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Title: Reports on Exploration into the North and North-Western Interior of South Australia. Author: Peter Egerton Warburton and Benjamin Herschel Babbage * A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook * eBook No.: 1203711h.html Language: English Date first posted: September 2012 Date most recently updated: September 2012 Produced by: Ned Overton Project Gutenberg Australia eBooks are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular paper edition. Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this file. This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg Australia Licence which may be viewed online at http://gutenberg.net.au/licence.html
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Laid on the Table by the Hon. the Commissioner of Crown Lands and Immigration.
Letter from B. H. Babbage, 8th September,
Mount Remarkable, 8th September, 1858.
Sir—I have the honor to inform you that, on my arrival at Thompson's Station, from Port Augusta, I learned, with the greatest surprise, that Mr. Harris had left that place two days previously, en route for Adelaide, having with him three of the men, two drays, and twelve horses, belonging to the expedition.
As I had gone up upon the western shores of the Gulf, and Mr. Harris had come down by the regular road on the eastern side, we had not met.
Convinced that the loss of so large a portion of the equipment and men belonging to the expedition would most seriously cripple my resources, I left the pack-horse I had with me at Mr. Thompson's, and immediately started with Warriner on the road to Mount Remarkable, in which direction I was told Mr. Harris had gone. I overtook Mr. Harris, at the Mount, about two o'clock to-day. I enclose a written statement from Mr. Harris, explaining his share in this transaction. I immediately took the command of the party, and arranged with Mr. Harris that he and his brother-in-law, Thompson (who wished to return to Adelaide), should proceed by the mail, as I intend, myself, starting back to-morrow with the drays, all the horses, and two of the men, for the Elizabeth.
I understand that there are, at my camp, despatches from you to me, which have been opened by Messrs. Harris and Gregory in my absence, in which you recommend the disencumbering myself of the drays, and proceeding with pack-horses only; and that this recommendation has been the result of a long conference between the two Mr. Gregory's and yourself. I am quite ready to admit Mr. Gregory, senior's, superior knowledge and skill in exploring; but he has evidently never been in a country of the nature of the one in which I have been myself for these last five months, and cannot, therefore, be so good a judge as myself of the best way of proceeding; I shall, therefore, take the responsibility of, it may be, proceeding in a different manner from the way directed by you, Sir, as I am convinced that, were you acquainted with all the details of my position, you would agree fully in my plans.
How Mr. Charles Gregory, who, I understand, has been appointed as my second in command, can justify his taking so important a step as over-riding all the directions I had given for the proceedings of my party during my own absence, seeing that I was expected back every day, remains yet to be seen. Had that gentleman had the patience to have waited for a few days longer, I should myself have been back at my camp, and all this loss of time and extra wear and tear and fatigue to the horses would have been avoided. I regret this delay the more, because the uncertain fate of Messrs. Stuart and Forster makes it desirable for me, at once, to start with a strong party, northwards, to their relief. I will only further observe, in connection with this matter, that I had been left with eight pack horses and four saddle horses in all; two of the draught horses left at the camp being unfitted for packs, whilst there are twelve pack-saddles at the camp—thus, even the number of horses left at my camp was most unnecessarily reduced below the means at my disposal for the transport of stores by pack-horses.
In my last report (No. 13), I stated that I considered my difficulty of transport at an end for the present. All my stores are at the Elizabeth —I have, now no more sandhills and scrub between my camp and Lake Campbell; and, what is more important still, between Lake Campbell and the fresh-water lakes. These lakes or waters have been "described so often by so many different blacks of different tribes to different parties, that I think a considerable degree of reliance may be placed upon their statements. I have now before me a copy of a map frequently traced upon the sand by "black Jemmy", a black whom I left at my camp, always giving the same relative bearings to the same places, and the same account of the waters, which agrees in many points, both names and description, with information previously obtained from other blacks. The stages from Lake Campbell, according to Jemmy, are Arkoona, water coming out of a cave about which mallee trees grow. This statement of the kind of trees about Arkoona, makes it probable that there is a limestone rock, the most likely of all rocks in which to find a cave—thus the incidental point, of the kind of trees, renders Jemmy's account, unknown to himself, the more consistent. Next is Cottabidnya, a large lake, the country about being inhabited by lllaree blacks. The direction of these two places from Lake Campbell (or Pidla-wirra, as the blacks call it), is, according to Jemmy, about north-west. As a corroboration of the truth of this statement, is the fact that, when penetrating the scrub in a north-west direction from Wirra Wirralu, or "Smith's", I got into the country inhabited by the Illaree blacks. Some blacks, at this moment at Port Augusta, also pointed to the west and north-west as being the country of the Illaree blacks, of whom the other blacks appear all to be afraid. From Cottabidnya, you turn more to the north, and come to Kommaroo, a water which dries up. A blackfellow, met with at Thompson's station, gave Mr. Harris a nearly similar name to a water beyond Cottabidnya, viz.—Kommaroo, where he said there were ducks. The next stage from Kommaroo is Woonamulla, another water which, Jemmy says, dries up; and then, due north, is Wingelbunna, a large deep lake, with gum trees and kangaroo, and plenty of blackfellows. The last water of which we could get any positive account is the next stage to Wingelbunna, also north, viz.—Tuna-midi, another lake with gum trees. Beyond this point he either cannot or will not give any detailed account of waters; but we have extracted from him the names of Kundanyimbo, a large lake north-west of Tunamidi. He also gives the names of waters by an easterly route to Wingelbunna, but describes them as all, excepting one, drying up; and vague accounts of other waters to the north-east. You will observe that there is a peculiarity in the statement of this black, which, in my opinion, gives an air of probability to the whole of it, namely, the candid admission that some of the waters he describes dry up. Had he wished merely to say what he thought would be favorably received, he would have, most probably, represented all the waters as being permanent. Beyond Cottabidnya, he seemed unwilling to proceed with us, as the blacks in that direction were not to be depended upon, and the names and description of the other stages were extracted from him with difficulty; but he always represented them as having the same position and relative bearings, when once we attained the clue to their names, and could thus question him directly as to their position. All my experience of the country tends to convince me that these waters are situated in what I have called the stony land, which I have already ascertained to extend for about ninety miles to the north-west, and which probably extends much farther still, so that I confidently expect to reach them with my drays, and thus take up a strong and united party to them—which I could not do if my only means of transport were a small number of pack-horses—a precaution which becomes more necessary from the accounts, all agreeing together, as to the number of blacks. Plenty of blacks, fresh water lakes, gum trees, and kangaroo, may, I think, be taken as tolerably certain indications of a good country; whilst the reasons which I assigned in my last report for believing that either sienite, felspar, porphyry, or similar rocks, all affording good soil by their disintegration, extend far up towards the north-west interior; and the ascertained fact of the rise of the lakes towards the same point, all strongly corroborate my anticipations respecting the nature of the country.
I have, &c.,
B. HERSCHEL BABBAGE.
The Hon. the Commissioner of Crown Lands.
P.S.—I enclose:—1. A statement from Mr. Harris, explaining under what circumstances he took charge of the drays and horses, with a note of my own as to his reasons for not attempting to report his movements to me at Thompson's, and remarks on Mr. Gregory's proceedings. 2. A certificate of the names of the parties at present engaged in the expedition. 3. A schedule of amounts paid to Mr. Harris on account of the expedition, out of money I have from time to time advanced to him. As the vouchers for these amounts are at the Elizabeth, and I may not have an opportunity of forwarding them for some time, I should feel obliged by your directing the payment, say, of £40, to my account, at the Bank of Australasia, the balance to be paid on the receipt of the vouchers and other documents. Mr. Harris has seen Mr. Sleep, and can therefore give you a more correct account than I can of the statement of the black who went out with, and apparently deserted, Messrs. Stuart and Forster. I can only express my conviction that, from the extension of Lake Gairdner to the north or north-west, their retreat to Streaky Bay is, if not impossible, at least a matter of extreme difficulty.
Mount Remarkable, September 8th, 1858.
Sir—In reply to interrogatories by you, as to my reason for bringing a portion of the horses and equipments belonging to the expedition thus far on my way to town, I have to state that in my instructions received from the Commissioner of Crown Lands recalling me to Adelaide, I am directed to bring back any horses and other equipments you might have to spare in carrying out the arrangements consequent on Mr. Gregory's accession to the party; and in pursuance of these directions I have taken charge of the horses and drays which Mr. Gregory, acting as chief in command in your absence, declared to be surplus. He has retained twelve horses, in addition to the three you have out with you. He also retained one dray, for the removal of those things which could not be carried on pack-horses. This amount of transport means he considered sufficient, and at his request I have taken charge of the remainder.
I have, &c.,
W. G. HARRIS.
B. H. Babbage, Esq.
In reply to your further inquiry, "Why I did not report to you afterwards at Thompson's", I beg to say that owing to conflicting accounts I received at Port Augusta, I was not certain as to whether you would be there or not and I did not feel justified in losing the time to return there.
NOTE.—Mr. Harris arrived at Minchin's Wells on Sunday afternoon, and went himself to Port Augusta that evening, when he was informed by Mr. Hood that I had gone on to Thompson's. Mr. Harris remained at the Wells or the Port all Monday, whilst some of the horses were being shod, and did not finally leave the Wells for Mount Remarkable until (as I was there informed) twelve o'clock on Tuesday. The Wells are an easy day's journey from Thompson's—about eighteen miles. Thus the only delay that would have taken place by Mr. Harris having either returned himself to Thompson's, or sending a letter to me reporting his proceedings (which latter at any rate, he ought to have done upon the mere chance of its reaching me) would have been half a day. Mr. Gregory waited four days only at my camp after reaching the Elizabeth, and then took, upon himself to break up my party; although it was well known, from the time I had been absent, that, unless some accident had happened to me I must be back in a very few days at the farthest. Mr. Gregory, in so doing, exceeded any reasonable authority that he might be supposed to have as second in command. He ought, in my opinion, to have waited until I returned before venturing upon so important a step. Nor do I see the slightest reason why the drays might not have been left at the Elizabeth, when they would have been again available bad altered circumstances made it desirable. Messrs. Burtt and Swinden, about to proceed there with cattle, would, T have not the slightest doubt, have readily taken charge of them; whilst their strong iron wheels and axles make the most important portion of them indestructible by the blacks, in the event of those parties not arriving so soon as is anticipated.
B. HERSCHEL BABBAGE.
Port Augusta, 11th September, 1858.
Sir—I have the honor to forward you a few lines to inform you of my arrival here this afternoon, en route for the Elizabeth. I have taken the opportunity of sending up by the empty drays a large number of spare shoes for the horses, as the wear and tear of these articles has proved much greater than was anticipated, and Mr. Gregory brought none up with him.
I was delayed half a day at the Mount, as it was necessary to get some of the horses shod before taking them back. One of the horses "Captain", a grey draught horse had received a kick from one of the other horses, and was so lame by the time that Mr. Harris arrived at the Mount that it was impossible to take it back, under which circumstances I left it (as Mr. Harris had proposed doing, before I arrived) with Corporal Saunders, requesting him to blister its leg and let it run in the police paddock until you sent directions as to its disposal. I also left with the Corporal a kangaroo dog, which Mr. Harris brought down from the camp, directing him to dispose of it to the best advantage on account of the Government.
I have, I believe, sufficiently expressed my opinion as to the very hasty and ill-considered step taken by Mr. Gregory in my temporary absence, of sending so large a portion of the men, horses, and drays back to Adelaide; I have, however, received some further information from Mr. Harris which makes it necessary again to advert to this matter. Both Mr. Harris himself and the men who have returned from the camp, are decidedly of opinion that the draught and saddle-horses sent back by Mr. Gregory are superior even as pack-horses only, to the nine Mr. Gregory brought up with him. Mr. Harris informs me that, in moving the stores from the main camp to the Elizabeth, which was effected by the joint action of the drays and pack-horses—he always loaded one of the old horses, and that by no means one of the most powerful, with 200lb., a weight far exceeding the average weight carried by Mr. Gregory's horses. It would appear then a great waste of time and money, and wear and tear of horseflesh, to take nine horses all the way from Adelaide to the Elizabeth, and to send back twelve equally as good from the Elizabeth to town. In Mr. Gregory's calculations, in which he reduced the number of available pack-horses to eight, he does not appear to have left in reserve any horses to replace those unable to be used in consequence of a kick or other injury. As an accession to my means of transport by pack-horses, the nine brought up by Mr. Gregory will be most useful, but as substitutes for those already in use, there would have been a positive loss by the exchange. One of the men sent down by Mr. Gregory was to have returned from Adelaide to the Elizabeth with despatches for the party. Mr. Gregory can scarcely have been aware that there is postal communication as far as Port Augusta, or he never would have made so expensive an arrangement.
