, just above its junction with the Gregory, which I named Smith's Range. In returning I observed at a point one mile and three-quarters south-south-west from the camp remarkable hills on both sides of the Gregory River, about half a mile above the junction with the O'Shanassy, which I have named the Prior Ranges. At 4.48 we returned to a point opposite Mount Kay. At 5.26 made two miles up the river to where there are remarkable bluff hills on both sides of the river (the lower hills of the gorge). At 5.50 we observed that we had passed the camp and, as the river is difficult to cross even at its best fords, we went to the camp ford, which the horses knew, as we had crossed there in the morning. Having made camp at 6.35, at dark we made one mile and three-quarters west, slightly southerly to the hill at the gorge, on the track of the main party. Further than that Fisherman would not follow this track in the dark, as it went over a basaltic rocky range. This was a bad camp for us, the grass so parched up that the horses could not get any worth eating, and we had nothing to eat ourselves. I was stung by a reptile, probably a scorpion. The pain it gave was sufficient to make me very uncomfortable during the night.
Friday November 29.
At 5.40 a.m. Fisherman and I started on the track of the main party. At 6.55 we made two and a half miles south-south-west by following the river up a gorge to opposite junction of a watercourse from the south, which I have named the Verdon Creek. At 7.18 made three-quarters of a mile south-west by south up gorge of the river. At 7.35 made half a mile south-west and by west to junction of a little creek from the north. At 8 made three-quarters of a mile west to a basaltic hill on left bank. At 8.25 three-quarters of a mile in the same direction, to a point opposite a large creek from the south, which I have named Balfour Creek. (Respecting it see Campbell's report.) At the lower end of a gap in the basaltic wall, on the left side, there is a round-topped hill, just above the junction of the creek. At 8.35 we made half a mile west-north-west to the junction of a small creek from the north. At 9.4 made a mile west and by north. At 9.13 a quarter of a mile to junction of a watercourse from the north, which I have named Haines Creek. At 9.24 a quarter of a mile north-west up this creek to Number 12 Camp. During the remainder of the day we all remained in encampment except Mr. Campbell and Jemmy who went and examined Balfour Creek, having been asked by me to do so. Mr. Campbell gave me afterwards the following report of his survey;
I proceeded, accompanied by Jemmy to the Gregory River, and though I endeavoured at several points to effect a crossing, we had to follow the stream about four miles before an eligible place could be found. Here the bottom is hard and stony, with about three feet of water running at a rapid rate. Opposite this point I marked a gumtree with + before broad arrow before L. I then proceeded up the opposite bank, and crossed two dry watercourses, and at about two and a half miles came upon the branch (I presume you to have meant) and found it going in a westerly direction. There was but little water in it so far as I went; and, as it was not running, I do not think water could be traced up any distance. I tried to cross the Gregory at the junction of this creek, but the banks are so boggy I had to return by the way I went.
Saturday November 30. Camp Number 12, situated on Haines Creek.
At 8.35 a.m. left the camp, and at 8.50 made half a mile south-east and reached the river. At 8.57 made a quarter of a mile west. At 9.30 made one mile and a quarter west-south-west along the river. At 9.37 made a quarter of a mile south-west. At 9.55 made three-quarters of a mile south to where there is a crossing-place at rapids, with at least six feet of a fall. Made a delay of twenty minutes from having to go through pandanus and tea-tree scrub, and then over rocks, etc. Made a fair start at 10.20. At 10.35 made half a mile south-west. At 10.45 made half a mile south. At 11.10 made one mile and a half west-south-west. (About here kangaroos are numerous.) At 11.23 made half a mile south-west by west. At 11.40 made three-quarters of a mile west to a single column and wall, which I have called Campbell's Tower. Mr. Campbell and I got into the tower, which we found a delightful shelter from the heat of the sun, while the troopers were getting cabbage-tree sprouts. Started again at 12.54 p.m. At 3.45 made what I supposed to be a branch of the river, as it was hardly running. Having stopped the horses, Jemmy and I went in search of the running water, and also to look for grass for the horses, as we did not remember having seen any on the course we had come for some distance back, except very coarse grass in the bed of the river, and old grass on the bank, which was too dry to be of service. At a quarter of a mile further we found the junction, on the right side of the river, of a well-watered creek which I have named after Sir Francis Murphy. We could not, from its bogginess, cross. We therefore returned, and recrossed at the old place. There we went down the river and crossed between the creek I mentioned. We then followed the same down on the right side about two miles without finding the junction of the running stream; and as it was late we returned to where we had left the main party, and near there formed our thirteenth camp on the left bank of the river.
Sunday December 1. Camp 13, situated on the Gregory River.
On a particular examination of the grass about the camp I had a better opinion of it, and thought it advisable to remain here until I had made a search for the running water. At this camp we had a potful of cabbage-tree sprouts, and we ate a large quantity of it with lime juice which made it resemble rhubarb in taste. It agreed well with us, except with Mr. Campbell, who was slightly sick from eating it.
Monday December 2. Camp 13.
Before starting to look for the running stream Mr. Allison and I clinched and fastened with other nails the shoes on the horses that Jemmy and I were going to ride. We left camp at 7.52 a.m. At 8.30 made one mile and a half east. At 8.53 made one mile further east. At 9.6 half a mile east-north-east to junction of a creek on the right side of the river, which I have named the Wilson Creek. In the fork made by it and the river marked a tree with broad arrow between E. L. At 9.27 we crossed the creek and followed down the river. At 10.4 we made one mile and a quarter north-east (chiefly at some distance from the river, on the top of the high basaltic bank, which, from the want of soil, has nothing on it except triodia and stunted bloodwood-trees) to a point half a mile south of Campbell's Tower and west-south-west from a point about two miles down the river. We started again at 10.13 and reached the rapids in the river, which are about three miles above Number 12 camp; in doing so we kept chiefly at some distance from the river on the barren basaltic rocky ridges, and only crossed two dry watercourses. With some difficulty we crossed at the top of the rapids. A few yards lower the stream is three feet deep and several yards wide. Having now gone round the running water, as the country is very dry on both sides of the river, it follows that this fine stream proceeds from springs in the immediate neighbourhood. We left the rapids to return to camp at 3.22 p.m. at a smart walk. At 4.10 we made two miles and a half to a tree in a narrow pass, which we marked with a broad arrow between E. L. At 4.20 started again, and at 4.40 made one mile to Campbell's Tower; then at 5.9 two miles and a half to a pillar 40 feet high. At 6.14 two miles and three-quarters to camp.
Tuesday December 3. Camp 13.
At 8.15 a.m. we left this camp; crossed the river with the intention of following it on that side when practicable. At 8.26 made a quarter of a mile north-west. At 8.35 made half a mile west-north-west. At 8.50 made half a mile south-west and by west. At 9.4 made half a mile west-north-west. At 9.16 made half a mile west-south-west to junction of another creek from the south, named by me Haughton Creek. At 9.45 made one mile west-south-west to junction of another creek from the south, named by me Dodwell Creek. At 10.12 made one mile west by north. At 10.20 made a quarter of a mile west to junction of another creek from south. At 10.27 made a quarter of a mile north by west. At 10.52 made three-quarters of a mile north-west. At 11.7 made half a mile north-west. At 11.20 made half a mile west and by south. At 11.40 made three-quarters of a mile north-west. At noon made three-quarters of a mile west. At 12.26 made one mile west and by south. At 1 made one mile west by south. At 1.7 made a quarter of a mile south to a point on the right bank, where we formed our fourteenth camp, as we found there water in the river from a recent thunderstorm. The bed of the river we had found perfectly dry for some distance back. The river is badly watered along the course we have come. Below our last camp it has quite a different character. There are now only gumtrees in the bed of it, whereas lower down it was crowded with green trees, consisting chiefly of fig, Leichhardt, drooping tea-tree, cabbage-palm, pandanus, etc. All the country above Camp 11 on the banks of the river is composed of barren, rocky, basaltic ridges, which are slightly timbered with stunted bloodwood trees and overrun with triodia, with the exception of narrow strips of flooded country on each side of the river, on the lowest parts of which there is coarse grass, and on the higher parts there are tufts of the best description of grasses.
Tuesday December 4. Camp Number 14, situated on the Gregory River.
At 7.58 a.m. left camp and at 8.20 made three-quarters of a mile south to opposite junction of creek from south, which I have named Fullarton Creek. At 8.35 a.m. made three-quarters of a mile south-west to the junction of another creek from south. At 8.53 made a quarter of a mile west-south-west. At 9 made three-quarters of a mile west. At 9.20 made three-quarters of a mile west-south-west. At 9.27 made a quarter of a mile west-south-west to junction of creek from west. At 10 made one mile south-west. At 10.35 made one mile south-west to junction of creek from north named by me Dixon Creek. At 10.45 made a quarter of a mile south-west. At 11.20 left main party to go in search of water, with orders to party to return to old camp if not back in an hour. At 11.40 made three-quarters of a mile west to junction of small creek from south. At 11.45 made a quarter of a mile west. At 12.10 p.m. made half a mile north-west. At 12.40 made one mile north-west to junction of creek from south-west which I have named Abbot Creek. At 12.48 made a quarter of a mile south-west up the creek, and marked a tree in its bed. Fisherman got some honey from a tree. At 2.30 made a quarter of a mile south-west, proceeded up the creek. At 2.40 made a quarter of a mile south-west, passed the junction of two small creeks. At 2.58 made three-quarters of a mile south-west by west. At 3.20 made three-quarters of a mile south. At 3.30 made a quarter of a mile south-west to junction of small creek on south side. At 3.53 made three-quarters of a mile south. At 3.58 made a quarter of a mile south-east. At 4.8 made a quarter of a mile south-south-west, at which point, having marked a tree with broad arrow over L and not having found either water or grass since leaving Number 14 camp, we started to return at 5.5. We reached our honey delay tree in about two miles and three-quarters. At dark we reached in about three miles to where we had left our party, when we went in search of water, and in a distance of fully five miles and a quarter to Camp 15, situated about one mile higher up the river than Camp 14. From our companions we learned that Jemmy had been up the river, and although he had been away all day, had returned without finding any water. He observed however a smoke to the southward, where water very probably may be found, as these fires are generally kindled by the natives near water.
Thursday December 5. Camp Number 15.
Mr. Campbell having gone today in search of water, made the following report:
Left camp at 8.15 a.m., accompanied by Jemmy. On reaching the rise above the camp I steered in a south-west direction which we followed for six miles over a barren country intersected in many places by deep gullies or watercourses; one of these we followed to its junction with a very wide channel, larger, in my opinion, than the Gregory at the point where we left that stream. From its appearance I imagine it has not been visited by a flood for a considerable period, as in many places it is overgrown with rank grass and young timber.
We followed this channel up for some distance in the expectation of finding water in the deep holes along its bed, in one of which we discovered a native well, but which was quite dry.
Seeing after a time there was no prospect of procuring water by following this course, I left the channel and proceeded in a south to south-east direction, and (being advised by Jemmy) and having neither water nor provisions with us, determined on returning back, seeing no probability of obtaining water in the character of country through with we were travelling. On our return we made the channel before mentioned several miles to the north, which we followed down, and it brought us into the Gregory, about four miles above our camp. Distance travelled about thirty miles.
Friday December 6. Camp Number 15.
Fisherman and I left camp this morning to go in search of water. At 9.50 a.m. made three-quarters of a mile south to Fullarton Creek. At 10.15 made one mile south up the creek. At 10.43 made one mile south up the creek. At 10.50 made a quarter of a mile south-east. At 11.8 made a quarter of a mile north. At 11.15 made a quarter of a mile east. At 11.35 made a quarter of a mile east, general course of creek. At 11.40 made a quarter of a mile south-east. At 11.50 made half a mile south. At 12.7 p.m. made three-quarters of a mile south. At 12.52 made two miles south. At 1.18 made one mile south by east, to a plain with tableland of the richest soil, and with grasses of the most fattening nature, but which at this time are old and dry. This tableland I have named Barkly Plains, after His Excellency Sir Henry Barkly. At 1.26 made a quarter of a mile south by east three miles and three-quarters south to plains, to reach which we crossed barren ridges with gullies, having an easterly course. To the south-west not a tree was to be seen. At 3.37 made two miles and a quarter south, with which course we skirt the left edge of Barkly Plains. Stopped here and had some dinner. Started again at 4.15. At 4.30 p.m. made one mile south where Fisherman shot and dressed an emu. At 5.23 we started again. At 5.40 made three-quarters of a mile south-south-east to a watercourse which I have named Pratt Creek. At 5.45 made a quarter of a mile south-east down the creek to water. Proceeded about one mile further, and then returned about halfway to where we encamped (compare with 7th December). The grass in this neighbourhood is good, excepting of course on the ridges, which are barren and covered with triodia. The creek has been recently flooded, and has remaining in it, I hope, sufficient water to last us until we find more permanent water to which we can proceed. I think that watercourses do exist, both to the right and left of the plain, from the general appearance of the country running parallel to the plains.
Saturday 7th December.
Started to return to camp at 8.25 a.m. At 9 a.m. made one mile north-west, and having tracked the emu there it was then packed upon the packhorse; we started again at 9.20. At 10.10 made two miles and a half north. At 11.8 made one mile and a quarter north to the barren ridges. At 11.42 made one mile and a half north over the ridges. At 12.56 p.m. made two miles and three-quarters north. At 1.20 made one mile north-west where we had dinner and started again at 1.55. At 2.5 made a quarter of a mile north-west by north. At 2.15 made half a mile north-north-east to outward tracks upon Fullarton Creek. At 5.35 made seven miles and a half to the junction of creek with river; upon the point formed by junction marked tree (broad arrow over L). At 6 made half a mile and reached Camp Number 15.
Sunday 8th December. Camp Number 15.
Being anxious to benefit by the water in Pratt Creek, on Barkly Tableland, we left camp at 11.7 to go to it. At 11.20 a.m. made half a mile to marked tree at junction of Fullarton Creek. At 11.25 made two miles and three-quarters to a cross log. Soon after Mr. Campbell was taken unwell. At 2.20 p.m. made four miles to where we left the creek when upon its right bank. At 3.20 made three miles and a half south over barren ridges to Barkly Tableland, where we delayed until 4.10. At 5.17 made three miles south. At 5.45 made one mile and a quarter south by east. At 6.56 made three miles and a quarter south by east. At 7.13 made three-quarters of a mile south. At dark made one mile east-south-east and encamped at Pratt Creek.
Monday 9th December. Camp Number 16.
Mr. Campbell has been for some days somewhat unwell. Jemmy and I started down the creek in search of more permanent water. At 12.6 p.m. made one mile and three-quarters east-north-east on right bank to the junction of small creek. At 12.20 made three-quarters of a mile east-north-east over barren stony basaltic ridges, overrun by triodia and slightly timbered with stunted bloodwood and bauhinia trees, to a plain of rich soil covered with fattening grasses. At 12.30 made half a mile east-north-east over a plain to where we observed smoke half a point northerly of the course we had just come. Kept towards it, thinking water might be found near it. At 1.32 made two miles and a half east-north-east, chiefly over ridges of a character like those I have previously described, to a watercourse which I have named Burrows Creek; its course is easterly. At 1.52 made three-quarters of a mile east-north-east to a tree from which Jemmy got some honey. Started again at 2.30. At 4.50 made three miles and a half east-north-east to a small creek from the north. At 5 made three miles and a quarter east-north-east to another creek from the north. At 6.23 made three miles to a little creek from the south. At 7.20 made two miles and three-quarters easterly down the creek from the south. At 8.15 made two miles north-east. Made down the creek in search of water but had to camp without succeeding. The latter part of the day's journey has been along a stony barren ridge, as I have described, which told severely on the feet of the horses.
Tuesday December 10th.
Not being able to proceed further with our lame and thirsty horses I deemed it advisable to return campwards at 6.30 a.m. At 7.30 a.m. made two miles and three-quarters west-south-west to where I told Jemmy to lead the way over the range and follow down one of the southerly creeks in search of water. At 8.35 made three miles south-west by west to the head of the creek. At 9.20 made four miles and three-quarters south-east down the creek, where we left it, as its course was contrary to the direction of the camp. At 9.50 made one mile and a quarter west-south-west to another small creek, which we also resolved to follow down a short distance in search of water. At 10.12 made one mile south down the creek. Crossed our old tracks. At 10.27 made half a mile south-east. Left the creek. At 10.53 made one mile west-south-west. At 11.3 made half a mile south-west to creek, which we also searched. At 11.35 made one mile south-south-east down creek, and then left it; no appearance of water, which we very much wanted. At 1 p.m. made two miles south by west. At 2 made two miles and three-quarters west half north where we gave our horses each two quarts of water from our leathern bottles, and changed saddles so that Jemmy could ride the packhorse, as the one that he had been riding was not able to carry him any further. At 3.15 made two miles and three-quarters west by north to our outward tracks, and also a great number of emu tracks, from which we concluded that water existed in the neighbouring creeks. At 3.50 made one mile and a half west-south-west to Burrows Creek. At 4.5 made half a mile north-east where we had to proceed without our packhorse down the creek a considerable distance without noting the distance, as I was too thirsty. As the birds were very numerous here, we were convinced that we were near water. The continual noise they made was more tantalising than can well be conceived: it sounded to us like, "We know where there is water, but you foolish fellows cannot find it." About one mile further down the creek we came upon a hole very recently dry, in the bottom of which we dug with a pointed stick, clearing away with our hands to the depth of two feet. We found muddy water, with which we quenched our thirsts and gave the horses a few quarts of it. Having hobbled our tired horses we started upon foot to look for water. We went up the creek a mile to where it is joined by another branch; this we followed up for about two miles, and found a hole with a few gallons of water in it. In about a mile we crossed over to where we had left the packhorse, which we found after a prolonged search. At 12.10 a.m. made half a mile north-east down Burrows Creek to the junction of Pratt Creek. At 1 one mile and three-quarters north to our well. At 1.25 started to take the horses to the water. At 3 two miles and a quarter south by west to the water previously found; and unsaddled our horses. We were twenty-two consecutive hours, more or less, engaged, during which time Jemmy never showed any signs of fatigue, or unwillingness to proceed.
Wednesday December 11th.
Jemmy and I started to follow up the creek to camp. At 10.20 made four miles up the creek to where we found just sufficient water to quench the thirst of the horses, and after delaying for that purpose we started again at 10.50 a.m. At 11.20 made one mile to the best pond of water that we have seen either up or down the creek. One of the horses was so fagged that we delayed in consequence till 12.35. At 12.50 made half a mile up the creek to opposite junction (or main) one-eighth of a mile to opposite junction of another creek. At 2.27 made three miles up the creek to Camp 17, where we were glad to find from Mr. Campbell that he had quite recovered from his illness.
Thursday December 12th. Camp Number 16. Situated on Pratt Creek.
At 8.50 made one mile south-west by south up the creek from Number 16 Camp to a waterhole where Fisherman and Jemmy were filling the water-bottles to carry on the packhorse, so as to supply us whilst in search of more water. At 10.4 made one mile and a quarter, about south to a waterhole up the creek. At 12 made five miles and three-quarters south-west to one of the branches of the Gregory River, which I have named Elliott Creek, over rich well-grassed plain country. At 12.10 made one mile south to where Jemmy left us to return to Camp 16. At 1.24 made two miles south, where we left following up Elliott Creek, despairing of finding water in it. At 1.35 made half a mile south-west to a tree which Fisherman climbed to look across the plains. At 6.24 made thirteen miles south-west, which distance on that course took us across the plain near to a large clump of timber. The grass on the plain is good, with a considerable quantity of saltbush among it, but we were afraid we would not find water in the watercourse we were approaching, we had seen so few birds on the plain. At 6.43 made one mile south to a clump of trees resembling myall, which I have seen before to the west of Rockhampton. At 8 made two miles and three-quarters about south down the watercourse in search of water, having stopped for our supper and started again. At 12 made two miles and a quarter south by west down the watercourse to some young grass, where we camped for the remainder of the night.
Friday December 13th.
In the morning we heard a great number of birds and expected to find water. At 6.5 a.m. made three-quarters of a mile west in search of water, hearing birds in that direction. At 6.44 made one mile about south-east back to the creek. At 8.45 made six miles about south-west down the creek in search of water to the junction of watercourse from the north which I have named Pring Creek. On the point between the two creeks we marked a tree with a broad arrow before L. At this place we stopped until nine o'clock and in the meantime gave the horses each two quarts of water from the supply we had with us. At 9.25 made one mile north-north-west up Pring Creek to the junction of a creek from north. At 9.35 made one mile north-north-west up the latter creek to where we started for Number 16 Camp without having found water. At 10.47 made three miles and three-quarters west by north over rich thinly timbered plains, the grass old and dry. At 11.22 made one mile and a half north-east to our outer track below camp on creek. At 11.38 made three-quarters of a mile about north-north-east up the creek. At 11.55 made three-quarters of a mile north to last night's camp. At 12.26 p.m. made one mile and a quarter north-east up the creek. At 1.3 made one mile and a half north to where we supped last night. At 1.30 made one mile and a quarter north-east at where we stopped and started again at 2 p.m. At 2.20 made one mile north-east to the plain. At 3.10 made two miles and a half north. At 7.15 made ten miles and a half north-east to lookout-tree, which we made steering by compass. At this place I gave the horses almost all that was left of the water, as I thought that Fisherman would be able easily to lead the way to Camp 16, and I being so confident of this paid no attention to the course that he was leading me. At 11.30 I found that Fisherman did not know where he was, so I gave my horse his head, thinking he would go to water near Number 16 Camp; but he searched along the bed of a watercourse for water and found a fine waterhole, where we saw a fire on the banks, at which we thought there were probably blacks, as boughs and a net had been recently placed around the water to ensnare large birds. After we had got a supply of water we watered the horses and went west-north-west about one mile and a half to a point on the plain about half a mile distant from the watercourse, where we hobbled out the horses and stopped till morning.
Saturday December 14.
The watercourse I named Clifton Creek. At 6.30 a.m. Fisherman and I left our camp. At 7 made one mile east-south-east down Clifton Creek to where we passed from left to right bank, which we then followed up a few yards to the junction of a larger creek on the right side, where there is a fine waterhole. At 7.45 made one mile east-south-east down the Clifton Creek to where we stopped for breakfast, and started again at 9.35. At 9.42 went quarter mile south-east across a range to a creek with deep empty holes. At 9.49 went quarter mile south-east to plain. At 10.40 went two and a half miles south-east to a large river, with large waterholes recently empty, surrounded by tall cabbage, pandanus, and large drooping tea-trees. I ascertained afterwards that it was the O'Shanassy. One of the cabbage-trees we cut down to get its centre sprout to eat. Started again at 11.40. At 12.13 made three-quarters of a mile south-south-east, passed the junction of two creeks, one from the east and one from the west. At 12.45 made one mile north-west across a range to dry creek. From the range we saw the river had a north-north-east course. At 1.9 made one mile north-west up a barren, rocky, basaltic range to rich well-grassed plains. At 1.33 made one mile north-west to a creek with empty deep holes. At 2.10 made two miles north-west to Clifton Creek, where we had breakfast, and started again at 3 up the Clifton Creek. At 3.15 made three-quarters of a mile north-west up the creek to where we crossed to left bank and left it. At 3.50 made one mile and three-quarters north-west over a fine downs ridge covered with green grass. At 4.15 made one mile north-north-west to outward track on right bank on the Pratt Creek. At 4.45 made one and a quarter mile north-east and at 5 made three-quarters of a mile north-east in the direction of Number 16 Camp. At 5.9 made quarter of a mile north by east to creek. At 5.17 made quarter of a mile north over a barren desert grass ridge. At 5.30 made one mile and a half to Number 16 Camp. At 5.40 we left Number 16 Camp to go two and a half miles south-west by south to where our companions had formed Number 17 Camp in our absence.
Monday December 16. Camp Number 17. Situated on Pratt Creek.
At 8.15 left camp to go to the fine waterhole at the junction of a creek from the west, which I have named Campbell's Creek, with Clifton Creek. At 8.48 made one mile and a half south-west by south. At 9 made half a mile south-south-west to tracks made, when Fisherman and I returned to Number 17 Camp. At 9.45 made two miles south-east down to Clifton Creek. At 10.10 made one mile south-east down the creek to where we formed our 18th camp. At the camp we had a severe thunderstorm which lasted for about four hours. At the two previous camps Mr. Allison made observations of the sun with the plains for a horizon, which were very satisfactory, as the latitude obtained was nearly the same as that of my dead reckoning, also nearly the same as the latitude made with the observations of the stars Aldebaran and Castor with an artificial horizon at Number 16 Camp. Observations taken at Camp 16: Aldebaran 19 degrees 14 minutes 21 seconds; ditto Castor 19 degrees 24 minutes 30 seconds; ditto Sun 19 degrees 24 minutes 30 seconds; ditto dead reckoning 19 degrees 24 minutes. At Camp Number 17 about two miles southward from Camp 16: Sun 19 degrees 26 minutes 47 seconds. At Camp Number 20: Sun dead reckoning nearly the same 19 degrees 37 minutes.
Tuesday December 17. Camp Number 18. Situated on Clifton Creek.
Left camp at 7.32. At 8.15 made two miles south to dry creek from south-west, where we were delayed till 8.32; at 8.50 made three-quarters of a mile south to the plain; at 10.45 made five miles and a half south to a watercourse which I have named Darvall Creek: at 11.10 made three-quarters of a mile west by south up the creek; at 11.32 made one mile south-west by south; at 11.48 made three-quarters of a mile south-west by south; at 12.8 made three-quarters of a mile south-west where we crossed the creek; at 12.13 made quarter of a mile south-west to junction of creek; at 12.35 made one mile west-south-west to left bank of the creek; at 1.10 made about one mile south-west up the creek; at 1.27 made three-quarters of a mile south-west up the creek; at 1.34 made quarter of a mile west-south-west to where we stopped, as some of our party were looking for water, at 3.35 made three miles and a quarter south-east to where, having found a little water in a watercourse with an easterly course, which I have named Wilkie Creek, we formed our 19th camp.
Wednesday December 18. Camp Number 19. Situated on Wilkie Creek.
At 7.10 a.m. Fisherman and I left camp to search for water; at 7.20 made half a mile south-east; at 7.50 made one mile and a half east by north half north over well-grassed plains to poor soil ridges slightly timbered with bauhinia, stunted box, and bloodwood trees; at 8.6 made three-quarters of a mile east by north to a little creek; at 8.20 made three-quarters of a mile east by north to a watercourse which I have named Allison's Creek; it has narrow channels and flats, timbered with gum trees, and thickly covered with what is called on Darling Downs oaten grass: At 8.30 made quarter of a mile south by east up the creek: at 8.50 made three-quarters of a mile south-south-east to a small rocky hole with a little water in it: at 9.45 made one and a half miles east-south-east up the creek to where we left it: at 10.6 made three-quarters of a mile south-west by west to a little creek from east; at 10.15 made quarter of a mile south-west to plains; at 10.45 made one mile and a half south-west across the plains; at 11.17 made one mile and a half west-south-west to where we stopped to have dinner under a solitary tree which cast a deep shadow. Started again at 1 p.m. At 2.10 made three miles and two-thirds west-south-west across the plain, without finding the track of Campbell and party; at 4.30 made six miles and three-quarters north-west over unbroken rich plains, timbered slightly with bushes; at 6.16 made four miles and a half north-east to where some of our party on a previous day went in search of water; at 6.45 made one mile and a quarter east a short distance back from right bank of creek; at 7.15 made one mile and three-quarters north-east by north to where he went down right bank of creek to search for water; at 7.22 made quarter of a mile north-north-east searching down the creek in vain for water; at 8.5 made two miles along yesterday's outward track to waterhole in Darvall Creek, where the horses were watered yesterday, near which on the left bank of the creek we found Messrs. Campbell and Allison had encamped.
Thursday December 19. Camp Number 20. Situated on Darvall Creek.
Accompanied by Mr. Allison I went out on the plain to a point about three-quarters of a mile south-west by south from camp, where Mr. Allison made the noon altitude of sun 85 degrees 57 minutes, which gave the latitude 19 degrees 37 minutes, which was nearly the same as my dead reckoning. Mr. Campbell and Fisherman returned to camp, having been out in search of water. He brought back a turkey which he had shot, and the good news that he had found water up the creek. At 6.30 p.m. we left Number 20 Camp; at 7.45 made three miles west-south-west up the creek to the waterhole which Mr. Campbell had found, near which on the right bank we formed our 21st camp. The banks of the creek at this camp descend in gentle slopes, and consequently have a continuation of rich soil from the plains; and as the grass was not too old it proved one of the best camps for horses we have hitherto had.
Friday December 20. Camp 21. Situated on the Darvall Creek.
The troopers and I left this camp at 10.4 to go in search of water; at 10.45 made two miles west-south-west to the junction of a watercourse from south-west which I have named Turner Creek; at 11.14 made one mile and a quarter up Darvall Creek; at 11.37 made one mile west by north further up the creek. All the country we have seen since we started resembles the rich country about the camp. At 12.4 made one mile west by south to where there are trees, which I have named Western Wood; at 12.27 made one mile south through Western Wood scrub, it is full of salt herbs, of which the horses were fond of eating as they went along; at this place we saw cockatoos and pigeons. From seeing them we searched for water but did not find any; at 1.20 one mile and a half south-south-west across rich well-grassed plains to a belt of acacia, overlooking a plain to the westward, but beyond it a line of trees stretching north and south which I have named Manning Plain. At 2.40 went three miles and three-quarters west to a belt of Western Wood scrub; at 2.57 went three-quarters of a mile west to where we stopped to have dinner; we started again at 4.25; at 4.53 made one mile and a quarter west by south to a watercourse from the north-west; at 5.30 made one mile and three-quarters about south-east down the creek to our old track of the 12th instant; at 6.35 made one mile and a quarter to our old camp; here we again encamped.
Saturday December 21.
