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Title: Memoir and Journal of an Expedition Organized by the Colonial
Government of Western Australia, for the Purpose of Exploring the
Interior of the Colony Eastward of the District of York.
Author: Henry Maxwell Lefroy.
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 1402261h.html
Language: English
Date first posted: June 2014
Date most recently updated: June 2014

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Production Notes:

This memoir has been given a shorter title than that under which it appeared in the Perth newspaper, The Inquirer and Commercial News, between September and mid-October, 1863. Its name appears in full just before the beginning of section II. A table of contents has been added, the typographic scheme simplified, and a map from Trove inserted at the end. An attempt has been made to make the spelling of place names consistent with the map at the end. The syllables "oo" and "ee" in English become "" and "ih" in German.

Memoir and Journal of an Expedition

Organized by the Colonial Government of Western Australia, for the Purpose of Exploring the Interior of the Colony Eastward of the District of York.

by Henry Maxwell Lefroy.


I. Introduction

II. Organisation and Preparation

III. Equipment

IV. Departure

V. Journal: May

VI. Journal: June

VII. Journal: July

VIII. Appendix: R.G.S., Journal, 1864.

IX. Sources

Map: Map of H. M. Lefroy's Expedition in the Interior of Western Australia, May to July, 1863 [German; at the end of the journal].

I. [Introduction]

[Lefroy to The Colonial Secretary.]

York, August 1, 1863.

Sir.—I have the honor to report to you for His Excellency's information that the Eastern exploring expedition, under my charge, reached this town yesterday after noon, all, with the exception of colonial prisoner F. Hall, in excellent health, and having suffered no great privations or fatigue.

The party reached Narimbeen, a part of Mr Smith's station, and I believe the Mount Welcome of the chart, on the 23rd ultimo, and having rested there to refresh the horses, which much required rest, until 27th ultimo, on that evening I despatched the party in the charge of Mr Robinson to follow Mr Smith's cart track into York, by easy stages, whilst Kowitch and myself rode round by Minilyeen (Mount Stirling,) the fine rocks of which locality I was anxious to examine. Having made this detour I joined the party at Bunmull yesterday morning.

In the progress of the expedition it has been necessary to abandon three of the horses, they having become so weak as to be unable to follow, although carrying no loads but an empty riding saddle each. I trust however that all three of these will gradually recover their strength, and at length find their way back to the settled districts. Several of the other horses have also during the middle and latter portion of the expedition been reduced to a very weak state, but have been brought in by easy stages, and little or no loads to carry.

I have much pleasure In reporting that the whole country traversed by the expedition, eastward of Mount Welcome, gradually improves as to both pastoral and agricultural purposes, until at distance of about 100 miles E.N.E. of that point we reached a country of an exceedingly promising character, as to both agricultural and pastoral purposes, but more especially the former, and perhaps in this respect not surpassed by any district of equal extent in Australia, as I estimate the rich alluvial soils to cover more than half the entire surface of the further portion of this county.

The track of the expedition from Mount Welcome, outwards and homewards, amounts to about 900 miles, the position of the furthermost point readied is lat. 30degs. 30mins. S, long. 122degs. 40mins. E, and our whole track is contained within the parallels of lat. 30degs. 20mins. S and lat. 32degs. S.

It is my intention to pack up and leave in the charge of Mr S. Parker, the remainder of the equipment of the expedition supplied by the Colonial Government, to await your directions as to its disposal, and I hope to be able to leave this on the 4th or 5th, which will enable me to wait on you in Perth on the 7th inst.

I have the satisfaction to be able to report most favourably as to the conduct of all the members of the expedition since leaving York, but as to Mr Robinson, his conduct throughout has in every respect been such as to have merited my approval, and gained my esteem in no ordinary measure.

I would most respectfully request, as a well-merited reward for his services and good conduct throughout the expedition, that His Excellency will permit me to present to the native Kowitch the double barrelled carbine which, he has carried during the expedition, with a written permission to him to hold and retain the same, as a reward of his good services in it, together with a portion of the surplus cartridges supplied for our use, and his clothing and bedding, which may now be considered as worn out.

Perhaps, also His Excellency may approve that Mr Robinson and Mr P. Edwards retain, for their personal use, the clothing and bedding provided for them by the Colonial Government. I have kept a journal of the incidents of each days travel, and of my observations on the geology, the fauna, and the meteorology of the country traversed, a copy of which I shall be able to present for His Excellency's information, I trust, within a few weeks.

On the whole I indulge a strong hope that His Excellency, and the public generally, will, on perusal of my journal, conclude that the expedition has been successful as to its great object—the discovery of extensive tracts of land suitable to agricultural and pastoral purposes, and that the experience of the next few years will amply justify such a favourable opinion.

I have ventured to prepare the subjoined approximate estimate of the distribution of the surface of the soil of the entire counter traversed eastward of Smith's station, taken as one whole, but I should mention that in the western moiety of this district the inferior descriptions of soil will largely preponderate, and vice vers in the eastern moiety.

I have, the honor to be. Sir,
Your very obedient Servant,

The Hon. the Colonial Secretary.

Approximate estimate of the distribution of the surface soils of the country traversed by the expedition eastward to Mr Smith's station.

Tenacious alluvial soil in plains of very gentle slope, and in wide flat bottoms of valleys, and lake chains, of a rich red colour, and apparently admirably adapted to the growth of wheat, and abounding in salt-bush.. 20 percent.

Tenacious alluvial soils, on hill sides and tops, of good quality.. 2 per cent.

Sterile alluvials, generally forest covered, of a hard dry texture, and of small thickness, covering sandstone sedimentary rock.. 10 per cent.

Free light but rich alluvial soils, of a rich red colour, and well adapted to grain, and modern agricultural products generally.. 16 per cent.

Hill tops covered with hard schists containing a small quantity of iron.. 1 per cent.

Hill sides covered with pebbles of the above, generally water-worn, but sometimes angular, but unfit for either pastoral or agricultural purposes.. 3 per cent.

Thickets of all sorts.. 2 per cent

Poor quartzose sand-plains.. 10 per cent

Sand-plains of yellow coloured soil derived from feld-spar, covered with much coarse grass and other herbage on which, horses and sheep will do well, and consequently such as will be taken up in pastoral leases.. 28 per cent.

Bare lake bottoms, generally of red clay.. 2 percent.

Samphire in lake bottoms and their margins, and on plains adjacent to, but elevated slightly above the existing lake bottoms.. 6 per cent.

Projections and exposed intumescencies of bare primitive and unbroken granite, whether exhibited on hill sides, or projecting from their to summits.. 1 per cent.








[II. Organisation and Preparation]

The York Agricultural Society having requested the earnest attention of the Colonial Government to the expediency of organizing a party for the purpose of exploring the interior of this Colony eastward of that District, for the especial purpose of discovering, if possible, new districts suitable for sheep-farming, and having requested that any expedition formed for this purpose might be placed under my leadership, on March 23, in company with Mr Locke Burges, a leading settler and stock-owner of this Colony, I waited on the Hon. the Colonial Secretary, at his office, for the purpose of conferring generally on the subject of the projected expedition, the constitution and number of the party, the distribution of the expense of it as between the Colonial Government and the York Agricultural Society, and the leave of absence from my official duties which his Excellency might be disposed to grant me, so that I might undertake the command of it.

The result of this interview was a scheme for the organization, equipment, place and date of departure, duty, and field of action of the proposed party, as follows, namely:—

1st.—That the party consist of myself, as leader, of one or two young settlers, to be nominated by the York Agricultural Society, of one mounted policeman, of one convict, as my personal servant, and of one native.

2ndly.—That His Excellency be respectfully solicited to grant me leave of absence for three months, on full pay.

3rdly.—That the York Agricultural Society be requested to supply 11 horses, (Mr Burges and myself undertaking to furnish one horse each in addition thereto,) all the provisions, and some few specified articles of equipment; but that His Excellency be solicited to authorize the preparation and issue of all such articles of equipment as might be in the stores of the Imperial Convict Department established in this Colony, and of any Department of the Colonial Government, or could be manufactured within the former Department.

4thly.—That all stores and horses be collected in York, and ready tor delivery into my charge, by the 21st of April.

5thly.—That the party should endeavour to take a final departure from Narimbeen, the extreme sheep station in that direction, and the property of Mr Smith, on or about the first day of May.

Mr Barlee kindly undertook to submit to His Excellency, for his information and approval, the above plan, and to communicate without delay with the Secretary of the York Agricultural Society, suggesting that he should lose no time in summoning an extraordinary meeting of the members of that Society, to obtain a formal expression of their views and wishes on the subject generally, and as to the extent to which they would contribute towards the excuses and equipment of the Expedition.

April 3.—Rode to Crawley to confer with Mr Barlee on the steps which it might be desirable to take to meet the unexpected event of the meeting of the York Agricultural Society, held on the 1st instant, having passed resolutions in favour of a considerable extension of the scale of organization, and period of service, of the proposed party.

Mr Barlee authorised and directed me to proceed vigorously with all that portion of the equipment which, it had been determined, was to be prepared at the Convict Establishment, expressing a hope and assurance that the party would still be organized mainly on the plan above stated, but intimating that the latter might be slightly modified to meet partially the more extensive views of the York settlers.

April 10.—A letter, of which the following is a copy, was this day addressed to the Secretary of the York Agricultural Society by the Hon. the Colonial Secretary:—

Colonial Secretary's Office,
Perth, April 10, 1863.

Sir,—In acknowledging your letter of the 7th instant, stating that a meeting of the members of the York Agricultural Society has been called for the purpose of reconsidering the subject of the proposed expedition to the eastward of York, I am directed by His Excellency the Governor to state that Messrs. S. E. and L. C. Burges and Mr H. M. Lefroy met in my office yesterday for the purpose of discussing the question, and that it was determined to recommend to the York Agricultural Society that provision be made for an absence of four months from Mr Smith's station.

If a direct distance of 10 miles per day from this point be made for one half of this period, and no good country be found, it would be useless to proceed further, and it would he equally useless to proceed so far if any quantity of good country be discovered at a less distance.

To meet the wishes of the settlers, it is proposed to defer the starting of the expedition from Mr Smith's station until the 10th May.

His Excellency is prepared to sanction this course, and, in the event of its meeting the concurrence of the settlers, to provide, at the public expense, such extra pack-saddles, &c., as may be required.

In regard to the appointment of some person as second in command of the expedition, His Excellency will be prepared to consider any suggestion which may be made by the Society.

Should the above suggestions meet the wishes of the settlers, it is desirable that the following suggestions should be considered, and that I should be favoured with a definite reply to them, namely:—

1st.—That a dray be at Perth on or before the 25th instant, to receive and convey to York the portion of the equipment of the expedition to be provided by the Government.

2ndly.—That some farm in the immediate vicinity of York be appointed for the reception of the horses and equipment of the party, not later than the 1st day of May.

3rdly.—That the pork for the party be at once hung up in a barn or shed to dry as far as possible, as its portability and utility will be considerably increased thereby.

4thly.—That one ton of cut hay, barley, &c., and a three-horse team to carry the same, and a portion of the equipments of the party, from York to Mr Smith's station, be supplied; the forage being required for the consumption of the horses en route to that station.

This seems very necessary, as the party and horses will be detained a few days on the road from York to Mr Smith's station, and only after leaving that station will it become possible to keep the horses on tether.

I have the honor, &c., &c.
Colonial Secretary.

The Secretary of the York Agricultural Society.

April 17.—I this day addressed the following letter to the Secretary of the York Agricultural Society.

Fremantle, April 17, 1863.

Sir,—Having, through the kindness of Mr Barlee, been favoured with a copy of resolutions passed at a meeting of your Society on the 14th instant, I have the honor to address myself directly to you, very briefly, as the early departure of the mail leaves me little time, on a few points of great importance to the contemplated exploring, party, of which you have done me the honor to approve of the command being conferred on me.

1st.—The equipment contributed by the Colonial Government at Fremantle and Perth will be ready for delivery at the Police Barracks, at Perth, at 4 p.m. of Saturday, the 25th instant, it being found impracticable to get it ready by the earlier date first proposed.

2nd.—I have amended the list of equipments for the basis of an absence of 120 days instead of 75 days, as at first proposed, but retaining still the assumption that the party will consist of 5 members only.

If the York Agricultural Society still deem it essential that the party shall consist of 6 members, it will be incumbent on it to select another person to join it, and to increase their contribution of provisions, &c., proportionally.

My own opinion, which is concurred in by most experienced persons whom I have had an opportunity of consulting on the subject, is that a party of 5 men will be sufficient for protection against the natives, and is therefore absolutely preferable to a larger party.

I propose to be in York by mid-day of Wednesday, the 29th instant, which, if the horses and provisions be all delivered by that day, will enable the party to leave York on the Monday following, and to leave Mr Smith's station on the Saturday following, if fortunately blunders and accidents be avoided.

I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,

P.S.—In the estimate of the quantity of pork, I have assumed the weight to be taken, after the extraction of every bone, and its being thoroughly dried. To the thorough drying of it I attach great importance.

By means of the above, and other letters which it does not appear necessary to quote, of further inter views with Mr Barlee, to whose prompt and zealous efforts to meet and remove all obstacles to the realization of the expedition I feel much indebted, and by the active exertions of the Storekeeper of the Convict Establishment in pressing forward the preparation of the equipment of the expedition, the latter was despatched to Perth on the 26th of April, and at 6 a.m. on the morning of the 28th I was enabled to leave Fremantle, (my official duties being transferred to Mr Duval, the Deputy Superintendent of the Convict Establishment,) and to proceed to York, where my assistance was requisite to complete the organization and equipment of the party; there fore, having said adieu to Mr Duval and many of the officers of the Convict Establishment, who had assembled to see me start, and having had the pleasure of hearing their many hearty good wishes for our success and safe return, myself and the colonial prisoner Frank Hall started for Perth, each riding one of the two horses which I intended to take with me on the expedition.

Arrived at Perth, and having taken breakfast at the house of my kind friend Lieut-Colonel Bruce, I waited on Mr Barlee to receive any final instructions which he might have to give me, and to thank him for the courtesy, confidence in me, and readiness to remove every difficulty which has arisen in the development of the plan of the expedition, which he has shown. Thence I proceeded to the Survey Office, where the Surveyor-General, Mr Roe, delivered to me the chronometer for the use of the expedition, with much useful advice and information touching the conduct of the same, and with many kind wishes for its success, and our safety in it. Proceeding then to the Police Office, I, with Mr Hogan, the Superintendent of Police, made the final arrangements as to the pay and travelling expenses of mounted constable Thomas Edwards, and of the native Kowitch, namely, that the former would draw his regular police pay during the term occupied by the expedition, and a travelling allowance of three shillings per day until the departure of the party from York; and that the latter would be placed on the list of native constables, drawing pay at the rate of 50s per month, out of which 10s per month was to be advanced, from time to time, to his wife.

Leaving police constable Edwards, now formally transferred to the staff of the expedition, with orders to accompany to York that portion of the stores and equipment of the expedition which had been provided by the Colonial Government, and which was then collected in the store of the Police Department, awaiting the arrival of the settlers' dray, by which it was to be conveyed to that town, and to pick up on the road the horse which Mr Brockman had offered for the use of the expedition, myself and Frank Hall left Perth in the early part of the afternoon, and on the evening of the following day (April 29) reached the farm of my old friend Mr S. E. Burges, one of the principal supporters of the projected exploring party.

April 30.—In the forenoon Mr Burges and myself rode into York for the purpose of attending a meeting of the Exploration Committee of the York Agricultural Society, when such progress in the development of the plans and equipment was made as gave me hope that the party would be enabled to start from York on the 7th of May.

The heavy rain which fell yesterday and the last two nights has removed any apprehension which I may have previously entertained that the date selected for the departure of the expedition from York might prove too early in the season, and that obstacles and delay might be encountered in the early progress of the expedition therefrom.

May 2.—Attended another meeting of the Exploration Committee, when further detail-arrangements were discussed and settled. At 11 a.m., the Government portion of the stores and equipment arrived from Perth, in the dray of Mr Nairn, and under the escort of constable Edwards.

May 3.—In the Divine Service of the Church his morning Archdeacon Brown offered a prayer for God's protection of our party during the contemplated exploration, and subsequently in his sermon very kindly referred to it, alleging its claim to be viewed as an undertaking of great public importance and expressing a fervent hope that the obligation of keeping holy the Sabbath, and of daily prayer, would not be forgotten by us,—a sentiment to which I cordially responded, and I sincerely intend to act up to the principle which he inculcated to the utmost of my power.