Mr. Harris informs me that Mr. Gregory sent down by him a report to you, stating that in his opinion it would be impossible for the party to remain out during the summer, as the water would dry up. I must beg to differ entirely from my second in command in this point. Mr. Gregory had been only four days arrived at the Elizabeth when he made this report, and had not seen the largest waterhole there, only four and a-half miles distant from the camp, and of course had not seen Smith's Waterholes or any of the other waters in Swinden's country. Whilst upon this subject, I may mention that Mr. Swinden himself came out to the Elizabeth in order to inspect the water there before sending out his cattle, and that the result of this careful re-examination of the waters is, that both he and Burtt have decided to send out a quantity of cattle to the Elizabeth and to Smith's, Thus Mr. Swinden is prepared to risk a large amount of property upon his judgment of the permanency of waters, which in the hasty opinion of Mr. Gregory will not maintain my small party. Mr. Gregory, I understand, is anxious to return to Sydney in December. The men who are with him I am informed on all hands Would be a most valuable permanent addition to my party, and I should feel much obliged if you could arrange with the Sydney Government for a further extension of their leave of absence. Mr. Gregory's own services I can well dispense with.
Upon my return to the Elizabeth, I shall carry out, as well as the altered circumstances will admit, my previous arrangements; which I believe, from what I hear from Mr. Harris, will fully meet the spirit of your last instructions which await me at the Elizabeth.
I intend, upon my arrival, at once to commence moving my party by help of the drays to Smith's main waterholes; and shall, meanwhile, prepare to start northwards with a small party, to consist of Mr. Gregory and his two men, Jones, Warriner, Herrgott and myself. From either Tuna-midi or Wingelbunna, supposing I find either of them adapted for my purpose, I shall dispatch Warriner and Herrgott back with orders to bring on thither my main camp; and shall, meanwhile, lead the remainder of the party onwards to further exploration, possibly sending back directions to be busied in some previously-arranged plan, for my main camp to be advanced still further, if I find the country suitable. Thus, whilst availing myself even more fully than Mr. Gregory had arranged, of the advantage of pack-horses (as I can then have the whole twelve packsaddles in use), my main party can be brought on by means of the drays, so as to have both operations going on at the same time, and maintain a constantly advancing main camp, upon which the exploring party can fall back in case of accident.
I learn from the man, from whose house Messrs. Stuart and Forster started on their expedition, that Mr. Stuart had obtained from the black who accompanied him the same names of a water Wingelbunna described by him too, as a lake with gum-trees, as had been given to me by "Jemmy" the black I left at my camp. As the two blacks are of different tribes, this is another corroboration of the general truth of this statement.
I have, &c.,
B. HERSCHEL BABBAGE.
Commanding the Northern Exploring Expedition.
The Hon. the Commissioner of Crown Lands.
P.S.—Mr. Harris informs me that he found the wooden dray, which I mentioned as left by him at this place, unserviceable, in the sandhills, the iron ones being far superior. As I have now the extra pack-horses brought up by Mr. Gregory, I do not think it worth while to take this dray up to the Elizabeth. Mr. Tassie thinks it will sell better here than in town; perhaps you would be kind enough to give directions to Mr. Tassie either to sell it or to forward it to town, as you may determine. It is the dray which I got at Port Lincoln, and was the one purchased for Mr. Hack's expedition. It is in very good order and condition.
Camp at the
Elizabeth, September 23, 1858.
Sir—I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch, 502-28, dated 9th September, and learn therefrom that the late despatches, received up to that date, from Mr. Charles Gregory, Mr. Harris, and myself, having been submitted to the Government, they entirely disapprove of my proceedings, as shown in those despatches.
The charges against me appear, from your above-mentioned despatches, to be—
1st. That I have misunderstood the printed instructions of 9th February last.
2nd. That, when I struck Lake Gairdner, I proceeded southwards into Hack's country, and thence to Port Augusta, instead of going northwards.
3rd. That I remained a week at Port Augusta, knowing that Mr. Gregory had gone on to my camp at the Elizabeth; and that the consequence of this delay, on my part, was that Mr. Gregory had to give up the important occupation of seeking for permanent fresh water, in advance of the Elizabeth, and to go out to look for me.
4th, and lastly. That I failed in the important duty of ascertaining whether there were fresh water in advance of my camp.
As regards No. 1, I beg to point out, that the printed instructions state that the primary objects to be obtained by the expedition are briefly—
The thorough exploration, as far as practicable, of the country lying between the western shore of Lake Torrens, and the eastern shore of Lake Gairdner, and thence northwards.
The surveying and mapping of the western shore of Lake Torrens. The surveying and mapping of the eastern and northern shores of Lake Gairdner, accurately laying down on the map all remarkable ranges, lakes, fresh water springs, and water-holes. The instructions then go on to say, "Having performed this service, as completely as circumstances will admit of, you will be at liberty to push your explorations northerly."
I certainly understood, from these instructions, that I was to survey and map the country between the eastern shore of Lake Gairdner and the western shore of Lake Torrens, including the shores of the lakes themselves, and that I was then, as I worked northward, to lay down the northern shore of Lake Gairdner; and that not until I had fulfilled these directions, was I at liberty to push my explorations northerly—and that I was, consequently, bound to survey the eastern shore of Lake Gairdner, which I did for a distance of about 45 miles. You will, Sir, observe, by the enclosed tracing, that the moment I found the shores turned south, where Messrs. Hack and Harris had really been, I pushed on to obtain provisions. In order to carry out these instructions, I had directed Mr. Harris, my then only officer, to advance the main camp from Thompson's to the Elizabeth, and to avail himself of his leisure time in surveying and mapping the western shores of Lake Torrens, in the vicinity of his line of route, whilst I surveyed and mapped the country, and, as far as practicable, thoroughly explored it—first, along my intended line of route, by Beda and Pernatty to the Elizabeth, then on to Smith's Waterholes and the mirage lagoon northwards, and Lake Younghusband to the north-west, after which I surveyed and mapped the neighborhood of the Island Lake (great Salt Lake of my earlier despatches), and, lastly, such a portion of the eastern shores of Lake Gairdner as my means of subsistence, at the time, enabled me to do; nor do I see any better way in which I could have carried out my instructions, as it was not until my last discovery of the great Salt or Island Lake that it became necessary, whilst the expedition itself was moving northwards, to run down southwards along the eastern shore of Lake Gairdner.
Charge No. 2—That when I struck Lake Gairdner, I proceeded southward into Hack's country, and thence to Port Augusta, instead of going northwards.
I have to observe, with reference to this charge, that when I struck Lake Gairdner, in about latitude 31° 37', I had only a few days' provisions left, owing to the time which had been consumed in surveying and mapping the winding shores of the Island Lake; and that my companion Warriner and myself had been upon short allowance for some time back; it became then, absolutely necessary for our safety to make for some point where provisions could be obtained. We were, at that time, about 90 miles from the Elizabeth, 85 from Beda, and 110 from Coroona.
The safest course would, undoubtedly, have been to have returned by Oakden's Hills to the Elizabeth; but I should, in that case, have gone through a line of country which I had already explored and laid down upon my map. Between our position and Beda I knew that a thick scrub intervened; and, as the rain waters were rapidly drying up, I doubted whether we should be able to get through safely. I had also to calculate upon the possibility that the whole of my camp had been moved from Beda, and that no provisions had been left for us there, a contingency which I thought extremely unlikely (although, as I will presently show, it was actually the case), and that we must push on, without provisions, to the Elizabeth, at least 60 miles distant.
In your despatch of the 9th you state, that my most obvious course was, from this place, to trace the shores of Lake Gairdner northwards. A glance at the accompanying tracing of my late exploration will at once show, that, by so doing, I should have put the Island, or Great Salt Lake, between me and the Elizabeth; and either must have again crossed the channel, between the Island Lake and the Red Lake, which I had accomplished, not without risk, on a previous occasion, or have headed the Red Lake itself. I had already been three days without water for my horses in this very country, and had ascertained, as far as that portion of the Great Salt Lake, lying north of it was concerned, what your despatch expressly states was important to know, namely, that it was not connected with Lake Gairdner, as I had then completely surveyed that portion of the Great Salt Lake lying north of me. There remained then only to clear up the doubt I had, as to the possibility of Lake MacFarlane, another of the numerous branches of the Great Salt Lake, situated to the south-east of my position, and which appeared, from a neighboring hill, to be trending westwards, being connected with Lake Gairdner. By taking the course I finally decided upon, and running the eastern shores of Lake Gairdner southwards, I ascertained that there was no connection whatsoever between the chain of salt lakes I had discovered, from Lake Younghusband, in the north-west, down to Lake MacFarlane, the most southerly of the group, and Lake Gairdner. By examining the enclosed tracing you will see, that the discrepancy between the eastern and northern shores of Lake Gairdner, as laid down upon Hack's map, and the position in which I struck the lake was such, as to leave it doubtful whether the lake I had reached was really Lake Gairdner, or whether Lake Gairdner did not terminate in about latitude 31° 45', to which point Hack's map, erroneously, shows the shores to be trending, and a new lake commence, thus leaving a passage between them similar to those between Spencer's Gulf and Lake Torrens; my proceeding southward cleared up this doubt. Having, for these reasons, decided upon going to Coroona, along the eastern shores of Lake Gairdner, I then, naturally, pushed on to Port Augusta to get my horses shod and rest them, before returning to the north.
Charge No. 3—That I remained a week at Port Augusta, knowing that Mr. Gregory had gone on to my camp at the Elizabeth, and that the consequence of this delay, on my part, was that Mr. Gregory had to give up the important occupation of seeking for permanent fresh water, in advance of the Elizabeth, and go out to look for me.
I arrived at Port Augusta on Sunday, when I learned that Mr. Gregory had passed, on his way to my camp, with two men and nine horses, as stated in your despatch. I had received no letters, either official or private, for two months; and was, consequently, entirely in the dark as to the capacity in which Mr. Gregory had gone up. I learned, however, from public rumour, that my request, to have Mr. Harris recalled, had been acceded to, and that Mr. Gregory had undertaken to bring me up a reinforcement of horses. Having asked to have Mr. Harris recalled, on the grounds that I could do without his services, and thus save the expense to the expedition, of his salary, I did not imagine that Mr. Gregory had been appointed in his place, still less had I any reason to suppose that a third officer had been appointed also, inasmuch as the Government had refused to allow me a third officer, as an unnecessary expense, previous to my starting with the expedition. As I had appointed Beda, as the place to which I intended myself to return, I thought it probable that I should meet Mr. Gregory there, if the camp were not entirely removed from that place.
I had, moreover, no reason to suppose, until I subsequently heard it through Mr. Harris, that our absence caused any anxiety at the camp, respecting our fate. I knew Mr. Harris was there, and that he had once himself proposed to take nearly the same route, which circumstances had forced upon me, namely, to go from Oakden's Hills to the eastern shores of Lake Gairdner, and thence southwards by Hack's country, viâ Coroona, to Port Augusta.
I did not succeed in getting the horses shod, and the spare shoes, I wished to take up for them made, before Wednesday, as the blacksmith at the Port was going to Adelaide by the steamer, and had to finish other jobs in hand. The steamer, due on Tuesday with the mail, did not arrive till Friday, and then brought me no letters. Having waited so long, and the Overland Mail being due on Saturday, I determined to wait another day for it, as I was anxious both to get further despatches and to take up the latest letters for the party, previous to our final move northwards. I confess that I looked upon this delay, amounting in all to but 3 days, with less regret, both because it gave additional rest to my horses, and because entire change of diet, although only for a few days, was likely to prove beneficial to the health of my companion and myself, now upwards of five months in the bush.
Your above-mentioned despatch states, that my obvious duty was, the very next day after my arrival at Port Augusta, to have proceeded, by easy stages, although the horses were tired, to join Mr. Gregory at the Elizabeth. I only wish it were possible to get through this road by easy stages. The first stage, from Port Augusta to Thompson's, is twenty miles, without intermediate water. From Thompson's to Beda is forty miles, also without water. Even at Beda it was extremely doubtful whether any water at all remained. From Beda to Yeltacowie, where it was possible water might still be found, is, by the tracks, nearly, if not quite, fifty miles; a great part through a heavy scrub and sandhills. From Yeltacowie the Elizabeth may be reached in about twenty-three miles, by taking a short cut through the scrub. It is true that water had been left in some tanks at Beda, and also at Pernatty Plains; but I was not aware of this fact. The difficulty of getting through this road was fatal to poor Coulthard; and several of the parties who, last year, preceded me, were obliged to abandon horses upon it. At any rate, I must have remained to have the horses shod, because this country cannot be traversed, with impunity, by horses without shoes; as a proof of which, I may mention, that two of the horses belonging to the expedition were lamed for a time, by being driven, without shoes, from the Elizabeth to Beda, by Mr. Harris's orders, during my absence.