Having used the water up on the additional packhorse that we had brought on this occasion with us, Fisherman left us, taking back the packhorse to the camp; at 6.5 Jemmy and I started down the watercourse which I have named Herbert Creek, in search of water; at 8.4 made six miles south-west across rich fine plain country to Pring Creek from north-north-east; at 8.14 made half a mile north by east down Pring Creek to a point at the junction with Herbert Creek where we had on the previous occasion marked a tree broad arrow before L; at 8.30 made three-quarters of a mile south-south-west down Herbert Creek to where we saw a flock of pigeons, and immediately after found a little water, where we halted, but again started at 8.47; at 9 made half a mile south-west down the river; at 9.20 made three-quarters of a mile south-east down the river; at 9.40 made one mile east by south down the river, at 10.10 made one mile about south-east down the river; at 10.30 made three-quarters of a mile south-east down the river to where we found a little water out of small holes in the rock, which seemed like a robbery from the flocks of little birds which surrounded them; from here we started again at 11.5; at 11.15 made a quarter of a mile south to junction of large creek from south-west, which I named Hervey Creek, near which we observed several flocks of pigeons; at 11.50 made half a mile east-south-east to where the channels are confined, and where there is on the left side a strange deep rocky pit; at 12.12 made three-quarters of a mile south-south-west down the river; at 12.21 made quarter of a mile south-east down the river; at 12.35 made three-quarters of a mile south-south-east to the junction of creek from north-east which I have named Chester Creek; at 12.58 made one mile south-east by east down the river; at 1.6 made quarter of a mile south-south-west to a very fine waterhole which I have named Mary Lake. This place seems to be a favourite resort for blacks; the banks are covered with mussels, and all the firewood burned. We turned the horses out for some time; it is surrounded with bushes of polygonum; at 4.32 started to return to Number 21 Camp; at 4.50 made one mile north to Chester Creek; at 6.15 made five miles north across high stony rich plain country, where we encamped, as there was a patch of young grass for the horses.
Sunday December 22. Camp.
From camp on left bank of little dry creek we left at 6.20 to return to Camp 21; at 8 a.m. made six miles north to left bank of Herbert Creek; at 8.20 made one mile and a quarter north up the creek to old camp, where we delayed to give the horses water from the bottles, and started again at 8.38; at 10 made three miles and a half in different directions to the Western Wood tree, where we had dinner on Friday last; at 11.20 made three miles and three-quarters to east side of Manning Plain, where we lost the tracks and delayed looking for them till 11.40; at 12.20 made three miles, where we met Fisherman with a horse loaded with water. Started again at 12.50; at 1.44 made two miles and three-quarters east; at 2.8 made one mile east; at 3.2 made two miles and three-quarters east by north to 21 Camp.
Monday December 23. Camp Number 21. Situated on Darvall Creek.
We left this camp at 9.3 a.m. on a south-west course. On that course from camp we crossed and recrossed the creek. At 10.3 made two miles and three-quarters south-west over rich well-grassed tableland plains, slightly timbered with bushes. We observed the small saline herbs which I have mentioned the horses to be so fond of, also more of the Queensland saltbush than we have seen previously; at 12.3 made four miles and a quarter south-west by west to Manning Plain, where we delayed, and started again at 12.14; at 1.20 made two miles and a quarter south-west by west where we delayed and started again at 1.35; at 2.20 made two miles and a quarter south-west by west, where we having halted started again at 2.48; at 3.10 made one mile south-west by west to where we found yesterday's tracks; at 4.35 made four miles south by east to Saturday night's camp; at 4.45 made half a mile south to where Mr. Campbell's horse knocked up; at 6.19 made three miles and three-quarters south; at 6.27 made a quarter of a mile south half east to Chester Creek; at 6.52 made one mile and a quarter south half east to Mary Lake, where we formed our twenty-second camp.
Tuesday December 24. Mary Lake.
Rested ourselves and horses, and put shoes on Mr. Campbell's horse with screw nails. We found the punching and fitting of the shoes difficult and tedious, although Mr. Gregory, who is himself a first-rate hand at that sort of work, assured me that it would not be a troublesome operation.
Christmas Day. Mary Lake.
As ducks were abundant and the grass good this was a fine place for spending Christmas. In the afternoon Jemmy and I went down the river in a south-south-east direction to a fine waterhole, which I have named Lake Frances; between Mary Lake and it, we only found shallow pools of water from the last thunderstorm. We saw a fat old white-headed blackfellow and his gin near the waterhole. The gin was very anxious about the safety of her four dogs and carried one of them in her arms; but on our approach she abandoned it and fled into the water; but afterwards seeing the old blackfellow had gone up a tree she followed his example. Jemmy not understanding their language we could not get any information from them.
Thursday December 26. Camp Number 22, situated on Mary Lake on Herbert River.
We left this camp at 7.37 a.m. At 7.42 made a quarter of a mile south-west by south to end of Mary Lake; at 7.52 made half a mile south on left side of the river, to plains, which are slightly timbered; at 8 made half a mile south-south-east, skirting the river to Lake Frances; at 9 made three miles; at 9.19 made three-quarters of a mile south to where we crossed a watercourse from the east which I have named the Don Creek: at 9.30 made half a mile south-south-west on left side of river over plains; at 9.41 made half a mile south by west to where I waited for the party, who came up at 9.45; at 10.5 made one mile south by west to where we crossed a creek from north-east; at 10.24 made three-quarters of a mile south by west; at 10.45 made one mile south to the left side of the river; at 11 made three-quarters of a mile south-east by south along the dry bed of the river, from which we started successive flights of pigeons. At this place Mr. Campbell and party halted with the horses while Mr. Allison and I went about a mile westward onto the plain, where he made the altitude 86 degrees 30 minutes, which makes the latitude 20 degrees 6 minutes, agreeing with the latitude of my dead reckoning and with an observation I made of a star last night; at 3 Jemmy, who had gone down the river, returned without finding any water, except what was left by the last thunderstorm; and as he told me I was following up a river, and not down, I too hurriedly believed him, and made up my mind to return to a waterhole that Fisherman had found to the right of our course in the bed of the river. At the waterhole I found blacks, but, as I always avoid them when I can, after I had a short interview with them we started down the river to the water Jemmy had found, following along the right bank as we had the left before; at 4.40 made two miles and three-quarters down the river to where we crossed, near its junction, a river or a branch of one from north-west; at 5.8 made one mile and a half back to where Mr. Allison went on the plain to get an observation; at 5.20 made half a mile south; at 5.40 made one mile south to where the river has two channels; the one trending to the west of south we crossed, between the two channels of the river; at 5.53 made half a mile south to where the left channel of the river was full of water and fine grass on its banks, on the right bank of which we formed our twenty-third camp, at the place where Mr. Allison made an observation of the sun. The country is very level and the watercourses are unconfined, and in times of floods the water overflows the low banks of the different channels. The blacks we saw today appear to be circumcised; three of them approached us, one of whom was the old blackfellow we had seen yesterday. Their name for water we thought from what they said was oto. We presented them with a tin pot and two empty glass bottles with which they were very much pleased.
Friday December 27. Camp Number 23, situated on the Herbert River.
Left camp at 8.24 a.m. to go down the river; at 8.35 made half a mile south-south-west to where we crossed, near its junction, a western channel of the river; at this place there are flats covered with bushes like saltbush, which the horses eat. These bushes I have observed on the western plains from Rockhampton and on most of the low situations along our route on this expedition; at 8.43 made half a mile south; at 8.48 made a quarter of a mile south-west where we crossed, near its junction, a more western channel of the river; at 9.10 made one mile south-west by south to where we crossed, near its junction, a river from west, with a shallow and broad channel; the banks of the river at this place are very little below the level of the plain on each side of it; at 10.10 made three miles south-south-west with level plains on each side of us, without trees or bushes, except along the watercourses; at 10.30 made one mile south to the right bank of the river, where there are twelve box-trees growing in its bed; before crossing to its left bank we got enough water to satisfy the horses; at 11.4 made one mile and a half south to a junction of a watercourse with extensive flood-marks from the east. This river has a deeper channel, with trees on its banks, than the river we have been following down had. At 11.15 made half a mile south, when Mr. Allison and I went back to the westward, on the plains, and got the following altitude of the sun: 86 degrees 37 minutes, which makes the latitude 20 degrees 11 minutes 15 seconds; at 1.35 made three-quarters of a mile south down the river; at 1.47 made a quarter of a mile south-east down the river; at 2.20 made one mile and a quarter south, following the course of the river in search of water; at 3.10 made one mile and three-quarters about south-south-west, following the course of the river in search of water; at 3.44 made half a mile about south-west, following the course of the river in search of water; at 4.10 made one mile and a quarter about south, where, accompanied by the troopers, I left Campbell and Allison to go in search of water; at 5.20 made three miles about south-west down the river in an unsuccessful search for water; at 6 made two miles north-east by east; returning, we steered over plains, the grass of which was completely parched up. Near the creek I observed more owls than I have ever seen anywhere before; at 6.27 made one mile and a quarter north-east by east back to our party; then went, at 6.56, one mile and a quarter north by east, towards where we had seen the last water; at 7.15 made one mile north by east; at 7.35 made three-quarters of a mile north-east; at 8 made three-quarters of a mile about north-east by north and encamped.
Saturday December 28. Camp Number 24, situated on the Herbert River.
We started back up the river being unable to pursue our course to the westward from want of water. I sent Mr. Campbell and Jemmy on with the horses, while Mr. Allison and I went out on the plain to take an observation of the sun, which was not satisfactory from the sun being over-shadowed; we made the latitude 20 degrees 12 minutes 35 seconds; at 1.21 p.m. made three miles north by east from where we took the sun's altitude; at 1.53 made one mile north to where we crossed a channel of the river; at 2.35 made two miles and a quarter north by east partly on the tracks of Campbell and party; at 2.50 made three-quarters of a mile north-north-east to where we recrossed left bank of the river and overtook Campbell and party. Here we delayed till 3.22 in consequence of one of the horses being knocked up; at 3.40 made one mile north by east to where we recrossed the right bank of the river; at 3.55 made three-quarters of a mile and encamped. Here the grass was very abundant and the holes full of water. This camp is about half a mile from Number 23 Camp.
Sunday December 29th. Camp 25. Situated on the Herbert River.
It was our intention to remain here for several days as the grass was good and the horses required a rest, but I deemed it advisable to return at once up the river because there were about one hundred blacks in the neighbourhood of the camp, some of whom were so bold that I feared it might be necessary to shoot some of them, or give them possession of the ground. Two of them had passed our camp on the previous evening, and the troopers, with my consent, presented them with glass bottles, after receiving which they soon returned with a large mob, who remained with us till dark. In the morning they returned and surrounded the camp. Mr. Campbell went up to one mob and tried to make them understand by signs that we had peaceable intentions towards them, but they from his account seemed fully bent on having us off the ground. When he was returning to the camp Jemmy saw one of the blacks hold his boomerang as if he intended throwing it at Mr. Campbell, but he was probably advised by others not to do so. I am not surprised that they were vexed, as we would not allow them to come up to the camp, although they showed a bunch of hawk feathers and two bottles we had given them, which they wanted us to believe were the signs of their good intention; and it is not to be wondered at on the other hand that we would not trust a mob of blacks, all warriors, heavily armed with spears, boomerangs, clubs, and little thorny sticks, to approach the camp. From my previous knowledge of the blacks I fancied we would easily have driven them away on horseback, but this I did not think necessary. The mere fact of seeing the horses brought towards the camp made them retire to a more respectful distance from us; at 10.5 a.m. left Number 25 Camp; at 10.18 made half a mile north-east half north to Number 23 Camp, where I stopped with Fisherman and observed that we were not followed: at 10.45 made half a mile north-north-east up the river; at 11.23 made one mile and three-quarters north to the place where I accompanied Mr. Allison on a previous occasion westward on the plain to take an observation of the sun, at which place we overtook Campbell and party; at 11.48 made one mile north to where we observed rising ground. I left the party, accompanied by Fisherman, to ascend the rising ground; at 12.2 made half a mile north-east by east to a tree on the rise which Fisherman climbed, and from it observed plain country to the south and west and wooded country to the east and north. Here we observed stunted box and bloodwood trees, and a variety of grasses, among which I observed barley, oaten, kangaroo, and triodia; at 12.23 made one mile north by east; at 12.53 made one mile and a half north by east to the waterhole I named Kenellan, where there were the same blacks I had seen before. On this occasion they remained on the right, while we had dinner on the opposite side, during which time others to whom they cooeyed arrived at their camp, several of whom were loaded with game. These, heedless of their own camp or of us, bathed the first thing on their arrival. We shot ducks, and before leaving Kenellan presented to the blacks glass bottles of which they were very proud; at 5 made one mile and a quarter north-north-east to Lake Frances, where I bathed, and some of our party shot ducks. Started again at 5.33; at 6.40 made three miles about north-west by north (see outward route). At 6.56 made three-quarters of a mile north by west; at 7.15 made three-quarters of a mile north-north-east to Mary Lake, on the lower end of which on the left bank we formed our twenty-sixth camp.
December 30th. Mary Lake. Situated on the Herbert River.
As some of our horses were not able to travel as far as Camp 21, or to any water we knew of to the northward, in one stage, without overworking them, Jemmy and I started to try and find water in the intermediate distance. Started at 5.55. At 6.5 made half a mile north-east to where we stopped till 6.20; at 6.47 made one mile and a quarter north by east; at 7.10 made one mile north by west half west to Chester Creek; at 7.28 made three-quarters of a mile about north-north-east; at 7.52 made one mile and a half north-east up the creek; at 8 made a quarter of a mile east up the creek; at 8.10 made half a mile east by south up the creek; at 8.38 made one mile north-east to where we left the creek, because the grass in the bed of it was parched up, and as we saw no deep holes. It has however high and extensive flood-marks; at 9.20 made two miles west-north-west; at 10.26 made three miles west by south to bank of Herbert River; at 10.37 made half a mile north-north-west up the river to where we left it to follow up the Hervey Creek; at 10.50 made half a mile about north-west up the creek; at 11.17 made one mile about west by north up the creek. At 11.30 made half a mile south up the creek, where I went on to the plain and took the noon altitude of the sun, which was not very satisfactory as I did not give myself sufficient time to go far enough out on the plains. Latitude from observation 19 degrees 53 minutes 39 seconds. Started back without having found water at 12.27; at 12.50 made one mile south-east back to Hervey's Creek; at 1.30 made two miles east by north to Herbert River; at 1.40 made half a mile east-south-east down the river: at 1.45 made a quarter of a mile about south-east to the strange pit on the left side of the river; at 2.45 made three miles to camp. Cantered the last half mile or so and forgot to look at the watch until a short time after our arrival.
December 31st. Mary Lake.
We left Number 26 Camp bound for Number 21 camp; at 7.32 made one mile and a half along an old track to where we crossed Chester Creek; at 9.10 made four miles and a half to First Return Camp; at 10.45 made four miles and a half along outward track to Western Wood Scrub, where, accompanied by Fisherman, I went three miles north-east by east and got an observation of the sun which made our latitude 19 degrees 47 minutes 35 seconds; at 12.50 started again; at 1.20 made one mile and a half north by west to tracks of Campbell and party; at 1.35 made three-quarters of a mile east-north-east along the track; at 1.58 made one mile about north-east to where we lost the tracks, and was delayed a short time in consequence; at 4.5 made half a mile, chiefly along the track; at 5.8 made three miles, where Campbell and party had formed our twenty-seventh camp at our Outward Camp 21. During this day's journey we have crossed no watercourse that I deem worthy of notice, except Chester Creek.
Wednesday January 1st 1862.
At 21 Outwards and 27 Inwards Camp we rested the horses, some of which were very sore-footed and tired. We also observed New Year's Day by dividing a bottle of rum, sundry pots of jam, and an extra allowance of meat amongst us. The waterhole was nearly dry.
Thursday January 2nd. Number 27 camp.
At 6 a.m. we left 27 Inward and 21 Outward Camp, situated both on the right bank of the creek; at 7.35 made two miles about east by north half north down the creek; at 7.53 made three-quarters of a mile north-east to Number 20 Camp; at 8.7 made half a mile east-north-east down the creek, where we left it to go on the tableland on its left bank; at 9.5 made two miles and three-quarters north to where we crossed a small creek, which is from the west; at 10.45 made four miles and a half due north, and there, having instructed Campbell and Allison to proceed to Clifton Creek and encamp, accompanied by Fisherman, I went two miles and a half west, and made our latitude by observation of the sun 19 degrees 31 minutes 35 seconds. Jemmy I had sent back for my rifle, which was left behind. At 12.45 started to camp; at 1.47 made two miles and a half east-north-east to Camp 18 Outward and 28 Inward on Clifton Creek.
Friday January 3rd. Camp 28.
From old stubs out of cast-off shoes Mr. Allison shod a horse for Fisherman to accompany me to the O'Shanassy River. We started for it at 11.50. At 1.25 reached it, in about four miles and a half, at a point a short distance below, where we had been on it a few days ago. We found it had been flooded since we last visited it, and the holes along its bed were in consequence full of water. Judging from this that rain had fallen from the southward, I felt disposed to proceed in that direction, but considering the short time at my disposal and the condition of the horses and their want of shoes, and knowing that the time was fast approaching when the Victoria would, from want of provisions, be obliged to leave the depot at the Gulf of Carpentaria, I considered it expedient to continue my return journey.
Saturday January 4th. Camp 28.
We left Inward Camp 28 and Outward Camp 18 at 9.2. This camp is situated on Clifton Creek; at 9.38 one mile and a quarter east down the creek to the broad arrow L tree; at 10 made three-quarters of a mile north to where we left the creek; at 10.20 made three-quarters of a mile east-south-east to rich tableland; at 10.38 made half a mile south-east by south to track where Mr. Allison stayed behind to get the latitude; at 10.50 made three-quarters of a mile east; at 11.18 made three-quarters of a mile east to O'Shanassy River; at 11.52 made one mile and a half north-east by north to the junction of Clifton Creek, on which we had our last night's camp; at 12.16 made one mile north-east by north down the river; at 12.45 made one mile and a quarter east by north down the river; at 12.55 made half a mile east by north to junction of little creek from the south. Ridges on both sides, long straight race covered with blady grass, near deep reach of water, which has apparently a permanent stream; at 1.30 made half a mile east by north to where we crossed a small creek from the south; at 1.40 made half a mile east-north-east to where we crossed, near its junction with the O'Shanassy River, a watercourse from the south named by me the Douglas River; at 2.50 made one mile and a quarter north down the river to where we crossed a small creek from the south-east. The O'Shanassy has a good stream of water. On these ridges I observed marjoram. They are nearly barren and confine the river closely on both sides. At 3.15 made three-quarters of a mile north-east along a confined part of the river where it has very high flood-marks; at 3.40 made half a mile east-north-east to where we crossed a little creek from the south, near its junction. At 4.3 made quarter of a mile east down the river; at 4.15 made quarter of a mile east-south-east down the river; at 4.30 made quarter of a mile east up a gully from right side of the river; at 4.40 made quarter of a mile north-east down a gully to the river; at 4.50 made quarter of a mile east down the river to where we formed our 29th camp. Here we were joined by Mr. Allison and Jemmy. The former, near where they left us, made the latitude 19 degrees 31 minutes 49 seconds, which is nearly the same as I made it a few miles to the westward.
Sunday January 5. Camp 29.
Started at 8 a.m. and went along the edge of the river which was very confined; so much so that the horses had at one place to be led. Accompanied by Fisherman I left the party and went a few hundred yards ahead to a creek full of water to widen with a pick a path up the creek. While I was doing so Mr. Campbell reported that some of the horses had gone into the river of their own accord, and one of them was drowned although Jemmy and he had swum to its assistance. On hearing of this misfortune I came down to the river, got the two troopers to go and dive where the mare had disappeared, and they managed to get its saddle and pack on shore. Fisherman, while the things were being dried, marked the tree on the point at the junction of the watercourse with the river. The former I have named Harris Creek. At 11.56 started again at point where the tree is marked, say half a mile from camp; at 12.2 made half a mile south-south-east from river up the creek, where we crossed after a delay of eight minutes; at 12.33 made three-quarters of a mile north to where we crossed the river; at 1.2 made one mile north down the river; at 1.27 made three-quarters of a mile north-east by north to where we formed our Number 30 Camp, where the river is apparently often badly watered. At this part of the river even now it is without a running stream although recently flooded, and there is an absence of the pandanus, cabbage, and tall drooping tea-trees which crowded the bed of the river higher up and are fine signs of the permanence of the water.
Monday January 6. Camp 30.
Started from camp which is situated on left bank of O'Shanassy River at 6.52. At 7.8 made half a mile north-north-east down the left bank of the river; at 7.40 made one mile and a quarter north-east to where we crossed a creek near its junction, and also crossed to the right bank of the river; at 7.57 made half a mile north-east to where we recrossed to left bank of the river; at 8.15 made half a mile east-north-east to where we crossed a little creek near its junction. The river is still confined by barren and stony ranges and has flood-marks from thirty to forty feet high. Kangaroos are numerous on this part of the country. At 8.43 made three-quarters of a mile east to where we crossed, near its junction, a small creek from the north; at 9.12 made one mile and a quarter east by north to where there are flooded box and drooping tea-trees in the bed of the river; at 9.25 made half a mile east to where there are cabbage-trees in the river; at 9.40 made half a mile east to where there are Leichhardt and cabbage-palm-trees; at 10.5 made three-quarters of a mile north-east down the river (we have been following it when practicable on the left side) at 10.45 made one mile and a quarter east down the river where it is very confined and well watered; at 11.20 made half a mile east-north-east to opposite junction of river from south, where I, accompanied by Fisherman, left the party and crossed the river on a log to see it. We found it rather smaller than the O'Shanassy and I have named it the Thornton River. We marked a tree broad arrow before L on the point between the two rivers and started after the party at 12; at 12.25 made one mile north-north-east along the track down the river; at 12.43 made three-quarters of a mile east-north-east along track down the river; at 1.7 made one mile north to where we overtook Campbell and party, having dinner on the bed of the river. Started again after marking a tree broad arrow before L E, at 3.33; at 3.45 made half a mile north to where the confined bed of the river is at places boggy and on the edge of the waterhole the tea-trees are very tall; at 4.20 made three-quarters of a mile north-north-west and camped.
Tuesday January 7. Camp 31 is situated on the left bank of the O'Shanassy River.
We started from there at 9.10; at 9.45 made a mile and a quarter north by east down the left bank of the O'Shanassy River; at 9.55 made a mile and a quarter north-north-west to opposite junction of a watercourse which I have named the Seymour River; at 10.12 made three-quarters of a mile north-west to where we crossed a small creek with reeds in its bed at a point near its junction with the river; at 10.37 made one mile north-west by north along the left bank of the river, where we had a good road. The river is still confined by ranges which sometimes terminate with cliffs; at 10.48 made half a mile north-east to opposite junction of the creek; at 10.54 made a quarter of a mile north-east to where we crossed a small creek near its junction with the river; at 11.27 made one mile and a quarter north by east along the left bank of the river; at 11.42 made half a mile north; at 12 made three-quarters of a mile north-north-east to where we watered the horses and waited for Mr. Campbell. Started again at 12.30. At 12.53 made half a mile north-north-east. Made quarter mile north to where we waited to mount Mr. Campbell who was tired of walking. Started again at 1.3 p.m.; at 1.35 made a mile and a quarter north to opposite junction of creek from the east; at 2 made one mile west-north-west to where we formed our 32nd camp, on the left bank of the river and right bank of a gully just above the junction of a small creek with the river. If this had been a good season a fine place for the horses would have been up this gully, as the soil is good with right kind of grasses and surrounded by basaltic cliffs.
Wednesday January 8. Camp 32. Situated (as before) on the left bank of the O'Shanassy River.
Left here at 7.7; at 7.18 went half a mile north-north-west to a cleft hill on the left bank of the river; at 7.35 went three-quarters of a mile north; at 7.52 went half a mile north-east; at 8 went quarter of a mile east-north-east to where we got any quantity of figs from trees like the Moreton Bay fig but another variety. At 8.20 made half a mile north-east. This scrub is composed of Leichhardt, tea, fig, and cabbage-palm-trees, where we were delayed till 8.42 from having to pull one of the horses that had got into a boggy place out. Pandanus along the edge of the reaches of water. At 9.10 made half a mile north-north-east through the scrub; at 9.50 made one mile north by east through the scrub; at 10.5 made half a mile north-north-west which took us out of the scrub and to a fine reach of water; at 10.20 made half a mile north-north-east to where we crossed a small reedy creek near its junction with the river; at 10.35 made three-quarters of a mile north-north-east along the left side of the reach of water mentioned. I, accompanied by Fisherman, here made a deviation from the river. While Campbell and party proceeded down the river we went up a gully of the richest soil, but all the vegetation was withered from the dryness of the season. It, like the other gullies we saw afterwards, was surrounded by basaltic hills, which were again surrounded by basaltic columns composed of rocks of a more grotesque form than the columns which are common in a granite formation. The rocks were so rough that it was unpleasant to lean against them; and were very severe on the feet of the horses. These columns, with the bottle-trees in the foreground and the open flats and basaltic hills in the distance, had a picturesque appearance. When we had got three-quarters of a mile about north-west we started again to overtake our party. At 12.15 made one mile and a quarter north down a gully; at 12.23 made quarter of a mile north-east to where Fisherman and I thought we were on a flat of the Gregory River near its junction with the O'Shanassy; at 12.52 made one mile and a half east-north-east across the plains to the right of a range towards Smith's Range, on the right side of the O'Shanassy River and its junction with the Gregory River; at 1.9 made three-quarters of a mile north to the left bank of the O'Shanassy River, where we got the tracks of Campbell and party; at 1.45 made one mile and a half north-west to broad arrow before L marked tree, on the point formed by the junction of the Gregory with the O'Shanassy River, near which we found our party had formed their 33rd camp on the right bank of the Gregory River.
Thursday January 9. Camp Number 33. Situated between the junction of the Gregory and the O'Shanassy River.
We left here at 8 a.m.; at 8.15 made half a mile south-east to where we crossed O'Shanassy River to follow down the Gregory River; at 8.37 made three-quarters of a mile north. Then from the right bank of the river we went round a hill which terminated abruptly at it; at 8.45 made quarter of a mile east-north-east over stony ridges covered with triodia; at 8.53 made a quarter of a mile north-north-west over similar country; at 9.9 made half a mile north-west to the river; at 9.37 made one mile and a quarter north-east by east to where we crossed a small creek near its junction with the river; at 9.55 made three-quarters of a mile north-east by east to where the river is confined on both sides by ridges; those on the right side are isolated; at 10.45 made two miles and a quarter east half north and delayed till 10.55; at 11.15 made three-quarters of a mile east to a hill which rises abruptly from right side of river; at 11.26 made quarter of a mile south-east back from the river; at 11.45 made three-quarters of a mile east-north-east to where we crossed a small creek near its junction to the right side of the river; at 12.10 made one mile north-east to a patch of good soil with good grass, but old and withered. At 1.5 made two miles and three-quarters over flats and ridges, the former of good soil but the grass burnt up from the dryness of the season, the latter stony and badly grassed, to a gap with an isolated hill on the north-west and two on the north-east side; at 1.22 made three-quarters of a mile north to where we delayed at the river to water the horses till 1.48; at 2.37 made two miles and a quarter east over fine rich country, the grass of which was just beginning to show life in consequence of recent rains; at 3 made one mile north-north-east to the right bank of the river where we intended to camp, but were obliged to go further as the horses could not water from the steepness of the banks. At 3.20 made one mile north-east and encamped where there is a rapid stream of water about two feet deep below the reach I have mentioned.
Friday January 10. Camp Number 34, situated on the right bank near where there is a good crossing place.
Mr. Allison at one o'clock this morning made an observation of Pollux from an artificial horizon, which made its altitude 85 degrees 36 minutes. At 8.45 made one mile east-north-east over poor stony ridges and light loamy flats, in which the tombung fruit-trees were plentiful, also the following trees: bauhinia, broad-leaved box, broad-leaved Moreton Bay ash, sweet-smelling jessamine, and bloodwood. The flats have got good grasses and marjoram. The river has here isolated hills on its banks, with ranges a mile or so back; at 8.55 made half a mile north-east by east to river about 150 yards wide with high flood-marks, which I have named the Ligar after the Surveyor-General of Victoria; at 9.6 made half a mile east-north-east down the Ligar River to where we crossed it above an isolated hill, where it was dry; at 9.30 made one mile north-east by east to bluff rocky hill where the flood-marks are about 30 feet high, west-north-west side; at 9.52 made one mile north-east along a range with a bluff termination; at 10.35 made two miles and a quarter east-north-east in sight of the high trees of the river; at 11 made one mile east-north-east to the mount, on the west side of which, at the Gregory River, we watered our horses and started again at 11.15; at 12.8 made two miles and a half north-east by east half east to west side of a range; at 12.35 made one mile and a half north-east to Heales Creek and gap in Primer Range; at 12.55 made three-quarters of a mile north-east down the creek to the last hill coming down and the first going up the river (I have named it Mount Heales after the premier of Victoria). It was about one mile to the eastward of our course; at 1.5 made half a mile north-north-east from left bank of Heales Creek; at 1.26 made three-quarters of a mile north to Gregory River; at 1.30 made a quarter of a mile north down the river and encamped.
Saturday January 11. Camp Number 35, situated north-west half north from Mount Heales, on Premier Range, on the right bank of the Gregory.