May 4—Attended a farewell dinner, very kindly given at Craig's Hotel, in our honor, and as evidence of their friendly interest in our success, by the principal supporters of, and contributors to, the expedition; Captain Newland, R.N., Comptroller-General of Convicts, who arrived at York yesterday, being also one of the invited guests. It proved a very pleasant party, gratifying to myself as an evidence of the kind and friendly feeling of those who were, many years since, my brother settlers of the York district, and not proceeding from, or attesting my unreasonable confidence in, our expedition being crowned with successful results.

As it appears unnecessary to recite in detail the successive steps of the progress of the completion of the organisation and equipment of the party, it will suffice to record that, by the prompt and untiring efforts of the Secretary of the York Agricultural Society, of the members of the Exploration Committee, of the Government Resident of York, L. Bayly, Esq., and, in fact, of almost every one who had it in his power to aid us, and by much hard work on the part of all the members of our small party; and having, on the morning of the 6th instant, despatched a heavy dray-load of forage and equipment en route to Mr Smith's station, with orders to leave portions of the forage at certain specified points of the track to that station, for the use of the horses on the road, (the distance to the station being 96 miles, and it being ascertained that at this season of the year no natural food at all sufficient for our horses would be found near it), at 11 a.m. on the 7th of May, and in the presence of a large gathering of the population of York and its neighbourhood, of all ranks, ages and conditions, who gave us three very hearty cheers, and many warm and gratifying expressions of their interest in the public objects of the expedition and hopes for our personal safety and welfare, we were enabled to make a final departure from the farm of Mr S. Parker, who had kindly placed his premises and establishment at our service during the stay of the expedition at York.

The party consists of the following, namely:—

H. M. Lefroy, Leader
Edward Robinson, second in command
Thomas Edwards, of the colonial mounted police force
Frank Hall, colonial convict
Kowitch, an aboriginal of the York district.

Of the above, Mr Robinson had accompanied me about three years since, when I followed the course of the Williams River, through the Darling Range: to the coast, in which little excursion I had conceived a very high opinion both of his experience and energy in the bush, and of his agreeableness as a companion He is a stepson of a wealthy settler of the York district, and has been nominated for the expedition by the York Agricultural Society.

Thomas Edwards had earned a well-established reputation as an efficient bushman and energetic police constable, by many years valuable services in the mounted police force of the York district, and had attended Mr Hargraves, in the capacity of constable, in his recent inspection of the Colony, with a view to ascertain the existence or otherwise of auriferous rocks in it.

Frank Hall is a son of a now deceased but highly respectable settler of this Colony, and is at present undergoing a sentence of 15 years transportation for the crime of cattle stealing. His well-known bush experience, and familiarity with the natives, and his general cleverness and smartness, had induced me to solicit His Excellency's permission to take him with me in the capacity of convict servant, which request His Excellency was pleased to accede to.

The native Kowitch I had known from his childhood, he having accompanied Dr. Landor and myself when he was not more than 10 years of age, in a exploring expedition to the south-east of the York district, made by us in 1842, and having in fact been brought up principally in Mr Landor's house. Since then he has served many years as a native policeman and is well known to all the settlers of the York district as an intelligent, sensible, courageous, and trustworthy native; an estimate of his character which my observation and experience in this expedition has fully confirmed.

[III. Equipment]

The equipment, &c., of the party is best shown by the following tabular form, which exhibits both the articles of the equipment and the sources from which they were obtained:—

From Convict Department.
10 pack saddles with
   bags complete, exclusive
   of 1 from Mr Lefroy
8 blankets
6 complete sets of
   clothing *
1 set of bags for Mr
   Lefroy's saddle
6 pairs laced boots
60 yards calico for tents
15 pairs hobbles     |     6 quill pens
4 nose bags for horses     |     1 box steel do.
2 pairs holsters     |     6 lead pencils
Canvas for flour bags,
   canvas to mend
1 bottle ink
3 books for journals
Webbing for girths, &c.
2 balls hemp
2 do. twine
2 do. strong string
8 hanks fine line for
3 oval, flat topped and
   bottomed, vertical sided,
   iron turned boilers, the
   smaller to fit into the
   larger, largest 3 gallons
1 leather bucket
2 dozen boot laces     |     5 waterproof capes
1lb bees wax     |     10 pack saddle covers
10lbs leather for
5 blanket covers
2 sailmaker's palms
Needles and thread     |     2 hanks and twine
2 awls     |     1 pair pincers
2 gimlets     |     1 farrier's rasp
lb jalap     |     2 ditto knives
lb rhubarb     |     1 ditto buffer
1 box spermaceti
1 sheet plaister
1 kit shoemaker's tools,
   viz., 2 knives, 3 awls, 1
   1 oz. bristles
6 tin plates
6 iron spoons
1 dozen extra rings for
   pack saddles
1 carving knife & fork     |     5 pairs gaiters
1lb wax tapers     |     1 curry comb
3 bars soap     |     1 horse brush
12 extra leather straps,
   different lengths and sizes
450 lbs. pork without
From Survey Department.
1 artificial horizon     |     1 compass azimuth
1 sextant
1 small chronometer
1 map of Colony to lay
   down course on.
From Mr Lefroy.
1 Inman's Navigation
1 ditto tables
1 bottle essence of
1 ivory ruler     |     1 nautical almanack
1 compass azimuth     |     1 bible
1 telescope     |     1 prayer book
1 parallel ruler     |      
From York Agricultural Society.
14 horses, exclusive of
   2 supplied by Messrs L.
   Burges and Mr Lefroy
15 sets spare horse
   shoes with 1600 nails
   for do.
60 boxes of lucifers
900lbs of flour
1 cwt. biscuit
300lbs of pork without
20lbs tea
1 saddle and bridle,
   blanket, and kit of clothes
   for settler
135lbs sugar
15lbs tobacco
8lbs powder
15 tether ropes with
   swivels and neck bands
56lbs shot, Nos. 2
   and 3
4 horses bells
1 axe
1 ton cut hay, bran,
   and cracked barley
1 tomahawk.
1 spade
5 pannakins
1 three horse team to
   carry portion of above
   as far as C. Smith's
2 shot belts     |     1 spring balance
2 powder flasks     |     4lbs fine salt
12 fish hooks     |     1lb pepper
4 lines for do.     |     2lbs mustard
From Police.
3 bridles
3 riding saddles
300 rounds cartridges
   for carbines
5 carbines     |     Caps for do.
5 gun buckets     |     1 nipple screw
1 white policeman     |     6 spare nipples
1 native do.     |     1 gun screw
2 packets gun wads     |      

* N.B.—Each suit complete consists of the following articles:—
1 pair trowsers, 1 riding coat, 1 inner flannel shirt, 1 outer woollen do., 1 pair worsted stockings, 1 pair flannel drawers, and 1 pair boots.

[IV. Departure]

A large number of settlers of York and its vicinity, for the most part personal friends of my own, others warmly interested in the objects of the Expedition, accompanied us many miles of our first day's journey; in many cases rendering much required assistance in leading, driving, and re-adjusting the packs and gear on our 16 horses, of which some were only partially broken in, all were new to each other, to ourselves, to their work as pack-horses, and to the new and not always well-fitting gear with which they were entrapped; whilst we, on our part, were inexperienced in the proper adjusting of their gear, and the most convenient distribution of the very bulky and heavy burdens with which they started; but with their ready and vigorous assistance in each emergency during the 10 or 12 first miles of our journey through which they accompanied us, we got on without any disaster or delay worthy of record, and at about 8 p.m., or two hours after sunset, reached Ben Coolen, a gully distant from York about 25 miles, at which the driver of our forage had been directed to leave one night's ration for our horses.

We were annoyed rather than surprised to find the heavily laden cart, which was to convey to Mr Smith's station a portion of the equipment and the forage for our horses, had, in two days' journey, completed only 25 miles; but the heaviness of the load, together with the soft state of the track after the recent heavy rains, was a sufficient reason for this result; the settler who supplied the dray, at a charge of 12 for the journey to Mr Smith's station, doing much more than he had engaged to do, by accompanying the dray himself to assist the regular driver, and by supplying 4 horses instead of 3, as contracted for, and throughout the journey sparing no exertions of himself or horses to reach Mr Smith's station as speedily as possible.

The reaching our first night's camping ground so late as 8 p.m., when it happened to be a particularly dark night, and the saturated state of the ground on which we camped, due to the late rains, formed an effective but by no means agreeable introduction to our subsequent bush life and labors; but by virtue of the fatigue, both mental and bodily, which we had undergone through this and the seven days of our preparations at York, and cheered by the agreeable society and ever prompt services of Mr L. Bayly, the Government Resident of York, we at length got over the not easy task of unloading and unsaddling, in the dark, so many wild and frightened horses for the first time; tying them up to separate trees, so that they could hurt neither themselves nor each other; giving them their forage, &c., many of them being so wild and frightened that to get a nosebag secured to the head of one of these was a labor of no small difficulty, if not of peril. All this accomplished, we found leisure to eat our supper, for which we had earned a good appetite, and soon therefore were sleeping soundly on the wet ground, not using our tents, which we were too tired to put up.

I may here record that the first, and, as it eventually proved, nearly the only untoward disaster of our Expedition, occurred this morning, involving the loss of one of the two horses which I had supplied for the use of the Expedition. It happened as follows:—

To prevent as far as possible any unavoidable delay in the starting of the Expedition this morning, which, from the untrained and imperfectly broken state of the horses, and from the hurriedness of our preparations generally, I anticipated would prove a somewhat troublesome and slow business, I had directed all the new tether ropes to be attached to the horses' necks the previous evening. The mare in question was secured to the stall, not by her tether rope, which was merely coiled round her neck, and there made fast, but by a headstall. The stiffness of the new rope, I suppose, galled her neck and caused her to raise her near hind leg to rub it when her near hind hoof got entangled in the coils of the rope, so that she could not withdraw it. She then fell back, breaking her halter, and in her efforts to release her foot, drew the coils of rope so tightly round her neck, that, at 4 a.m. this morning, when I left the house of my friend Dr. McCoy, at which I had slept, and which was distant from her stable nearly 300 yards, for the purpose of making all the preparations for our starting, I distinctly heard her violent snortings and breathings, and when I reached Mr Parker's yard I found her so nearly suffocated that, although alive at the hour of our starting from York, she died about noon. Unfortunately some of Mr Parker's men, who slept in an empty stall of the same open stable or shed (including the prisoner F. Hall, who was specially in charge of the horses,) were so overpowered by the drugged spirits supplied from one of the public houses in York, which they had too freely imbibed the preceding evening, under the excitement of our approaching departure, that all her snortings and struggles did not avail to wake them from their heavy slumbers. This disagreeable accident necessitated the purchase of another horse at the eleventh hour, which however was promptly effected at the expense of the Exploration Committee.

[V. Journal: May]

May 8.—Breakfasted before sunrise; then devoted hours to re-forming the packing of many of our packbags, and refitting the gear, particularly the pads of the packsaddles, which had all been attached to the staves with the wrong end forward. About 11 a.m. we were able to proceed, and at 3 p.m. we passed the farm of Mr E. Parker, where Mr Bayly and myself were hospitably pressed to partake of refreshment. At 6 p.m. reached a gully called Nukomuming, at which we camped.

I may here mention that Mr Parker's farm, of which the native name is Dangin, is distant from York, by the nearest track, 37 miles, in a direction E. 1 S. It is the most remote farm in that direction hitherto established, and Mr Smith's sheep station (Narimbeen, the Mt. Emu of Roe and Moore's track) distant from it about 64 miles by the existing track, on an east bearing, is the only sheep station hitherto formed to the east of the meridian of Dangin, say longitude 117 d. 15 m. E., with the exception of the station belonging to Mr Parker at Mount Stirling. Our travelling distance to-day has been 18 miles.

May 9.—Having devoted about three more hours this morning to further improvements of our packing, and to better adjustments of the innumerable traps, cords, &c., which secure them, and which both want of time and unceasing interruptions prevented our effecting at York, we again started about 10 a.m., and proceeding without accident or delay about 3 p.m. reached Emu Gully (native name Ulonning). Travelling distance 16 miles. About midway in this day's journey we reached the western side of a chain of very shallow lakes, or sandpans, at the present season of the year perfectly dry, but in the winter receiving the drainage of an extensive tract of country to the north and east of Mount Stirling, which it passes on the west side, and hence keeping a S.S.W. course, it reaches the east branch of the Avon about 10 miles above the Jurakin Pool, or about 40 miles from York, direct distance on a S.S.E. bearing. These lakes overflow from one to another only in a very wet winter, like that of last year; and their overflow then has caused all the parts of the Avon to be more or less brackish throughout the past summer; the overflow carrying with it into the Avon the salt accumulated in the beds of these lakes during the last 10 or 12 preceding years, in which no overflow has taken place. I may further mention that any observations during subsequent parts of this journey convince me that the district, very imperfectly, as above shown, drained by this chain of shallow winter lakes, extends little, if at all, to the eastward of the meridian of 118 d. E., which south of the parallel of 23 d. S. may probably be considered as the extreme eastern limit of the country having any drainage whatever towards the western coast; or, as appears most probable in the present state of our knowledge of it, having a drainage into the ocean at all.

The flat or wide valley which contains these lakes has a width of 3 or 4 miles, and its inclination in the direction of drainage must be very slight, since, although last winter a stream of water of a depth of about 3 feet occupied its whole width, few or no channels connecting one lake with another have been cut in it, but the water flowed in a gentle stream, occupying nearly the whole width of the valley.

The small rounded hills eastward of this chain of lakes, are generally capped with a thin stratum of in indurated argillaceous conglomerate, which contains a small quantity of iron in angular masses, and of a volume sometimes approaching to that of a small pea. These specks of iron, on fracture, show a very bright surface.

The present thickness of this rock is seldom so great as 15 feet, and its edges always bear an appearance of having been exposed to the surges and ripples of a shoal sea; the hills also, which this rock now caps, have always a well-rounded form.

May 10.—With much regret I found myself under a strong economic pressure to travel this, the first Sunday of our journey.

The case is as follows:—We are still distant from Mr Smith's station more than 40 miles. I must remain at Mr Smith's station one whole day, if not more; both to rest the horses, to get observations for our position, and to repack the bags, so as to take into them all that portion of our provisions namely, about 1,100 lbs weight, which is being brought up in the forage dray; but half the forage is already consumed by the 16 horses of the Expedition, and Mr Bayly's two in addition; it is well known that there is no bush feed for horses between this and Mr Smith's, and probably the sheep will have destroyed all the feed near Mr Smith's station; so that, in fact, we must depend on our hay and corn, carried from York, until after leaving the latter place.

Accordingly, starting at 9 a.m., we travelled on with little interruption from packs being displaced &c., and, with a very short halt about 1 p.m. to eat a biscuit each, until 7 p.m., when we reached Wilyelling, a pretty open grassy plain of about 100 acres extent, and containing a fine spring of good water. Travelling distance 29 miles. We were all very tired at the end of this long and very uninteresting day's journey.

Long after midnight Grindal, with the dray and 5 horses, (for to enable him to reach Smith's station as speedily as possible, I had lent him to assist his team, one and that the best of our pack-horses, and a native, to point out the imperfectly marked track), arrived, showing a zeal for our service, for which I reward him and his driver with a portion of one a the bottles of brandy which Mr Craig, mine host of the Castle Hotel at York, had presented to the Expedition. Both they and their horses were much fatigued, as will be readily supposed by any one who has tried the experiment of driving five horses in a line, with a heavily laden dray, along a scarcely marked track, passing over sand-plains, gullies, dead timber, and many other obstacles, for 30 miles at a stretch.

Towards the latter part of this day's journey we experienced much trouble in keeping the horses which were both very tired and very hungry, from straying off the track to feed, and, from lying down and rolling in their packs, but after dark, when we expected most difficulty in this respect, the horses kept to the track, and we got in without accident.

It is desirable to mention that I should not have made so long a journey as 30 miles this day, if water for ourselves and horses could have been obtained at a less distance.

May 11.—At 9 a.m. started on this our last day's journey to Mr Smith's station.

After accompanying the party about 10 miles of the route, Mr Bayly and myself rode on alone to select a convenient camping ground in the vicinity of the station prior to the arrival of the rest of the party.