4th, and lastly—That I failed in the important duty of ascertaining whether there were fresh water in advance of my camp.
This charge I must, most respectfully deny altogether. By looking at my previous despatches you will see that, when my camp was at the small salt lagoon near the crossing of Lake Torrens, I pushed on a-head, as early as practicable, on foot to Beda and Pernatty in search of water. That on the 18th May I visited Smith's smaller waterhole, Corriberribera of the natives, and on the 21st May struck the Elizabeth. That, although I questioned whether these waters would prove permanent, if exposed to the drain of a large number of stock, they would, I thought, maintain my small party. Further, on the 20th June, I made Wirrawirralie, Smith's main waterholes, in my opinion, also, more than sufficient to maintain my party throughout the summer. I have, in my previous despatch, No. 15, dated 11th September, stated the facts, that Mr. Swinden was about to send cattle to the Elizabeth, as he believed the waters permanent, of which there are several more that I have not yet seen. That, on passing Thompson's station, I found Mr. Burtt shoeing his horses and mustering his cattle, with the intention of moving them, also, to the Elizabeth. I have now to inform you, that Mr. Macdonald, from the neighborhood of the Burra, is now here with a flock of 2,000 sheep, which he is going to move on to Smith's main waterholes, a place he visited on a previous occasion. Thus, experienced stockowners are moving their cattle up to these waters, practically confirming the conclusion I came to, namely, that they would be sufficient, at any rate, for the support of my own small party through the summer. These waters, Corriberribera and Wirrawirralie, are both in advance of my present position, the latter being only 25 miles from Lake Campbell. I have not considered it necessary to pay an immediate visit to Lake Campbell, as the feed in the neighborhood of it was described to me as not being particularly good, and Smith's Wirrawirralie was recommended to me as a far preferable place for a depôt.
Your despatch of the 9th states, that the distance traversed by me, during six months, does not exceed 100 miles from the settled districts. On examining the map, you will find Lake Reynolds is almost 140 miles from the crossing of Lake Torrens. The actual distance travelled by me, with a single companion, through a country, certainly very deficient in water, exceeds 800 miles. It ought, also, to be remembered, that the expedition started from Port Augusta on 1st March, and that no rain fell until the 18th April; thus, the first two months it was impossible to do more, from want of water, than advance the party by help of the stills.
I have, in previous despatches, explained the difficulty I was in, both from the want of men and horses for my northern exploration, owing to my desire not to throw the slightest impediment in the way of Mr. Harris making the survey, I had directed, of the western shores of Lake Torrens, and moving the main camp onwards. That Mr. Harris's progress, with the removal of the stores, has been extremely slow, and that I have been very much disappointed by it, I candidly admit. I had, however, as you are aware, no other officer to whom to entrust this duty. Mr. Harris is, by this time, in Adelaide, and I must refer you to him for further explanations, as to the reason of his slow progress.
I have, in my letter from Mount Remarkable, related how I had overtaken Mr. Harris, on his way to town, with a large portion of the equipments belonging to the expedition; I now beg leave to forward you a list of the things that were being taken down by him, with notes of those left by him at the camp, not including those brought up by Mr. Gregory.
2 of the best saddles and bridles, complete (4 left at the camp); 6 sets of horse harness (3 left at the camp); 2 tether ropes; 12 pair of hobbles (6 left at the camp); 2 shoeing hammers, 1 of these is supposed to have been taken by mistake (1 left at the camp); 4 spare straps to mend hobbles; 2 old headstall bridles; 2 horse bells and straps (2 left at the camp); 8 neck straps (6 left at the camp); 1 vulcanized horse bucket (2 left at the camp); 1 saucepan; 1 tomahawk (2 left at the camp); 1 axe (3 left at the camp); 2 syphons; 2 shepherd's canteens (2 left at the camp); 2 quart pots and pannicans; 50 lbs. flour; 10 lbs. sugar; 3 lbs. tea; a box made for holding the instruments, and to be used as a table for drawing plans; 1 telescope; 2 compasses; 1 sextant; 1 artificial horizon; 2 iron-wheeled spring drays; 12 horses.
I also enclosed a statement, in writing, by Mr. Harris, that he was taking down these equipments by directions of his successor, Mr. Gregory. Mr. Harris stated to me, personally, that he had nothing whatever to do with it. Mr. Phibbs, however, who is at the camp, assures me, that this was not the case. He says, that Mr. Gregory declined to interfere, stating, that his command did not commence until the other had left, and that Mr. Harris, himself, selected and took the things away. Komole, one of the most efficient of my party, says, that Mr. Harris endeavored to persuade him to return with him to town; stating, that as he, Mr. Harris was recalled, the agreement to serve on the expedition, signed by the men, was broken, and that they were, therefore, released from their engagement.
I have further to inform you, that Mr. Harris withdrew the whole camp from Beda, the place which I had named as being the point to which I intended, if possible, to make, without leaving any provisions there whatsoever, in case Warriner and I arrived; although he knew, from the time we had been absent, that our supplies must be exhausted. This remissness, which might, under the circumstances I have detailed, have cost us our lives, did not arise from forgetfulness, because Komole had suggested to him the necessity of leaving a supply at that place.
I have also to report, that Mr. Harris heard, when at Thompson's station, on his way down, that Warriner and I were about to start back from Port Augusta, along the western side of the Gulf, whilst his course was on the eastern side, and that he neglected to take any steps whatsoever to inform me of the most important fact, that water had been left for our use, and for the use of any return party, in tanks at two places on the line of route, namely, at Beda camp and at the Pernatty Plains. Mr. Harris stated to me, as reported in my despatch from Mount Remarkable, that the sending away of two drays, twelve horses and three men from the party was done by directions of Mr. Gregory, and that he, Mr. Harris, only acted under the directions of the latter gentleman. I now learn from Mr. Gregory, who has returned to the camp since the above was written, that this statement is wholly incorrect, and that this attempt to break up all my plans was the sole act of Mr. Harris.
I beg leave, therefore, to withdraw the remarks I made, in my former despatches, under this false impression, as to Mr. Gregory acting in so important a matter at a time when I was daily expected at the camp. The whole blame of this proceeding, I find, ought to rest with Mr. Harris.
I regret to state, that Mr. Gregory and Mr. Phibbs are obliged to return to Adelaide, as the time during which I propose to be absent, on my next excursion northwards, will far exceed the time which they are able to devote to assisting me in this expedition. I very much regret this circumstance, as by it I shall lose two most efficient and zealous coadjutors, as well as agreeable companions.
I propose starting on an extended excursion to the north the day after Mr. Gregory leaves, and have made arrangements for the gradual removal of my camp northwards, by aid of the drays and such pack-horses as I can spare, and I confidently anticipate, by help of the efficient reinforcement of horses so opportunely sent, but so nearly snatched away by the unauthorized proceedings of Mr. Harris, to be able to do this without any further difficulty.
Mr. Gregory, who kindly takes charge of this despatch, will be able to give you a lull account of all the late movements.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
B. HERSCHEL BABBAGE,
Commander of South Australian Exploring Expedition.
The Hon. F. S. Dutton, M.P., Commissioner of Crown Lands, &c.
P.S.—I enclose the nine vouchers for the accounts forwarded in my letter from Mount Remarkable You will observe a little discrepancy between the western shores of the Red Lake, &c., and those shown in my previous tracing. I was able, on my last journey, to carry on a triangulation from Oakden's Hills, and thus correct the positions of my previous trip.
Port Augusta, 21st November, 1858.
Sir—I beg leave to acknowledge the receipt, upon the 14th November of your letter of the 23rd September, in which you briefly inform me that the Government have directed Major Warburton to proceed to join my camp and to supersede me in the command of the expedition. You also, in the same letter, direct me to make arrangements for my return to Adelaide forthwith The letter in question assigns no reason whatever for such a proceeding on the part ol the Government. I have, however, in obedience to your directions handed over my command to Major Warburton, and have to report my own arrival at this place yesterday, having accompanied from the north the party lately under my charge. I have now the honor to forward you a report of my proceedings since the date of my last despatch, viz.—22nd September.
Messrs. Gregory and Phibbs left my camp at the Elizabeth, on the 27th September, upon their return to Adelaide; and upon the following day I started, northward, with Warriner, Herrgott Jones, and Pegler, together with Oombatta, a Weeleroo black, who agreed to accompany us. I took six riding horses and seven pack-horses for the use of the party My original intention had been, if I found, after four or five days' journey, a good place to which to move on temporarily the main camp, until my own return from the north with a sufficient supply of water upon the road, to have sent Warriner and Herrgott back to bring on the main party whilst I continued my explorations in the north as long as the season would permit. As I found the route by which I went out not adapted for the removal of the main party, I kept Warriner and Herrgott with me during the whole time I was out.
My first stage was to Wirrawirralu, Smith's main Waterhole, which I have before described The water, although, of course, lower than when I had seen it in the winter, was about five feet deep, and promised to hold out, I think, all the summer, but certainly sufficiently long for my purpose—namely, as a stage for the removal of my party on their way to the summer depôt.
From Smith's Waterhole I went to Emu Springs, a small waterhole, in a creek running into the Shell Lagoon. There does not appear to be the least sign o any spring in this waterhole, and the water had become so brackish that many of the horses would not drink of it The middle of the next day saw us at Lake Campbell, which was, as I anticipated quite dry, and had apparently been so for some months. In the neighborhood of Lake Campbell the usual salt bush plains was strewed with pieces of very sharp rugged chalcedony and quartz but on approaching Berulla—a small dry creek—where we camped, the ground became more sandy, and alternated between open plains and belts of scrub; there was no water at this place but very good feed From, Berulla we went to Arkoona, a native well, in latitude 30° 40' south, and longitude 136° 12' east. The first part of the journey was over alternate plains of open country and belts of scrub; but, on approaching Arkoona, they gave place to low sandrises covered with mulga scrub amongst which were some large polygonum flats. The feed was very fair the whole way. Arkoona is situated in a small hollow in the middle of a large open plain. On descending into he hollow, a wall of limestone conglomerate rock presents itself; underneath which, is a small hole scooped down some feet into the gravel at the foot of the rock. The surface of the water is ten feet below the level of the ground, and it drains in at the rate of eight to twelve gallons an hour, so that is was very tedious work watering our twelve horses. There can be no doubt that the black account of the permanency of the present supply of water is correct; and I am inclined to think that if the hole were enlarged, a good permanent supply might be obtained, sufficient for the use of a station, although I doubt very much whether enough could be obtained for watering any number of cattle. The country about Arkoona is very well grassed, chiefly with spear-grass. At this place we met a good many blacks—both Weeleroos and Illaree; this water being used in common by both tribes.
The next stage from Arkoona was Maërty, about nineteen miles to the E.N.E., the country consisting still of low sandrises covered with open scrub, having salt-bush plains between them. On leaving Arkoona the spear-grass gradually ceased, a tufty grass taking its place? For about four or five miles out of the whole distance the sandhills were very high and close together, and the feed very poor. Maërty is a rain-water channel leading out of a large clay-pan, in an open valley; and but for the rain which subsequently fell, the water would not have lasted more than a month from the time of our seeing it.
From Maërty we went about twenty-nine miles N.E. to Curdlawidry; the firs eighteen miles consisting of scrubby sandrises, with small open plains between them; in places there is a thick mulga scrub, and in other places high sandridges with pines becomes more open and the feed improves. Curdlawidry is a rain-water channel in a bamboo swamp. The water appears to last well into the summer, and from the open character of the country about, and the absence of sand, is readily replenished by the smallest rains. The next morning, the 5th October, we moved on about eight miles west, and came to a fine large waterhole called by the blacks "Wonnomulla". It is about a mile in length, and varies from forty to seventy yards in width; the greatest depth of water which we observed was, however, only 5ft. 3in. The usual depth was 3ft., close to the shores, and 4ft. 6in. to 5ft. in the middle. It is surrounded by a kind of rugged stunted gum tree. I halted the main party three days at this waterhole, whilst I went out with Warriner to examine the country to the north. I found that there was no regular creek running into this waterhole, but that it drew its supply from the drainage of extensive plains containing large bamboo swamps, in which I found a little water. The country is not so sandy as it is further south, and consequently the rain-water drains off almost directly into the waterhole, and thus a small amount of rain keeps up the supply, I have very little doubt but that the heavy rain of the 26th October must have raised this water at least two feet, and that it would be found to last throughout the whole summer. From Wonnomulla we took a general N.E. direction, and in about twenty-one miles, made Weelpidderuna, another of the numerous rain-waterholes we met with, fed by bamboo swamps. The first part of the journey was through open country and bamboo flats, with good feed; then low sandridges with salt-bush plains, and a fair sprinkling of grass, followed by higher sandridges crowned by pines, with occasionally large open valleys, with good feed, and clay-pans, succeeded again by similar wearisome sandridges. The last eight miles is over open plains, with occasional low sandridges, and abundant feed. Weeringelbunna or Weeringilpa, is a water situated about eleven miles N.N.E. from the last place, although, as the black took us a circuitous route, our journey was considerably longer. Soon after leaving Weelpidderuna, our route took us into open plains, with very good feed, and occasional small bamboo flats. At about nine miles, we ascended a very high sandhill, from which we had an extensive view over open country. On descending the hill and continuing our journey the feed was very good; but upon approaching Weeringelbunna the plain became stony, with many bare patches covered by fine gravel. At places, wherever there was the least drainage, the feed was very good indeed.
