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MCKINLAY'S

JOURNAL OF EXPLORATION

IN THE

INTERIOR OF AUSTRALIA.

(BURKE RELIEF EXPEDITION.)


WITH THREE MAPS.




MELBOURNE:
F.F. BAILLIERE,
PUBLISHER IN ORDINARY TO THE VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT,
AND IMPORTER OF MEDICAL AND SCIENTIFIC WORKS.
LONDON. NEW YORK. PARIS. MADRID.

COLONIAL AGENTS:
SYDNEY, A. CUBITT; ADELAIDE, W.C. RIGBY; TASMANIA, WALCH AND SONS.

* * *


MCKINLAY'S EXPLORATIONS.


DIARY OF MR. JOHN MCKINLAY,

LEADER OF THE BURKE RELIEF EXPEDITION:

BEING JOURNAL OF EXPLORATIONS IN THE INTERIOR OF AUSTRALIA,
TOGETHER WITH CHART.


TO THE HONOURABLE THE CHIEF COMMISSIONER OF CROWN LANDS.

Depot Camp, Cudye-cudyena, or Buchanan Lake,

October 26, 1861.

Sir,

The following is a brief resume of the proceedings of the Burke Relief
Expedition since the date of my departure from Adelaide.

Started from Adelaide with the camels, etc., on 16th August, 1861, and
overtook the remnant of the party, horses, cart, etc. etc., nothing of
any particular note occurring on the journey to Blanchewater (Mr. Baker's
station) more than ordinary on such journeys, save the worthlessness of
the cart and consequent detention thereon. A few days before arriving at
said station, I was informed that the natives had brought in a report of
some white men and camels being seen at some inland water by them, or
rather others of Pando or Lake Hope tribe, but did not give the report
much credit knowing how easy a person may be misled from the statement he
hears from natives, and the probability of putting a wrong construction
upon what he hears, more particularly from a tribe of people who really
do not understand what you say to them, having hardly any English, but
intend making every inquiry and, if at all satisfactory on the point,
will make a push for their relief.

BLANCHEWATER.

Got all the stores forwarded ex Lubra, and dray repacked, and started on
Tuesday, September 24; went about eleven miles, camels and cart camped at
small creek, the horses camped further on, having mistaken their
instructions; poor country.

Wednesday, September 25.

Tooncutchan, Mr. Baker's outstation--sixteen miles; met Mr. Elder and Mr.
Giles there, and Mr. Stuckey arrived in the afternoon; poor country.

Thursday, September 26.

Manawaukaninna, Messrs. Stuckey's outstation, unoccupied; thirteen and a
half miles. Mr. Stuckey and I went to Lake Torrens about three miles
distant to look out for a good crossing-place for the cart, which we did,
and returned to hut. Three of the horses had a narrow escape from
drowning before starting this morning. The country was a little better
today; filled all our water vessels and bags for the dry country between
this and Pando or Lake Hope.

Friday, September 27.

Started early; got all safe across the Lake Torrens, no water being at
our crossing nor in view. Horses and camels went on to camp about
twenty-five miles distant and leave what water was to spare for the dray
and my horse, and proceed on the next day to Lake Pando, which I found
afterwards they did, then bearing from 2 degrees 30 minutes to 3 degrees;
cart and sheep came twelve and a half miles on same course; at three
miles crossed Lake Torrens, then over a fearful jumble of broken
sandhills quite unfit to be described, occasionally passing a small flat
trending west-north-west and east-south-east; at eleven and a half miles
passed on our left a small salt lake, dry, half a mile long; watched
bullocks and sheep.

Saturday, September 28.

Started early, came ten miles similar country; did not get to within two
miles of where the horses and camels camped on 27th. I rode on and found
the water there, and very welcome it was. The bullocks refused to pull
and several lay down in the dray and a couple of them charged right and
left; unyoked them and came on with them to where the water was left,
from which place I meant to start the two blacks, Peter and Sambo, into
the lake with them; gave the blacks each a canteen full of water, also
Jack, the native shepherd, with instructions to keep on to the lake on
the tracks of the advance party, intending to ride over to the lake
myself to water my horse, leaving Palmer, and Frank (a native) with the
cart and all the water to remain till the bullocks returned for the cart.
Started and at one and a half miles found the bullocks at a standstill
and the sheep in sight, the bullocks refusing to be driven and charging
the blacks. Just as I came up by some mischance the coupling of one of
the charging bullocks gave way, and in an instant poor Peter was tossed
up in the air by Bawley and as he descended was caught up again and
tossed about on the ground; invariably the brute caught his horns against
the large canteen and saved the poor fellow's life. I was obliged to
leave the black then aft with the cart, and with Sambo started on for
water; travelled and spelled during the whole night and got to the lake
early Sunday 29th, party all right; lots of blacks, apparently peaceably
inclined. Found that Mr. Hodgkinson and Mr. Middleton had that morning
started for the dray with the camels with a supply of water. Mr. Elder
and Mr. Stuckey went to look at the country and returned in the evening;
the sandhills and flats alternately bore north-north-west and
south-south-east from the camel and horses camp of 27th.

Monday, September 30.

Mr. Elder, Mr. Stuckey, and Mr. Giles started; wrote a pencil memo to
town. Since we left last station weather very hot and disagreeable in the
extreme for the time of year. Anxious about the men and camels; went
westward some distance to find traces of the camels, thinking it probable
that they might have strayed from them; very hot, north wind, no traces,
nor did they return.

Tuesday, October 1.

Exceedingly anxious about the missing party; started out to the cart,
found missing party had arrived there all safe on 29th, and started early
on the 30th on their return. Immediately started back to lake, horse
knocked up; obliged to camp with him and arrived at camp on Wednesday 2nd
at 6 a.m., missing party not returned: thought I would never see them
again, and an awful blow it would be to me, in the first place the loss
of my two best men and the four camels I had so much reliance in. At once
on arrival sent for three horses and took Bell and Jack (the native) with
me to endeavour to get traces of them or the camels; proceeded east to
the end of the lake and round the eastern end northward but no traces
whatever; returned to camp with the intention of proceeding westward in
search with Jack, and to my infinite pleasure found they, with the
camels, had some short time before returned in a most exhausted state,
their mouths, tongues, and throats in a most pitiable condition, and
perfectly worn out; had they been out the remainder of that day without
success they (the men) must have perished. From their own account it
appears they, to lighten the cart, packed on the camels as much of the
light sundries as they could, and on their return they by some ill luck
got off the track and got confused, and after many efforts and leaving
part of their load they abandoned themselves to the guidance of the
camels who, by their instinct I suppose, brought them safe to a long lake
west of the one we were encamped at, some five or seven miles off. On
their arrival on the water they were met by a number of natives who
kindly got them water and fish to supply their wants, and after spelling
a time got some of them as guides to the camp on Pando, where they were
rewarded by presents of a tomahawk and blanket, etc. Started Bell out to
the cart with the bullocks and blackfellows, Sambo and Jack, leading a
packhorse with supplies of damper and water.

Thursday, October 3.

Invalids recovering; Hodgkinson does not seem to have suffered as much as
Middleton.

Friday, October 4.

Hodgkinson, with Davis and Jack, two freshest camels (Coppin and Siva)
and two horses and plenty of water and food, started to run their tracks
for the loading they left from the camels. The cart arrived all safe
about midday. The bullock, Bawley, never made his appearance, and I
suppose has gone to find his way back to Mr. Jacob's from whence he was
purchased. Cool westerly breeze.

Saturday, October 5.

Hodgkinson and party arrived all safe and were successful in finding the
left articles. Middleton very slowly recovering.

Sunday, October 6, and Monday, October 7.

Spelling the camels and bullocks; taking off the shoes of the horses that
were shod in town, having stayed on remarkably well. The country soft;
not likely to shoe them for a time; appear in good condition; bullocks
tender-necked. Rather a strange circumstance occurred while staying here.
A pelican, in an attempt to swallow a perch about a foot long by about
five inches in diameter or twelve inches in circumference, was choked
after getting it halfway down his throat, and found in the morning quite
fresh and the tail of the fish out of its mouth. A considerable quantity
of clover or trefoil on this lake; and at the eastern end on the flooded
flat, grass but not abundant. The country in this part does not appear to
have been visited by any rain for very many months; indeed years must
have passed since any quantity has fallen in this sandy region; the
bottoms of the clay-pans are nearly as hard as bricks. A considerable
quantity of saltbush of various kinds around the lake and on the flats,
with some polygonum on the flooded flats; innumerable pigeons.

Tuesday, October 8.

Started from Pando Lake Camp at twenty minutes to 9 a.m., wind west and
cool, on a bearing of 285 degrees, two miles north-north-west, to
junction of Pando Creek till 10.37; in all about four and a quarter
miles. Creek is about 250 yards to 300 broad; on the south-west bank of
lake there appears to be layers of salty substance. Tipandranara Lake
bears from junction 294 degrees; our camp of this morning 117 degrees;
south-eastern portion of lake 106 degrees; apparent course of Pando Creek
340 degrees. Within two miles the creek contracts to less than 100 yards,
and at camp about six feet. All arrived at 4.10 p.m. on small Lake
Uppadae or Camel Lake; total distance fifteen miles. Travelled over a
miserable country, with saltbush of various description, and samphire,
and small stones occasionally. Upper entrance to lake bears 12 degrees
from outlet; length about one and a quarter miles by an average of
three-quarters of a mile, surrounded by sandhills and very little timber
round it, and that little of the most miserable description of box; a
considerable quantity of rushes and a little grass round the margin, and
lots of waterfowl. For the latter half of the day's travel we were
pursuing a course from North 20 degrees West to North 10 degrees West,
and as much as north at last.

Wednesday, October 9.

Moved round western side of lake for one and a half miles; then bearing
20 degrees, at one and a half miles further struck the creek, now dry;
then 1 degree 30 minutes about three-quarters of a mile; on a bearing of
350 degrees, half a mile distant a creek comes in from the
east--evidently the same creek that leaves the main creek about one and a
quarter miles from this same course--forming a circuit as an anabranch,
from west to east one mile; then a bearing of 339 degrees for three and a
half miles. Found I had mistaken top of a dry lake for creek; changed
course to 145 degrees; three miles. Creek now alongside; general course
20 degrees; went that course two miles and camped at a long deep
waterhole. Creek dry in a number of places. I forgot to say that the day
we came to Lake Camel, the two natives, Peter and Sambo, absconded, after
getting shirts, etc. Those were the fellows that were to guide us and act
as interpreters with the natives concerning the white man reported
before, and carrying off with them a new canteen and strap, which we will
much want yet.

Thursday, October 10.

Started at 7.25; crossed creek at 9.30, bearing 20 degrees to North;
recrossed creek ten minutes past 10; same course; then North 40 degrees
East till twenty minutes to one; then crossed at the junction of two
creeks, apparently insignificant, and went east one mile to main creek;
then northward five miles. Scoured great part of the country ahead and
could find no water; getting late, and the day very heavy for the
bullocks; determined to get them to water; retreated in a course South 20
degrees West about four miles, to a small pool of water in the creek that
I crossed at midday, and camped.

Friday, October 11.

Started with the camels and Mr. Middleton, and a native named Bulingani,
provisions and water, to go to the relief of the whites said to be in the
interior, but at the same time with the intention of returning to camp if
unsuccessful in finding a good camp for the animals. On a bearing of 18
degrees, at twenty-two miles, arrived at Lake Perigundi, a semicircular
lake from three to four miles in length by one and three-quarter miles
broad. The water not very good; the natives even dig round in the clay a
short distance from the lake for water for their use. Appear friendly,
and we saw about 200 of them--more rather than under that number, and
looking remarkably healthy. Camped, surrounded by them on all sides
except the lake side about 300 yards off. One of the camels got bogged
and narrowly escaped. We kept watch and watch during the night, sending
the native who was with us to camp with the blacks, who gave us some
fish.

Saturday, October 12.

Up early and returned to camp. Found it deserted in consequence of
instructions given to Mr. Hodgkinson previous to departure--that he was
to examine the creek southward; and in the event of his finding good feed
and water (which at the camp were both indifferent) to remove the camp at
once, which he found, and consequently removed, leaving me a memo at an
appointed place of his distance and direction, which was about one and a
half miles south and west. Two of the working bullocks got off during my
absence, and before they were overtaken by the blackfellow (Frank) on
horseback, they had got down south as far as Lake Hope; so he reported on
arrival.

Sunday, October 13.

Today I started Palmer and Jack on horseback to look after Frank and the
bullocks, when they met with the bullocks coming back on their tracks;
preparing for a start tomorrow, carrying a supply of water; name of our
present camp, a fine long sheet of water, Wankadunnie; bears 220 degrees
from the camp retreated from.

Monday, October 14.

Started with bullock-dray at 6.30 on a bearing of 18 degrees; after the
first nine and a half miles travelled over undulating country of sand,
dry flats, and flooded ground. From the top of the highest sandhill at
that distance the whole country, particularly to the eastward, is one
mass of flooded timbered flats and subject to awful inundations; at those
times it must be quite impracticable--the main creek (apparently) upon
our right varying from one or two and a half miles in width, with patches
of young trees across its bed and sides. If this country had permanent
water and rain occasionally it would do well for stock of any
kind--having a fair sprinkling of grass compared with anything of late
seen; and at fourteen miles on a bearing of 18 degrees came to, and
crossed at an angle, the bed of a small dry lake (with lots of fine
grass) or watercourse half a mile wide. When rain has fallen on this
country it is difficult to say; most of the herbs and grass and shrubs as
dry as tinder and will ignite at once--but is much more open and fit for
pasture. At sixteen miles on same bearing crossed the bed of salt lake,
now dry and of no great extent, running north and south in an extensive
flat; spelled and had a pot of tea. Then on a bearing of 357 degrees for
nine and a half miles to camp on west side of Siva Lake, or Perigundi
Lake; found it exceedingly boggy; and what I supposed was clover, as seen
in the distance at my former visit, was nothing but young samphire;
little or no grass; watered the horses out of a canvas by buckets; whole
distance twenty-five and a half miles; all arrived at about 7 p.m.

Tuesday, October 15.

Anxious to get off to the place reported by the natives as the abode of
the white man, or men; and finding this lake won't suit as a depot till
my return, on account of its boggy nature and scarcity of feed, I started
today to endeavour to find a place suitable for that purpose, and
travelled over alternate heavy and high sandhills and flooded wooded
polygonum flats with a few grassy patches. At eleven miles on a bearing
of about 83 1/2 degrees came to a lake, Cudye-cudyena; plenty of grass
and clover but the water all but dried up, a few inches only being around
its margin; all the centre and south end and side being a mudbank--but
thought it would do by digging. On my way back came on a creek with
sufficient water and grass, though dry, to suit the purpose, at two
miles, and pushed on to camp. A strange circumstance occurred this
evening, showing isolated instances of gratitude and honesty of the
natives. In the evening after my return a number of natives were near the
camp; amongst them, just as they were about to depart, I observed an
elderly man and his son, a boy of eight to ten years who appeared to be
an invalid and was about to be carried off by the father. I stopped him
and, as I was at supper, gave the youth some bread and meat and tea; when
they all took their leave. About the end of the first watch (which was
regularly kept) I was awake and heard the person on watch, Middleton,
speaking, evidently to a native who, to my astonishment as well as to
Middleton's, ventured up to the camp alone at night; and what would the
reader suppose his errand was? It was to bring back our axe that one of
his tribe had purloined unseen from the camp during the afternoon. On
delivery of said article he at once took his leave, promising to come in
the morning.

Wednesday, October 16.

In the morning a few of the natives approached the camp, but stood off at
a respectable distance, not sure how they were to be dealt with for their
dishonesty, till by and bye the old man with a few others came up; and
gradually they that stood aloof came up also. Amongst them were women and
children to whom I made various little presents of beads and fishhooks,
with which they seemed pleased. To the old man for his honesty I gave a
tomahawk with which he appeared highly pleased--his name was Mootielina;
the thief I could not find out, or would have given him his deserts
likewise. They did not muster very strong this morning, only about 100;
but numbers of others were visible all round the lake at the different
camps. They all appeared very civil, whether from fear or naturally I
could not guess. Started bearing 40 degrees, passing north-west arm of
lake three-quarters of a mile; then a bearing of 100 degrees. At
three-quarters of a mile cleared the timber that surrounds the water-mark
of lake; then began to ascend the sandhills which were very soft, high
and steep, for about half a mile or little more, to the highest of them
on same course. Changed course to 85 degrees, descending the various
sandhills for about a mile; then alternate flooded flats with timber
(box) and polygonum, and sandhills, till arrived at a water close by my
course home yesterday, and within three-quarters of a mile of where I
intended to fix the camp as depot; and which will suit the purpose very
well, having sufficient water and abundance of grass on a large flooded
flat immediately east of, and running north and south. Distance travelled
on last course six and a half miles, total distance eight and a half
miles to Careri Creek, which seems to flow from the west of north, or
nearly north and south; but name of waterhole is Wantula Depot.

Thursday, October 17.

At depot making arrangements for a start; out in search of the water the
whites are supposed to be at. I will take with me Mr. Hodgkinson,
Middleton, and a native of this country, Bulingani (who seems to say he
knows something of the whites) four camels, three horses, one hundred and
sixty pounds of flour, thirty-two pounds of sugar, four pounds of tea,
eleven pounds of bacon, and some little necessary, etc., for persons
likely to be in a weak state. Leave Bell in charge of the arrangements of
the camp, Davies in charge of the stores. About twenty natives are
encamped within pistol shot; but have made a fold for the sheep and put
everything in such a shape that I may find things all right on my return.
Opened the sausages and found them all less or more damaged, one tin in
fact as nearly rotten as possible, which have to be thrown away; the
others are now drying in the sun in the hopes we may be able to use them.
We would have been in a sad fix without the sheep.

Friday, October 18.

At 8 a.m. started; crossed well-grassed flooded polygonum flats or plains
for an hour, crossing Kiradinte in the Careri Creek; then left the creek
on the left and passed over a succession of sand ridges. At 9.15 arrived
at Lake Cudye-cudyena at about nine miles. It was quite a treat,
abundance of good water, and any quantity of grass of various kinds, and
plenty of clover. It bears 345 degrees, is about six miles long, and
fully half a mile wide, well timbered. On a bearing from this southern
end of lake (now called Lake Buchanan after Mr. Buchanan of Anlaby, from
whom the whole party experienced the utmost kindness) Lake Bulpaner, now
all but dry (and what was mistaken by me the other day, when in search of
a good depot, for this lake--very dissimilar indeed) bears 158 degrees,
distant about two miles along almost a valley. Saw some of the natives on
the way here, and sent Mr. Hodgkinson and Bulingani back for one of them
to forward a letter to Camp Depot to desire them to move on to this
place--so much more desirable for a depot than where they now are. Turned
out the animals to await their return. In the meantime three lubras
arrived on the opposite side of the lake and we called them over. Shortly
after, Mr. Hodgkinson and the black came back; we had some luncheon,
started the lubras back to the cart at the depot with a note requesting
them to advance to this lake and, at 1.25 p.m., started on a bearing of
345 degrees, along the side of the lake and at 2.45 left the north-east
sweep of the lake; then on a bearing of 32 degrees over sand ridges and
saltbush flats. Very open country till within one mile of camp at Gunany,
a large creek about sixty to eighty yards wide and from twenty to thirty
deep, on which we found a number of natives just finishing their day's
fishing. They had been successful and had three or four different sorts
of fish, namely the catfish of the Murray, the nombre of the Darling, and
the brown perch, and I think I observed a small cod. They offered, and I
took several, which were very good--they promised to bring more in the
morning. We came upon and crossed a large flooded wooded polygonum flat
which continued close to the camp. Distance travelled twenty-five and
three-quarters miles.

Saturday, October 19.

Early this morning about eighty natives of all sorts, healthy and strong,
visited the camp and could not be coaxed or driven away. I think they
would have tried to help themselves were it not from fear of the
arms--how they came to know their deadliness I cannot say. Altering one
of the camel saddles that has hurt one of their backs and caused us to be
late in starting. Started twenty minutes to 9 a.m. Immediately crossed
creek to Toorabinganee, a succession of reaches of water in a broad
creek, some apparently deep, spelled half an hour, crossed creek and went
over very high sandhills, pretty well grassed, with a little saltbush of
various kinds, with some flooded and saltbush flats, and arrived at
Luncheon Place, an island often, now partly, dry, on south-eastern side
in an extensive irregular lake of about eight and a half to nine miles
long by an average of one and three-quarters to two miles--very hot--name
of Lake Canna Cantajandide. Thought I might be able to cross it at the
narrowest place with the horses and camels instead of going all round, as
it put me out of my course. Sent Mr. Hodgkinson to ascertain its depth,
and found it too deep, so had to go round. Arrived at Luncheon Place at
ten minutes past 12, and started again twenty minutes to 4, and travelled
to east end of lake, bearing 202 degrees till 4.17; then course of 27
degrees over exceedingly high and abrupt sandhills with poor miserable
flats between them; towards the end of our day's journey over a rather
more flat country with large dry beds of lakes or swamps, as dry as ashes
with a salt-like appearance, the only vegetation being a few scattered
bushes of samphire and an occasional saltbush--a more dreary country you
could not well imagine. Arrived at Lake Mooliondhurunnie, a nice little
lake nearly circular and nearly woodless, about one and a half miles
diameter, at five minutes to seven p.m. Abundance of good water and
plenty of feed--clover and some grass--bearing of creek that fills lake
350 degrees; east end 87 degrees; west end 303 degrees; north side 15
degrees, distance travelled twenty-eight miles. On arrival at lake saw
several native fires, which on our lighting ours, were immediately put
out. Saw nothing of them.

Sunday, October 20.

At daylight about 90 to 100 natives of all sorts visited us; they were
not so unruly as those of the morning before, having evidently had some
communication with whites--using the word Yanaman for horse, as in
Sydney, and one or two other words familiar to me. Plenty of fish, of
sorts, in the lake, although not very deep. Cuddibaien bears 100 degrees.
The natives here say that the whites have left above place and are now at
Undaganie. I observed several portions of European clothing about their
camps as on our course we passed them. At the camp we found twenty to
thirty more natives, principally aged and children; and on the opposite
side of the lake there was another encampment, in all numbering about 150
souls. The sandhills in our course were exceedingly high on the western
side but pretty hard; but on the eastern side almost precipitous and soft
drift sand; a dray or cart might get east, but I cannot fancy it possible
it could return. An exceedingly hot day, wind north. On our way the
natives informed us that the natives we had left in the morning had
murdered the man said to be at the end of our day's stage. On some of the
ridges and on crossing a large flat creek I observed two new trees or
shrubs (they are both) from one I obtained some seeds like beans, and
rather a nice tree; the other, when large, at a distance looks like a
shea-oak, having a very dark butt and long, drooping, dark-green, narrow
leaves, and did not appear to have any seeds at present. Started at 7.17
till twenty-two minutes to 10, nine miles, on a bearing of from 100 to
105 degrees; at 8.18 sighted a large timbered creek, distant one mile,
for about seven miles, 360 to 140 degrees. At twenty-two minutes to 10
observed a large dry salt lake bearing 341 degrees, north-west arm 330
degrees, north arm 355 degrees, distance to extreme point of north bank
nine miles. Bullingani informed us that a large lake lay on a bearing of
110 degrees, some distance off, named Murri Murri Ando. At 10.15 started
on a fresh course of 64 degrees, crossing, 11.15, a small salt lake
rapidly drying up. At 11.30 altered course to 100 degrees; at twenty-five
minutes to 12 to ten minutes to 1 spelled on sandhill, waiting for the
camels, they feeling the effects of the steep sandhill. At nine minutes
past 1 altered course to 116 degrees; at 1.15 altered course to 161
degrees; at seven minutes to 2 changed to 47 degrees; and at 2.20 reached
Lake Kadhibaerri. Found plenty of water and watered the horses (the
camels some distance behind, quite unable to keep up) and at once
proceeded northward along the side of a large beautifully-timbered
grassed and clovered swamp (or creek about one and a half miles across)
to ascertain the fact as to the presence of a European, dead or alive,
and there found a grave rudely formed by the natives, evidently not one
of themselves, sufficient pains not having been taken, and from other
appearances at once set it down as the grave of a white, be he who he
may. Returned to lake to await the coming of the camels which was not
till about 5 p.m. Determined in the morning to have the grave opened and
ascertain its contents. Whilst I went to top of sandhills, looking round
me, Mr. Hodgkinson strayed a short distance to some old deserted native
huts a short distance off, and by and by returned bearing with him an old
flattened pint pot, no marks upon it--further evidence that it was a
white, and felt convinced that the grave we saw was that of a white man;
plenty of clover and grasses the whole distance travelled, about eighteen
miles. Kept watch as usual (but did not intend doing so) but just as we
were retiring a fire suddenly struck up and we thought some of the
natives had followed us, or some others had come to the lake, rather a
strange matter after dark. The fire soon after disappeared, which made us
more certain still that it was natives. Intend spelling the camels for a
few days to recruit them; one on arrival was completely done up and none
of the others looking very sprightly.

Monday, October 21.

Up in good time; before starting for the grave went round the lake,
taking Mr. Hodgkinson with me to see if natives were really on lake, as I
did not intend saddling the camels today if there were no natives here,
intending to leave our camp unprotected, rather unwise, but being so
short of hands could not help it, the grave being much out of sight.
Found no natives round the lake nor any very recent traces saving that
some of the trees were still burning that they (when here last) had
lighted. We started at once for the grave, taking a canteen of water with
us and all the arms. On arrival removed the earth carefully and close to
the top of the ground found the body of a European enveloped in a flannel
shirt with short sleeves, a piece of the breast of which I have taken;
the flesh I may say completely cleared from the bones, and very little
hair but what must have been decomposed; what little there was I have
taken. Description of body, skull, etc: marked with slight sabre cuts,
apparently two in number, one immediately over the left eye, the other on
the right temple, inclining over right ear, more deep than the left.
Decayed teeth existed on both sides of lower jaw and right of upper; the
other teeth were entire and sound. In the lower jaw were two teeth, one
on each side (four between in front) rather projecting as is sometimes
called in the upper jaw buck teeth. I have measured the bones of the
thigh and leg, as well as the arm, with a cord, not having any other
method of doing it. Gathered all the bones together and buried them
again, cutting a lot of boughs and other wood, and putting over top of
the earth. Body lies with head south, feet north, lying on face, head
severed from body. On a small tree, immediately south, we marked MK Oct.
21, '61. Immediately this was over we questioned the native further on
the subject of his death. He says he was killed by a stroke from what the
natives use as a sword (an instrument of semicircular form) five to eight
feet long and very formidable. He showed us where the whites had been in
camp when attacked. We saw lots of fish bones but no evidence then on the
trees to suppose whites had been there. They had certainly chosen a very
bad camp in the centre of a box scrub with native huts within 150 to 200
yards of them. On further examination we found the dung of camels and
horse or horses, evidently tied up a long time ago. Between that and the
grave we found another grave, evidently dug with a spade or shovel, and a
lot of human hair of two colours, that had become decomposed, on the skin
of the skull, and fallen off in flakes--some of which I have also taken.
I fancy they must all have been murdered here; dug out the new-formed
grave with a stick (the only instrument we had) but found no remains of
bodies save one little bone. The black accounted for this in this manner,
he says they had eaten them. Found in an old fireplace immediately
adjoining what appeared to be bones very well burned, but not in any
quantity. In and about the last grave named a piece of light blue tweed
and fragments of paper and small pieces of a Nautical Almanac were found,
and an exploded Eley's cartridge. No appearance on any of the trees of
bullet marks as if a struggle had taken place. On a further examination
of the blacks' camp where the pint pot was found there was also found a
tin canteen, similar to what is used for keeping naphtha in, or some such
stuff, both of which we keep. The native says that any memos the whites
had are back on the last camp we were at on the lake, with the natives,
as well as the ironwork of saddles which on our return we mean to
endeavour to recover if the blacks can be found; it may be rash but there
is necessity for it. I intend before returning to have a further search.
No natives yet seen here.