We left here at 7.3 a.m. At 7.20 made three-quarters of a mile north, which course keeps the tall trees of the river in sight; at 7.30 made half a mile north; at 7.42 made half a mile north-east, which course still keeps the tall trees of the river in sight; at 7.48 made a quarter of a mile north-east by north to the edge of a rich plain of the Gregory River; at 8.4 made half a mile north along the west side of plain; at 8.30 made one mile and a quarter north by east; at 8.40 made a quarter of a mile north-north-east; at 9 made three-quarters of a mile north by east, still keeping in sight of the tall trees on the river; at 9.24 made one mile north by east; at 9.58 made one mile and a half north; at 10.15 made one mile north-east; at 10.27 made half a mile north-east by north; over rich country, now beautifully grassed, slightly timbered along the river and watercourses with bauhinia, broad-leaved stunted box, broad-leaved Moreton Bay ash, bloodwood, acacia (which gives a gum like gum arabic, and is plentiful near the depot) pomegranate, and other trees; at 11 made one mile and a half north-east to the river, where we stopped for Mr. Allison to get an observation of the sun. A short distance to the eastward observed apparent altitude of sun, which made our latitude 18 degrees 34 minutes 30 seconds. Started again at 2 p.m. At 2.15 made half a mile north by east; at 3 made two miles north-east by north; at 3.30 made one mile and a half north by east; at 3.55 made one mile north-east by north half north; at 4.13 made one mile north; at 4.30 made half a mile north-north-east; at 5.2 made one mile north by east; at 6.2 made two miles and a half north-north-east. By these courses we cut off the bends of the river excepting towards the last when we got too far away from it and required to make for it again. The country we went over was from the greenness and length of the grass the finest-looking country we have seen on the expedition; but I think the Barkly tableland is superior to it from its having more salty herbage. The timber is of a similar description to that I have recently mentioned except that the box was stunted (narrow-leaved instead of broad). Having reached water in an eastern channel of the river we formed our thirty-sixth camp on the right bank of it.
Monday January 13. Camp Number 36, situated on the right bank of the eastern channel of Beames Brook.
From here I sent Fisherman to the south-east in search of water in that direction; and after Mr. Allison had made an observation of the sun, placing us in latitude 18 degrees 31 minutes 37 seconds, got by observed altitude 86.45. I left my party in camp and accompanied by Jemmy went in the following directions: At 2.6 went one mile and a half north to where I shot an emu, and started again at 3.6; at 4.6 went three miles north over rich plains covered with most fattening grasses; at 4.42 went two miles north-west half north to east channel of watercourse; at 5.10 went three-quarters of a mile north half west along a deep reach; at 5.20 went half a mile north-north-west over the finest plain country; at 5.40 went half a mile north; at 6 went half a mile north-west; at 6.30 went about one mile and a quarter north; at 7.30 went about two miles and three-quarters north to where we encamped close to the right bank of watercourse.
Tuesday January 14.
Continuation of excursion made by Jemmy and I down the watercourse from 36 Camp; at 6.50 made one mile and three-quarters about north to where we crossed an eastern channel of the main watercourse; at 7.5 made three-quarters of a mile about north-west; at 7.35 made one mile and a quarter west to a running stream in a watercourse with banks so low that a rise of a few feet would flood the adjoining plains; at 8.20 made two miles about north-north-east over rich thickly-grassed country intersected by several watercourses and swamps, where I felt convinced was a watercourse to the eastward of the Gregory River (I afterwards ascertained this to be so) which I then supposed to be Beames Brook, as I thought we were on Gregory River when I started and intended following it down on its right bank only to the crossing-place on our outward journey. We took no rations whatever with us and delayed to 8.35; at 8.55 made one mile south-east; at 9.23 made one mile and a quarter south-east by south over a rich, well-grassed, and slightly-timbered plain to the eastern channel of the watercourse, where we made our breakfast off figs and the young wood of the cabbage-tree: we found it rather a light one, as we had no supper on the previous night. Started again at 10.25; at 10.55 made one mile and a half south-south-east; at 11.20 made one mile south-south-east to where we crossed an eastern channel of the watercourse; at 11.35 made three-quarters of a mile south-south-east; at 11.45 made half mile south by east; at 12.5 made one mile south by east; at 12.15 made half a mile south by west; at 12.35 made one mile south half west to watercourse where it has deep reaches of water and banks about twenty-six feet high. I guessed the last entry of miles as my watch had run down. We had a bath and started at 1.22. At 2.10 made two miles and a quarter about south half east along the watercourse to an eastern channel where the horses got water and we delayed until 2.22; at 2.44 made one mile south-east by south half south over plains; at 3.15 made one mile and a half south over plains; at 3.32 made three-quarters of a mile south-south-east over plains; at 4.5 made one mile and a half south to emu tree, where we stayed to separate the best portions of the emu I had shot and take them to camp; at 5.10 made one mile and a half north to Number 36 Camp.
Wednesday January 15. Camp 36, situated on the right bank of Beames Brook.
Fisherman informed me that he had gone on Monday a long half-day's journey without finding any watercourse except one trending to the north-west and which, from his description, I thought might join the one I had seen about six miles distant. The country he saw in the course of his ride was well-grassed, lightly timbered plains, the latter stretching to the north-east. By climbing a tree he observed a range to the south-east. We left our camp here at 7.25; at 8.48 made three miles and a half north by west, which took us down rich plains with the river trees in sight along our course; at 9.45 made two miles and three-quarters north; at 11.15 made four miles and a half north, which course took us out of sight of the trees on the river, over a similar country to that I have described where we stopped for Mr. Allison to take an observation of the sun, and for Mr. Campbell and Fisherman, who were behind, to come up. Observations: altitude 86.52, latitude 18 degrees 18 minutes; we started again at 12.34 p.m.; at 1.17 made two miles north-west to where we crossed to the left side of eastern channel; at 1.35 made one mile north-west to watercourse with fine stream of water; at 1.50 made three-quarters of a mile north, where we watered the horses, and started again at 4.25; at 4.33 made a quarter of a mile about north where Jemmy and I encamped last Monday night; at 4.5 made one mile north-north-east to where we crossed to left side of eastern watercourse; at 5.24 made one mile and a half north-north-east over a thickly-grassed slightly-wooded plain with flood-marks on it; at 6.2 made one mile and three-quarters north over a similar country, slightly timbered with flooded box; at 6.13 made half a mile north-north-west; at 6.35 made three-quarters of a mile north-west by north over similar country; then crossed during a thunderstorm to left side of eastern channel of watercourse; at 7.15 made one mile and a half west by north to the main channel of Beames Brook which has a fine stream of water only a few feet below the level plains on each side of it. The water was muddy from the recent shower and in consequence anything but pleasant. Mosquitoes were very numerous and allowed some of us but little sleep.
Thursday January 16. Camp Number 37. Situated on the right bank of Beames Brook.
We left here at 7.16; at 8.30 made three-quarters of a mile north-east by north to where we crossed to right side of an eastern channel of a watercourse; at 10.5 made four miles and a half north-north-east over level rich country, slightly timbered with stunted box and a small tree like the Queensland sandalwood, called by Mr. Walker the gutta-percha tree, and reached extensive plains; at 11.15 made three miles and a quarter north-north-east over fine rich plains with the tall trees of the banks of a watercourse in sight to the eastward: at 11.32 made three-quarters of a mile north-north-west where we stopped on the plain, and Mr. Allison made the following observation of the sun: altitude 86.45, latitude 18 degrees 0 minutes 50 seconds; started again at 12.58; at 1.10 made one mile and a half north over fine slightly timbered downs, but from the want of rain the grass on them was rather brown, to where we crossed to the right bank of a watercourse (Barkly River) with high flood-marks, but at present without water; at 1.20 made half a mile north where we recrossed it; at 2.25 made three miles north to where we crossed again to left side without finding water; we passed at this place a number of blacks perched in the trees; at 3 made a quarter of a mile north to where we stopped as we could not proceed in consequence of a heavy thunderstorm and the bogginess of the ground; at 4.35 made quarter of a mile south, then three-quarters of a mile northerly to where we formed our thirty-eighth camp on the left of the main watercourse (Barkly River).
Friday January 17. Camp Number 38. Situated on the left bank of Barkly River.
The morning was wet so I thought that after the rain of yesterday we could not proceed, but it cleared up between 8 and 9, and at 10.20 we were packed up and started; at 10.45 made one mile north by east to the tree marked Lieutenant Woods with line and broad arrow; at 12 made three miles west to Beames Brook over richly grassed plains slightly wooded with stunted box; at 1.30 made quarter mile south by east where we crossed Beames Brook. We found the crossing-place a bad one; when a few of the horses crossed it became so bad that we had to unpack and unsaddle several before we could get them onto the firm ground on the left side of the brook. This is the first stream of water we have crossed since we left the O'Shanassy River near its junction with the Gregory. Beames Brook therefore must connect the Gregory with the Albert River, which accounts for the great size of the latter. At 1.55 made one mile north by west; at 2.20 made three-quarters of a mile north-west to Nicholson River, which has got a broad sandy bed so full of tea-tree that we could not see its breadth at this place; at 2.35 made half a mile south-east by east; at 2.55 made three-quarters of a mile east back to Beames Brook and to our outward track; at 3.4 made half a mile north-east to tree broad arrow before L, where we had on outward journey dined off the young wood of a cabbage-tree. We also observed the tracks of an expedition party trending towards the depot; at 4.10 made three miles north-east down the brook and then down the plain; at 4.45 made one mile and a half east to outward track; at 4.50 made half a mile south-west to our outward Number 2 Camp (Post Office Lagoon) where we expected to have got letters but in this we were disappointed.
Sunday January 19.
Yesterday we rested ourselves and our horses; at 6.20 a.m. my party left the Number 2 Camp of outward, and 39 of inward journey, situated at what I call the Post Office Lagoon, near a point on the left side of the Albert River, just above the Barkly and Beames Brook. I stayed behind, attended by Jemmy, until 7.30, and marked the camp tree as I had done at the other camp with my brand, the number of the camp, and the date; at 7.30 we made about half a mile in a north-north-east direction over rich undulating well-grassed country, slightly timbered with flooded box; at 7.45 made three-quarters of a mile north-east; at 8 made three-quarters of a mile north-east by north over similar country; at 8.18 made one mile north-north-east across similar country with portions of it without timber; at 8.37 made one mile north-east by north down well-grassed plains with the timbered country extending from the Albert River about a mile to the eastward of our track; at 8.46 made half a mile north-east; at 10.10 made four miles and a quarter north-east down well-grassed plains to where we stopped to rest the horses for ten minutes, as the ground was very soft from the recent rain; at 10.35 made three-quarters of a mile north-east by east to triangle made on the left bank of the Albert River by Lieutenant Woods; at 10.58 made one mile north-east by east to where we crossed Moore's Creek; at 11.10 made half a mile north-east by east; at 11.20 made half a mile east-south-east to Albert River depot.
(Signed) W. LANDSBOROUGH,
Commander of the Victoria and Queensland Land Expedition. 8th February 1862.
I hereby certify that this is a true and correct copy of Mr. Landsborough's journal.
Second in Command.
H.M.C.S. Victoria, 7th February 1862.
You will proceed to the depot on the Albert River and so soon as possible after arrival render assistance to Mr. Landsborough to get the horses and stores safely over to the eastern shore: then collect whatever surplus of provisions may be remaining, i.e. flour, biscuit, or peas, and have them securely fastened down in one of the iron water tanks sunk in the ground for that purpose. It will be as well to place therein some of the ammunition remaining, and to take a list of whatever is secured in the tank for the information of the Royal Society.
When the above is completed and all stores belonging to this ship collected you will remove the guard and return on board, bringing with you any of Mr. Landsborough's party that he may not require to proceed with him overland.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) W.H. NORMAN, Commander.
Lieutenant C.C. Gascoyne.
H.M.C.S. Victoria, off Albert River, 9th February 1862.
In accordance with your instructions of 7th February 1862 I proceeded up the Albert River with Mr. Landsborough and have the honour to forward the following report of my proceedings, namely:
I left the ship 7th February at 1.10 p.m., the cutter and whale-boat being placed in my charge to assist in crossing the horses and stores belonging to the Exploring Expedition, and bring down to the ship our party from the Albert River depot.
We had a north-easterly breeze on leaving the ship which carried us up as far as the saltwater arm, arriving there at 6.10 p.m., when the boats' crews went to supper; left there at 7 p.m., perfectly calm; arrived at the Firefly at 1.10 a.m.
Saturday 8th February.
At 5 a.m. (the weather looking very threatening) Mr. Landsborough sent out for the horses, which were brought in at 7.30 a.m.; it was then raining heavily, attended by thunder and lightning. At 8 o'clock I started with two of the black boys to drive the horses to the place for crossing, having sent the two boats round with lines as guess warps for hauling the boats to and fro. We succeeded in getting all of them, twenty-one in number, on the eastern shore by about 10 a.m., after which we got the stores across and pitched Mr. Landsborough's tents for him to keep them dry, as it had to all appearances set in for a wet day. I then got the provisions and stores (20 pounds biscuits, 250 pounds flour, nine half-pound canisters F.G. powder, two boxes percussion caps) placed in one of the tanks. I then had the tops of the tanks secured and covered with pitch and afterwards earth. Buried a bottle containing directions relative to the foregoing, close to a tree which I had marked thus: DIG 2 feet north, which tree being on the verge of a waterhole, close to the camp, must attract attention. At 8.45 p.m. we all left the Firefly. I put Mr. Landsborough and his party, consisting of Mr. F. Bourne, William Leeson (groom) and three black boys, onto the opposite shore, bringing Mr. H.N. Campbell and a black boy down to the ship, arriving on board at 1.15 p.m. on the 9th February.
I have the honour to be Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
(Signed) Charles Cecil Gascoyne, Second Lieutenant.
Bunnawaunah, Darling River, June 2 1862.
I have the honour to inform you that the exploring party under my command arrived here yesterday in safety and in good health. From the Gulf of Carpentaria we came, in search of Burke's party, without difficulty, to Gregory's route from Queensland to South Australia, to a point within 280 miles of the point marked first depot on Burke's route on the map which shows the routes of different explorers.
Our route from the Gulf of Carpentaria, Mr. Gregory's route to South Australia, and the routes of other explorers demonstrate the fact that sheep, cattle, and horses can be taken at a small cost and in the finest condition from South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and the inland districts of Queensland to stock the country near the Gulf of Carpentaria, or for exportation to India or elsewhere.
The road we came was so easy, from the richness of the pasturage and the abundance of water, that a foal, named Flinders from his having been foaled on the Flinders River, followed his mother most bravely from the time he was a few hours old until he reached here. When we were on Gregory's route to South Australia, and for some time previously, we took many opportunities of asking the blacks respecting the explorers they had seen. This we were enabled to do as Jemmy the native police trooper could speak their language. We learned from them that they had seen during the last ten moons explorers to the eastward, but that they had seen none with larger animals than horses.
I am sorry to have to inform you that our familiarity at last led to our having a hostile collision with them on the Barcoo River, near where the blacks treacherously tried to take Mr. Gregory's party by surprise during the night. They tried to take us at night by surprise. If they had succeeded they would no doubt have overpowered us; but it was during Jemmy's watch and, as he always kept his watch well, he awoke us when they were within a few yards of our fire, and we fortunately succeeded in driving them away. Next morning (very early) two of them came near our camp. At my request Jemmy warned them to leave us, for we had now a most hostile feeling towards them. Instead of their showing the least symptom of leaving us they got their companions (who were in ambush, heavily armed with clubs and throwing-sticks) to join them. Under these circumstances we fired on them. In doing so, and in following them up to where the horses were feeding, one was shot and another slightly wounded in the leg.
I had very little assistance from Walker's previous discoveries as he had left instructions that while his chart and journal were in Captain Norman's charge no one should be allowed to take notes from them. I tried to follow Mr. Walker's tracks to the Flinders River where he reported he had left the tracks of Burke's party. After tracing Mr. Walker's tracks for four days with considerable difficulty we reached plains near the Leichhardt River where so much rain had fallen on the rich soft soil that it was impossible to trace them further.
From the Leichhardt River we travelled over well-watered country to the Flinders River; then travelled up that river, through fine rich pastoral country, to about latitude 20 degrees 40 minutes; from there we reached Bowen Downs in a few miles. The creeks and the river that water that country I knew previously to a certain point down the river, but beyond this point I did not know where the river flowed. On this expedition I followed it down to near its junction with the Barcoo River (formerly known as the Victoria and as the Cooper) and discovered that it was the Thomson River. After leaving the well-watered country of Bowen Downs, with the assistance of one of the blacks of that locality, we came through a fine rich country to the Barcoo River; then without following the river further, or searching ahead for water, we went across to the Warrego River without the horses being at any time longer than a day and part of a night without water. The country is therefore, I have no doubt, on the whole well watered.
From the Warrego River we tried to go to the south-eastward, but, from not knowing the country, we had to return, owing to the want of water. On this occasion, although the weather was cold, the horses suffered very much. We travelled almost incessantly, day and night. In going from and returning to water the horses were without it for seventy-two hours. In returning we found water in a creek in which we had found no water at the place we crossed it in our outward route. If I had had plenty of rations I probably would have searched with one of the aborigines for water before taking the whole of the horses on a journey of that kind. Afterwards we followed the river down to near Kennedy's Number 19 Camp to the station of Messrs. Williams, where we met with a most hospitable reception and learned for the first time the melancholy fate of Messrs. Burke and Wills. Sold some expedition supplies which we thought we would not require any more, and bought rations to take us here.
Following the Flinders River up from the Gulf of Carpentaria took us for a long distance in a more southerly than easterly direction, then in a more easterly than southerly direction. About twenty miles below where we left the Flinders River we saw horse tracks, which were probably made by Mr. Walker's party when on his route from the Nogoa River to the depot at the Gulf of Carpentaria. Where we saw the tracks of Walker's party the channel was about 120 yards wide, with a sandy bed and a shallow stream flowing along the surface; lower down and higher up the river we saw the fresh tracks of a steer or cow, and on Bowen Downs saw similar tracks. We had so little meat that we would have tried hard to have found the beast to kill it for provisions if I had not thought, from seeing the tracks of a dray in the same locality, that we were near a station.
The point where we reached the Barcoo River, in latitude 24 degrees 37 minutes, is nearly south from where we left the Flinders River.
Several times in the course of our journey from the Gulf of Carpentaria Gleeson, Jemmy, and Fisherman were unwell. This was owing, I have no doubt, in a great measure if not altogether, to the rations I issued being insufficient. Our usual ration was a pint of flour, in bad condition, and barely half a pound of spoiled meat per day, without tea or sugar. The annexed list of rations will show that the quantity obtained on starting would not admit of my issuing a larger supply. The remainder of us, namely, Mr. Bourne, Jackey, and myself, did not lose our health on this meagre fare.
After reaching the Warrego River Jemmy unfortunately lay so near the fire on a frosty night that his shirt caught fire and burned him severely; so much so that he exhibited great pluck in continuing his journey here.
Last night I learned from the newspapers that Mr. Howitt had received instructions to wait for us at the depot at Cooper's Creek. If I had known that there was to be a depot there I would have gladly gone to it from the Thomson River. Now I intend proceeding down the river to Menindie, where I purpose if necessary to take the most advisable mode to let Mr. Howitt know of our return from the Gulf of Carpentaria.
I might have sent a letter off yesterday to the neighbouring station if I had only known that the postman had been delayed from starting until this morning. There is a camel on this run which I will endeavour to get and take to Menindie.
Mr. Bourne, who is an experienced bushman, has read this letter and thinks I have not given too favourable an account of the country along our route from the Gulf of Carpentaria.
When I reach town I will make a return of the money I received of Messrs. Williams for the expedition stores, a copy of my journal, and a sketch showing our route.
I have the honour to be Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Commander of the Victorian and Queensland Exploring Expedition from Brisbane.
To the Honourable Secretary Exploration Committee of Royal Society Victoria.
List of provisions received at the depot, Gulf of Carpentaria, on the 8th February 1862: 40 pounds of peas. 96 pounds of salt beef. 40 pounds of rice. 268 pounds of damaged beef, jerked. 27 pounds of damaged bacon. 650 pounds of damaged flour. 10 pounds of broken biscuits. 18 pounds of tobacco. Left from previous expedition to south-west. 90 pounds of flour. 40 pounds of sugar. These provisions were all our party, consisting of six, had up to the 21st May, the date of our arrival at the station of Messrs. Williams on the Warrego.*
(*Footnote. I may state here that, on the expedition to the south-west when our party consisted of five, we started with ninety days' rations of flour, beef, tea, and sugar, and five gallons of rum. These and the rations, a list of which is given above, were all that were furnished for the land expedition; and it was a source of much discouragement that my requisition for tea, sugar, and rum for the journey across the continent was not complied with, more especially as the allowance supplied at Brisbane was very liberal, as the annexed list will show:
After the wreck of a Firefly at Hardy's Island all her stores and those intended for the exploring parties were taken possession of by Captain Norman, and were only supplied by him on requisition.
The following are the names of the members of Mr. Landsborough's party.
W. Landsborough, commander.
Aboriginals: Charlie, Jemmy, Fisherman and Jackey.
Of these H.N. Campbell as assistant-commander, W. Allison, Jemmy, and Fisherman accompanied Mr. Landsborough on his first or south-west expedition. On his second or journey across the continent his party consisted of: George Bourne as second in command; Gleeson as cook; Fisherman, Jemmy, and Jackey. Messrs. Campbell, Allison, and Charlie returned by the Victoria, Mr. Landsborough considering his equipment inadequate to the supply of so large a party.
The camel found by Mr. Landsborough at the Darling was taken towards Melbourne but was lost through the carelessness of Jackey. Jackey, on two occasions on the Darling River, left for several days without leave, which led Mr. Landsborough to tell him that he would not take him any farther. This did not appear to vex him much for, without asking to be taken on or promising to behave better in future, he immediately went and hired himself to a settler in the neighbourhood. The rest of the party reached Melbourne in safety. Jemmy and Fisherman, who had never been in a city before, evinced no surprise at anything they saw. After a month's residence in Melbourne they were forwarded by steamer to Brisbane. Fisherman, before leaving Melbourne, lost his intelligence and was at times quite insane; but it is to be hoped that as his bodily health was good the sight of his native place will restore him to his right mind.)
The following letter, received by Captain Cadell from Mr. Neilson of Neilson and Williams, two young men who have spent years in exploring the Australian wilderness and who are now settled on the Warrego, gives some additional information as to the discoveries of Landsborough's party:
Kennedy's 19th Camp, River Warrego, May 22 1862.
I have nothing to communicate but the arrival here yesterday of Mr. Landsborough and party from the Gulf of Carpentaria, whence he left on the 10th of February last in search of the traces of Burke's party. The journey which he has now accomplished has opened up a practicable route to the Gulf. He followed the Flinders from the Gulf on an average course of south-south-east to 20 degrees south to its head, when, in thirty miles, he picked up the head of the Thomson and followed it down to Cooper's Creek, making his way into the settled districts by following up that creek to its head, and then following the Warrego River to this point, from whence he goes into the Barwon. He speaks of the country to the head of the Thomson, and from thence along the whole course of the Flinders to the Gulf, as magnificent, consisting of rich basaltic plains, very thickly grassed, one of the most conspicuous grasses being greatly in appearance to sorghum. Horses are so fond of it that the party could scarcely drive them along with whips. The party has met no casualty, and look very well, notwithstanding experiencing a shortness of rations on the journey. The horses are looking well. Landsborough was quite surprised at hearing that Burke's remains had been found. They found no track nor tidings of his party. I have given Mr. Landsborough an account of our trip in July and August last towards Cooper's Creek. He considers it a connecting link in the overland route from the Darling to the Gulf, and one that will be used in taking stock to that point. I consider that the route as now found will be the one adopted by the eastern colonies, South Australia availing itself of Stuart's route.
The following letter has been addressed to the Colonial Secretary of Queensland by Mr. Landsborough:
Mount Murchison, Darling River, July 5 1862.
Having learned from the Queensland news, in the Sydney Weekly Mail of the 24th May, that the Honourable the Colonial Treasurer said that he had no doubt the parties in search of Burke's tracks were making tracks for themselves, I have now the honour to inform you that, so far as I am concerned, I have no immediate intention to apply for country discovered by me while searching for Burke's tracks; that my previous correspondence with you gave you a true description of the country I had seen in my expedition to the south-west from the Albert River depot; that I will send you, when I reach Melbourne or sooner, a copy of my journal, which I hope will give a satisfactory description of the country I have seen in my last expedition; and further that it is satisfactory to me in the meantime to state that the country I saw near the Gulf of Carpentaria I consider to be exceedingly well adapted for sheep runs, and that I am of opinion that the most valuable country is the Plains of Promise, and second to them the plains on the Gregory River.
Of the country I have seen on the last expedition which had not been previously explored I consider the most valuable, on which I am sure sheep will thrive, are the plains on the west bank of the Leichhardt River, and those plains on the Flinders River. Of the Leichhardt River country I can but speak of a small portion, as I only followed it up for about eight miles from where the tide came to a fine basaltic ford, where the water was fresh. Of the Flinders River country the best I saw on the lower part of the river is situated between 18 degrees 26 minutes latitude and 19 degrees 20 minutes latitude; and of the upper part of the river the best is the last 100 miles I saw.
I have the honour to be, sir,
Your obedient servant,
Commander of the Victorian and Queensland Expedition.
The Honourable the Colonial Secretary, Queensland.
ROYAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA.
An ordinary meeting of this society was held on the 18th August and was numerously attended. His Excellency Sir Henry Barkly (president) occupied the chair.
PRESENTATION TO JOHN KING.
The first business was the presentation to John King the explorer of the gold watch awarded him by the Royal Geographical Society.
The Secretary (at the request of His Excellency the President) read the following extract from a private letter from Sir Roderick Murchison, the president of the Royal Geographical Society, dated May 20 1862:
I told you in my last that I thought it probable we should grant one of our gold medals to the family of Burke; and I am happy to announce to you that at the last meeting of council the award was made as I anticipated, on my own proposition, strengthened as it was by your favourable opinion.
We also give to the good and intrepid King a gold watch, with an inscription.
The Duke of Newcastle has promised to attend and receive these donations on the 26th.
P.S. (June 23): the watch sent to King cost much more than the gold medal; and I hope the good soldier will like it.
The Secretary next read the following despatch from his Grace the Duke of Newcastle to Governor Sir Henry Barkly:
Downing Street, May 26 1862.
I have to acquaint you that this morning I attended the annual meeting of the Royal Geographical Society, and that, at the request of the president, Lord Ashburton, I undertook to forward to you the accompanying gold watch, which the president and council had determined to present to John King, in testimony of his meritorious conduct during the late Victorian Exploring Expedition, in which Messrs. Burke and Wills unfortunately lost their lives.
I have therefore to request that you will accordingly, on behalf of the president and council, place this watch in the hands of John King and that you will at the same time express to him the satisfaction it has been to me to be the channel of making known to him that his conduct has been appreciated as it deserves.
I have the honour to be, etc.,
His Excellency (addressing John King) spoke as follows:
I feel, Mr. King, that it would be almost superfluous on my part to add much to the encomiums passed upon you by such high authorities; and to one so modest, as I know you are, I dare say it would be even painful if I were to enter at any length upon a recital of the claims which I consider you possess upon the gratitude and admiration of your fellow colonists. (Hear, hear.) Gratifying as it must be to you--after the liberal honours and rewards which the legislature and people of Victoria have bestowed upon you--to receive this crowning mark of recognition of your services from your fellow countrymen at home, I can quite conceive that it would be more congenial to your own feelings if I had delivered it to you in my own private room. Still I felt it to be a matter of duty, on an occasion of this kind, to make the ceremony as public as possible, not only in justice to yourself but for the sake of the example which your conduct has afforded to all who may be placed in similarly trying circumstances. I feel sure that, even if you entertained any idea of surviving, nothing was further from your thoughts than any considerations of glory or honour when you knelt by the side of the dying Burke to receive his latest injunctions, or when you turned back to perform the last sad offices for your departed comrade, Wills. You did your duty, I am sure, simply because you felt it was your duty. A Christian, you knew it was a privilege to minister to suffering humanity; a soldier, you never dreamt of swerving from the unalterable fidelity which you knew you owed your leader. (Applause.) In such a trying position as that in which you were placed, with the bands of discipline relaxed, the instincts of self-preservation have often led men to act selfishly. Others in your position might have thought that, being stronger than the rest of the party--able perhaps to pursue game, catch fish, or to pound nardoo--it would have been consistent with duty to escape to the nearest settlement, perhaps with the vague idea of sending back assistance to your comrades. I feel satisfied that any thought of deserting never crossed your mind--that you abandoned all desire to serve yourself alone, and that they were determined to share the fate of your companions. The result has proved that you acted rightly and properly. Your example may serve to teach us that the path of duty, generally, under Providence, is the path of safety. And what is about to take place tonight will also teach us another lesson:
That duty never did yet want its meed.
(Applause.) I may just refer to the fortunate circumstance that our meeting should be graced by the presence of a gentleman who, partly from motives of humanity, and partly with a view to share in the glory of the enterprise, volunteered to lead one of the subsidiary expeditions sent in search of the missing expedition of which you formed a member. Those subsidiary expeditions, it is well known, have led to a great increase of our geographical knowledge of the interior of the continent; and I believe, among the most brilliant exploits which grace the history of Australian exploration, there is not one more brilliant to be found than the passage made by the party under our friend Mr. Landsborough from the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Darling River. (Applause.) I hope Mr. Landsborough will be kind enough tonight to give us some information as to his route on the occasion. We all know, without waiting for that explanation, that his journey has conferred a most substantial benefit on all these colonies. It has, there can be no doubt, very much accelerated the formation of a great settlement in North Australia, which may be expected to become, some day, a separate and independent colony. In fact it has formed a fitting addition to the noble efforts which have been made by this colony in the cause of Australian exploration. Those efforts, as we all know, are now about to terminate. Instructions have been despatched to Mr. Howitt to return as speedily as possible; and when he brings back the remains of the lamented explorers, Burke and Wills, we shall approach the closing scene of the great drama--or tragedy, as I believe I may call it. I trust on that occasion the public funeral promised to those brave men will be carried out with the enthusiasm which was manifested a year ago, and that active exertions will be used by all concerned to raise an appropriate monument to their memory. (Hear, hear.) I have now great pleasure in handing to King, on the part of the Royal Geographical Society of London, this watch, which bears within, as he will find, an inscription setting forth that it was "Presented by the President and Council of the Royal Geographical Society of London to John King, for his meritorious conduct in the expedition under the lamented Burke and Wills." (Great applause.)