At 2 p.m. we reached the station, and were hospitably received by the man in charge (William Harris), who immediately prepared some mutton chops for us, which we ate with a good relish, for I find that the breakfasting at daylight, followed by two hours' hard work in catching, saddling, and loading the horses, and then by 5 hours' riding, gives me a real genuine and unmistakeable appetite for a midday dinner—such as many a poor fellow tied to a desk all day, knows neither the sense of, nor the sound healthful satisfaction which attends and follows the appeasement of it with any plain wholesome food.

We found in the immediate vicinity of the house, which is close to a bare rock, of which the native name is Comining, and distant from the large bald rock Narimbeen, which gives name to the station, about 3 miles, the latter bearing from the former about E. by S., plenty of short young grass, the best we had seen since leaving York, and water in three shallow wells in the field adjoining the house. Here the remainder of the party, which arrived about 3 p.m. encamped.

In the afternoon I ascended the rock of Comining, and got a native of the place, whose name is Mungup, and who has volunteered to accompany the party in our future journey, to point out the bearings of York and Dangin, which I found to be W. by N. and W. S. respectively, by compass.

The distance of Dangin from this station by the existing track is 61 or 62 miles, and that of Dangin from York, by the nearest track, 37 miles. In both cases the track is very direct.

Having conducted the reader to this point, which is at present, by some 40 miles, the most distant sheep-station to the eastward of the Avon Valley, I shall submit some brief observations on the physical features, and particularly the geological structure, of the country intervening between the western face of the Darling Range, or the meridian of 116 d. 10 m. and that of 118 d. east longitude, and the parallels of 30 d. and 33d. south latitude, as the geological structure of the Darling Range is so intimately connected with that of the country eastward of the Avon, at least as far as the meridian of 118 d. E., that the geology of the latter district, which alone seems strictly to come within the scope of this Journal, cannot be fully discussed without constant reference to that of the Darling Range and of the Avon Valley.

First as to geological structure.

The geological basis of the whole of this country, and of that stretching at least 4 degrees further eastward, as our subsequent journey enabled us to ascertain, is primitive granite, ruptured or fissured only in a few lines, which will be described below; nowhere tilted or upheaved, except perhaps very slightly towards the western face of the Darling Range; nowhere intersected by eruptive rocks, unless dykes of quartz come within that definition; very thinly covered with sedimentary rocks, of which the total mean thickness probably does not exceed 100 feet.

This vast mass of the primitive granitic crust of the earth has been fractured as follows, namely,—

First and principally along the line of the western face of the Darling Range, when the eastern side or lip of the fractured mass was slightly lifted, but without tilting, so as to form the barren and elevated tract of country which we call the Darling Range, having a mean elevation of 1200 or 1400 feet above the level of the sea; and at the same epoch probably the western side sunk by a vertical space about equal to that through which the eastern side was elevated.

Secondly, by numerous fractures subordinate and more or less perpendicular to the line of the former, and extending through the upheaved mass to lineal distances of as much as 100 miles, in the cases of the gorges and valleys of the Avon, the Moore, the Murray, and their tributaries respectively; and by many smaller gorges in the western face of the Range, which for the most part now possess small streams of permanent water.

Through these lines of fracture no eruptive rock such as basalt, serpentine, or the eruptive granites, has come to the surface; the superior quality of soil, now found in many localities of the valleys which these lines of fissures have formed, being due solely to its derivation, in such cases, from a portion of the primitive granite originally more deeply bedded than that from the decomposition of which the soil, in other and generally higher localities, has been derived, which deeply bedded granite, by the fractures, accompanied, as they probably were, by a very slight elevation, has been brought to the surface.

The upper portions of all primitive granites, as originally deposited or consolidated from fusion, containing the mineral elements of agricultural fertility only in very small proportions, but the lower portions, under like conditions, generally containing them largely, it is only along lines of deep fracture of the primitive granite, and near the outlets of drainage from these lines, that granite soils of great agricultural fertility are likely to be found, because it is along such lines only that granite of an original deep bedding, that is of great specific gravity and abounding in the mineral elements of agricultural fertility, will have supplied the materials of the soil.

No other portion of the earth's surface perhaps possesses a district so extensive as the one under review, in which the distribution of agricultural fertility can be so directly and certainly traced to the igneous rocks from which its soil has been derived.

Secondly, as to the physical features of its surface.

In the Darling Range the numerous subordinate features of the granitic crust, which attended the great meridional fracture and subsequent slight elevation which in fact formed the range, are now exhibited in numerous gorges and valleys, of a which many possess a steepness of side and a massiveness of exposed granite which impart a certain grandeur and romantic wildness to them, but they are generally very deficient in agricultural fertility—a fact which probably is due to the shortness of the lines of fracture, which would tend to prevent the exposure of any deeply-bedded granite to the surface.

As the above-described lines of fracture extend only very short distances eastward of the Avon Valley, namely, along the lower portions of the courses of the Toodyay, the Salt River, the Mackie, the Dale, &c., the country eastward of the Avon, to the eastern limit of its drainage basin, which as already stated, nearly coincides with the meridian of 118 d. 30 m., E., is very flat, having a general slope of perhaps 2 feet per mile towards the south-west.

The few low and generally well-rounded hills, and short ranges of such like hills, scattered over this country, are due to intumescencies of the primitive granite of a purely topical character, and referable, I believe, to forces acting during the original consolidation of the crust, which will be described in a subsequent part of this Journal.

These low hills are divided from each other by wide shallow valleys, of which, some appear to possess no outlet of drainage.

Partially metamorphosed schists and ferruginous conglomerates have a much greater extension and thickness in the Darling Range than to the east of the Avon Valley.

On the other hand, a fine-grained hard white sandstone, which at the extreme east of the country subsequently explored by us, gradually passes into a very hard marl, immediately underlies the red surface soils of the entire district eastward of the Avon, filling up the cavities of the granitic crust. This rock I have not found in the Darling Range.

In the portion of this country which lies between the Avon Valley and a line parallel to it, but distant from it 40 miles to the east, here intumescences of the granite are comparatively rare, its intumescences being for the most part covered with a very thin coating of soil, always poor and silicious, but between the meridians of Mount Stirling and that of Mr Smith's station numerous and generally most massive projections of bare rock impart a very peculiar and striking physiognomy to the country, and, probably from having been more deeply worn down than those to the westward of them, have given a somewhat better, though nevertheless still poor and silicious soil to the adjacent country.

Taking the country intervening between the Avon Valley and the meridian of Mr Smith's station 118 d. E., as one whole, for economical purposes I should classify its surface as follows, namely:—

1st. A light silicious soil, containing a fair quantity of decaying vegetable matter, which has given it a somewhat dark colour, bearing a large quantity of jam and sandalwood trees, and covered with a poor wiry grass. Area, 30 per cent of the whole.

2nd. Sand-plains of a very poor quartzose soil; so deficient in herbage as not to be likely to be rented from the Crown in pastoral leases. Area, 40 per cent.

3rd. Lake bottoms generally of white sand, but of which the sandy floors are in one or two cases colored red. Area, 1 per cent.

4th. Stiff brownish yellow colored clays, generally bearing large quantities of well-grown woorock morrel, and flurted [sic] gum trees, but of so barren a nature that probably they will remain, uncultivated until a rural population of considerable density shall be established in this colony. Area, 28 per cent.

5th. Surfaces of bare rock. Area, 1 per cent.

Of the above-described classes of soils the only one which can be considered to possess any value for present purposes is that first described; all of which I think is likely to be embraced in pastoral leases in the course of a few years.

In the last 3 or 4 miles of the track to Mr Smith's station we observed a great improvement in the soil and grasses of the country, in fact, from what I observed of Mr Smith's run, both on this occasion and subsequently on our return to it, I am inclined to estimate its agricultural and pastoral capacities as quite equal to those of the average of the grants in the York or Toodyay districts.

From comparing notes with Harris the hut keeper here, and from my observation of the state of the grass, and of the water contained in the rocks and gullies here, I infer that much more rain has fallen in this neighbourhood during the months of March and April than in the York district.

As we have completed the 98 miles of the track from York to this point in 4 days travelling, I think we have made very satisfactory progress, considering the untrained and wild state of many of our horses at starting, our own inexperience in this business, and the newness and imperfect finish and fitting of much cf our gear, which necessitates very frequent readjustments of packs and loads in the progress of each day's journey.

May 12.—All the party, with exception of myself, have been very fully occupied the whole of this day, in repacking and registering the contents of every bag—an operation which has been immediately necessitated by our having to distribute among our 16 horses an additional burden of 1100 lbs. weight of flour and pork, which Grindall's cart has brought us so far, and which will increase their loads up to nearly 200 lbs. each horse.

By Mr Bayly having very kindly undertaken to assist in and superintend the above operation, I have been enabled to write sundry letters which the pressing occupations of the last two months in connection with the organization of this party, and with the departure of my wife and of four of our children to England, for which she sailed only on the day before I finally left Fremantle, namely, the 25th ultimo, had compelled me to defer till the last moment.

With Harris' aid I succeeded in engaging a native of this locality, whose name is Muncup, to accompany us as guide for some few days' journey, which I hope will enable us to avoid many of the thickets, the great anticipatory obstacle to our future progress, and which are generally supposed to attain a maximum development not far to the eastward of this meridian.

Note.—I may here observe that subsequent experience in both our outward and homeward tracks has shown that the conceptions of the extent and impenetrability of these thickets hitherto entertained, are very exaggerated, unless it be assumed that they have a far greater development to the north of our track, than along its line—an assumption for which at present we possess no sufficient grounds, in our journey I think we found no thicket of a width of one mile, or of a larger area than 5 or 6 square miles, to the best of my judgment; nor did we find our previous conceptions of the difficulty of penetrating better founded than our estimates of their extent.

May 13.—Sat down to breakfast at daylight, nevertheless we could not complete our preparations for a final start until 10h.30m. a.m.; so much time is still required for the catching, saddling, and loading so many horses, although the kind and agreeable companion of our journey so far, Mr Bayly, and his native servant, rendered us all the assistance in their power; but at the hour named our party was again fairly in motion, and having bid adieu to Mr Bayly, whose cheerful and obliging nature had endeared him to all the party, and whom as he was about to start forthwith on his return to York, we naturally looked on as our last link or connexion for a time with civilized life, and entrusted to his charge our last letters, we commenced our journey into the terra incognita of South Western Central Australia.

At three miles, principally through a well-grassed country, we passed the fine bald rock of Narimbeen, which I subsequently ascertained to be the Emu Hill of Roe and Moore's track of 1836, and of which the latitude is 32 d. 4m. S., longitude 118 d. 7m. E., and which was the farthest point eastward of York reached by Mr Hargraves in his late Journey through the interior of the colony for the investigation of the auriferous qualities of its rocks, which I am afraid are very poor, and at 8 p.m. reached another large bald hill of which the native name is Kunkoming, bearing from Narimbeen about 10 miles east. Travelling distance about 14 miles, our naive guide having taken as around many small thickets, which we might without much difficulty have gone through.

At Kumkoming we found a small quantity of good land, with excellent grass and plenty of water.

We all walked the entire distance to-day, our riding horses carrying a portion of the flour, brought up by Grindall's cart as far Mr. Smith's station.

No detention arose in our journey to-day, and the horses now walk steadily in one track, fol lowing the leading horse, which is led by Kowitch.

This evening I commenced the practice of reading one chapter of the Bible and repeating a few short prayers to the party, before they turn in to rest. I was glad to observe that all cheerfully and cordially approved my announced intention to pursue this practice every evening; an intention which I am happy to say was realized throughout the remainder of the journey.

May 14.—From Kumkoming to Tampin. Direct distance 6 miles; travelling distance 8 miles; bearing E. 30 d. S. Hour of starting 2 p.m.

The cause of our having made so late a start to-day is as follows:— Charley, the pony supplied by Mr H. Monger for the use of the Expedition, and a very strong wild, high-spirited animal, broke the tether rope with which he was left to feed last night, as he was too wild to be hobbled.

In order to catch him this morning, after spending a whole forenoon in abortive attempts to effect that purpose, we had to erect a stockyard, loose and turn out again all the other horses, and then having allowed a lapse of two or three hours that he might quietly rejoin them, we drove the whole in a mob into the stockyard, where, after exercising many precautions to prevent his escape, we at length succeeded in roping him.

May 15—Rain commenced to fell at 5 a.m. and as it soon poured heavily, and showed little promise of clearing up in the course of the day, I resolved to halt at Tampin all day, there being abundant grass for the horses all round the hill which is very extensive and lofty.

Judging from the large quantity of grass-covered land which I can see from the summit of this hill, stretching to the east and south, and from the quality of the soil adjacent to the hill, I think that a good sheep run might be formed here, of course assuming that I saw only a small portion of the good land, which really exists in its vicinity.

This evening the native Tommy, who has accompanied us from York in the supernumerary capacity of being a friend of Kowitch's, brought in a small doe kangaroo, being the first kangaroo shot by any of our party so far, which led us to reflect that in our whole journey from York to this point, or nearly 130 miles of travelling, the sum total of all the kangaroos seen by all the members of the party taken collectively is not more than 9 or 10.

May 16.—Yesterday's heavy and continuous rain ceased about 9 p.m., so that at 9 a.m., this morning we started on, and at about 4 p.m. reached another, bald hill, with a grove of mountain oaks around its base, and with fair feed around it for the horses. Travelling distance 20 miles. Direct distance 17 miles E. S. The country traversed, except within a mile of Tampin, very poor; alternately sand-plains and thickets. All very tired and hungry when our day's march was concluded.

The country was so soft and boggy, except on the sand-plains, that the horses constantly sunk in it halfway up to their knees and hocks; and two or three times I sank over my boots—rather high half boots. Of course this was a consequence of yesterday's heavy rain; but at the same time it raises formidable apprehensions as to the practicability of traversing this country in mid winter.

The native Tommy left us this morning with my full consent, as I don't think that his services are required. He took charge of a letter to Mr Bayly; and I have omitted to record that Muncup absconded from our service, doubtless not liking the alternative of having either to accompany us all through our intended journey, or deserting us at a greater distance from his own country, Comining, to run a proportionally greater risk of being speared on his way home. Our strength therefore is reduced to the 5 members proper of the party.

Sunday, May 17.—I am induced to make a short stage to-day, instead of resting through it, as I should prefer to do, by the following reasons:—

1st. Weather compelled us to rest all Friday. We also rested all Tuesday, to readjust and register our loads, consequently the horses do not require rest to-day.

2nd.—A fine bald hill which I take to be Borayukkin, spoken of in terms of high commendation by Muncup for the grass around it, is visible at a distance of 9 or 10 miles E. 25 d. N.

Accordingly, at 10 a.m., we start, and at lh. 30 m. reach this hill, at which, to our disappointment, we find only poor feed for our horses, but plenty of water. Travelling distance 10 miles.

The country traversed to-day consists of an alternation of sand-plains and thickets of many different sorts, and the soil for the most part wretchedly poor. In fact the appearance of the country visible from the top of this bald hill is unpromising in the extreme.

Both yesterday and to-day we noticed a few isolated individuals of a species of Mimosa, quite new to me, and an erect tree-like stem and foliation; also on the sand-plains a thin sprinkling of a true pine, or fir, of dwarf dimensions, the height not exceeding 10 feet, but bearing very long spines. They appear to be as stunted and unthriving as those discovered by polar navigators on the Arctic shores of America and Asia, but from physical causes, directly the reverse of those which operate there: namely, here, intense heat and dryness of summer climate, and a sterile silicious soil; there, an intensely cold and humid climate, combined with great richness of soil.

May 18.—Start at 7h.30m. a.m., being the earliest start which we have yet effected, although we always turn out at the first dawn of day, and generally have finished breakfast before sunrise, and at 11h.30m. a.m. reach a very hemispherically-shaped bald hill, with plenty of grass about its base and of water in the cavities of its surface. Travelling distance 11 miles; direct distance 9 miles N.E. Of the country traversed about 4 miles of our track lay through sand-plains, small thickets, and forest-covered hill-sides, and the remaining 7 miles through a rich looking, red colored alluvial flat, presenting everywhere unmistakeable indications of having recently been swept by a violent storm flood, which made the soil in many places very boggy.