Tuesday, October 22.

Breakfasted and are just about to get in the horses to have a further
search when the natives make their appearance within half a mile of us,
making for some of their old huts. Immediately on observing us made off
at full speed. Mounted the horses and soon overtook one fellow in much
fear. In the pursuit the blackfellow with us was thrown from his horse;
the horse followed and came up with us just as we pulled the frightened
fellow up. Immediately after our blackfellow came up, mounted his horse,
and requested us at once to shoot the savage, as he knew him to be one of
the murderers of the man or party; but we declined, thinking we might be
able to glean something of the others from him. On taking him back from
where we caught him to the camp, he brought us to a camp (old) of the
natives, and there dug up a quantity of baked horsehair for saddle
stuffing. He says everything of the saddlery was burned, the ironwork
kept and the other bodies eaten--a sad end of the poor fellows. He stated
that there is a pistol north-east of us at a creek which I have sent him
to fetch; and a rifle or gun at the lake we last passed which, with the
other articles, we will endeavour to recover. Exceedingly hot; windy and
looks as if it would rain. The natives describe the country from south to
north of east as being destitute of water or creeks, which I afterwards
found cause to doubt. I have marked a tree here on north side MK Oct. 22,
'61; west side, Dig 1 ft.; where I will bury a memo in case anyone should
see my tracks, that they may know the fate of the party we are in search
of. There are tens of thousands of the flock pigeon here; in fact since
we came north of Lake Torrens they have been very numerous and at same
time very wary. Mr. Hodgkinson has been very successful in killing as
many of them as we can use, mixed with a little bacon. Before the native
went to fetch the pistol he displayed on his body, both before and
behind, the marks of ball and shot wounds now quite healed. One ball
inside of left knee so disabled him that he had to be carried about (as
he states) for some considerable time; he has also the mark of a pistol
bullet on right collarbone; and on his breast a number of shot--some now
in the flesh but healed. His family, consisting of four lubras and two
boys, remained close to our camp awaiting his return, which he said (from
pointing to the sun) would be 10 or 11 o'clock next day. When called at
twenty minutes to 11 p.m. to take my watch, I had not been on duty ten
minutes when I observed a signal fire in the direction he had gone, about
six miles distant, and wondered he did not make his appearance, but all
was quiet for the rest of the night, excepting that at intervals the fire
was replenished.

Wednesday, October 23.

4 a.m. Just as we were getting up, not very clear yet, headed by the
fellow I yesterday sent for the pistol, came about forty others bearing
torches, shields, etc. etc. etc., shouting and kicking up a great noise
and evidently endeavouring to surround us. I immediately ordered them
back, also telling the native that was with me to tell them that if they
did not keep back I would fire upon them, which they one and all
disregarded--some were then within a few paces of us, the others at
various other distances. I requested Hodgkinson and Middleton to be ready
with their arms and fire when desired. Seeing nothing else left but to be
butchered ourselves, I gave the word Fire. A few of those closest retired
a few paces and were being encouraged on to the attack when we repeated
our fire; and until several rounds were fired into them (and no doubt
many felt the effects) they did not wholly retire. I am afraid the
messenger, the greatest vagabond of the lot, escaped scathless. They then
took to the lake, and a few came round the western side of it, southward,
whom we favoured with a few dropping shots to show the danger they were
in by the distance the rifles would carry on the water. They then cleared
off and we finished with them. I then buried the memo for any person that
might happen to follow my footsteps, at the same time informing them to
beware of the natives as we had, in self-defence, to fire upon them. I
have no doubt, from the manner they came up, that they at once considered
us an easy prey; but I fancy they miscalculated and I hope it may prove a
useful lesson to them in future. Got breakfast ready and over without
further molestation and started at 10.30 on a bearing of 197 degrees. At
11.15 reached a recently-flooded richly-grassed flat, surrounded by a
margin of trees; the main bulk of it lying south of our course; thence
bearing 202 degrees, stopping twenty minutes for camels; and proceeding
and at 12.30 crossing north-west end of another dry lake or grassed and
clovered flat similar to the other. At 1.20 made a large box creek with
occasional gums, about from fifty to sixty yards wide and eighteen to
twenty feet deep, sandy bottom, where we struck it perfectly dry where a
stream flows to west of north with immense side creeks (I fancy Cooper's
Creek is a branch of it); followed its bed in its course northward and at
2 p.m. reached a waterhole with no very considerable quantity of water.
Watered the camels and horses. This creek is named Werridi Marara. From
thence Lake Buchanan bears 232 degrees 30 minutes; Kadhiberri 41 degrees;
Lake Mooliondhurunnie 296 degrees. Crossed the creek and went on a
bearing of 215 degrees 30 minutes till 6 p.m., striking same creek and
following its bed (dry) for about two miles and reached Dharannie Creek;
a little indifferent water in its bed, very steep banks (about thirty
feet high) and sixty yards broad. The bed of the creek from where we
struck it at 6 p.m. was chiefly rocky or conglomerate stone resembling
burned limestone.

Thursday, October 24.

Left at 7.15 bearing 215 degrees; travelling one hour and twenty minutes
over splendid grassy flats with low intervening sand-ridges. At five
minutes to ten made Arannie, a recently-dried lake (abundance of clover
and grasses) three miles long by one broad, at rightangles to our course,
and struck it quarter of a mile from its northern extremity. At 10.22
made Ityamudkie, another recently-dried lake; plenty of luxuriant feed.
At ten minutes to 11 reached its western border at a creek called
Antiwocarra, with no great quantity of water, flowing from 320 degrees.
At 1 p.m. left Antiwocarra. At five minutes to 2 made a large flooded
flat, recently under water, with a great abundance of clover and grasses
reaching as far as the eye can trace. At rightangles to our course at
2.15 reached its western border, and at 2.25 reached the depot at Lake
Buchanan or Cudye-cudyena--the place where I directed the camp to be
shifted to--and found everything in good order, much to my satisfaction.
My black female messengers it appears did not go back at once to our camp
with the note I gave them, and consequently they did not get here till
Sunday.

Friday, October 25.

At camp very much the appearance of rain but none has fallen. Clearing
off any heavy trees round our camp that could be used by natives as
places of concealment. Have made up my mind to send a party into the
settled districts as far as Blanchewater with such information regarding
the object of my search and as much general information as is in my
power, with copy of journal and tracing showing our route, which Mr.
Hodgkinson will be better able to do neatly at Blanchewater than here in
the tents; although he has made here on the spot such a one as would give
a very good idea of all that is necessary. No part of this country has
had any rain for very many months; the grasses and herbage generally on
the hilly ground being like tinder. If it had an ordinary share it would
be an excellent healthy stock country. From the numbers of natives and
their excellent condition I am satisfied that many lakes and creeks in
this part are permanent; and as I mean to give it a good look over I have
come to the conclusion that I will require a further supply of flour,
tea, sugar, and a few little et ceteras, and will therefore send horses
with the party that goes to Blanchewater under the guidance of Mr.
Hodgkinson to bring up additional supplies, trusting to get them there,
and at the same time hoping this course may meet the approbation of the
Government; for in so doing I adopt the course I would pursue on my own
account and therefore do it on theirs. The men are in excellent health
and good spirits, and the animals except the camels (they cannot stand
the heavy hills of sand if at all hot, which it was on our last trip) are
all in good condition--many of them much better than when we left
Adelaide. The wind is blowing from all parts of the compass but rather
cool. For days previous it kept from the north and generally very hot
indeed. As yet no rare specimens obtained of birds, animals, or anything
else.

Saturday, October 26.

Threatens very much for rain; very sultry; sun overcast; and wind from
every quarter except north. Will start Mr. Hodgkinson, Bell, Wylde, and
Jack (the native) on Monday 28th October if nothing comes in the way, and
will request Mr. Hodgkinson to endeavour to procure a native that can
speak the language of the natives here; as those we have got do not know
one word nor, on the contrary, do the natives here understand them. They
all circumcise and principally knock out the two front teeth of the upper
jaw. After all the threatening for rain the day has closed without any.

Sunday, October 27.

Wind south and sultry; everything ready for the return party making a
start tomorrow; I expect them to be absent about three weeks. I am sorry
so much time should be lost; however should any rain fall ere they return
I will go over to Cooper's Creek Depot; but the country is so exceedingly
dry in this region at present that, unless I can make out to hit upon
those places where water has been left by the last flood, it would be
quite impossible to travel with anything like safety. Not a single quart
of water (surface left by rain) has been fallen in with since we left
Lake Torrens; and I question very much (from my knowledge of the Darling
country) whether Mr. Howitt has been able to push his way out as far as
Cooper's Creek yet for the want of rain, and am almost satisfied in my
own mind that Burke and party either reached the north coast, or at all
events went a very long way out, on a bearing of (firstly by account of
the natives) 311 1/2 degrees to or passing a salt lake or watercourse
(perhaps then fresh) where the natives report that the whites killed
their horse. They call the place Beitiriemalunie; there is also another
lake, salt now (perhaps then fresh) called Baramberrany. They gave no
particular intelligence as to the camels save mimicking their awkward way
of travelling with their heads thrown back. A bearing of 311 1/2 degrees
would take them near to Eyre's Creek; and I have no doubt that at that
time Burke and party went out from Cooper's Creek (in December last) they
would have to contend with too much water instead of the want of it, as
they must have travelled out of their way, very many miles often, to pass
the immense basins, swamps, and watercourses (boggy) that must have come
in their line of travel; and at that time all this country, perhaps to
Stuart's line of route, could have been thoroughly examined, as I can see
in many places large watercourses in the direction; and my belief is that
Burke's party were massacred on their return by their outward route, and
by one of their old camps. Whether they were all slaughtered or not it is
impossible to say from the traces and the considerable time that has
elapsed since they were killed. I will endeavour to examine the country
all round this locality for further traces of the party and camels; and
on return of my party, if not before, will push out a scouting party
towards Eyre's Creek and that quarter. I retain the two tins found near
the scene of the disaster. This for the present brings my journal to a
close.

JOHN MCKINLAY, LEADER.

* * *


[COPY OF LETTER BURIED AT LAKE MASSACRE.]

S.A.B.R. EXPEDITION.

October 23rd, 1861.

TO THE LEADER OF ANY EXPEDITION SEEKING TIDINGS OF BURKE AND PARTY:

Sir,

I reached this water on the 19th instant, and by means of a native guide
discovered a European camp one mile north, on west side of flat. At or
near this camp traces of horses, camels, and whites were found. Hair,
apparently belonging to Mr. Wills, Charles Gray, and Mr. Burke or King,
was picked from the surface of a grave dug by a spade, and from the skull
of a European buried by the natives. Other less important traces--such as
a pannican, oil can, saddle stuffing, etc., have been found. Beware of
the natives; upon whom we have had to fire. We do not intend to return to
Adelaide, but proceed to west of north. From information, all Burke's
party were killed and eaten.

I have, etc., JOHN MCKINLAY.

P.S. All the party in good health. If you had any difficulty in reaching
this spot, and wish to return to Adelaide by a more practicable route,
you may do so for at least three months to come by driving west for
eighteen miles, then south of west, cutting our dray track within thirty
miles. Abundance of water, and feed at easy stages.

* * *


CONTINUATION OF JOURNAL.

(The preceding portion having been forwarded to Adelaide in October,
1861.)

Monday, October 28.

At 2.45 p.m. started Mr. Hodgkinson, Bell, Wylde, and Jack (native) with
four saddle-horses and twelve packhorses and saddles. Weather sultry, sky
overcast. Between 9 and 10 p.m. a heavy gale of wind from west, with a
good deal of thunder and lightning, which blew our encampment quickly to
the ground, after which we had a few squally showers from same quarter,
but nothing of any consequence; towards morning the wind quite lulled.

Tuesday, October 29.

Wind variable from north-west to south, and very cloudy, in expectation
of more rain; about 10 p.m. a native signal-fire south of this some
distance. Have seen none since my return--no great loss; none have made
their appearance during the night.

Wednesday, October 30.

At daylight quite a calm; then at 6 a.m. wind from south, then
south-east, then east, with a beautiful clear sky and the air very
agreeable. During the afternoon wind back to south and then a fresh
westerly breeze. Native dogs rather troublesome, lay baits with
strychnine.

Thursday, October 31.

At daylight found three baits gone and found close by two dead dogs.
Unpacking cart to put wheels in order, being rather loose, when one of
the baits fell from limb of tree, where for the time they were put, and
unfortunately our poor dog discovered it and ate it, and in a few moments
was dead. Wind as yesterday. Sowed some melon (pie), pumpkins, orange
pips, apricot, peach, and plum stones. During the night a native
signal-fire seen south.

Friday, November 1.

Wind westerly and strong and lots of light fleecy clouds. About 9 a.m.
the native Bullingani, who was out with me, came into camp alone, having
disappeared the evening of my return from Kadhibaerri. I wish he
understood a little English as then he would be of much service.

Saturday, November 2.

Wind westerly round to south and east during the day, afternoon very
strong westerly. Rode out today to the highest sandhill south-east and
round to west and north-west of the lake I am now on to see if any
likelihood of water to the east, west, or north-west; found a good deal
in a creek running northerly on west side of lake and beyond it; returned
by west side of lake. The native went away this afternoon, promising to
be back tomorrow.

Sunday, November 3.

Very strong west wind but cool and agreeable. Native not returned.

Monday, November 4.

In the morning wind light from south, veered round to east; blew strong
but cool. From the termination of the trees on creek that fills this lake
Anlaby Hill bears 165 degrees; patiently awaiting a good shower to enable
me to get to Cooper's Creek Depot to ascertain if any further traces of
Burke's party or his camels are there visible, or if Mr. Howitt's party
have arrived. On my way out on Saturday about two miles from here found
dung of horses or mules, of some considerable age, and on my return to
the camp one of the men a short distance from the camp picked up part of
a hobble-strap with black buckle, much worn and had been patched, or
rather sewn, by someone as a makeshift; the leather was perfectly rotten.
No traces on any of the trees round here of anyone having been encamped.
The flies all along have been a thorough plague; fortunately, and strange
to say, we have had no mosquitoes, but thousands of small gnats take
their place, and find their way into everything. Our native Bullingani
not returned. I hardly expected him as he did not seem inclined to give
any further information either as to water or any other subject. He says
they are mustering about fifteen miles south of this for a grand (weima)
or corroberrie, and informs me that they are gathering in from all
quarters, so that I hardly like to weaken the camp here by taking one of
the men away with me. I have generally seen at the break up of those
great meetings that if they can manage it they in some way or other do
mischief, and unless I see a peaceable dispersion of these people I will
not move far away, at least for not longer than a day or two.

Tuesday, November 5.

Wind west; during the day round to south and east; temperature mild. A
few natives made their appearance on the north-west side of the lake some
distance off; towards afternoon four of their young men came to the
opposite side. I sent for them and they came over and had some dinner;
after a few questions about waters, etc. etc., they took their leave
southward, the way no doubt the rest of their tribe had gone.

Wednesday, November 6.

Wind east in gusts and cloudy; in afternoon blew strong. Temperature very
agreeable.

Thursday, November 7.

Wind during the night and at daylight blew very strong from the east,
towards noon it moderated; sky much clouded but I suppose up here it will
all blow past without any rain, although it appears to be falling in the
east. Wind round to south-east and south during afternoon with every
appearance of rain.

Friday, November 8.

No rain during the night but it was very mild and close; wind south-east
with a few clouds but with very little appearance of rain. Anxious to
find water about a day's stage eastward of depot; started out for that
purpose east three-quarters of a mile to top of sandhill close by; then
on a bearing of 118 degrees for large sandhill at quarter of a mile.
Entered a well-grassed flooded flat for about two miles, and at about one
and a quarter miles further arrived at sandhill. About two miles
south-south-east is the grassy bed of a fine lake now dry, unless there
may be a little water in the creek at the south-east end of it. Not
seeing anything in the appearance of the country to indicate the presence
of water on this course, I started on a bearing of 68 degrees over
sandhills, and at two miles came to very cracked flooded flats, and
continued on them for four and a half miles, and at one and a half miles
further came to a long salty swamp running nearly north and south, a
desolate spot; then a sand rise and another of the same. Changed course
then to 90 degrees over sandhills; at seven miles long flooded grassed
flat, north to south; then sandhill; at eight miles came to an immense
flooded flat, north to south, with great width at its northern end. At
two and three-quarter miles further came to top of very high sandhill,
and close under (east) an immense dry salt lake or very large flat. From
this there is the appearance of a large lake northward, bearing 12
degrees 20 minutes; it may be mirage, but I have observed it further back
on the day's stage, and from top of the highest hills it looks more like
water than mirage, and will therefore start for it, and if I find it is
water, it will suit my purpose as a stage on my intended journey to
Cooper's Creek on the arrival of the party now absent at Blanchewater.
For the first three miles over sand-ridges, then over cracked flooded
flats (grassless) for four miles, a box or gum creek on my right running
northward and southward. At the end of this distance I am satisfied that
I have been deceived; and as the day has been very hot and my horse
appears to be ill I will shape my course for the camp. Started at ten
minutes to 4 p.m.; find my horse thoroughly done up with, it appears,
dysentery, and am obliged to camp on top of large sandhill at 6.50 p.m.;
not a breath of wind and smoking hot. I chose this for a camp that I may
be enabled at daylight to see if there are any waters within range of
sight.

Saturday, November 9.

At daylight have a splendid view of the country round but not the
slightest appearance of water anywhere; start at 4 a.m. and I scarcely
think from the look of the horse that he will be able to take me in. I
never in so short a time saw an animal fall away so much. At 7 a.m.
struck the tracks of our horses and camels as we returned from
Cadhibaerri and followed them to camp. They led a little more to the
south than my course, as I now find that would take me out on the lake
camp about two miles north of camp. At about 8.10 a.m. got to camp, the
horse very seedy and myself not feeling very well. Some natives visited
the camp during my absence and I now see some on the opposite side of
lake. I sent for one to endeavour to get some information from him. They
had started off for our old camp before the messenger arrived but he
followed and one of them came back and stopped the night. I mean to take
him out east if he stops. I am getting very unwell from dysentery. Wind
strong from the north and very disagreeable.

Sunday, November 10.

Very unwell today; fortunately we have plenty of medicine. Wind moderate
from north-east to east and south-east. The native visitor, under
pretence of going to bring a net from the opposite side of the lake, took
French leave. I dare say when well I shall be able to get another.

Monday, November 11.

Worse rather than better today. To add to my misfortunes I have got my
right knee and back tendons become very stiff and painful, so much so
that I can hardly move. Very cloudy; wind changeable from north-east to
south-east.

Tuesday, November 12.

Wind strong from east and south-east. Little better today but leg equally
sore and stiff. Getting the cartwheels wedged and put to rights. From the
awful torment of the flies, the horses, although on magnificent feed, are
not in anything like the same condition as they were ten days ago; to
endeavour to escape them they go into the lake, and remain there for
hours at a stretch, lying down in the water and occasionally ducking
their heads under but to no purpose. Killed a sheep as the part of the
last one that was not jerked got putrid during next day and had to be
thrown away. Am sorry also that the sausages, after dragging them so far,
after all have to be thrown away, being perfectly unfit for use; had they
been good they would have been a splendid thing. We find the bacon an
excellent standby. Threatens much for rain.

Wednesday, November 13.

Rain blown off. Much better today. Wind very strong from east and
particularly cold, so much so that I can keep my coat on and not feel
inconvenienced by it; whereas before one's shirt was sufficient. Wind
chopped round in the evening to south, pretty strong.

Thursday, November 14.

Getting quite well again but knee quite stiff and painful. Very cold
during the night and at daylight quite ready for a topcoat. Wind strong
from east; moderated at noon and got warm. It is quite a pleasure to see
how well the bullocks are freshening; some indeed fit to kill; they don't
seem to suffer so much from the flies as the horses or camels. Two of the
latter (the Melbourne ones) had their backs slightly bruised and,
although constantly attended to, take a very long time to recover.

Friday, November 15.

Wind east at daylight. Thermometer stood at 54 degrees; this is lower
than I thought it would have been and the morning is not anything like so
cold as yesterday morning. I will notice the temperature during the rest
of our stay here. At five in the afternoon it stood at 100 degrees.
Bullingani and his two lubras came to the camp accompanied by another
native of Lake Perrigundi.

Saturday, November 16.

Wind east at daylight; thermometer, 63 degrees; breeze very moderate; at
noon died away to a calm. At 2 p.m. thermometer in sun 140 degrees; at 6
p.m. 106 degrees in the sun. Some natives opposite fishing in the lake;
one here busy making a net from the rushy grass that abounds round the
lake. At sunset quite a calm.

Sunday, November 17.

Quite a calm at daylight; temperature in open air 68 degrees; at 8 a.m.
slight breeze from north, thermometer in sun 118 degrees; at 10 a.m. 136
degrees; at noon 160 degrees with wind from north-west with a number of
thunder-looking clouds. At sunset temperature 97 degrees; still cloudy. A
further arrival of natives on opposite side of lake.

Monday, November 18.

At daylight calm; temperature 73 degrees in open air. At 10 a.m.
temperature 143 degrees in the sun out of the wind; wind from north to
north-west. A number of natives arrived this morning. At twenty minutes
to 11 a.m. temperature 154 degrees; at noon cool breeze temperature 146
degrees; at sunset light breeze from north-west, temperature 102 degrees.
Anxiously expecting the party under Mr. Hodgkinson.

Tuesday, November 19.

Wind north at daylight; temperature 77 degrees in open air; up till noon
blew strong. Temperature at noon in sun out of the breeze 136 degrees. At
sunset wind moderated; heavy clouds from south-east round by south-west
to north. At 9 p.m. temperature 96 degrees. At 12 blew a strong gale from
south-east accompanied by a very little rain. A good deal of lightning
and a little thunder from the southward of west, round west and north of
west and apparently raining.

Wednesday, November 20.

Wind working round from south of east to north of east. At 6 a.m.
temperature 84 degrees; very cloudy and threatens much for rain--perhaps
when the wind moderates we may have a fall. For the last few days
Middleton has been laid up with a very bad sore ulcerated throat but is
now nearly recovered. I am now quite recovered and anxiously awaiting the
return of Mr. Hodgkinson's party that I may be enabled to start for
Cooper's Creek by a route a little more to the southward than when I
tried when last out. At 1 p.m. wind fallen and changed to
west-north-west; temperature 98 degrees. Wind suddenly chopped round by
west to south from which quarter till dark it blew quite a gale, causing
the lake to recede about 600 yards further north. Highest temperature
during afternoon 105 degrees; at 7 p.m. 90 degrees. It looks exceedingly
like rain and very boisterous. Mr. Hodgkinson's party not yet arrived. At
midnight a few drops of rain with the high wind.

Thursday, November 21.

Quite a calm, the sky completely overcast; whether it will rain or not
remains to be seen. The water in the lake has returned to its old bed.
Temperature at daylight 85 degrees. From a long conversation I had with a
native yesterday, who came to the camp, I am led to believe that only one
of the whites was murdered at Lake Cadhibaerri at the time of the attack
upon them by the natives there. On the return of the party from the
north-west they repulsed the natives, killing some and wounding others;
the party buried their comrade and marched southward. The natives, on
seeing that the whites had proceeded onwards, immediately returned to the
scene of the disaster, dug up the body, cut off all the principal
muscular parts, and feasted upon their revolting repast. So minutely does
this native know all their movements that he has described to me all the
waters they passed and others at which they camped, and waters that they
remained at for some time, subsisting on a sort of vetch seed that the
natives principally use here for food, and obtained in large quantities
on many of the flooded flats by sweeping it into heaps, then winnowing
it, then grinding or pounding it between two stones, then mixing it with
water into the consistency of damper, and finally making a cake and
putting it into the ashes the same way as damper--when cooked and fit for
use it tastes rather strong, but no doubt they could live upon it for a
long time as it must be wholesome. That, with the game and fish they
could get from the waters of the creeks and lakes, would keep them alive
very well if they did not further attempt to make their way to the
Darling (which the native says they did) but I hope soon to see and trust
they have not attempted to do so. If they have not done so, and that they
are alive and escaped the natives, their relief is certain. One thing I
cannot arrive at is how long or how many moons it is since they were
attacked at Lake Cadhibaerri, as I then could form a much more accurate
idea of the truthfulness or otherwise of the native's statements; but it
must be some considerable time as the body I found was perfectly
decomposed, and on the skull even there was not a particle of skin, but
as bare as if it had lain in a grave for years. A slight shower this
afternoon, hardly sufficient to wet one's shirt. Temperature highest
during the day 104 degrees, very close and disagreeable; at sunset
temperature 88 degrees, heavy clouds all round, not a breath of wind.
Hodgkinson's party not yet arrived. If he does not come within the next
two days I shall feel very uneasy. Had a visit from about a score of
natives, some of them from the north-east, other two from the
west-north-west about the stony desert, as they describe an abundance of
stones in that quarter. Wind from south-east to south, during the night a
very little rain.

Friday, November 22.

Daylight quite cloudy and like rain. Temperature 82 degrees, wind
chopping all round; at noon south and north of west. Temperature 142
degrees and still a cool breeze blowing; sunset temperature 90 degrees,
wind southward and strong. No appearance of Hodgkinson and party. The
natives in a great stir here tonight about something--about a dozen of
them crossed the lake to us after dark, wishing to camp near for the
night; but as I did not approve of their movements in the evening
immediately sent them off again.

Saturday, November 23.

At daylight wind strong from the east; temperature 80 degrees, at 5.30
a.m. blew quite a gale from south, the sky quite overcast and in every
other part of the country would make preparations for a heavy fall of
rain, but I have seen so much of this here that I don't expect rain till
I see it. Temperature noon 110 degrees, rain all blown past; at sunset
wind still strong from south; temperature 84 degrees. No appearance of
Hodgkinson's party. Natives assembling in great numbers on this
lake--distributed some beads, bracelets, and other trinkets amongst them,
at which they seemed much pleased.

Sunday, November 24.

Wind south-east beautifully cool; temperature at sunrise 63 degrees; at
noon in shade 84 degrees; at sunset wind south, temperature 76 degrees;
cloudy. Hodgkinson not arrived.

Monday, November 25.

At 1.30 a.m. temperature 62 degrees; at sunrise temperature 58 degrees,
wind east-south-east, beautifully cool; at noon temperature 106 degrees
in the sun and wind; at sundown 82 degrees, gentle breeze.

Tuesday, November 26.

Wind east, at sunrise temperature 63 degrees; at noon in the shade
temperature 79 degrees, very light breeze: temperature at 2.30 p.m. 110
degrees, wind west-north-west and cool; at sunset temperature 90 degrees,
calm. No appearance of the party from Blanchewater.

Wednesday, November 27.

Calm at sunrise, temperature 60 degrees; at 9 a.m. 116 degrees in the
sun; at 1 p.m. 118 degrees. Got the horses in the forenoon and went east
three and a half miles; first three-quarters of a mile over sandhills,
rest of the way over flooded ground to Goderannie Creek; not much water
now; then to Palcooraganny. At present this is the dry bed of a small
lake with plenty of dry clover and grasses in the dry bed. On the
north-east side of the lake is a well dug by the natives about ten to
eleven feet deep with about one foot of water at present in it and good.
I suppose a considerable quantity could be had if the hole were enlarged.
Close by there was an encampment of blacks, in all about a dozen, not the
same apparent well-fed fellows that frequent the lakes and main creeks.
From enquiry it appears that during the dry season this is the sort of
water they have to depend upon, and I think the wells are few and far
between. A high sandhill was some little distance off and to it I went;
from the top of which I had an extensive view. Could see nothing
northward and westward but a jumble of lower sandhills looking very
dreary without even a creek with its timber to break the monotony of the
view. From the top of the hill there was water at a distance of one and a
half to one and three-quarter miles. Depot about sixteen miles distant.
Goderannie Creek is deep, with abundance of fish of various sorts, and
drains all the creeks that fill our depot lake, and the creek to the west
of the lake over the sandhills. Started the blackfellows and whites to
dig a well close by the depot before I went away this morning. At eight
feet eight inches struck water (good). Will deepen it tomorrow and see
what supply would be likely to be had if necessity would require it.
Party not yet returned; feel quite uneasy about them but suppose they did
not get what they were sent for as soon as they expected.