Weeringelbunna is a waterhole situated at the place where the plain slopes down to a hollow at the foot of a sandy rise. Two or three short stunted gum creeks run into the hole, as well as several channels which wind through bamboo flats, by which the hole is almost surrounded. The main waterhole is only 250 yards long by about fifty wide, and was 4ft. 9in. deep in the centre. As will be seen from this description, it receives the immediate drainage of a large plain, and would probably be filled up by a very slight fall of rain. I was there on the 10th October, and, although no rain had fallen for some time, it was very nearly full. This place is one of the last of the fresh waters so often described by the blacks, several of which were erroneously understood to be fresh water lakes—and although, as might have been anticipated, the reality has fallen far short of the expectations raised, still those I have seen are very useful waters. Wonnomulla is undoubtedly the finest waterhole I had seen up to that, time, whether east or west of Lake Torrens; and, according to the blacks, there are still several similar waterholes, upon this side of the country, which I have not yet seen. Collabidnya, the northernmost of Hulke's supposed lakes, is south-west of Wonnomulla; but I have not made out its exact nature, as the accounts of it I have received differ from each other.
When at Weeringelbunna, I could not get any distinct account of the waters to the north of me, either from Oombatta or any of his relations who accompanied him. They appeared not to know the names of these waters, and to be unwilling to go to them, However, I persuaded them to accompany me one day further; accordingly, on the 11th, we went about ten miles N.E., over plains, with rather indifferent feed, excepting about the small hollows and water-courses, and struck a waterhole, upon a creek, of about the same size as Wonnomulla, but deeper. I tried it at one place and found the depth in the middle 7ft. 4in.; and in several places, where I got into it, I found the water out of my depth at two or three yards from the shore, the width being fifty or sixty yards. I found afterwards that this waterhole was at the head of the large creek visited by Messrs. Stuart and Forster. Mr. Stuart has, however, not having had with him instruments for taking the latitude, placed it about twenty-nine miles too far north upon his plan. Having ascertained this point, I named the creek Stuart's Creek, after its discoverer. The black would now go no further north, but took me eastwards to a waterhole on a creek, marked on the sketch Horseshoe Creek, at the foot of a detached table-top hill, about sixteen miles west of my last camp. On our way we passed several good waterholes, amongst which was probably the one where Stuart and Forster camped, as we found their tracks (which enabled me to identify the creek) running west towards the creek. On our way we passed between some cliffs and a detached table-top hill, showing white marl on the slopes, and having particularly sharp rugged silicious rocks near the top. After passing through this gap the feed improved very much, and the country became more sandy. From the top of another table-top, about a mile to the east of our camp, I saw a very rugged range of detached hills running up north of the position of Eyre's Mount Nor-west, to which I gave the name of the Hermit Range, on account of their isolated character.
On moving northwards from the Horseshoe Camp, our blackfellow deserted us, as generally happens when you attempt to take a black beyond the boundary of his own immediate tribe. I followed the creek, near the head of which the Horseshoe Camp is situated, until, after a course of about twelve miles, it joined, Stuart's Creek at a considerably lower point than where it was struck by Stuart and Forster. A few miles above the junction, Warriner and Pegler, whom I sent up Stuart's Creek, on the 15th October, whilst I went down it, found a fine waterhole formed at its western end by several small water-courses uniting together into one channel, which continues for about a mile in length and then again separates into smaller channels, the waters of which in time of flood finally spread over a flooded plain, when the creek appeared to lose itself until they join again into a channel a short distance below the junction with the Horseshoe Creek. The waterholes below this place were decidedly salt, although further down the creek, after a succession of salt waterholes, we again found some fresh waterholes. I had observed the same thing on a smaller scale in the Horseshoe Creek. Fresh at its upper end, it came into a country where the soil evidently contained salt, and there the water was quite salt; but on going down the creek, the character of the country somewhat improved, and we again found fresh water in it. As will have been seen from this account, I have traced Stuart's Creek, except at short intervals, from its rise in a large plain down to its final termination in Lake Gregory. The waterholes upon it cannot, however, be considered to be strictly permanent, as there is not, so far as I have been able to ascertain, a single spring in any one of them; but, like Wonnomulla, they are readily filled by a heavy shower, and would, I have no doubt, in most seasons retain water throughout the summer. Some of the waters in Swinden's country, especially on Smith's Creek and the Elizabeth, were, when first visited, fully as deep, if not deeper than the waterholes in Stuart's Creek, and yet most of them were, until the late rains came, quite dry; and a similar fate would, I feel certain, befall those in Stuart's Creek, should a season of unusual drought occur. On proceeding down the Stuart, we found, near the junction of a creek from the south-east, since named the "Margaret" by Major Warburton, a pool of fresh water, and here I halted my party, whilst I went out myself to examine the country before us, having, however, previously traced down the Stuart into a large salt lake which I named Lake Gregory. My first trip was made in company with Jones, to the nearest hill of the Hermit Range, situated about twenty miles west of my position. At about sixteen miles, we found a gum creek with salt water, but no fresh water, although it might probably be met with by going higher up the creek. On ascending the hill, which stands up out of a plain, excepting on the western side where high sandridges butted up against it, I could distinctly trace the shores of Lake Gregory trending northwards, but to the west and north-west, where I expected to see Lake Torrens, nothing but an extensive plain met my view—not a sign of a lake of any kind being visible. Immediately to the north-north-west was also an extensive plain, of a somewhat higher level than the western plain, presenting low bluffs at its sides. To the south-east were the other isolated hills of the Hermit Range, and beyond them a distant blue hill of the Flinders Range, very probably Eyre's Mount Nor-West. To the south were several small isolated salt lakes, and extensive plains covered by low sandridges and scrub. According to the map of the "Recent Explorations", the Hermit Hill should be about thirty miles west of Eyre's tracks; but I found, subsequently, that a more recent map, supplied to Major Warburton, gave the distance as only fifteen miles. The height of the Hermit Hill is about 363 feet above the ground at its base, and probably considerably more above the western plain; I feel, therefore, confident, from my view from this elevation, either that Lake Torrens does not extend so far northwards as this latitude, viz.—29° 37', or that, if it does, it must be reduced to a mere inconsiderable channel, and might be readily crossed. I pointed out this place to Major Warburton, explaining my reasons for my belief, and offered to accompany him in an examination of it. As this proposal did not appear to suit his plans, I requested him to let one of my late party, Jones, accompany me, that I might examine the country in this direction; and, if I found it practicable, return to Adelaide by Eyre's tracks, on the eastern side of the lake; and that, if not, I might, at any rate, have a companion in the long ride to Port Augusta, via the Elizabeth, Pernatty, and Beda. The Major, however, refused my request, and I had no alternative but to leave to others to reap the fruits of my own labors; and I have no doubt but that the Major, with his accustomed energy, will solve this question, now made easy by the late rains, before his return to town. My own belief, from what I then and subsequently saw, is that Lake Torrens turns up to Yarrawurta at its northern end, as at its southern end it does to the Beda Arm, and that between Yarrawurta and Lake Gregory there are only a few small isolated salt lakes similar to Lake Phibbs, sufficient, however, to impress Eyre, who, I believe, only saw this country from a distance, with the idea that he saw the loom of a continuous lake.
On returning to my camp at the junction, I started next day, with Pegler, northwards, and found a good crossing over the Margaret at a place where a mass of reeds grow in the bed and up the banks of the creek. There was salt water both above and below these reeds. I think, however, that, when the drying up of the salt water affords the opportunity of examining this place, a fresh water spring will be found, as the reeds are of precisely the same character as those which grow about St. Mary's Pool, near Blanche Water, and on the banks of the Murray. After leaving the Margaret, I examined the country in different directions, which resulted in my discovering, at about ten miles north of my camp, and about four and a-half miles west of the shores of Lake Gregory, a hot spring of fresh water. This spring, marked on the map as the Emerald Spring, from the verdure about it, is singularly situated. On crossing a partially salt clay-pan, I saw before me a round sand hill, about fifteen to twenty feet in height, covered with reeds. On ascending the hill I found that the reeds covered the rim of a bason, about six feet in height, which enclosed an area of about forty yards in diameter, covered with rushes. Throughout the whole of this area, water was bubbling up amongst the rushes and running in several small channels, which finally united in one stream, four feet in breadth, towards a break in the rim of the bason, into a reedy swamp below, about 150 yards diameter, out of which it flowed between rushes and reeds, until, at about half a mile, the fresh water was lost in a salt creek. The temperature of the water, at the surface of the spring, was about 90°, but on thrusting the hand down about eighteen inches deep into the white sand, through which the water bubbled up, it was so hot as to be scarcely bearable. Unfortunately, I had no detached thermometer with me, and therefore could not take the exact temperature. The water was perfectly fresh to the taste, although it may very likely be found to contain some small proportion of mineral ingredients. It made very good tea; and our horses drank it readily. I carefully measured the flow of water from this spring, and made it about 175,000 gallons per diem; or enough to supply every inhabitant of South Australia with a gallon and a-half of fresh water every day. I gauged this spring again after the rain, but found no sensible difference. During a second visit to the Emerald Spring, a steady night's rain came on which flooded the country and enabled me to bring up my whole party, so as to trace the shores of Lake Gregory as far as I could before returning to the Elizabeth. I found a branch of Lake Gregory running up to the north-east, corresponding exactly with the position where Eyre visited Lake Torrens at its most northerly point. This branch opened into a large lake having no opposite shores visible from the north to the north-east. A long arm, running south from the western side of this lake, obliged me to double back upon my course in order to round it, and I followed up its western side until I got into a country to which the rain did not appear to have extended, and was compelled, by want of water, to return. On crossing the Margaret, the feed sensibly improves, and the farther north I went the better it was, excepting in, the immediate vicinity of the salt lakes. In the greater part of the peninsula between the lakes, the feed was very good, the ground being nearly covered with fresh green grass; and, at my most northerly camp, the country consisted of level plains, between low marly rises, running about north by east, both plains and ridges being almost covered with a green mantle of tufted grass.
Wallaby were not very abundant in the country traversed during this trip, and we saw only a few tracks of kangaroo at one place Of birds, we saw emu as far as we went. At Wonnomulla water-hens began to be very numerous; we also saw there teal, whistling and black duck; the same birds were numerous on Stuart's Creek, but especially on the salt-water reach where Stuart's Creek runs into Lake Gregory; at the salt water there were, of course, no water-holes We here saw also the mountain duck and black swans. The crested pigeon we first saw about Wonnomulla, and we found them wherever there was fresh water. North of it, the brown and bronze-winged pigeon were seen throughout the whole country. North of the Margaret, we saw native-companions, cranes, wild turkeys, and a small bird with vermilion head and breast, somewhat resembling the fire-tail of the Murray. The ibis of the Murray was also seen once near the Margaret. Below the Emerald Spring I shot a singular bird, the body about the size of a pigeon, with long legs and semi-webbed feet, the wings and body white with black patches, the head long, and the beak very long and narrow, the lower end of it for two to three inches being curved upwards. This bird was walking about on the wet sand in flocks of eight or ten together.
At Wonnomulla we found a number of black hawks, or perhaps kites, which seem to cruize about together in flocks. These kites we met with afterwards throughout our trip, and were surprized to find on our return that they had made their appearance both at the Elizabeth and at Thomson's Station, on the Flinders Range, where they told me such a bird had never been seen before. We also saw, near Wonnomulla and northwards, a white hawk with dark slaty patches on the wings, which cruizes about in company like the kites.
The headlands of the lower part of Stuart's Creek resemble some of the cliffs of the Murray. They contain large deposits of gypsum, and at places fossil shells, amongst them oyster shells similar, I believe, to those of the Murray. Near the junction of the Margaret I saw the stems of several fossil trees, in a nearly horizontal position, standing out of the cliff. One of them was quite twenty feet in length, nine inches in diameter at one end and eighteen at the other. It had been bedded in limestone, the wood itself being silicified.