It being too early in the day to stop, and having, in a survey of the adjacent country from the top of this hill, discovered another large bald rock, at an estimated distance of about 20 miles N.E., and no other rock being visible to the eastward or north ward, we proceed on, steering for this rock, and at about 6 p.m., having travelled nearly the entire route through a continuation of the same rich looking but wearisome and monotonous flat, which we had traversed in the forenoon, without finding a drop of water, or any fair grass, as it was getting dark, and Horses and ourselves were nearly knocked up, we halted, and tied the horses up short to trees, without unloading them, whilst Kowitch rode one of them, in the direction which appeared most likely to lead out of the flat, in which we knew well no water would be found, to endeavour to find water and grass if possible; though I entertained little hope of his success.

At the expiration of less than one hour Kowitch returned, reporting that he had found a small patch of fine grass, but without water, at a distance of a mile or so out of the valley. To this we at once proceeded, reaching it about 7 p.m. nearly exhausted, both ourselves and horses. Travelling distance from the hemispherical hill 16 miles; direct distance 14 miles; bearing N.E.

As we could find no water, and had carried none in our water tins, not anticipating any difficulty from want of it after the recent heavy rain at Tampin, which evidently had extended for in this direction, we had to make our supper without tea to wash it down. None of us however complained of a thirst, as we had all drunk in the middle of the day at the hemispherical hill, and I slept as comfortably and soundly as usual.

May 19.—By daylight we were all up, searching for water, which the discovery over-night of a hallow gully trending towards the flat, gave us good hope of. In less than an hour Hall and myself found a hole in the gully containing some gallons of muddy water, which however was quickly conveyed into the camp, and in a process of boiling for our breakfast, for which we had good appetites, as from fear of thirst we had eaten little the evening before.

Our horses, having been watered at the bald hill which we passed in the forenoon, did not suffer from thirst, and had abundance of excellent grass, which grew on a small clear patch of a red, sticky and crumbly soil, on a hill-side, exactly similar to the clear patches of fine rich soil to be found in many localities of the Avon Valley, and which have been ascribed (as I think, very erroneously,) to a basaltic derivation, but which, as I do not admit the existence of basalt in that district, I ascribe to the decomposition of a deeply bedded granite, brought to the surface in the rupturing of the granitic crust which formed that valley.

If my theory of the production of the clear patches of rich soil in the Avon Valley be correct, it is probable that a very limited rupturing of the crust has taken place in the vicinity of this patch of grass, and exposed to atmospheric action a small mass of granite of an original deep bedding.

I may here observe that throughout our entire journey eastward of Smith's station, this is the only patch of that very peculiar sort of soil which we observed, which affords to my mind one of the many indications of an unbroken crust of primitive granite which this country presents, and which constitutes its great geological peculiarity.

Start at 9.40 a.m., and at 4.30 p.m. reach another small bald hill. Travelling distance 18 miles; direct distance 16 miles. Course, north-east.

Of our track to-day, 14 miles lay through a rich, red colored, rotten looking alluvial flat, but bearing little grass. Like that traversed on the previous days, it presented many indications of having been swept by a recent storm-flood; nevertheless it was quite destitute of surface water, having no gullies or other channels in which the surface water could collect and be retained.

As we did not discover this bald bill until quite close to it, and both ourselves and horses were well tired, we were well pleased with our fortune in finding it, and in grateful recollection of Mr Bayly's agreeable society and kindness in accompanying us from York to Smith's station, we all concurred in a wish to call it Mount Bayly.

The position of this bare rock is latitude longitude; and on our homeward route we learnt from the natives who then accompanied us, that its native name is.

From the top of Mount Bayly this morning I observed a very remarkable bald hill, apparently of far greater size and prominence than any one which we have yet seen, and of a somewhat square form, with very lofty and steep sides. Its bearing from Mount Bayly is N. W. by compass.

To this vast mass of rock I respectfully propose to attach the name of His Excellency Governor Hampton, who has taken a warm interest in the organization of this Expedition, and has overruled many difficulties which threatened to obstruct its realization.

Of this hill—the Mount Hampton I hope of the future maps of this colony—I subsequently ascertained the native name to be Boogarring. Its latitude is     ; longitude     .

As Mount Hampton bears rather to the west of north—but our object is to make both easting and northing—I selected for our destination to-night another and much smaller bald hill, bearing N.N.E. * from the summit of Mount Bayly.

Start at 9.30 a.m.; reach intended bald hill at 2 p.m.; travelling distance 14 miles; direct distance 13 miles.

Of the country traversed to-day about 10 miles of our track lay through a similar rich, red colored, alluvial bottom or valley, to that which we have travelled on many previous days. Sand plains, thickets and hill tops occupied the rest of the country traversed.

On the hillside today we picked up several small fragments of gypsum, consisting of thin, colorless, translucent shiny plates, adhering face to face.

From the top of this hill the country all round appears to be covered with grass to a distance of 3 miles, and I think it may safely be assumed that one flock of sheep may be kept to every 2 bald hills eastward of Mr Smith's station, as there is much grass on many of the sand-plains, and if the rich alluvial valley bottoms be covered with grass in the spring and early summer, this estimate may be largely increased, especially as I confidently believe that the introduction of stock into this district will develop a growth of grass on the undoubtedly rich alluvial soils of the wide valleys corresponding to their evident fertility of soil.

The scantiness of the existing plant of grass in these valleys I attribute solely to the absence of any grass eating animals and I do not doubt that the introduction of these, particularly if it be accompanied with a small amount of artificial drainage, will soon develop a rich growth of grass in all the alluvial soils of this district.

Our horses bogged several times to-day, and it is evident that heavier and more violent rain has fallen here lately, than further to the westward, and I suspect on the same day as that on which it rained at Tampin, from which we are now distant nearly 100 miles north-east. This fact, from which I infer that this country must be nearly untraversable from bogginess in the depth of winter, has determined me make more northing, until I approach the parallel 30d. S., as I think it probable that the winter climate in South-western Central Australia at that parallel, and to the north of it, must be much drier than the districts nearer the coast, and I also suspect that the country further to the north is more open.

I have endeavored, since leaving Mr Smith's station, to refer the distribution of the bald masses of granite to some general lines of geographical direction, such as, according to the now received theories of the development of mountain systems, they would have, if their elevation had been due to any deeply seated elevatory forces; in which case not only, it is probable, the granitic crust would have been ruptured, of which I could nowhere discover any satisfactory indications, but the lines of rupture would have coincided with planes of great circles of the sphere.

However their distribution appears to be so arbitrary, generally being isolated, sometimes forming short ranges whose axes have every variety of bearing, their form is so rounded, the wide flat valleys which intervene between them have such an uniform level from which they (the hills) spring up to a very uniform elevation, that it is equally difficult to ascribe their elevation to any deeply seated elevatory forces, or to the dislocations and displacements of level, which might be incidental to numerous local rupturings of the crust, due to the vast lateral contractile force developed by the loss of heat, to which the great fissures, now occupied by Avon and other river valleys, are undoubtedly attributable, were any evidences of such subordinate rupturings to be found on a careful examination of this country. But since, as I have already stated, the whole contour of the country is at variance with the assumption of such local rupturings, I must conclude that a true theory of their elevation must refer them to other forces than those which have determined the elevation of mountain ranges generally.

But whatever the forces, and whatever the epoch, of elevation of these singular and magnificent masses above the general surface of the granitic crust of the district, may have been, the whole contour of the country strongly suggests this proposition, namely, that, subsequently to their elevation, the ocean has covered this country for vast ages, and that its subsequent emergence from the ocean has been due to no positive elevatory force of a local or topical character.

As the geological structure and the palaeontology of South-western Australia generally, have hitherto been so little investigated, and as I believe the geological structure of the district which I am now exploring to be so intimately connected with, that of the Avon valley and of the Darling Range, the reader will excuse me for recording here the fact that recently discovered and obtained in an argillaceous shale forming the subsoil of a field in the Dale district (the Dale being a tributary of the Avon, and traversing a strongly defined fissure of the granite springing from the grand fissure occupied by the Avon valley,) the shale apparently having a bedding conformable to the slope of the granitic sides of the valley, several well preserved fossil specimens of a long, jointed seaweed, which probably had grown in situ when the fissures now occupied by the Avon valley and its tributaries formed an arm of the sea; at which epoch, assuming, as there are just reasons for doing, that the country eastward of 118d. E., and the Avon district had the same relative levels then as now, the former must have been covered with a sea, in the chronic shoaling of which these bald hills gradually reached the surface and formed an archipelago of numberless rocky islets.

As, from the character of the fossil remains above mentioned, and from other circumstances, I infer the era of the elevation of the Avon valley above the sea to be pliocene, on the assumption made in the preceding paragraph I infer that also to be the era of the retirement of the ocean from the portion of Western Australia which I am now exploring.

I hope the reader will not take it amiss if I endeavor to compensate him for wading through these misty speculations as to the works of nature in ages so inconceivably remote in the past, by submitting a suggestion of a very practical nature an proximate application, with reference to the disposal of these alluvial bottoms to future agricultural settlers, for whose use they appear to be so peculiarly adapted.

My suggestion is as follows, namely, that an accurate survey ought to precede the opening of the soil of any one of these valleys to freehold or tillage lease occupation, and that in this survey a strip of at least 2 chains in width, following the axis of the valley, be marked out as a reserve for the following purposes of imperative local necessity or utility to its future occupants, namely, a site for an arterial drain and main district road.

Artificial arterial drainage will be urgently required in most or all of these valleys, whenever they shall be occupied by an agricultural population, as they are either entirely destitute of natural surface drain age, or that natural drainage is so imperfect as only to operate once in 10 or 12 years, when the chain of lakes passing Mount Stirling (Munlyeen) is converted into a stream of 3 or 4 miles in width, and of a depth of about 3 feet, flowing at a gentle velocity into the Avon, about 35 miles higher up the valley than York.

It is evident that not one-millionth part of the mean annual rainfall of this country can be discharged into the ocean by the natural drainage of the surface; the remainder must be evaporated by the summer sun, under, we assume, the existence of subtelluric channels of drainage into the ocean along the face of the granite crust.

Many specimens of gypsum were picked up to-day, and one specimen of a shale, approaching in texture to a soft slate, of a grey color.

We also noticed to-day, for the first time, many of masses of the solid rock cropping out on hill-sides and valley bottoms, instead of, as previously, at the summits of the hills. I think this is evidence of the extreme thinness of the sedimentary rocks which here cover the granite.

May 21.—Partly in consequence of the indications of a wet day, which the morning presented, and partly to recruit our horses on the excellent feed which abounds about this rock, I have resolved to rest here to-day.

Mr Robinson and Kowitch, immediately after our early breakfast, which is generally concluded by sunrise, took their guns in search of game, and at noon returned with one emu, which Kowitch had shot on Mount Hampton, which bears from us W. by N., distance 3 miles.

With reference to the pastoral capacity of the country, eastward and northward of Mr Smith's station, as far as Mount Hampton, I should estimate it as equal to feed 1000 sheep per 25,000 acres of its entire surface, a capacity which, however low and small it may appear in the conception of English farmers, no large district of this Colony, yet explored, has been found to possess for its entire surface. But in this estimate I make the following assumptions, namely, that

1st—The valley bottoms, which, in spite of their evident fertility of soil, now carry only a very thin plant of grass, will from the depasturing of this soon be covered with a thick grass suited to their soil.

2nd—That the grass elsewhere, which is generally coarse, and intermixed with the withered leaves and stalks of two or three years' growth, will improve much in quality from close cropping.

May 22.—Started at 9.30 a.m., and at 3 p.m. reached camping ground, where we found sufficient water for ourselves, but not for out horses, in a hole in a thick stratum of ironstone. Travelling distance, 13 miles. Direct distance, 12 miles N.E.E.

Of this day's route, about 7 miles lay through rich, alluvial flat land, of a color and texture apparently, rather superior to any traversed on previous days. Of the remainder, about one-half was through rich ground, one half over sand-plains. On much of the sand plains and hilly ground was fair feed for sheep or horses, and better grass than usual on the flat land, which I attribute principally to the flat land being drier and apparently better drained than that traversed on previous days.

The last two miles, previously to reaching the camping ground, lay through some of the best land we have yet traversed, covered with splendid grass, and of texture and colour very similar to that of Grady's meadow, near York.

A small species of cedar grows very abundantly in the flat land which we traversed the last two days, sometimes in clumps, sometimes as isolated trees; and from many of the cedar clumps a few tall woorock or morrel trees project, giving these flats a diversity and beauty of arboreal scenery which is rare in this Colony.

We have passed hardly any scrub, deserving the character of a thicket, to-day; and that which we have passed has been in narrow strips, of a width seldom exceeding 100 yards.

The horses are feeding on first-rate grass, as in fact they have been nearly every night since leaving Smith's station; nevertheless it is evident that we are taking out of them all the work which they can well go through, although they rested all yesterday, and the distances which they travel daily do not appear large. The fact is that their loads are very heavy, nearly 200lbs each, and the ground is very soft and boggy from the late rain.

I have noticed a considerable change in the color and constitution of the granite gradually showing itself during the past week. The color is changing from a pale grey to a pale yellow, and the quartz is being replaced by feldspar, of which very large crystals, generally of 2 or more inches in the edge, are very abundantly exhibited, especially in the thin dykes with which nearly all these masses are intersected. The crystals of feldspar also are cemented together with a very red colored paste.

I may here further record that on the top of the bald hill, at which we encamped last night, as well as on the tops of many previously passed, are many vast blocks of detached granite, generally of a thickness of 6 or 7 feet, always much water-worn, particularly at their under surfaces in contact with the parent rock. These I take to be the few surviving fragments of vast sheaths of granite, which at some vastly remote epoch of the history of our planet, in the secular progressive cooling of the granitic crust, peeled of and no doubt simultaneously were shattered into innumerable vast angular blocks—a theory which the examination of the Karkalin rock in the latter part of the journey has strongly confirmed in my mind.

May 23.—Although we sat down to breakfast at 5.30 a.m., we did not effect a start before 8.30 a.m., so long a time does it still take to collect, saddle, and load so many horses. At 4.15 p.m. we reached a fair camping ground, rather to our surprise, as we did not observe any indications of rock, and its ever attend ant, grass and water, until we were within 100 yards of them. Travelling distance 22 miles; direct distance 19 miles E. N.

Both ourselves and horses were well tired when we got in; for 22 miles through a pathless bush, in great part thickly covered with dead wood, is a day's work sufficient to fatigue both man and horse, and I may say that we have providentially, if I may so without presumption, been directed to water and grass, quite late in the day, three times during the past week, when we all expected to have to spend the night without either.

The country traversed has been less boggy today in than heretofore; nevertheless it has every appearance of having been swept by the same storm of rain which detained us at Tampin on the 15th instant.

About 3 miles of our route lay through the same rich alluvial flats as traversed on previous days: about 12 miles through open sand-plains, the remainder over hills and hill-sides, more or less covered with brushwood and belts of thicket; the latter however being not nearly so thick and difficult of passage through as those further to the westward, and I suspect that we have now left behind the worst of these. If so, our preconceptions as to the difficulty of traversing them were very exaggerated.

As a brief description of the several varieties of thicket which this country presents may not be uninteresting to the colonial reader, I will now submit the following classification and description of all the varieties which we have yet observed.

1st.—Tammar, so named from a species of small kangaroo which abound in them, and which at certain seasons of the year the natives hunt in combination—a principle of action rarely adopted by them.

This thicket is constituted solely of a dwarf species of eucalyptus, growing in fine rods from underground stems, to an uniform height of 15 or 20 feet; like copses of ash or hazelwood in England.

This thicket grows always on high land, of a stiff, poor nature; and the rods would probably be of great service for hurdle-making, and other purposes of rural economy.

The rods are so thickly set on the ground that the natives cannot employ their dogs to hunt the Tammars, consequently the combined action above spoken of.

2nd.—Marlock. This is constituted solely of another and still smaller dwarf species of eucalyptus than the former, as it seldom attains a height seeding 6 or 7 feet. Its site is generally the lower at of a hill-side, on a damp and sandy soil. It is much more difficult of penetration than Tam mar.

3rd.—Spearwood. Site, valley bottoms and lower parts of hill-sides; soil, always wet, but of clay or sand indifferently.

4th.—Jam. A dwarf species; branching from near the ground. Sites, a sandy, low, and wet soil.

5th.—Cedar. A dwarf species; branching from near the ground; frequently much intermixed with the dwarf jam. Site, sandy ground, generally wet.