Thursday, November 28.

At daylight wind strong from south-south-east, at sunrise temperature 63
degrees. Enlarging and deepening the well. Temperature at noon in the sun
and wind 106 degrees; at sunset 73 degrees. Finished the well, now being
nine feet six inches deep, three and a half feet broad and five feet
long. For the first four feet it was a mixture of light-coloured clay and
fine sand, next three and a half feet was a mixture of gypsum and blue
clay, next to bottom a little clay mixed with chiefly fine sand, then the
water seemed to come in from all quarters. Party not yet
arrived--exceedingly anxious about them.

Friday, November 29.

Wind south-south-east and cool at sunrise, temperature 54 degrees, being
much lower than we have had it except once. There is a depth of ten
inches of water in the well during twelve hours. At 7.30 a.m. two natives
arrived on opposite side of the lake, bringing the joyous tidings that
the party under charge of Mr. Hodgkinson had camped at a creek called
Keradinti about eight miles from this last night, so that I expect them
every hour--I was heartily glad to hear of them. At 9.30 a.m. Mr.
Hodgkinson and party arrived safe, for which I was truly thankful; I was
afraid something had happened to them from their apparent long absence. I
am sorry that the native Jack, that accompanied them from this, deserted
about the inner stations, having heard some idle report of something
having happened to the party here. Mr. Hodgkinson has brought back with
him nearly everything I required. By him I also received some Adelaide
papers in which were some Melbourne telegrams, one of which announced the
rescue by Mr. Howitt of one of Burke's party, King, so that I have been
deceived as to appearances at Lake Cadhibaerri respecting the different
colours of hair found. Still I am under the impression that when Burke's
diary is published that it will show of some affray with the natives
about that place, or they would not have acted towards us when there as
they did. By receipt of such intelligence, and that now the whole of the
unfortunate party are accounted for, it renders my journey to Cooper's
Creek, as I intended, useless for any purpose of relief. Had they on
their arrival from the north coast at Cooper's Creek depot only pushed
westward this length they could, with the greatest ease to themselves,
have made the Adelaide stations. I am quite surprised that they could not
get south by Strzelecki's Creek, being under the impression that
two-thirds of the water of Cooper's Creek was drained off by that
watercourse southward. My impression from observation here is that a very
great portion of the waters of Cooper's Creek is drained northwards from
this. Before leaving this it is my intention to push eastward some
distance to ascertain the character of the country, and on my return to
push westward for some distance to ascertain if the stony desert exists
so far southward as this; I will then proceed northward and examine the
waters reported by the natives to exist in that quarter, and ascertain if
they are likely to be of permanent use to South Australia. From them I
shall be entirely guided by the appearance of the country there as to my
future movements. I am now satisfied that water can be had by digging. By
the time I return from the east and westward the horses that have been
down to the settled districts will have so far recovered from their
fatigue, and be again able to proceed northward. At 5 p.m. depth of water
in the well fifteen and a half inches, the water very hard and clear,
quite the opposite of the lake, which is very soft and rather milky in
colour. Mr. Hodgkinson, since he has been absent, has had a severe attack
of illness brought on, I believe, by injury sustained from a pummelling
he received at Apoinga, near the Burra, from one of the camels, Siva, who
at that time was very unruly and inclined to be vicious. He has
repeatedly complained and even now is not at all the thing. I trust he
will thoroughly recover as he is a very energetic little fellow and the
want of his services would be a considerable loss to me on my coming
journey. Highest temperature during day 120 degrees.

Saturday, November 30.

Wind south-south-east. Temperature at sunrise 70 degrees; depth of water
in the well at 5 a.m. eighteen and a quarter inches. Temperature at noon
99 degrees in the sun and wind. Temperature at sunset 84 degrees; wind
west of south a little cloudy; so it was last night.

Sunday, December 1.

A little rain during the night but not enough to wet a sheet of paper. At
sunrise temperature 70 degrees, calm. At noon slight breeze southerly;
temperature 110 degrees. Found suspended the spring of one of Terry's
breech-loading rifles round the neck of a native; he describes the
remaining portions of the rifle out to the north-east, which will be
nearly in our north course. Highest temperature during the afternoon in
the sun 129 degrees; at sunset 99 degrees.

Monday, December 2.

Wind south-south-east, temperature at sunrise 77 degrees; sky completely
overcast. Start out eastward to examine the country with two camels, five
horses, and sufficient food for one and a half weeks, taking with me
Middleton, Poole, Frank (a native), and a native of this place. My main
object in going out now is firstly to ascertain if there is a likelihood
of a flood down Cooper's Creek this season, after all the rain that has
fallen along the eastern side of the continent some months back, and
which I thought possible might have fallen as well on and to west of
coast range, so to secure to us an open retreat in the event of our being
able to make some considerable advance northward, and being detained some
time. And secondly to ascertain if anyone was as yet stationed on
Cooper's Creek, to intimate to them my intentions of proceeding northward
for some distance, and the almost certainty of crossing any track of
either of the search parties from the northern coast could possibly make
en route to Cooper's Creek or even Eyre's Creek. Started at 9.15 a.m.,
and passed through nothing but sandhill and flooded flat country till 3
p.m., and arrived at Tac Wilten Creek, containing little water but
drinkable. For the first few miles the sandhills were further apart with,
in the interval, salt-bush and grassy flats. Watered the horses and
camels; crossed the creek, passed up the south side; crossed a sandhill;
crossed the creek, went a short distance to north side of creek;
recrossed it and went up south side to water. This is a long narrow strip
of water, not deep and drying up fast. A number of natives here. Crossed
creek again and went to Aunrinnie; arrived at north-east end of water and
crossed creek at 4.30 p.m. Distance about twenty-five miles. The water
here although enough is quite unfit for use, the horses and camels
refusing it; but there is good green feed in the flat.

Tuesday, December 3.

Started at 8 a.m.; passed over sandhills till 8.43 and made large lake,
dry, Cullamun by name, destitute of vegetation and no margin of trees;
passed over sandhills and flooded flat to a creek very broad, deep, and
well defined by timber, and trending northward; not much water at
present, good here but unfit for use above and below, like that of last
night; creek called Agaboogana. Distance about eight miles. I went there
rather out of my course to water the camels, being the nearest in going
anything like the course I wished; passed sandhills through south end of
large dry lake at 11.22, and again sandhills; then through large flooded
swamp, Narrogoonnoo Mooku, with no marginal trees; southern end a good
deal of cane grass; then again sandhills till 12.46; then large cracked
flooded plain, Wandrabrinnannie, till arrived at a creek with no water;
crossed and rode up creek on south side to east of north to Barka Water,
no feed; got down into the bed of the creek and rode up about
three-quarters of a mile to a water called Moollaney, pretty good; no
great quantity and but little feed. Total distance about twenty-five
miles. A lot of stones of a fruit found here, of a very ornamental little
tree from six to fifteen feet high, which I have secured.

Wednesday, December 4.

At or rather before daylight Middleton, in attending to the camels,
unfortunately got his foot seriously injured by a considerable-sized
stick which was stuck in the ground; its end penetrating deeply into the
foot as he was returning to the camp down the steep bank. I am afraid I
will have to return with him; I have pulled out several ragged pieces of
wood from the wound; a lot of small tendons protrude. I will try one day
up the creek and see if he can stand it. Started at 9.40 leaving creek on
right; crossed small flooded flat to sandhill; then good low sandhills,
firm travelling; passed a water called Appomoremillia, about one and a
half miles to our right in the creek. Crossed creek in the centre of a
cracked flooded flat bearing to the north by west; passed over sandhills
and a heavy flooded cracked and timbered flat in which is a creek bearing
north-east with sandy hillocks and native wurlies. Bore south to creek
Goonnooboorroo with little water. Distance about sixteen miles today.
Middleton's foot pains him much.

Thursday, December 5.

Obliged to camp with Middleton. On a large gum tree marked MK (conjoined)
Dec. 4, 5, 1861. One large creek comes in here from the south; and
immediately below this about 100 yards another from same quarter.
Bronze-wing and crested pigeons here; also some beautiful parrots, black
ducks, teal, whistlers, painted widgeons, and wood-duck in small number;
also parakeets and quail. Some dry grass here on top of banks up to my
waist; further out there is some good tussocky grasses and there has been
plenty oats. Secured seeds from the bean tree and the stones of the fruit
before alluded to. Fish in water here, although there is only a small
quantity and drying up fast. In looking for the horses in the morning up
the main creek found, about three-quarters of a mile from this, where
Burke had camped in the bed and had dug for water. From the appearance of
their camp and quantity of camel dung he slept more than one night here.
I think when they camped there there was water both below and above; it
is now quite dry however. A small quantity of sewing twine was found at
this camp.

Friday, December 6.

Middleton's foot a little easier; thought of returning as he is quite
unfit for work, but have made up my mind now to go on and ascertain the
facts I went out to obtain. I therefore started at 8.25 a.m. for the
upper waters of the creek, keeping on the south bank; crossed several
creeks until 12 o'clock, when we found in the camp, a little above
Pardulli, a gum tree marked W.J. Wills, N.N.W., xlv. yds., A.H. Turned
out our horses here for some time; between the last crossing of the creek
and this I got a view of a couple of red sand bluffs and distant
sandhills, or hills of some kind, to north-west. Started from Wills's
grave at 4.10 and crossed creek; struck the creek again at 5.35 with
plenty of water to Howitt's camp, xxxii.; thence on to Burke's grave,
striking dry creek and following it to Yarrowanda; arrived here at 7.10
p.m.

Saturday, December 7.

Started at 7.7 a.m. and came to Burke's grave--about two miles on south
bank of creek. On the north-east side of a box tree, at upper end of
waterhole, native name Yaenimemgi, found marked on tree R.O'H.B.,
21-9-61., A.H. Deposited a document in case of the return of any party.
Saw a cobby horse on arrival here last night; tried to catch him. Saw the
tracks of cattle up the creek, short distance from him; they had gone
further up the creek to a water, Cullimuno. Spelled today.

Sunday, December 8.

Started back for camp; passed large numbers of natives; marked small gum
sapling MK roughly; made for heavy creek that joins another at
Strzelecki's Creek, and camped at a water called Tacdurrie, a small water
about two miles from Gooneborrow in the main creek. Distance travelled
today about twenty-seven and a half miles.

* * *


[COPY OF DOCUMENT LEFT AT COOPER'S CREEK, DATED 7TH DECEMBER, 1861.]

TO THE LEADER OF THE PARTY OUT FOR THE REMAINS OF THE LOST BURKE AND
WILLS, BUT MORE ESPECIALLY TO THE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE DEPOT LIKELY
TO BE FORMED ON THIS CREEK.

Sir,

I beg to state that I have had communication with Adelaide and have
received papers from there intimating the relief of King, the only
survivor of the Melbourne Gulf of Carpentaria party, and an announcement
that the Melbourne Government were likely to have the remains of the late
gentlemen removed from this creek to Melbourne, to receive a public
burial and monument to their memory, and at the same time stating their
intention of establishing a depot somewhere on this creek to await the
arrival of one or other of the parties (in search of the late Burke and
Wills) from Rockhampton, or the Albert, on the Gulf of Carpentaria.

I beg to state I am with my party stationed on a lake about eighty-five
miles westerly of this; and immediately on my return there I start
northward, and for the first part of my journey a little to east of
north, and will, at every suitable camp on my route, bury documents
conveying the intelligence meant to be conveyed to either of the parties,
by the depot party likely to be formed here, of the fate of the late
party; by which means they will be put in possession of the facts, and
can return to the Albert or go on through to Adelaide. There is at
present, and will be for some time to come, easy access to Adelaide by my
route, which the wheel tracks of my cart have clearly defined.

By this means of intimation to the parties in question it will relieve
the party to be stationed here from the necessity of passing a summer in
this hot region. My course will intersect any course either of the
parties out from the northward can make between Eyre's Creek and the late
Burke's depot on this creek.

I beg to remain, Sir,

Your most obedient servant,

JOHN MCKINLAY,

Leader of the S.A.B.R. Expedition.

* * *


Monday, December 9.

Started at 7.25 a.m.; followed creek down and passed Goonaboorroo
waterhole; passed flooded cracked flats and sandhills to Molanny Creek.
Distance travelled today seventeen miles.

Tuesday, December 10.

Started and crossed creek at 7.30 a.m., over sandhills, then through bed
of large dry lake or swamp; name of swamp Wando Binannie; a good deal
cracked and bad travelling. From thence through low sandhills, flooded
box flats, steep sandhills; crossed Narro Dhaerrie swamp; crossed creek
at east end of main water; this drying up fast. Crossed creek twice and
camped on south side of lower end of Tac Welter.

Wednesday, December 11.

Started at 6.30; crossed creek and flat; over sandhills and flooded flat
with large saltbush and polygonum; timber to the right and some samphire
bushes; crossed my old single track, with alternate sandhills and cracked
flooded flats, and arrived at our depot camp on Lake Buchanan at 11 a.m.
Distance about nineteen miles.

Thursday, December 12.

Remain in camp; temperature at sunrise 68 degrees; wind east; 11.30 a.m.,
temperature 165 degrees in the sun out of the wind; very hot indeed and
wind north-east; dead calm at 6 p.m.; temperature 100 degrees; sun
overcast; temperature at sunset thermometer exposed to sun and wind 90
degrees.

Friday, December 13.

Dead calm at sunrise; temperature 64 degrees; at 7 a.m. wind north-east
temperature 102 degrees; at 9.15 wind north temperature 150 degrees in
the sun and out of the wind; at 10.30 temperature 158 degrees; at noon
hot; wind west; temperature 138 degrees; sunset light breeze from
south-west; temperature 95 degrees.

Saturday, December 14.

Started at 7.45 a.m.; crossed sandhills and timbered flat and creek
running north about 200 yards wide; passed end of very stunted box-tree
flat running parallel to our course and camped on creek with little
water.

Sunday, December 15.

Started at 8.8 a.m.; passed through long dry grass with scrubby box; then
flooded box flats to Paul Cooroogannie and reached depot at 6.5 p.m. It
blew quite a gale of wind during the day from south-south-west with dust
and a few drops of rain.

Monday, December 16.

Wind changed to east (strong); temperature at 7 a.m. 65 degrees; wind
moderated during the day. Making ready to start tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 17.

Deposited memos to Chief Commissioner of Crown Lands and finders of
deposits under a tree here marked MK (conjoined) from Oct. 20 to Dec. 17,
1861. Dig arrow at 1 o'clock. Bullock dray started at 8.30 a.m., eight
bullocks in team and three loose; crossed north end of swamp; then small
sandhills; then creek or watercourse cutting my course at rightangles;
passed south end of considerable-sized flooded flat, connected by
last-named watercourse. Pole of cart just broken. Left cart and proceeded
with some of party to Goonyanie Creek. Great difficulty in getting a
suitable stick for the pole; sent Mr. Hodgkinson and Palmer with the
bullocks back to our late camp on Coodygodyannie to get a pole there if
possible; left bullocks there for the night. They returned unsuccessful.
Hunted Goonyanie Creek up and down myself with but indifferent result,
but must cut one such as is to be found and make shift with it till a
better can be procured. A great number of natives here; the creek
northward ceases one quarter mile from this and loses itself on a
polygonum plain--no doubt forms again. South of this it continues for
about one and a half to two miles and is lost on flooded flat. There
appears to be a great quantity of fish here; some very fine ones being
caught this afternoon, one of which must have weighed from four to five
pounds (a perch). Although the water here is very much reduced since I
was here about the middle of October the water in two holes is yet pretty
deep; no great quantity of grass here.

Wednesday, December 18.

Natives walking about greater part of last night. Two of them came into
camp, one of whom was known and allowed to remain; the other (a stranger)
was started at once. At their camp, which was about one hundred yards
off, they kicked up a great row for a long time. Started Mr. Hodgkinson
with Palmer and a native to Lake Coodygodyannie for the bullocks, and
Davis and Wylde out to the broken cart (about three miles off) with
water, on two camels, for the party left in charge of it, namely Kirby
and Maitland, today increased by Wylde on account of so many natives. The
bullocks duly arrived during the day, having gone back to the old camp.
Immediately proceeded to cut such a pole as was to be had here, and took
it out to the dray to be got in readiness to suit as well as possible the
purpose required, and returned to camp with the bullocks.

Thursday, December 19.

During the night a native dog came up to the sheepfold and was shot by
Frank (a native). The natives, encamped a short distance from here,
hearing the report of the gun, immediately took to flight and with them
the native Bullingani who was of so much use to me; however another is
easily got. Some of them returned in the morning. Temperature during
afternoon in sun 145 degrees. Was unable to get dray ready early enough
to go a stage, but brought it in here in the afternoon, ready for an
early start tomorrow morning.

Friday, December 20.

Marked a tree on north bank MK (conjoined), Dec. 17, 18, 19, 1861.
Temperature at sunrise 78 degrees. Sky completely overcast. Found Frank
asleep on duty and reprimanded him, when he became saucy and sulky and
determined to return to settled districts. Settled with him to date. He
was twelve weeks with us and received an order for 6 pounds, being the
amount due to him at the rate of ten shillings per week. Started and
passed through flats till we came to a creek where we stopped for a short
time; crossed creek to the margin of a lake bed containing some water.
Went north some distance to get round the lake to where the creek is dry.
This creek fills this lake--Goonaidrangannie. Camped on north-east end at
1 p.m. There are a great number of natives here; the water appears very
deep. Mr. Hodgkinson swam out about 300 yards with a plumb-line and found
the depth 10 1/4 feet; but further south and east it is much deeper. This
lake must be at times a great rendezvous for natives in extreme drought.
One of our best working bullocks, before he came ten miles, was killed by
the heat although, after getting to camp at 1 p.m., the thermometer was
tried and the greatest heat arrived at was 144 degrees. I was not aware
that the bullock was dead until the arrival of the cart later in the
afternoon. The driver, seeing he was much exhausted, had him and the one
and the one yoked with him turned out of the team, and went on a short
distance and sent back for them, however, shortly after, when the animal
was found quite dead--consequently we were unable to secure any of him
for food as it would not keep; but at daylight in the morning I will send
for his hide as it will be much needed. He will be a serious loss to us
out in such a country where we require a spare bullock to spell another
occasionally. A good deal of thunder and great indications for rain, but
blows off with only a few drops; quite a hot wind and altogether has been
a very disagreeable day. Wind from north.

Saturday, December 21.

Started three men out to skin the bullock and bring in the hide. Wind
south; sky overcast but hardly expect rain. Tree marked MK (conjoined),
20-12-61 on south side. The men returned with the hide at 8.10 a.m. The
bullocks, after their distress of yesterday, were left unhobbled and have
strayed to some distance, not having come up yet at this hour--8.10 a.m.
Bullocks arrived, and we started at 10.20 a.m. Camels and horses started
at 12 o'clock. Came through some splendid feed to another lake containing
but very little water and that quite bitter. Start for Moolionboorrana at
3 p.m., and arrived there at 5.53 p.m. Distance about twelve and a half
miles; first half distance was flooded flats and sand-ridges. On our way
to Thoorabiengannie at four and a half miles made the bed of a dry lake,
Tiedhenpa, with splendid feed and park-like appearance of considerable
extent. The remaining part of the distance was alternate low sandy hills
and flooded narrow flats. Camels and horses arrived at Lake
Moolionboorrana camp on north-east side of creek at 3.30 p.m. Distance
about eleven miles. Exceedingly scant of timber. The cart and sheep not
having got to camp, started Bell and Wylde with three horses back to
ascertain the cause of detention, and take food for the men if they were
unable to bring the dray during the evening; but it became so dark that
they could not retrace the tracks of their horses. At 10 p.m. returned to
camp without having seen or heard anything of cart or sheep. Will start
off again at daylight. A number of natives round the lake. Innumerable
pelicans, and numbers of ducks, gulls, waders, cormorants, fish, and
pigeons, and abundance of green grass; but no shade or protection from
the extreme heat of the sun. Rain has fallen here some short time since,
small quantities being still in the claypans; and from the cloudy
appearance of the sky with thunder to the north I fancy it has fallen
heavily in that quarter.

Sunday, December 22.

At daylight sent Mr. Hodgkinson, Bell, and a native with four horses to
cart, to know cause of detention, etc. Unfortunately the thermometer got
broken yesterday which will prevent in future our ascertaining the
temperature of the interior, which is much to be regretted as no doubt it
would interest many. Wind south. Bullock cart got to camp at 8.20 a.m.
having had an upset. Nothing particularly wrong with it. Sheep all right.
Will spell today to recruit bullocks and men that were with them, all
having had to be on watch during the night as the natives were round and
about them the whole time--for what purpose they did not know. At 8.30
wind chopped round to north-north-east and very warm. This lake is
circular and almost without timber; but is a fine sheet of water and will
stand the weather well. There is a great deal of soda in it. It is about
two and a half to three miles long from north to south and about two
miles from east to west; the creek that supplies it (filling it from
north-west end) coming from north. The bullocks are so jaded with the
heat of the past two days and the heavy nature of the ground that they
have hardly left the water during the day without being driven; they even
went so far as to go out and lie down in it for hours.

Monday, December 23.

Wind north-north-east; sky very much overcast to southward and round by
west to north. Bullocks started at 7.40 a.m. I started with native at the
same time and reached the Creek Gadhungoonie, with a considerable
quantity of water and fully half a mile in length; but so thoroughly
bitter and salty that it was quite unfit for man or beast. Must now start
out to another creek some distance off (by report) although I meant to
give the bullocks a short day of it. Spelled till the camels came up and
started on to Abberanginnie Lake Creek, or rather I believe,
Watthiegurtie Creek, which is the creek that fills the lake--the latter
being now dry. Came over some seven and a half miles of country to
Watthiegurtie, which is also salt and bitter, and started then for
Caunboogonannie. At 2 p.m. passed in my way two salt lakes to the south
with salt-water in them, respectively named Anodhampa and Thoorpalinnie;
passed also to north a recently dried up lake named Gnooloomacannie, well
timbered round its shores, with abundance of grass all over it. Arrived
at this splendid lake (Caunboogonannie) at 3.55 p.m. Splendid water and
feed. This lake also is nearly circular and about two and a half to three
miles in diameter. This lake I have called Jeannie after a young lady
acquaintance--Miss Pile of Gawler. The cart could not get further than
the last bitter water we passed today. Immediately south of that is the
dry bed of Lake Uilgobarrannie, and immediately on the north-west side of
that lake is the dry bed of Lake Caunmarriegoteinnie. This little creek,
flowing nearly south, fills Abberingannie Lake, now nearly dry, and Lakes
Anodhampa and Thoorpalinnie--both at present with water but unfit for
use; plenty of good feed round all.

Tuesday, December 24.

At daylight sent Mr. Hodgkinson to the cart with a packhorse and two
canteens of water, and to point out a more firm place for the cart to
cross Watthiegurtie Creek than where we crossed the camels and horses, it
being very boggy. A vast number of natives here, and upon the whole about
the finest race I have seen in the colonies, and at present apparently
friendly. Any quantity of fish and hundreds of pelicans. This country is
fit for any description of stock and, with anything like a moderate
supply of rain, would be most excellent country; even as it is it is not
equalled to the southward as far as Kanyaka, Mr. Phillip's station near
Mount Brown. Mr. Hodgkinson found a better crossing for the cart a little
north, and it arrived here in safety at 12.30 p.m.--they found a little
drinkable water last night. Kirby, with the sheep, got astray today but
was soon picked up again and brought to camp about sunset by Wylde and
Bell.

Wednesday, December 25.

Christmas Day; wind variable, principally from the south, but warm.
Natives were prowling in numbers about our camp late last night. I sent
up a rocket that exploded well and had the desired effect, causing a
general rush of the whole of the sable gentry towards their camp, which
latter in their fear did not check their mad career until they found
there was no pursuit; but today they again came up to our camp quite
unconcerned as if nothing had happened--better it should be so as no
doubt I shall find them of great use in pointing out the principal waters
within their knowledge. Spelling to recruit everybody and everything, and
hope to make a good start tomorrow morning. Had an excellent dinner of
roast mutton and plum pudding and did not envy anyone in the City of
Adelaide.

Thursday, December 26.

MK (conjoined), Decr. 23, 24, 25. Dig. Arrow at 7 o'clock. Documents
deposited for relief party under tree marked as above. Wind strong
south-south-east. All the animals right this morning; started the
bullocks and sheep at 7.45, rounding the north end of lake--my course is
right through it bearing 89 degrees for Lake Dhalinnie. At two and a half
miles came to creek that falls into this one we are now encamped on; go
up it half a mile north-east to cross it; sent the cart round by the
creek to be on level ground whilst I go direct to Dhalinnie. At four and
a half miles clear the lake, and at three and a half miles further arrive
at the Lake Dhalinnie--a treeless lake, fully a mile from north to south
and little better than half a mile from east to west. Appam Barra from
this bears 4 degrees, Cannboogonanni camp 269 degrees. Started at 10.11
a.m. to meet the cart on a bearing of about 330 degrees to take them to
Appam Barra; meet the camp 10.30 and go on a bearing of 6 1/2 degrees for
Appam Barra at 10.40. After spelling ten minutes crossed creek at 11.53;
at 12.10 got to Appam Barra Creek, well filled with water, going
north-north-west from north-north-east, then round to south-south-east
and south, in the distance filling a few lakes in its course on coming
from the first quarter--a considerable number of natives here. Went on
the north-north-east course one and a quarter miles on bearing of 8
degrees; camped immediately beyond where a branch leaves the main creek
going southward--a good-sized creek about, at its junction, seventy yards
wide and fifteen feet deep; main creek about one hundred yards wide and
twenty to twenty-five feet deep; lots of mussels, crayfish, and fish of
all sorts. No great abundance of feed here nor is the country so good as
has been passed, having a very desert and sterile appearance with a
jumble of sandhills, flooded land, and a considerable quantity of
samphire bushes, large saltbush, polygonum, and other shrubs. The natives
(a fine body of men) whether from curiosity or otherwise, were with much
difficulty got away from the camp at night.

Friday, December 27.

Wind north-east; the animals went straying some considerable distance and
were late in being recovered (4.30 p.m.) having gone back to last camp,
therefore we did not get a start today. Half of the horses broke and lost
their hobbles; and the loss of chains is serious as they cannot be
replaced here.

Saturday, December 28.