John King, who seemed overpowered with emotion, replied in the following terms:
May it please your Excellency, it affords me much grateful satisfaction to receive this watch, which the Royal Geographical Society of London has been pleased to present to me in recognition of my services during the late Victorian Exploring Expedition, and particularly to the lamented Mr. Burke in his last moments. In these particulars, your Excellency, I consider that I simply did my duty--a duty that I would perform over again if I were similarly placed. (Applause.) Still it is a source of grateful satisfaction to me to know that our achievement has been properly appreciated by the British Government and the great scientific bodies, and also that my humble services have been appreciated by the Royal Geographical Society, and by His Grace the Duke of Newcastle. I beg, through your Excellency, most respectfully to thank His Grace and the Royal Geographical Society for their recognition of my services. Such recognition will always convince me that no man under this or any government will do his duty without meeting his reward. (Great applause.)
His Excellency then introduced Mr. Landsborough to the meeting, and intimated that that gentleman would give a narrative of his expedition. His Excellency also introduced two aboriginals who had accompanied Mr. Landsborough from Carpentaria.
Mr. Landsborough said he had much pleasure in meeting the Royal Society and he was much gratified with the reception that had been accorded him. His expedition had been the second to cross the continent of Australia from Carpentaria, and he had been fortunate in finding a good road. Through the liberality of the Royal Society he had a first rate outfit at Brisbane. Unfortunately the transport Firefly, which conveyed himself and party from Brisbane, was wrecked on Hardy's Island. However, a few days afterwards, they were relieved by Captain Norman of the Victoria. Through the exertions of Captain Norman, his officers, and crew the Firefly was towed off the reef and the horses were reshipped and taken on to Carpentaria. It had been supposed hitherto that the Albert River was not a good place for landing horses; but the Firefly, a vessel of 200 tons, went twenty miles up that river and the horses were landed without difficulty, in fact they walked ashore. He was delighted to find so fine a country. He had had twenty years experience of Australia, and he had never seen better country for stock than he found on the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria. His mission was to search for Burke and his companions, but he could not shut his eyes to the fact that there was a fine country before them, and that country lying idle--a country, which through the exertions of Burke and his companions, had been opened to the world. (Hear.) The pastoral interest was a great interest still in Australia; and he held it to be a great pity that the stock of the country should be boiled down for tallow when Australia is the finest country in the world for growing wool. He hoped that the discoveries made through the instrumentality of the Royal Society would tend to prevent this. He would now point out the route which he took in search of Burke and his party. In his first expedition he proceeded in the direction of Central Mount Stuart, with the view of trying to discover whether Burke had gone on Stuart's route; he succeeded in travelling about 210 miles, the first 100 of which he followed up a running stream, but after leaving its source he lost much time from the scarcity of water; for this reason, and the precious loss of time caused by the wreck of the Firefly, he deemed it prudent to return to the depot; this course was adopted with much regret, as the wet season had commenced, a continuance of which for two or three weeks would probably have enabled him to have pursued the route originally intended in search of the traces of Burke. His first impression regarding the stream referred to was that it was created by rain, but as it was evident that no rain had fallen for months he concluded that this idea was incorrect. He afterwards discovered that it owed its source to springs of a kind which he had never before met with, the stream from which, near its source in the valley of the Gregory River, was sufficiently powerful to turn a large mill wheel. On his route back to the depot he found that this stream, at a point distant from Carpentaria about 80 miles, divided into two branches, one of which flowed into the Nicholson River, and the other into the Albert. As an evidence of the superior quality of the country through which he passed on his expedition to the south-west he might mention that the horses travelled as well as if they had been stable fed. He had travelled in Queensland and New South Wales and had never found horses stand work as well as those horses did at Carpentaria. On returning to the depot he and his party rested for three weeks and again started to find the tracks of Burke and his companions. They had heard that tracks had been seen by Mr. Walker on the Flinders River, they tried to follow Walker's tracks to the Flinders, but although he had preceded them only by about two months, his tracks could not be followed, owing to the rain which had fallen. They proceeded to the Flinders, but they could find no traces of Burke. They followed up the river for about 280 miles through a magnificent country. When they reached this point they left the Flinders, and in less than twenty miles further got to the watershed of the Thomson, one of the main heads of the Cooper River. When they had proceeded about 100 miles down the valley of the Thomson they found a tree which had been marked by a companion of Landsborough's in a former expedition several years before, which he was glad to be able to show, as a proof of his knowledge of the country, to the members of his party who knew nothing of him till about a week or ten days before he started on the expedition. Having followed down the valley of the Thomson, through fine country, from the tree referred to to a point within 270 miles of Burke's depot at Cooper's River; they were most desirous to have gone to that place but their supplies were very limited, and the blacks had repeatedly told them through Jemmy, one of the party, who understood their language, that they had not seen any exploring parties with camels. They therefore deemed it the better plan to strike across, about 50 miles, to the Barcoo, the main head of the Cooper River. This they accordingly did, and then proceeded to the Warrego, which they followed down till they struck the Darling. On reaching settled country they were very sorry to hear of the melancholy fate of Burke, Wills, and Gray. They were hospitably received by the settlers, but the season was dry and their horses fared much worse in the settled districts than in crossing from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Darling. In conclusion Mr. Landsborough expressed his acknowledgments for the warm reception which had been accorded to him and his willingness to answer any questions that might be put to him.
In reply to questions:
Mr. Landsborough said he thought the Flinders River was about 500 miles long. The most elevated land on the Flinders appeared to be about 1000 to 1500 feet high. The climate of Carpentaria he believed to be very dry excepting in the months of January, February, March and April. The bed of the Flinders when he left it was 120 yards wide, with a shallow stream flowing along its surface. His party came through the country at a very favourable season of the year. Thunderstorms and rainy weather might be expected until the end of April, and sometimes as late as May. On the heads of the Gregory River the country was of a basaltic character; and on the Flinders there was abundance of quartz and ironbark country. He saw about 50 miles of the latter description of country and believed from his previous knowledge that it extended to the coast. The range dividing the Flinders from the Cooper River country he estimated to be from 1000 to 1500 feet high, while that which he crossed on his expedition to the south-west, though about the same height, was of quite a different character, being composed of a basalt different from any he had seen before. The slopes of the tableland were grassed with spinifex, which is almost worthless. All basaltic country he had seen previously in other parts of Australia was exceedingly well grassed.
He had no doubt that the rivers on the north side of Barkly's Tableland were supplied by springs. Barkly's Tableland divides the northern from the southern waters. He crossed it on his first expedition. He had never been to the west of the Thomson. Immediately after leaving the watershed of the Flinders he got onto that of the Thomson. On returning to the Albert from his expedition to the south-west he came to a river which he named O'Shanassy, which has long and deep reaches of water. In the waterholes on the southern side of Barkly's Tableland, which he followed down for seventy miles, he found plenty of fish, and his impression was that these fish came up from rivers farther to the south-west. It was the dry season when he was there, but he could see traces of water where it had spread for several miles across the country in the wet season. He had no doubt that, if he had been able to go farther down, he should have got to a large river.
Dr. Mueller observed that this seemed to augur well for any expeditions that might be undertaken from the south of the Gulf of Carpentaria to the south-west. He begged to ask whether, in following down the tributaries of the Thomson, Mr. Landsborough met with any traces of Dr. Leichhardt? It would appear from the information supplied by Mr. Walker that Leichhardt took the tributaries of the Thomson in order to be able to skirt the desert of Captain Sturt. Mr. Landsborough said he went from near Port Denison to the heads of the Thomson River some years ago, and the probability was, he thought, that Mr. Walker saw his tracks or those of Cornish and Buchanan, who had also gone from Rockhampton to the heads of the Thomson. The party of Mr. Peter McDonald (a Victorian) also went from Rockhampton to the southern side of the range several years ago. In his (Mr. Landsborough's) first expedition he endeavoured to find Leichhardt's tracks on the heads of the Thomson, but unsuccessfully.
Dr. Iffla asked whether Mr. Landsborough in the course of his brilliant journey across the country met with many bodies of natives, and whether they evinced a friendly or hostile disposition.
Mr. Landsborough did not admit that it was a brilliant journey. (Laughter.) He saw very few blacks. The largest number he saw at a time was about thirty. He saw no tracks of blacks and he could not imagine that they were numerous. He always avoided having much intercourse with the blacks. He seldom had any trouble with them until this expedition. On the Barcoo River a number of blacks who had previously appeared most friendly approached the camp in the middle of the night and, but for the watchfulness of Jemmy, might have knocked them on the head. They were driven away, but the next morning they appeared disposed to attack the party. Under those circumstances he was obliged to fire upon them. One volley and a few shots however were sufficient to get rid of them. He came upon the Flinders above the navigable point. The range which he crossed to the south-west of Carpentaria was a tableland, that between the Flinders and the Thomson consisted of a series of hills and mountains with passes between them, as Mr. Walker had described in his journal.
His Excellency inquired what were Mr. Landsborough's impressions and ideas of the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria with reference to the settlement there of Europeans at any future time?
Mr. Landsborough replied that, although living in the open air and not having the best of food, the country agreed admirably with him. While his party and the crew of the Victoria were at Carpentaria there was very little sickness among them, nor was there fever and ague. The shores were very level. There was nothing that could be called a hill for 60 or 100 miles. Although a very dry country, there was rain for about three months in the year, and there were in some seasons large floods. He did not reach the Flinders River until two or three months after Walker's party, and he could not then find Burke's tracks. He considered he could not be expected to find them, since Mr. Walker, a gentleman whose great perseverance and bush experience were well-known, who was then two months before with a larger party than his and twice the equipment, could not follow them up. He could not even find Walker's tracks. He believed it was impossible for Burke and Wills to have gone within sight of the sea, because saltwater creeks spread all over the country for ten miles from the sea. This was his opinion from what he saw at the mouth of the Albert, and he had no doubt that the mouth of the Flinders was of the same character.
His Excellency said he was sure that they all felt very much obliged to Mr. Landsborough for the cheerful alacrity with which he had replied to all questions, and the amount of information about his journey which he had laid before the meeting. The remaining business on the paper would be postponed. He was afraid that a great many of those present were attracted to the meeting rather by the exploration information than the scientific papers announced to be brought forward. However this might be he would call upon them to give three hearty cheers for Mr. King and Mr. Landsborough.
The Society then adjourned.
JOURNAL: LANDSBOROUGH'S EXPEDITION FROM CARPENTARIA TO VICTORIA.
In laying before our readers the whole of Mr. Landsborough's journal, descriptive of the country he passed over in crossing the continent, some explanatory notes respecting the vegetation, etc., may be found acceptable and they are therefore given at the end. We are indebted to Dr. Mueller for some of them.
The party consisted of: Mr. W. Landsborough, leader. Mr. Bourne, second in command. Gleeson. Aboriginals: Jemmy, Fisherman, Jackey.
The party left Carpentaria on the 8th of February and arrived at Messrs. Williams' station on the Warrego River on the 21st of May--inclusive of both dates, 103 days. The total weight of provisions with which the party started was 1,279 pounds.
CONTINUATION OF THE JOURNAL OF W. LANDSBOROUGH, COMMANDER OF THE PARTY ORGANISED AT BRISBANE, TO SEARCH FROM THE ALBERT RIVER, GULF OF CARPENTARIA, FOR BURKE'S PARTY.
February 4 1862.
Since the 19th ultimo, the date of my arrival at the depot from the expedition to the south-west, I have been in constant expectation of a boat from H.M.C.S. Victoria. Late this evening I was glad to welcome the arrival of Lieutenant Gascoyne. The news he gave us of the death of Mr. Frost (who he told us had died by the accidental discharge of a gun) occasioned great regret.
Having received an invitation from Lieutenant Gascoyne to accompany him to the Victoria I availed myself of it, and had a pleasant sail down the river and a short distance out to sea to where the vessel was stationed. We arrived late in the evening and had the pleasure of meeting Captain Norman and the officers.
Today I had the good fortune to get Lieutenant Woods to assist me with my work. He made a beautiful tracing from the sketch I had made to show my route to the south-west. The sketch was made solely by dead reckoning. I wanted to take notes from Mr. Walker's journal and chart of his route from Rockhampton, but as he had told Captain Norman that no one was to be allowed to do so, I was not permitted to make them. Having agreed with Captain Norman to return to the depot tomorrow I was, having letters to write and preparations to make for the next expedition, in a continual bustle.
I returned with Lieutenant Gascoyne to the Albert River depot.
This was a busy day as we knew we were to abandon the depot in the evening. By the assistance of Lieutenant Gascoyne and some of his men, with two boats, we pulled the horses across the river. In the evening, as soon as Messrs. Campbell and Wilson had hurriedly finished a copy for Captain Norman of the notes I had made in my memorandum-book when on the expedition to the south-west, the Firefly hulk was abandoned. Those of my party I could not take overland accompanied Lieutenant Gascoyne, Captain Norman having previously agreed to take them to their respective destinations, namely: my late assistant commander, H.N. Campbell, to Hobson's Bay, Victoria; Mr. Allison, and the aboriginal trooper, Charlie, to Brisbane. Mr. Bourne and I accompanied them in Lieutenant Gascoyne's boat down the river to our camp, where we bade farewell.
Today we were busily employed preparing for our expedition.
As there were mangrove mudflats in the neighbourhood of our camp the mosquitoes were particularly troublesome; we hurriedly therefore made preparations for leaving it. When we had packed up as many things as the horses could conveniently carry the blacks paid us a visit, and we gave them the remainder. 5.10 p.m. we started and came five and a quarter miles upon well-grassed plains, and encamped near a fine waterhole. The water was slightly brackish, but not so much so as to render it undrinkable. The plains we crossed were slightly wooded. We came on the following courses: 5.20 p.m. half a mile south-east; 5.35 p.m. three-quarters of a mile east; 6 p.m. one mile east-south-east; 8 p.m. three miles south. Distance five and a quarter miles.
In consequence of having to repair packs and packsaddles we could not manage to leave until 1.10 p.m. The three weeks' rest the horses had on the rich pasture near the depot made a wonderful improvement in their condition. They were so restive yesterday that several of them in galloping and plunging did considerable damage to the packs and packsaddles. As the tracks of Walker's party were so indistinct that I could only see them when pointed out to me by the aborigines of our party, I foresaw that it would be tedious if not impossible to follow them to where Mr. Walker said he had left the tracks of Mr. Burke's party. When we had come a short distance over fine well-grassed plains we reached a saltwater creek, which we followed up a short distance, then crossed it and encamped in haste, as we saw a heavy thunder-shower was about to fall. Before leaving last camp I made an observation of the sun and found its meridian altitude 86 degrees 3 minutes. The latitude is by this observation 17 degrees 53 minutes. We came here on the following courses: 1.40 south-east and by east, one and a half miles; 2.22 south one and a half miles to saltwater creek; 2.25 north-east half a mile up the creek; 2.50 south-west and by west, half a mile up the creek to ford. Distance come today four and a half miles.
Camp 2, which we left this morning at 7.20, is situated about seven miles south-east from the Albert River depot. In our journey today, although we often got off the tracks of Walker's party, we did not altogether lose them. Near where we encamped tonight Jemmy saw a dead horse. From last camp we came over well-grassed, lightly wooded plains for five miles, then over flat country for four and three-quarter miles. The land was covered with good grasses and wooded with box and excoecaria. What I take to be excoecaria resembles the tree Mr. Walker describes as being probably the gutta-percha. The box trees are similar to those that grow near the Murrumbidgee River. In the middle of the day I halted to make an observation of the sun. I made its meridian altitude 85 degrees 32 minutes. The latitude is by that observation 17 degrees 59 minutes. Afterwards we came out of the wooded country in one and a half miles, then came over plains for four and a quarter miles, then crossed a shallow watercourse and encamped. These plains had a higher elevation than any we had seen since leaving the depot. The soil was rich and luxuriantly covered with the best grasses, and slightly wooded with white-wood. The white-wood I take to be the tree Mr. Gregory calls the erythrina. We came here on the following courses: 9.20 five and a quarter miles; 11.33 east-south-east four and three-quarter miles; 1.30 east-south-east one and a half miles and crossed a shallow watercourse from the west; 2.40 east-south-east for four and a quarter miles and crossed another shallow watercourse; 2.5 east-south-east for three-quarters of a mile over low lands liable to inundation. Distance today sixteen and a half miles.
Number 3, our last camp, was situated on the right bank of a shallow watercourse. As one of the horses had barely recovered the effects of travelling on stony country when on the expedition to the south-west, we had this morning to put a shoe on one of his feet with screw nails; the screws, in the absence of proper nails, answer tolerably well. We started at 9.6 and, having passed over a rich, lightly-wooded plain about eight miles, we reached the Leichhardt River at a part where the tide reaches. This river seems to be fully larger than the Albert. The tracks of Walker's party were so indistinct on the rich plains from so much rain having fallen that I gave up hope of being able to follow them. We coursed the river down three-quarters of a mile and found a shallow rocky ford, but it was not available as the rocks were too slippery and the opposite bank too steep. Near the ford we saw some articles belonging to the blacks, and amongst them a piece of an old blanket that I fancied was a part of one I had given to them at the Albert River. From the ford we returned up the river and encamped near some small waterholes. The direction we came today from last camp south-east by east; distance eight miles. In the distance I may be a little out of my calculation, my watch having stopped. This was particularly vexing as I had bought it expressly for keeping the time while on this expedition. After dark we heard the horses galloping and, as Jemmy, Jackey, and Fisherman thought blacks were driving them away, I sent them to fetch them back; but they did not disturb them as they were feeding quietly and no blacks were seen.
We left Number 4 Camp this morning at 7.50. In following the river up about seven and three-quarter miles to a basaltic ford, where the water was fresh, we passed over rich well-grassed country, consisting chiefly of plains, separated from each other by low wooded country. On the low land we observed salt herbs, and pigweed, the proper name of which, I believe, is portulac. We crossed the ford and camped on the opposite side. The scenery here is picturesque; there is a fall of about thirty feet with beautiful trees in its neighbourhood. The channel of the river showed extensive old flood-marks and had plenty of water in it, but I had to make a minute examination of it before I discovered the water was running. In a fine deep hole below the fall Mr. Bourne and I intended bathing, but had to go further, from hearing something like a large animal plunge into the water. To the eastward I made an observation of the sun from a short plain horizon; I made the altitude 84 degrees 45 minutes, latitude 18 degrees 10 minutes 30 seconds. We came here on the following courses: 8.35 south-east for two miles; 8.45 south half a mile to boggy ground; 10.20 south half east three and a quarter miles; 10.35 south half a mile and crossed a shallow watercourse from the west; 10.50 east one mile and crossed another watercourse; 12.50 east half a mile and crossed the Leichhardt River.
We left Camp 5 at 7.58. At 8.20, having crossed one mile and a half over a sandy flat, wooded with gum, fig, cotton, coral, white cedar, and other trees, we reached the flat rocky bed of a large watercourse. 8.50 one mile and a quarter up the creek and crossed it; then one mile and three-quarters over a fine plain with grass, pigweed, and salt herbs. 10.5 one mile and three-quarters took us over a barren low ridge, with rusty-gum, box, bloodwood, severn, and other trees, to a grassy watercourse with fine little holes of water; from its being boggy we were delayed in crossing until 10.25. One mile and a half over grassy flats and across another watercourse coming from the eastward. 12.45, having gone over poor ridges for five miles, we reached a fine, rich, flat valley, luxuriantly covered with barley and other grasses; delayed until 1.58 while some of our party tried, without success, to shoot an emu. 2.30, having come about four and a quarter miles, we reached a watercourse and encamped; the water flows from the north-east and shows extensive flood-marks. The valley I named Neumayer. Direction today east-south-east; distance sixteen miles.
February 16. Sunday.
Rested ourselves and horses.
Left camp at 6.35. Four and a half miles took us across low land, wooded chiefly with (what I take it to be) excoecaria; then a mile over unwooded, gently-undulating ground, which extended up the valley to little bald hills. The land is well grassed. A site near those hills would answer well for a lambing-ground for a sheep establishment. Then a mile over high grassy lands, wooded with gum, broad-leaved box, white-wood, and other trees; then two miles further to near the base of a hill that was remarked from its only being wooded on its summit; then three and a half miles over undulating well-grassed ground to a small watercourse from the west; then three miles over flat poor country, thickly wooded with bloodwood and other trees; then three and a half miles over poor low ridges, covered with triodia and other grasses, and wooded with bloodwood, tea, severn, and other trees, to a small watercourse, where we encamped. Direction today east by south half south; distance sixteen miles.
We left Camp 7 (marked by mistake 8) at 8.16 this morning. At 11.45 we had come nine miles and a half over two kinds of country--the first and largest part consisting of poor low ridges, covered with inferior grasses and wooded with bloodwood, tea, and other trees; the second part consisting of flat country, rich soil, well grassed, and wooded with bauhinia and western-wood acacia. The acacia I have mentioned is called gidya in some places of Australia. Then, after crossing, in half a mile, a strip of unwooded country extending to the right and left of our course, we halted for thirty-five minutes to try and get the sun's meridian altitude, but did not succeed as the sun was obscured. Then, after coming over poor low ridges covered with triodia and wooded chiefly with tea trees for five and three-quarter miles, we reached at 2.45 a ravine and encamped. Direction travelled this day east by south half south.
February 19. Camp 8, situated in a ravine from an adjoining tableland.
In the rocky basin of the ravine I think water will always be found. We left camp at 6.40 this morning and came in an east by south half south direction. The country for a short distance was confined, but on descending the valley it opened out into plains separated from each other by isolated hills of a conical form. The tops of the hills were covered by rocks which, from their appearance, were of a sandstone formation; the lower parts of the hills were well grassed, the plains of rich soil, and covered with a luxuriant green herbage. At 9.30, having come over the plains on our old course for five miles from the isolated hills, we reached the Flinders River. The river, we were glad to find, had been recently flooded; in crossing we ascertained it had four channels, one of which was running. As this was the river on the banks of which Mr. Walker said he had found the track of Burke's party I thought it would be a good plan to follow it up, and resolved to do so. At 10.10 from the opposite bank of the river we came south two and three-quarter miles, which took us over country wooded with box and terminalis to plains similar to those I have described on the left bank of the river, with this difference that on this side there were more flats and pigweed, salt herbs, and saltbush. At 12 having halted I got the following observation: meridian altitude of the sun 82 degrees, latitude 18 degrees 32 minutes 30 seconds. At 1.20 south-south-east three and a quarter miles over rich well-grassed plains; at 2.5 south-east and by south two and a quarter miles; at 13.13 south-west and by south three miles through wooded, rich, flat country to water, and encamped. Distance today nineteen and a quarter miles.
February 20. Camp 9, situated on the right bank of an eastern channel of the river.
At this camp one of the mares foaled. Left camp at 7.46; at 8.10, having steered south half east one mile, we reached the river; then changed our course to south-south-east and at 8.38, having travelled one and a quarter miles, we got out of the box and saltbush flats to unwooded plains; delayed then until 9.33, whilst some of our party tried unsuccessfully to shoot emu. At 10.30 came south-east one and a half miles along a plain. At 11.30 came south-south-east two and a half miles to a point of timber, then halted till 12.45 to make an observation of the sun; at 1.20 came south-south-east one and a half miles over thinly wooded plains. The plains in this neighbourhood are thinly grassed, which I think is caused by a recent dry season; at 1.45 made south one and a quarter miles over country that is more thickly grassed; at 2.20 came one and a quarter miles south half west through flats wooded with box and encamped. Distance today eleven and a quarter miles. The foal was so active that it kept up with the horses on this day's journey.
February 21. Camp 10, situated on the right bank of Flinders River.
Started at 7.30 a.m.; at 7.56, having steered east-south-east a mile over rich ground with box trees and saltbush, we reached well grassed land, thinly wooded with white-wood, pomegranate, bauhinia, and other small trees; 9.15 south-east one and a half miles over ground so green with herbage that one of my companions said it resembled the banks of the Murrumbidgee in spring; at 11.20 east-south-east five miles and a quarter across an unwooded plain, and halted till 12.45 to make the following observation: meridian altitude of the sun 81 degrees 33 minutes; latitude 18 degrees 55 minutes 30 seconds; at 1.30 we steered south-south-east two miles over rich plains, covered in places with luxuriant young grass having the appearance more of young barley than any other indigenous verdure that I have seen elsewhere. At 2.30 came south two and three-quarter miles and encamped. Distance today twelve and a half miles.
We left Camp 11, situated on the right bank of the Flinders River at 7.47 a.m.; at 8.50, having come south-east two and three-quarter miles through a very rich thinly wooded country with herbage like that on old folding ground in spring, we reached unwooded plains; at 9.20 came south-south-east one and a quarter miles across a plain chiefly covered with barley-grass; at 11.20 came south-east by south across plains for five and a quarter miles to the edge of wooded country, and halted till 12.35; at that place I made the meridian altitude of the sun 81 degrees 1 minute, latitude 19 degrees 6 minutes; at 1.2 came south-south-east one and a quarter miles along a plain; at 2.17 thence south-east three miles further along the plain, on which there was abundance of saltbush and pigweed; at 3.35 came south half west over thinly wooded plains; at 3.50 came south-west half a mile and encamped. Distance today seventeen and a quarter miles.
This being Sunday we rested ourselves and horses. In this neighbourhood Jackey and Fisherman caught five possums.
Left Camp 12 situated on the right bank of Flinders River at 8.52 a.m. During last night and this morning the weather was showery. In the morning the rain was accompanied by a strong east wind. Now that I am on the subject of the weather I may mention that for some time past it was so cool that although we were in the sun the hottest part of the day I did not find the heat oppressive; at 10.5, having come south-east and by south three miles, that course took us along a plain of the richest soil, but thinly grassed, in consequence, probably, of a recent dry season; at 10.40, having changed our course to east, we came one and a half miles and crossed a watercourse with large quantities of mussel shells on its banks, but with no water in its channel; at 12.15, having changed our course to south, we came over country, some of which was well grassed and very green from the old grass having been burnt, for four miles. In this distance we crossed several watercourses. Having left the party to look at the river, in my absence a high hill was seen to the left of our course. The banks of the river I found thickly wooded with western-wood acacia; at 1.15 came south along the plain for two and three-quarter miles, and delayed until 1.50 while the most of our party tried unsuccessfully to shoot emu; at this place I observed the hill which had been seen previously. It bore south-east by south from us. The hill I named Fort Bowen; at 2.25 came south-east and by south over rich ground for two miles. The vegetation in this neighbourhood seems nearly dead, excepting the saltbush. To adjust the packs of one of the horses we delayed here till 2.45; at 3.50 came 2 and three-quarter miles south and encamped. Distance today sixteen miles.
Number 13 Camp is situated on the right bank of the Flinders River at a point about four miles distant from Fort Bowen and north-west and by west from it. Looking from the camp, the hill had a long-topped aspect with rather an abrupt western termination. During the night the weather was showery and this morning rain fell, accompanied by a strong north-east wind. Left camp at 8.47 a.m. and reached the base of Fort Bowen in four and a half miles at 10.25. In coming that distance we crossed plains which had, near the river, more herbs than grass; and near the hill more grass than herbs. At the base we found springs surrounded by reeds and clumps of tea-trees. Accompanied by Jemmy I ascended Fort Bowen, the rest of the party proceeding up the river. From the summit I observed two little hills in the distance bearing 60 degrees east of south. From the density of the atmosphere no other hills were visible. Plains surround Fort Bowen on all sides. Those on the west side of the Flinders River are more thickly wooded than those on the east side. Fort Bowen, I should say, is about 200 feet high. From its surface pudding-stone rocks crop out. Almost immediately after descending we overtook the rest of the party, halting near waterholes in which there were ducks. Jackey and Fisherman had tried to kill some but without success; at 12.18 Mr. Bourne and Jackey went to shoot at a large flock of cockatoos, the rest of us proceeding on our journey; at 2.55 came south-east and by south over rich plains with more herbs on them than grass at places, and more grass than herbs at other places, seven miles, and encamped. Before we halted Mr. Bourne and Jackey overtook us, loaded with cockatoos, of which they had shot as many as they wanted as the flock did not fly away. Distance today eleven and a half miles.
Jemmy and Jackey went out early for the horses. Shortly after noon they returned having only found a portion of them. They brought back two snakes and ate them for dinner. Jackey was bitten by one of the reptiles but so slightly that he did not think anything of it. Snakes are rare in this part of the country. In my last expedition to the south-west I only remember having seen one. In the evening Fisherman brought in the remainder of the horses. The weather was showery, accompanied by northerly wind for the greater part of the day.
February 27. Number 14 Camp, situated on the right bank of the Flinders River at a point about seven miles south-east and by south from Fort Bowen.
The weather during the night was showery, accompanied by northerly wind. Left camp at 8.40. At 10.5, having crossed a plain in sight of the trees on the banks of the river in an easterly course for three and three-quarter miles, sighted hills, named by me Mount Brown and Mount Little. At 11.40 came south-east and by east towards Mount Little for four and a half miles, and reached a watercourse full of water from the east. At 12.15, having come one and a half miles further in the same direction, we halted till 12.30 for Jackey, who had gone to waterholes surrounded by springs and clumps of tea-trees for the purpose of shooting ducks. Jemmy and I left the party to ascend Mount Little, which is nearer to the river than Mount Brown. We reached Mount Little in about a mile and rode to its rocky summit. Its elevation is about fifty feet. The rocks looked like granite, but on a closer inspection I found they were of a stratified formation. From the mount nothing was observable except Fort Bowen, Mount Brown, a little rise, and extensive thinly wooded plains. Fort Bowen bore 58 degrees west of north, the small rise south and by east. I built here a small cairn and scratched with a mussel shell which I picked up at a blacks' camp (having no knife) my initials and a broad arrow. Started again at 1.30 after the rest of the party, who had gone on ahead. At 2.30 came south and by east half east, partly on the tracks and partly with the main party, over thinly wooded plains for four miles. At 2.30 came south one and three-quarter miles and encamped. I never saw finer-looking herbage than that along our path today. If it always rained when the grass required moisture this would be one of the best places, if not altogether the best, in Australia.