6th.—Tea-tree. A dwarf species; site, clayey ground, but with such slope as to prevent the water from stagnating on it.

As to difficulty of penetration, I think the cedar and spearwood the worst; nevertheless in our line of route none of them approached in this respect to what we had anticipated. In fact, I think they can scarcely be considered to present a formidable obstacle to an exploring party, much less to the traversing the country by settlers' drays, stock, &c., and as to extent, we observed none that appeared to have a length of more than 7 or 8 miles.

This is the first bright sunshiny day which we have had since leaving Mr Smith's station, but the cloudy mild weather previously experienced, is more suitable to our purpose.

Sunday, May 24.—In the forenoon Mr Robinson and Kowitch go out with guns to look for game; and with spyglass and compass to try to discover another bald hill eastward or northward of us, to which we may steer to-morrow. Edwards inspects and fresh loads all the firearms, as our present distance from York makes this precaution necessary. I take observations for latitude and longitude.

In the afternoon, I read the Church Service for the day to all the party.

Robinson and Kowitch returned without success, both as to game and the discovery of more bald hills. We have seen neither kangaroo nor emu since leaving Mount Hampton, and it is evident that this country is nearly, if not quite, destitute of the larger species of game.

May 25.—Finished breakfast by daylight, in hope to make an early start, but on collecting the horses we found that the horse supplied by Mr Taylor had strayed back along our track, he being one of which we did not hobble yesterday, as we thought that they would not leave the rest, which were hobbled.

This fact being, I despatched Messrs. Robinson and Edwards in search of him.

In the afternoon Kowitch and myself walked to a conspicuous hill capped with a thick bed of ironstone, distant about 4 miles east, or, as it proved, on inspection, to be, a very fine-grained crystalline schist, strongly impregnated with iron.

In the crest of the gorge which intervenes between this and the adjacent hill to the north, a fine dyke of quartz, at least 10 feet wide, broke through the surface, which vein, where exposed, was evidently much waterworn.

In this walk I observed another gnow's nest, which bad been freshly scratched out this morning, as those which we have previously seen mostly have been, for use next season of laying.

I record this fact, as I think it difficult to account for, since the hen bird, which continues to use the same nest all her life, does not commence to deposit eggs until the latter part of September or early in October, and after this scratching of the surface of the nest in May, done, as Kowitch tells us, always by the male bird, he appears not to revisit the nest all through the winter.

The nests themselves consist of holes in the ground (a gravelly soil is generally selected) about 2 feet deep, and of that diameter; which hole is filled with dry sticks, leaves, grass, &c., in which the female deposits her eggs in layers. This nest is enclosed in a ring of the excavated soil of 5 or 6 feet in diameter and of a thickness of 18 or 20 inches.

From the ironstone capped hill which we visited this afternoon, we had the pleasure of discovering, with the aid of a telescope, the beds of 4 lakes, stretching from north-east to south-east, and of which one certainly contains water. To this I shall remove our camp to-morrow.

There is an unusually large native well or water hole, still full nearly to the fop, at a distance of of one hundred yards from our camp.

May 26.—Messrs. Robinson and Edwards did not make their appearance last night. At 11 a.m. despatched Hall and Kowitch with 12 horses to the lake discovered by us yesterday; whilst I remain here, awaiting the arrival of Robinson, Edwards, and the missing horse.

At about 2 p.m. Robinson and Edwards arrive having overtaken the missing horse at the bald hill at which we encamped on Friday evening; in fact at two days' journey from our present camp. After they had rested about an hour, we followed Hall and Kowitch to the lakes discovered yesterday, where we encamped on poor feed. Direct distance 6 miles due east.

From the top of the red-colored hill above mentioned to the nearest lake is about 3 miles, of a apparently rich red wheat soil, but at present carrying little grass, which I attribute both to want of drainage and to the absence of any grass eating fauna.

May 27.—In consequence of the poor feed the horses strayed so much last night that all of them were not got in before noon. Started at 0.30 p.m., and reached our camping ground by the side of a small lake of muddy fresh water, but again with poor feed around, at 3.30 p.m. Direct distance 7 miles N.N.E.

Our route to-day has been near the margin of a chain of lakes, all of which now contain a little water, but not of a greater depth than 2 or 3 inches.

This chain of lakes, so far as we can judge at present, appears to trend from the N.E., which appears also to be the direction from which the country has a slight slope; and I suspect that this chain of lakes must be a line of drainage from the interior, if they ever overflow from one into another. Of which however we could discover no indication.

The width of the valley in which they are placed varies from 3 to 5 miles, of which width perhaps four-fifths are now occupied by samphire flats, a few inches above the level of the present water; but the valley is so flat that a maximum depth of 2 feet of water in the lakes would cover the whole valley to a width of 4 or 5 miles.

The hills slope into this valley with such a gentle descent, that their sides have no deeply-cut gullies, and in fact most imperfectly drained.

Their soil is either loam, clay or sand, of a rich red color, and much apparent mellowness and fertility, and I ascribe the deficiency of grass on them solely to the want of drainage and of a grass-eating fauna. I have no doubt that on the introduction of sheep, grass will rapidly spread over them.

The samphire flats, which now contain a good deal of short grass, I believe will constitute very good runs for sheep.

We have seen a very few ducks on these lakes, and they were too wild to allow us to get near them.

Altogether I am very strongly impressed with the opinion that nature has here supplied the elements of agricultural wealth with a most liberal hand, but these are attended with such conditions, climatic and hypsometric, as that science, capital, and labor, must be applied on a huge scale before she will surrender to the use of civilized man the treasures of agricultural fertility which she has placed here.

The subsoil of the samphire flats is everywhere a fine-grained sand of a dull white color. This is covered with a fine red alluvial soil of 8 or 10 inches in thickness, evidently derived from the adjacent hill-sides.

The stratum of fine-grained white sand, which appears to occupy the whole width of the valley, and appears identical in constitution with the fine-grained white sandstone which underlies the red surface soils throughout all this country, I should refer to an age when the entire surface of this portion of Australia was a portion of the bed of the ocean, and anterior to the emergence from the ocean of any of the low hills with which the country abounds.

The whole contour of the country favors the opinion that its rate of elevation above the ocean level was extremely slow, and was uniform over a very large area. The white color of this sandstone rock alone is a sufficient proof that its deposition must have preceded the elevation of any portion of this country into the air; for the oxidation of the iron contained in the ferruginous shales and schists, of which remnants still cover some hills, and from which the red surface soils must have been principally derived, must have commenced when they reached the surface of the ocean; and the universal bedding of the red soils, both in lake bottoms and on hill-sides, on the white sandstones, shews clearly both the order of deposition and the change in the physical conditions of the surface, which accompanied it.

Both Mr Robinson and F. Hall, of whom each possesses much colonial experience and knowledge of the comparative value of sheep-runs, concur in a high opinion of the value of the runs in this valley, as due to the abundance of samphire.

May 28.—Start at 9.30. a.m. At about 2 miles from camp we cross a line of lakes extending from the E.N.E., near its junction with what appears to be the main line, trending from N. by W. Not being able to decide which is the main line, we pursue a N.N.E. course between them, hoping to intersect one or the other of them again in a few miles. We continue this course up a gently ascending country until 2.30. p.m., when we camp, with good feed for the horses and just sufficient water for ourselves. Travelling distance 14 miles; direct distance 13 miles N.N.E.

About 10 of the 14 miles traversed to-day have been through mellow, red, loamy soil, with a thin plant of grass. The soil is still boggy in places, and entirely without natural drainage The timber is morrel and a small species of woorock, and a small variety of dwoita, or York gum. Sandalwood, which attains a large size and was very abundant as far as Smith's Station, declines both in size and abundance eastward of that point and here is both small and rare.

The tops of the hills are still capped with a ferruginous and fine-grained schist, and a conglomerate apparently derived from it.

We noticed, for the first time, a small green shrub attaining a height of about 4 feet, made of one main stem with 4 parallel rows of little branches radiating horizontally from it, and each little branch similarly set with 4 parallel rows of little leaves of which the planes were co-axial with the branches—a form of foliation which was new to all our party.

May 29.—The horses wandered much in consequence of want of water last night, but all except 2 were got in by 9 a.m., and being loaded by 10 a.m., started on in charge of Edwards, Hall and myself; Robinson and Kowitch being left to track up and bring on the other two, which they effected in the forenoon. At about  .30. p.m. very unexpectedly came on a mass of several acres in extent of bare rock, projecting a little above the soil, but with plenty of water in its cavities and good grass around it.

The development of this intumescence of granite on the lower part of the side of a hill, which has no exhibition of granite at its summit, affords another proof of the extreme thinness of the sedimentary; rocks which cover the granite; in fact, where we camped last night no granite was exhibited at the surface, yet on digging in clear and wet-looking patches of ground to get water, of which our supply was short, we always found the massive rock at a depth of 12 or 18 inches.

The granite here, and that observed for the last few days, is constituted of remarkably large crystals, cemented by a red paste. The crystals are nearly all parallelopipedons, and their longest sides have dimensions of two or more inches. They have a marked tendency to cleavage parallel to their longest sides. Their color is a dull opaque white, and I take them to be feldspar; to the gradual substitution of which mineral for quartz in the granite I attribute entirely the progressive improvement of soil which is to be observed as you travel to the east or east-north-east from Smith's station.

In consequence of the bad feed and want of water suffered by the horses last night, we camped at this hill. Direct distance made, 7 miles N.N.E.

The view from the top of the hill adjacent to this rock is dreary and monotonous in the extreme. Towards the east, at a distance of about 10 miles, is a low wide and apparently flat strip of land, which I suspect to contain another chain of lakes; but at this distance, with the trifling elevation which we can command, it is impossible to distinguish them. On the north of us, and trending from W.S.W. to E.N.E., are several ranges of low hills.

I should say that not not one of the hills or bare rocks seen during the past week attains an elevation of 250 feet above the floors of the lake of the adjacent lake chains.

I may here record my observation of the extra ordinary deficiency of animal life which prevails through the country, eastward of Smith's station, traversed so far by the expedition. In a travelling distance of 155 miles, only 4 kangaroos and 3 emus have been seen by the whole party taken collectively. No native has been seen, though on one day a fresh track of one was seen, and on another a recently-expired camp fire of another was seen, and their tracks of weeks or months' date have been observed on two other occasions. Neither gnow nor turkey has been seen, though the presence of the former bird in the country has been indicated by freshly scratching of their old nests. On the many lakes which we have passed up to the present 4 ducks only have been seen. Neither cockatoo nor parrot has been seen for some days.

This statement of facts may correct a misapprehension into which I think the inhabitants of great cities have a tendency to fall, namely, that uncultivated districts, in proportion as they are destitute of human population, abound in animal life to a far greater extent than either highly or partially cultivated districts; whereas the truth is that the aggregate of animal life, and more especially of the feathered tribes, increases with every increase in the agricultural produce of a large district, to the safe keeping and growing of which produce from innumerable species of small vermin and insects, of which most possess wonderful powers of multiplication, and appetites specially directed to the consumption of particular descriptions of the varied products of agricultural industry, each species of the feathered tribes con tributes an invaluable and specific aid, whilst it requires as wages of its indispensable services, a portion which is equivalent only to a very small fraction of the value of that which it has saved from ever impending destruction, for the use of man.

The rationale of this great development of the smaller fauna, and of all species of birds, except a few, perhaps, of the larger ones, always following the introduction of cultivation into any country heretofore in a state of nature, appears to be as follows, namely, that, the total annual growth of vegetable matter on a given surface, in a state of nature, is only a small fraction of that which the same surface, even under the least skilful agriculture, produces, annually, and probably is not equal to one fiftieth part of that which the same surface, under the action of skilful and capitalised agriculture, annually yields, not directly and solely for the sustentation and service of man, but to sustain, both in its growth and its decay, first and principally God's "mighty hosts," the tribes in numerable of both the microscopic and the visible entomological systems of life; again by the bodies of these, and by parts of the increased annual growth of vegetable matter not destined to be primarily the food of the insect hosts, to sustain the smaller species of the fauna and birds; and ultimately and principally with the bodies of the latter to sustain the larger species of birds and animals and man, the lord and chief of all.

Thus by the introduction of cultivation into a country previously left to a state of nature the total number of individuals of its fauna is always immensely increased, instead of being diminished as most people in towns, I believe, without reflection, assume.

May 30.—Start at 9 a.m., and at 2 p.m. reach camping ground—again a hill-side, where an intumescence of granite comes to the surface.

The feed for our horses here is very poor, not from defect of grass, but from the dried and withered state of the grass, of which each tuft is composed principally of the withered stalks and leaves of two or three years' growth; and this remark is applicable, in a greater or smaller degree, to the whole country eastward of 118 d. E.; but later in the season, when the growth of the current winter, which is now of small volume and very watery quality, shall have acquired full growth, I am confident that there will be splendid feed for horses at every hill at which we have encamped, and as we have travelled straight through the country, without a native guide, and not deviating from our intended course to look for grass or water, I think it may safely be predicated that in the spring and early summer this country may safely be traversed in any direction, with little risk of finding grass and water for every night's use: which is more than can be said of most other extensive tracts in Australia.

May 31, (Sunday.)—The bad feed at which we encamped last night rendered it necessary to travel to-day, perhaps not so much from an expectation of getting better feed by proceeding, at the present season of the year, as from the fact that, upon this withered innutritious grass, the horses can make short stages of 10 or 11 miles per day, every day of the week, more easily than they can make longer journeys for a smaller number of the days of the week. Moreover the ground now is firm and dry, but from its constitution and almost level surface, I infer confidently that it will become almost untraversible from saturation when the winter's rains, which must now be close at hand, shall really descend, so that I am unwilling to lose any time at present with such a prospect of being constantly detained in camp, from weather and bogginess of surface in a later part of this journey.

Accordingly start at 8 a.m., and at 10 a.m. to our great gratification, from the top of an extensive sand-plain, we suddenly came in view of the chain of lakes, which we lost sight of three days since, and at a distance of 6 or 8 miles on our right, as I had expected to find them.

They are still trending very directly from or to E.N.E., and I should infer, from the width and flatness of the valley in which they lie, and from the levelness of the whole country, that this chain must have a great extension in an E.N.E. direction, but whether these lakes ever overflow from one to another, and thus form a channel of drainage, and if so, whether that drainage be from or towards the interior of the country, are points about which I cannot satisfy myself at present.

In a careful examination of every lake which we have yet traversed, I have not discovered any water-marks on trees in their beds or margins which indicate that they have ever contained water of one foot depth, nor have I discovered any channels of communication between adjacent lakes, nor indications of a general direction of current, if they ever do overflow.

At 11.40.a.m. reach camping ground. Travelling distance 11 miles; direct distance 10 miles E. by N.

In the afternoon read to the party the Church Service for this Sunday.

[VI. Journal: June]

June 1.—Start at 9 a.m., reach camping ground at 3.15. p.m. Travelling distance 19 miles; direct distance 16 miles N.E.

Our camp this evening, is fixed at another low, but rather extensive bald rock, distant about 4 miles north-west from the axis of the chain of lakes. It has plenty of water in the cavities of its surface, and fair feed about its margin.

Of our track this day about 5 miles lay along the western margin of the lake chain, and we crossed some minor chains of lakes, which appear to run into the main chain on this north-west side. Here the travelling was very heavy and fatiguing to the horses, as they sunk in the soft deep sand above their fetlocks.

In attempting to cross a lake-bottom of one of these minor chains, which however did not show one particle of water on its surface, 4 or 5 of the more heavily laden pack-horses were soon bogged, and we obliged to retrace our steps and go round it. The remainder of our track up to the camping ground was over a rather hilly, poor, and thick country.

The chain of lakes on this northern and western side is everywhere bordered by a margin of samphire plains, of an average width perhaps of 1 mile, and attaining an elevation of 9 or 10 feet above the present floors of the lakes, which strongly suggests the idea that these lakes formerly were far more extensive than they are at present.

In this part of the valley, I should say that a maximum depth of 5 feet of water in the lakes would inundate the adjacent country to a width of 5 miles.

Most of our horses are very tired this evening, and it is plain that most of them are doing as much work as they can get through without exhaustion.

The great difficulty which I now anticipate in the future progress of the Expedition is the necessarily boggy nature of the country, if and whenever any heavy rains fall. These lake-chains will then probably be impassable, and I must take the alternative of going to the north to get into a dry winter climate, or to the south, to reach a hillier country, which I suspect backs the shores of the Australian Bight.