Not a breath of wind at daylight. Distributed yesterday to natives
(fifty-three) necklaces, etc.; there was a considerable number more men
present in the morning but they had gone somewhere before the
distribution. They are a splendid lot of people and in most excellent
condition, much better than the appearance of the country here would
warrant. They appear friendly but were about during last night. A large
flight of galahs just passing. Gulls, pigeons, and ducks of all sorts
abound. It was my intention to have taken the cart round to examine the
lakes and creeks east and south of my present position; but as the
sandhills are rather large and steep I will do it with the camels and
horses, and merely today take the cart to a better place for camping
during the time I am engaged at this work, and more on the course I wish
to follow after this part of the work is finished. Marked tree at camp MK
(conjoined), 26, 27-12-61. Horses, bullocks, camels, sheep all right,
although dropped a lame ewe heavy in lamb last night which has not yet
been recovered. Started at 7.30 and went round northward one mile and
crossed creek at four miles; got to a pretty little lake Wattiwidulo.
Abundance of good feed and water; natives round the lake; but on going
about half mile to top of a small sandhill I then had opened to my view
an extensive basin of water forming part of the lake continuing far off
to south-west by south. A splendid sheet of water which I have named Lake
Hodgkinson after my second in command. Course today 338 degrees.
Immediately on arrival here was completely besieged by the natives, male
and female, young and old, for beads for necklaces which I distributed as
far as they went, but it has much reduced my supply and leaves but a
scanty remnant for the next lot we meet, as meet them we surely will in
such a country as this, affording them as it does such a supply of food.
I will proceed with a couple of camels and some horses to the eastward a
short distance to examine some lakes and creeks reported to be in that
quarter, and will leave the remainder of the party in camp here till my
return. The country travelled over today though a short distance was very
good--plenty of grass on the sandhills of a good sort. Although that
veteran explorer Sturt must have passed not far from this in his last
attempt to gain the centre of the continent he reported to have only
fallen in with, or had reason to believe, there were but few natives. How
the large body of people that is scattered all over this part could have
escaped him I cannot account for. Go where you will you will find them in
groups of fifties and hundreds, and often many more, and generally a
jolly lot of fellows and all in capital condition. As has been noticed by
former explorers the females in number amongst the children are much
greater than the males, but neither very numerous. Amongst the adults
(both sexes) they knock out the four front teeth of the upper jaw; but
there are others both male and female that are quite perfect, more here
than noticed anywhere else on the journey. Killed a sheep on arrival here
today to jerk for our coming journey to the east, but was so fat that the
small flock had to be examined for a poorer one for that purpose. That
does not speak badly of the part of the country we are now in.

Sunday, December 29.

Camp at Wattiwidulo, or Lake Hodgkinson. Just where we are encamped by it
it does not appear to be deep, but to the south and west I fancy there is
a good deal of water. Wind south-west and exceedingly hot and sultry. In
the afternoon an old man arrived here from our old depot and reported
that a party of whites had arrived at the late depot with a number of
horses and were on their way this course from the settled districts. What
faith to put in the report it is difficult to say. Ready to start east in
the morning.

Monday, December 30.

Sky very much overcast and very sultry; wind from north-east. Started at
8.10 with two camels and five horses and a week's provisions. At four and
a half miles got to Appambarra, near old camp at the dray crossing. At
8.45 arrived at about one mile west of dry lake Toondowlowannie; centre
bearing of lake north and south, three miles, by a width east and west of
one and a half miles; well grassed. At ten and a quarter miles passed
south end of lake and travelled on flooded ground on west side of
Cariderro Creek, in which there is water, to where we cut the Cariderro
Creek, about sixteen miles, at a place in the creek where the large creek
branches off east and fills a large lake now dry; abundance of feed. Lake
called Marcourgannie and found water in creek--a short distance south,
from which quarter it appears to come--it is a splendid gum creek, from
eighty to one hundred yards wide and fifteen to twenty feet deep, and
flows a northward course. Started after spelling a time and went one and
a quarter miles on bearing of 239 degrees to Appadarannie, now a dry lake
with abundance of good feed in its bed; then went south by east eight
miles along the Cariderro Creek. It is a splendid one and well lined with
fine gumtrees, and as far as we went I may say was one continuous sheet
of water, and with not less than from 200 to 300 natives. I have named it
Browne Creek after W.H. Browne, Esquire. Many of the natives have
apparently quite white hair and beards; they were particularly anxious
that we should encamp with them; they were the first tribe that we fell
in with so fully armed, every man with a shield and a lot of boomerangs
and some with spears. I thought it better not to camp there as they had a
good deal of sneaking and concealing themselves from bush to bush, and
might have brought about a disturbance, which I did not desire. Took some
water in air bags and started out from the creek one and a quarter miles;
then on a bearing of 5 degrees for Appacalradillie lake, seven miles
fully. Crossed and camped on east corner of dry lake Marcourgannie, and
on the margin of the dry lake Merradaboodaboo; the bulk of this last lake
bearing north from this and splendidly grassed.

Tuesday, December 31.

Started at 6.30 a.m. to Appacalradillie lake, through side of Lake
Merradaboodaboo; passed several flooded flats proceeding east from
last-named dry lake--the first of which was an extensive one, passing on
our course from left round to the right and apparently round to south as
far as visible, then over alternate and indifferent flats and large
sandhills--a considerable deal of flooded land to the westward. At
fifteen miles arrived on top of a very prominent sandhill which I have
named Mount MacDonnell, from which hill opens out to our view two
beautiful lakes which, in honour of her Ladyship and His Excellency the
present Governor of South Australia, I have named respectively Lake
Blanche and Lake Sir Richard, separated by a small sandy rise through
which passes a small channel that connects them, and which I have named
New Year's Straits.

Wednesday, January 1, 1862.

Started at 6.45 round the first lake, Blanche (Lady MacDonnell) to where
the creek passes through a low sandhill and connects it with the other
lake, Sir Richard (His Excellency the Governor). The first-named of these
lakes is, where it was tried, between five and six feet deep and seven
and three-quarter miles in circumference, nearly circular, bare of
timber, and tens of thousands of pelicans on it, one solitary swan, with
innumerable other birds, gulls and ducks of various kinds (one new and
one dark brown large-winged), cormorants, avocats, white spoonbills,
crows, kites, pigeons and magpies of various kinds, and plenty of fish.
The other lake immediately adjoins and its south-east end is more to the
eastward than Lake Blanche, it is nearly circular and is six and
three-quarter miles in circumference, but when casually tried was not
quite five feet deep; pelicans, birds of kinds, fish, etc., as the other.
Between forty and fifty men (natives) came to meet us as we were passing
round the lakes at the creek, which they had all to swim and, from the
appearance of the camp some short distance off, there could not have been
less than about 150, all apparently friendly. Started from north-west end
of Lake Sir Richard and went along the course of the creek that fills
these lakes on a bearing of 305 degrees for ---- miles; then
south-south-west half a mile to a fine basin of water in the valley of
the creek, three-quarters of a mile wide and more than that in length,
and opening again and contracting alternately up to Lake Blanche which,
in honour of the veteran explorer, I have named Sturt's Ponds; abundance
of fish and fowls. From this point course 308 degrees up the creek for
four miles; at two miles a creek went off to the right through a flooded
flat, thence on a course varying from 224 to 239 degrees, principally
through what was recently a large lake--now a splendidly-grassed plain of
vast extent, and at the latter part a few small sandhills. Distance today
thirty-six miles.

Thursday, January 2.

At camp and keeping the New Year instead of yesterday. It is quite a
treat to sit on the banks of this fine sheet of water and look at the
innumerable waterfowl on its surface chasing their prey.

Friday, January 3.

Heavy dew. Started out this morning with two camels and five horses to
examine some lakes and creeks to west and south of this position; I take
with me Mr. Hodgkinson, Middleton, Wylde, and native. On my return intend
moving camp to north and east to where I saw the creek bearing off to the
right or north-east from about two miles north-west of Sturt's Ponds;
which creek I am led to believe runs off into the interior by north on
the round by west and south, passing my old depot, Lake Buchanan. On
second thoughts I have moved camp to a better place on this lake, north,
on the opposite side, where there is better shade, and the glare of the
sun less injurious to the eyes of the party than here. Marked tree MK
(conjoined) from 28-12-61, to 3-1-62, and started to examine the lakes
reported to be south and west. At six miles arrived on opposite side of
where we camped for the last few days, and estimate its circumference at
fifteen to sixteen miles, its greatest breadth two miles, its least about
600 yards--at a promontory that runs into it from the south-east side. A
large creek fills it from south-east, about two and a half to three miles
west-south-west from our New Year camp which I have named Hayward, after
Frederick Hayward, Esquire, of Aroona, South Australia--a deep swimmable
creek, well timbered, plenty of fish and fowls--then went southward to
Lake Wattygaroony, a fine deep lake which is named Lake Strangways after
the Honourable the Commissioner of Crown Lands. The creek that fills it
from the south and east I have called the Alfred. The lake is quite nine
miles in circumference; scant of timber; from the creek round south-west
end and side; abundance of feed, etc., from north side of lake and one
mile north-westerly of clearing it; our new camp on Lake Hodgkinson bears
71 degrees. About eight miles; returned to camp same day.

Saturday, January 4.

Camp, Lake Hodgkinson. Shoeing horses, repairing pack-bags, etc.

Sunday, January 5.

I, with Poole and a black, went out north to see what the country was
like. On bearing 360 degrees over sandhills arrived at and found lake
dry; four and a half miles of stones around it, same as in stony desert;
went through the middle of it, it sweeps round from north-east to
south-west; passed through it where it was two miles broad, it is fed
from Lake Goonalcarae (now dry); the lake passed through has not had a
supply of water for years apparently; lots of dead mussels and crayfish
in its bed. At two and a half miles further (nine miles in all) over
sandhills, changed course to 16 degrees for a large sandhill in the
distance, the country to the north being rather low. At two and a half
miles on this course came upon a succession of flooded basins, some of
great extent, Gnatowullie, and slightly lined with stunted box, some as
high up the sides of the sandhills as forty-five to fifty feet, entirely
supplied by the rains but have not had a supply for some time, as there
was neither water nor vegetation; which flooded basins continued till I
went nine miles on this last course and from the top of the hill could
distinctly see the beds of innumerable others of the same kind. From west
round to north-east and east some dark-peaked sandhills, north-east of
last course, as far as I could discern with the aid of a glass; turned
back on course of 200 degrees to where I saw some shady box trees about
two and a half miles, and turned out horses to rest and went to camp
direct. On bearing of 187 degrees at five and a half miles came to the
watercourse that supplies the dry lake Marroboothana from Goonalcarae,
which I have named the Ellar, and the creek that fills it, in which there
is at present water, Ellar's Creek.


Monday, January 6.

Marked tree MK (conjoined), from 3 to 6-62, Dig arrow at 7 o'clock, and
deposited a document in tin envelope for the search parties from the
north coast. Started at 6.30 with the bullock-cart, the horses and camels
following, for Lakes Lady Blanche and Sir Richard, for the purpose of
following the creek I observed when there the other day, and which the
natives inform me goes northward, then westward and southward, through
the stony desert. Arrived about 3.30 by rather a circuitous route to the
northward of our proper course, but was guided that way to avoid many
heavy sandhills. Distance between twenty-two and twenty-three miles.

Tuesday, January 7.

At Lake Blanche; went out north with Mr. Hodgkinson and native to examine
the creek alluded to, but to my disappointment found that it only formed
a large valley and, at some distance on a dry lake, Millie Millie, to the
eastward of Lake Sir Richard, over some high sandhills; returned very
much chagrined and have made up my mind to stay here a short time,
although very poor shelter from the excessive heat of the sun (today even
it blows as if from a furnace) and endeavour with the camels to ascertain
the description of country first to the east, and probably also from
here, if the camels will stand it, to the north; from the appearance of
the country about here I do not expect any water at least for some
distance; the land low, hills between the two lakes and running northward
for some five or six miles have just the appearance of dirty drift snow
heaps with heath bushes protruding; whereas those round to north-east,
east, south, and south-east are a glaring red, with coarse grass and
shrubs. Shortly after my return today a number of natives got the
bullocks on the east side of the creek New Year Straits, about two and a
half miles from camp and raced them round Lake Blanche from us in sight;
on seeing which five of the party got mounted and armed and went after
them; they had taken the bullocks two-thirds of the way round the lake
and by some means they broke back from them; they did their best to
overtake and turn them again for about two or three miles; when they
observed the horsemen they immediately took to flight, and where shelter
was so abundant, of course, were immediately out of reach and sight of
the horsemen. What their intentions were was difficult to say but it
looked rather suspicious; took the bullocks to camp late and hobbled most
of them. The evening before leaving Lake Hodgkinson, about 8.30 p.m.,
they took both horses and bullocks and raced them round from us for about
three miles but were pursued on foot by three of the party who succeeded
in getting all the bullocks and horses after having broken three-fourths
of their chains, and were in a very excited state, nor could the horses
be quieted for more than two hours afterwards, but the wary savage was
nowhere to be seen.

Wednesday, January 8.

Moved camp about three-quarters of a mile to a little wood and camped.
Fearfully hot, wind east-north-east.

Thursday, January 9.

Camp, Lake Blanche, between the two lakes, where one would imagine the
breeze from such a body of water would render the air cool, but the heat
is almost intolerable. Wind from east-north-east to east-south-east blew
quite a gale in the night, levelling tents, etc., to the earth,
accompanied with a good deal of thunder and lightning and slight spitting
of rain for a few minutes, when it ceased. The gale kept on for two and a
half hours and gradually died away.

Friday, January 10.

Camp, Lake Blanche. One would suppose that after so much thunder and
lightning the air would be more pure and cool, but nothing of the kind
was apparent, nothing but intense heat, prostrating all the animals.
Horses and sheep taking refuge from the intense rays of the sun round and
under such bushes or trees they could get till the cool of the evening.
Wind light easterly. I sincerely wish we had a change of the weather,
warmer it cannot get, so that the change must be for the better, and
enable us to be doing something. This is far from the most agreeable
position for a camp for, although we have any quantity of water, we have
no shade, and the glare reflected from the low light-coloured sandhills
and flats is very trying to the eyes; even the natives who are a numerous
body here (150 to 200) scarcely stir out, except morning and evening for
fishing, fish being their chief sustenance with addo, Burke's nardoo.

Saturday, January 11.

Sun rose red as a ball of fire. We had a magnificent sunset last night;
wind chopping all round the compass; intense heat; fleecy clouds.

Sunday, January 12.

Camp, Lake Blanche. Before daylight a considerable deal of thunder and
lightning. Squally but passed off without any rain. Cloudy during the
day. Wind from all quarters, heat intense, and sultry towards evening,
threatened much for rain; wind from east to north-east, accompanied with
thunder and lightning. I sincerely trust that we may have a good fall of
it, if it comes at all. Rain all blew past and wind chopping in all
directions.

Monday, January 13.

Wind from all quarters but rather more cool than for the last few days.
If nothing particular occurs before tomorrow morning will make a start
out eastward for fifty or sixty miles to see what sort of country it is,
and if there is any main creek running north up through it. It is very
calm towards evening with heavy clouds all round the horizon.

Tuesday, January 14.

Eastward today over undulations, sandhills, claypans, and flats for
nineteen miles till we reached a very prominent high hill which I have
called Mount Wylde. A considerable range is visible to east and south of
east. Went on for seven miles further over sand ridges covered with
spinifex, successive box-covered flooded flats, formed by heavy rains,
through which were innumerable small creeks no doubt in heavy rains
forming source or tributaries to Cooper's Creek. Took the horses out this
morning to make the work lighter for the camels on the march. Sent the
horses back again this afternoon; gave the camels from three to four
gallons of water each--they appeared as if they could have drunk all that
we possessed. Distance travelled today about twenty-six miles. East in
the far distance I can trace the continuance of the range.

Wednesday, January 15.

Every appearance of a hot day. Followed over hard sand undulations,
well-grassed with some little spinifex intermixed, with a creek on our
left, and crossed it at eight miles going south-east then apparently
south--gum and box on creek and a sandy bed. We then passed over some
good grassed country with stony flats and latterly a stony sandhill, the
ascent difficult for the camels on account of the sharp stones for ten
miles; distance making in all eighteen miles. Low hills about six or
seven miles ahead running north and south; nothing very marked about
them. The heat fearful; camels not doing so well as I could wish so will
give them all the water that is to spare and proceed towards camp this
evening in the cool--they won't feed nor stay without constant watching.
Started back at 8.30 p.m. Went first to the south of west to avoid a
stony hill by going round a valley then went on for about fifteen miles.

Thursday, January 16.

Started at 6 a.m., then bore for Mount Wylde. The greater portion of last
night's and today's journey was over spinifex country. Passed immediately
after starting a couple of creeks, drainage to the north--whether they
continued that course and gradually swerved to the east and joined a
larger one under the main range to east and formed one and passed on to
the southward to Cooper's Creek, or formed rainwater lakes (vast numbers
of them here and well timbered and often visited by natives) I cannot
pretend to say. From Mount Wylde came in on the lakes on our outward
track and arrived at camp at 2 p.m. Found some of the party, namely Bell,
Davis, and Maitland, laid up with dysentery, the former seriously. Have
made up my mind to leave this after one day's spell for the camels and go
back to different water, as this must contain some medicinal properties
that I am ignorant of, and affects all of us more or less; no doubt the
weather has a good deal to do with it--the heat is fearful.

Friday, January 17.

Wind east by north. If nothing particular occurs will start from this in
the morning as I see nothing can be done here but going north for some
distance, and that I can do from where I proceed tomorrow as well as from
here, and with better water for the party. Excessively hot and sultry
today and very cloudy. We have more or less lightning every day or night
and it appears occasionally to be raining all round us but never gives us
a benefit. Blew strong from south-east all night. Marked tree MK
(conjoined), fm. 6 to 18-1-62.

Saturday, January 18.

Wind from south-east. Bell very little improved, the rest much better.
Bullocks up and yoked before sunrise. It appears to be gathering all
round for rain but as usual I suppose will pass off without our being
favoured with any. The natives lately have hardly ever visited the camp;
I suppose their curiosity was satiated after the first few days, and when
they found they could not drive off the animals without being heard or
observed, and the probable consequences, they thought proper to keep
aloof. Start this morning for Goonalcarae Creek, or Ellar's Creek, where
there is abundance of fine feed, water, and protection from the excessive
heat of the sun. Bullocks start at 7 a.m.; passed on our right the
recently-dried bed of a very nice lake, and so deceptive was it from its
appearance some distance off that even the natives insisted that there
was still water in it, but there was not any. The lake I have called
Deception--it is a nice lake and retains water for a very long time. I
pushed on through the flooded and well-grassed bed of Goonalcarae, or
Ellar's Swamp. First went on a westerly course then on a southerly to the
creek, but did not admire the water which was neither abundant nor sweet,
although there were innumerable birds and some natives there. Went on to
Lake Hodgkinson and was astonished to find it so much dried up in only
twelve days, that being the time since we left it, and the water now
quite bitter; then went on to Hayward's Creek that fills Lake Hodgkinson,
and there found abundance of everything that we required--feed, water,
wood, and shelter from the broiling sun. The dray did not get this length
but camped on east end of lake, and obtaining for their use water, by
digging, at four feet from the surface, good and clear; the cart will
come on here in the morning and I shall remain here till there is a
change in the weather as it is fearfully trying; there has been a shower
on our course since we passed on our way to Lakes Blanche and Sir
Richard, but nothing of any consequence. The horses were more done up
today than I have yet seen them from the oppressive heat.

Sunday, January 19.

Dray came in about noon; a considerable number of natives here on creek.

Monday, January 20.

Camp, Hayward's Creek; wind very strong from north-east to south-east.

Tuesday, January 21.

Camp, Hayward's Creek; wind chopping all round; heavy rain apparently to
the north and north-east, but little of it came this way; gave the native
who has been with us so long an old ewe to distribute amongst his
friends.

Wednesday, January 22.

At daylight a Scotch mist from south; by 7 a.m. it came on a steady rain
and lasted till 8.15 a.m., when it cleared off, still appearing to rain
to north-east and west of this. Clear to the south with the wind from
latter quarter; during remainder of the day weather cleared up in all
quarters with a south wind, although a good many clouds are flying about.
Went round the lake to see what quantity of water was likely to be in the
claypans where it fell the heaviest yesterday; there is not so much as I
expected but still I will start out north tomorrow to ascertain the
nature of the country and see if there be any watercourse in that
direction that may hereafter be of use to parties wishing to pass to the
north coast; but from what I saw to the east, and the country between
that and this, I have very little hope of anything of the kind, but
believe there is a creek to the westward of this that either comes from
or goes to a latitude beyond and east of Sturt's furthest.

Thursday, January 23.

Started out at 11.30 a.m.; got to the top of a sandhill on north side of
Lake Hodgkinson about six miles from camp; camp bearing about 175
degrees; passed (dry) Lake Marraboothana; then through flats and basins,
a large one cutting our course. Changed course and came to a dry creek
called Pantyhwurladgie; then on a bearing of 284 degrees over stony
desert for a large sandhill; a little water back about two miles from
whence we shall have to send for it amongst the stones. Total distance
travelled about thirty-three miles; to the north-east and south all
stones, but sandhills bound the two latter quarters; beyond the
termination of large sandhill there is nothing visible. To the west is a
succession of sandhills running north and south, and terminating in
desert and stony plains. Round to 348 degrees; in the distance are to be
seen some terminations of inconsiderable sandhills.

Friday, January 24.

The country being short of water I merely go out today to return
tomorrow; leaving here all the rations I intended for the journey
northward, which for the present I had abandoned with the intention at a
more suitable time to try it. Natives are with me but they declare it to
be all dry; but I cannot rely on their statements at all times. The
water, our supply for today, is about two miles off in the desert; our
journey being over a succession of very high sandhills and stony flooded
flats; skirting, for the first three-quarters of an hour, the desert to
this spot, with a large red-topped sandhill on our right which terminates
close by; have not seen a drop of water during the day and camp without
it. I return tomorrow early for the last water which will be nearly dried
up by the time I reach it. Distance travelled today twenty-four miles.
Tops of all the hills to north-east and east are very red, quite free
from vegetation on tops and some with spinifex on their sides. To north,
termination of sandhills with stony flats; north-west, unbroken horizon;
from west-north-west round towards south-west a sandhill in the distance;
altogether a dreary spot. A heavy-timbered creek comes in from south-west
into the desert and appears in the distance to have a tributary from
east-south-east; the timber ceases as it comes on to the open desert
plain between four and five miles from this. Quite an unbroken horizon to
the west of north-west for some distance. The sandhills that are in view
are small and detached.

Saturday, January 25.

Started back and got to water just in time to give the horses about half
as much as they could drink and a little for ourselves; rapid evaporation
has taken place since we left yesterday, for then there was enough for
100 horses, now there is not half enough for our eight; so must make for
one of the permanent waters south of this tomorrow; have to close-hobble
our horses and tie their heads down to them to prevent them straying too
far. Strong breeze from the southward.

Sunday, January 26.

Started at 7 a.m. for Coonhadie, a rainwater watering-place in desert,
but found it quite dry; start for camp, Hayward's Creek, and arrived at 1
p.m.; distance about twenty-nine and a quarter miles direct from place to
place, but we made it more, being obliged to go round to avoid sandhills
and rounding Lake Hodgkinson. The horses stood much in need of water and
seemed to enjoy it much, from quantity they drank and the time they took
about it. It was fortunate for us that the weather was cool for the
season of the year. Wind south and east; found all right at the camp and
the men that were ailing much improved. The water in the creek is
diminishing gradually, about three-quarters of an inch per day.

Monday, January 27.

Camp, Hayward's Creek. Wind easterly. Natives very much displeased at our
remaining here but until the weather suits my purpose better than it does
at present they must put up with it.

Tuesday, January 28.

Camp, Hayward's Creek. Wind east and south, very hot. Several of the
party still complaining, the cause of which is difficult to say as the
water in the creek appears good and there is plenty of it. The water in
the creek is between five and six miles long. There is a lake or swamp
rapidly drying up close by, from which there is a very disagreeable odour
when the wind is from that quarter; the ailing may proceed from the
malaria arising from that place; other waters in the immediate
neighbourhood drying up fast. Natives in a great state of excitement
today, wishing to inform me that the flood, or arimitha, was coming down
and that we must get out of this or we should be drowned (I only wish it
would come) stating that it had now reached as far as a place I know
well, so tomorrow will make it my business to ride over that length to
the south and east to Browne's Creek to ascertain the truth or otherwise
of this information.

Wednesday, January 29.

Wind north and east. Started with Middleton to ascertain if the flood is
really coming down or not; followed this creek round my way and was quite
astonished at the number of natives I saw--they must have been
considerably over three hundred--and I am satisfied that I did not see
them all as I did not go quite up to their camp; we had no conception
that there were any such numbers so close to us, a distance of only some
six or seven miles. There are myriads of fish of various kinds. There was
a camp close by till yesterday, within less than half a mile, but I never
saw more than one hundred in it at one time--averaging from forty to
sixty. They pass our camp with their nets to drag the creek between this
and the lake, and come back loaded with the denizens of the creek; they
are not at all liberal with them. I should be sorry to trust to their
hospitality or generosity as I think they possess but little of either of
those qualities. Arrived at Browne's Creek, at the place named by natives
for the arrival of the flood, but found their tale false--they saw me on
my way there and I suppose knew my errand--some of shallowest waters in
the upper holes of the creek had dried up since I saw them last but there
is abundance lower down.

Thursday, January 30.

Wind east. Camp, Hayward's Creek. Natives kept much aloof today, I
suppose in consequence of my finding their piece of gratuitous
information false. Self and all the party affected with griping and
vomiting with the exception of Middleton and Davis. Cannot make out the
cause; I wish it would rain that I could start through the desert out of
this and get on to the waters to north and west of this, and be doing
something, as this sort of life is worse than hard work on the
constitution. There is one thing, this detention here has enabled us to
have the backs of the working animals attended to better than we could
otherwise have done, and they are all on splendid feed, but the flies and
excessive heat of the sun is very much against the healing of any kind of
sores or wounds. I had occasion to bleed several of the horses and, from
the mere incision caused by the fleam, the necks of several swelled up
very much although every precaution was adopted.

Friday, January 31.

Started out to pick an easy track for the cart towards Moolianbrooana
Lake; found a pretty good one on to the old cart tracks which will do;
went then to ascertain how the waters were standing in Caunboogonannie,
or Lake Jeannie, and found that, although there was still a very
considerable quantity in the lake from the vast number of waterfowl upon
it, and perhaps other causes, it had acquired a disagreeable taste, and I
have no doubt that it will get quite unfit for use in a month or so if it
does not receive a fresh supply during that time. From a hole dug about
eighteen inches from the water's edge I had a drink and a pot of tea of
excellent water; lots of natives round and in the lake, although round
the margin I observed innumerable small fish (parrow) dead, washed in by
the wind and ripple of the lake. Our horses did not seem to admire the
water but that I am not astonished at.

Saturday, February 1.

Hayward's Creek. Wind east; party still ailing.

Sunday, February 2.

Camp, Hayward's Creek. Some of party better and some worse. Wind
easterly.

Monday, February 3.

Camp, Hayward's Creek. Wind easterly; digging a well, in case the origin
of our sickness be caused by the water in the creek.

Tuesday, February 4.

Camp, Hayward's Creek. Wind north and gusty with hot puffs. Got the well
down about fifteen feet; the lower part, for about seven or eight feet,
chiefly through sand; abundance of water but salt to the taste and I
think unfit for use. Had it emptied out when it soon filled; the water
continues salt and lathers well with soap and can wash well; it cannot be
used by us although the natives don't despise it.

Wednesday, February 5.

Camp, Hayward's Creek. Wind from east and west of north during the
morning with hot gusts, very oppressive.

Thursday, February 6.

Camp, at Hayward's Creek. Wind north till late in the afternoon with some
thunder and lightning and a good many clouds; appears in the distance to
be raining in patches, but I have so often been deceived that I now take
less notice of appearances of that kind; late in the afternoon the wind
chopped round to south. Has been very hot and sultry all day. Intend in
the morning to send Mr. Hodgkinson and Middleton to Lake Goonaidringinnie
to ascertain for certain if that lake still contains abundance of water,
and good, as I think it does--and on the way to pass and examine Lake
Moolionboorana to see if it will suit as a stage to camp at on our
journey to Goonaidringinne, as it was not very deep when I was there last
and I have my doubts about it. The natives report a considerable quantity
of rain to have fallen to the east and towards north-east in the country
north of Lakes Blanche and MacDonnell or Appacalradillie. If so I wish it
had fallen when I was there that I might have been able to have examined
the country there thoroughly.

Friday, February 7.

Started Mr. Hodgkinson and Middleton to Lake Goonaidringinnie. Wind from
all points of compass with many clouds; weather disagreeable and sultry
during the day; rained steadily once or twice during the night with a
good deal of thunder and lightning in the distance; much rain must have
fallen to east and north of east as well as to the south.