February 28. Camp 15, situated on the right bank of the Flinders River at a point about six miles south and by east from Mount Little and Mount Brown.
Near this point the water in the river is deep with tea-trees growing near, a good sign that the water is permanent. Last night we had a sudden and heavy shower of rain. Fisherman and Jackey were not prepared for it, consequently they got all their clothes and bedding wet; this however was rather a subject of merriment than otherwise. We left camp at 8.8. At 8.55, having come east-south-east for two miles up the river, over rich level ground, thinly wooded with box and (what I take to be) excoecaria, and green with the following herbage: roley-poley, pigweed, saltbush, and grass to plains. At 11.15 came five and three-quarter miles in the same direction across plains intersected from the east by shallow watercourses, outlets of the river during floods. At 12, having remained behind the party with Jemmy, I got the following observation on a plain horizon of about a mile in length, namely, meridian altitude of the sun 78 degrees; latitude 19 degrees 51 minutes 7 seconds. Started again at 7.43 and came east-south-east four miles on the tracks of our party along an unwooded plain with plenty of old grass on it, now green from the recent wet weather; and along a low sandy ridge, green with grass and brushwood. This land evidently retains the moisture better than that of the country down the river. At 2.40 came south-east and by east one and three-quarter miles over level, well-grassed, and thinly-wooded land, with the exception of a sandhill wooded with bauhinia. At 3.45 came south one and a half miles over poor sandy land, badly grassed and thickly wooded. At 4.15 came south-west and by south one and a half miles over level country covered with roley-poley, pigweed, saltbush, and young grass, and wooded with box and western-wood acacia to water, and encamped. Distance eighteen and a quarter miles.
March 1. Camp 16, situated on the right bank of the Flinders River.
Left same this morning at 8.40. At 10.30 travelled five miles east-south-east on an average course along the right bank of the river over rich level land covered with roley-poley, pigweed, grass, and saltbush, and wooded with box, terminalia, and other trees. At 11.20 came south-east and by east over land such as I have just described for two and a quarter miles. Halted with Jemmy and on a short plain horizon made the following observation, namely, meridian altitude of the sun 77 degrees 27 minutes; latitude 20 degrees 3 minutes 30 seconds. At 12.23 started on the tracks of our party. At 12.58 came one and three-quarter miles over sandy level land on which I observed, amongst other grasses, tufts of kangaroo-grass. At 1.30, when we had come south-east one and a half miles over an unwooded plain and very rich soil covered with roley-poley, pigweed, saltbush, and luxuriant young grass, we overtook our party. At 2.20 came south-east and east over an unwooded well-grassed plain to a watercourse from the east, with long holes of water. Here a black was observed in the distance. As this was the first whom we had seen since leaving the depot, and as I never had observed tracks on either this expedition or the one to the south-west which a thundershower would not efface, I think there cannot be many blacks in the country near the Gulf of Carpentaria. At 3 came east-south-east over rich low plains with large patches of saltbush for two miles. At 3.35 came south-south-east over slightly undulating land with abundance of grass, and slightly wooded with trees and bushes, for two miles to a watercourse from the east. On the country I have just mentioned grow bushes like the garden-box, loaded with fruit pleasant to the taste. We broke branches and ate the berries as we rode along. At 4.23 came up the watercourse a quarter of a mile and crossed. This was a matter of difficulty as it was boggy. At 5.20 came over rich level country with boggy watercourses from the east and encamped. Distance today twenty and a quarter miles.
March 2. Camp 17, situated on the right bank of the Flinders River.
Tea-trees here fringe the channel which looks permanently watered. Although this was Sunday we came up the river. I thought it as well to do so, Mr. Bourne and Jackey, while they were away from our party shooting, having observed a strong body of blacks. We started at 9 a.m. At 11 came south-east and by east over rich level land, grassed with herbage and wooded with box and bauhinia. At 11.15 came south half a mile and encamped. It rained heavily so the work of packing up, saddling, packing the horses, driving them over sloppy, boggy ground, unpacking them, and making a fire with wet wood was anything but pleasant employment. Distance today five miles.
It rained so heavily that we remained here. The ground was so soft that the horses, much as they are inclined for rambling, did not go further away than a quarter of a mile.
We started this morning at 8.20. Came east three-quarters of a mile over rich level ground with a few trees upon it. The ground was so soft from the rain that the horses were with difficulty driven along. From following each other in single file and sinking at every step to their fetlocks the track they made was so deep that it will not be easily effaced. At 10.50 came south-east for five miles and a half across rich plains with the greenest herbage; the plains separated from each other by wooded land with shallow streams flowing to the northward. At 11.35 came south-south-east two and a quarter miles up along a shallow stream with slightly wooded plains on its banks. Here Jemmy and I stayed behind the party and got the following observation, namely, meridian altitude of the sun 76 degrees 3 minutes, latitude 20 degrees 19 minutes. At 12.45 came across the plain on the tracks of the party two and a quarter miles. At 2.35 came at a quicker pace, as the ground was harder, for two and a half miles south-east and by east, and crossed a shallow watercourse with box-trees along its margin coming from the south. At 3.30 travelled over rich plains separated from each other by wooded land with watercourses from the south for one and a half miles south-east and by south. At 4 came half a mile south-east and by south over thickly-wooded land and overtook our party where they had formed their encampment. Jemmy, Jackey and Fisherman were very successful in collecting food for their supper. On the plains they caught a great number of rats, and near here they caught five possums. Distance today eighteen and a half miles.
March 5. Camp 19, situated on the right bank of Flinders River.
The horses having rambled a considerable distance out on the plain Jemmy and Jackey were a long time bringing them to camp, and we did not manage to start this morning until 9.3. At 10 came over two kinds of well-grassed country in an east and north direction for three miles, the first part wooded with box and bauhinia, the second a plain between belts of timber. At 11 came east-south-east across a plain to some extent overrun with roley-poley to a deep stream flowing to the north. Here I swam across to the opposite bank to a plain which appeared beautifully level and made on it the meridian altitude of the sun 75 degrees 36 minutes, latitude 20 degrees 23 minutes. Started again at 12.50 and came up along the stream in a south-east direction one and a half miles over well grassed land wooded with box to the outlet of a stream from the river and encamped. Distance today seven and a quarter miles.
March 6. Camp 20, situated on the left bank of a northern channel of the Flinders River.
The water having fallen greatly since yesterday we carried the saddles and packs over and then led the horses. As the northern bank was boggy we had to apply the whip severely to some of the horses to get them to ascend it. At 9.57 a.m., having packed the horses, we started. At 10.58 came east and by south up along the left bank of a watercourse with a thin margin of box-trees for three miles. At 11.12 Jemmy and I left the party and came south for three-quarters of a mile across a plain to the right bank of the river where, halting, I made the meridian altitude of the sun 75 degrees 6 minutes, latitude 20 degrees 31 minutes. At 12.40 came half a mile north-east. At 1.12 come along a plain in a south-east and by east direction one and a half miles to a deeper and broader outlet from the river than the one we crossed in the morning. Overtook our party here and assisted to unsaddle and unpack. The horses were then driven into the stream and swum across. Afterwards we pulled the saddles and packs across with a rope and encamped. We adopted the following plan for taking them over the river. We attached the articles to the middle of a rope and passed one end of it over the fork of a tree on the southern bank; one end of the rope being pulled with sufficient force to keep the goods clear of the water, and the other end pulled with much greater force, the goods were safely landed on the southern bank. This would have been accomplished easily if we had had a pulley, but as we had none it took hard pulling to make the rope travel. The country we passed over has the same rich character as the land I described yesterday. Distance today four and a quarter miles.
March 7. Camp 21, situated on right bank of Flinders River.
Knowing that plains with just a sufficiency of trees for firewood and shade has proved better than any other for pastoral purposes, this country delighted me; but I must say it would please me more if there were a few high hills in the distance. I was however charmed with the landscape around the camp this morning. In the foreground I saw fine box, excoecaria, and other trees festooned with beautiful cumbering creepers, and beyond them the horses feeding on a fine grassy plain extending to the north and eastward to apparently distant blue mountains. As the day advanced this picture unfortunately lost a portion of its beauty by the disappearance of anything like mountains in the distant horizon. We started at 8.14 a.m.; and at 11.40 came east for ten miles along a plain behind the wooded country near the river, but further back it is either covered with roley-poley and pigweed or with young grasses which I am afraid are annuals. Yet notwithstanding these drawbacks it is a very fine country, and if care is taken by the future occupiers not to overstock it sheep and cattle will do remarkably well upon it. When it is occupied it should be improved by having seeds sown during the beginning of the wet season to produce plants with deep roots which will take the place of the annuals. If this was done and tanks and wells made in the back country the land would probably carry at least twice the quantity of stock it could now; but to get improvements of that character made a freehold tenure would probably be required. At 11.40 Jemmy and I waited behind the main party on this extensive plain and made an observation of the sun, namely, meridian altitude 74 degrees 34 minutes; latitude 20 degrees 37 minutes 30 seconds. Started on the track of our companions at 12.10; at 2.14 came south-east and by east for six miles over well-grassed plains and overtook the main party. At a shallow watercourse surrounded by rushes and polygonum I got off my horse to get a drink and carelessly let him out of my hands. In a second he scampered off to the other horses. Jackey however soon brought him back to me. At 2.50 came south-east for about three-quarters of a mile and encamped. Distance this day sixteen and three-quarter miles.
March 8. Camp 22, situated on the right bank of the Flinders River.
The river presents here a fine sheet of water; the channel has the appearance of draining a large tract of country and is as large-looking as the Nogoa River at its junction with the Comet River. Left camp this morning at 8.1; at 8.55 came east and by south for two and three-quarter miles along a plain behind the wooded country skirting the river to an eastern channel of the river and delayed five minutes to get water; at 11.40 came north-east a mile and a half; then east five and a quarter miles over gently undulating rich land, green with herbage and wooded with box; crossed a small creek near its junction with the river; Jemmy and I here left the party and cantered for two miles in a north-east direction over high undulating rich ground with fine grass to a point commanding an extensive view of the surrounding country. To the eastward I observed about ten miles distant a line of wooded country which probably fringes a stream flowing parallel to the Flinders River. Having halted here I got the following observation, namely: meridian altitude of the sun 74 degrees 8 minutes; latitude 20 degrees 48 minutes. Jemmy and I started to overtake the party at 12.10; at 12.35 came south-east and by east over well-grassed land for one and a quarter mile and observed the recent tracks of a steer or cow; at 1.23 came south-east two and a quarter miles to the river over two kinds of country--the first rich undulating ground with good grass, the second clay flats covered with grass and salt herbs and wooded with box. In that short distance we crossed two watercourses from the east with good holes of water. Not having found the tracks of our party we steered west-north-west and at 2.3, when we had ridden about two miles, we found them waiting for us. As there was water and good grass here we encamped. Distance today sixteen miles and three-quarters.
As this was Sunday we rested ourselves and the horses; I make it a rule to fare better on Sunday than on other days so we had for breakfast damper, meat, and pigweed; for lunch, pea soup, and for dinner, cold rice and jam. The country in this neighbourhood I named Hervey Downs.
Today Mr. Bourne, Fisherman, and Jackey went in search of the beast that I had seen traces of on Saturday.
Mr. Bourne, Fisherman, and Jackey returned. From Mr. Bourne I got the following report of their expedition:
After following the tracts of the beast for about two miles down the river they found it had crossed and travelled out on the plains in a south-easterly direction; followed tracts for twenty miles to where they turned nearly east. Up to this point they found water in several places but, in running the tracks for fifteen or twenty miles further, found none, and very reluctantly turned back (feeling satisfied that the beast had got too much start of them) at 4 p.m. to water and encamped. They had no rations excepting an iguana and a few mussels. These downs consist of loose brown loam, thickly covered with ironstone pebbles, and would be very good country if the roley-poley were not so prevalent.
March 12. Camp 23, situated on the left bank of a shallow creek.
A carbine with a broken lock, belonging to Jemmy, the police-trooper, was left behind here. We started this morning at 8.25; at 8.50 came south-east and by east one and a quarter mile and crossed the river at a place where the water has a fall of several feet over flags of sandstone; at 11.40 came east over rich well-wooded downs for eight and a quarter miles. Jemmy and I having left our party and come about half a mile south, I made the following observation, namely: meridian altitude 72 degrees 33 seconds; latitude 20 degrees 41 minutes. Started after party at 12.20. At 1.27 came east half north for two and a half miles over rich undulating land to a watercourse. These downs are so sparse of trees that a small belt of brushwood on the top of an eminence was a remarkable feature. It is situated about a mile this side of the spot from which I made my observation; at 3.20, when we had come up the creek on an average south-east and by east direction for five and a half miles, we encamped. The country we have seen today has decidedly undulating features and a rich soil. Some of the flats were covered with roley-poley but the rest of the country was grassed. Distance today eighteen and three-quarter miles.
March 13. Camp 24, situated on the left bank of a broad shallow watercourse named by me O'Connell Creek.
Started this morning at 7.35. When we had ridden up the creek about four miles we found the tracks of the beast that Mr. Bourne tracked south-easterly from the 23rd camp. After coming backwards and forwards for some time we crossed O'Connell Creek, then came about three and a half miles to the left bank of the Flinders River and abandoned the tracks of the beast as they were going down the river. We followed up the river for about four and a half miles. The first part of that distance it was confined by stony ridges, wooded with acacias and other trees; in the second part were large box flats with unwooded rising ground behind. From our path along the rising ground we observed in the distance a number of blacks near the river; and also observed, ahead of us to the eastward, a long blue range which I found afterwards confined the river on its right side. I named it Bramston Range. Afterwards we came over well-grassed country of a similar character to that I have described last for about five and three-quarter miles and encamped. All the country we have seen today is well grassed with the exception of a few plains overrun with roley-poley. I may remark also that birds, chiefly consisting of pigeons, cockatoos, quail, and hawks, were seen in great abundance. Today we travelled in the following courses: 7.35 south-south-east for four miles up O'Connell's Creek; 1.35 north and by east for three and a half miles to the river, east-south-east four and a quarter miles up the river; 3.30 east half north for five and three-quarter miles; 3.50 north-east one mile. Distance today eighteen and a half miles.
March 14. Camp 25 situated on the left bank of a western channel of the Flinders River.
We started this morning at 7.37. When we had come seven miles over rich well-grassed downs we observed a great number of blacks on a level flat which extended to the southward. Mr. Bourne and I approached them and they all ran away except some gins and children who hid themselves in a waterhole. We remained near them for a short time and were joined by Jemmy and Jackey. The gins and children soon abandoned their hiding-place and assembled on the bank, where they had their coolamons filled with rats. The old gins repeatedly offered the wives of the men who had run away to us. Amongst the females whom I observed was a girl about ten years old with a large bone stuck through the cartilage of her nose. We declined the offer, although I daresay Jackey would have liked to have taken one of the ratcatchers with him: but Jemmy said he would not, as he does not approve of wedded life. He has seen it, I presume, under disadvantageous circumstances. The young gins had fine eyes, white teeth, and good expression. The children looked particularly lively and intelligent. Jemmy understood a few words of their language but not sufficient to get information from them. Their word for water, cammo, I caught while we were getting them to fill our pint pots with water. After bidding them farewell Mr. Bourne and Jackey proceeded after the packhorses and Jemmy and I went up the flat to a place about three and a half miles south of Bramston Range and, having halted, I made the meridian altitude of the sun 71 degrees 45 minutes; latitude 20 degrees 29 minutes 16 seconds. Started after the main party at 12.20. We soon found them as they had been obliged to stop to repair a saddle. Having started again we came one and a quarter miles over rich downs very much overrun with roley-poley. As we had been getting too far away from the river we steered towards it, and having reached water in two and a half miles we encamped. The country we passed over last consists of well-grassed downs. In the water we got plenty of mussels which made an agreeable addition to our rations. Distance today seventeen and a half miles by the following courses: 11.50 east-south-east seven miles; 12 south one and a half miles; 1.16 east-north-east one and a half miles; 2.40 east-south-east four and a quarter miles; 3.30 east-north-east two and a half miles; 3.45 north-east and by east three-quarters of a mile.
March 15. Camp 26 situated near a creek named by me Sloane Creek, at a point about three miles south-east from Bramston Range.
Started this morning at 8.15. Having come one mile and a half we reached a small hill bearing 2 degrees 84 minutes from the south-west end of Bramston Range and 50 minutes from table ranges up the river. On this hill Jemmy and I stopped for some time and then proceeded after the main party. Following their track led us over rich, high, unwooded downs for five and three-quarter miles to a creek with a shallow broad channel. This stream evidently flows towards the river. I named it Walker Creek. After crossing Walker Creek we came over high downs for about twelve miles, and having found water we encamped. Towards the river the country is wooded with a kind of myall, but not the drooping acacia. Amongst it the horses have gone to feed in preference to the open country. The ground on this side of Walker's Creek is composed of a reddish soil with occasionally detached pieces of basalt. It is covered with the best grasses, the highest portions thinly wooded with small trees, amongst which I observed white-wood, myall, and Port Curtis sandalwood. The Port Curtis sandalwood has been exported, but as far as I have been able to learn was not a profitable article. However it is first-rate for firewood, giving a better light than other woods, and the perfume it emits is disliked by mosquitoes. From our path today we observed that the right side of the river was confined by wooded ranges extending without prominent features from Bramston Range to table ranges near here. We travelled on the following courses: 8.50 east and by north one and a half miles to a little hill; 10.15 north-east and by east for three miles; 11.10 east-north-east two and three-quarter miles to Walker Creek; 3.10 north-east twelve miles to encampment. Distance today seventeen and three-quarter miles.
Today Fisherman and I left the party in camp to ascend the lowest down of the three table ranges on the right bank of the Flinders River. We reached the left bank of the river in a north-north-east direction in about two miles and a half. The river has a sandy level bed which is about eighty yards wide. After crossing the river Fisherman marked a gumtree growing at the bottom of the bank E broad arrow over L. From the river we reached the base of the range in rather less than a mile. I expected to find it of a sandstone formation with triodia on its surface, but on ascending the range I found that, although it had a sandstone formation, it was covered with a dark perforated basalt and at other places with rich soil and good grass. From the summit I observed that the river was joined at a short distance above this range by a tributary to the south-east, and that the following hills bore in the directions named: A high distant table range which I have named after Frederick Walker, Esquire, my brother explorer, 130 degrees; a table range three-quarters of a mile distant 90 degrees; a table range about three miles distant 45 degrees; three conical hills on a range about seven miles distant respectively 44, 43 and 39 degrees; a tent-topped hill about seven miles distant 22 1/2 degrees; a hill with an irregular top about nineteen miles distant 20 degrees; Bramston Range 245 degrees; encampment 195 degrees. After descending the range we proceeded to the junction of the creek and marked trees on both sides of the river just above its junction. Between the hill and the river we found marjoram, a plant that we have been searching for since we got our last supply at the Leichhardt River, to use as a substitute for tea; and also found--what interested us much more--the old tracks of an expedition party. The tracks were very indistinct but, as Fisherman succeeded in following them for a short distance to the north-west, I suppose that they were the tracks of Walker's party when on their way from the Nogoa to the Albert River.
March 17. Camp 27, situated on the left bank of a southern outlet from the Flinders River at a point about five miles south-south-west from the table-topped ranges on the opposite side of the river.
The horses were so much scattered that almost the whole of the forenoon was spent in bringing them in. The main party left camp rather before noon. Jemmy and I stayed behind to get an observation of the sun. Started on the tracks of our party at 12.20. We came along unwooded, well-grassed land at the back of country wooded with myall for three and a half miles, then over country more overrun with roley-poley but otherwise of a similar character for two miles to the termination of the myall. Here I observed that we were about four and a half miles west from the end of a range, which I suppose confines the river on its right bank, and north-west from Frederick Walker's Table Mountain. After coming four and a half miles we reached a place where there was plenty of good water and grass with a high bank and encamped, as Gleeson was very unwell. The last distance--four and a half miles--was over unwooded downs covered with barley and other grasses. Came on the following courses: 1.30 south-east three and a half miles; east-south-east two miles. 3.40 east-south-east four and a half miles. Distance come today ten miles.
March 18. Camp 28, situated near the left side of a watercourse of the Flinders River at a point bearing 130 degrees from Frederick Walker's Table Mountain.
The horses were scattered almost as much as they were yesterday morning and the most of the forenoon was spent in mustering them. Started at 10.35. When we had gone towards Frederick Walker's Table Mountain for three miles Jemmy and I left our path on the high ground and went down on a flat extending to the northward for about two miles, where, taking an observation, I made the meridian altitude of the sun 70 degrees 13 minutes, latitude 20 degrees 40 minutes 30 seconds. Started after the main party at 12.15. Having ridden seven miles we reached Frederick Walker's Table Mountain and ascended it. From its high summit I observed that stretching across part of the horizon there was nothing to be seen but plains. Along another part, on the south-eastern side, there was a succession of ranges from which we bore in the following way: From the end of the ranges in the distance 151 degrees; a distant range 147 degrees; a red rocky hill about seven miles distant 140 degrees; a table range about one and a half miles distant 103 degrees; a high distant conical hill, the one that I probably saw from the table range near 27 Camp, 5 degrees; the table ranges 310 degrees. We were thirsty and as we did not know how far our party would have to go to get water for the encampment I spent as little time as possible in making observations. Having started after the main party we overtook them just as it was getting dark. They had gone round the mountain and, as they had not found water, they were proceeding to the north-east in search of it. Continuing the same course we reached at 8 p.m. water and encamped. The land we passed over today is good; the soil is a rich reddish loam. The country consists of downs luxuriantly covered with good grasses except at places which are overrun with roley-poley. These downs are thinly wooded in places with myall, white-wood, and Port Curtis sandalwood. Frederick Walker's Table Mountain is of a sandstone formation and is covered at places with triodia. On the southern side of it there is a dry watercourse which rises from the northward. At many places in coming up this river we have observed a most interesting vine which produced pods of beautiful silky cotton. As the pods were pleasant to eat we were on the continual lookout for it. Distance today about eighteen miles.
March 19. Camp 29, situated on flat ground on the left side of a small watercourse at a point bearing in the following way from the following ranges: one end of Frederick Walker's Table Mountain about five miles distant, the other end about four miles distant, 245 degrees; one end of a table range about one and a half miles distant from Frederick Walker's Table Mountain 199 degrees; the other end 192 degrees; the end of a long table range 160 degrees.
Jemmy was so unwell this morning that we had to delay some time before he could proceed. Started at 9.52 a.m. Having come three miles north-east we waited for some time as Gleeson was too unwell to travel. Afterwards we proceeded about two miles and encamped. The land we saw today was on the whole well grassed; the flattest portions of it are wooded with myall, Port Curtis sandalwood, and western-wood acacia. The country looking from the unwooded plains is beautiful and with luxuriant herbage; the surrounding isolated ranges lends an interest to the scenery. The river has here a sandy channel about 120 paces wide with a shallow stream meandering along its almost level surface.
Camp 30, situated on the left bank of the Flinders River at the north-west base of an isolated range bearing the following way from the following ranges: one end of Frederick Walker's Table Mountain about eight miles distant 2 degrees 36 minutes; the other end 2 degrees 23 minutes; a range about six miles distant 209 degrees; a little isolated hill 193 degrees; north-west end of a table range about five miles distant 189 degrees; north-west end of a table range about two miles distant 174 degrees; south-east end 149 degrees. This morning I was glad to find that Gleeson and Jemmy had recovered sufficiently to start on the journey. We started at 10.12. After crossing the river we followed it up on its opposite bank in an east direction for one and a half miles and crossed it at the end of the range on the left bank. We then followed up a creek I named Jardine's Creek in a north-east and east direction for five miles and encamped. From camp Fisherman and I went west-north-west for two miles and a half to the top of a range bearing as described from the following ranges: a distant conical range (probably the one observed from near 27 Camp) 3 degrees 48 minutes; the end of Frederick Walker's Table Mountain 245 degrees; the other end 238 degrees; the place where Fisherman thought Jardine's Creek joined the river 255 degrees. The country we saw from our path along the right bank of the river was not, of course, extensive, but what we saw was flat, covered with long grass, and wooded with bloodwood and gum. These trees were the largest I have seen in this part of the country, and almost the only ones I have seen since leaving the depot at all well-adapted for building purposes. The country in the valley of Jardine's Creek is most beautiful. It is thickly grassed and in some parts without trees; in others thinly wooded or wooded with clumps of trees. The hills on both sides of the valley are picturesque. Distance today six and a half miles.
Fisherman and I left camp this morning and went south-east for fourteen miles. The first four miles took us over the range to the head of a creek, the next five miles down the creek, and the next five miles to the left of the creek. We then went south-west to the creek and selected a place for the next encampment. Then, returning to depot camp, we followed up the creek, and it took us in a north half west direction for five miles to our outward tracks. Then, returning by our track to camp, we reached it by travelling for an hour after dark. In going and returning we spent nearly twelve hours on horseback. At camp I was sorry to learn that Gleeson was still very unwell. The country on the other side of the range is nearly level; back from the creek it is chiefly overgrown with triodia and wooded with ironbark. The ironbark-trees are the first I have seen on this expedition. Near the creek and at some places for a mile back from it the soil is rich with luxuriant good grass, except at places where it is thickly wooded with western-wood acacia and Port Curtis sandalwood where the herbage is not so rank, but the saltbush amongst it is a good sign of its having the most fattening qualities. The ranges on the southern side of the valley are not so good as the ranges on the northern side, the former are more sandy and are not so well covered with rich basaltic soil.
March 22. Camp 31, situated on the right bank of Jardine Creek at a point about five miles above its junction with Flinders River.
Started this morning at 10.20; at 3.20 p.m. reached the place I had chosen yesterday for our encampment and unsaddled. Gleeson had so much recovered that he did not complain of fatigue during the day's journey. Distance today fourteen miles.
As this was Sunday we rested ourselves and horses. Gleeson and Jemmy still unwell; the former very weak and complaining of want of appetite and sleep.
Today we followed the creek down for about fifteen miles and three-quarters and encamped at a fine waterhole. All along the creek there are fine deep waterholes. The channel is a kind of sandstone formation, particularly good for retaining water. About eight miles above here the creek is joined by another watercourse, about the same size, from the north-west. I have named it Coxen Creek. The country is not so level as it is higher up the creek. The soil is very good with grass, saltbush, and herbs. Sheep or cattle will do well on it but it will not carry much stock to its acreage as it is confined at many places by ridges with triodia and only a small proportion of other grasses. Triodia is certainly better than nothing, as stock will eat it when it is young, and at other times will eat it rather than starve. The best part of the country is thickly wooded with acacia and other small trees. This would not be objectionable where blacks were quiet and where it is not necessary at times to run sheep in large flocks; but in the first occupation of the country it will be so, as labour will probably be scarce. We travelled today at our usual pace from 8.27 a.m. to 1.55 p.m. Gleeson was so much recovered that he did not complain of fatigue. We came here on the following courses: 9.27 south-east for two and three-quarter miles; 11.10 south-south-east five miles to the junction of Coxen Creek; 1.55 south-south-east eight miles.
Started at 8.15 this morning. Came down the right bank of the creek for about fifteen miles and encamped at 2.53. The creek has fine deep holes of water. The channel generally is confined by sandstone at places by shelving rocks a few feet high and inaccessible for horses. Here the channel is broad and sandy; about seven miles below the last camp it is joined by a smaller watercourse from the north-west named by me Raff Creek. The country we saw from our path was mostly good. It consists of well-grassed, thinly-wooded flats, separated from each other by belts of Port Curtis sandalwood, bauhinia, and other small trees, and at other places by low ridges with triodia. The country in the immediate neighbourhood consists of low ridges of poor soil with numerous rocky gullies. These ridges are chiefly wooded with ironbak and grassed with triodia. We traversed down the creek in the following way: 9.25 south-south-east three and a quarter miles; 11.4 south two and three-quarter miles to Raff Creek; 1.30 south five and three-quarter miles; 2.10 south-east and by south one and a quarter miles to a small creek from the north-west; 3.54 south two miles to here.
We left camp this morning at 8.45. When we had travelled at our usual pace till 1.45 we encamped at a small creek from the north-east. We stopped here as we found dray-tracks near the creek that I wanted to trace. After unsaddling Fisherman and I traced them a short distance to the north-east. The tracks were made probably by the parties who have occupied Bowen Downs. Bowen Downs is a fine tract of country that Mr. N. Buchanan and I discovered about two years ago. The country we passed over today is easily described. It is undulating poor land of a sandstone formation, grassed with triodia and wooded with ironbark and bloodwood. Having left the creek on which we encamped last night our course today took us back onto high ground from which, descending, we reached this by the following courses: 11.45 south-south-west eight and three-quarter miles; 1.45 south five and three-quarter miles. Distance come today fourteen and a half miles. In a waterhole near camp Mr. Bourne caught a great quantity of small fish, an agreeable addition to our fare, and from the same waterhole Fisherman got a quantity of mussels for our breakfast tomorrow.
March 27. Camp 35, situated on the right bank of a small well-watered creek at a point about half a mile above its junction with a larger creek from the north-west.