When near the north-west angle of the southern portion of Lake Gregory, on the 5th November, I met Major Warburton and his party, and received the unwelcome intelligence that I had been not only recalled, but superseded at the very moment when all my plans appeared likely to be crowned with success. I, of course, immediately gave up the command to the Major, and returned with the party whom he sent back, under the command of Warriner, by Stuart's tracks to the Elizabeth. I had intended to return by an intermediate line of waters between my own route and Stuart and Forster's, upon which the blacks had given me the names and position of about fifteen waters; and from this line to have gone occasionally to the eastward to look at Stuart's waters, so as to be able to select the best line by which to move up my main camp to a place where overhanging rocks near a waterhole, on Stuart's Creek, offered facilities for constructing a comparatively cool summer retreat, at only a day's journey from the permanent waters of the Emerald Spring. At the Elizabeth, Mr. Gregory took charge of the party, and I accepted his escort to this place. There was plenty of water both at the Elizabeth and on the road down, so that, if I had been recalled only, I should have had no difficulty in bringing back the drays with the more valuable portion of the stores.
Mr. Gregory will take the party down to Adelaide by land, but I intend to return myself by the steamer which will sail on Thursday, as I shall arrive in town, by that means, about the same time as Mr. Gregory's party, and save myself the extra fatigue of the overland journey.
I enclose a rough sketch from my map, to show the situation of the places I have spoken about. The map itself I shall be able to complete by the time of my return to Adelaide.
I have, &c.,
B. HERSCHEL BABBAGE,
Late Leader of the South Australian Exploring Expedition.
The Hon. the Commissioner of Crown Lands, &c.
MAP 1. Rough Sketch of Country Explored by Mr. B. H. BABBAGE.
Chief Secretary's Office, Adelaide, September 24th, 1858.
Sir—I have the honor, by the Chief Secretary's directions, to inform you that, on the recommendation of the Hon. the Commissioner of Crown Lands and Immigration, the Government have decided on your at once proceeding to supersede Mr. Babbage in command of the Northern Exploring Expedition. The Hon, the Commissioner will furnish you with all necessary instructions for your guidance in carrying out the object for which the expedition was organized.
I have, &c.,
OLIVER K. RICHARDSON,
To Major Warburton, Commissioner of Police.
Extract from a letter from Major Warburton to Mr. Hamilton, dated Port Augusta, 30th September, 1858.
I am in a hurry just at this moment, and cannot write to Mr. Dutton, but I will mention what I think might, perhaps, be done and leave it in your hands. The line of communication between Port Augusta and Lake Campbell, Stuart's Creek, and all the country there may be to the north and north-west of Lake Campbell is very bad for stock, and it seems to me desirable to endeavor to establish a better line through Parry's country. When I get on Stuart's Creek, about lat. 29° 30', long. 137°, I shall have Mount Nor-west nearly due east about 50 miles. Now I am sure Burtt could find his way to the western side of Mount Nor-west Range, and I might meet him from the eastward; thus there would, if we could join, be an easy and unbroken line through good country. I think it so desirable for the Colony that all the runs should be connected, having no long piece of bad country to stop the communication, that I shall certainly try what can be done between Stuart's Creek and Mount Nor-west. I cannot say when I shall be in sight of Mount Nor-west, but it may be about the 20th October. If Burtt is sent out, he must get well on the western side of the Range, and make a smoke signal on the most prominent westerly point of the Range, keeping a good look-out westward himself. There is water at Mount Nor-west, though it may not be on the western edge of the Range.
Police Station, Angepina, 18th November, 1858.
Sir—I have the honor to report that I arrived here with my small party, consisting of Mr. A. Baker and Corporal Coward, on the 17th November. Myself and party are all well, but my horses are knocked up and leg-weary, as well they may be. I have, however, neither lost any nor lamed any, which is something considering the distance and the time it has been done in.
On the 7th inst, I forwarded you a short report; on the morning of the 8th I sent all Mr. Babbage's men under charge of Mr. Warriner back to the Elizabeth, and started myself in the afternoon to look for a passage across Lake Torrens.
Since my last communication I have discovered another batch of springs, exceeding I think in number and in the quantity of water any two of the other batches.
I have had no difficulty in passing from Stuart's Creek to the Northern Settlements, and we must now divest our minds of the idea, so long impressed upon them by the mistaken and somewhat mysterious reports of earlier travellers, regarding Lake Torrens. The northern runs are not hemmed in by the lake, which we now know to be divided into at least three separate lakes, for two of which new names must be found. There was no lake visible where I entered the northern district for fifteen miles, either on the right hand or on the left.
As I hope to be in Adelaide by the Marion on the 28th instant, I will now only briefly state in general terms what has been done. I broke up Mr. Babbage's camp on the Elizabeth, sending back to Adelaide such men and horses as I could.
I found Mr. Babbage himself, and sent his men to Mr. Gregory to be conducted to Adelaide.
I have explored roughly up to lat. 28° 20', long. 135° 45', and found a considerable extent of pastoral country watered (in addition to many excellent waterholes) by several collections of springs, unequalled, I believe, in any similar extent of country, and numbering, perhaps, not much short of 1,000 in all.
I have practically connected the new country above alluded to with that already occupied in the north, thus greatly facilitating the spread of our flocks and herds, by saving the difficulties and the distance presented on the route by Port Augusta and the Elizabeth. I have travelled over about 1,000 miles in thirty-three days, exclusive of four days' halt, without accident or injury to the health of any of my party, and without losing or laming a horse.
Unfortunately I have not been able to save the loss entailed by the nature of the equipment with which Mr. Babbage provided himself, but then even Mr. Babbage himself could not have effected this; and I shall be prepared to show that I have not sacrificed more than Mr. Babbage would have been compelled to abandon, whilst I have stopped the expenses incident to a summer sojourn in the scrub.
Finally, Government did me the honor to leave me quite free as to my movements. I hope I am not the man to betray the trust reposed in me by those I serve. I therefore need scarcely say that in deciding upon returning to Adelaide I am influenced alone by what I consider the true interests of the Colony. Prolonging the exploration at this season, whilst there is already as much country discovered as can be stocked within a twelvemonth, would be expensive, unnecessary, and hazardous to those engaged in it. In the performance of a duty personal hazard is not to be regarded; but as I am convinced that every disaster which happens to an exploring party tends to quench the public spirit by which exploration is kept alive, I think that every unnecessary risk should be avoided; and I take a pleasure in keeping all who may be with me not only in health and safety, but also interested in the progress of the work in hand. Such ends are not easily attained in a summer depôt, so I have not established one, though I had plenty of places in which it might have been done had it appeared desirable.
I have on all occasions received most ready and cheerful aid from my two assistants, Mr. Baker and Corporal Coward; and I shall do myself the pleasure to bring them under your favorable notice when I arrive in Adelaide.
I have, &c.,
P. EGERTON WARBURTON,
Commissioner of Police.
To the Hon. the Commissioner of Crown Lands. Commissioner of Police.
Police Commissioner's Office, Adelaide, December 3, 1858.
Sir—Having returned to Adelaide, I now do myself the honor to forward you a general report of my proceedings from the date on which I started. Embarking on the 25th September on board the steamer Marion, I was landed at Port Augusta on the morning of the 29th, but not finding my horses ready there I could not leave till the 30th, on which day I met near Depôt Creek, Mr. Charles Gregory and Mr. Phibbs, returning from Mr. Babbage's camp. My party now consisted of Messrs. Gregory, Phibbs, and Arthur J. Baker; Sergeant-Major Hall and Lance-Corporal Coward, of the Mounted Police; and we all reached the Elizabeth Creek on the afternoon of the 3rd October. I do not think that any portion of the country between Port Augusta and the Elizabeth, westward of Lake Torrens, is fit for permanent pastoral occupation As a whole it is sterile and stony; its waters are scanty in number, temporary in their nature and altogether untrustworthy.
Mr. Babbage had left his camp on the Elizabeth about a week before I reached it, taking; with him four of his party and eleven horses, and intending (so it was stated) to be absent three months. Supposing that Mr. Babbage's object in going away was to find a suitable place in which he could fix his camp for the summer, I thought that he would be found either on, or in the vicinity of, Lake Campbell; because, in the first place, Lake Campbell had been represented to me as being permanent water; and in the second place I know that it had occupied Mr. Babbage ninety days to cart his stores from Beda to the Elizabeth, a distance of sixty miles; and I consequently concluded that, acting on the principles which he had publicly put forth as to his mode of travelling, he would not attempt to form a summer depôt at a much greater distance than fifty or sixty miles from the Elizabeth, which would have occupied him up to the middle of January in moving his stores. Influenced by these considerations, I dispatched my second in command, Mr. Gregory, and Corporal Coward, of the Mounted Police, with four or five days' provisions on their saddles, to endeavor to overtake Mr. Babbage and deliver the orders of Government to him. Mr. Gregory started on the 5th October, tracked Mr. Babbage for about sixty miles—found that Lake Campbell was dry, and that Mr. Babbage had pushed on. He therefore returned to me. It would have been both foolish and useless to have continued the pursuit. He was not provided with provisions; his horses could not have stood continuous forced marches over so rough a country; and it would have been far easier for Mr. Babbage to have travelled thirty miles a day than for Mr. Gregory to have tracked him twenty miles a day. Those only who have done it know how difficult, how tedious, and how trying to the eyes is the work of tracking horses over rough stony country.
On the same day that Mr. Gregory left, I started three men and four horses of Mr. Babbage's party back to Adelaide—retaining the shepherd only to take care of the sheep.
As it was supposed that in about a fortnight or three weeks from the time of departure some one would be sent by Mr. Babbage back to the Elizabeth to conduct his main camp to the summer depôt, I determined to wait a fortnight on the Elizabeth in the hope that his messenger would arrive. During this interval we were employed in drying mutton, and shifting the camp to the nearest waterhole, about three-quarters of a mile distant. I also visited Smith's Waterhole and Wandandarree, neither of them worth anything—the first being of a very temporary nature, the second salt and stinking. You are already aware of the reasons which prevented my selling the rations to Messrs. Forster and McDonald, who were both obliged to take their sheep back from the Elizabeth. On the 10th I put eighty-nine Government sheep into Mr. Forster's flock, he having kindly undertaken to drive them down. The shepherd and one horse were also sent back by this opportunity. On the 14th one of Mr. Babbage's large 300-gallon tanks was sent to Yeltacowie, about twenty miles on the homeward road, filled with water, and covered over carefully; the cart that carried it was also left there. On the 17th October I started the Sergeant-Major of Mounted Police with such stores as could be carried on one police-horse and, five expedition-horses back to Adelaide, directing him to look to the Yeltacowie tank as he passed.
Having waited, in vain, for some messenger from Mr. Babbage till the 18th October, I started on that day for Stuart's Creek, taking with me Mr. A. J. Baker, Corporal Coward, of the Mounted Police, and three pack-horses. Previous to leaving, I instructed Mr. Gregory that if any messenger came in from Mr. Babbage, he was to accompany the said messenger back to Mr Babbage's camp without delay, deliver the Government order recalling Mr. Babbage, assume charge of the party, and take them all back, as quickly as possible, to Adelaide—leaving at the Elizabeth a letter, in a place agreed upon, and some water in a tank, for me. Should no intelligence of Mr. Babbage be received, I directed Mr. Gregory to hold on at the Elizabeth as long as the water would allow him, and then (having filled a 300-gallon tank) to make the best of his way, with his companion Mr. Phibbs, and the four last horses, back to Adelaide.
Having provided for all probable contingencies as well as I could, I started on a course a little west of north; the first fourteen miles was over rough barren stony hills, when we came to a dry fresh water swamp, with cane grass. Shortly after passing this, one of the pack-horses was in the act of taking a bite of grass, when a wallaby jumped out of the tuft and startled the animal to such an extent, that, making a short sweep round us, he went off at full gallop, over the roughest hills, to get back to the Elizabeth; after much difficulty and hard riding, Mr. Baker recovered the runaway, but both the horses were dead beat—and, indeed, the pack-horse never recovered that one gallop. We, travelled on over a country slightly improving till five p.m., when we struck a wide and grassy creek (marked in the map), and cut Mr. Stuart's tracks; water was found in a branch creek on a shallow rocky basin, with a high cliff on the western side. Without continuous rain this water would not last long; I calculated that there might be enough for me, if I got back in four weeks.