Saturday, February 8.

Splendid rain and steady. Thundering all round with every appearance of a
considerable quantity of rain which will, I trust, come in such abundance
as to enable me to push to the north-west across the desert, as up to
this time I have been completely shut up, as it were, here for want of a
decent shower to enable me to do anything of service anywhere; and the
provisions gradually getting less although the ration is now as low as I
can well make it. I have reduced it first from 8 pounds of flour per man
per week to 7 pounds, then to 6 pounds, then to 4 1/2 pounds; sugar
reduced from 2 pounds per man per week to 1 1/2 pounds; and tea from 4
ounces to 3 ounces per man per week, with plenty of good mutton; but we
find the supply of flour very scanty at the 4 1/2 pounds. There has been
a good deal of loss in weight in the bags of flour, as much as 9 pounds
per 100 pounds; and a great portion of it had a most disagreeable taste
and flavour from some naphtha, or some such liquid, having been
carelessly allowed to be spilt over it on its way, I understand, from
Port Augusta to Blanchewater; and I attribute the whole of the illness of
the party to the use of the flour saturated as it is by this rascally
stuff. In the afternoon Mr. Hodgkinson and Middleton returned; they
report having seen a considerable quantity of rainwater about thirteen
miles this side of Lake Goonaidringinnie, and plenty of water in that
lake and good; also plenty of natives on its banks. Lake Moolionboorana
very much reduced and unfit for my purpose. Heavy rain all through the
night with heavy thunder and lightnings. I have now abandoned the idea of
going to Goonaidringinnie and will start towards Eyre's Creek, passing or
following, at some seventy miles from this, a large creek named by the
natives here Panbacra.

Sunday, February 9.

Still raining a little and the ground too soft to travel over but, if
much more does not fall, will start in the morning. The rain that has
fallen is quite a godsend, both to this party and to the natives who have
started off to the sandhills in all directions to obtain the lizards and
other animals that escape to the sandhills for protection from the
floods.

Monday, February 10.

Started the cart at 7.50 a.m., and horses and camels to start afterwards
for Wattiegoroonita. Passed over sandhills to top of a sandhill that
rounds the lake, and over alternate sandhills and bare flats for nine and
a half miles, passing at about six miles on the last course a small salt
lake; travelled on the north-east side of it as it was boggy. The lake is
called Warmagoladhailie. The ground very soft and heavy travelling.
Travelled along the sand ranges and over spinifex and stony flooded
flats, then over one small sandhill and stony desert. Camped at a few
bushes to boil the teakettle, there being not a blade of grass; but a few
saltbushes are near which the animals must do the best with for one
night. Astonishing the small quantity of water passed for the last eight
or nine miles. Distance travelled today twenty-four miles. The natives
are out here looking for the snakes and other small reptiles and animals
that live in the sandhills everywhere in this quarter whether hot or
cold, regardless of the want of water. This is a most dismal-looking
camp; there are a few isolated sandhills north and west of this. Cart and
sheep not up tonight.

Tuesday, February 11.

The cart did not arrive last night as above-mentioned for the reason that
one of the bullocks was taken with the staggers. They camped about two
and a half miles back and arrived here this morning at 5.45 a.m.; turned
the bullocks out for a time to get a drink and pick a few bushes, and
started again at 7.48. Travelled for nine miles over desert stony plains
and got to top of large sandhill. This hill is called Cannacannanthainya.
Some distance off another sandhill called Mallapoorponannie; and another
not quite so far called Cookorda. Another long leading sand range in the
distance called Goontyaerie, at the northern termination of which is at
present a dry creek known by the above name. There is a native well there
and another a little further west. To give the ailing bullock, as he is a
good one, a chance of recruiting, I have dipped down the sandhill and
camped at 11.35 a.m., and for another reason, it looks like rain. During
the afternoon several nice showers.

Wednesday, February 12.

Steady rain for about four hours last night and this morning breaks fine
and clear with a wind north. Plenty of water lying all over the desert.
Dray started at 7.40 a.m. and at six and three-quarter miles distant got
to Mallapoorponannie sand range, the southern end of which is called
Cookorda; about two miles off its northern end dwindles down to nothing
in the desert. To the northern end of Coontarie sand range a creek and
well by the same name; about twelve miles off a detached sand range in
the desert, at the north-west end of which are two waters named
respectively Dhooramoorco and Moongaara; also on north-east side of sand
range another water in creek called Caddryyerra, also a sand range about
four to five miles distant. There was a number of small detached
sandhills going round to the westward, then a perfect blank round to
Coontarie well. At about three to four miles struck the flooded flat from
the main creek I am now going to. At eleven and a half miles further came
to and crossed a deep creek crossing my course at rightangles. At two
miles further came to water in Daeragolie Creek, same creek that I
crossed before two miles from this; within this last two miles the whole
flat is cut up into innumerable channels most difficult to travel over, I
must therefore see and get a better road for the cart. Here there is not
a green blade of grass to be seen; there are some green shrubs in the bed
of the creek that the camels are fond of. I arrived at this camp at 2.5
p.m.; distance travelled today twenty-three and a half miles. This is an
immense creek, timbered on its bank with box, bean, and other trees, the
water is in detached holes but good and apparently plenty of fish and
ducks. No natives seen yet although their tracks are fresh; the natives
that are with me say a number of them have taken advantage of the rain
lately fallen and gone out to the sandhills on both sides of this creek.
By native report the creek flows just here south and east, but within two
miles from this it turns quite round by south-west and west, passing
Coontarie. Neither cart nor sheep arrived in camp tonight.

Thursday, February 13.

The cart on its way here this morning had an upset in one of the creeks
close by but fortunately little damage done. The road it appears to me
from this on our course is much better than we have come over, if so we
shall make good speed. I spell the remainder of today refreshing the
animals. This creek is about eighty to ninety yards wide, very
precipitous banks, and from fifty to sixty feet deep, with innumerable
small creeks. About 400 yards from this, above us, a large creek leaves
this one, heavily timbered and well-defined. Limestone crops out in many
places. It is from fifty to seventy yards wide and from fifteen to thirty
feet deep. It sweeps away to the west and south, close under some
sand-ridges that are close by. Wind from south and west, very sultry.
There has been a good deal of rain here lately (and from the appearance
of the country there has been none for some time previously). Nothing
green except in the bed of the creek and the trees. The whole country
looks as if it had been carefully ploughed, harrowed, and finally rolled,
the farmer having omitted the seed. Two natives came into our camp at
dark, apparently without any fear, and stayed with us for the night.

Friday, February 14.

Started at 8 a.m. On the west side of the creek Panbaera a large creek
leaves it at about 400 yards from camp, and the ground heavy, with
intense heat. I camped after a journey of fifteen and a half miles on
same side of creek, close to a deep waterhole in the creek. Name of creek
Toomathooganie. Immediately above the camp on opposite side of creek a
large red sandhill comes right on to creek called Manganhoonie, from the
top of which one gets an extensive view of such country as there is, the
creek in the distance, north, it filling the valley with its timber
bearing 340 degrees. On our way here today, about three miles from camp,
passed the remains of Burke's horse and saddle; they were recognised as
his by camel dung being about the camp. No marks on any of the trees
visible. Camel dung also close to our camp. Another of our best bullocks
was obliged to be left, having been struck down with the sun as the other
was a few days ago. Cart late in arrival at camp in consequence. One of
our natives took French leave immediately after getting to camp; the
other tried hard also but was too closely watched.

Saturday, February 15.

Started some hands back to see if the bullock was still alive, if so and
unable to travel, to kill him and have him jerked, and if dead to have
him skinned. They brought back word that he was still alive and might get
over it. Late getting ready to start owing to the uncertainty whether the
bullock was to be jerked or not. Bullocks started at 10.35 a.m., and if I
get feed must make a short day of it. If the road keeps as heavy as it
has done since coming to this creek I shall have to abandon the cart,
which for many reasons I shall regret. Wind north and disagreeable. Got
to camp at five miles bearing 337 degrees. The heat so oppressive
travelling completely out of the question. Will leave the cart and many
sundries here. Seized with a violent attack of dysentery. Our remaining
native quite broken-hearted at losing the other, shall be obliged to let
him go this afternoon; it is a pity as he would have been of much service
in giving me the names of the different waters and places which to
someone in future might be of much use. However I may get another if I
soon meet with other natives; but unfortunately at present, from the rain
that has lately fallen, they have principally left the creek and gone to
the sandhills. Their habitations are very numerous on the creek so they
must be pretty strong in number here. Lots of fish still in the holes;
appear to be multa multa principally. We got some from the two natives at
our first camp on the creek, and lots of mussel shells about their old
fires.

Sunday, February 16.

In camp, very ill.

Monday, February 17.

In camp, very ill; still getting the gear ready for tomorrow, if I am
able to start--pain slightly gone. Had the curiosity to weigh and found I
had lost fourteen pounds in three days from the violence of the attack;
when I left town I weighed fifteen stone eleven pounds, now I weigh
exactly twelve stone. Clear but excessively hot with occasionally a
little thunder and some showers this morning, and it looked as if we were
going to have it heavy but it passed off.

Tuesday, February 18.

With one thing and the other, and one of the bullocks absent, was late at
starting. Pain gone today but excessively weak. Started at 11.30, course
340 degrees; flooded box-cracked land for one mile. At seven and a half
miles further passing over bare mud plain destitute of any vegetation,
with a couple of sandhills and the main creek beyond them to the east. On
this distance half a mile off is the bed of a large creek flowing to the
south and west, no water at present in it. Close to this point one of our
best bullocks was struck dead with the heat of the sun walking leisurely
along carrying nothing; the rest of the party were much in advance and,
as it was such a fearfully hot day and not a drop of water near, nothing
could be done with the flesh of him unfortunately. At five miles further
came to a large deep creek flowing westward, no water in it. Up to this
point was to be seen in the distance westward apparent breaks in the
sandhills with box timber in each; and I have no doubt many of those
places form into large creeks by the terrific overflow of this main
creek. At one mile further on (340 degrees) crossing this creek on to top
of sandhill, changed course to 38 degrees, the creek from the sandhill
bearing considerably eastward. At two and a quarter miles over flooded
flats and at some rainwater where I afterwards camped; at two miles
further struck the creek but not a drop of water; searched up and down
for some distance but none to be found, so returned to the rainwater two
miles back from the creek, where fortunately there was sufficient for all
the animals. The flood here, when it does occur, fills the whole valley
between the sandhills on either side of the creek, and after such
occasions must appear a splendid country; but at present no country could
possibly look more desolate. This cannot possibly be Eyre's Creek as it
is much larger in the first place, and seems to bear away too much to the
east ever to be a continuation of Sturt's Eyre's Creek. Traces of Burke's
camels and horses are still to be seen on the creek; I fancy on his
return from the Gulf. I feel very ill this evening, hardly able to sit in
the saddle.

Wednesday, February 19.

Sent Mr. Hodgkinson and Middleton off up the creek to search for water,
and Middleton to return after travelling about eight miles if successful
in finding a supply to enable us to proceed further up the creek;
Hodgkinson to go further on and examine the creek and return in the
afternoon to where it was arranged we should camp. Middleton returned
about noon with the intelligence that about seven miles up there was
abundance of water in the creek for our immediate wants; so we started
late in the afternoon as the distance was short and the day fearfully
hot, bearing of 350 degrees for four and a half miles, the creek
appearing to bear too much east, change course to 360 degrees for two and
a quarter miles further, and it getting late changed course straight on
for the creek, bearing of 37 1/2 degrees for three-quarters of a mile,
where I struck the creek with a little salt water in its bed; down the
creek from this about half a mile is the water, and where we afterwards
camped but without knowing (in the absence of Middleton, who was seized
with a violent illness on the way here and did not get to the camp at all
during the night). I went up the creek for two and a half miles, found it
dry, and returned to water and camped.

Thursday, February 20.

Camp on east side of creek where the latter is upwards of 180 yards wide
and about 80 feet deep, western banks very inaccessible, the east bank
where we have camped less so with immense polygonum bushes. Very unwell
still; we were not aware of the cause of Middleton's detention with the
camels, on which was the food, till he and Davis made their appearance
after the morning had somewhat advanced, when they arrived and explained
the cause; Middleton was very ill indeed of dysentery and could scarcely
crawl.

Friday, February 21.

In camp; I feel a little better, Middleton still very unwell; miserable
camp but can't help it.

Saturday, February 22.

Started Mr. Hodgkinson and Bell out on the west side of the creek to
examine ranges that appear stony in the distance, and ascertain if this
creek receives any tributary from the westward of north-north-west likely
to be Eyre's Creek, as there is no doubt this is not it, and return by
this creek to ascertain how the water lies in it. I am much better today
and Middleton appears to be on the change for the better; wind south with
a few clouds.

Sunday, February 23.

Middleton improving; I feel much better, so much so that, as there is a
cool breeze from the south, I am induced to ride out to the eastward to
examine the country between this and the stony hills visible from here on
the east side of the creek; went four and a half miles course 135
degrees, over flooded flats and a couple of sandhills, from top of the
highest sandhill changed course to 113 degrees for two and a quarter
miles to top of another larger sandhill, passing one other in my course,
then on bearing of 15 degrees for six and three-quarter miles over
flooded flats with a few smaller sandhills, but soon terminate on both
sides of my course; the current over this tract of flat being to the
south of east, then three-quarters of a mile on bearing of 15 degrees
over one sandhill to top of rocky hill, from which the flooded flat I
have just passed gathers together in the distance to a creek, and goes
off on course of 155 degrees, and no doubt is the feeder of the waters
now in the creek to south and east of our present camp namely
Barrawarkanya, Marroboolyooroo, Cadityrrie, Meincounyannie, and Gnappa
Muntra; then two and a quarter miles on bearing of 10 degrees to top of
sandy and stony hill, with four or five mallee trees and a few other
shrubs; marked one of the mallee trees. From this hill the creek passed
end of table-topped stone range on bearing from six to nine miles distant
north-west and round northward to east, peaks and hills of stone with
intervening flats, some of earth, others of stone, are visible as far as
eye can reach; from this hill our present camp bears about 227 1/2
degrees and distant about eleven and a half miles. In the evening Mr.
Hodgkinson and Bell returned having examined the hilly country, but could
find no tributary joining the creek; saw water up some distance that will
suit our purpose so far. I will in a day or two ride over to Eyre's Creek
and ascertain if either of the northern search parties have got there
yet, and deposit a memorandum for them there and see if a route be
practicable westward to Stuart's country now, or if I shall have to wait
for more rain: although we had such nice rain coming over the desert the
excessive heat has absorbed most of it, and you may travel a day without
seeing a drop; intend starting up the creek in the morning. Middleton
much better. Mr. Hodgkinson saw one native and his lubra up the creek but
had little conversation.

Monday, February 24.

Camped; the bullocks not found till too late to start. Mr. Hodgkinson
tendered his resignation as second in command which I accepted, and from
this date he holds no longer any position as officer in the party under
my guidance. Poole had a sun-stroke during the day whilst out after the
horses, but by cold application to the head he soon recovered.

Tuesday, February 25.

Rather late getting the animals ready for a start, the feed being so
scant; started on bearing of 40 degrees, on same side of creek as that on
which we were encamped, over flooded flats and sandy terminations: at
five and three-quarter miles passed along and crossed a large deep creek
in which there was a little water and a number of native wurlies. Course
of creek nearly north and south, at seven and a quarter miles further
over some abrupt sandhills, the summits of which had an almost
perpendicular wall of pure drift sand, varying from two and a half feet
to five feet in height and very difficult for the animals to get over,
and flooded flats on same bearing; then changed course to 34 degrees for
four and a half miles over similar country mixed with stone hills and
flats, the creek being a long way to the west but now gradually
approaching our course; then changed course to 14 degrees for one and
one-sixth of a mile to creek, where luckily we found sufficient water for
all purposes and in the bed of the creek a better supply of green grass
for the animals than they have had for some time. Cloudy, wind
north-east. The bullocks have not arrived tonight.

Wednesday, February 26.

Cloudy and threatening for rain; wind north-east. At 9.30 a.m. one of the
men from the bullocks arrived and informed me that one of the pack
bullocks had dropped and was killed to endeavour to make some use of his
flesh. This is the same that had the sunstroke first but was apparently
recovering; and another of our very best and generally quietest had that
day bucked so much in endeavouring to get rid of his saddle that he
disabled himself, fell down, and could not be got up; the remainder of
the bullocks went off to feed but there he was where he fell in the
morning beside his pack. Immediately on hearing of this disaster I
forwarded some hands and packhorses out to convey to camp what was
thought to be of any use. It has commenced raining and what little will
be got cannot, I am afraid, be cured, as there is every appearance of a
continuation of rain and there will be no chance of drying the flesh as
we have no salt. If it was fair weather I would kill at once the disabled
also, and have his flesh dried; but it would be no use at present and he
may be able to get up after a spell and come in this length when, if the
weather prove favourable, I will have him killed and jerked. The
remainder of the bullocks (seven) arrived during the day and the
detachment of the party with what was thought of use of the dead bullock;
but I question much about its keeping as now it is raining steadily, but
we will use as much of it as we can and save the sheep. None of our
journeys appear to give the sheep the slightest inconvenience and they
are as ready to commence their journey in the morning as the man that
attends to them; in fact no party ought ever to go out exploring in the
summer months without them. During the day I rode out to the tops of some
of the stony ranges to get a view of the upward course of the creek; it
seems to go off somewhere on a bearing of 50 degrees but I fancy will
soon turn more to the north. It is quite astonishing to see the patches
of beautiful green grass on the slopes of the stone hills in the small
watercourses that fall down their sides; in fact the only thing like feed
I have seen for some time, and what little there is, is in the bed of the
creeks. The creek here has an anabranch that leaves it about half a mile
above and joins again about half a mile below; width of island half a
mile.

Thursday, February 27.

Rained heavily and steadily all night from the east-north-east; the
ground at daylight a perfect bog. From the severity of the night some of
our sheep got adrift but were recovered during the day. The creek,
nine-tenths of which was yesterday dry, is now running a strong stream
and momentarily increasing. Got all the animals across to this side
during the forenoon as the rain appeared likely to continue; and now that
it has set in will most likely inundate all the low flats and completely
put a stop to further progress up the creek until the ground hardens a
little. At such times the only place of safety hereabouts are the
sandhills or stony hills; the latter I prefer, and will shift to one in
the event of the rain continuing another night as steadily as it did last
night as there, and there only, is there any feed to be had for our
animals. They have fallen off considerably of late from the hot weather
and the scantiness of good feed. As soon as they were taken over the
creek they were taken out to one of the stone-ridges and there left in
tolerable feed but not very abundant. The water is lying all over the
flat in sheets and the creek rising rapidly. It must have been a very
long time since this part of the country has been similarly visited with
rain, as the country generally, the flats principally, had not any
vegetation upon them of any useful kind. As I said before the stone
hills, or rather the small creeks on their slopes, are the only places
where there was any feed excepting in the bed of the creek, and now that
last supply was gone, as the creek by this afternoon was swimmable.

Friday, February 28.

Raining all night but not quite so heavily; still very considerably. Our
camp is like a stockyard in the southern districts much used in the wet
weather--over our boots in mud and water; although on some of the highest
ground just about here pounds of mud and rubbish adhere to your boots
every time you lift your feet. Creek considerably more swollen; and as
every place is so saturated with water and mud will not move out of this
till tomorrow morning. In the meantime, in hopes that it will clear up a
little and make the ground firm enough to bear the weight of the animals.
It is well we left the cart or we should not have been able to move it
from this, and every probability of its being carried away by the flood
now rapidly approaching. We are now in that position and not far from the
place where Captain Sturt dreaded being overtaken by rain. It is fearful
to travel over but must make the best of it. I am very glad indeed that
we have been favoured with such a copious supply; although for a short
time it may prevent my travelling it will be the means of enabling me to
move about afterwards as I may think fit. I wish I had a couple of
months' more rations of flour, tea, and sugar, as then I could thoroughly
examine the country in this quarter; as it is I will do the best I can.
If this creek carries me much more to the north instead of going to the
east as it now does I think it will take a run through to the Albert
River; and if the steam-sloop Victoria, Captain Norman, has not sailed
from there I think I will be able to get flour or biscuits in sufficient
quantity to carry me back, and enable me to do all, or nearly so, that
was required of me by the South Australian Government; if not at the
Albert I will only be obliged to live the principal part of the return
journey on animal food and what vegetables we may find from time to
time--it won't be a very hard case but much more pleasant and agreeable
if it can be obtained. It is very boisterous. Rain and wind from
east-south-east. The creek rising steadily; by the morning it will be
nearly or quite on a level with the way by which I shall have to travel
in the morning for the high ground. It has a current of about three miles
an hour, or similar to that of the Murray, for which reason I am led to
believe that its chief source is some considerable distance away,
although it receives innumerable tributaries on both sides above and
below where I now am. The rain as it falls upon these stone-clad hills
runs off at once into the small creeks, thence into larger ones on the
flat land, then into the main creek after filling the waterholes in their
respective courses. Towards evening it looks very dark and again
threatens much for a quantity of rain; if so by morning we shall have the
creek high.

Saturday, March 1.

At first blush of dawn wind from same quarter (east-south-east). Rained
heavily all night and to my astonishment, instead of the creek rising as
usual (three and a half inches per hour) it was now rising five and a
half inches and hourly increasing. Although the creek has in many places
overflown its banks, and consequently a much broader channel, we are
completely surrounded with at least five feet of water in the shallowest
place that we can escape from this by. After a breakfast by daybreak the
animals are immediately sent for and, as the men start for them, drive
before them our sheep for more than half a mile through a strong current,
and swimming three-fourths of the time; they went over splendidly and
were left on a piece of dry land until our camels and horses came and
removed the stores etc., which fortunately they did with not very many of
the things getting wet. The camels being brought in and loaded and out to
where the sheep were first, I had two of them unloaded and sent back to
carry to the dry ground any of the perishable articles such as
ammunition, flour, tea, and sugar, which they brought in safety; for had
it been put on the horses as usual, and not being able to keep them on
our track, the probability is they would have to swim and completely
destroy the ammunition and injure the other stores; the camels acted
famously and from their great height were as good as if we had been
supplied with boats. After getting all onto dry land they were repacked
and went on to a very good camp, now that there is water, on a sandhill
about two and three-quarters to three miles distant in an east-south-east
direction through a good deal of water and almost impassable flats--the
sheep even sinking up to their bodies in the mud; however we got them all
over safely by early in the afternoon. Still showery and how long we
shall be weather-bound quite uncertain; however there is plenty of feed
for the animals here which is a great comfort, and what is more they are
in perfect safety, as well as we are ourselves, from the boisterous state
of the weather. Whilst on the creek in the morning, had there been much
difficulty in getting the animals, we should have had to hoist the things
up into trees, and constructed a raft of dead timber, and rafted them off
to dry land, which would have been a great deal of trouble. Squally
still; wind continues from same quarter. Towards evening a great portion
of the flat is being covered with water from the creek, beyond the creek
there is nothing visible but lines of trees, marking the course of the
lesser channels, and stone hills, all else is a perfect sea. We were very
fortunate to be caught in it where we were; had we been caught thus in
making this creek, or a day's stage up it, to a certainty we should all
have been washed away, or what would have been just as bad, be perched on
a small island of sand with all the animals round us and nothing but
starvation staring us in the face--as on most of the sand-rises down near
the creek there was no vegetation of any consequence upon them.

Sunday, March 2.

In camp; light showers occasionally. The side creeks from the hills
running themselves out and the upper parts drying; the line of creek
visible in the distance through the trees during all its course now in
view, and the flats considerably more covered. Thunder and lightning from
north to north-east.

Monday, March 3.

Wind east-south-east; as usual squally. On turning in last night it had
every appearance of rain and did rain steadily for some time but
gradually held up for the night, and appeared as if we were to have a dry
change to have all the things that got wet perfectly dry again. I shall
get all the horses shod here as, from the soft nature of the flats for
some time to come, they will be unfit to travel over the approaching
stony country. Intend searching for the bullock that fell down the other
day and ascertaining whether he is dead or alive; if alive to get him
brought on here; and if much disabled to have him killed and jerked as
soon as the weather clears and the sun shines out sufficiently for that
purpose. Found bullock within a quarter of a mile of where he was left,
able just to stand and no more; I will send out tomorrow afternoon and
have him killed where he is and his flesh brought in here the morning
following for the purpose of jerking it; he appears good beef. The
country boggy; in the afternoon rode down to the creek through a good
deal of water to ascertain the state of the flood, and had to swim some
distance to get to the main creek; when I got there I was glad to find
that not only had it, for the present, arrived at its height, but had
gone down nearly nine inches. The last time this country was flooded it
was about seven feet higher (perpendicularly) than it was this time, and
the sand and stone hills were flooded for several feet up their sides
from their base. Wind still from south-east by east, with an occasional
slight passing shower, but symptoms of clearing up. This country is
perfectly infested with wild dogs; and fortunately for us it is that I
happened to have some strychnine, it plays great havoc amongst them; so
voracious are they that when one of their fellows die the others fall to
and devour him; by this means many are destroyed. Middleton recovering
but very slowly; he continues to have a very troublesome
diarrhoea--aggravated no doubt by being obliged for the last few days to
be nearly always wet; sometimes even to swim clothes and all, and
remaining in that condition till the camp was brought here and fixed; I
should be sorry if anything were to happen to him as he is an invaluable
man in such a party as this.

Tuesday, March 4.

Wind a little more east; shod some of the horses yesterday and some this
morning. Four of the party after dinner started to kill the bullock; camp
there and return in the morning with the meat when cold. I with Poole
rode out to some high stone hills eastward to endeavour to get a view of
the creek and ascertain, if possible, from which quarter it principally
flows. After getting to top of the highest, from which one gets very
extensive view to the north-east, there was a slight haze that prevented
me positively ascertaining its actual course; there is very heavy timber
on a bearing of 35 degrees, and appears surrounded by hills. The haze was
so bad that I could not be certain; however I must travel in that
direction first and trust that it suddenly turns round to the north; from
this last point to a point 20 degrees west of north is a perfect sea,
nothing but isolated trees showing above the water; I found the ground
exceedingly soft, almost impassable in many places. On the tableland, at
the foot of the high stone-hills I ascended, are lines of creeks forming
the drainage of the country, thickly timbered with myall, and (for the
place) a considerable quantity of good grass; abundance of water lying on
the top of the tableland, with seagulls, ducks, cranes, etc., about and
on the basins; seven black swans passed over the camp in their flight on
bearing of 335 degrees, no doubt to some lake in that direction. Some few
days ago not a bird was to be seen scarcely, but a few kite, crows, and
galahs; now the whole country seems to be alive with ducks of various
kinds, macaws, corellas, cockatoo parrots, and innumerable small birds.

Wednesday, March 5.

Wind light from north-east and every appearance of a beautiful day; the
country beginning to have quite a green appearance, and the valleys being
covered with lilies in full bloom, birds singing and chirping all around
as if in spring. I am quite shut out for the present from Eyre's Creek;
so will not attempt it. At midday the party arrived with the meat of the
bullock and shortly after, when cutting it up for jerking, the head of
the axe accidentally flew off and inflicted a severe wound in the knee of
Maitland our cook; I hope it won't disable him long, although it is deep
and in a nasty place. Got all the meat jerked by evening and trust we may
have dry weather to have it properly preserved; lots of bones and scraps,
of which we shall make soup.

Thursday, March 6.

Wind more to the north and every appearance of a dry day; busy shoeing
the horses although they make a slow and sorry work of it.

Friday, March 7.

Wind changing all round except from the south and clouds gathering; with
lots of black macaws screeching out in all directions. I hope they are
not again the forerunners of a downpour, as they were of the last. The
meat appears to be drying nicely, and will have it taken up this evening.
It is very sultry.

Saturday, March 8.