June 2.—Start at 9.45 a.m., and at 1.30 p.m. reached another extensive but not elevated bald rock on the side of a hill about 3 miles from the western margin of the lakes. Here again we find plenty of withered grass and water. Our horses are very tired, although we have travelled only 12 miles. Direct distance 11 miles, E.N.E.

The lake valley continues to trend N.E., carrying a wide margin of samphire flats.

The bald hills are again increasing in number, though diminished as to elevation and horizontal section, and now, instead of projecting from the hill tops, as they do universally further to the westward, they are more frequently found on the sides of hills, and are generally so low as not to be visible through the bush until they are very closely approached.

This bald hill, and in fact several which we have passed in the last few days, is cut in many directions by dykes of a coarse-grained feldspathic protogene, composed principally of very large crystals of feldspar, of masses varying from 10 to 20 cubic inches, and of smaller crystals of talc; and on the flanks of the hill are fragments of a talcose schist.

Of the 12 miles traversed to-day, at least 11 lay through a splendid grassy country, superior as to soil to any land of the York district, for either wheat or grass, albeit that grass at this present be so withered as to afford little nourishment to our horses; but we all agreed that when once the dead grass of former summers shall be burnt or trodden to pieces by sheep, the surface will soon be covered with a sward of grass surpassing anything now to be seen in any other district of this colony.

On the southern and eastern side of this valley of lakes, the bald rocks, or, more correctly speaking, the bare rock, still shows itself at the summit of many of the hills, and possibly it may be found that these rocks stretch to the vicinity of the western shores of the Australian Bight, and will thus afford to the future occupants of this country easy access to the sea-side.

Kowitch and myself again to-day carefully examined several lakes, and the banks which divide one from another, to ascertain if possible the direction of the stream in cases of overflow, and also whether an overflow of one into another ever does in fact take place. The result was that we were satisfied that no overflow has taken place for many years back probably not for centuries past, and that the water for many winters past has never attained a depth of 2 feet.

In fact I believe the valleys of these lakes to be as nearly horizontal as possible; that they now have no ultimate outlets into the ocean, but reticulate into each other, at points innumerable over a vast portion of South-Western Central Australia.

We have lately noticed a fine bushy species of Cyprus, scattered in separate trees, over both hill-sides and the alluvial bottoms, and contributing, with their light bright green color, to give a very agreeable relief to the sombre monotony of the dark green foliage of nearly all other species of the indigenous arboretum, of this country; although its forest scenery is far more picturesque and pleasing than of any other district of this colony which I have ever visited, from the fact of the trees growing much in clumps, and that the clumps of the larger timber, such as morrel and woorock, are generally set in an under-growth of a cedar, which, attaining a height of about 20 feet, conceals their butts, and gives an open and varied appearance to the country.

We passed to-day, for the first time, several elegant small trees of a species new to us all. These trees attain a height of 12 to 20 feet; have an erect stem, horizontal branches, and their foliation would present an almost perfectly circular section in a horizontal plane, and an almost perfectly conical section in vertical and diaxial plane; the head bends over slightly to one side, as if under the weight of the ovaries with which they are now thickly covered: these ovaries grow on racemous stalks, in bunches of 6 or 8; the leaf is oval, wide towards the lower part, and of a light silvery color.

June 3.—Started at 9.30 a.m. and at 4 p.m. reached camping-ground where we had poor feed for our horses and no water, except some which we had carried for ourselves. Travelling distance 19 miles: direct distance 15 miles, NE by E. We passed no water at all, and our route lay principally over poor rocky ground, at a distance of 4 or 5 miles from the lake chain.

About 11 a.m. observing a native fire at a distance of about a mile from our track, I despatched to it Messrs Robinson and Edwards, and Kowitch, in order that we might get an interview with some natives, if possible, and thereby get information which might be of use to us, whilst Hall and myself proceeded on with the horses. In about 2 hours the former overtook us again, having failed to find the natives, who had deserted their camp before our party reached it.

We are camped to-night by the side of an isolated dry lake in a barren stiff clay soil.

June 4.—As five of the horses have strayed back along our track of yesterday during the night, owing to the bad feed and want of water, I despatched Messrs. Robinson and Edwards after them on two of our horses, and at 10 a.m., with the remainder, Kowitch and myself proceeded on, in search of a better camping ground, leaving Hall to await the return of Messrs. Robinson and Edwards, and guard the portion of our stores left for the 5 absconding horses to bring on. After travelling, generally through a scrubby and thicketty country, until 4 p.m., we were, somewhat unexpectedly, gratified, by coming on another very extensive bare rock, surrounded by an extensive margin of grass; the rock, as usual, containing plenty of water in the cavities of its surface. Travelling distance 18 miles; direct distance 14 miles N. E.

This day we noticed a flock of 10 black cockatoos; these being the only birds of this species which have been seen during the last 10 days.

June 5.—Messrs. Robinson, Edwards, and Hall, did not make their appearance until 11 a.m. to-day, and then brought with them only 5 horses, having been unable to find the other two, and having been without water, about 30 hours themselves, and their horses about 50 hours. They and their horses were of course much knocked up, and the task of going back to find the two missing horses naturally devolved upon myself and Kowitch.

Accordingly about noon we started back on our yesterday's track, with 3 of the strayed horses, of which one carried three days' provisions for us, as it appeared most probable that the recovery of these horses would now occupy at least 3 days. We rode pretty quickly back to our old camp, in order to have time to make a preliminary search of the adjacent country before dark, and as we reached it, to our great surprise and gratification, we found the two horses quietly grazing within 100 yards of it, having evidently returned from a distant and fruitless search for water. As they were hobbled, we easily caught them.

As it was not yet 4 p.m., we resolved to return to the rest of the party at the rock, preferring two hours' travel through the bush in the dark to keeping the two recovered horses any longer without water by camping here all night; accordingly after stopping here half an hour to rest our horses and to refresh ourselves with a smoke, to which bad practice I find that the bush life of an explorer gives a peculiar proclivity, we start again for our camp, which I observe that Kowitch always calls "home," which we reach about 8 p.m., very tired, cold and hungry, having ridden 36 miles since noon, of which the last 8 were at a very slow walking place, as otherwise we should have been unable to keep the track, the night being very dark, and the bush very thick.

Notwithstanding all our care, we lost one of the three horses, which we drove loose, in one of the thickets, after dark, but we found, on reaching the camp, that he had come on before us on the track,—a fact of which we pretty well assured ourselves before we gave up the search for him in the thicket.

This straying of a part of our horses, which thus finally resulted in much less delay and trouble than I had anticipated, I must frankly attribute to Mr Robinson's overtenderness for his mare, Rose, whom I cannot persuade him to put hobbles on. The singular care and tenderness with which most colonial-bred lads regard their horses, as the chef d'œuvres of organic creation, reminds one of the classical affection of the Bedouin for his steed. I hope, however, that this unselfish and amiable weakness of Mr Robinson will turn out to the advantage of the Expedition, in enabling us to carry all our horses with us throughout it, although 2 or 3 of them, which were in poor condition when we started, are now showing many indications of overwork.

June 6.—There being plenty of water and comparatively good feed here, we determined to rest the horses here to-day.

This morning, in taking a survey of the surrounding country from the top of this bald hill, we discovered, at about 2 miles distance to the southward, another very large bald hill, of probably nearly 100 acres of surface, and which from its low elevation we had not seen yesterday, although we must have passed within a mile or so of it.

I suspect that the opinion which, on general meteorological principles, I have long formed, namely, that the climate of the winter season in this inland part of South Western Australia is comparatively dry, and that a large fraction of the annual rainfall is delivered in summer thunder-storms, will be shown by future experience to be correct, as the soil here now is nearly as parched and dry as at midsummer in the York district, and there is yet little appearance of a spring-growth in either the grass or the shrubs.

If this theory be correct, the best season for exploring it will be from September until January during which period it is probable that the bald bills will hold plenty of water in the cavities of their surfaces, and the grass around them will be in a nutritious and palatable stage of growth.

At 8 a.m., Kowitch and myself start towards some hills distant from camp about 6 miles south, in the hope of obtaining from them a view either of the lake valley to the south, or of some more bald hills to the east. In both respects we were disappointed, as a higher range of bills intercepted our view to the south, and no bald hills were, visible towards the east. Reached camp again before noon, which enabled me to obtain a meridian altitude of the sun, which showed our latitude to be 31 d. 12 m. S.

As I think it probable that the lake valley has now taken a permanent bend to the southward, and as the exploration of the country in the direction of Central Australia, rather than towards the south coast, is of importance to the colony, I have resolved to proceed a little to the north of east to-morrow, and henceforth, so far as water and grass will permit; but as the water on the bald hills is evidently drying up rather rapidly under the influence of the bright cold weather which we have had for some days, it is of course uncertain how far I may be able to persevere in this direction.

June 7.—At 9 a.m., Messrs. Robinson, Edwards, and myself, proceed on with 14 horses, leaving Hall and Kowitch to search for the horse Silver, which, in consequence of its very low condition, I had directed yesterday to be left unhobbled, and which had thereby been enabled to stray during the night. At 4 p.m. halted at some poor feed, without water for either ourselves or the horses, the very unpromising appearance of the country ahead of us and the fatigue of the horses, determining me to halt here without water, rather than incur the risk of driving them through a thick bush in the dark, and the certain inconvenience of unloading and camping in the dark; no hills likely to afford water being visible, except at an apparent distance of more than 10 or 12 miles.

The water-tins, being left with Hall, to be brought on by Silver, (who, on account of his weakness, has carried these only, and them generally empty, for the last fortnight) and not expecting that Hall would overtake us this evening, and being tired and hungry, with our 7 hours walking, we ate our supper without tea to wash it down, and were preparing to go to turn into our blankets, when at about 8 p.m., to our not small delight, Hall and Kowitch made their appearance, without Silver, but themselves bearing the water-tins, which enabled us soon to get a pannikin of tea each, which we so much required and craved for.

They had found Silver at some miles back on the track by which we had approached the bald hill left this morning, had brought him in, and started forward on our track by about noon; but at about midway between our present camp and that of last night, Silver had become so completely knocked up, that he lay down, and would proceed no further, although relieved even of his pack-saddle; Hall, therefore, abandoned him there, and knowing that he was completely worn out; for present purposes, I did not think it worth while to send back for him.

I think, however, that he will recover his strength and ultimately work his way back to York.

The majority of the other horses are still looking well, but 2 or 3 more, which were received in a poor condition, I fear, will knock up, although we give them all the favor possible, as far as their loads are concerned.

Travelling distance 20 miles; direct distance 19 miles E. Country travelled, generally poor, with much sand-plain and thicket.

At 9 p.m. we were obliged to tie up all the horses, as they were fast making their way back to last night's camp in search of water, the grass being so dry and withered, that they would not eat it without water.

June 8.—At 7 a.m. started, and at 1 mile towards the large hill observed yesterday to the eastward, we unexpectedly come upon another low but very extensive exhibition of bare rock, with plenty of water on it and grass round it. Camp here, not only to rest and feed the horses, which much require this relief after being tied up all night, but from an erroneous reckoning that the day is Sunday, an error which originated in the past week, and was not discovered and corrected until we returned to Mr Smith's station.

At 10 a.m. read to the party the principal portion of the Church Service for this Sunday morning.

I omitted to record yesterday that Kowitch shot a gnow, the first yet killed by any member of the party, and which we ate for dinner to-day, stewed with slices of pork, and found to be a very agreeable change on the cold salt pork which, with exception of one kangaroo and one emu, has been our sole meat since leaving Mr Smith's station. As we are always on the look out for game, I think this is a sufficient proof of the extraordinary destitution of game in this part of Australia; but I hope, when the winter rains set in, that we shall obtain plenty of ducks, and of their eggs, in the lakes, which now are nearly all perfectly dry, but to which I infer that ducks migrate to breed every winter, at least I was informed by the natives about Mount Stirling (Munlyeen) last year, that vast numbers of ducks breed in the lakes of their neighbourhood every winter. I therefore promise myself and party, who however dissent from my theoretical views of the economy of nature in this respect, many feasts of ducks and duck eggs before we finish our journey.

The whole face of this rock is marked with wavy, and apparently vertical striae, sometimes, but not in all cases, of a dark color, and radiating from many different centres in the rock.

Neither myself nor any of the party have noticed this phenomenon at any rock previously visited.

The Messrs. Dempster having recorded in the journal of the expedition to the eastward of Northam which they made in the winter of 1861, that they discovered a dark colored bituminous liquid exuding from some of the bald hills which they saw, and speculations as to the probability of this exudation springing from carboniferous strata having been formed, it may serve to dissipate erroneous hopes and expectations if I distinctly allege the impossibility of the existence of carboniferous strata in the country which we have traversed, and as this includes a portion of that traversed by the Messrs. Dempster, and from their description of the formation of the country traversed by them, and my own observation of the contour of the country to the north of our track, I infer the continuity of the geological structure which obtains here to a great distance to the north of our route and of their route, the solution proposed of the phenomenon by them appears to me utterly inadmissible.

This exudation has not yet been observed by any of us; but as we are travelling earlier in the winter season than they did, and no heavy rains have yet fallen, we may yet hope to observe it before the conclusion of our journey.

I may also state very positively that on or near the line which we have traversed, not a particle of basalt, porphyry, or other eruptive rock, has come to the surface, and that the primitive granite contains no ruptures or fissures through which any underlying matter ever could have reached the surface; and that the (as I estimate) great fertility of a large portion of the surface soil of this country is due solely to the larger portion of feldspar contained in it.

June 9.—Start at 7.30 a.m., and at 11.30 a.m. reach some fine grass in the upper part of a narrow valley running up into a range of hills. This grass being unusually good, and there being strong indications of rain this evening or night, we camp here. Direct distance 12 miles E. by N. In our journey to-day we observed many indications of a change in the character of the country; the hill-sides, in many cases, being cut by gullies 4 or 5 feet deep—a depth of gully which we have not noticed previously since leaving Smith's station. At about 9 miles came into a deeply cut valley, which terminated in a range of hills, trending from the northward, and attaining an elevation of about 3 or 400 feet above the plain to the southward.

In the afternoon I walked to the top of the highest hill in the neighbourhood of the camp, and found that this range has a width of 4 or 5 miles, and a broken surface, and that it appears to be a projection of a higher flat land to the northward.

At an apparent distance of about 20 miles north-east, I observed what appeared to be a very large hill, just showing above the horizon, towards which I intend to travel to-morrow.

We have passed no water to-day, nor is there any at our camp, but we have brought with us in our tins (which unfortunately both leak a good deal) a short allowance for our tea to-night and for our breakfast to-morrow.

These hills are capped with a gneissose schist, which again is covered with an argillaceous schist, containing a small percentage of iron. I can discover no trace of eruptive rock about them, but I think they have resulted from local fissuring, attended with very slight elevation, and it is probable that a careful examination of the edge of the very slightly elevated table land to our north, of which these hills are simply a projecting extension, may discover a line of fissure determining the southern limit of that table land, and separating it from the vast mass of unfissured primitive granite which we have traversed.

Having observed some tracks of kangaroos about these hills, being the first observed for the last 200 miles traversed, and which we assume to have been formed by individuals of the red species, known to exist in the interior to the northward, all the party except myself took their guns in pursuit of them this afternoon. However, no one succeeded in getting a sight of any kangaroo.

We have observed many new species of trees and shrubs during the past 3 days. I may enumerate, among these a bushy shrub, of the family of Conacea, with short erect stem, attaining a height of 4 or 5 feet—very long spines, and a cone much like that of a Scotch fir: a small variety of salt-bush; a very short stemmed but erect Eucalyptus, growing principally on hill-tops, with a flower of a beautiful pink color, and hexagonal ovaries very deeply grooved longitudinally on external surface.

June 10.—Having made an indifferent supper last night and breakfast this morning on the scanty allowance of only pint of tea each, both our water tins now leaking at such a rate that they will not retain to the end of a day's march one quarter of the quantity of water which they hold when filled, at 7.30 a.m. we start for the big hill observed yesterday and bearing N.N.E. of us. At 0.30 p.m., after travelling 15 miles, and at a direct distance of 14 miles N.N.E., we fortunately and unexpectingly found a native well in a hole of a ferruginous conglomerate, which extends far down the side of a low hill, and at the lower edge of which this water-hole exists.