19th. Travelled in the same direction over a country which, if watered (but it was not), would have been good, consisting of sand-hills, stony plains, salt-bush flats and grass; at about twenty-five miles we cut a large mulga and tea-tree creek, which bore evident marks of heavy floods, and had some large but dry water holes. I ran this creek down a long way, but could not find any surface water; at one place I scratched a hole with my fingers and got a little moisture, but I saw no prospect of getting enough water for the horses, and we had as much as we needed for ourselves in our canteens. I did not fall in with Mr. Stuart's track anywhere this day, and I have no doubt his course was eastward of mine.
20th. On the same course, for about seven miles, over stony hills, grassy salt-bush flats, and sand-hills; saw smoke to the north-west about three miles; went to it, but could not find the natives; turned again into our right course, and soon saw a second smoke, about two miles to the north-west; went to it and caught a couple of gins, who, though much alarmed at first, became very communicative under the influence of a pocket looking-glass, and a mane comb, and led us to their husband's camp, at a shallow clay-pan called Babnee Adnee amongst the sand-hills; here we halted to rest our horses and lay in a supply of damper. The Sturt pea was found in flower on these hills.
21st. Under the guidance of the natives, proceeded north-east by north. At four miles we cut Mr. Stuart's tracks, running north by west; crossed them, and at six miles further reached Yarawurta. I traced this creek nearly up to its source—it was the first gum creek since leaving the Elizabeth; its course is first from east to west, then it bends to west and east. At the bend is the first and best waterhole, about four feet deep; further down there are others, but only eighteen inches or two feet deep. This creek runs into Lake Torrens, and its lower waterholes as salt. Though we had given the two natives who were with us plenty to eat, and had not the slightest wish to detain them, yet they preferred watching their opportunity, and then running off as if for their lives, to walking quietly away with my consent and some extra presents, as they might have done.
22nd. For the first ten miles north north-west over stony hills and sand-ridges, then north by west, and at noon cut Mr. Stuart's tracks, and found one of his camps in the sandhills; crossing a rotten stony plain, I ascended an isolated hill, stony for two-thirds of its height and pure sand at the top. From this hill I first saw the thick line of gum trees on Stuart's Creek, about ten miles distant; at two miles from this hill I cut, a small creek, and finding a shallow puddle, camped at it. We had travelled thirty miles this day.
23rd. I ran the creek down for a few miles, but found no more water. Crossing an open, stony, rotten plain in a north-westerly direction, cut Stuart's Creek, at, as I guess, about ten miles below its source in the Turret Ranges.
The country begins to improve at about twenty to thirty miles north of the Elizabeth; but the general character of the line between it and Stuart's Creek, is stony hills and flats, sprinkled with salt-bush, scrubby sand-hills, and rotten stony plains—there are are no trees, excepting the stunted gums or mulga and tea-tree scrub, in the creeks. I found nothing that could be mistaken for permanent water. "The Yarawurta Creek was the best water I saw; and from the manner in which the natives spoke of it, I should infer that it was better than the other waters they named—Milleyoora, Bumbeyadna, Boodnemunna, and Moolkarra—which I have not seen.
At the exact spot where I cut Stuart's Creek, there was neither water nor water-course, beyond a number of small dry ditches intersecting a scrub gum-tree grassy flat, about half a-mile wide; this flat appears to divide the upper from the lower waters of the creek. I camped about, five miles above the flat, where there were many narrow but good waterholes, not unlike Blanchewater. The hills about the head of Stuart's Creek are nearly all flat-topped, but they do not look as if they had been originally so formed; on the contrary, they seemed as though they had been once peaked or jagged hills, and had had all their tops swept off at a given level.
24th. Halted. 25th. North-west by north for ten miles over open stony country; north-north-west two miles and crossed the sandy scrubby course of the Margaret Creek; turned due north for a prominent looking single hill; at about three miles, recrossed the Margaret at a tolerably good waterhole; continuing our northerly course for a few miles, we crossed the Margaret again a third time, and found an exceedingly fine waterhole. On nearing the hill, we cut a large salt creek, running from the north-west; ascended the hill, which, like most other isolated ones, has a more important appearance than its actual height warrants; raised a stone mound and a staff on the summit, and named it "Mount Hamilton" (after George Hamilton, Esquire).
Taking a survey of the country around, from the top of Mount Hamilton, we spied some bright green mounds rising out of a salt pan at the eastern base of the hill; on examination, these proved to be a large collection of fine fresh-water springs. I cannot pretend to give an account of all these springs; I found, during this expedition, more springs than I could either examine or count. I shall, therefore, confine myself to the general character of the whole, and particularize only one or two of the most remarkable or best-watered ones. With few exceptions, these springs rise out of salt pans at the foot of detached hills; some from limestone mounds of various heights, crowned with reeds or rushes; others from low rush mounds, in which the limestone is scarcely visible; whilst others again, are collected in great numbers on comparatively level ground, forming large swampy masses of springs, which uniting, run out in one or more small streams at different parts of the swamp. Some of the swamps are reedy, some rushy, and others are covered with a tangled mass of thick grass and moss. Some of the springs are running strongly, some only slightly, and some require to be opened. None of the water I tasted was undrinkable—some was as good as could be, but that at several springs had a slightly brackish taste, not like that of salt, but of lime and decayed vegetable matter. It is on y a wonder, considering that none of these springs have ever been used, and that many are choked up with several feet of peaty, boggy, decayed vegetation, that most of the water is not undrinkable.
I imagine that the limestone mounds are all formed by springs, which, rising through limestone strata, became strongly impregnated, and capable of petrifying, or at least covering with a coat of lime, any foreign substance within their immediate reach—such as the decayed roots and stems of the reeds; and, in addition to this, as the overflowing water evaporates, the lime, which it held in solution, being deposited, cements all the outside substances to the general mass in process of formation; the nucleus of a mound might thus be easily formed, to which evaporation alone would give a gradual but constant increase. I do not feel competent to convey clearly to the minds of others the ideas upon these subjects which are clearly enough impressed upon my own; but I wish to show that the mounds are not the causes but the effects of springs bursting out.
There is reason to hope that, were all these springs kept open and flowing, the action of the air alone would ventilate and purify these waters, which now have a slightly unpleasant taste. A rough description of the first spring visited in the batch, under Mount Hamilton, may be of some interest. A limestone conical mound, measuring 250 yards at the base and sixty at the top, rises to a height of about forty feet out of a flat salt pan; the cone is crowned with an evergreen wreath of reeds, eight or nine feet high, which conceals a circular basin of beautiful water, about fifty feet in diameter and from ten to twelve feet deep; the overflowings of the spring run out over the face of the rock in two strong streams. The day on which I visited these springs was intensely hot, and it would be difficult to describe the delightful appearance of the refreshing greenness of the reeds and the charming coolness of the running water, when contrasted with the glary mocking sparkle of the desolate salt pan, out of which they spring.
I have described to you but one spring out of many; there is a swamp in this batch of springs which must cover nearly three acres, and the water issues out at its lower end in a strong stream, more than sufficient for the wants of the largest station, were it the only water procurable. The country all round these springs is well-adapted to pastoral purposes; the "Margaret Creek" (so named at the request of my companion, Mr. Baker) passes through it. This creek has many good water-holes, and was running when I saw it; eventually, it joins Stuart's Creek, a few miles above its junction with the lake.
26th. There having been more springs than I could visit the previous afternoon on foot, we circled round them this morning, and then travelled north-north-west, over a very good country for ten miles, when we were brought up by a salt creek; altering my course to the west, I made at once for two detached hills, which I had not intended to visit till I had seen what the country to the north of them was like. Ten miles on a westerly course brought me to a chain of ponds (called "Paisley Ponds", after the Private Secretary to His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief). I camped here. These ponds, four in number, are formed in a short creek, which runs into a salt pan; but its mouth is dammed up by polygonum bushes and the mud it has itself brought down, so that the ponds must all be full before any water can flow away. One of these ponds is about half-a-mile long, 100 yards wide, and, at the time I went into it, about five feet deep; the others are shorter and narrower, but better sheltered. Besides these ponds, there are some fair water-holes at the head of the creek. I named the two hills towards which I had been travelling the "Beresford Hills" (after G. W. Beresford, Esquire), and taking a walk that way in the evening, I saw another batch of springs lying between them. The water is very good, and the supply sufficient for all the stock on the largest run, without any reference to the Paisley Ponds, which are only about two miles distant. The country round about is all good.
27th. It rained all last night, and part of this morning, so I halted this day to dry our clothes and provisions. We procured a plentiful supply of ducks at this camp.
28th. I travelled only seventeen miles this day, in various short tacks, but the general course was north-west, towards a remarkable-looking jumble of little hills. These I found to be a third batch of springs, exceeding the two first in number and extent of country it covered, but, on the whole, not so active, and differing from the former batches in rising partly out of a small patch of low scrub. Most of these springs had small limestone basins. Some of the water was very good, but much of it appeared strongly impregnated with calcareous matter. I have no doubt, these, springs would improve greatly with use. I drank the water in pretty large quantities, and found no ill effects from it. These are the "Strangways Springs" (after H. B. T. Strangways, Esq., M.P.), and the country around them is fit for pastoral purposes.
29th. The general aspect of the country led me a little to the southward of west this day. The salt creek which I had struck on the 26th was still close to me; I felt satisfied that there was no permanent water immediately north of this creek, and I wished to make myself tolerably certain that I had got to the north-west end of the line of springs (nothing short of actually seeing the salt creek fairly cross the line, and bend westward, could satisfy me upon this point), I therefore crossed the creek two or three times, to save bends, and ran up the valley of a fresh water tributary for six or seven miles, passing through fine feed. Leaving this tributary, I crossed some open stony salt-bush country, and entered the valley of the salt creek. For six miles, I ran this valley up through splendid feed, with small waterholes in the polygonum, then it ended, and, on ascending a hill close by, I found the country westward showing marked signs of inferiority, and the salt creek continuing its course in the same direction, now turned northward again, satisfied that I had run out that patch of good country—I do not mean to assert that there was no good country westward of me, but that I had not time to go and look for it, nor any reasonable expectation of finding it near at hand. As a general rule, I never follow a bad country when, there is a chance of getting on to a better; but, in turning northward at this place, instead of running a fresh line back through the good country I had just traversed, I was influenced by a desire of extending our knowledge of the country in that direction. I found that the general character of the country south of the salt creek, to which I have so often referred, was stony and good, whilst that to the north appeared to be sandhills and scrub. I wished to know how far north this sand-belt extended—whether it was of a similar desolate character to the sand-belt I had recently crossed near our western frontier, and what there was beyond it. I dare say I have not seen all the waters and other advantages possessed by the good country I discovered, but I do not consider this a matter of much importance—I have seen enough to lead to the occupation of that country, and those who settle upon it will have more time to find out all its advantages; whereas, by going north, I hope I have gained information for the public benefit which would not have been sought for by private persons, or, if sought, and found valuable, would have been turned to private advantage. Crossing, therefore, the salt creek once more with some difficulty, for there are many quicksands in it, I took a N.N.W. course. The sand ridges run about south-west and north-east—they are not close one to another, but are separated by good-sized valleys, which widen as they run eastward; the sand ridges also fall in height to the eastward—they are exceedingly well grassed, so are the intervening valleys, in which there are plenty of shallow clay-pans. I should consider this sand-hill country admirably suited for winter runs—warmth, shelter, dryness under foot, plenty of food, and water, are all there. Where I crossed these sandhills they were about seventeen miles in depth, but had I taken a north line, thirty miles eastward of the one I did take, I should probably have had no sandhills at all. Continuing our course, we camped at a small water hole, in a valley with good feed. Total distance this day, about 45 miles.
30th. Started north; four miles over low sand-hills and well-grassed hollows. Obtained a good view of a distant range, bearing north-west by north. We had seen the outline of the tops of these hills the day before; but I now altered my course direct to the most prominent part of the range. At 5 miles, north-west by north, I cut a large gum creek named "The Douglas" (after Bloomfield Douglas, Esq., R.N.) I here separated from my companions, being most anxious to learn something of the nature of this creek, and yet not to lose time nor curtail my distance northwards, I ran down "The Douglas" for several miles, found a few water holes, but no permanent supply. The gum trees on this creek are large and useful; there are also many large acacias on the banks. Having examined the creek eastward, I turned to the north-west to make for the hills, named "The Davenport Range" (after the Hon. S. Davenport, M.L.C.) I had directed my companions to precede me, and to camp under "Mount Margaret", the highest and most conspicuous point in the range. Unfortunately they made a mistake, so that when I reached the spot appointed, after being twelve hours in the saddle, and my horse knocked up, I was obliged to camp alone without food or water. This prevented my making any examination of the range; but I consider it to be one of the most interesting and picturesque places I have seen in the Colony. This range, at its highest point, is probably 1,000 feet high, and is chiefly composed of quartz. I at first thought that the huge blocks, which had fallen down from the perpendicular cliffs, were all white marble; but I have since had reason to believe I was mistaken. There may, perhaps, be water amongst the hills, and, though I do not feel myself to be the most competent judge in such matters, I should imagine that no more likely place for gold has yet been found in the Colony. Several gum creeks run eastward from the Davenport Range; but, near their sources, at least, their beds are shingly and sandy, and do not retain surface water. It seems probable, not only that water would be procurable in these creeks at a very moderate depth, but that, like Stuart's Creek, they may have large water holes at their mouths.