Wind from west round to north and sultry with a good many fleecy clouds;
shall finish shoeing the horses today with the exception of one which
will require a couple of days' work first, being at present rather fresh
(a good fault) and if all is well will make a start on Monday morning.
The stony hills and slopes (that from every appearance, a few days ago,
from their thorough bronzed and desert appearance, one would suppose
grass never grew) are now being clothed in many places with a nice green
coating of grass, and shortly will give this part quite a lively
appearance, very different indeed from what it was when I first saw it,
then it was as desolate a looking spot as one could picture to himself.
In a couple or three months' time from this date one could with little
difficulty (I am almost certain) start with a herd of any description of
stock from the northern settled parts of South Australia and go right
across the continent to whatever point he might think fit by this route,
but I will know more about it shortly. This bullock gave us of dried meat
about 116 pounds, apparently well dried, besides what meat was used with
the bones to make soup. I hope it may keep well.

Sunday, March 9.

At Escape, or Number 7, Camp--will be all ready for a start in the
morning. Wind north-east.

Monday, March 10.

Wind north and east, fresh breeze. Bullocks rather refractory at being
packed, consequently late before we started. The journey today was over
stony hills and flats, crossing several small creeks from the more remote
hills, some running tributaries of Burke Creek for twelve and a half
miles, and for three and three-quarter miles further over similar
country, but more flat as we are now approaching the creek, and camped on
the outside of a flat with some water and a fair supply of feed. I was
here before the pack animals arrived but, after waiting for them a short
time, found that in some of the small watercourses the water seemed to be
driving, as I thought with the strength of the wind as is not unusual,
and took for the time no further notice; the horses came up first and
were unpacked, the camels were some time after and did not arrive until
after I had returned from a ride to the top of a hill further up the
creek, and at which place I went down to the water and to my astonishment
found that the whole valley was a perfect sea, rising fast; on my return
to where I had fixed the camp I found that the water had approached
rather too close to be comfortable, and on the arrival of the camels had
them unpacked some distance out on the top of a mound of stones and had
all the horse gear removed there also; the bullocks did not get to camp
till a little after sunset--one of them was so much trouble that I will
do without him rather than be pestered with him, and put his load on one
of the horses. The camels travelled over the stones with their loads
apparently quite unconcerned; they are undoubtedly the best of all
animals for this kind of work, they eat anything nearly, from the gumtree
down to the smallest herb, and then come and lie down beside you, whereas
horses and bullocks, if there be any lack of feed, will ramble all over
the country; with sheep and camels one could travel all over any
practicable part of the continent and keep them in condition.

Tuesday, March 11.

Where we had the packs removed from last night and all over the flats is
a perfect sea of water, and even up within less than a foot of where I
slept. From the creek having fallen not far from our last camp some days
since I was under the impression that I would find it considerably down
the further I advanced up its course; but now I find that the cause of
its fall then was purely local from the tributaries immediately about and
above having ceased with the rain to throw in a supply to keep it up. It
now shows me that this creek must come from some very considerable
distance; and I trust it may turn out to come from the north instead of
too much east. It appears from where I was last night to incline towards
the north. Wind from east-south-east. Started for a gap in the range over
top of a stony range to a creek. High table-top ranges in the distance,
north and south of 64 degrees; then to top of red sandhill; then for
three and three-quarter miles to top of sandhill over flat stony plains
with plenty of water and feed. From this point a perfect sea is before
me. Came to camp on Myall Creek after passing two table-topped hills on
left and a peak and table-topped hill on right; beyond the camp plenty of
feed and water. Today passed a native camp, the fire still burning, and
their tracks quite fresh; but did not see them. One of the bullocks did
not arrive in camp; he knocked up and charged the men and they were
consequently obliged to leave him. He was pulled about a good deal the
day before in packing him so would be no use to kill him, besides I could
not carry him at present; he may come up during the night, if so he may
perhaps drive loose and will kill him when wanted.

Wednesday, March 12.

The bullock did not come up during the night so will be obliged to leave
him behind. Started on bearing of 55 degrees for two and one-eighth miles
and crossed several myall creeks; over stony ground; the flood close by
obliged to change course to bearing of 97 degrees for three-quarters of a
mile, then bearing of 91 degrees for two and a quarter miles over low
chopping slaty and stony hills and several creeks; then bearing of 84 1/2
degrees for eight miles over stony ground, very bad travelling; then on
bearing of 77 degrees for half a mile to camp on a frizzly-barked tree
creek. Passed several of the same kind of creeks today with some timber;
it is very hard and some of it (from three to four feet in diameter)
would make splendid furniture. Another of the bullocks dropped down when
within two hundred yards of the camp, apparently affected by the
sun--although it did not seem to me so very hot, although it was sultry.
I hope he will be able to go on in the morning or at this rate we shall
soon lose them all. Wind has chopped round from north-east to south this
afternoon and looks very much like rain. From top of a hill about a mile
from here looking over a sea of water, two openings to be seen in the
sandhills beyond, much as if one or other was the proper course of the
creek; one at 355 1/2 degrees, with heavy timber, and one at 10 degrees,
without so much timber but broader and more like. Natives raising a great
smoke in the distance about five or six miles west of the 355 1/2 degrees
opening. Blew strong in the evening and the rain went off.

Thursday, March 13.

Camp 10. Clouds all gone; wind north-east. The bullock unable to get up
so I shall be obliged very reluctantly to leave him behind; but perhaps I
may be driven back this way and he will then be of use. Started for gap
in range bearing 120 degrees for four and a half miles over very stony
country. On table-topped hill on the left, and the mass of ranges on the
left, they look like the Reaphooks (hills) in the north of Adelaide at
Marrana. I have called the main mass of ranges Wills Ranges, after the
unfortunate gentleman who lost his life with poor Burke; then bearing 139
degrees for one and three-quarter miles; then a bearing of 155 degrees
for six and a half miles, passing along and over sandhills and rich
pasture, with cane swamps full of water, to south-east termination of
sandhills. Thousands of flock pigeons, some teal, and a new duck. They
have here commenced laying; several pigeons' nests were found as we
passed along, and a duck's with eight or ten eggs in it; plenty of quail
and other small birds. Saw a bustard in the midst of the sandhills which
bear 340 degrees. To the north of this camp a short distance is a very
strange round stone hill, capped with larger stone, which I have called
Elliott's Knob. One native was seen today on the top of one of the stony
ridges, but did not get within speaking distance of him; many tracks were
discernible for the last eight miles. From top of one of the stone hills
to right of gap in range a perfect sea was before me from 298 degrees
round north to 95 degrees, with nothing but here and there the tops of
trees that line the creek only discernible, and sand and rock hills
forming islands; and in the distance to north and west the hills that
bound the vast expanse of water appear like islands far off in the ocean.

Friday, March 14.

Camp 11. Started on bearing of 90 degrees for five miles to top of long
stony ridges. For the first two miles through swamp and water and
sandhill, leaving on left hand a very nice lake, and on the right some
little distance off a sand-ridge running along swamp; in the distance
south is timber denoting a creek which forms this swamp and lakes--the
remaining three miles of the five very stony and bad travelling.
Immediately beyond me at the end of the five miles stretches a large dry
bed of a lake eastward, with a considerable swamp to south round to 80
degrees, following the foot of a well-defined range, at the north-east
termination of which range, visible from here, are several smaller and
larger table-topped hills and gaps; then on bearing of 80 degrees,
passing through an arm of dry lake; good travelling for nine and a half
miles and camped on small sandhill at a claypan; the flood from three to
four miles off to west of north; sandhills ahead.

Saturday, March 15.

Camp 12, or packsaddle camp, having left one of the bullock's packsaddles
on a tree. Bearing 48 degrees for three and a half miles over very heavy
country with spinifex and abundance of other grasses; one and a half
miles further same course over stony and sandy rises. A splendid tier of
table-topped hills in the distance east and north; bearing of 65 degrees
for two and a half miles, then bearing of 20 degrees over a flooded
splendid swamp, principally, four and a half miles to a box creek where I
will kill Ranger the bullock as he cannot travel. Distance travelled
today twelve miles.

Sunday, March 16.

Went to have a view from the principal range eastward, the first and
greater part of the road over magnificent pasture, nearer the hills very
stony; found the hills distant twenty-one miles; from top of a large
table-topped one I had a splendid view; the tier of ranges I am now on
bear to east of north and west of south but are very irregular, many
spurs running off from main range and forming a vast number of
crown-shaped tops and peaked hills, with innumerable creeks draining the
country from east and south to west and north and joining the main creek.
Twenty-one miles travelled today bearing 62 1/2 degrees; from this hill
another tier of similar hills is seen in the distance with a very large
creek draining the country between this and that, flowing northward, and
then west round the north end of the tier I am now upon, the south-west
end of distant range bears 125 degrees, about twenty-five to thirty miles
off, and the north-east end, dimly seen in the distance, bears 65
degrees, which tier of ranges and creek I have called Browne Creek after
J.H. Browne, Esquire, of Booboorowie, South Australia. The range I am on
and the tier northward to where the creek (Browne's) passes round the end
of them I have called Ellar's tier of table-tops; the tier south of where
I now am I have called Warren's tier of table-tops after my respected
friend George Warren, Esquire, of Gawler for whose kindness I am much
indebted; the plains or downs east and north of those ranges I have
called The Downs of Plenty as here there is everything one could wish in
travelling over a new country. I would have gone over to the distant
ranges but unfortunately my horse threw one of her shoes and I was
obliged to camp at a creek under the hills for the night. The creek I
have now camped on I have named Ranger's Creek after our bullock killed
here.

Monday, March 17.

Returned to camp; on my way out to the hills yesterday saw three natives,
but they would not let me approach, they were busy collecting seeds from
the different grasses; the beef seemingly drying well but will have to
give it another day.

Tuesday, March 18.

In camp; will pack up the beef tonight and start in the morning.
Afternoon packed the beef, it gave us 162 pounds of well-dried meat and I
hope it may keep good.

Wednesday, March 19.

Started about 10.30 and went about fourteen miles; passed through some
magnificent country, one fine plain alone extended for several miles and
well grassed; in the distance could be seen high ranges. The weather
magnificent and quite tropical, the perfume from the flowers is quite
refreshing. Cut a tree with 13 MK (conjoined), 15 to 19-3-62. Distance
travelled today fifteen miles. Camped on a creek, fine water.

Thursday, March 20.

Left the camp about 10 a.m. and travelled till we struck a large creek
and went on over fine flats and sandhills covered with most luxuriant
grass and several descriptions of creepers. The blue convolvulus was also
seen today for the first time, also a most beautiful small blue flower
with a dark purple eye. Plenty of pigeons today, some few nests were
found on the march. The mosquitoes very bad at this camp. A native was
brought into camp by Mr. Hodgkinson this evening and we decorated him
with necklaces and gave him a feed. Distance travelled today fifteen
miles.

Friday, March 21.

Marked a small bastard sandalwood tree this morning 11 MK (conjoined),
20-3-62. Our journey today was over nothing but red sandhills course
about north-north-east; had to cross a large sheet of water. Eighty duck
eggs were found today by the men. The country round about now is very
fine indeed, grass as high as the horses' knees. We now every day find
fresh shrubs and flowers, everything reminding one of the tropics.
Bullocks and sheep not in tonight, mosquitoes bad here indeed. Last night
was certainly the most infernal night I ever passed, never slept. The
mosquitoes were fearful although fires were lighted all round us, each
man having his private bonfire, yet the mosquitoes were not to be
frightened, they would buzz and bite; rolled our heads up in our blankets
and oilskins but in a second or two the little brutes were under and
buzzing away. The air also seemed impregnated with the little tormentors.
Camped on claypan with little and bad water. Bullocks not up nor sheep.
Distance travelled about sixteen miles.

Saturday, March 22.

Bullocks did not come up last night so have had to send back today,
consequently spelled. Thunder and a couple of showers in the afternoon at
which time the bullocks arrived, having strayed far.

Sunday, March 23.

Claypan camp. At five and a quarter miles cleared sandhills bearing 17
degrees, flooded and stony flats with sand. At six and three-quarter
miles crossed a box and myall creek. At seven and three-quarter miles to
top of sandhill passed sandy bed of myall creek from hills. At ten and
three-quarter miles crossed a box and myall creek, running north and
west; plenty of water in creeks, and on both sides of course passing
stony flats and undulations, well grassed. At thirteen and a half miles a
white gum flat with not many stones and trees not large. At fifteen and a
half miles over stony undulations well grassed to top of a myall creek
followed it down west one mile to plenty of water and feed.
Camped--sixteen and a half miles. At three miles and up to four and a
half after starting flood close by on left.

Monday, March 24.

Camp 17. Bearing of 355 degrees. At three and three-quarter miles crossed
a myall creek or flat--broad, with several dry channels from
north-north-east, draining a tier of fine ranges on the east--the only
ones now visible to north or east--which I have called Scott's ranges
(the tops of which, especially the northern one, are well wooded) after
John Scott, Esquire, of Adelaide, a gentleman to whom I am much indebted,
in not only giving the use of two of his best horses for my use during
the time the expedition would be absent, but in also kindly requesting me
to call at his station in the North and take from it what I might
consider of service to me. Over gentle slopes, some stony. Saw fifteen
emu on one of the plains so have named the plain and undulations Emu
Downs, to a box creek with abundance of water and feed at seventeen and a
half miles. No timber except on the ranges and creeks. This appears a
small creek to many that are in sight to north and west. A range
continues to north-north-east. The creek from eastward to westward and
southward joining other larger creeks a few miles west of this. The whole
of the country passed over today is excellent pastoral country. From this
camp the north-east termination of Scott's Ranges, ending in two detached
round-looking hills, bears 113 1/2 degrees, about six to ten miles off.

Tuesday, March 25.

Started on bearing of 355 degrees. At two and a half miles crossed a box
creek with plenty of water from north-east to west and south, sweeping
considerably towards latter quarter. At fourteen and a half miles to box
creek, dry where I struck it. Went on bearing of 238 degrees for two
miles to a creek with plenty of water and camped. Sixteen and a half
miles over beautifully grassed, very gently sloping and undulating
country; rising ground seen to the west in the distance--flood must be
some distance off. New hawk seen (light-coloured) this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 26.

Camp 19. Started on bearing of 315 degrees to get closer to course of
main creek which I have observed nothing of for the last two days.
Beautiful weather; heavy dews at night. At ten miles struck and crossed a
box creek where it empties itself into a flat; passing over splendid
country, the latter part in the small watercourse rather stony and sandy.
A quarter of a mile further on is another box creek, and between it and
the first creek is a perfectly boggy swamp full of water, as well as the
creek, so have to change course to avoid some of it; bearing of 55 1/2
degrees, over plain for two miles; then bearing 7 1/2 degrees for four
and a half miles, first part of it magnificent feed, the rest a
morass--will have to clear out of this to the east for some distance to
round it. Any traveller caught here in rainy weather such as has been
lately deluging these vast plains would to a certainty be washed
away--there is not a knoll six feet high within the range of the eye.
Journey today about sixteen and a half miles from point to point, but I
made it considerably more in trying to get across the swamp and being
obliged to return. A small hill from top of a tree at camp beyond what
appears the main creek in the distance bears 309 degrees; another small
one is west and south of that--no other rising ground to speak of
visible, except in the direction we came from and a little east of it.

Thursday, March 27.

20, or Carbine Creek camp--having left one behind there on a tree, which
has lost the hammer and is unfit for service. Bearing of 29 degrees for
nine miles over swampy country with splendid feed, belts of timber on the
right or east of course, studded in various places, denoting waterholes;
then bearing of 15 degrees for one and a quarter miles where I got bogged
in a creek; got out of it again with a good deal of difficulty and found
that course quite impracticable; after trying the ground for a couple of
miles found it nothing but a bog, so changed course to 54 degrees for
half a mile over sound ground, and encamped on a small creek with a
perfect meadow of grass all around. From the top of a tree hills in the
distance to north and south of east discernible--rising ground near,
which I will make for in the morning. I went out this evening and found
that it is good travelling and will thus allow me to get more in a
northerly direction than of late. Cannot get within miles as yet of the
main creek on account of the boggy nature of the ground--there appear to
be innumerable timbered creeks between this and that, all running into
it--the water here, even on the level plains, is in places running a
stream. One of the camels got bogged on the road today and had to be dug
out with much difficulty.

Friday, March 28.

Camp 21. Beautiful morning, wind from east-south-east. Started on bearing
of 68 degrees for one mile to clear some water; then on bearing of 34
degrees for two and a quarter miles; bearing of 27 degrees for four and a
quarter miles; bearing of 20 degrees for three and a half miles to top of
a small stony rise, immediately beyond which, half a mile distant, is one
mass of creeks occupying a mile in width, coming from south of east from
hills in the distance. These creeks, no doubt, are one both above and
below this, although now split into many branches. I have called it
Davenport Creek after George Davenport, Esquire, of Melbourne, a
gentleman to whom I am much indebted for his kindness. Then bearing of 41
degrees at half a mile came to first creek and continued on same course,
crossing creeks for one mile; distance about twelve and a half miles.
This creek must drain an immense tract of country eastward. Northward
appears one mass of creeks. It is certainly a magnificent country if
there is permanent water.

Saturday, March 29.

Camp 22. Beautiful morning, wind light from south-south-east. On bearing
of 355 degrees for seventeen and a half miles, first part over rather
swampy ground, chiefly over firm ground; good travelling country and a
little stony (sandstone). On it found a new fruit on a shrub about five
feet high, not unlike the bean tree; the fruit tree of Cooper's Creek
also is here and it is a more handsome tree than between this and
Cooper's Creek; the bean tree is also here. Within the last two miles the
ground has been swampy and full of watercourses, with plenty of water
caused by the emptying of a large creek from the east, coming past
south-west end of a large range east and running north of this position;
which creek I have named Brown's Creek after Charles Brown, Esquire, of
Great Bourke Street West, Melbourne, whose upright way of conducting
business I very much admire and who, from his straightforward manner,
gains the esteem of everyone that has anything to do with him.

Sunday, March 30.

Camp Number 23. Bearing of 7 degrees one mile, bearing of 355 degrees
eight and a half miles to top of a sandhill, well-grassed; passing on the
left, half a mile back, a couple of same kind and a little higher. From
the one I am on an extensive view of the surrounding country is had. On
the west side of the creek close is a tier of ranges running parallel
with it; nearest part not above four miles from this; hills on the right
at various distances discernible all along the course today; the most
prominent one seemingly well-wooded and terminating northward in a bluff
and small table-top. Bluff bearing 117 1/2 degrees, I have called the
Hamilton Range after George Hamilton, Esquire, Inspector of Police,
Adelaide. Two table-topped hills are to the east and north of the bluff;
southern one bears south end 114 degrees, north end 113 1/2 degrees;
south end of north table-top 113 1/4 degrees; north-east end 112 degrees.
On a bearing of 60 degrees distant is a mass of apparently heavy ranges
running west of north--as do most of the ranges that at all approach the
creek. The country here has been terribly torn by the flood and torrents
of rain that must have fallen some short time back; in some places it has
the appearance of being literally ploughed in stripes, but generally
firm; any quantity of water on right of course. To the east, between the
hills, heavy creeks come out west and north in all directions,
overflowing the whole country; anyone caught in the locality on such
occasions as the late visit of the flood here would never more be heard
of. On bearing of 331 degrees for two and a half miles; bearing of 340
degrees for four and three-quarter miles--in all about sixteen and
three-quarter miles; latter part much torn by water and in consequence
less feed than usual. Camped on one of the main channels of the main
creek about eighty to one hundred yards wide, cut into a number of
channels; abundance of water and feed. From this camp peculiar cliffy red
table-topped hill bears 77 degrees; highest point of range 33 1/2
degrees; farthest part visible 7 degrees; is timbered on top; running
north-west; south end distant about five to seven miles.

Monday, March 31.

Bearing 15 degrees one and one-eighth miles; bearing of 36 1/2 degrees
four miles to ranges, part of table-top hill about three and a half miles
off where the creek goes through the gorge between the table-tops, when
it is fully half and nearly three-quarters of a mile wide, and nearly one
sheet of water and bogs; it divides towards the other side through larger
passage on the east and two rocky hills in the angle, nearly north and
south of each other and about 100 yards apart; another rocky cone hill is
south again of them. Round rocky summit and bears 240 degrees; crossed on
bearing of 10 degrees over table-top limestone and sandstone hill to flat
on the other side at four miles; at two miles further on same course
camped at first good water we met. This range that I have passed over I
have called Hamilton's Table-tops after G. Hamilton, Esquire, Inspector
of Police; the gorge and island I have called Hunter; the table-tops on
opposite side I have called Goyder's after the Surveyor-General of South
Australia; the islands immediately south of Hunter's Island and close
alongside I have called Mary's Island: and the cone southward of that I
have called Moses Island Cone after a young relative of mine in Scotland.

Tuesday, April 1.

Beautiful morning; wind east and fresh. Travelled zigzag through creeks
from the eastward for about twenty miles and camped on large one from
south of east that we could not find a crossing at; our distance in a
direct line would not be much more than half that, and the exact course
not known till I get on one of the hills; to east and north no view,
being perfectly shut out with timber. The country near the creek is a
perfect bog, and even a man has great difficulty in getting out of some
places that he is induced to try, thinking it crossable. After getting to
camp went about examining the creek for a crossing, and think I have
found one that perhaps may do, but even after crossing this one the
country is like a net, intersected as it is with creeks, magnificent
pasture on the flats; a native fishing weir is a little above this.
Across the creek and you can see the fish snapping at the flies in the
holes--all the creeks indeed that I have crossed from the east have both
fish and mussels in them, but here the creeks are very formidable. Small
crown top of the hill, another very fine one some little distance south
of that; all those are on the western side of a large range, close by,
running apparently north-east and south-west. I sincerely wish I was safe
on the western side of these main creeks as I am thus driven contrary to
my wish much east.

Wednesday, April 2.

Started to cross the creek about three-quarters of a mile to the
eastward; but just before starting, whilst the horses were coming, two of
them got bogged and we had some difficulty in extricating them, however
we made a start; got to the crossing place--got two of the camels and two
of the horses bogged and had considerable difficulty in getting all over
safe, however did so with the exception of getting some of the things
wet, so it was late when we crossed. I at once camped to dry them and got
things put to rights for a start in the morning. Started off to get a
view of the country from a remarkable crown-topped conical hill about six
miles off, and had a most extensive view. I find that we have for the
present passed the worst of the creeks, and that now there is in view
only one of much magnitude and it bears off eastward, passing on the
south-east side of an isolated hill or double hill; they are the only
hills seen from this elevated spot from a bearing of 358 degrees round to
44 degrees southward and westward; from the forementioned of these
bearings and masses of hills jumbled together, and to south and east of
the latter bearing is another mass of hills; at the bearing itself the
hill terminates in small cones immediately east of my position; a little
to the north and a little to the south is one mass of table-topped hills,
some apparently strongly timbered on top, with a perfect wall from ten to
thirty feet perpendicular round summit of all, and some are detached.
Hunter's Island Gap, or rather the bluff on its northern side, bearing 26
degrees from Hunter's Gorge to north and west, is round to 358 degrees in
the far distance, is a mass of table-topped ranges with, apparently,
three gaps in them.

Thursday, April 3.

On bearing of 110 degrees along the creek for one and a quarter miles, on
bearing of 65 1/2 degrees for three and a half miles, on bearing of 1
degree for three and a half miles over several boggy creeks; then after
several fruitless exertions through bogs and creeks, with a large deep
strong running stream and through quagmire, was obliged to retrace my
steps and get outside of the creeks, having failed completely in getting
over them; they would swallow horses and everything we had got. Went on
bearing of 99 degrees for three and a half miles and camped on a
magnificent lagoon about one mile long and about 200 yards wide, a
perfect flower garden.

Friday, April 4.

Camp, Jeannie Lagoon; went and had a view from hills east; saw there
Kangaroo ranges far to the east, tier after tier, country timbered, etc.

Saturday, April 5.

Camp 28. At daybreak sky wild-looking to eastward; wind from south;
strong. Never in all my experience found the flies so thorough a pest as
they have been for the last week or ten days. We get on without our bread
quite as well as I expected; the vegetables we use by boiling are famous
things, both as a substitute for bread and keep the party in good health.
The natives on the main creek lower down south call it cullie; it is a
sort of spinach and does not grow more than a foot high but spreads
perhaps twice that much. Started over on bearing of 45 degrees; at three
three-eighth miles came to and crossed a broad swamp from the eastern
hills; a little further back on the right of my course appeared to be
another lagoon; at five-eighths of a mile commenced crossing low
sandhills; splendid feed all the way. Changed the course, the ground
ahead having too many high-looking sandhills. Saw a couple of natives in
the distance crossing the swamp; I crossed some considerable distance
west of them; they evidently did not see us. Cannot keep straight; there
is a large deep creek here immediately on my left, about fifty yards
wide; bearing of 60 degrees for one and a quarter miles; then bearing of
24 degrees, crossing the creek (small one); making for north-west end of
another sandhill two and a quarter miles further; then bearing of 15
degrees, passing on the left some fine myall and sandhill country,
splendidly grassed and strongly wooded with myall and other trees of
various kinds in splendid foliage; two and a quarter miles bearing of 33
degrees over sandy undulation on the right and innumerable creeks on the
left for one and one-eighth miles; in all sixteen and a quarter miles and
camped on some mulga near some of the branches of the creek.

Sunday, April 6.

Camp 29. Beautiful cold morning; what little wind there is is from the
south-west. Started away on bearing of 40 degrees for thirteen and a half
miles; first part over stony myall undulations (open) the latter part
free from stones and much less wooded except in the creeks that
constantly come in from the ranges from the eastward. As I am now passing
a couple of circular table-topped hills pretty close on the right I will
change my course for a thicket of myall and camp that I may be enabled to
ride to the height and have a view of the general course of the creek, as
what I am on is too flat to get a view at all. Changed course and camped;
distance travelled fourteen and five-eighth miles; day beautifully cool.
A tier of ranges continues on my right all along, varying from five to
eight miles distant, timbered with mulga, same as one I went on the day I
camped at Jeannie Lagoon; a mass of detached pyramids, cut and conical
coronet-topped hills are between my course and the main range and I have
the creek to the right. Not far off passed abundance of water on course
over top of Euro Hill; creek bears suddenly off westward--a likely way to
get over the range and meet it again by a gap in range bearing 349
degrees. It appears to pass through and receive large tributaries from
the west and northward, between large leading ranges on the west and
through range with gap on the east side, that I talk of passing through
to meet it again on bearing 318 degrees, or of bearing 340
degrees--nearer considerably than the former. This hill is a conical
coronet-topped hill of burned sandstone mixed with some quartz and is
four miles from camp, on a bearing of 157 1/2 degrees. Belts of mulga
between camp and this; the country to north-east and round by east to
south for some miles is not all good; a little spinifex and the ground
perfectly strewed with bronzed stones of various sizes; no ranges visible
from north round to north-east, but plains and mulga scrub; one larger
hill similar, but coated with spinifex and bush of various sizes, is
close by bearing 300 degrees; another about the same size as this,
thickly coated with spinifex, and a couple of bushes about 300 yards off
bears 225 degrees. Between me and main range to the east are numerous red
pyramid hills of various sizes, and southward a number of detached
table-topped hills, peaks, and mounds, all more or less timbered. Just as
I was getting up this hill a fine euro hopped off down the side some
distance off, and when I got on the top another sprang up and as I had my
pistol with me I fired and luckily killed him, so I call the hill Euro
Hill. After I had finished on the hill I disembowelled the euro and
carried it to the camp to have it used and help the meat to last; I hope
we may get plenty more.

Monday, April 7.