Jackey and I left camp this morning at 9. When we had gone down the creek in a southerly direction for two and three-quarter miles we left it and went west, expecting to find the tracks of our party as I had asked Mr. Bourne to steer south-south-west; but, not finding the tracks, we returned to camp and reached it at 1.15. At camp we learned that the horses were only mustered a few minutes before our arrival. In my ride with Jackey down the creek I saw the recent tracks of a cow or steer (probably made by the beast that had been on the Flinders River). I would have tried to have found the beast with a view of killing it for the benefit of our party, but from seeing the dray-tracks near the camp I thought this was unnecessary as I was convinced we were near a station. Before leaving the subject of the beast I may mention that it may have been taken from the Darling to one of the stations on the head of the Burdekin and, having strayed from there to the Flinders River, was now on its way back. Started from camp at 1.45 p.m. When we had come a mile we crossed a creek flowing to the northward. On both sides of the creek there are stony ranges grassed with triodia and wooded with ironbark. After leaving the creek we crossed the ridges and came on land with a good deal of rich soil and wooded with belts of myall, Port Curtis sandalwood, and western-wood acacia. About these scrubs the grass is very good and there is a luxuriant undergrowth of saltbush and salt herbs. When we had come four miles from camp we sighted to the south-west a small isolated hill and went towards it. When we had crossed about three and a half miles over country like what I have just described we reached the isolated hill and Mr. Bourne and I ascended it. It is surrounded by rich, well-grassed, high downs, wooded at places with small belts of myall. The shape of the hill is like an artificial mound with the ruins of a tower on its summit. It is so like a hill I saw when I was last on Bowen Downs that I almost fancied it the same. The hills in this neighbourhood however do not correspond with those in my chart. About four and a half miles to the north-north-west we observed two table-topped hills, and in the distance to the south-south-east a hill which may be the Simon Pure Tower-hill. From the hill we came east half north two and a half miles and encamped.
We started this morning at 8.55. When we had come about sixteen miles we reached Tower-hill. On its summit I found a small tree that I remembered Mr. N. Buchanan had marked L when on my first expedition to this part of the country. Almost half the way to Tower-hill was wooded with myall and western-wood acacia. In the middle of that wooded country we crossed a range and observed unwooded downs to the right of our path. The remainder of the way was rich undulating ground slightly wooded with trees and grassed with the best grasses. To the left of our course there was low ground wooded at places with box, and at other places with western-wood acacia. From the range in the first part of the way Tower-hill bore south-east and by south, and a little range south-south-east (the latter is about one and a half miles west-south-west from Tower-hill). After descending Tower-hill we came half a mile and encamped. In a waterhole near camp Mr. Bourne and I while bathing found mussels in abundance; but as our caterers, of whom Mr. Bourne was the chief, had shot two turkeys we did not gather any mussels. We came on the following courses: 10.30 south four miles to a range; 12 south-south-east two and three-quarter miles to open downs; 2.45 south-east eight and a quarter miles to Tower-hill; east half a mile to encampment. Distance today sixteen and a half miles.
From last camp we reached Landsborough's Creek in twenty-three and a half miles. I expected today to have reached a station that Mr. Buchanan when I left Brisbane told me he intended forming on this creek. I told my party to expect that we would here get fresh provisions. When we had travelled upwards of ten miles from last camp, and in that distance only saw the appearance of a single horse track, I came to the conclusion that Mr. Buchanan had taken no stock up the creek, and changed our course so as to strike it lower down. Further on Mr. Bourne, Gleeson, and I felt confident we were on stocked country; but this impression was soon changed by Fisherman telling us that he believed the grass had been eaten off by grasshoppers. The country we crossed today is a rich soil and is wooded along the watercourses with box, and at other places with a few bushes. Near the creek the land is flat and badly grassed, but back from the creek the land is undulating and well grassed. From our path we saw on both sides of us table ranges which gave a charm to the landscape. We came here on the following courses: 11.20 south-west and by south eight miles; 12.10 west one mile; 12.48 south-south-west one and three-quarter miles; 1.20 south one and a half miles; 2.35 south-east three and three-quarter miles; 5.25 south seven and a half miles.
This being Sunday we rested ourselves and horses.
March 31. Camp 38 situated on the left side of Landsborough's Creek at a place about two miles north of a table range on the opposite bank.
We started this morning at 10.25. When we had followed down the left bank of the creek we crossed Cornish Creek a short distance above its junction with Landsborough's Creek. It had been recently flooded, and although the ford was a good one the stream was still about three feet deep. Below the junction of this creek the watercourse is called Landsborough's River. (Lower down we ascertained it was called the Thomson River.) On the left bank of Cornish Creek there are wooded ranges extending for several miles down the river. After leaving these ridges our path down the left bank of the river went over rich undulating ground with good grass and a few belts of box-trees. On the opposite side of the river there is a considerable extent of wooded country. On our journey one of the packs having partly broken loose so frightened the horse carrying it that he galloped off, and was not recovered until he had scattered his load, consisting of medicines and peas, broadcast on the plain. The medicine was recovered but the bulk of the peas were lost. About ten miles before I reached camp I made the meridian altitude of the sun 63.18, on a good land horizon; latitude 22 degrees 27 minutes 39 seconds. We came here on the following courses: 10.20 south-east and by east two and three-quarter miles; 11.40 south-south-east four miles; 12.45 south-south-east two miles to ---- Creek; 3.20 south seven and a quarter miles. Distance today sixteen miles.
We started this morning at eight. When we had come down along the left bank of the river about eight miles Jemmy and I left our party and went back to the unwooded downs. These downs extend as far as the eye can reach to the eastward. Before we had gone far we found the recent tracks of an exploring party, and instead of rejoining our party we followed the tracks to see where they led, which appeared to be in the direction of some untimbered hills on the left bank of the Aramak Creek. After leaving the tracks we made for the river, and reached it at a point a short distance above an old camp of mine where there is a tree marked L over LXIX. At the river we found we had overshot our party, so we had to follow the river up to find their encampment. Our path today went fifteen miles over unwooded, undulating, rich ground bearing abundance of grass; then eleven and a half miles over a country with higher undulations and good grass, with myall, western-wood acacia and Port Curtis sandalwood. We went by the following courses: 11.20 south eight and three-quarter miles; 2.20 south and by east six and a half miles; 3.24 south-south-west two and a half miles; 4.45 south-west four miles; 5.7 west one mile to the river; 5.25 north-north-west three-quarters of a mile to marked tree; 6.30 north-west and by north three miles to encampment. Distance travelled by Jemmy and myself today twenty-six and a half miles.
We started this morning at 8.15 and travelled down the river till six in the evening, journeying later than usual to get out of the neighbourhood of some blacks that we passed about seven miles back from here. At a place about fourteen and a half miles back I halted with Jackey and made an observation of the sun; afterwards, when we had nearly overtaken the party, I observed the blacks were near them. We galloped towards them to make them run away; but instead of doing so they remained and received us in a friendly manner and offered us their spears and boomerangs. I let Jackey take a spear and two boomerangs; the spear we wanted for making ramrods; in return for their presents I gave them a tomahawk. These blacks are fine, tall, powerful fellows. When we overtook the party Mr. Bourne informed me that the blacks had followed it for about three miles, and that one of them, a powerfully built man about six feet high, had been so very bold that he (Mr. Bourne) had repeatedly fired over his head without causing him any alarm; and that on one occasion, on looking round, he saw him apparently in the act of throwing his boomerang at him. These blacks told Jemmy, who understood their language, that they had seen nothing of any explorers with camels. When we were unsaddling I was sorry to find that we had not got out of the neighbourhood of the blacks as I observed some of them were watching us from behind some trees close at hand. Jemmy told them that I was very angry at them for following us. In reply they said I was mistaken, that they had not followed, they had never seen us before. Shortly afterwards Jemmy had a long conversation with them during which they informed him they had seen a party of explorers to the eastward, but that they had never seen any with camels or drays. When they left they assured us they would not return until morning. A place that we passed about nine miles up the river bears east and by north from a conical hill which is on the right bank of the river, and west and by south from a table range near our path on this side of the river. Besides this table range there are isolated ranges distant from one to three miles from each other and extending along the left bank of the river from our last camp. On the opposite bank (the right bank) there were no hills in sight except the conical hill already mentioned and a range near our present camp. Rich undulating ground, covered with good grass and slightly wooded with myall, western-wood acacia, and Port Curtis sandalwood, extends from the ranges in many places to the left bank of the river. Near the junction of Aramak Creek I made the meridian altitude of the sun 62 degrees 2 minutes, the latitude 22 degrees 58 minutes 29 seconds. We came here on the following courses from last camp: 9.15 a.m. south-east and by south for three miles to old camp; 11.20 a.m. south-south-east for five and a half miles to Aramak Creek; 1.50 p.m. south-west for two and a half miles; 2.50 p.m. south-south-east for three miles; 3.20 p.m. south-west for one and a half miles to creek from south-east; 5.15 p.m. south-west for five miles to another creek from south-east; 6.15 p.m. south and by east for two and a half miles. Distance twenty-three miles.
April 3. Left Camp 41, situated on the left bank of the river at a place between two isolated ranges.
One of the ranges is on the left bank; I have named it Mackenzie Range. The other, on the opposite bank, I have named Herbert Range. From camp the south end of Mackenzie Range bears 45 degrees, and the south end of Herbert Range 235 degrees. The four blacks who left us yesterday evening paid us a visit as soon as it was light this morning; they were very communicative and informed us that the river flowed to the southward, that it was joined about two days' journey from this by a large river from the north-east; that a long way down the river the country was sandy and destitute of grass, and that beyond the ranges in sight there were no hills. They said further, on being asked if they knew of any country to the westward without grass, that they had not seen or heard of any country of that description in such direction. We started this morning at 8.45 and at 3.43 p.m., having travelled sixteen miles along the left bank of the river, we camped. The country we saw during the forenoon was of an undulating character and the soil rich, with myall and western-wood acacia. The grass was good, but from the absence of rain not so fresh looking as higher up the river. Our path in the afternoon lay near the river over low ground, wooded with box, having an undergrowth of saltbush and polygonum. To the eastward there was fine undulating open country. Somewhere above here I think it is probable that the river is joined by a larger stream from the westward as it is now quite unfordable and about sixty feet in width. We came in the following courses from last camp: 9.45 south-south-east for three miles; 11 south for three and a half miles; 1.20 south-south-west for three miles; 3.15 south-west for five and three-quarter miles; 3.43 south-south-west for three-quarters of a mile.
We left Camp 42 at 8.35 a.m. and travelled in the back country from the river. I steered in the forenoon about two points off what I considered was the probable course of the river, and intended returning to it in the afternoon; unfortunately however I left the main party in the middle of the day and omitted to tell Mr. Bourne to change the course if necessary to reach the river. When I overtook the party I altered the course and at 3.20 p.m. reached a creek that probably drains a great deal of back country. As there was water in its channel we encamped. The creek I named Stark Creek. Before we reached here we crossed two other creeks; the first I named Salton Creek and other Isabella Creek. The country we passed over from our last camp consists chiefly of high and wooded downs, and though the soil was rich the grass and saltbush, from the want of rain, was rather dry. The country near the watercourses is wooded with myall, western-wood acacia, and Port Curtis sandalwood. We came here in about the following courses: 10.27 south-south-west for four and three-quarter miles to Salton Creek; 11.5 a.m. south-south-west for one and three-quarter miles to Salton Creek; 11.30 a.m. south-south-east for one and a half miles to Isabella Creek; 12 a.m. south-south-east for one and a half miles; 12.35 a.m. east one mile; 12.50 a.m. south-east for one mile; 1.55 p.m. west-south-west for three miles; 3.30 a.m. south-south-west for three and a half miles to Stark Creek. Distance today eighteen miles.
We left camp this morning at 8.20 a.m. The Camp 43 is situated on the right bank of Stark Creek. We travelled in the first instance slightly to the westward of south with the view of reaching the river. In a few miles we crossed a large watercourse at present dry but with extensive flood-marks and heaps of mussel-shells on its banks. This creek I named Porteous Creek. A few miles further in the same direction we crossed a small watercourse which apparently joins Porteous Creek. The banks are wooded with myall. Behind these belts of myall the country rises in gentle undulations, the soil is rich, almost without trees, and from the appearance of the grass it was evident there had been no rain for a long time. In the afternoon we went north-westerly and by that course reached the river; then after following it down for a short distance we encamped. The appearance of the grass we saw in the afternoon was fresher than that we had seen earlier in the day; and near the river, where the low ground had been flooded, the herbage was quite green. Shortly after we encamped a middle-aged blackfellow, two youths, and two little boys paid us a visit; they were very friendly but we did not get any information from them. From last camp we came here on the following courses: 9.20 south-west for two and a half miles; 10 south-west by west for one and three-quarter miles to Porteous Creek; 10.50 west-south-west for two and a quarter miles to a small creek; 11.30 west for one and three-quarter miles; 11.40 north for half a mile; 12.43 south-west for one and three-quarter miles; 2.23 west for five miles; 2.43 north-west for one mile; 3.23 west-north-west for two miles; 4.23 south-west for two and a half miles. Distance twenty-one miles.
As this was Sunday and we did not think the blacks numerous or dangerous in the neighbourhood we rested ourselves and horses. The elderly blackfellow and one of the others we had seen yesterday paid us a visit, and in the course of the day he brought the others of his party and a man about his own age whom we had not seen before. He made me understand that his elderly friend wanted to see a gun so I gratified his curiosity. The boys did not run away as they had done when they saw me fire a shot on a previous occasion. The blacks examined with great curiosity our equipment and accepted greedily everything we gave them but did not steal anything. Mr. Bourne gave our newest acquaintance a shirt which pleased him very much. They relished some food he gave them and said "Thank you sir" upon Jackey making them understand it was proper to say so. The presents which pleased them most were a broad file, a needle and thread, a broken glass bottle, and clothes. The file they could make a better tomahawk of than their stone ones; the broken glass bottle they would use for knives or wood scrapers. We did not give them many clothes as cold weather had warned us we had none to spare. Jemmy, on further acquaintance with the blacks, found they could speak a language he understood.
April 7. Bowen Downs.
We left 44 Camp at 7.20. When we had gone about one and three-quarter miles south Jackey and I waited behind to take an observation of the sun. I made its meridian altitude A.H. 118 degrees 12 minutes (I did not take notice of the index error) the latitude is by that observation. This morning the blacks told Jemmy of a well-watered road leading to the southward. On that river they said the blacks had clothes and it was from them they got their iron tomahawks. When we had come about one and three-quarter miles Jackey and I remained behind the others. Before the party left I told Mr. Bourne to let Jemmy lead in the direction that the blacks had pointed out to him. After making an observation of the sun we followed the tracks of our party. When we had ridden a short distance over undulating country we reached plains. Further on we crossed a creek which, although now dry, had evident signs of being well watered in good seasons. The holes were deep and mussel shells were abundant on its banks. I named it Bourne Creek. The party, after going up the creek for some distance, went in a straight course to the south-east; when Jackey and I overtook them we learned that Jemmy was leading the way to some smoke they had seen in the distance. After steering in that course we reached at dark a water channel but, as there was no water in it, I told Fisherman and Jemmy to guide us back to our last camp. After travelling a considerable distance, and when I thought we ought to be near our camp, I ascertained our guides had not the slightest idea of our situation. As I had been misled by them, and had paid no attention to the route we had come, I was rather at a loss which way to go. I judged however that the horses would take us to the river, so let them go their own way. At 4 in the morning, when we had travelled for some time in a north-east direction, we stopped and tied up the horses till 7.10. Yesterday we went in the following courses: 11.35 south for one and three-quarter mile; 1.49 south for two and a quarter miles to Bourne's Creek; 2.25 south and by east for one and three-quarter mile; 2.50 south by west for one and a quarter mile; 3.40 south-east for two and a half miles; 4.10 south and by east for one and a half miles; 6.30 south-east for six and a quarter miles to dry watercourse. Total distance seventeen and a quarter miles.
We started for camp this morning and reached it in about eight and a half miles. The country we saw in this journey in search of water, in the direction of the river to the southwards, only wants a few showers to make it look as fine pastoral country as can be found anywhere. Upon examining my sextant I found the index error was 39 degrees 1 minute. Before I reached the Gulf of Carpentaria it was damaged during the wreck of a Firefly, and Lieutenant Woods kindly repaired it. I now meant to adjust it and in doing so I was so unsuccessful as to make it useless. We came this morning on the following course to camp: 8.40 west for four miles; 9 north-west by west one mile to our outward track; 10.10 south three and a half miles to camp.
Jemmy and I left camp this morning, 9.5, in search of water on the route we wanted to go. We went along the plains on the left bank of the river in a south and west direction for eight miles. We expected to find in that distance a well-watered river which Jemmy understood the blacks to say formed the river a short distance below the camp. As we had not found it there we went west and reached the river in about four and a half miles. We then followed it down for about two miles in a southward direction where we found the blacks we had seen up the river. Upon telling them we had not found water back from the river, and that we now wanted them to show us the road to the next river and would give them a tomahawk and a shirt for doing so, they promised if we would bring our party down the river they would do so. We saw here two old gins and a little girl whom we had not seen before. One of the gins was a disfigured-looking object; she had lost her nose and lips. The little girl was about four years old; she had good features and was fat and plump. To please the blacks we let one of the little boys ride a horse for a short distance. After asking them to remain in this neighbourhood we returned to camp.
As I imagined, Gregory's party had traced the Thomson River to its head. I did not suppose this river was it. I determined, as we had used the most of our stores, to leave the river if possible and start for the settled districts. It was very vexatious to come to this resolution as the river was flowing almost in the direction of Burke's starting point on Cooper's Creek. We left Camp 44 at 9.50 a.m. and reached the place we had arranged to meet the blacks in about fourteen miles. It took us, travelling steadily exclusive of stoppages, five hours to reach it. The blacks were waiting for us and conducted us about half a mile further down the river to a good place for our encampment. I gave a pound of flour to one of the blackfellows. He is going tomorrow on foot to see if there is water in the waterholes on the road to Barcoo River. Jemmy made flour into a cake and the blackfellow and his companions ate it with avidity. I gave the blacks a comb, and Jackey pleased them very much by combing their hair.
Two of the blacks started this morning along the line they intend taking us if they can find water for the first stage. I spent a considerable time in repairing my sextant. I got it so near right that the index error was only four minutes, but after fastening it with a thread I found the error was increased. This evening the blacks returned and reported that the waterholes they had gone to see were empty. They told us of two practicable roads to the Barcoo River. One by Stark Creek from a place up the river, the other from a place down the river; the latter we determined to try.
We left Camp 45 at 8.30. Two of the blacks accompanied us down the river to show us the road to the Barcoo River. At first they walked, but afterwards I gave them a horse to ride alternately. The oldest of the two liked riding so much better than walking that he made his young companion walk the most of the way. When we had come about thirteen miles we encamped. About a mile above here we passed some blacks whom our guides stopped with. Afterwards the eldest of the blackfellows came in the evening for some flour for himself and his companions. The country we have seen since leaving 44 Camp has undulating features but no hills. The soil rich, but vegetation dry from want of rain. We came he today on the following courses: 11 west-south-west six and a quarter miles; 1.20 south-west two and three-quarter miles; 2.50 south-south-west four miles to camp.
April 13. Camp 46.
46 Camp is situated near the eastern channel of the river. The marked trees are on the left bank. We are glad to find that one of our guides, who was named Wittin, had determined to accompany us. He brought an intelligent-looking white-headed old man to the camp, and a fine tall well-proportioned young gin with a little boy, the two latter remaining some distance from the camp. Wittin showed his friend our guns, water-bottles, and other things as if he were quite familiar with them. Before starting we went to see the gin and the little boy. She was very timid and ran away when we approached near to her. We left camp at 9.30 and followed down the left bank of the river about nine and a half miles and encamped. The country we saw today has undulating features with rich soil, dry grass, and box-tree. Near the river just above here there are sandstone ridges with western-wood acacia and Port Curtis sandalwood. Wittin told Jemmy that he had seen to the eastward of here about ten moons ago a party of travellers consisting of four white men and four black men. He got a shirt from them, but they did not give him any bread. Wittin wanted to return because of the unpleasant effects of the riding, which was new to him. We came here on the following courses: 11.30 south-west for five and a quarter miles; 1.15 south-south-west for one and a half miles; 1.45 south-west for one mile; 2.24 south-south-west for one and three-quarter miles. Distance nine and a half miles.
We started down the river this morning at 9.50. Our last camp (47) is situated on the left bank of the river. When we had proceeded a short distance we observed a range right ahead of us. Wittin called it Trimpie Yawbah. Afterwards we observed other hills to the westward of Trimpie Camp, the highest of which I called Mount Pring. On the first unwooded plain we came upon after leaving camp we saw in the distance objects which appeared to be cattle, but upon getting nearer to them we found them to be emus. When we had travelled about fourteen miles down the left bank of the river we encamped. The ground we crossed was more level than the land higher up the river, and the grasses at places were good; but otherwise there was no change in the character of the country. At a spot about five miles south half east from the last camp I made the meridian altitude (A.H.) 112 degrees 50 minutes; latitude 24 degrees 5 minutes 7 seconds. Anxious to have the guidance of Wittin to Cooper's Creek I made free with the name of Sir George Bowen, Governor of Queensland, by telling him that, if he showed us the road, the governor would send from Brisbane to the first station formed on Bowen Downs a medal, a tomahawk, and a blanket. This evening Fisherman and Jackey showed Wittin corroboree dance. For the dance they painted themselves with white streaks, and with the light of the fire they looked like skeletons. From last camp we steered in the following courses: 11.40 south half east for five miles; 1.30 south half east for three miles; 2.30 south by west for three miles; 3.40 south-south-west for three miles; distance fourteen miles.
We left Camp 48 this morning 9.30. It is situated on the right side of a long hole of water on the eastern channel of the river at a place bearing north half west from Mount Pring. We steered for the eastern side of the Trimpie Range. When we had journeyed about four miles we reached a creek showing extensive flood-marks and with heaps of mussel shells on its banks but very little water in its channel. I named it Dunsmore Creek. Led by Wittin we followed up the creek for about seven miles and encamped. Several emus seen today, but they were so wild that none of us succeeded in shooting them. The ground is of a level character on both sides of Dunsmore Creek; the soil rich with good grass but rather dry for want of rain. Box-trees grow near the creek. Back from the south bank of the creek the country is wooded with myall and western- wood acacia. From the other bank of the creek there are very few trees of any description. At the place where we struck Dunsmore Creek I made the meridian altitude of the sun 111 degrees 49 minutes, the latitude A.H. 24 degrees 16 minutes 16 seconds. We steered from our last camp on the river to here on the following courses: 11.7 south-east half south for four miles to Dunsmore Creek; 1.40 east-south-east for three and three-quarter miles; 3.15 south-east by east for two and three-quarter miles; 3.40 south and by west for one mile. Distance come today eleven miles.
Camp 49 is situated at Dunsmore Creek at a place bearing north-east from a hill about three miles distant and north-north-west from a distant range named by me Mount Johnstone. We tried very hard to persuade Wittin to show us all the way to Barcoo River. He promised to do so, but after Jackey and Jemmy went for the horses he left the camp as if he were only going down to the creek but he did not make his appearance again. Jemmy said his reason for not going to Barcoo River was that the blacks there would kill him if they found him in their country. When we had followed the creek up about thirteen miles to near its source in Johnstone Range we had to return four miles to get water for our encampment as there was none in the upper part of the creek. We saw several emus today but as usual we did not manage to shoot any. The ground we saw from our path is rich, chiefly wooded with myall; the herbage good but rather dry from the want of rain. In the middle of the day, when we had gone back for a considerable distance on the north-east side of the creek, we got to the edge of rich unwooded downs. We steered on the following courses: 11.10 south-east for three and three-quarter miles; at 1 south-east for one and three-quarter miles; 1.22 south-south-east for one mile; 1.50 south by west for one and a half miles back to the creek; 4 south-east for five and a quarter miles up to the creek; 5.49 north-west for three and three-quarter miles down the creek to camp. Distance seventeen miles.
Jemmy and I left our camp on Dunsmore Creek this morning at 8.5 to go to the Barcoo River. When we had ridden three or four miles we got on the watershed of a creek on the Barcoo side of the range. About seven miles further on we reached the main branch of the creek. It had extensive flood-marks and heaps of mussel-shells on its banks, but the waterholes in its channels were empty. I named it the Archer Creek. After following Archer Creek for thirteen miles we reached its junction with the Barcoo River. I was glad to find that the channel of the river was full of water; and as there were fresh tracks of blacks near the river I supposed them to be in the neighbourhood, so to avoid them I returned up Archer Creek for about four miles to some fine young grass and encamped. The country we saw today has in many places a rich soil with grass and saltbush. It is wooded chiefly with myall and western-wood acacia. Near the channel of the river there are gumtrees, and on the banks of the river and Archer Creek there are box-trees. Today we steered to the river on the following courses: 12.10 east for eleven miles to the left bank of Archer Creek; 1.20 east for three miles down the creek; 2.28 south-south-east for three miles; 2.52 east for one mile; 3.10 east-south-east for three-quarters of a mile; 4.20 south-east and by south for two and a half miles; 5 south for one and a half miles; 6 south-east and by south for three-quarters of a mile. Distance twenty-three and a half miles.
April 19 1862. Barcoo River, Camp 51.
We left Camp 50 at 8.35. It is situated on the left bank of Dunsmore Creek at a place bearing north by west half west from Johnstone's Range. The main party started direct for Cooper's River and Fisherman and I went to Johnstone's Range which we reached in about four miles. We ascended its cliff-topped summit and observed from it a long range of hills from which we bore 99 1/2 degrees from one end, and 141 degrees from another part. The part of the range we were on prevented me from seeing the other end of Johnstone's Range. I made the meridian altitude of the sun 108 degrees 15 minutes. The latitude of that observation is 24 degrees 34 minutes west. To reach the river where Mr. Bourne had moved the encampment, at a place a short distance above the junction of Archer Creek, we had to hasten the last seven miles to get to it before dark. By coming on a different course from our yesterday's one the road was not so good, and the country was so thickly wooded at places with western-wood acacia that riding fast was too dangerous to be agreeable. Mr. Bourne observed several blacks today. They were very timid and ran away. We came here in about the following courses from the last camp: 10.40 south and by east half east four miles to Johnstone's Range; 12.30 east, 4.30 east, eleven miles to the tracks; 6.0 east-south-east quarter south seven miles to this encampment. Twenty-two miles.
April 20. Sunday. Barcoo River, Camp 51.
Today we rested ourselves and the horses. I made the meridian altitude of the sun A.H. 107degrees 56 minutes. The latitude is by that observation 24 degrees 37 minutes 43 seconds.
April 21. Monday. Barcoo River, Camp 52.
We left Camp 51 at 10.3. It is situated on the left bank of the river bearing east half south from a small hill about two miles distant. We followed the river up on its western bank for about fifteen and a half miles and encamped at 5.10 p.m. We came first in a north-north-east direction and afterwards for a few miles in a more easterly one. Our path along the first part was between ridges thickly wooded with western-wood acacia and low flat country intersected by boggy branches of the river. In the latter part our path was not confined. On the flats where the old grass had been burned good grass had grown up. There was also good grass on the ground which had been flooded near the channels of the river. We came here in about the following courses: 11.30 north-east four miles; 12.15 north-east four miles; 2.10 north-north-east four miles; 4.10 north and by east five miles; 4.35 east-north-east one mile; 5.10 east one and a half miles. Total fifteen and a quarter miles. About four miles north-east from last camp I made the meridian altitude A.H. of the sun 106 degrees 50 minutes; the latitude by that observation is 24 degrees 34 minutes.
April 22. Tuesday. Barcoo River, Camp 53.
Left Camp 52 at 9.22 and followed up the river on its western side one and a half miles. Doing so brought us in a north-easterly direction to here. In the first part we came more northerly than easterly and in the latter part more easterly than northerly. The country we saw was like that seen yesterday, except being scrubby at a few places. In the middle of the day Jemmy and I waited behind the main party and I made an observation of the sun to get our latitude. As we were riding to overtake the main party we passed nets for catching emu and nets for catching fish. We then passed an elderly gin and a little boy watching earnestly our main party, and immediately afterwards we came upon about a dozen blacks. Mr. Bourne informed me that they had followed him for several miles and had persisted in approaching nearer than was desirable. Jemmy had a long conversation with them respecting the explorers they had seen, and also respecting the route towards the settled districts, which he learned some of them had visited. They said they did not remember any explorers who had larger animals than horses and, strange to say, none who had drays. We presented them with glass bottles, an empty powder flask, and some hair from the horses' tales. Jemmy told them we wanted to encamp and that we did not wish to be too near them. They continued to follow us and on Jemmy asking them why they did so they replied they wanted a light. We gave them one and they left; but after we had camped we found they had encamped very near us. We came here on the following courses: 11.30 north-north-east seven miles; 12.30 nil; 1.15 north-north-east two miles; 3.15 north-east by east four and three-quarter miles; 3.35 east-north-east three-quarters of a mile; 4.45 north-east three miles; 5.25 east one mile. Eighteen and a half miles.
April 23. Wednesday. Barcoo River, Camp 54.