31st. Proceeded in search of my missing comrades; found them, without water, in another part of the range, about ten miles short of our appointed place of meeting; returned, without delay, to one of the lower water holes in the Douglas, as we all needed water. Had it not been that an important part of my duty (the recall of Mr. Babbage,) was still unperformed, I should now have gone back again to the Davenport Range; but having this duty before me, and not knowing how long it might take to perform it, I did not feel at liberty to widen the distance between us too much. On my return trip, to within 20 miles of Stuart's Creek, I varied my line, had good feed and plenty of water all the way. I discovered several new springs; one small lot, about five miles north-west of Mount Hamilton, which I called "Coward's Springs" (in token of my approval of the zeal and intelligence with which Corporal Coward had assisted me), being particularly fine in respect to the body and purity of the water flowing from them. I greatly extended my knowledge of the Margaret Creek, and confirmed my first favorable opinion of the capabilities of this country for carrying stock.
4th November.—In the afternoon of this day, when within twenty miles of Stuart's Creek, I cut Mr. Babbage's track running north-east towards the Salt Lake. I immediately followed it up, found his first camp, then left the tracks, crossed Stuart's Creek in order to save a bend, found the Salt Lake nearer than I had expected, and that I had overshot my mark. Camped near the mouth of Stuart's Creek, where there are very fine-looking water holes in which I saw many pelicans and wild duck. I call these holes good-looking because I am afraid they are likely to turn salt, although the greater part of them are now perfectly drinkable.
5th November,—Ascended Stuart's Creek a few miles, crossed and cut Mr. Babbage's tracks again, ran then up over bad country till they got me embayed between two arms of the Salt Lake; found that Mr. Babbage had gone all round one arm in order to get out—left his tracks and pushed the horses across the Lake at a place where there were two or three small islands for resting places. Having crossed the Lake, and thus saved many miles round, I again struck the tracks, and after running them up a few hours fell upon Mr. Babbage and his party. Accompanied Mr. Babbage to his camp.
6th November.—Took charge of the party and conducted it to Stuart's Creek.
8th. Started the exploring party, consisting of four men (exclusive of Mr. Babbage), and twelve horses for the Elizabeth, under charge of Mr. Warriner, informing him that I expected him to go straight, and reach the Elizabeth in four days. I have since learned that the party took six days, and were two days without water. How this was managed I do not know.
In the afternoon of the 8th, started with Mr. Baker, Corporal Coward, and two pack horses, to get across Lake Torrens; crossed Stuart's Creek and travelled eight miles north-east, over a good country, open plains, slaty hills and thin scrub; crossed several small Water courses and camped near one.
9th. Two miles of sandy scrub in a north-easterly direction. East-north-east eight miles, cut a fine running creek; good water-holes with fish about three inches long; the water slightly brackish, but quite drinkable; creek running from south to north. I have named this creek "Gregory's Creek", after my late companion, Mr. Charles Gregory. Two miles further, east-north-east, cut another narrow fresh water creek with sandy bottom. Four miles on came upon a broad salt water course at the foot of the hills to which I had been steering. Ascended a hill, and set up a pile of stones. Round this hill I found by far the finest batch of springs yet discovered. The extent of ground they covered, and the quantity of water they gave out, were enormous. I have called these the "Finniss Springs", after the Honorable B. T. Finniss. I. bathed in one reservoir, which had a stream (from other springs) running into it, and a stronger stream running out of it; the water was about 150 feet long, 100 feet wide, and twenty feet deep, perfectly fresh; many duck upon it; bullrushes six feet high in the water; which was surrounded by a thick belt of green reeds. I fathomed this hole, therefore I refer to it particularly; but it was only one hole out of many. I found small fish here, and in some places the reeds were twelve to fourteen feet high; and too thick to be penetrated. Altogether it is a wonderful collection of water, and would require a very lengthened description to do it justice. I here saw hundreds of springs, which I had not time to examine closely.
10th. North-east one and a-half mile, to top of high salt-bush table land; east-north-east, three miles, crossing table land, descended into a splendid valley (at the time) well watered. This valley was about two and a-half miles wide, and I should think from fifteen to twenty miles long, perhaps more, as I could not see where it terminated to the south-eastward. Ascending a lower table land, I travelled on over a fair country, and camped near a water-hole, where the feed was very good; total distance, about thirty-one miles; no Lake Torrens visible.
I was now quite satisfied that I had accomplished my object, that, there was no Lake Torrens; that the communication between Stuart's Creek and the north country was open over clear high table land; I, therefore, decided upon turning southward next day.
11th. Proceeding five miles on a south-easterly course, I came upon what had apparently been the bed of a lake in former times, bounded on the western side by broken cliffs, and on the eastern by a long range of high land. Keeping a little more to the southward to avoid the low ground, I passed over six miles of open salt-bush country, stony and rotten, but still all good. Two miles further on I cut some fresh horse-tracks running south-west.
As I have now got into a country traversed by Mr. Parry and others, it is not necessary to enter into further details beyond saying, that on the 12th I cut some very good water holes which, as I could not find any tracks, though I searched for them carefully on foot, I conclude had not before been visited. Two small isolated hills bear south by west one mile, and a single low flat-topped hill south-east by south one-and-a-half mile from this water. On Monday, the 15th November, we reached an outstation belonging to Mr. Thomas Gill, near Fortress Hill.
I will now conclude with a few general remarks.
Most of the country I have visited seems admirably adapted for pastoral occupation. It is one that would be greatly improved by being stocked; the surface would become firmer, and the thin coating of small stones would be just sufficient to prevent rapid evaporation, but not to interfere with the growth of grass which would soon spring up under sheep. There is no scrub; I saw very few wild dogs, no kangaroos, and no natives. Sheep might be run in flocks of several thousand, and I believe, that for every single sheep the country could carry the first year, three might be put upon it the third season. The ground is high, would be dry underfoot when made firmer by the treading of sheep, and it is clean for the wool. A little rain would leave plenty of temporary surface water. The water holes are generally good, and would last all the year if that country were blessed with periodical rain; but it is doubtful whether it is so or not. Then there is an abundant and sure supply of water from the springs. The country generally is very deficient in useful timber, but the reeds and mud would make good huts.
I have made but a hurried trip it is true, yet I believe I have acted for the best. Mr. Babbage and all his party were afflicted with scurvy when I met them; had I remained out all the summer, my party would, without doubt, have suffered in a similar manner, and most probably we should have been quite unfit for work when the summer was over.
I have made but a hasty and partial examination of the country; still, I have discovered so much fresh water as to make the occupation of that country easy, and that will lead to all other desirable knowledge without public expense. To point out the different localities suitable for pastoral occupation seems as much as was needful for me to do; the experience and intelligence of the settlers themselves will do the rest.
I beg to recommend to your favorable notice Mr. Arthur J. Baker and Corporal Coward; their cheerful and active aid enabled me to carry out with ease everything that my horses and provisions were able to take me through.
It has been my earnest desire to do this duty on which I was sent, faithfully—to the best of my ability—looking as carefully as I could to the end you had in view: viz. the real interests of the Colony. How far I may be considered to have been successful, time will show; but I feel called upon, in closing my report, to make my humble and hearty acknowledgment to Almighty God for giving and guiding me to that without which no man can live, water. The smallest accident, an apparently trifling error, or a comparatively short period of privation, may jeopardize human life in the bush. Truth and thankfulness alike require me to acknowledge that I have not travelled thus far in safety and in health by my own forethought, prudence, or skill, but by the merciful guidance and protection, of Providence.
I have the honor, &c.,
P. EGERTON WARBURTON,
Commissioner of Police.
The Hon. the Commissioner of Crown Lands.
MAP 2. Rough Sketch of Country Explored by MAJOR WARBURTON
Elizabeth Camp, 12th September, 1858.
Sir—I have the honor to inform you that, on the 6th instant, Mr. Babbage and Warriner not having returned, I started in search of them with Mr. Jones and B. Bowman (leaving overseer Phibbs in charge of the camp), equipped with six horses, and twenty-four days' provision. I proceeded to Oakden's Hills, and arrived there on the 7th, and found Mr. Babbage's camp; on the 8th, I tracked him on a south course, about six miles, when we came to the western shore of a dry salt lagoon, extending about twelve miles east; the tracks then trended two miles west, when we struck another salt lagoon, and, passing down the southern shore about five miles, came on one of his camps where he had remained for the night, without water, and then continued in a westerly direction to the end of the lagoon, which is about twelve miles in length, when we found that he had watered his horses at a clay-pan, which was now dry. The tracks then trended N.W.; and, following them about four miles on this course, we camped for the night in the scrub.
September 8th.—Our horses having been without water since leaving the Elizabeth, with the exception of about half a gallon each at Oakden's Hill, on the 7th; and, as there was no probability of our obtaining any nearer than the Elizabeth, a distance of more than forty miles, I determined to proceed back without delay, as it would be impossible for us to travel as far as he had done with the advantage of water, where we found it dried up. I should have been enabled to have proceeded another day on the tracks, but the water-bottles of Mr. Babbage's proved to be of such porous leather, that the water we had provided for the horses all leaked out; consequently, I had only our own two six-gallon bottles to depend upon, and none to spare for the horses.
September 9th—Steering N.E. by N. for seven miles, we came on Mr. Babbage's track proceeding to Oakden's Hill, which was then distant about four miles; all these tracks appear to be, at least, a month old; and, continuing our course, we arrived at the Elizabeth Camp on the 10th instant—our horses having had only half a gallon of water each during the last five days.
It is now my intention to proceed to the southern extremity of Pernatty Lagoon, and examine the neck of land between it and the large lagoon to the S.E. of Oakden's Hill; and, failing to find traces in that locality, will prove satisfactorily that he must have gone down the shore of Great Salt Lake; but as, perhaps, he may have tried to strike across the country from the southern shore of the Great Salt Lake to Lake Dutton, I shall proceed in that direction and examine the country as far to the westward as practicable. Should, however, any rain fall, I shall proceed to the last tracks seen going N.W. to the shore of the Great Salt Lake, as far as may lay in my power; at present this is impossible, as I should have to travel more than forty miles without water, before I could make further search than already done.
Mr. Harris may probably be able to give you some information as to the practicability of sending a party down the Gawler Range, to Mr. Hack's furthest north, on the eastern shore of Lake Gairdner, and examine the country for tracks to the north of, as it may be probable that Mr. Babbage has endeavored to push through, to that point. I should, however, impress on any one starting from there, the impossibility of obtaining water near Oakden's Hills, as the whole of the country is of such a sandy nature that, even should light showers fall, it will be immediately dried up.
The water seems to stand well, at present, at the Elizabeth Creek; but I still fear that it will not last through the season.
Trusting that these arrangements will meet with your approval.
I have the honor, &c.,
CHAS. F. GREGORY.
P.S.—I am unable to send you a plan of my route, as there are no mapping instruments here; but it lies as nearly as possible according to the enclosed sketch.
CHAS. F. GREGORY.
The Hon. the Commissioner of Crown Lands, Adelaide, South Australia.
Elizabeth Camp, 25th September, 1858.
Sir—Since writing you on the 12th September, I have the honor to acquaint you that, after attempting to find traces of Mr. Babbage and Warriner, to the south of Pernatty Lagoon, from which I was obliged to return, there not being any water in that locality—On the 18th instant I started with ninety gallons of water on the dray, and proceeded fifteen miles down Lake Windabout; and, the next day Mr. Phibbs and Mr. Jones brought on the saddle and pack-horses; when I turned adrift the cart horses to let them travel back to the camp during the night, as we could not spare any water for them. The next day I proceeded about seventeen miles on towards Great Salt Lake, with overseer Phibbs, Jones, and Pegler; and camped for the night on a large dry lagoon, seven miles N.W. of Oakden's Hills. On the 19th, having sent back Phibbs and Pegler with the spare horses, I watered our own two, leaving five gallons of water to fall back on, and proceeded with Mr. Jones to the southern shore of Great Salt Lake; and, falling in with Mr. Babbage's tracks, followed them on about twenty miles further (than I had done on a former occasion), to the western shore of the great lake; but not finding any water was obliged to return the next day, and arrived at the Elizabeth Camp on the 23rd, where I found Mr. Babbage had returned two days before, having been down to Mount Remarkable; and, I am sorry to add, that there seems to have been some gross neglect on Mr. Harris's part, as the man I sent down with him, for the purpose of returning either with answers to my letters or tidings of Mr. Babbage, was taken on to Mount Remarkable, instead of returning immediately to inform me of Mr. Babbage's safe return to the settlement; and, as I understand "from Mr. Babbage, would have been taken on to Adelaide, had he not overtaken Mr. Harris, and brought the man back with him; and, at the same time, Mr. Harris, when at Thompson's station, was fully aware of Mr. Babbage's return.