Camp 30. Exceedingly cold during the night but a beautiful morning.
Started on bearing 5 1/2 degrees for six and three-quarter miles; first
part of it over open flats with mulga creeks and watercourses, many with
water; next over burnt stony undulation with mulga watercourses; at five
miles came in amongst a quantity of detached hills of lime and sandstone;
the ground strewed with bronzed burnt small stones and takes the print of
an animal's foot readily, having a light soil under. At the end of this
distance, six and three-quarter miles, two creeks again full in view, one
apparently on bearing 9 degrees, passing above and below a small
table-topped hill, the other on bearing of 40 degrees, which I suppose I
must follow till I can cross. For five miles passing stony slopes towards
the creek and a vast abundance of vine with large yellow blossoms, the
fruit being contained in a leafy pod; that fruit when ripe contains three
or four black seeds as large as a good-sized pea. I must try them cooked
as I find the emu tracks very abundant where the vine is most plentiful.
I can from this point see the creek distinctly break off from the branch
on bearing of 354 degrees, but I must keep on the branch still; bearing
now 35 1/2 degrees. The tops of the low hills are of a whitish colour,
and an immense quantity of gypsum is scattered over them as well as over
the slopes as I came along, and the tops and slopes of the hill have
mallee with other trees and shrubs; course 35 1/2 degrees for three
three-eighth miles, first part burnt undulation of thin brown slate
gypsum cliffs for a short distance, without a shrub or bush on them;
precipitous slopes, tops alone having bushes or trees; latter part over
undulation more or less stony to creek where it turns suddenly to
northward again; bearing of 338 degrees over flooded well-grassed country
for two miles on to the main creek; a hill on opposite side within
twenty-three yards of creek bank. This is a magnificent stream here. It
is at least 250 yards wide and from forty to fifty feet down the banks to
the water, lined with noble gums, box, bean, and other trees; how deep it
is difficult to say. Lots of ducks of various kinds, cormorants, magpies,
corellas, pigeons of various kinds, with the usual accompaniment of crows
and hawks. Small hill visible in the distance to south of east; very
extensive plain in that direction also, as well as east and north of
east, with abundance of excellent pasture and timbered low ridges, stony,
but well grassed with limestone and the everlasting plum-pudding stone
with sandstone. Current in creek I should say not more than half a mile
per hour.

Tuesday, April 8.

Camp 31. Cool during the night with a heavy dew, beautiful morning, not a
breath of wind: keeping a short distance from the creek to cross a boggy
tributary from the east, for two and three-quarter miles, then through
timbered stony rising ground, plenty of feed; the bronzed middle-sized
pigeon of Cooper's Creek seen here; bearing of 40 degrees for two and a
quarter miles along limestone and plum-pudding slopes; part of creek on
left on bearing of 30 degrees for three and a quarter miles, timber for
building purposes to be had here in sufficient quantities; bearing of 45
degrees for three-quarters of a mile; bearing 50 degrees for one mile;
bearing of 40 degrees three-quarters of a mile over myall open country,
some of it very stony where the flood has swept over it; now on the right
are some fine plains backed in by low myall ridges; bearing of 42 degrees
for four and three-quarter miles, the creek on the left, tributaries seem
to come in and join on opposite side, cross a creek from east in its
swamp, plenty of water (Kell's Creek); I have come to a stony
crossing-place and recross over to north-west side; the female camel
bogged but we soon got her put to rights; for the last three miles the
ground we travelled over is nearly one mass of stones, limestone and
agate or flint, and very bad travelling; the creek runs strong--I have
called it Mueller's Creek after F. Mueller of Melbourne--fifteen and a
half miles. After getting to camp got a horse and went out north of west
to a ridge some short distance off and saw to the westward a large
tributary that I think will suit my course; at little over quarter of a
mile a very large creek comes in from north of north-east and flows
southward, it has ceased running and has a broad stony bottom but has
splendid reaches of water; this I have called the Robinson after J.
Robinson, Esquire, of Hume River. Considerably to east is a well-defined
range in the distance, running north and south with three detached mounds
of hills and I have called it Mount Mueller after F. Mueller, Esquire.

Wednesday, April 9.

Camp 32. Heavy dew, beautiful still morning, a few fleecy clouds.
Started, bearing of 285 degrees for one and a quarter miles, at
three-eighths of a mile crossed the Robinson, at three-eighths of a mile
further crossed a nice creek with large reaches, the Mansergh; at
three-eighths of a mile further changed our mode of travel to the bearing
of 330 degrees for two and a quarter miles; then bearing 354 1/2 degrees,
spinifex hill or range close on the right, good open country travelled
over; creek on the left about two miles off, alluvial deposit on plain,
over which we travelled for six and three-quarter miles then entered a
mulga range (low) bronzed stone on the ascent but plenty of feed and
numerous traces of kangaroo. Saw lots of emu on the plains; still on
bearing of 354 1/2 degrees to creek, passing on the right a vast quantity
of spinifex and ranges of sandstone right on the banks of creek for three
and a quarter miles, crossed it on a bearing of 284 degrees
three-quarters of a mile, plenty of water, the creek I have called the
Fletcher after G.B. Fletcher, Esquire, Tapio, Darling River, New South
Wales; then bearing 295 degrees for Coronet-Topped Hill, centre of next
creek, at three miles made the creek, went one quarter of a mile into it
and camped; the last three miles has been a pipeclay, slaty, spinifex,
miserable country with detached conical, white, clay-slaty hills, top of
the range all spinifex, although timbered with a white-barrelled gum of
no great dimensions; distance travelled today seventeen and a half miles.

Thursday, April 10.

Camp 33. Fine morning, wind moderate, south, on bearing of 300 degrees up
the clear ground in the apparent centre of this immense creek; passed
north end of stony (sand) spinifex-topped and pipeclay, north end at one
and one-eighth of a mile; bearing of 315 degrees high bluff,
spinifex-topped, hills all along at the right of creek, except the valley
of the creek, this is the most miserable country we have been in for some
time, if you offer to ascend the ridges they are nothing but a mass of
very rough stones, spinifex, and mulga, myall, and white-stemmed
gumtrees, very difficult to travel over, three miles on 315 degrees;
obliged to change course, great part of the heavy creek, on my left,
crossing my course, and bearing up more to eastward another creek bears
off to considerably west of north, now on bearing of 285 degrees crossing
the different branches of this immense creek which I have called the
Cadell, after F. Cadell, Esquire, the enterprising and indefatigable
navigator of the Murray and Darling, etc. etc., not that he will ever be
able to steam up this length; 285 degrees for one and a quarter miles of
other creeks that appear to go off on a bearing, at present, of 200
degrees, which I follow on its north-east side, or rather up through it,
as it is divided into innumerable branches with abundance of water;
camped at six and three-quarter miles on this course in the centre of the
creek; the hills recede a good deal from the creek and are not so
rough-looking or abrupt as they were in the morning and yesterday; the
creek I have called Middleton, after Mr. Middleton, one of our party, who
at all times has rendered me most material services and who, had I lost
him during his late severe illness I should scarcely be able to get along
without, he is always ready at the post when there is anything particular
to do.

Friday, April 11.

Camp 34. Fine morning; wind moderate south. This creek receives a
tributary from the southward of west about a quarter mile lower down than
this. I shall pass through this creek to north-east side, that being the
best and most open travelling, the south-west side having myall timber
from the creek to the ranges as far as visible. If the country at all
suits and, as my food cannot possibly carry me back to Adelaide, I shall
shape my course for the southern part of the Gulf of Carpentaria about
the Albert River, thence to Port Denison, then to wait instructions from
South Australia. On bearing of 45 degrees; half a mile across the
different branches of the immense creek, then on bearing of 314 degrees
along splendid plains, passing at nine and a half miles a detached small
tier of ranges running on to and ending at the creek; from the top of the
nearest one the creek appears to bear through ranges 294 1/2 degrees;
ranges on this side appear only detached and far distant from the creek,
leaving magnificent plains intervening. A small red conical hill is close
to the creek about a mile from this bearing 306 1/2 degrees. I now
recross the creek on bearing of 294 1/2 degrees as it is more suitable
for my purpose, the creek in the distance at its western bend bearing 305
degrees about nine miles distant, at which place it receives a tributary
from the ranges to the eastward on the course of 294 1/2 degrees for
eight and a half miles. Camping on south-western side of creek, passing
over excellent country. Travelled today eighteen and a half miles. The
creek that comes in on the opposite side I have called Saville's Creek.
From this camp a coronet-shaped hill, at or near the termination of a
tier of ranges approaching the creek within five miles, bears 30 degrees,
a bluff termination of ranges from the creek on south-west side and on
south-west of our tomorrow course bears 279 1/2 degrees, about eight to
ten miles.

Saturday, April 12.

Camp 35. Fine morning. I have had to send back to last camp for a small
saw, carelessly left behind by the cook. On bearing of 294 1/2 degrees on
south-west side of creek direct, seven and a half miles through, the
creek came direct in my course and sheered round again north before that
distance; then bearing of 313 degrees for five and three-quarter miles,
and camped, making the stage short to await the messenger for the saw.
Wind south. Immense open downs or plains, well grassed with similar hills
to what we have passed, wanting the spinifex. Messenger arrived with saw.

Sunday, April 13.

Camp 36. Evenings, nights, and mornings are beautifully cool; the days
are quite hot enough. It is astonishing to see how fast the waters have
dried up. I hope that near the tops of the creeks the water will not fail
us, for up to this we have had lately much more than we want. Bearing of
336 degrees, on south-west side of creek still. Ranges now on the left
and at the distance of from thirteen to fourteen miles, appear to come
right on to the creek on both sides at two and a half miles; on bearing
of 336 degrees. Tributary from south-west side; at five miles another
tributary on same side; at six and three-quarter miles another. At
fourteen miles the hills close, those on the north-east side nearer than
the south-west side ones. At fourteen and a half miles tributary joins on
opposite side from the hill close by. At fifteen and three-quarter miles
hill (burned sandstone) comes on to the creek; the timber in the creek
nearly all white gum, the North of Adelaide native orange, and a new
fruit, something similar, that when ripe splits open down the sides
whilst still green, and grows on a low prickly shrub, leaf not unlike the
orange but longer and when near other trees or shrubs entwines itself
round them and grows to a good height. The actual distance today direct
is about fifteen miles, as the creek came in my course and receded again
before we came to camp--camped across the creek. Kirby by some
unfortunate mistake on his part did not arrive here tonight. Will send
after him first thing in the morning; burnt a blue light and made a low
fire on the top of the hill for him but without effect.

Monday, April 14.

No word of Kirby; sent after him, found him on the tracks some miles
away, and did not get to camp till near noon. He says he got entangled in
the creeks and could not make the tracks out. Lots of kangaroo and emu
here but shy; cloudy and hot. Looks as if we were to have a shower; I
wish we may. Camp here today.

Tuesday, April 15.

Camp 37. Late in starting, some horses being absent; nice cool breeze
from north-north-east--bearing of 2 1/2 degrees; creek on the left at
three-quarters of a mile, tributaries join on each side; at two and a
half miles remarkable peaky and table-topped hills on right; hills close
on both sides. At four and a half miles changed course to 8 degrees; at
one and a half miles heavy tributary came in from east-south-east, and is
I think the principal channel; completely ran the creek out north and
then followed and ran out the principal one. Retreated twice and
compelled to camp at a water in the flat a quarter of a mile north of
where I struck the creek. Distance today six and a half miles; although I
suppose I travelled treble that distance. After camping got a horse and
went out over the ranges in a west and north direction and saw what I
suppose will be a course to suit me tomorrow; otherwise it was my
intention to have taken one man and a packhorse, and pushing over the
range northward to see if we are near the north watershed, or to have
found a practicable route. Ranges are covered with spinifex and rough
stones. Hodgkinson shot a euro which will help us on and save a sheep.

Wednesday, April 16.

Camp 38. Started on a general bearing of 292 degrees over the ranges and
at seven miles direct got onto a large myall flat; at nine miles passing
over myall flat. Red table-topped range close on right; passed through
the mass of them and the last of the range; and changed bearing to 325
degrees for three and a half miles, making for a gum creek that appeared
to come from the ranges from north and east. Found no water on the road
nor in the creek but fortunately some in a side creek at which place I
camped. Saw a native signalising to westward, a considerable distance.

Thursday, April 17.

Camp 39. Beautiful morning. Started on bearing of 305 degrees across an
extensive myall, gum, and box flat, with innumerable tributaries into it
in all directions. General drain up to the south; water in many
watercourses as we cross the flat, and must be an immense creek a little
lower down, where they all unite. Keep the course for eleven miles,
crossing a fine open creek running northward, which I think is the same
that we crossed this morning flowing south; then over spinifex ridges on
bearing of 300 degrees onto a fine open flat. Heavy ranges west. Apparent
fall of water northward; about four miles south of this and immediately
over the open undulation at the distance the flow takes place south; on
this last course two and a quarter miles; on bearing of 295 degrees for
two miles, 293 degrees for two and a quarter miles over splendid country
and camped at first creek we met with plenty of water. Unfortunately
Kirby with the sheep has got astray; and Hodgkinson, who was sent after
him in the morning to swerve him from the course he was then on and bear
up north for ours, came up to me in the midst of a spinifex range, whilst
leading on the party, with the stupid information that he could not
follow his tracks; and on being rated for so doing and sent back arrived
at 10 p.m., and never got on his tracks again but says he went back to
the camp we left in the morning--for what purpose he only knows; in
consequence the unfortunate man did not arrive at camp. I will send after
him first thing in the morning. After getting into camp I rode out south
towards the watershed but found it further off than I anticipated from
this camp. It must be from ten to fifteen miles and most excellent
country. The main range west from what I could see of it is very stony;
few trees and a great abundance of kangaroo and other grasses. Emu and
kangaroo in abundance. Range runs to east of north a little and to south
of west a little and is formidable. Distance travelled seventeen and a
half miles.

Friday, April 18.

Camp 40. First thing in the morning got the horses and started Middleton
and Palmer to endeavour to trace the unfortunate man Kirby who has not
made his appearance. He must have had a bitter cold night of it; this
morning south wind was as cold or colder than I have felt it for twelve
months--we were glad to get to the fire besides fortifying ourselves with
warmer clothing than usual. I with Poole started to cut his tracks if he
came out through the range on his course through open country south of
this, but were unsuccessful in finding any trace of him. Middleton and
Palmer got on his tracks and followed them to about dark when within a
very short distance of our tracks here, and more than half the distance
to this camp, and thought it not improbable, from the course he was then
pursuing, that he had got to our camp and came home but the unfortunate
had not; had he been followed the day before by Hodgkinson with the same
perseverance all would have been well and much anxiety spared to all. If
the poor man has kept to the ranges I'm afraid there is little hopes of
him--it will be a sad end for the poor fellow--a better man for his
occupation could not be found. Just fancy an unfortunate man lost between
two and three hundred miles from the coast in a perfect wild with
twenty-three sheep (and I question if he has any matches) left to sink or
swim beyond reach of any Christian soul. If he is recovered he may thank
God. Will still keep up the search for some days to come in hopes of
recovering him. Camp bearing 208 1/2 degrees about four and a half miles;
furthest north point visible of McKinlay's Range 304 degrees, from thirty
to forty miles. No range visible between that and 18 1/2 degrees. Nothing
but heavily timbered creeks, innumerable tributaries from both sides and
south end. Exact course of main creek not positively discernible, but for
the first twenty miles from camp it bears much east, from Observation
Hill it appears as far east as 3 degrees--termination of McKinlay's Range
as visible from camp on bearing 341 degrees. Furthest southern point of
McKinlay's Range as visible from Observation Hill 214 degrees. Some miles
beyond the watershed south, hill where watershed takes place about six
miles from camp bears from the Hill Observation 216 degrees from camp.

Saturday, April 19.

Horses sent for per first light; night very cold again. Not having had
anything in the shape of food since the morning Kirby was lost, except a
couple or three spoonfuls of flour each in water, I determined, Kirby not
yet arriving, to kill one of our bullocks; had them up to camp and shot
one in the grey of the morning; three now remaining; in the event of
Kirby not being found with the sheep all correct, not very bright
prospect for the party to travel to the Gulf and round to Port Denison
upon; certainly we have the horses but I would be loath to kill them
except in extreme need, but I will still hope for the best, but cannot
stay beyond a week whether found or not, as our provisions, beef, will be
lessening daily; the flour we still have is a small quantity reserved in
case of sickness and for the purpose of putting a small quantity daily in
our soup to make it appear more substantial; at present the vegetable the
party were all so fond of has disappeared except some old dry remnants
which all feel the want of much. I hope it may reappear. After cooking
some of the liver etc. for breakfast and some to take with them, started
Middleton and Palmer again to follow up Kirby's tracks from where they
left them, and started Bell back to the last camp to examine minutely the
track as he went along, and all about the camp in case he may have
retraced his steps, which is what he ought to have done. By noon of same
day, on our not making our appearance on his course, I started out and
skirted the foot of the range where he ought to come out on his course,
but was unsuccessful in finding the slightest trace of the unfortunate
man. What thoughts must pass in his mind. Not a probability of ever again
seeing anyone of his own colour. Possibly destroyed by the natives whose
fires are to be seen daily, although they don't make their
appearance--never again to see his home nor his friends; it must be awful
for the poor man. Dusk now setting in I have better hopes of his recovery
as neither of the three horsemen have made their appearance. Just at dark
up rides Middleton with the joyous intelligence that man and sheep are
found, Palmer staying behind to push on and overtake Bell and Kirby with
the sheep on our track here, and Middleton took a more direct route here
to give information of the good news, at which all of us were glad and
thankful. About 11 p.m. horsemen, Kirby, and sheep arrived safe, and I
was truly grateful for the deliverance. The poor man says he never
expected to see us again. Bell fortunately picked him up within three
miles of our last camp; he was then, after having been considerably
south, and now completely bewildered and thinking he had missed the camp
while travelling in the dark, steering a north-west course, and in ten
minutes longer would have been on our track for this place. Middleton and
Palmer had traced him throughout; and as they found they were drawing
near our track Palmer went to the track to see if anything was to be seen
of him there, and called out to Middleton that they were found, and gone
towards home on the tracks, when Middleton immediately started with the
information, leaving Palmer to follow and overtake and assist them to
camp with the sheep. The man Kirby on arrival was completely worn out,
not for want of food but with a troubled mind and want of sleep. He had
killed a sheep the second night after leaving last camp and had with him
a small portion for his use. How thankful he must have been to see Bell!

Sunday, April 20.

Very cold morning. Kirby sleeping and recruiting himself. The meat
drying; in consequence of the last detention it has put us far back from
where we otherwise would have been, and the course appears pretty open to
us now.

Monday, April 21.

No dew last night, still the meat is unfit to pack, will have to give it
today still, and then will make a start in the morning. A splendid large
creek flows west of south over the fall of water, and at fifteen to
sixteen miles from this there is abundance of water in it, and must
increase wonderfully as it goes southward and receives its various
tributaries. I have called it the Hamilton after G. Hamilton, Esquire,
Inspector of Police, Adelaide. The one flowing south from our last camp
(39) I have called the Warburton, after the Commissioner of Police, P.E.
Warburton, Esquire, of Adelaide. The range between the two going south I
have called Crozier's Range after John Crozier, Esquire, Murray River.
The ranges west side of the Hamilton going southward I have called
William's Ranges. From the division of waters the ranges west of this and
the creek flowing northwards, a branch of which we are now on, I have
called McKinlay Creek and Ranges; I only hope the creek may hold a course
west of north. The ranges on the east side of this creek going northward
I have called Kirby's Ranges to remind him of his narrow escape.
Tributaries come into this creek south of this position, and west and
east as far as I can discern from top of range, about five miles
north-north-east of this; there is abundance of water in many of the
minor as well as the main creeks; mussels in all. Magnificent pasture all
around and lots of game but wild.

Tuesday, April 22.

Camp 40. We have been here now since the afternoon of Thursday last the
17th, and high time it is that we make some progress. Wind south-east;
cold dewless nights; the meat has dried after a fashion but not
sufficient for keeping any length of time without further exposure to sun
and air--which we must do as soon as we get to camp for several days.
Kirby has now quite recovered and we start on a bearing of 345 degrees. I
call this small creek Black-eyes Creek--after the bullock we slaughtered
here; at three and three-quarter miles crossed the what appears main
channel of the creek coming from west-south-west, and various others
coming in all directions; this is an immense creek, sandy and gravelly
bed, with large and to me perfectly new trees, with short and broad dark
green leaf and often clustering in fine saplings from the bottom and
growing to a good height; also some fine gums. Creek now on the right;
country after crossing the creek is splendidly grassed and firm sound
ground between creek and range which is some distance off; but we will be
gradually approaching it on our present course. At seven and a half miles
crossed sandy creek from west; at ten one-eighth miles crossed large deep
creek from west, at twelve miles sandy creek from west; and at fourteen
miles sandy creek from west; at fourteen and a quarter miles large sandy
creek, west, with water in sand; went down the creek east for a quarter
of a mile to water and camped at the junction of the other creek we
crossed a short distance back with this; the creek immediately below this
is about 300 yards wide with excellent timber; there has been a little
spinifex during today's travel but the bulk of it has been well-grassed
and fresh varieties of good sound country; a specimen of copper picked up
in one of the creeks; a great abundance of quartz and mica strewed
everywhere. I think I forgot to mention that at the division of waters on
the low bald undulations limestone is strewed about in large and small
circular pieces from the size of a saucer to three and four feet in
diameter, besides large blocks of it; the hills on the west are of a hard
stone between flint and sandstone, strewed about with quartz; the eastern
one is of burned slate or clay, pretty much resembling many that we have
already passed and what I was on, topped with spinifex, and the side with
good grasses.

Wednesday, April 23.

Camp 41. Mild night, wind light from west; started on a bearing of 345
degrees. A fresh broad-bean from a fine runner found here but rather
green to obtain seed from; may get some ripe further north. A couple of
small fish about two and a half to three inches long are in this
waterhole, came up at the flood no doubt and left here. The horses are
gone back on their old tracks and the two men who went after them, like
idiots, got about half of them and retraced their steps to camp, afraid
no doubt to go off the tracks to look after them in case they should get
lost--this I am sorry to say is not an uncommon occurrence and has all
along pestered me very much, and has in many instances caused vast
detention; the worst of it is that some of them instead of improving in
following tracks appear to me to be getting daily more stupid. The sheep
and bullocks I have sent on on the proper bearing, so that if it is even
late when the horses are found they can be overtaken and a journey made;
but it does not give me an opportunity of finding water and good camp as
I otherwise would be able to do getting them in a proper time. Wind at 10
a.m. changed to east-north-east, beautiful morning. At middle of the day,
the horses not making their appearance, I sent after the sheep and
bullocks and had them turned back to camp; they arrived at sunset and the
horses just arrived at the same time, having strayed amongst the spinifex
a considerable distance. I took a horse and went to the nearest hill
about seven miles distant to observe the course of the main creek, but
the day proving warm and misty I did not get so distinct a view as I
anticipated, it was extensive enough but indistinct although the
elevation I was on must have been more than 3000 feet from level of the
creek, and much higher ranges on to west of it; from top of it portions
of the main range appear in the far distance at 347 1/2 degrees; no other
eminence round the horizon to 95 degrees; the whole intervening space
filled with creeks running in all directions towards the main creek, that
must be distant from the hill I was on easterly nearly twenty miles with
an apparent northerly course; this hill is detached from the main mass of
range and distant from four to five miles. It and the most of the
intervening space between the camp and it is literally one mass of quartz
and quartz-reefs, mica, etc., and on top of range is a sort of flaggy
slate, all apparently having undergone the action of fire--this range I
have called Sarah's Range; it bears from camp 323 degrees seven miles; a
great deal of spinifex and abrupt creeks between camp and it, not a speck
of gold visible but it appears to have undergone the action of fire; this
is another day lost. Such detention makes me quite irritable and fidgety.

Thursday, April 24.

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

Friday, April 25.

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

Saturday, April 26.

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

Sunday, April 27.

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

Monday, April 28.

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

Tuesday, April 29.

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

Wednesday, April 30.

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

Thursday, May 1.

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

Friday, May 2.

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

Saturday, May 3.

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

Sunday, May 4.

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

Monday, May 5.

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

Tuesday, May 6.

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

Wednesday, May 7.

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

Thursday, May 8.

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

Friday, May 9.

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

Saturday, May 10.

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

Sunday, May 11.

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

Monday, May 12.

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

Tuesday, May 13.

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

Wednesday, May 14.

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

Thursday, May 15.

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

Friday, May 16.

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

Saturday, May 17.

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

Sunday, May 18.

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

Monday, May 19.

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

Tuesday, May 20.

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

Wednesday, May 21.

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

Thursday, May 22.

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

Friday, May 23.

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

Saturday, May 24.

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

Sunday, May 25.

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

Monday, May 26.

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

Tuesday, May 27.

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

Wednesday, May 28.

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

Thursday, May 29.

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

Friday, May 30.

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

Saturday, May 31.

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

Sunday, June 1.

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

Monday, June 2.

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

Tuesday, June 3.

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

Wednesday, June 4.

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

Thursday, June 5.

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

Friday, June 6.

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

Saturday, June 7.

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

Sunday, June 8.

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

Monday, June 9.

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

Wednesday, June 11.

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

Thursday, June 12.

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

Friday, June 13.

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

Saturday, June 14.

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

Sunday, June 15.

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

Monday, June 16.

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

Tuesday, June 17.

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

Wednesday, June 18.

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

Thursday, June 19.

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

Friday, June 20.

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

Saturday, June 21.

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

Sunday, June 22.

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

Monday, June 23.

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

Tuesday, June 24.

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

Wednesday, June 25.

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

Thursday, June 26.

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

Friday, June 27.

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

Saturday, June 28.

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

Sunday, June 29.

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

Monday, June 30.

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

Tuesday, July 1.

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

Wednesday, July 2.

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

Thursday, July 3.

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

Friday, July 4.

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

Saturday, July 5.

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

Sunday, July 6.

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

Monday, July 7.

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

Tuesday, July 8.

Camp 30. Heavy dew last night; foggy this morning. Very dense vegetation
along the banks and bergues of the river. The fish seen as yet are but
small, the largest are of the catfish kind. Started at 8.45 a.m., late,
the horses, even with the abundance of feed here, having strayed in all
directions. At one and three-quarter miles crossed narrow and deep
running creek from south by east. One of the camels in going up the hill
out of it tumbled over backwards, and detained us forty-two minutes. Then
ascended stony hills to avoid the ravines close to the river. At four and
a quarter miles a conical stony-topped hill close by on right, south, and
south of that a swamp with poplar, gums, etc., river close on left,
country open both sides of river, particularly opposite side to
north-north-east; at five and three-quarter miles crossed creek from
south-east (good, not broad nor deep but abundance of water) then
undulating stony country with low-sized trees (stunted) river bearing
northward; at seven and three-quarter miles crossed creek from south-east
by east, a little water; at nine miles crossed narrow deep creek,
bald-topped range of hills close ahead same side of river, running from
north to south. The river here sweeps round the north end of them, making
a considerable detour to north of east; we ascended the easiest of the
ridges easterly to avoid the steep gullies, and saw the river taking a
sweep south; I think it receives the Perry at its south bend. At twelve
and a half miles on an easterly bearing changed course to south by west,
or even west of that, over ridgy but good travelling and latterly flat
country, well grassed, for two and three-quarter miles and camped, one of
the camels refusing to travel, lying down occasionally. Distance
travelled about fifteen and a quarter miles. I wish our animals were now
in the same condition they were at Hayward's Creek and I would soon be at
Port Denison. I am surprised that the squatting stations are not further
advanced up this river. Our invalids are slowly recruiting. Has been a
beautiful day.

Wednesday, July 9.