Our horses, having had no water last night, soon lowered the water in this hole by more than one half its volume, the dryness of the grass causing them to drink very largely and require it frequently.

There is abundance of grass about this well, as in fact over all the country traversed to-day, and Messrs. Robinson and Hall express a very high opinion of its value for pastoral purposes, to the disparagement of the land of bald hills, which we appear to have left behind us. I however by no means assent to any disparaging reflections on the latter, for I feel confident that innumerable first-rate sheep thus will be found or formed in it, and that a considerable portion of its surface, to wit, the wide flat alluvial valleys which divide the bald hills from one another, with artificial drainage, will be proved to possess a very high degree of agricultural fertility.

In ruminating, as I walked on behind the pack-horses to-day, on the origin of the bald hills and on their future uses in the economy of South Western Central Australia, a conception of the uses to which they would have been applied, if this country had ever been colonised by a warlike feudal aristocracy, similar to that of the middle ages in Western Europe, naturally crossed my mind.

Then many a bald hill would have been the site of a battlemented fortress, forming both the residence, the wealth, and the power of a feudal baron; such as it would have delighted the heart of Sir Walter Scott to paint in glowing words, and many a smaller hill would have been surmounted by a small fortalice, in which some family of the chief tenantry of the feudal lord would have resided; but to my Utopian bent of mind, mental pictures of the family mansions, replete with every luxury and refinement of a wealthy and cultivated resident landed aristocracy, each rising from the summit of one of the larger bald hills, and of the smaller and less pretentious but still substantial and comfortable residences of a wealthy yeomanry, occupying the summits of many of the smaller bald hills, afford a more pleasing subject of contemplation; and I am sanguine enough to believe that many a little boy now living in the York district, and whose apparent prospects are not very bright, will in mature life be the proprietor of one of these mansions. In fact, I confidently hold that, how much the best pastoral districts of Victoria may surpass this district as to pastoral capacities, the latter is vastly superior, as to both pastoral and agricultural purposes, to any district of Western Australia heretofore explored.

In the afternoon Mr Robinson and myself walked to the top of the fine hill towards which we had I directed our course all day. We found its distance from the well to be about 4 miles N. by E.; that it is an isolated hill rising to a height of about 600 feet above the plain which in fact surrounds it on every side. The adjacent plain has a gentle slope up the flanks of the hill to about 300 feet of its elevation, beyond which the hill is very precipitous.

On the flanks of this hill some deep gullies have been excavated by the surface drainage, exhibiting general sections of the dull white sandstone which underlies the surface soils in the whole country east ward of the Avon, but which in the latter valley is overlaid by some 20 feet in thickness of estuary clays and a fluviatile silt. This sandstone is evidently a pelagic deposit which immediately followed the disruption of the granite crust in the few lines in which rupture has been developed, as it fills up its fissures conformably, and preceded the precipitation from the waters of the ocean of the iron to which the present general red color of the surface soils is due.

There is no appearance of tilting in the bedding of this hill, which, as far as I can judge, is quite horizontal; but it has the appearance of having been relatively raised, in the progressive contraction of the earth's radius by being based on a small mass of some material whose rate of contraction, cooling, is slow relatively to that of the surrounding matter, and which mass must lie not far below the surface.

The rock itself is primitive granite, covered with a small thickness of gneiss and ironstone.

In the course of this day we have passed, on the tops of many small rounded hills, much shale, which as to texture, lamination and color, close approaches a rotten soft slate.

The country appears to have a very gentle slope from the north.

In thinking over the names which might be pro posed for the prominent natural features of this new country, I particularly regret that we have not yet seen a single native, and therefore that I am unable to ascertain their native names, which I think good taste would desire to preserve in every possible case, both from their philological value as remnants of a natural language, which must soon disappear, and to prevent the tiresome repetition of familiar English names of individuals or localities in the Southern Hemisphere.

June 11.—At about 8 p.m. yesterday, as we were rolling ourselves in our blankets for the night, a warm gentle rain began to fall, and continued all night. True, it soon wetted our blankets through, as we were sleeping-without our tents, as in fine weather we frequently do, but it seemed to break the charm of the continued dry cold weather which we have experienced lately, and will enable a start of young grass to spring up, and give us greater confidence of finding water in our future wanderings. Up to yesterday the surface has been as dry and parched, and the grass as withered, as they are usually in the York district 2 months earlier in the season. No doubt, when this country shall be closely fed with sheep, and the old grass thus consumed or destroyed, the state of the grass at this season of the year will generally be very different from what it is now, as the experience on Mr Smith's run strongly shows, but I am still strongly of the opinion which I have already recorded in this journal, that the winters of this country are comparatively dry, though not to the extent of injuring the growth of grass and corn on cultivated land, all through it, and that an uncommonly large fraction of the whole annual rainfall is delivered in thunder storms during the summer.

Started at 9.45 a.m.; travelled till 2 p.m., about 14 miles, through one of the richest red colored alluvial flats that I have seen in any country. Direct distance 13 miles N.E.

This plain is covered with 3 or 4 varieties of salt-bush, with samphire, a long-jointed grass, still green, of which the horses are very fond, and with much sweet grass intermixed with the samphire. The long-jointed grass above mentioned I have no doubt will be cultivated in future years, from its property in retaining succulence all through the hot summer, and from the evident relish with which the horses eat it.

Two species of samphire abound on this plain, of which one has an erect stem, from which the branches proceed. The varieties of salt-bush and samphire alone would form excellent pasture for any sort of stock, but after the country shall have been closely fed with sheep, I believe that it will soon be over spread with a thick sward of sweet and nutritious grasses.

In fact, I have no hesitation in expressing my belief that few finer sheep runs are to be found in Australia than the vast plain which encircles the fine hill above described, and which, in my inability to discover and record its native name, I propose to call by the name of my old and highly-esteemed friend Mr S. Burges, of Tipperary, near York.

This plain is cut by many shallow surface drains or gutters, but towards its southern edge, where it runs into the wide lake valley, of which the surface is some 20 or 30 feet lower than that of the plain, a few of these gullies attain a depth of nearly 20 feet, and show the thickness of the rich alluvial soil there to be about 15 feet.

In traversing this plain, which is very thinly covered with timber, we obtained many fine views of Mount Burges, rising grandly and singly from the plain, which in fact completely encloses it. I think that the elevation of its summit above the plain, say at a distance of one mile from its base, can differ but little from that of the summit of Mount Bakewell, above the Avon, near its base; and from its isolated position in the centre of a vast plain, which has a most gentle slope from the northward, it has a much finer effect, as a feature of the country, than Bakewell has; the latter, in fact, being only a projection, into a narrow and rather deep valley, occupying an ancient fissure of the earth's crust, of a slightly dislocated mass of the original crust.

We are camping near a few gallons of water derived from last night's rain, and stored in a depression of the clay.

One feature in the climatology of this country, which has struck me much, is the very small amount of horizontal movement of the atmosphere which takes place here at this season of the year. During one only of the 30 days which have elapsed since leaving Mr Smith's station, have we experienced even a wind of moderate force. During a few days we have had a rather raw cold atmosphere, but without sun or wind, but the air has been generally mild and warm, the sky cloudy, with occasional outbreaks of the sun, and such I suspect so be the usual winter climate of this country. On the other hand, the fact that the woorock, and other species of smooth-barked trees, are festooned with long narrow streamers or ribbons of bark, suspended from the topmost branches and sweeping the ground, and that the paper-barked shrubs of the Casuarina family have their stems and branches nearly stripped of their natural light thin integuments, particularly on the north and north-east sides, shows plainly that this absence of wind through the winter season is quite compensated by an extraordinary intensity of land wind in the summer.

June 12—Start at 7.30 a.m., and at 6.30 p.m. camp by the side of a small lake, on a clay-pan, having water of about 2 inches maximum depth on it. Travelling distance 14 miles; direct distance 12 miles east.

Our whole course to-day has been obliquely through a wide, flat, covered, with lakes, or, more correctly speaking, with vast shallow sand or clay-pans, which may be presumed to hold more or less water in ordinary winters, but which at this present are perfectly waterless, with exception of the one at which we are encamped, and into which it would appear that a shower of a very local character had just casually dropped.

This chain of lakes trends from N.E. to S.W., and appears to have a more considerable descent than any lake-chain which we have previously seen, as there are channels leading from one lake to another, of which some are cut 4 or 5 feet deep, and in some cases floods have cut cliffs, as much as 20 feet in height, out of their alluvial banks and the stratum of soft white half disintegrated fine-grained sandstone, on which the alluvial soil is bedded. This shows that floods (of considerable volume and velocity), must sometimes pour through this chain, at all events, whatever may be the case of the other lake chains which we have passed, and in which we could discover indications of neither floods nor currents.

As far as I can judge, we passed to-day 3 parallel belts or chains of lakes, lying close along-side of each other, in the centre of this wide lake valley. In the belt, on the north-west side, the subsoil, as above observed, is this fine-grained nearly rotten sandstone, and the surface soil generally a light red alluvium; but in the belt on the opposite or south side, the surface soil is a stiff dark red clay, and the subsoil a remarkably hard, very dark red-colored clay, containing small round pebbles, of what rock I omitted to determine, but of the hardness of the subsoil we had sufficient proof in the digging a hole, about a foot deep, in the floor of the lake, that the water might drain into it and settle, and that thereby we might have a smaller proportion of clay in it than is unavoidably brought up when the pannikin is dipped into water of about one inch depth.

In ascending a channel leading from one lake to another, in the northern belt, I noticed a dyke of quartz, which had evidently cut through, and tilted to a distance not exceeding 25 or 30 feet on either side of it, a hard fine-grained sandstone or schist, which underlies the soft rotten sandstone before mentioned. This phenomenon, which I examined with much care and attention, appears to throw some valuable light on the geology of this part of Australia, namely,

1st. That the injection of this quartz-dyke was subsequent to the deposition and induration of the hard schistose sandstone tilted, and, as a necessary consequence,

2nd. That it was subsequent to the epoch of this portion of the country assuming its actual contour.

3rd. That even in a position so favourable to the development of its thickness, the thickness of the schistose sandstone is very small otherwise the tilted portion would not have been limited to a width of 30 feet from the dyke.

4th. It proves the prolongation of the period of the occasional fissuring of the granite under a contractile force, to a very late epoch in the progress of the geological development of this country.

5th. That these fissures are not generally attended with any change of the relative level of the two sides of the fissure.

In the vicinity of the lakes, on the western side, I observed fragments of gypsum scattered over hundreds of acres of surface.

The horses have been fed the whole afternoon, and evening on a coarse bamboo or cane-like species of long-jointed grass, perfectly new to all our party. It grows on the clay bottom of the lake which contains the water.

As the horses ate it greedily, notwithstanding its present dry and withered state, I infer that they would eat it still more readily in a green state.

This grass attains a height of 4 or 5 feet, and throws up many stalks from the same stem. The stalks are bent at each joint.

June 13.—Start at 8.30 a.m., and travel till 2 p.m., when, the horses showing strong signs of fatigue and weakness, and having had plenty of water at the lake last night, and discovering no indications of water ahead of us, we camp on an open salt-bush plain, which moreover bears a large quantity of the green long-jointed grass, frequently mentioned before in this Journal, and of which the horses are very fond, without water, but having sufficient water for a short allowance of tea this evening and to morrow morning in our leaky water-wins. Travelling distance 15 miles;—direct distance 14 E. by S.

The first 3 miles of our route to-day was over a dark red stiff alluvial plain, sloping gently towards the lakes, and apparently first-rate wheat land, Ascending gradually from this, we reached a hilly country of a poor character, the rounded hilltops being capped by a stratum of ironstone at the surface, which is underlaid by a thin stratum of indurated shales, which again lay on a gneiss of very fine grain and a bright lustre when broken. Of this also I think the thickness is small.

The latter part of our route again lay through fine alluvial plains, covered with many varieties of salt-bush, samphire and grass.

June 14.—A gentle rain lasting nearly one hour, fell last night, which I hope was of much use to our horses; still there is no appearance of such rain as would enable us to proceed with confidence of finding water anywhere but in the bald hills, which we have evidently left behind, all the gullies on the steep side of Mount Burges being still as hard and dry as they could have been in the summer, and I think it not improbable that we shall be obliged to turn back, to the last bald hill, which we left on the 10th instant, and wait there for heavy rain.

Started at 8.45. a.m., and at 2 p.m., camped on a large open plain, without water, but with excellent feed of salt-bush and grass. Travelling distance 13 miles; direct distance 12 miles S. E. Our horses being knocked up, and there not being the slightest prospect of finding water by proceeding further over this vast alluvial plain in an easterly direction, determined me to halt here.

There are now and have been all day heavy vapor-laden clouds all round the horizon, which elsewhere would be considered a reliable indication of rain, but here we have frequently observed them without being followed with rain. If fortunately we get a heavy rain in the course of the next 24 hours, we shall be able to proceed on our intended course to the eastward, but all our horses are now showing evident signs of weakness and knocking up, which I attribute in part to their having during the last 10 days been without water for 3 single nights, but principally to the innutritious state of the grass which they are compelled to eat. As not one five-hundredth part of the surface of the country was burnt last summer, and as the fauna of the country contains no herbiverous species, such as the kangaroo, to crop the grass down in every tuft of grass is the growth of 2 or 3 summers in which of course the withered dusty accumulation of dried leaves and stalks bears enormous ratio to the few little shoots of green grass which are now making their appearance. To eat this sort of food horses require frequent water. As far as the nutritiousness of the natural pastures is concerned undoubtedly we are traversing this country at the very worst season of the year.

The country traversed to-day has been a red stiff clay plain with a gentle slope from some low ranges, covered with ironstone conglomerate, and the plain in places is thickly sprinkled with very minute black shining pebbles of this. The surface of the plain generally is as hard and dry as if not a drop of rain had fallen for 6 months.

This morning we abandoned a second horse, namely, Quiz, furnished by Mr Hardy. He was not fit for this service, as to condition, when we received him, and for many days he has been of little use to us. I hope that both he and Silver will find their way back to their respective owners near York, when they shall have recovered their strength.

June 15.—No rain having fallen last night, and our horses consequently having been 72 hours, and ourselves 24 hours, without water, and, which was in fact of more serious import, being 6 days' journey from any water on which we could rely, namely, from that at the last bald rock which we left on the morning of the 9th, for we had left only a few gallons of water in the hole of the ironstone near Mt. Burges, and the shallow mud and water of the lake at which we camped on the night of the 12th, would probably be dried op entirely before we could get back to it, I resolve to return to the bald rock quitted on the morning of the 10th, making, however, a digression to the southward, in view of the possibility of finding shallow water in some one or another of the lake beds, assuming that we should intersect some of the lake chains in that direction.

With our actual inexperience as whether any heavy rain does fall here in the winter months, and how soon it is likely to fall; with a certainty that any water, which may now cover one in ten or in twenty of the lake-bottoms to the depth of one or two inches, will speedily sink into the ground or be evaporated, unless rain falls; with every appearance of an indefinite extension of this alluvial but now waterless soil to the east and north-east; with our horses fast knocking up, already 48 hours without water, and ourselves 24 hours without the same prime necessary of life; with the only known reliable supply of water 5 days' journey behind us, it would have been rash in the extreme to push on any farther in this direction.

Started at 9 a.m. Travelled 10 miles W. by N., then 3 miles W. S. W. then 9 miles W. N. W., when we very unexpectedly find water about 2 inches deep in a lake, with excellent feed about. Here of course we camp, both ourselves and horses being much knocked up.

This water is perfectly sweet, but surcharged with clay, of which it leaves a thick sediment in every pannikin, and from this fact, and from that of the lake at which we encamped on the 12th instant being also perfectly sweet, and from having observed no deposit of salt in any of the numberless dry lake-beds which we have passed, I infer that sodium is not an element of the granite of this country, and consequently that no apprehension of finding salt water in sinking wells in this country need be entertained.

Our travelling distance to-day is 22 miles; direct distance 19 miles W. by N.

Our first 12 miles were over a magnificent lightly timbered, almost level plain, of an apparently rich stiff, dark red alluvium, such as I should imagine would grow splendid crops of wheat, and having just sufficient slope for purposes of artificial drainage. The latter 9 miles were obliquely across what I suspect to be a north-eastern branch of the great lake valley, nearly the whole breadth of which may be said to be occupied with lakes. These lakes are separated one from another by low banks or terrace, of which the substructure is the fine-grained rotten sandstone so frequently mentioned, and the surface is a light alluvial soil of a dark red color, covered with salt-bush, samphire, and grass. Many of the lake bot toms now are covered samphire and grass, from which fact I infer that they are being gradually filled up above the level of the winter floods whilst perhaps other lines of them are being gradually deepened so as to draw the floods into them.