These delays have, consequently, precluded my examining the country to the northward for permanent water to remove the stores and equipment to, for the dry season; but, as Mr. Babbage has obtained a sketch of the country from Mr. Stuart, showing that there are permanent pools of water about ninety miles north of the Elizabeth, he will be enabled to remove his camp to it, before the dry season sets in, which will require him to devote the whole of his energies to. Without making further exploration, of any consequence, this year, it becomes unnecessary for me to remain, as I could not so far extend my leave of absence; and Mr. Babbage is also of opinion that I had better return as, unless I could remain with him for several months, it would be of no use, as there is, at least, one hundred miles to travel over of known country before we could commence operations on the unexplored territory; and I might then not be able to return, as there would, by that time, probably be no water for me to fall back on.
Mr. Phibbs also accompanies me, as his leave of absence from the New South Wales Government is likewise limited.
I have the honor, &c.,
CHAS. F. GREGORY,
Second in Command, Northern Exploring Party.
The Honorable the Commissioner of Crown Lands, Adelaide, South Australia.
Mount Serle Police Station, 15th November, 1858.
Sir—I have the honor to inform you that I returned last night from the westward.
I enclose a copy of my journal, and a rough sketch of my route.
When at my furthest western point, had I had any hopes of coming across Major Warburton's party I would have pushed another day's stage to the west; but as my instructions stated that Stuart's Creek was fifty miles east of Mount Nor-west, I thought I might perhaps be too far north and west for it. I therefore turned southwards (as shown in the plan) and not seeing any tracks in any direction, I can only suppose that the rain, which enabled me to get so far west, either raised a barrier in the shape of a large lagoon or Jake between me and Stuart's Creek, or else that Major Warburton had taken advantage of it and pushed on to the interior. I never myself saw any such lake, nor any creek such as I should imagine Stuart's Creek to be; nor do I believe that any continuous lake exists to the west of Mount Nor-west, as is commonly supposed. In any case I should soon have had to return, as I had used all the spare horse-shoes brought, and the horses were then getting very footsore; and besides, the rainwater was drying up fast.
On my return to the station I found Police-trooper Field with despatches for the Commissioner. As there are no hopes of their reaching him by this direction (the time given for his being in the neighborhood of Mount Nor-west, 20th October, being long since passed), I have directed Police-trooper Field to return with them to Adelaide by way of Thompson's Station, on the chance of their reaching the Commissioner by that direction.
I have, &c.,
ALFRED P. BURTT, Corporal.
George Hamilton, Esq., J.P., &c., &c.
Journal of a Trip to Mount Nor-west, and the Country West of it.
October 18th.—Left Angepina 11 a.m., with Police-trooper Mole, two pack-horses, and three weeks' provisions. "Went to Putaba (Mr. Haimes's station.) Distance travelled, twenty-one miles.
October 19th.—From Putaba to Mr. Gilles' station (Cookoopana), twenty miles.
October 20th.—Left Cookoopana at 9 a.m. Went to Eyre's Depôt. About four miles found it almost dry, and very brackish. The horses would not touch it. Scraped a hole in the sand and got some brackish water, with which we filled our canteens. Arrived at Termination Hill about an hour before sundown. Found the waterhole, discovered some short time since by Mr. Parry, dry. Camped on a creek at Termination Hill without water. Distance about thirty-five miles.
MAP 3. Rough Sketch Showing the track taken by CORPORAL BURTT
October 21st.—Started soon after sunrise (the horses wandering a good deal in the night for water). Steered a little west of north in hopes of finding some water discovered by Messrs. Bunn and Weatherstone about eighteen months since, and supposed to be permanent. Travelled about fifteen miles across the plain; crossed two gum creeks, and followed up another small one running north over a jumble of hills, some of them of considerable elevation, but found no water. From here I turned to the east, in order to make Shamrock Pool, described by Mr. Parry, as I had not his chart, and could not tell the position of St. Frances's Ponds, and indeed had very little hopes of finding water there. Camped at dark in a creek without water. Distance travelled, about forty-five miles.
October 22nd.—We had great difficulty last night to keep the horses from straying in search of water, and had at last to tie them up. Started at peep of day this morning, and after riding about six miles in a south-east direction, came in sight of Mount Delusion, and arrived at Shamrock Pool about 1 p.m., the horses nearly done up for want of water. The country between Mount Delusion and Shamrock Pool is miserable enough. Distance about twenty-five miles.
October 23rd.—The horses are in no humour to leave the waterhole to-day, and I will give them two days' spell before starting out again. The weather hitherto has been very hot, and had it not been that the nights were cool, the horses would scarcely have reached Shamrock Pool. As it is, they must have gone over a hundred miles without water.
October 24th.—I believe Shamrock Pool will soon be dry. It has none of the indications of permanent water. We took the dimensions of it to-day—60 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 15 inches deep in the middle, it is seven feet from the top of the bank, on a level with the plain, to the bottom of the waterhole.
October 25th.—Started before daybreak, and steered west for Mount Nor-west. Searched through the hills and, creeks between Shamrock Pool and the Mount for water, but found none. Arrived at the Mount about 5 p.m.; ascended it, and had a good look-out to westward. There is a range bearing some 10° north of west, and distant about twenty-five miles. Camped at the foot of the Mount without water. This day has been fearfully hot, and I must make back to Shamrock Pool for water. Distance about fifty miles.
October 26th.—Started from Mount Nor west soon after daybreak, and arrived at Shamrock Pool about 2 p.m. Distance, about thirty miles. The horses and ourselves very much distressed for water. Found the water had gone down more than two inches since we left. Towards sundown and in the night we had a good deal of rain.
October 27th.—We were obliged to shift our camp this evening on to some sandhills about 300 yards from Shamrock Pool, on account of the rain.
October 28th,—Attempted to cross the lagoon towards Mount Delusion, but myself and one horse had a narrow escape from being bogged. Camped for the night on a small creek in the lagoon.
October 29th.—Too boggy to travel.
October 30th.—Succeeded in crossing the lagoon, and went about five miles beyond Mount Delusion, and camped at a clay-pan. Distance twenty miles.
October 31st.—Crossed Mount Nor-west range, and searched about on the western side for water, but found none. Camped on the plain without water. Distance thirty-five miles.
November 1st.—Re-crossed the range, found a very little rain water on the eastern side of it, and got to Decoy Hill. It being dark we camped there. Distance thirty miles.
November 2nd.—Left Decoy Hill and went to St. Frances's Ponds, which are much lower than when Mr. Parry was here, and do not appear to be permanent. Went on to River's Water. I think there will be some water there all this summer, and in most ordinary seasons, It is the most likely place for permanent water I have seen. Followed down River's Crook, ascended Mount Attraction, and arrived at St. Stephen's Pond a little before sundown. This water also is much lower than when Parry was here, and so salt we could not drink it. It will most likely be all gone in a month. Found some rainwater about a quarter of a mile south of it, and camped. Distance about twenty-five miles.
November 3rd.—Left Mount Attraction about 10 a.m. (the horses having strayed some distance), and steered towards a distant range bearing about south-west. The plain west of the Mount is very low. About fifteen miles crossed a creek with a great deal of very salt water in it, running north. Camped for the night at some rain water in a watercourse on the plain. Distance about twenty-five miles.
November 4th.—Crossed two or three small gum creeks and watercourses on the plain, some of them with rainwater in them. Ascended Trooper's Hill and built a small pile of stones; made a smoke signal, and wrote directions to the nearest permanent water—River's Water—thirty-five miles to the north of east. The view to the west is very extensive, but not very encouraging, consisting of a plain with several flat-topped hills on it. There is one rather higher than the rest about fifteen miles distant, bearing some 10° north of west, to which I will go. Camped for the night at a olaypan about two miles from Trooper's Hill. Distance to-day, about twenty miles.
November 5th.—Started about 7 a.m. At four miles distance came across a large waterhole about a quarter of a mile long, and in some places twenty feet wide. About four miles further came across another about the same size. I think these holes will contain water most of the summer, but do not consider them permanent. There are very likely others of the same description about. Ascended a flat-topped hill about fifteen miles distant from Trooper's Hill. The view from north-east to south-west is extensive, but no signs of a lake or of any more ranges. There are some more table-topped hills on the horizon, for one of which, bearing about 10° south of west, I will steer. About five miles further we crossed a creek containing many channels full of water, and very swampy ground. There were a few stunted gum trees about, but I do not think the water permanent. Crossed the creek and camped in same sandhills about a mile distant. We have seen a great deal of rain water to-day, and most of the country travelled over is very stony and scanty of vegetation. Distance about twenty miles.
November 6th.—Started about 7 a.m. Crossed a number of sandhills with plenty of rain water in them, and in one or two of the small creeks there were some rushes and tea-tree. Could not tell if the water was permanent, there being so much of it about—but don't think it is. Arrived at the table-topped hill about 2 p.m., which I will call Mole's Hill. I shall not go any further west, but strike away to the south-east, as I imagine Major Warburton's party must be more in that direction. The view from Mole's Hill is very extensive; to the west and north-west it extends for thirty miles, and consists of plain, with plenty of stones and very little vegetation. There are a few table-topped hills in the distance. About fifteen miles north there seems to be a creek running east and west, with either small gum trees or bushes in it. There are no signs of a lake in any direction. I must now be about seventy miles to the west of Mount Nor-west, and yet have not seen anything of Stuart's Creek (said to be fifty miles north of the Mount) nor any horse-tracks. Camped on the plain at some rain water. Distance about twenty-five miles.
November 7th.—Steered to-day south-east and south, over a succession of sandridges with plenty of rain water. Camped near rather an elevated sandhill. No signs of a lake in any direction. Distance about twenty-five miles.
November 8th.—Travelled to-day to the east about twenty miles, over sandhills. Plenty of rain water. Camped on a low table-land to the south-west of Trooper's Hill.
November 9th.—Not seeing any tracks of the Major's party I will steer more south, and go back by the south of Mount Nor-west. Crossed a watercourse with plenty of rainwater in it—a finer waterhole than Shamrock Pool, damped at the termination of a creek on the plain, south-west from Mount Nor-west. Distance about twenty miles.
November 10th.—Travelled round the south side of the Mount. Saw a very little rain water in a gum creek south of the Mount. Watered the horses and camped about two miles south-east of the Mount. Distance about twenty miles.
November 11th.—Crossed a blackfellow's track this morning about three miles from Mount Nor-west, about two days old, the only fresh track seen. Saw very little rain water to-day. Camped at a large waterhole with gum trees about five miles west of Shamrock Pool. Distance twenty miles.
November 12th.—Made across to Mr. Parry's St. A'Becket's Pond. Found it almost dry. Plenty of old cattle tracks and pads. Camped in some sandhills between there and Mount Coffin. Distance twenty miles.
November 13th.—Saw no rain water at all to-day; it is all dried up. Arrived at Messrs. Bunn and Weatherstone's station about 3 p.m. Distance about twenty-five miles.
November 14th.—From Bunn & Weatherstone's to Angepina. Distance, twenty-five miles; having travelled 601 miles since we left.
The hill I have taken as Mount Nor-west is not the same as that mentioned by Mr. Parry, which is in the range to the north of it.
The country about Trooper's Hill is the best we have seen; and the sandhills to the west of it have also plenty of grass, &c. There is also some good country to the north and east of Mount Nor-west.
ALFRED P. BURTT, Corporal.
Mount Serle Police Station, 18th November, 1858.
Sir—I have the honor to inform you that the Commissioner arrived here last night.
I therefore sent after Police-trooper Field, and he arrived here this morning with the despatches.
The plan of my route, mentioned in my journal, I have handed over to the Commissioner by his orders. Police-trooper Field starts this afternoon with despatches for Adelaide.
I have &c.
ALFRED P. BURTT, Corporal.
George Hamilton, Esq., &c., &c., Senior Inspector.
You may also wish to read a closely related
ebook on the same expedition, namely:
"Letter From Major Warburton relative to Exploration around Lake Torrens"
by Peter Egerton Warburton (1858)
This ebook is also available from Project Gutenberg Australia
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