Camp 31. Heavy dew last night. To give the horses a chance of doing
better last night they were let go without hobbles, and this morning they
have strayed to some distance and again caused us to be late in starting.
Started at 11.10 a.m. A number of natives must have been here on our
arrival last afternoon but must have decamped very hastily on hearing us,
leaving all their spears, cooking and cooked vegetables, food, etc. etc.;
the food they were cooking in their ovens and what was lying cooked
consisted of excellent roots of some kind or other, and a round fruit
which they roast and which is very good. We used all the roots and found
them most excellent and left in exchange a tomahawk, which no doubt will
suit their purpose as well, and suited us much better. I took the
precaution of carrying all their spears up to our camp, that in case they
might return to their camp in the night they might not molest us; it
saved us keeping watch but we neither saw nor heard anything of them
except their dogs howling. Numbers of blue mountain parrots here, and a
few ducks only. The river here is formidable and the banks rather steep
for easy access. On the south-south-easterly course; at one and
three-quarter miles crossed deep rocky creek with a little rainwater and
very steep banks; at three and a quarter miles passed a lagoon, more
lagoons off to the south-west under the low ridges; at six miles crossed
a small oak creek from south-west by west; at seven and three-quarter
miles crossed small good creek with plenty of water from south-west by
west. Halted at a couple of lagoons, nine and a quarter miles. One of the
camels we will be compelled to leave here; he has been a most useful
animal; we will in consequence have to curtail further our little effects
and leave many things behind. Our journey direct south-east and little
south today has not been more than about seven miles. The lagoons which
are deep run in a north-west by west half west course. Buried things we
left at south side of ironbark tree fifty-two paces about west 28 degrees
south of a marked tree and camp fire.

Thursday, July 10.

Camp 32. Ice in the quart pots this morning, the first we have seen
during the whole of our wanderings up to this; but I once before saw
where it had nipped off the young burnt feed before making the Burdekin.
Have called this Coppin's lagoons after our camel that is left here.
Started at 8.52 a.m. south-east about two and a half miles or so. At one
and three-quarter miles on an easterly bearing crossed a rocky and sandy
narrow deep creek from south by west with plenty of water in large holes;
good travelling till we turned easterly, then a little ridgy; at three
and a quarter miles a large creek from north-north-east joins the river
in a bend; a large mount in about that direction. The river now suddenly
turns south-east to south-south-east from east-north-east; at six and a
quarter miles crossed the River Clarke and had a tumble, horse and all,
heels over head into it; it had no stream but large sheets of water in
its bed (sandy). From south-west by west the large range on opposite side
of the Burdekin runs about east-south-east and west-north-west, splendid
bold mounts; crossed oak creek from south-west by south at nine and
three-quarter miles; from junction of this creek westerly end of mountain
range, table-topped, beyond the Burdekin bears 341 degrees; at eleven and
a quarter miles crossed small steep creek. The river, now closely
confined between steep hills, kept along the stony bottom of the range
for some time, but the camel turning over, and it being more rough ahead,
was obliged to get into and follow the bed of the river for some
distance. At twelve and three-quarter miles ascended the riverbank on
same side; at thirteen and a quarter miles crossed very steep creek with
water, and at fifteen miles halted at a small rocky creek on the ranges
with water and feed sufficient for our use. Since ascending the banks out
of the river our course has been about north 50 degrees east over a
succession of stony ridges with some spinifex.

Friday, July 11.

Camp 33. Heavy dew last night. Started at 8.15 a.m. on same bearing over
ridges till three and a quarter miles, being the point where Dr.
Leichhardt descended the steep mount close by. From this point the mount
and peak on opposite side of the river some distance off bears as
follows: south-west of table top 280 degrees, north-east peak 331 1/2
degrees. Got into the bed of the river here comparatively easily and
followed it down its rocky and sandy bed for some distance till obliged
to turn out on the opposite side. A large island of rocks in the centre
of the river and deep water on both sides, the hills precipitous into the
river. We got up the opposite side pretty easily and followed it down,
crossing a deep ravine and stony ridge, and recrossed at two and
three-quarter miles on a bearing north of east, and crossed the river
back again, very steep on the side we crossed from but good getting out,
and came over ridgy, and latterly, basalt country, on bearing of about
east-south-east, and camped on the opposite side of the river at three
miles on last bearing, where there was a suitable place in the bed of the
river for killing one of our horses which was completely knocked up. This
camp is about two miles up from where the river takes a south-east bend
and receives a river running into it at that bend. About one-quarter mile
from it and nearer our camp another large running creek joins the
Burdekin which I have called the Campbell after Dal. Campbell, Esquire,
Melbourne. The larger one below, which is about one-third the width of
the Burdekin but down which quite as great a supply of water is running,
I have taken the liberty of calling the Bowen after His Excellency Sir G.
Bowen, Governor of Queensland. The latter stream joins the Burdekin from
north by east but comes from distant mountainous ranges to the east of
north-east. The smaller stream the Campbell joins the Burdekin from north
by west, but comes from north, or a little east of that, from a
mountainous country. As seen from a hill close by to west of the Campbell
the Burdekin there comes from a little north of west, and flows to south
20 degrees east, but not visible either way far.

Saturday, July 12, Sunday, July 13, Monday, July 14, 1862.

In camp, drying horseflesh; the wind from east; dewy, and at daylight
foggy along the banks and valley of the river but soon clears off; we
have had splendid weather for drying our meat. Caught some very nice fish
but not sufficient to be of any real service. The timber is not anything
like as large or so good as it is further up the river. The bed of the
river here is from 400 to 500 yards wide. The horse Goliah has given us
fifty-two pounds dry meat. We have shot a few crows, a cormorant, and a
white eagle with blue back, to make a stew for breakfast, that with a
little salted hide and about two pounds dried meat will make a very good
meal as matters stand at present. The remainder of the dried meat and
what we may shoot I hope will last us as far as the Farming River, which
is about ninety miles from this, to which river I saw people start for
from Sydney upwards of twelve months ago, and they must certainly be
there now; perhaps we may be fortunate enough to meet them this side of
that. I have been quite disappointed at not finding the stations much
higher up the river even than where I now am.

Tuesday, July 15.

Camp 34. Dull morning; heavy dew; much sheet lightning during the night
to south and east, heavy clouds in that direction this morning. Started
at ---- a.m.; for the first half mile or more down the river bed east 8
degrees south; then crossed and on bearing of south 35 degrees east; the
river at crossing not more than 100 yards wide; first part through open
timber, and gentle ascent for one and a quarter miles to a basalt and
sandstone range, flat, well-grassed table-topped, and descended the same
at two and a quarter miles; the dip from the table-top to the slope only
a few yards; large boulders of basalt and sandstone; then well-grassed
but ridgy and occasionally scrubby country; crossed springy creek at
west-north-west (gum); at three and a quarter miles crossed fine gum
creek, running, with lots of palms (corkscrew) from west-south-west at
five miles; the country good till six miles, when it becomes more ridgy
and stony, with spinifex, but improves shortly after; at eight miles
crossed good creek; springs, etc., from south half east; close under
ranges towards the source of the creek the ridges open and apparently
well-grassed, though rather steep and stony; then over higher ranges and
stony ridges, well-grassed, and descended a very steep one, the river
close by on the left; at ten and a half miles rather rough, with ravines
at foot of the range running into the river; at eleven and a quarter
miles crossed a small creek from west-south-west with water in holes;
then rocky low ridges with but scant vegetation for a short distance;
then over rather flat travelling, well-grassed but indifferently
timbered, and a good deal of it inclined to be swampy in wet weather; a
good many poplar gums on it. The latter part rather rotten sandy ground.
Made the river at the point where it is forced by rocks on the opposite
side to this, sweeping out a very large piece of the bank on this side to
the distance of several hundred yards, making the river bed at this sweep
quite 800 yards across and well-timbered round the sweep on this side;
caught some excellent fish this afternoon, a black bream, the largest
five inches deep and fifteen to sixteen inches in length, excellent
firm-eating fish and a great help to our evening meal. Distance today
about fifteen and two-thirds miles. Rained a little during the afternoon
with first of all a strong gale from the southward accompanied with
thunder. Saw a platypus in the river this afternoon, first I have seen
during the journey. Cormorants here are numerous but difficult to be got
at and our shot is not heavy enough for them. Our crow-stew was excellent
this morning.

Wednesday, July 16.

Camp 35. A good shower during the night; foggy this morning, but the rain
evidently all cleared off; started at 8.3 a.m. course south by east;
crossed deep creek from north-west by west, little water; at two and a
half miles passed a swamp; at three and three-quarter miles crossed oak
creek from west-south-west; at four and a quarter miles changed course to
south 35 degrees east; crossed at one and three-quarter miles a small
creek from north-north-west, plenty of waterholes; same creek afterwards
was close on our left at five and three-quarter miles where it joins the
river, and another oak creek close by joins at nearly or at same place.
Then changed course to south 11 degrees east and passed lagoon at three
miles; passed through an end of considerable swamp; at six and a quarter
miles on our left and after going a short way saw where it had wound
round a ridge and was a large sheet of water and swampy land; before and
after this passed through several nasty thick belts of scrub with a very
fine large white tree with dark rough butt growing amongst it, Moreton
Bay ash, I imagine; made the river at nine and three-quarter miles where
some drays and sheep had crossed some time since; followed the river down
one and a quarter miles south-south-west, and crossed a fine creek from
west by north and camped about three-quarters of a mile up the creek; one
branch of it comes from north-west by north, the other and best from west
half south. Basalt ridge close to the river and south banks of creek; a
short distance down the river a cliffy precipitous tier of ranges comes
right on to the river with dark scrubby-looking tops. On the right bank
of the creek with its junction with the river is a mass of sandstone with
bullets of stones through it, and a yellow hard-looking clay perfectly
detached, the clay wall having a dip of about 45 degrees to south-west;
abundance of water up the left hand or southernmost creek. Distance
travelled twenty to twenty-one miles. I have called the creek we are now
encamped on Gibson's after ---- Gibson, Esquire, of Great Bourke Street,
Melbourne.

Thursday, July 17.

Camp 36. Ice again this morning, very cold during the night. Started at 8
a.m.; four and a half miles on bearing of south by east along and over
basalt country, crossed rocky oak creek at three and a half miles from
west by south, swampy; continued this bearing for six and three-quarter
to seven miles and changed course to 60 degrees east of south; one and
three-quarter miles an immense swamp and lagoons, basalt ridges; close
round crossed over these ridges; bore a little more to the east; and at
five and three-quarters crossed a splendid stream from south by west with
a number of anabranches. Basalt on the flats as well as the ridges;
changed course to about east by south, horses tiring; halted at same,
strong-running stream at four and three-quarter miles; as it passes it
flows over falls in an east-south-east course along the foot of basalt
ridges and comes, as far as visible, from west and north. East of this,
apparently opposite side of the Burdekin River, are bald-topped ridges
about eight miles distant; basalt ridge on this side a considerable
distance in that direction. Distance twenty-two miles today. I have taken
the liberty of naming the stream (to all intents and purposes an
important river, though narrow compared with some streams, but down which
quite as great a supply of pure water is now running as in the Burdekin)
the River Browne after W.J. Browne, Esquire, of Booboorowie, South
Australia. Large masses of granite are here in the bed of this river and
on its banks, although the ridges close by are composed of very cellular
basalt and close-grained sandstone. No mountains visible at all close in
any direction. From the top of the heights, close to our camp, lots of
tracks of sheep and cattle. No appearance of a station; fancy they have
taken to the creeks.

Friday, July 18.

Very cold during the night, but beautiful morning. This river runs
parallel to the Burdekin for some distance and at only a very short
distance between. Started at 8.20 a.m. over the basalt ridges for the
sake of better travelling than we are likely to have in the Burdekin, for
some distance at least. South for one mile, then east-south-east through
open forest with basalt blocks occasionally, and rather swampy-inclined
land for two and three-quarter miles. Crossed a small sandy creek, vast
numbers of young palms, from south, then the land of granite formation
and stony; drainage to north and east. At three and one quarter miles
crossed large sandy creek with water and a number of large palms and
gums, from south-west, immediately after crossing, undulations of quite
sandy country but commencing with but little scrub; but at about three
miles from the creek obliged to turn out of it in a north-north-east
course or all our packs would have been torn off; the scrub was full of
game. On the last course we went about one and a half miles till we got
to the edge of the scrub, then about east by north for about one and a
half miles on to the south-west side of the large creek last crossed, now
in immense, large, deep, and long waterholes running in about an
east-south-east course, about parallel with the Burdekin, which creek we
followed on its right side, the scrub coming often to the banks. Very
fine stone fruit got here of a purple colour, quite an ornamental tree
about twenty-five to thirty feet high, fruit in clusters, about the size
of a large plum and very good boiled or roasted. At four miles on this
course crossed an oak creek from south half east, with water coming from
west side of stony ridges; then about three-quarter mile further to river
in a course east 15 degrees south, then followed down the river for about
one and a quarter miles and camped; distance travelled about sixteen and
one quarter miles. I have called this the Kissock after W. Kissock,
Esquire, Great Bourke Street, Melbourne. One of the horses completely
knocked up, and as we can observe no recent traces of stock on the river
made up my mind to kill him, spell a day, and carry as much of his flesh,
boiled, with us as will last a couple of days. The river is very broad
here, forming small falls with large blocks of granite-looking rocks, of
a light and some of a yellow colour, across its bed for some distance.

Saturday, July 19.

Spelled. Very cold night, beautiful morning, and throughout the day the
same weather.

Sunday, July 20.

Camp 38. Very cold night, beautiful morning. Proceed down the river.
Started at 8.37 a.m., our course for a short distance about south-east
then east-south-east; at one and a half miles crossed rocky creek, easily
passable for drays, from west-south-west; crossed sandy oak creek from
south-east by south (dry). At three miles crossed sandy palm creek (dry)
from south-south-east; at six and a quarter miles undulating nice
country; at eleven miles struck the river; a high point in a considerable
range on opposite side of river bears 88 degrees east from this point of
river. The river now runs in a south-west by south direction for about
one and three-quarter miles, and in that distance crossed two oak creeks,
one from west-north-west, the other from north-west by west; the river
then runs about south for about one and a half to one and three-quarter
miles, and suddenly takes a large bend to east or north of east, at which
bend a very large oak creek joins river from south-south-west; a range of
hills a short distance off on that same bearing. Camped in bed of creek;
lot of young oaks in bed of creek just sprouting. This creek I have taken
the liberty of calling the McKeachin after Alexander McKeachin, Esquire,
of Delagato, Manaroo, New South Wales. The timber here is neither so
abundant or so good for building purposes as higher up the river; the
latter is from 700 to 800 yards broad here, and a strong running stream
on right side.

Monday, July 21.

Camp 39. Hoar frost last night with ice on the ground again this morning
but beautiful weather. Started at 8.40 a.m. south-east by east to clear
creek and range, then south-east by south. Crossed sandy oak creek from
south half east. At half a mile crossed several sandy creeks near
together from west of south. At three miles crossed two sandy creeks from
west-south-west; when united will form a considerable one. At six miles
crossed large creek from south-west by south. Gums, palms, and the
paper-bark trees at six and three-quarter miles. Crossed at seven and a
half miles large creek with oaks, gums, paper-bark trees. From south by
west a very fine creek and excellent timber. No water at crossing but
abundance of reeds on banks. At ten and three-quarter miles considerably
ridgy, and passed large masses and cliffy hill, apparently of limestone.
Close on the right from the top of one of the ridges is seen to the right
a fine valley coming considerably from north of west and bearing off
round some high dark-looking hills ahead, with cliffy and rugged tops, no
doubt the valley of the Fanning River. Kept above course till at fourteen
and a quarter miles rough hills being close ahead, and the Fanning being
too much off to south and east, followed a small creek north-east for one
and a quarter miles and camped at a little water. The country here has
all been burned. Distance travelled about sixteen and a quarter miles.

Tuesday, July 22.

Camp 40. Neither dew or frost. Started at 7.52 a.m. north by east,
crossing two oak creeks from left to right, joining the one we camped on
last night. Made Burdekin River at eight miles. Highest point of Mount
Razorback bears from that point a little east of east-north-east. It has
been raining here lately. Then on bearing of east 15 degrees south at
three-quarters of a mile an oak creek joins the river from south, the
river then bears much away to east, or even north of east. Still on
bearing of east 15 degrees south. At two and a quarter miles crossed
small oak creek from south by west. At four and three-quarter miles
crossed fine large oak creek from south-south-west, sandy bed and reedy
banks. Open forest. Saw some natives and heard others who were much
alarmed. At eight and a half miles crossed sandy oak creek from
south-west, very zigzag in its course. Country very ridgy and inclined to
be lightly scrubby. Made the river at fourteen miles. Latter part very
ridgy and many precipitous creeks from the slopes, but otherwise
well-grassed. The greater part of the country travelled over today was of
granite formation with veins of quartz here and there, and lots of loose
quartz scattered about. A large hill opposite side of river here that I
take to be ---- Range, and another down the river about one and a half
miles bearing about south by west. The river here comes from north for
some distance, and after it has passed this on to the range about one and
a half miles down the river that appears to come right on it it bears off
suddenly to the north of east. No traces of stock or drays seen on the
river, and as another of our worst horses has become done up I will kill
him here and spell the other horses a day; boil as much of his flesh as
we can to take on with us and feast ourselves on the head, feet, and
bones for a day, taking his shoes off as usual in case some of the others
may require them. It perfectly astonishes me not meeting any settlers ere
this. Distance today about twenty-two miles. Splendid weather. Timber
indifferent here and not very abundant.

Wednesday, July 23.

Camp 41. Wind cold from north by west; neither dew nor frost.

Thursday, July 24.

Camp 41. Wind from same quarter or a little more west; neither dew or
frost but very cold during the night. Crossed the river here to save a
considerable sweep first to south between one and a half to two miles,
then to north of east. Started at 8.20 a.m. This is now the sixth horse
we have been compelled to kill for food, I trust it may be the last; went
across the river yesterday and saw the tracks of a few head of cattle and
from what I could judge not very old; hope to get to a station during the
day. From our camp here a fine peak on left side of river, between main
range and river, bears 48 degrees east of north. At the bend on right
bank of river, below our camp quite two miles distant, the end of a large
hill comes on to the river bearing 195 degrees; a very rugged peak east
of it on same side bears 183 1/2 degrees. Only two packhorses and one
camel now. Bearing east 33 1/2 degrees south over stony granite ridges;
made the river at a southerly bend at eight miles. A deep creek joins at
this bend. Then bearing south-east by south for a peak ahead, at two and
a half miles crossed large oak creek and several smaller ones before
that; at four and a quarter miles at peak changed course to south 2
degrees west; at five miles made river, crossing in our course several
creeks from eastward. Mount McConnell from this bears a little east of
south-south-east; instead of altering our course to south 2 degrees west
from the peak, a good road avoiding some rugged ranges could be had by
keeping right on course of south 23 1/2 degrees east. The river
immediately below this passes in an easterly direction between two ranges
that come right on to it. The peak on the left bank I have called
Foster's Peak after A.W. Foster, Esquire, of the Murray River, New South
Wales. The bluff on the right bank and a little nearer than the peak I
have called the McLeod after James McLeod, Esquire, of the Darling River,
New South Wales. A fine long leading range some distance from right bank
of river, running north and south, and apparently table-topped, I have
called the Fletcher after G.B. Fletcher, Esquire, Tapio, Darling River,
New South Wales.

Friday, July 25.

Camp 42. Started at 8.35 a.m.; first over stony ridge, then good open
forest on a bearing of east by south; at five miles struck a river from
north-north-west which, immediately after crossing, went about east half
north. This river I have called the Foster after A.W. Foster, Esquire, of
the Murray, New South Wales; followed it in its course for two and
three-quarter miles, it then suddenly turns south-east; had to follow it
a quarter of a mile. Large mountain lying right across my course and
running about north by west and south by east; which I have called Mount
Buchanan after Alexander Buchanan, Esquire, of Anlaby, South Australia,
from whom the whole of this party met with the utmost kindness and
consideration. I then crossed over and went on a bearing of east by north
through open country, till at one and three-quarter miles crossed a fine
river from north by west which I have called the Scott after E.B. Scott,
Esquire, of Moorno on the Murray River, New South Wales. Went on this
course about two and a half miles; ascended a peak here and found Mount
McConnell to bear 225 degrees. Another large conspicuous mount from seven
to eight miles off bears 340 degrees; west and south of Mount Buchanan
bears 261 degrees. Changed course here to south one-quarter west, an
immense mountain being ahead in the easterly course, I should like to be
able to go, which I have called Mount Middleton after our right hand man,
one of the party, whose attention to his difficult duties and the good
example he showed to the rest of the party would entitle him to the
esteem of anyone in my situation. One and a quarter miles south
one-quarter west, then east half-south; immediately after the river
changing eastwardly the Foster River joins it; about two and a quarter
miles on last course and camped; the camel about done up and the country
next to impassable; before getting to camp had to ascend a long stony and
steep range, and no sooner up than down again in another place, and which
did not advance us half a mile on our course. We had a hard frost last
night; very difficult country. Mount McConnell bears 238 1/2 degrees.

Saturday, July 26.

Camp 43. A dewless and frostless night. Camel very much done up. Started
at 7.53, followed the River Scott. On the left bank is a high precipitous
mountain which I have called the Frederick, and on the right hand another
high mount which I have called the Phillip, after the two brothers
Fletcher of Melbourne. Just as the river takes a south-east course the
Scott joins the Burdekin as it comes from south-south-west, flowing to
north-north-east. In its whole width a perfect mass of slippery rocks and
deep water, and where we struck it no apparent current; although when it
contracts more and runs through more narrow rocks there is a strong and
rapid stream. After getting about one and a quarter miles along its bank
in a north-north-west direction was compelled to halt; perfectly
impracticable and will be a most intricate crossing. Mount McConnell
bears from this crossing-place about 241 1/2 degrees. This is a fearful
country and now that I see it I am not the least surprised at not finding
the Upper Burdekin peopled and stocked. A man has difficulty in getting
along on foot, much more so with quadrupeds; as for vehicles of any kind
quite out of the question anywhere in this quarter. I am at present at a
loss to conjecture how the dray, or drays and stock, found their way up
the river so far, unless they went up west of Mount McConnell or found
some more practicable route lower down the Burdekin, which latter I very
much doubt. The hill just opposite our encampment I have called the Poole
after R.T. Poole, Esquire, of South Australia. We are encamped by a large
gum tree, as the river takes an east by south course for some distance.
The most rugged country a man would ever wish to behold; and to add to
our difficulties in swimming across numbers of huge alligators are here
close to the camp. I ascended the hill just behind our camp with much
difficulty to view the country ahead and about me. It was exceedingly
stony and rocky. From it an extensive view, but much higher hills were in
the distance in various directions. It is about three-quarters of a mile
distant from our camp and bears from it 240 degrees; Mount McConnell
bears 242 1/2 degrees. A conspicuous dark mount, from eight to ten miles
off, bears 34 1/2, round the north end of which the Burdekin passes. The
furthest point of the Burdekin seen along its course, about four miles
off, at which place it suddenly runs to the northward 63 1/2 degrees. A
considerable sweep of the river between this and Mount McConnell bears
216 1/2 degrees from five to six miles distant. A high peak, and close by
it a high mountain in the same line of ranges about seven to eight miles
off across the river, bear respectively 93 1/2 and 104 1/2 degrees.
Beyond the north end (distant) of the above range is to be seen another
dark mountain bearing 76 1/2 degrees. Killed another unfortunate horse
(poor old Joseph Buggins). The hill on which I now stand I have called
Mount Bertram after Alexander Bertram, Esquire, of Sandhurst, Victoria.
The mount that bears 104 1/2 degrees from this, beyond the river, I have
called Mount Haverfield after ---- Haverfield, Esquire, of Melbourne. The
peak that bears 93 1/2 degrees I have called the Grierson after R.
Grierson, Esquire, of Great Bourke Street West, Melbourne. The
conspicuous mountain that bears 34 1/2 degrees I have called Mount
Roberts after G. Roberts, Esquire, of the Murray, New South Wales.

Sunday, July 27.

No passage over the ridge or mountains practicable. A raft constructed of
such materials as we can get here floated but indifferently with our
canteens, one leaky air pillow, and our boiling vessels inverted, some of
which were not air-tight, is ready for crossing tomorrow, the things and
the men that swim but indifferently; many of the alligators close by in
the same reach.

Monday, July 28.

After much swimming by Middleton and Hodgkinson we managed to cross all
the things and the camel. The horses we could not get to cross so left
them with the men to look after them till tomorrow when we shall try them
again and hope for better success; it is a most difficult, intricate, and
dangerous place; if they all cross in safety it is more than I expect.

Tuesday, July 29.

Camp 45. By much perseverance and difficulty got the horses and remainder
of the men safe across; by 4 p.m. packed up and started down the river
east by south, very rough, walking nearly all the way for about one mile,
at which place we take to the ranges; in the morning, on our way at about
three-quarters of a mile, two considerable running creeks join the river;
another running creek joins the river at camp. I shall take the camel on
and our only packhorse-load of stuff shall leave behind here till it can
be sent for; it consists chiefly of seeds which I should be sorry to
lose. I had intended to leave the camel here also, but after thought it
best to try and take him on over the ranges one stage and kill him, and
by doing so save a horse.

Wednesday, July 30.

Camp 46. Buried the things safely and securely from wet, and should not
the natives find them and dig them up they will be perfectly secure till
we can send back for them. Obliged to shoe one of the horses which lost
his shoe in crossing yesterday on the rocks. Started at 10.15 and at once
tackled the range, up a steep hill, down again in a north-east by north
direction, crossed a deep ravine, and ascended the first of a series of
steep stony hills in a north-east by east course; from the summit Mount
McConnell bears 246 degrees. The conspicuous mount round the north side
of which the Burdekin passes bears 23 degrees; followed the river in that
direction for about five and a half miles to a creek, the north and east
drainage of the large range under the western side of which we were
latterly travelling, and round the termination of them we camped at a
running creek of excellent water coming from east of south-east. We are
here very reluctantly obliged to kill our good and faithful companion the
last remaining camel (Siva) that was with us in all our reconnoiterings
and other journeys; he was indeed a splendid animal but now quite unfit
to travel beyond this. I hope to get sufficient of his flesh to carry us
into a station, or if the country is at all passable to Port Denison. We
are encamped under some splendid shady large-leafed tree in the bed of
the creek, leaves about ten inches broad and twelve to fifteen inches
long; some of the men found that the leaves dry were a good substitute
for tobacco and were soon puffing a cloud.

Thursday, July 31.

Spelled here today to boil down camel. Mild night, day warm, many recent
traces of natives here under the shade of these trees, they are firing
the grass in various directions around us but we never see anything of
them. The remnants of a broken gourd we found here, it has been used as a
vessel for carrying water; it was the size of a large coconut with a neck
about six inches long, through one side of which they had drilled a hole
for a cord for slinging on their arms.

Friday, August 1.

In Camp. Boiling down the camel's meat. Poole unwell with a slight attack
of fever and ague. We made a fine breakfast this morning off the camel
tripe and feet. I went out onto the top of a very high hill to have a
look at the country in front of us. We shall start tomorrow; I hope
shortly to find a station, if not we shall have to kill another horse,
and shall have to walk and ride alternately; I hope we shall not come to
that as the whole party will be obliged to be kept back on account of
having to keep pace with the pedestrian.

Saturday, August 2.

Started at 8.53 a.m., course east by north, each man taking with him a
certain weight of the boiled camel before him, as we are now reduced to
eleven horses, one alone with pack-bags. After travelling for some nine
or ten miles we came upon the tracks of bullocks, quite fresh, and
shortly after were gratified by the sight of the bullocks themselves with
two white men tailing them. We soon now were pitching into roast beef and
damper and, don't let me forget, potatoes and mustard. The station
belongs to Messrs. Harvey and Somers and is situated on the River Bowen,
a stream that flows northward into the Burdekin. Mr. Somers was not in on
our arrival; he soon however came in, and we were most hospitably
received by him. The flour during the night and for some few days after
had the most astonishing effect on all of us from the fact that our
digestive organs could not digest the bread, being so accustomed to the
easily digested meat; we were most of us in great pain and our legs and
feet swelled very much.



END OF MCKINLAY'S BURKE RELIEF EXPEDITION.





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