During the second watch last night our lives depended on the vigilance of our watchmen. The blacks came up and probably would have overpowered us if they had found all asleep; but Jemmy the native trooper, who always keeps his watch well, awoke us, and all of our party except one discharged their guns in the direction from where we heard the blacks. I reserved my charge to shoot at them when I caught sight of them, which I did not succeed in doing until after daylight. We set off two sky-rockets but they did not go up well because they were bruised or because the sticks we attached to them were unsuitable. When the first rocket exploded it made the blacks laugh; at the explosion of the second we did not hear them do so, as they had probably retired to some distance. After the conduct of the blacks last night, and as they approached Gregory's party in a similar way in the same neighbourhood, I fully intended to shoot at them if we had a chance; but this morning, although three approached to within one hundred yards of us while we were eating our breakfast, I did not fire at them until Jemmy had warned them of our hostile feeling towards them, and until they, instead of attending to the warning they had received to be off, got most of their companions, who were heavily loaded with clubs and throwing-sticks, to approach within about the same distance of our position. I then gave the word and we fired at them. The discharge wounded one and made the rest retire. Some of us followed them up as far as the horses and again fired, and shot the one who had been wounded previously. Afterwards Jackey slightly wounded another when Jemmy and he went for the horses. Perhaps these blacks, as they said they had visited the settled country, may have had a part in the massacre of the Wills family. We followed the river up today for about eighteen miles. About sixteen miles of the distance was along the western bank. On that side the country is inferior and the place is thickly wooded with western-wood acacia. Near sunset we crossed several channels of the river. There was a change in the character of the country when we left the northern bank; the ridges were sandy, caused, I judged, by the junction of the Alice River, which I was afraid of following up in mistake for the Barcoo River. We were not certainly, according to the chart, so far to the northward as it; but Mr. Gregory discovered when he went through the country that the north bend was laid down on the chart too much to the northward. From where we crossed the watercourse we steered south-east and, after crossing several dry watercourses, in about two and a half miles reached one with water in it and encamped. In following up the river today we saw several blacks; some of them wished to speak to us but we passed them without stopping to do so. We came here on the following courses from 53 Camp: 11.27 north-east half north three miles; 12.20 ---- miles; 1.40 east-north-east three and a half miles; 2.25 east by north three and a half miles; 4.25 north-east six miles; 5 east one and a half miles to our crossing-place; 5.50 south-east two and a quarter miles. Total eighteen and a half miles.
April 24. Camp 55.
We left camp this morning 9.25 and travelled up the river for about seventeen miles. We encamped 4.55 on the bank of a small creek. The country we have seen from the path we have traversed, since leaving what I thought was the Alice River, is very good with the exception of a few patches of land too thickly wooded with western-wood acacia. The land generally is thinly wooded with myall and well grassed with the best grasses. We came from Camp 54 in about the following courses: 11.30 east for five and three-quarter miles; 12.45, 1.20 south-east and by south for one and a quarter miles; 4.20 east and by south for eight and a half miles; 4.55 south for one and a half miles to camp. Distance seventeen miles.
April 25. Camp 56.
We left Camp 55 this morning at 8.23. When we had journeyed for about twenty miles we reached a creek, which I thought perhaps was a channel of the Barcoo River, and encamped on the northern side of the left bank of the creek. We came during the forenoon in nearly a south-east direction, and during the afternoon about a point to the eastward of south. By the latter course we crossed from the left to the right bank of the creek on which we had our two last camps and left it. The creek was too small to be the Barcoo River, and the ground on both sides of it too high to admit of it being an ana-branch. To the southward of our path we observed a long range of hills, one of which was remarkable for its tabled summit. The country we saw was more undulated than that we saw yesterday, but otherwise of a similar description. We came here in about the following courses: 10.23 south-east for five and a half miles; 11.43 south-south-east for three and a half miles; 2.35 south and by east for four and three-quarter miles; 4.55 south for five and a half miles; 5.15 west and by south for three-quarter miles. Distance twenty miles.
April 26. Camp 57.
We left Camp 56 this morning 9.30. We steered south, and by that course left the small creek on which we had encamped, and reached another creek with here and there water in its channel. We followed the creek up nearly to its source in the fine range of hills I mentioned in yesterday's journal. Having left the creek we came nearly east for three and a half miles to the left bank of a watercourse with plenty of water in it and encamped. The country we saw today was very rich with undulating features and the best grasses; the timber upon it consisting of myall, western-wood acacia, brigalow, white-wood and box. The brigalows are few and far between. The box grows along the watercourses. We came here from last camp in about the following courses: 2.40 south for ten and three-quarter miles; 3.10 east for one and a quarter miles; 4 east-south-east two and a quarter miles. Distance fourteen and a quarter miles.
April 27. Camp 57.
This being Sunday we rested ourselves and our horses. Yesterday I discovered that I had not repaired my sextant in a satisfactory manner. The index showed it to be easily put out of adjustment. I made the meridian altitude of the sun today A.H. 102 degrees 26 minutes; latitude 24 degrees 43 minutes.
April 28, Monday. Camp 58.
The greater part of the forenoon was spent in collecting the horses. We left Camp 57 at 12.35 p.m. When we had proceeded up the western bank of the creek (the side on which we had encamped) for about three-quarters of a mile we crossed it and left it as it became evident that its sources were in the hills to the right of the course we wanted to pursue. After proceeding about six and a quarter miles from the creek in an easterly course over low undulating ridges we saw two emus, which remained in our vicinity for some time but not sufficiently near to induce any of us to try and shoot them. Half a mile from this brought us in a south-east direction to a well-watered creek which we followed up for some distance, but as it took us in a south-west direction we returned and followed it down. This took us in a north-east direction. When we had come down the creek about three miles, reckoning from the place we first struck it, we encamped. The ground near here is flat and intersected by watercourses, so much so that it is like a kind of country that is often found in flat country near a river. The land we saw today is rich and well-grassed, seemingly as good sheep country as any I have seen. We came here in the following courses from last camp: 12.53 south for three-quarters of a mile; 3 east six and a half miles; 3.10 south-east half a mile; 4.50 north-east one and a half miles down the creek; 5.15 north-east and by east one mile; 5.20 north-north-east half a mile. Total ten and a half miles. Near last camp I made today the meridian altitude of the sun 101 degrees 46 minutes; the latitude 24 degrees 44 minutes.
April 29. Camp 59.
We left Camp 58 at 10 this morning. When we had come a few miles the grey mare on which I rode suddenly became unwell and, lying down, in a few minutes died. She was in good condition and one of the best of the expedition horses, which, I may mention, have proved themselves well fitted for the service. When we had come easterly about nine and a quarter miles we reached the best watered and the largest-looking watercourse we have seen for some time. When the mare died I made the meridian altitude of the sun A.H. 101 degrees 18 minutes; the latitude is by that observation 24 degrees 44 minutes. This nearly agrees with the latitude I got by the observations I made on Sunday and Monday at the 57th camp, so I suppose the observations must be very nearly correct, although I thought the first two observations when I made them were not good ones. After reaching this watercourse we followed it up for five and a half miles. In coming to it we passed through several narrow belts of land, thickly wooded with western-wood acacia. The country we saw between these belts was like the fine country I described in yesterday's journal, the additional charm of having trees of another variety of myall. The drooping acacia grows on it. I love these trees; their foliage is so beautiful, and the wood when cut has a fine aromatic smell. The grain of the wood is nearly as hard as ebony; besides it is characteristic of the best pastoral country as it only grows on good country. Its leaves are useful and good for stock, which are fond of eating them. We came here in the following courses: 2.45 east for nine and a quarter miles to the watercourse; 3.50 south for three miles up along the west bank; 4.35 south-south-east two miles; 5.10 south-east half a mile; fourteen and three-quarter miles.
May 1. Camp 60.
We left Camp 59 yesterday morning at 9. When we had come about nine and a half miles in an easterly direction we crossed a creek with a northerly course. We intended striking the creek afterwards and unfortunately did not water the horses, but we got too far from it and neither found it nor water although we travelled till 9 p.m. We halted then, thinking the horses would probably find water which we thought was not far distant from us, having heard immediately before we encamped the quacking of ducks. We came today twenty-five miles in nearly an east-south-east direction. Our path lay over rich undulating country from which a number of hills were visible. The land was well grassed and thinly wooded at most places. At others it was scrubby, thereby detracting from its value for some time to come. Luckily the country we passed over after dark was thinly wooded. The last few miles we followed a creek up in search of water to this encampment, and this morning we fortunately found we were within a few hundred yards of a hole of water. The horses requiring rest after their long journey yesterday we remained here today. I sent Jemmy with one of the freshest of the horses to see how the country was watered to the east-south-east. On his return he reported having found water and old dray-marks about six and three-quarter miles easterly from our last camp. I made the meridian altitude of the sun A.H. 100 degrees 29 minutes; the latitude is by that observation 25 degrees 3 minutes. From last camp we came here in about the following courses: 11.12 a.m. east for five miles; 11.30 a.m. east-south-east for three-quarters of a mile; 12.15 p.m. ----; 1.15 p.m. east-south-east half south for two and three quarter miles to where we crossed a well-watered creek; 2.10 p.m. east for one and a half miles; 5.30 p.m. south-south-east for six miles; 9 p.m. south-east for eight miles: twenty-five miles.
May 2. Camp 61.
Jackey and Jemmy spent as usual the greater part of the forenoon in mustering the horses. We left camp 60 at 10.20 this morning and came twelve and a half miles in a south-east direction. The four miles we followed the creek up from our last camp took us more easterly than southerly. After leaving the creek we crossed a low scrubby sandstone range and got to the head of a watercourse in which we found water on following it down to a short distance. The country we saw today was very scrubby with the exception of some thinly wooded patches near the creek we left. The scrub consisted of mulga with a few other trees. Amongst these I observed broad-leaved ironbark and broad-leaved box, bloodwood, currajong, and bottle-trees. The broad-leaved box-trees we had not seen previously on this expedition. The ironbark-trees are seldom or never found far to the southward of the main range. The soil consisted chiefly at several places of stiff clay which retains an impression a long time when softened by rain. We observed the dray-tracks Jemmy had seen yesterday about three and a quarter miles on this side of our last camp. Near to where Jemmy had found the water and the dray-track I made the meridian altitude of the sun A.H. 98degrees 43 minutes; the latitude is by that observation 25 degrees 7 minutes. We came here from last camp in about the following courses: 11.30 east-south-east for three and a quarter miles up the creek of 60 camp; 12.20, 12.55 east-south-east half a mile; 3.30 south-east seven and a half miles to the head of the watercourse; 3.50 south three-quarters of a mile down watercourse; 3.38 east quarter of a mile; total twelve and a half miles.
We left Camp 61 this morning at 8.27. This camp is situated on the western bank at the head of a watercourse which perhaps flows into the Warrego River. When we had followed this river down for about twenty-three miles in a southerly direction we encamped. In following the river down after crossing a short distance below camp along its eastern bank, and when we had ridden about twelve and a quarter miles, we crossed a creek from the eastward. Nearly all the way today we observed deep horse-tracks, and about four and a quarter miles above here we observed a tree marked FM (conjoined) with cross underneath. The channel of the river was of a sandstone formation at some places and had fine holes of water. Our path today came over six miles of unavailable barren scrubby ridges. The remainder of the way was chiefly over well-grassed land confined on the eastern side for the greater part by sandstone ridges thickly wooded with mulga. We came here in about the following courses from the last camp: 10.40 south-south-east for five and three-quarter miles; 12.20 south half east for five and a half miles; 1.15 south for one mile; 2.40 south-south-west for four and a half miles; 3.25 south for two and a quarter miles; 4.25 south-south-east for three miles; 4.50 south one and a quarter miles; total twenty-three miles.
As this was Sunday we rested ourselves and the horses. I made the latitude 25 degrees 36 minutes 51 seconds.
We left Camp 62 this morning at 9.15. This camp is situated on the bank of the river. In the forenoon we proceeded due south. In the afternoon we had to travel considerably to the westward of south to keep near the river. When we had ridden about twenty and a half miles we camped on the western side of a shallow waterhole in an eastern channel of the river. Near the river the flats were good. On them the grass was excellent, with a good deal of cotton-bush and saltbush amongst it. The back country was sandy, having kangaroo-grass upon it and wooded with broad-leaved box, broad-leaved ironbark, bloodwood, and mulga. The river was well watered till we came within a few miles of the camp, where it divided into a number of shallow channels. About seven and a half miles south of last camp I made the meridian altitude of the sun A.H. 95 degrees 39 minutes, the latitude 25 degrees 41 minutes. We came here from last camp in the following courses: 11.35 south for seven and a half miles; 2.3 south-south-west for four and a half miles; 2.33 south-west for one and a half miles; 3.8 south-west half south for one and a half miles; 3.47 south for one and a quarter miles; 5.16 south and by west for three and a half miles; 5.30 west-south-west three-quarters of a mile. Distance twenty and a half miles.
We started from Camp 63 this morning at 8.33. We left the river, and after we had journeyed about twenty-five miles slightly southward of east we found water and encamped. After leaving the river flats the country was poor. The soil was of a reddish colour and although sandy was very hard. It was wooded with broad-leaved box and mulga scrub. In the first part of the way in many places it was well covered with kangaroo grass, but in the last part of the journey it was too scrubby to be well grassed. When we had gone about eight and a half miles we crossed a low sandstone range; until we reached it we neither saw water nor the slightest sign of a watercourse. In this day's journey we saw more kangaroo and wallaby than on any previous occasion, but we were so eager to get water that we did not try to shoot them. We came here in about the following courses: 11.10 east-south-east eight and a quarter miles to the range; 2.10 east-south-east eight and a half miles; 4.33 east six and a half miles; 4.58 south-east three-quarters of a mile; 5.20 east one mile; total twenty-five miles.
We left Camp 64 this morning at 9.30. The camp is situated on the eastern bank of a small creek which has a south-west course. When we had come in an east-south-east direction for about nine miles we saw a range of hills ahead of us, and about two miles further on we crossed a creek with extensive flood-marks and a south-west course. About three and a quarter miles further we crossed a small creek and encamped. Our path for the first part of the way was over poor land thickly wooded with scrubby trees; the latter part over land generally good with good grasses. The land near the creek was particularly good and thinly wooded with box. Having found four emu eggs today Mr. Bourne and I made an excellent dinner of one of them boiled. We thought it had as delicate a flavour as a hen's egg; the rest of our party made emu-egg pancakes, and although they had no salt or sugar they relished them exceedingly. We came here today in the following direction: at 1 east-south-east for nine and a quarter miles; 1.40 south-east for one and three-quarter miles on creek; 2.50 south-east for three miles to small creek; 3 south for quarter mile to camp; distance fourteen and a quarter miles.
We left camp this morning at 8.50 and came over scrubby country for six miles. In the first part of the distance, which was particularly scrubby, we crossed a high sandstone range. Six miles further on we crossed a large creek and encamped. The land we crossed was very good, the soil was loose sand with a luxuriant growth of good green grass. The trees were of the following kinds: Broad-leaved box, broad-leaved ironbark, Moreton Bay ash, bloodwood, and cypress pine. We came here on the following courses from 65 Camp: 11 east-south-east for two and a half miles; 11.50 east-north-east for three-quarters of a mile; 11.55 east for one mile; 3 east-south-east for seven and three-quarter miles. Distance today twelve miles.
We left Camp 66 this morning at 9.5. When we had come down the eastern bank of the river for twenty-one miles we encamped. Following down the river took us nearly two points to the westward of south. Along our path near the bank of the river the land was sandy. It was wooded with broad-leaved box, broad-leaved ironbark, Moreton Bay ash, bloodwood and cypress pine. At a place about six and three-quarter miles this side of the last camp I made the meridian altitude of the sun A.H. 92 degrees 33 minutes 30 seconds; the latitude 26 degrees 13 minutes 10 seconds. At a place about eight and three-quarter miles above here we observed trees marked 1861, J.A.C.H.U.C.H.B.A.K.C. From last camp we came here in about the following courses: 10.55 south-west and by south for two and three-quarter miles; 11.30 south and by east for four miles; 2.30 south-west and by south for five and a half miles (to marked trees) 3.20 south-west and west for two and a quarter miles; 4.23 south and by east for three and a quarter miles; 5.25 south-west and by south for two and three-quarter miles. Twenty-one miles.
Camp 67 is situated on the left bank of the river. Last night we had severe frost which produced ice in our tin vessels. We left it at 8.55 in the morning and steered south-south-east. When we had gone eleven and a half miles we crossed a sandy creek and followed it down in a west-south-west direction for a short distance. Finding no water in the creek we left it and continued on our old course. Near sunset, when we had gone about nine miles without finding another watercourse, we went in a more easterly direction. We continued going on after dark until nearly 2 o'clock on Sunday morning. After waiting for Jackey and Jemmy, who had stayed behind yesterday, we started at 11.12 without them. We travelled all day without finding water; but after dark we found a small watercourse which we followed down for about four hours, still without finding water. Here we encamped. In the course of the day Jackey and Jemmy overtook us. Their excuse for being behind was their having turned back to look for a pistol Jackey had lost. Jemmy I was sorry to find was severely burnt from his clothes having caught fire while he was asleep on the previous night. I determined to return to water from here as the horses had been two days without any. After travelling almost incessantly for upwards of seventy-two hours we reached here this morning at 9. Although there was plenty of water in the creek here there was more lower down, at the place we crossed on our outward route when we were eleven and a half miles south-south-east from Camp 67. The horses looked wretched when they had been twenty-four hours without water, and as they had been seventy-two hours without water when they reached here they certainly looked most pitiable objects. Whilst searching for water the weather was most favourable, although sometimes freezingly cold when travelling at night; so much so that to keep ourselves from getting benumbed Mr. Bourne and I often walked. Being able only to take a small quantity of water with us Jemmy, who was suffering very much from his back, injured by the burning, felt often very thirsty but, poor fellow, we could only spare him a small quantity. The country we saw on this journey was so bad that I did not wonder at its not being stocked, and only a few tracks of cattle are to be found on it. The land very level with poor sandy soil. Where it is not thickly wooded with thick mulga scrub, which chiefly prevails, it is grassed with triodia and wooded with rather broad-leaved ironbark, broad-leaved box, and apple-trees. The apple-trees we had not previously seen on this expedition. The obstacles against steering were numerous. In my outward route I went more to the southward than I intended. Coming back I came luckily more to the northern, and got water sooner than I otherwise would have done. We came from Camp 67 and returned here in about the following courses: May 10: 12.55 south-south-east for eleven and a half miles to creek; at 1 west-south-west for quarter of a mile down the creek. May 11: 1.50 a.m. south-south-east for twenty-five and a quarter miles. Started again at 12 a.m., 7.30 east for nineteen miles to creek; 10.5 south-south-east for five miles down the creek. Length of outward route sixty-one miles. Returning: started at 8.40 yesterday morning; 5 p.m. north-west and by west to outward route; 12.8 a.m. north-west for sixteen miles.
Started at seven this morning north-north-west half north for five miles to this camp. Length of return route forty-three miles. I made the meridian altitude of the sun here A.H. 89 degrees 30 minutes; the latitude 26 degrees 38 minutes.
We intended proceeding down the creek today, but when we had got the horses ready to start we found that Jemmy was suffering so much pain from the sore on his side and back that he could not proceed. When we were endeavouring to persuade him to try and go on he asked us to go ourselves and leave him behind. Yesterday evening I dressed his sores with pomatum and put a bandage round his body. As he supposed the bandage caused him additional pain we took it off and dusted his sores with flour.
Yesterday morning we left Camp 68 at 11.40; it is situated on the west bank of the creek. When we had followed the creek down for about twenty miles on its west bank where we encamped. Following the creek took us in a serpentine course and in generally a north-westerly direction. When we had travelled twelve and a quarter miles or thereby we crossed our track from Camp 67. In the first half of today's journey, to avoid losing the creek, we had to keep very near to it because of the sandstone ridges along its banks preventing us seeing the course of the creek had we kept back from it for the purpose of cutting off the angles. The latter half was without water, but as we did not know that we kept near the creek in the hope of getting water for our encampment. The country we saw, especially on the upper part of the creek, was poor and of little value. Near the creek we observed clumps of mimosa, the kind that is commonly called green-wattle. We followed the creek down in about the following courses: 12.50 north-west for five and three-quarter miles; 2.18 north-north-west for three and a quarter miles; 2.35 north for one and a quarter miles; 3.20 west and by north for two miles; 3.27 west for a quarter of a mile to track; 3.33 west-south-west for a quarter of a mile; 4 south-west for one and a quarter miles; 4.25 north-west for one mile; 4.55 south-west for one and a quarter miles; 5.18 west-south-west for one mile; 5.35 west-north-west for three-quarters of a mile; 6.18 north-north-west for one mile; 6.42 west-north-west for one mile to encampment. Distance today twenty miles.
As Jemmy was not able to assist Jackey in getting the horses Fisherman, who has all along marked the trees, had to go in his stead. When the horses were saddled and packed the main party proceeded down the creek, and Fisherman and I stayed behind to mark the trees at our encampment on the west bank of the creek. Afterwards we proceeded down the creek, and in trying to cut off the angles we passed the junction of the creek with the Warrego River and got up the river three miles before we discovered our mistake. After watering our thirsty horses we followed down on the eastern bank of the river for sixteen and a half miles to where Mr. Bourne had made the encampment. I was glad to find that, in following down the river, Mr. Bourne had shot a large turkey. The river has fine reaches of water, but the banks are too thickly wooded with mulga scrub to be of much value for pastoral purposes. We observed blacks on the opposite banks of the river to us. One of them was up a hollow tree cutting out a honeycomb or a possum. Fisherman had a conversation with him, but as he said the blackfellow did not know where there were any stations I do not think he understood him. There were barking curs with them, which made us suppose we were probably not far from stations. Fisherman and I came here today in the following courses: 9.40 west-south-west for three-quarters of a mile; 10.30 north-north-west for three and a quarter miles; 10.40 west-north-west for half a mile; 11.45 south-south-east for three miles to the junction of the creek with the river; 12.22 south-south-west for one and three-quarter miles; 1.28 south-west for three miles; 2.15 east-south-east for two miles; 3.40 south-west by south for four miles; 4.40 south for three miles. Distance twenty-one and a quarter miles.
We left camp yesterday morning at 9. We followed the river down all day till it became dark, in the hope of reaching a station. We were disappointed in our expectations and did not see many tracks of cattle. Along our path on the east side of the river, about three-quarters of a mile below camp, we observed a tree marked A. After passing between a hill and the river, about six and a quarter miles below camp, we crossed extensive flats and a low sandhill. The country was thinly wooded in some places and scrubby at others. The land, although not very rich, had the best grasses, and cotton, and saltbush upon it; the sandhill was wooded with cypress pine and other trees. When we had come about eleven and a quarter miles Mr. Bourne discovered that he had left his pistol at the last camp. Jackey returned with him to get it. Before they left I advised them to take rations as there was little probability of their overtaking us; but they went off without them as quickly as they could, with the intention of joining us again some time before morning; but they did not succeed in doing so, nor have they made their appearance yet. We came here in about the following courses: 9.20 south-south-west for three-quarters of a mile to A-tree; 10.8 east-south-east for two and a quarter miles; 11.20 south and by west for three and a quarter miles to opposite a hill; 12.50 south and by east for three and a quarter miles; 3.50 south and by west for seven and a quarter miles; 3.55 south-west and by south for one mile; 4.35 west for one and a half miles; 4.55 south-east for a quarter of a mile; 6.10 south-south-west for three and a half miles. Distance today twenty-three miles.
Sunday May 18. Camp 71. River Warrego.
I would have gone on today if Mr. Bourne and Jackey had been with us as we have only a few days' rations. Not knowing how far I may have to go down the river before we reach a station where we can obtain a fresh supply, and knowing from my last trial of going to the eastward how much the horses suffered from the want of water, I determined not to put them to such suffering again if avoidable. In the middle of the day Fisherman, Jemmy, and I heard a loud report of what we thought was a gun probably discharged by Mr. Bourne or Jackey, and expected them to arrive immediately. I am very anxious about them, especially as it would be inconvenient to send Fisherman off to see what has become of them, Jemmy being so ill he cannot look after the horses. Meridian of the sun A.H. 86 degrees 23 seconds, latitude 27 degrees 5 minutes.
Monday May 19. Camp 72. River.
Fortunately the horses were not all mustered until the afternoon, as shortly before they were so Mr. Bourne and Jackey arrived. If we had found the horses as early as usual we would have been looking up the river for Mr. Bourne and Jackey, where we should not have found them. They had lost our tracks and followed down the river. We were exceedingly glad to see them and to find that they had brought a large portion of an emu with them which they killed yesterday. Mr. Bourne observed in the course he had pursued a tree marked EO on one side and on the other side EWC over C. I washed on the edge of the river near a deep waterhole in some clay and pebbles in search of gold but did not find any. This afternoon we left Camp 71 at 3.20. Came down on the eastern side of the river and encamped as it grew dark, within about six and a half miles of our last camp. I made the meridian altitude of the sun A.H. 85 degrees 51 minutes, the latitude is by that observation 27 degrees 8 minutes. The observation I yesterday made showed the camp three miles northward of the latitude from today's observation. We came here in about the following courses: 4.10 south-east for two miles; 4.30 east-south-east for one mile; 4.50 south-south-east one mile to Mr. Bourne's camp; 5.27 south-south-west for one and a quarter miles; 6 west-south-west for one and a quarter miles. Distance six and a half miles.
Tuesday May 20 1862. Camp 73.
We left Camp 72 this morning, 9.20, and made down the river after sunset. In that time we travelled about twenty-one miles. We hoped to have reached a station today and would have gone further if we had not been delayed. We got on to a cattle run, and when our packhorses saw the cattle moving they took fright and galloped off. Fisherman and Jackey went after five of them, the remainder were collected and came on here with them. The others Jackey and Fisherman collected and brought in a few hours after dark. This is a fine run, and the country we saw from our path consisted in a great measure of fine grassed plains. We were very glad to get to this cattle run as we had used all our flour excepting what would do us for two days; and if it had not been for the emu Jackey shot our food would have been done. We had half doomed one of our horses to the butcher's knife, although none of us liked the idea of eating a poor old saddle-horse, consequently we were all exceedingly glad to reach the cattle run. We came today in about the following courses: 10 south for two miles; 10.40 south-east and by south for two miles; 12 south-south-east half south for three and a half miles; at 1 south and by west for two and three-quarter miles; 2.30 south-west and by west for four and a quarter miles; 3.15 south-west for half a mile; 3.40 south-east and by east for one and a quarter miles; 4.5 south and by west for one mile; 5 south-west for two and a half miles; 5.30 west for one and a quarter miles. Distance twenty-one miles.
Wednesday May 21. Warrego River.
This morning we followed down the river for about two and three-quarter miles in a south and by east direction, and reached the station occupied by Mr. Williams where we received a most hospitable reception and learnt the unfortunate fate of Burke and Wills. Here I took sights and made the meridian altitude of the sun A.H. 83 degrees 85 minutes. The latitude is by that observation 27 degrees 38 minutes.
Thursday May 22. Camp 19. Warrego River.
Today we made preparations for proceeding to the Darling River. I sold to Mr. Williams the following articles: Carbine 4 pounds; Enfield rifle 3 pounds; revolver (Colt) small size 4 pounds 10 shillings; cartridges for revolver 12 shillings; steelyards 5 shillings; pick and shovel 5 shillings; 2 1/2 pounds of powder 10 shillings; cartouche box 5 shillings; shoeing tools 15 shillings; four sets horseshoes 8 shillings; spokeshave etc. 4 shillings; 1 1/4 boxes gun caps 9 shillings; three powder flasks (one damaged) 3 shillings; cleaning rod for gun etc. 4 shillings; three boxes gun caps (broken) and pistol cleaning rod 6 shillings; six yards canvas (damaged) 6 shillings; nine saddle-girths (partially damaged) 14 shillings; 6 pounds nails and screws at 1 shilling and 6 pence; medicine 10 shillings; fryingpan 2 shillings; two packsaddles (broken) 2 pounds; crupper 4 shillings and 6 pence. Total 19 pounds 13 shillings and 6 pence. And bought the following supplies: 100 pounds of flour 2 pounds 10 shillings; 24 pounds of sugar 18 shillings; 3 pounds of tea 12 shillings; one bar of soap 4 shillings. Total 4 pounds 4 shillings. The money Mr. Williams gave for the stores was a higher amount than would have been obtained at a township by public auction. Neither did he purchase them so much because he wanted them as to oblige me. He also supplied us with as much beef and butter as we required to take with us, and would not accept payment for any supplies that were raised by themselves.
Tuesday May 23. About ten miles below Mr. Kennedy's Camp 19, camp on the Warrego River.
As the road was indistinct Messrs. Williams kindly accompanied us to the stage, about two and a half miles this side of the station, where they showed us the tree marked by Mr. Kennedy K XIX. The horsemanship and bushmanship displayed by these young Australians were very remarkable. A large portion of my life has been spent in the bush, yet dray-tracks that I could only follow at a few places they evidently considered at all places a plain road.
May 24. About half a mile below the tree marked by Mr. Kennedy K XXI.
This morning we left our last camp at 9.15. When we had travelled down on the east bank of the river about twenty-eight miles, at 3.50 in the afternoon, we reached here. On the bank there is a station occupied by Mr. Con, and on the opposite bank a station occupied by Mr. Gallagher. The country we passed over today is as fine, rich and well-grassed as any person could wish for pastoral purposes. A few weeks ago the hut-keeper, an inoffensive old man who thought the blacks were harmless, was killed and shockingly mangled by them, and the hut robbed, in the absence of the stockman. With the contents of a bottle of rum we had long preserved, in case it might be wanted for medicinal purposes, we drank the health and many returns of the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Victoria.
Sunday May 25. Warrego River, about half a mile below the tree marked by Mr. Kennedy K XXI.
We rested ourselves and the horses. This morning I gave the manager of stock here twenty rounds of cartridges, a few bullets, and a few caps for a breach-loading rifle that I had sold him. The rifle is one I had borrowed from Mr. Bourne for my last expedition, but as it was injured in the service I promised to replace it. Its original cost was 15 pounds 10 shillings, but I sold it for a lower price, namely, 10 pounds. We followed the road which came down the eastern bank of the river over well-grassed rich level country and sandy ridges for about twelve miles.
May 26. Cunnamulla, Warrego River.
We followed the road down the river for about thirty-five miles from the cattle stations, near Mr. Kennedy's 21st camp.
Tuesday May 27. Wooroorooka, Warrego River.
We continued following the road down the river till we reached Wooroorooka. This run is occupied by a herd of horses belonging to T. Danger, Esquire. Yesterday and today we travelled each day about seven and a half hours. The distance is called seventy miles. The country we saw between Cunnamulla and Wooroorooka was wet thinly-wooded plains intersected by ana-branches of the river and by sandhills. At Wooroorooka I met a gentleman called Mr. Birch who at one time very ably assisted Mr. Stutchburgh in making a geological survey of a great part of Australia. To him Mr. Bourne and I are greatly indebted for giving us much intelligence of events that have taken place since we left Brisbane last August. I learn from him that he had travelled the distance from the boundary line of New South Wales to Wooroorooka, and found it was five and three-quarter miles.
Wednesday May 28. Bananka, Warrego River, New South Wales.
From Wooroorooka we followed the road down the river for about twelve miles and reached a station occupied by the sheep of the Bogan River Company. Our path was over slightly wooded plains, the soil rich and covered with the best grasses. The grass, from the dry season, was so parched that it looked in its present state almost worthless, but the fine condition of the sheep showed it to be still first-rate pasturage.
May 29. Eringa, Warrego River, New South Wales, Con's Old Station.
Our path today took us down the left bank of the river, a distance said to be twenty-eight miles, which we travelled in six and a half hours. The country we saw is similar to all the country on the river. From the point of the river where it is unconfined by ridges it flows in several channels.
Sunday June 2. Bunnawanah, Darling River.
Last Friday and Saturday were spent in travelling to here from the Warrego River. The distance from Eringa to here is called seventy miles. About eight miles before we reached here we passed the station of Messrs. Collis on Culgoa River. The country we saw between here and the Warrego River is level, covered with saltbush and grass. It resembles some country I have seen near Hay on the Murrumbidgee River. From the newspapers yesterday we learned that Mr. Walker's party had arrived in April at Port Denison, and learned that Mr. Howitt had received instructions to remain on Cooper's Creek for our arrival. Of course if I had known there was a depot there I should have gone to it from the Thomson River; and now I think it will be advisable to proceed to Menindie and there take the most advisable mode of letting Howitt know of our safe return from the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Wednesday June 5. Bunnawanah, Darling River.
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and today we remained here to recruit the horses. Mr. Rutherford, one of the proprietors of the neighbouring station, kindly supplied us with what stores we required at a lower rate than is charged anywhere; and at the station of Mr. T. Danger we got as much beef as we required for the road en route to Menindie.
Excoecaria: A good-sized bush or small tree occupying the low depressions above the saline alluvial ground on the Gulf of Carpentaria. It is milk-flowing but poisonous.
Erythrina: or coral tree.
Pigweed: Portulaca, or the native purslane, a creeping annual of a reddish-green colour and an excellent vegetable.
Triodia: Sometimes called spinifex, or porcupine grass, is a true desert plant, and at the end of each leaf it is so armed with short prickles that horses dread going through it, and stock never touch it except when it is very young or they are starving.
Gidya: A native name; the botanical name cannot be given without a specimen.
Western-wood Acacia: Same as Gidya.
Roley-poley: An annual salsolaceous plant. It grows in the form of a large ball, several feet high, on rich soil. It withers in the dry season, is easily broken off and rolled along by the winds, hence its name.
Cotton Vine: A plant, probably the same cynanolium of which the unripe milky pod is eaten by the natives about Lake Torrens.
Polygonum cunninghami: A very wiry shrubby bush, which always indicates that the ground where it grows is liable to be occasionally flooded. It is the same as the one from the Murray and Darling.
Mulga Scrub (an Acacia): This is frequently mentioned by Stuart; its botanical name is not known.
As it is desirable that all the routes from the Darling towards the Barcoo River should be known the following letter from Mr. Neilson is appended. The route he describes is almost on a direct line from Mount Rankine to Carpentaria.
Kennedy's XIX Camp, River Warrego, May 22 1862.
Agreeably to your request I beg to furnish you with a few memoranda of a journey made by Messrs. H. and F. Williams and myself from Mount Rankine on the Darling towards Cooper's Creek. We left the Darling on the 22nd of June 1861, and after crossing the Talywalka Creek at six miles camped on Mulyoh Spring, course north-west by west distance twenty-five miles. Our next day's journey was to Wentholey on the Paroo Creek upon the same bearing and a distance of forty miles. We then followed the Paroo Creek upward on a general course of north by east half east to the 29th parallel, when we struck out to the north-west, and on rising the range saw a large sheet of water. Camped upon it. It proved to be a lake of about twenty-five miles in circumference and very shallow. Our distance travelled, twenty-three miles from the boundary. Next day followed the same course and camped at thirty miles on a large clay-pan. Followed on the next day, and at ten miles came on a Boree Creek with water. Followed on bearing to the northward of north-west about half a point, and camped on a lateral creek containing pools of water and polygonum flats, and on examining the bed of the creek found some crayfish-eyes, and judged to be in the vicinity of a large water. Distance travelled twenty-six miles. Next day followed the creek on a north-north-west bearing, and at eleven miles came to a large creek running rapid and having flooded flats extending two miles from its bed, and bearing marks of very high floods. We crossed the creek and extended our journey about fifteen miles to the west; the country being cut up by creeks not then flooded but bearing evidences of high floods. Our rations being short we turned back. From this point I consider our position to be within about thirty-five miles of Cooper's Creek. We followed the creek we left, running down for about fifty miles on a south-west by south course. A larger volume of water comes down this creek than what comes down the Warrego, and it contains some fine reaches of water where the creeks meet and form one channel. I believe it to be identical with the Nive of Mitchell, never traced out, and in its position with the Paroo forms a line of communication practicable in all seasons from Mount Rankine on the Darling to Cooper's Creek, and by Cooper's Creek upwards to the Thomson, completes, with your discoveries, a perfect and practicable line of communication to Carpentaria.
I have doubt to venture an opinion that it is quite practicable to make a cross-country track from this to the junction of the Thompson and Cooper from the knowledge I have formed; but I think the requirements of the case are better met by striking the Cooper where it takes the turn westward (i.e.. where Sturt followed it to the east) that point being more adapted to the wants of the more southern settlers.
I have forwarded a tracing of my route to Mr. Gregory by my letter of February 26th last, and just give you the foregoing crude data to go upon, and of which you may make what use you think proper.
I beg to remain,
The head of the Barcoo River was discovered by Sir Thomas Mitchell who named it the Victoria River. He described it as probably having its outlet at Carpentaria. Kennedy was sent to trace it, but unfortunately he had a dry season to contend with; so much so that some distance below the junction of the Thomson he found its channel perfectly dry and had to return. He followed it however sufficiently far to enable him to make tolerably sure that it was the head of Cooper's Creek. Gregory afterwards, by following it down, on his route to South Australia ascertained this to be the case. Another river, previously discovered by Captain Wickham, in Northern Australia, had been called by him the Victoria: because of this, and from Kennedy having learned the native name of Mitchell's Victoria to be the Barcoo, it is now generally known by that designation.
Tintinalagy, Darling River, July 22 1862.
I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 21st ultimo handed to me on the 14th instant at Mount Murchison by Mr. Verdon. You will no doubt have received my last letter informing you that, as I was led to suppose that the grass was better at Mount Murchison than at Menindie, I remained there for instructions from you.
As I had come to the conclusion that, as Mr. Howitt was in South Australia, it would be unnecessary for me to take any steps to inform him of my return from the Gulf of Carpentaria in accordance with the instructions I received from you, we are here on our way to Melbourne. Having lost some of our horses we have been delayed here for a few days, and may be delayed longer as the camel is away. The camel I should have mentioned earlier we brought with us from Bunnawanah.
This has been a bad season for coming down the river, so much so that one of the oldest settlers says he never saw the grass so scarce as it now is. We have however, I hope, got over the worst part of the river as the country is getting green from the rain that has fallen recently.
On our way to Euston I hope to dispose of the horses and material of the expedition. From Euston I intend sending Gleeson and a man I have hired with the camel to Melbourne. To pay their expenses I will advance Gleeson a sufficient sum. To Gleeson's assistant I have promised the usual wages from the date of our arrival at Euston. To drive the camel I will probably give them two riding-horses and a packhorse. With them I will send an Expedition horse and the foal that was dropped near the Gulf of Carpentaria, which I dare say the Royal Society will sell me to take to Queensland as a relic of my expedition. I hope you will excuse my engaging an assistant for Gleeson, as Mr. Bourne and the three aborigines, who have been a long time engaged in this expedition, are anxious to get to Melbourne to return to Queensland. When we reach Euston we intend taking the coach.
From the paper I learn there is an impression abroad that I did not come by a likely route for finding Burke's party, and that it appeared by my letter that I had been commissioned to open up a route for stock to the Gulf.
With regard to the latter I received the command of my party from the Colonial Secretary of Queensland, and he certainly gave me no instructions respecting the route I was to take, but for which he referred me to your instructions. In these it was contemplated that I should return by sea. Had it been contemplated that I was to have come back overland my instructions would have been, I dare say, to have come back by Mount Stuart. From having travelled in the end of last year about halfway to Mount Stuart from the Albert River depot, I consider that if I had waited a few weeks when I reached the 138th meridian I would have had the advantage of the wet season, and might have proceeded by that route, or at all events gone south from that meridian provided I had sufficient equipment for that purpose.
My opinion was, as may be seen in my correspondence with Captain Norman, that Burke and Wills had gone from their depot by Bowen Downs towards Carpentaria. I therefore came overland that way, and as I did not learn anything of their party from the blacks when I reached there I proceeded to the settled country.
For my part I must say that I think, with the information we had then, we took the most probable route for finding Burke's party. In all our expeditions we followed the watercourses and went over more ground than I thought it should have been possible to do with our small and shipwrecked equipment.
I never imagined that Burke and Wills would have been able to walk straight from Cooper's Creek across what I thought was in a great measure a desert to Carpentaria. It should also be remembered that when I wrote my letter to you on my arrival at the Darling River we had learned all about the fate of Burke's party, and the time was past for saying much about our want of success with respect to them.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Commander of Victorian and Queensland Party Organised at Brisbane.
In reply to the above he was instructed to sell his equipment and proceed to Melbourne.
About a month after Landsborough's arrival in Melbourne intelligence was received that McKinlay and his party, who had gone from South Australia in search of Burke and Wills in August of last year, had safely reached Port Denison in August of this year. No tidings of McKinlay had been heard from the time of his finding poor Gray's grave on Cooper's Creek, where he learned the fate of Burke and Wills. His future instructions were to proceed to Stuart's route and search for a goldfield on a part of it which had been described by Stuart as giving indications of being auriferous; but in consequence of the flooded state of the country he was unable to go in that direction. He therefore proceeded to Carpentaria, exploring the country chiefly in the middle part of his journey on a track betwixt Burke's and Landsborough's, and afterwards tracing down the Leichhardt River. At Carpentaria, where he expected to get supplies of flour, tea, and sugar, the depot being abandoned, his hopes were disappointed, and he was obliged to proceed to Port Denison, a distance of about 700 miles, without either of these articles. On his arrival at Melbourne with some members of his party the reception given to Landsborough and them by the public was so cordial that we consider the following report (taken from the Argus) of the meeting held to do them honour will be read with interest.
DEMONSTRATION IN HONOUR OF MESSRS. LANDSBOROUGH AND MCKINLAY.
A public meeting of the citizens of Melbourne was held last night at the Exhibition Building, in honour of the leaders of the Queensland and South Australian Contingent Exploration Expeditions and their parties, and to testify the admiration of the inhabitants of this colony at the successful and heroic manner in which those explorers had accomplished their mission. The doors were advertised to be open at seven o'clock, but it was not until about twenty minutes past that hour that they were unlocked. In the meantime a vast crowd which had commenced to assemble as early as half-past six o'clock had gathered in front of the building and manifested considerable impatience to be admitted. Within a very few minutes after the doors were thrown open the spacious edifice was densely crowded in every part. There were probably nearly 3000 persons present. On the motion of Dr. Macadam the Honourable Matthew Hervey, M.L.C., was called upon to preside. He was surrounded on the platform by several members of the Exploration Committee and other gentlemen. Mr. Landsborough and Mr. McKinlay and some members of their respective exploring parties were present; as was also Mr. King, the companion of the unfortunate Burke and Wills; and also Mr. C. Verdon, who was recently the successful bearer of despatches from the Exploration Committee to Mr. Howitt.
The Chairman, in opening the proceedings, congratulated the assembly upon having met together to pay a mark of respect to their distinguished fellow-countrymen, Messrs. Landsborough and McKinlay. (Applause.) They were doubtless aware of the circumstances under which those gentlemen had become conspicuous amongst the Australian community. Immediately upon the discovery of any danger attending the Victorian explorers Messrs. Burke and Wills--upon discovering that there was a possibility of their being unable to surmount the difficulties which surrounded them in the desert, it was thought desirable to start contingent expeditions from the neighbouring colonies, as well as from Victoria, in search of them. The people of Melbourne had assembled that evening to congratulate those distinguished gentlemen, Messrs. Landsborough and McKinlay, upon their safe return from their expeditions. They most cheerfully volunteered their services to the respective Governments under which they lived to proceed in search of Burke and Wills, and everyone was aware to some extent of the result of their labours. They had been most successful explorers. They proceeded in cheerfulness to encounter the dangers of the desert, such as in the eye of every individual unaccustomed to bush travelling seemed insurmountable. (Hear, hear.) They had all heard something of Mr. Landsborough's expedition from the statement which he had made before the Royal Society, and they knew something also of the expedition undertaken by Mr. McKinlay. The immense difficulties which each had experienced placed both gentlemen side by side as great and successful explorers. (Cheers.) Having briefly directed attention to the circumstances under which the meeting had assembled, he would detain them very little longer. He was sure that they had done their duty as inhabitants of Victoria in meeting to welcome back again to this colony the gentlemen who had been sent out in search of those who first crossed the continent of Australia and brought into conspicuous notice the great enterprise, which was first initiated by the colony of Victoria, of exploring the whole of this vast continent. (Applause.)
The Reverend Dr. Cairns, who was called upon to move the first resolution, remarked that this was a magnificent meeting, and that he had seldom been more delighted in the course of a long life. (Applause.) When Mr. McKinlay was received by the Royal Society he (Dr. Cairns) made the very natural remark that he supposed he would receive a welcome from the public of Melbourne (hear, hear) that, however cordial might be the welcome extended to him and to Mr. Landsborough by private committees or private societies, the community at large had a right to express their feelings, and in the most public manner to give a welcome to those successful explorers. (Applause.) He thought then, as he thought now, that in making that remark he not only expressed his own feelings but the feelings of the community in general. A very ill-natured notice of his opinion and conduct in the matter appeared in The Argus of that morning, but for what purpose it had been written he was unable to say. He rejoiced in the present meeting, however, as the best of all possible answers to such a piece of invidiousness. (Hear.) One of the characteristic signs of the present age was the very great progress of discovery in opening up regions of the earth which had hitherto been hermetically sealed even to the eye of intelligence. It was a very suggestive fact to his mind that the successful exploration of Central Africa and the great Australian Continent had been reserved for the present day, that until now these immense dominions had been unknown lands to the civilised world; and that not until the latter half of the nineteenth century had the honour been conferred on the enterprising sons of that wonderful little island far away in the north sea--peopled by Christian Britons--of penetrating the mystery, and finding out that, instead of stony deserts and inhospitable wilds, those countries contained luxuriant fields, abundant waters, and balmy woods--inviting homes for millions and millions of human beings, or rather let him say for flourishing nations. (Applause.) The present marked a great era in the history of this hemisphere. A benignant Providence had lifted the cloud of their ignorance, and they heard a kindly voice calling upon them to arise, to go forth, to possess, to subdue, to people this goodly land. (Hear, hear.) The friends whose success they had met to celebrate that evening would henceforth have their names enrolled with those of Mitchell, Leichhardt, Sturt, Gregory, and Burke and Wills, who had sacrificed their lives to their zeal. (Hear, hear.) To the two latter explorers belonged the praise--which time would never obscure or diminish--of having been the first to solve the practicability of traversing this great continent from south to north. The names which he mentioned constituted a brilliant catalogue; and he ventured to think that no inferior splendour would henceforth illustrate the names--now familiar as household words--of Stuart, Landsborough, and McKinlay. (Cheers and loud cries of "King.") The name of King ought also most assuredly to be included. (Cheers.) They were a noble band, and he wished they had all been present that night. He rejoiced to have the opportunity of seeing those explorers who were present, of looking on their faces, speaking to them, shaking hands with them, and calling them friends. (Applause.) He was proud of these men, and all whom he was addressing must be proud of them also. They were worthy of esteem, they were entitled to applause; and mean, base, ineffably shabby, stupidly mean and base was the soul--if such a soul there were--that questioned their merit or grudged them a meet reward. (Applause.) He was delighted to have the opportunity of looking upon the two great heroes, Landsborough and McKinlay. They had undertaken and accomplished great things. Without deliberation they undertook the arduous task assigned them and faced its hazards. They had to contemplate hard privations, and it might be disease, accident, or even a lingering and lonely death. These were the terms--the necessary terms--on which they engaged in their uncertain and perilous speculation. They went forth not knowing whither they went; but their Heavenly Father watched over them and protected them from dangers, seen and unseen. He was especially struck with the providence of God in the case of McKinlay. The flood of waters which troubled him might have been a deluge to sweep him away, but, by the gracious overruling providence of God his life was preserved, and he was now in their midst. Both Landsborough and McKinlay had returned none the worse for wear, but fresh and blooming, he would say, for the tan which they got from the sun seemed to him to be the richest of blooms. (Laughter.) They were the very models of fine, stalwart men. He thanked God for it, who was the author of all their talents and all their gifts. Their wonderful success, under God, was attributable to their foresight, prudence, and for want of a better word he would say their bush experience. From the energy, sagacity, and unwearied patience which they had exercised the public had learnt some new things. From Mr. McKinlay they had learnt that it was possible to drive a flock of silly sheep all the way to Carpentaria and eat them up one by one at leisure. (Laughter.) They had further learnt that old horse was very palatable beef to a hungry man, and that boiled camel was a savoury morsel in a weary wilderness. (Renewed laughter.) From Mr. Landsborough they had learnt the important lesson that it was most wise to rest and refresh both man and beast upon that seventh day which had been ordained us a universal blessing. (Hear, hear.) He quite enjoyed hearing of Mr. Landsborough and his men luxuriating on a breakfast of meat and pig-weed, followed, after a due interval, by an epicurean dinner of cold rice and jam. (A laugh.) The result of their explorations had been immense, for they had probably tripled, or even quadrupled, the extent of territory in Australia available for settlement, and added greatly to the resources of the country. The advantages thus secured for pastoral purposes were beyond all calculation, though they could not now be appreciated as they would be hereafter. They deserved well of their country. In all ages such services as they had rendered had been regarded as national benefactions. The principle of the state rewarding such services had been recognised in this colony and had been reduced to practice. Recompense was decreed by Parliament to the discoverers of new goldfields, and the admirable constitution of this colony had provided a most soothing consolation, in the shape of 1800 pounds per annum, to requite the devotion of those self-sacrificing spirits who consented to bow their studious heads and delicate shoulders to the responsibilities of government for the weary space of two whole years. (Laughter.) If such were the case, what was the debt which the country owed to those great national benefactors, the explorers. Their discoveries had opened the eyes of the people of Australia to the fact that God had given them a most wealthy inheritance, which might be compared to the whole world in miniature. It had the best of every clime under the sun, and the gifts of nature were scattered with great profusion. As to the precious metals it might turn out that what had been found was only an earnest of what was to follow; but there could be no doubt that Australia was to be the woolgrower of the whole world, and that it would grow cotton to feed all the mills of England. Dr. Cairns concluded by moving the following resolution:
That this meeting begs, in the most cordial manner, to welcome the explorers, Messrs. Landsborough and McKinlay, on their safe return, and to express admiration of the many excellent qualities displayed by them in the prosecution of their arduous enterprise, and considers that it is a duty to acknowledge the hand of Divine Providence in preserving them in the midst of danger.
Mr. King, who was received with great acclamation, said it afforded him much pleasure to be present on that occasion and join with so many of his fellow-colonists in congratulating Mr. Landsborough and Mr. McKinlay on their safe arrival in Melbourne. (Applause.) He was the more glad to offer his congratulations because he knew the arduous nature of the journey which Messrs. Landsborough and McKinlay had accomplished. He was little accustomed to appear or to speak in public, but he should have been sorry to miss this opportunity of expressing his thanks to Mr. Landsborough and Mr. McKinlay for the manner in which they had endeavoured to come to the relief of the party of which Burke and Wills were at the head. However successful they might have been in that expedition they could have been of very little service to Burke and Wills, for it would have been impossible to reach them in time to save their lives. He had much pleasure in seconding the resolution and in congratulating Messrs. Landsborough and McKinlay upon their safe arrival in Victoria. (Cheers.)
The resolution was put and unanimously adopted amidst cheers, as were also the resolutions subsequently proposed.
The chairman explained that Mr. Landsborough, having been out of town, had not yet arrived at the meeting but was expected shortly. In the meantime he called upon Mr. McKinlay to respond to the compliment which had just been paid to himself and his brother explorer. He also requested the meeting to excuse Mr. McKinlay from making any statement with respect to his journey as he felt bound in the first place to communicate the particulars to the Government by whom he had been sent out.
Mr. McKinlay, who was received with hearty and prolonged cheering, briefly returned thanks for the kindness which had been shown him. His journey had certainly been accomplished successfully, but it had been undertaken under very favourable circumstances and, had such not been the case, probably the result might have been very different. He felt himself compelled to refrain from stating many particulars which the public would be glad to learn, but they would no doubt be known in due course. At present he could merely express his sincere thanks for the great kindness with which he had been received that evening. (Cheers.)
Mr. Wyld, Mr. Poole, Mr. Kirby, and Mr. Davis, fellow travellers with Mr. McKinlay, were severally introduced to the meeting by the chairman, and each received a cordial welcome which they duly acknowledged.
Mr. Landsborough, who had in the meantime arrived, then came forward to address the meeting and was greeted with cordial and enthusiastic cheering. He was much gratified, he said, at the warm reception which he had received, and little expected that his humble services would have been acknowledged in such a public way by such an assemblage as he saw around him. He had been rather hurriedly called upon as he was unaware that the meeting was to be held that evening until his arrival from Geelong an hour or so ago. (Hear, hear.) "My friend and brother explorer," continued Mr. Landsborough, "has just come in from a glorious trip from South Australia, by Carpentaria and by Port Denison. I consider his mode of exploring with livestock consisting of camels, cattle, sheep, and horses, nearly the best. To make it complete he only wanted some aborigines as trackers. This I am sure he felt on one occasion when Mr. Kirby and his sheep were lost for three days. Mr. McKinlay deserves the greatest credit for being the first to take sheep across the continent. The camels will yet be found of the greatest value; for it is probable that other explorers will not find water at such convenient distances as we have done, and as they can go nearly three times as far as horses without water they will be of the greatest value for searching ahead for water, and when water is once found it is very easy to take the party on, as it is generally found at distances sufficiently near to be reached by a party like that which Mr. McKinlay and I had. By Burke, Walker, McKinlay, and myself six of the Carpentaria rivers have been traced. These rivers chiefly water country of a character which, although dry, is the kind that I like best for pastoral purposes. And now that my friend McKinlay has taken sheep across the continent I hope flocks and herds will soon follow, so that the fine pastures of Carpentaria, instead of lying waste, will soon become profitable not only to Australia but to the whole world." (Applause.) In conclusion Mr. Landsborough intimated that he intended to publish the rest of the information which he had to communicate in the form of a pamphlet. On resuming his seat he was again warmly applauded.
Mr. Bourne, the only member of Mr. Landsborough's exploration party now remaining in Melbourne, was introduced to the meeting, who likewise honoured him with a round of cheers. He acknowledged the compliment in a few pertinent remarks. He would rather, he said, perform another journey through the continent of Australia than make a speech in public, and he did not seem to be singular in that opinion. On his own behalf, and that of the rest of the party to which he was attached, he begged to return thanks, and et cetera. (Laughter and applause.)
Mr. Aspinall, M.L.A., proposed the second resolution:
That this meeting recognises the good services rendered by the Governments of South Australia and of Queensland in organising these contingent expeditions with a view to discover and assist the missing party under the lamented Burke and Wills.
It would only, he remarked, be a just compliment to the neighbouring colonies to adopt this resolution most heartily. (Hear, hear.) Whilst the meeting recognised these gallant men--Landsborough and McKinlay--men of heroism and enterprise, men who were an honour to their race and the colonies which they represented, they ought also to recognise in them a manifestation on the part of the neighbouring colonies of a hearty sympathy in a matter concerning the general welfare of Australia. (Applause.) While doing honour to the men themselves they ought to express their gratefulness to the Governments and the people who chose them for the work which they had performed. Those Governments were willing in a moment to aid the expedition which the Government of Victoria had sent forth and, as the result proved, they had put the right men in the right place. (Applause.) The explorers however must be regarded as the representatives of the sentiment and the feeling of the colonists who had sent them forth. In sending them forth those colonies were not influenced by any ideas of the acquisition of territory; and, whatever advantages they might have gained, their primary object was to endeavour to rescue Burke and to assist the expedition of which those unfortunate explorers were the leaders. While admiring the heroism of Messrs. Landsborough and McKinlay, let them add their tribute of admiration to the colonies which had sent them forth to do the work which they were so admirably fitted to do. (Applause.)
Mr. Gillbee heartily seconded the resolution, assured that in so doing he was but expressing the sentiments of everyone present. (Applause.)
The resolution was carried unanimously.
Dr. Macadam, M.L.A., proposed the third resolution which was to this effect:
That this meeting is persuaded that it is incumbent on the various Australian Governments to mark in some appropriate manner their sense of the great merits of the leaders of the contingent exploration parties, and of the important results which must flow from their discoveries; and that a copy of this resolution be forwarded for the consideration of the respective Governments.
Some difference of opinion, he said, had been manifested in reference to the manner in which the exertions of the respective explorers should be recognised. He himself had only had one opinion upon the subject, namely, that they should be recognised through the Legislatures of the respective colonies to which the explorers belonged. Although he and, he believed, the committee with which he was connected had been blamed for not sympathising materially with the subscription being raised for Mr. Landsborough, he had already personally explained to Mr. Landsborough his own views. It was held as a general principle that when a national good was conducted it was entitled to a national reward. (Hear, hear.) He trusted that this would remove any impression which might exist as to there being any opposition on his part, or on the part of the Exploration Committee, to the subscription which was being raised for Mr. Landsborough; but, as he had already stated to Mr. Landsborough and Mr. McKinlay, they believed that the legislatures of the different colonies should recognise that which he thought was a greater benefit than that for which any amount of money could be spent under any other vote of the Legislature. (Applause.) He had to make one word of personal explanation in reference to the meeting. He had been somewhat blamed in The Argus of that day for having initiated, with his friend Dr. Cairns, a meeting of that kind. The chairman of the meeting was also the chairman of the meeting at which it was resolved to present a testimonial to Mr. Landsborough; and he was aware that this meeting originated in a spontaneous suggestion made on Friday by Dr. Cairns, who thought that, while it might be convenient to the Exploration Committee to meet in an afternoon, it would be a great pleasure to the community at large to hold an evening meeting at which, instead of merely having the opportunity of recognising the explorers by their portraits in the Saturday prints, they might meet them face to face, and speak to them. (Applause.) Influenced by this suggestion he (Dr. Macadam) set about to make arrangements for this meeting, and he was sorry to say that he met with considerable opposition; but he had always found that whenever a man threw himself upon the public sympathy he was never mistaken. (Hear, hear.) If the Exploration Committee had not called the meeting they would have been blamed, and he was quite prepared to see that they would receive a great amount of opposition from certain quarters. Without further remark upon this subject he would leave the correction of the error, if error he had committed ("No, no.") to a gentleman who was present at the Landsborough testimonial meeting, and who wrote the paragraph in The Argus alluded to--he would leave it to a gentleman who took a deep interest in his prospects, and who had the highest admiration of his ability; and he would refer the meeting to the Yeoman of Saturday for a full, deliberative, and calm consideration of the whole matter. He regretted the absence of the Governor from the meeting, but he would explain the reason. His Excellency instructed him to say that he had exceedingly regretted to perceive by the newspapers that that day had been fixed for the grand reception, and stated that his absence was caused by a prior engagement. Mr. McKinlay had received permission to decline an invitation which he had received from the Governor that night in order that he might be present at the meeting. The fact of the invitation however showed the appreciation in which McKinlay was held by the Governor. (Applause.) In moving the resolution he had simply to state that he trusted the Governments of the respective colonies would reciprocate in an adequate manner the services which had been rendered by the explorers; he thought the gratitude of the Governments of the respective colonies should also be shown by their doing more to encourage immigration than that hitherto done. Some two years and a half ago the task of exploring the continent was commenced in Victoria and, whatever might be said derogatory to the management of the exploration, the work had been accomplished, the continent was now marked out, and it only required private enterprise to establish communication between every part of it. (Applause.)
Captain Norman, being loudly called for by the meeting, made a few remarks indicating the cordial unanimity in which he and Mr. Landsborough had cooperated together, and mentioned that Monday was the anniversary of their safe arrival at Carpentaria after the wreck of the Firefly in Torres Strait.
Mr. Ramsay, M.L.A., in seconding the resolution, expressed his full concurrence with the opinion it contained; and stated that he would do his best in his place in Parliament to support any motion for carrying it into practical effect. (Applause.)
The resolution was put and carried.
On the motion of Dr. Wilkie, seconded by Captain Matthews, a vote of thanks was given to the chairman.
The chairman, in acknowledging the compliment, gave an emphatic contradiction to an opinion which, he said, he understood had been expressed in some quarters, that Landsborough and McKinlay had had tracks to guide them in their exploration journeys.
The proceedings then terminated, the meeting, in response to Dr. Macadam, giving three hearty cheers for the explorers.
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