Altogether I should think that few districts of Australia contain more fattening sheep runs for summer feeding than this valley does; in which opinion, all of us concur; and I may add that I apprehend that the surface of this valley and that of the numerous minor lake valleys which run into it from many directions, will be found, on full exploration of this country, to occupy a very large portion of its surface. Moreover the extent of rich alluvial plains sloping gently into the lake bottoms on either side is very great, so that this district appears destined to become ultimately one of the richest agricultural and pastoral districts of Australia.

We noticed much gypsum on the floors of many of the lakes traversed to-day.

June 16.—No rain or any prospect of any, which would justify me in proceeding again into the heart of the rich alluvial plains which surround us north, east, and south; but there being a sufficiency of muddy water in the lake, the feed round it being so good, and our horses being so much in need of rest, I determine to recruit them here a couple of days before I make back to our last bald-hill camp, from which, after the horses are sufficiently recruited, to make a push towards the south coast, as I think it very desirable if possible to ascertain how far good land extends in that direction; as the facility of stocking this country from the overstocked runs of Victoria and South Australia must much depend on its facility of access to the coast of the Australian Bight. Moreover I wish, if practicable, to visit the elevated white cliffs laid down by Flinders in, his survey of the shores of the Australian Bight, and which are reported by Eyre to be composed of chalk, with flints, as their constitution cannot fail to throw much light on the geology of South Central Australia.

After our usual early breakfast, Mr Robinson and myself examined first several small islands projecting out of the floor of the lake, near its western margin, and afterwards climbed to the top of a small round hill, projecting like a peninsula into the lake valley on its north-west side, and attaining an elevation of about 200 feet above the lakes. To this hill I propose to attach the name of my indefatigable and estimable friend and companion Mr Robinson. It bears from Mount Burges E S; distance 18 miles.

On the flanks of this hill a remarkably hard metamorphic shale, which by exposure to weather acquires a vitreous polish, crops out. This shale is composed of many wavy laminae of different colors, and different degrees of induration; as if some of the laminae were composed of matter of different heat-conducting power from that of the others.

As to the islands within the margin of this lake, and many of the small hillocks which form the western shore of the lake, the fact that the shales which compose these are for the most part set on their edges, and that these edges tend in all directions, strongly suggests the idea that they must be ascribed to large fragments of the shale-covered side of the fissure now filled by the lake valley having toppled over into the chasm, and being not yet buried in the alluvial soil of the valley. In fact, I suspect that a careful examination of the geological structure of this country will show that this wide lake valley, and perhaps a large portion of the adjacent alluvial plains, occupy the site of a vast fissure of the granitic crust, and that the northern and western side of the fissured crust extends in an unbroken, or very rarely broken, mass far into the interior of South Western Central Australia, and certainly that none of the vast fragments into which it may have been ruptured, have suffered any sensible tilting or relative elevation.

In sitting by our camp fire of an evening to eat our generally much-relished supper of damper, pork, and tea, and thereafter to smoke our equally enjoy able and indispensable pipes, I hear from my companions, all of whom possess much bush experience, much knowledge both of the natives and of the indigenous fauna of this colony, many stories of much interest bearing on these subjects.

This evening, for instance, two similar and well authenticated instances of the fallibility of the senses of wild animals, in a matter as to which I suppose most persons would consider the judgment of a wild animal absolutely infallible, were narrated, and I think they are of sufficient interest to be recorded briefly.

The first case was as follows:—

Hall and some friends were travelling in the hush some years ago, and were sitting round a very huge camp-fire one night after supper, when three mountain-ducks flew down into the fire, which they had evidently mistaken for water, and were so astonished on discovering their error, that Hall and his friends caught 2 out of the 3.

In the second instance, which was narrated by Kowitch and corroborated by Mr Robinson, in whose neighbourhood the incident had occurred, as a large party of natives were sitting round a large camp-fire one night, about 6 years ago, near Beverley, 2 old swans and a brood of gannets dived down into the fire, and all of them were caught by the natives, and given or sold by them to a settler in the neighbour hood the next day. Both Robinson and Kowitch knew most of the natives who were seated round the fire at the time; and I may add that Kowitch, who is one of the most intelligent and sensible natives that I ever knew, told me that this was the only case of this sort that he ever heard of in his life. I record these cases, as they may serve to correct the some what exaggerated estimate generally I think entertained of the infallibility of the senses of wild animals as to the features of nature.

Hall also on a previous occasion mentioned two facts illustrative of the habits and feelings of the aborigines of the coast between Augusta and Albany, which appear to me very interesting, the one physiologically and the other physcologically.

The first of these facts is as follows:—

The district above defined has a poor gravelly soil covered with mahogany forests. In this country kangaroos are very scarce, the natives very poor, and compelled to toil hard for their food. During the wet season their principal food is the kangaroo, which they catch thus:—Three search the bush in company to find a kangaroo. As soon as they sight one, the most skilful of the three in the art of tracking follows the track of the kangaroo at a quick run, the other two natives keeping abreast of him, and at a distance of 20 or 30 yards from him, one on either side. The office of these two is to pick up the track at once if the native in the centre should accidently lose it. They run along the track at the rate of about 6 miles per hour; whenever they approach the kangaroo, they shout and drive it on again; they continue the chase until dark; the next morning they take up the track again, and follow it up in the same way all day; on the third morning they return to the chase of the same animal again, which is always caught by simple exhaustion, during the afternoon of the third day; Hall assuring me that he had never known an instance of the kangaroo being killed much before the middle of the third day, or of its surviving the evening of that day; thereby illustrating the very important and suggestive truths that the muscular powers and constitutional strength both of wild animals and of man in a state of nature, when tested to the death; are almost uniform throughout each species, and that the wild man possesses these bodily powers in a measure equal or superior to that of most wild animals.

The second fact narrated by Hall is of much psychological interest, and very discordant with our narrow and depreciatory conceptions of the moral nature of man in the lowest possible stage of social progress.

In the district above defined, during the summer season of the year, the natives are forced, by the dearth of all other food, to live principally on a tuber, called by them mena; of which 4 or 5 grow to one plant.

These tubers are eaten in a roasted state, and have the following remarkable, and possible valuable qualities:—

1st. They are so laxative in their action on the bowels, that the natives guard against this effect by eating with them a white unctuous pipe-clay which is found in many districts of the colony.

2ndly. These tubers dye the tongue, palate, lips, gums, and interior surface of cheeks with a bright purple color, which is so permanent that, in the case of a 'native of this district who followed Hall from it to the Canning district and remained in his service in the latter district 3 years, and consequently during that time never tasted this root, the dye was not perceptibly faded at the expiration of that time.

Note.—This dye does not affect the colour of the teeth.

Now the country above defined is esteemed by all the neighbouring tribes to be so poor, that to belong to, or reside in it, is held as a proof of abject and contemptible poverty, for who would eat clay for a large part of each year; or get his meat for the remainder of the year, by the toilsome and almost animal expedient of hunting down the kangaroo by a continuous chase of 3 days, when in all the surrounding country the kangaroo can be speared in unlimited quantity at one season of the year, and the vegetable world supplies abundance of wholesome and palatable food for the remainder, unless he were wanting in courage or in enterprize; in other words, were a coward or a fool.

Such reasoning expresses the feeling of the wealthier tribes around, far in the simple and change less forms of Society and culture which Nature has impressed on man in Australia, the scorn of there happier and more fortunate fellows which poverty, ever so bravely and honestly borne, so often incurs, no less than in the higher forms of civilization which Christianity, science, and wealth have developed elsewhere, inflicts a keener pain than the physical privations and muscular toil which merely constitute the bodily substance and form of poverty.

The mena-eater knows well the contempt with which the neighbouring tribes regard him. His purple dyed tongue and lips will, he knows, proclaim to all strangers at every korrobbery that he belongs to a degraded race. The first word he utters will disclose his humble rank and status in Society, and perhaps draw down on him a storm of derision and contempt. He therefore keeps his mouth shut, and assumes that position and demeanour in the presence of his wealthier fellows, whether at a great public festival or at an accidental meeting, which befits his humble and penurious condition of life. Yet does he love the barren ironstone-forest-clad hills of his native land, despied by all others, and ungenerous to him, as he knows them to be, and great indeed must be the motive which will draw him from them, or, if away, prevent his speedy return.

June 17.—Started at 9 a.m., and travelled till past 6 p.m., when darkness compelled us to camp, without water, but in good feed, about 6 miles short of the well at Mount Burges. Travelling distance 24 miles; direct distance 22 miles W. by S.

The horses travelled to-day better than I had expected, having been much recruited by their day's rest at the lake, where the grass growing between the samphire was unusually green.

Of our course to-day, 5 or 6 miles were over low ranges, covered with metamorphic shales in angular fragments; about 6 miles over fine alluvial plains of a rich dark red stiff soil; the remainder was through two lake valleys, both trending to the south-west, and probably uniting at a few miles to the south of our track.

The country is still as dry, and the grass as withered, as I have ever seen it in the month of March in the Avon Valley, and to-day it was very unpleasant to walk behind the horses, from the dust blowing in our faces.

Again we had no water for tea to-night, as both from expecting to reach the well, and also on account of the extreme muddiness of the water of the lake, I had ordered none to be brought on with us this morning. Of course we shall have none until we get to the well to-morrow.

Hall has been very poorly all this afternoon, complaining of his liver, the bad state of which he attributes to the muddy water of the hike. Neither Edwards nor myself feel well, I think from the cause to which Hall attributes his sickness, and we all feel the privation of water to-night far more than on any former occasion.

June 18.—Started at 8.45 a.m., of course without breakfast, as we are too thirsty to eat without drink, and about noon reach the well, to our not small relief. Direct distance 7 miles W. by S.

We found that the water in the well had somewhat shrunk since we left it on the 11th instant, and we could afford our horses only 1 gallons of water each, as we are obliged to carry on water for our use to-morrow, as it will not be possible to reach the bald rock, our camp of the 9th instant, to which we arc falling back under two days, and we know that there is no water on our track between these points.

To search for water now in the few shallow gullies which exist is perfectly useless, and my only courses until heavy rain shall come, is to halt the party at the nearest large bald hill, to recruit our horses, which are much knocked up, and to wait for rain; whilst Kowitch and myself endeavour to find a better watered country to the southward. Towards the eastward and northward, in which directions the alluvial plains seem to extend indefinitely, I have no hope of finding water until after very heavy rain.

This design I had hoped to be able to carry out at and from the well, as I had entertained a doubtful faith that this well was fed by a hind drainage, and would be found full on our return to it; a faith which it will have been seen that our experience falsified and which therefore I postponed until we should regain our last bald rock.

June 19.—Although we deepened the well, by clearing mud, &c., out of its bottom, by about 2 feet last evening, in a feeble hope that water might drain into it in the night, this morning we did not find more than 2 gallons of water in it. Our horses, instead of feeding, had been collected round the well all night, smelling the damp ground, and trying to reach the little surface of water, which, being more than 4 feet below the rocky edge of the well, they could not effect, and consequently they looked miserable indeed this morning. However at this present moment, 8 a.m., the sky is overcast with clouds, and if we had not so often been mistaken in our forecasts of rain from similar dark clouds, I should confidently reckon that it will fall by noon to-day, and should remain here to recruit our horses and examine the country north and south, instead of returning farther west before doing so.

Started at 8.30 a.m., and 2 p.m. reach our camp of the 9th instant. Direct distance 14 miles S. by W.

A little before noon a steady soaking rain began to descend, which, although it drenched us well before we reached our camping-ground, we all hailed with no little pleasure for the sake of our horses, and the facility of our future movements. Indeed if rain had not come to-day, I anticipate that we should have left some of our horses bones at this camp—a consummation not to be wondered at, if it be remembered that in the last 11 days of constant hard travelling, with only one day's rest, they have once been 4 days and 3 nights without water, and on three other occasions have been upwards of 30 hours without the same prime necessary, and that at a season of the year at which I think the grass, under existing circumstances, is altogether more withered, dusty, and innutritious, than at any other season.

June 20.—Start at 9 a.m., and at 1.30 p.m. reach the bald rocks at which we had encamped on the evening of the 8th instant. Direct distance 12 miles, W. by S.

About half our route was over ranges of small rounded hills, capped with metamorphic schists; the remainder was over alluvial plains and slopes, of apparently rich soil, now covered principally with salt-bush and a little withered grass in scattered tufts.

This has been a fine bright day, with no promise of further rain at hand, and I observe that the strong rain which gave as such a drenching yesterday has not left a spoonful of surface water in any of the alluvial plains we have traversed to-day.

The appearance of the withered grass throughout this district, and the backward state of vegetation, as indicated by the shrubs and grasses of the country, combined with the appearance of the sky and the lightness of the very few showers, (except that of yesterday) which we have experienced, they being in fact rather mists than, rainfalls, strongly impress on me, an opinion,

1st. That the total annual rainfall here bears a very small ratio to that of the western slope of the Darling Range, the actual quantities being probably about 25 and 40 inches respectively.

2ndly. That of the annual rainfall an unusually large fraction is delivered in the summer season, when it descends in violent rain storms, accompanied with much thunder.

3rdly. That the prevailing characteristic of the winter season here is a cloudy state of sky, with occasional misty showers of ram, and very little wind.

If it be remembered that the mean annual rainfall at the town of Bedford, near the centre of England, and in a relatively low position, is less than one seventh of that received at Braithwaite, in Cumberland, on very high land close to the western coast, and is only about one quarter of that received generally on high hind near the western shores of the United Kingdom, and yet that the same species of plants constitute the staple products of agriculture under these very different hygrometric conditions; again if the remarks of Darwin on the comparative effects of given quantities of rain in the dry interior provinces of northern Chili, and in the humid maritime districts of the southern provinces of the same country, be duly considered, no apprehension that the small annual rainfall which I ascribe to this district will prove insufficient to the purposes of a highly productive agricultural system in future, and to the wants of countless herds of sheep and cattle in the present, will be entertained.

As was to be expected, our horses, after there recent long and frequent privations of water, on arriving near the rock, rushed to the water holes in an almost frantic way, and gorged themselves with their contents to a degree more easily conceived than described.

I was so ill to-day, I believe from the constipating effect of the clay-saturated water which we were compelled to drink at the lake, that I could not keep up with the party, and did not arrive at camping ground until long after they had got in. Hall and Edwards also have been very poorly for the last two days from the same cause.

June 21.—All hands employed in repairing bags and other gear, and in taking account of and repacking the stores, &c.

It is absolutely necessary to rest here 4 or 5 days to recruit our horses, after their severe privations and hard work, and even then, unless heavy rain fall in the mean time, I apprehend that I must fall back still farther west, as, from the alluvial character of the country north-east, and south of our present position, and the absence apparently of bald rocks in these directions, I cannot expect at present to find water in either of these directions.

Our total travelling distance from Comining (Mr Smith's station) is now 546 miles, and as I think that the following facts will be valuable as records of the distribution of animal life, and of the aborigines, in this part of the interior of Australia, prior to the advent of colonists, and may serve to correct many erroneous conceptions on this subject generally entertained, I will here record certain facts illustrative of the subject.

Since leaving Comining on the 11th ultimo, 2 kangaroos and 3 emus only have been seen by all members of the party collectively. Of these, 1 kangaroo and 1 emu have been shot. During the same time 1 gnow has been shot, 5 have been seen, and about 20 gnows' nests.

On the lakes which have contained water, about 30 ducks in all have been seen, of which none have been shot, although several attempts to get near them have been made, and at least three of our party are good shots, but they are as wild as if they had been fired at daily.

Not one native has yet been seen. Their fires have been seen on 4 occasions, and their tracks, but generally of many weeks' or months' date, on 10 or 12 occasions. During the last two days we have travelled along our old track made 10 days since, but no native has crossed or followed our track in that time.

All these facts I think indicate a scantiness of life, both, human and of the larger species of animals, in the interior of Australia, even where the soil is of great natural fertility, which throws a valuable light on the distribution of animal life, prior to the advent of civilized man and of cultivation, in other countries of similar climatological conditions, for, as I believe that a great part of the country traversed by the expedition is endowed with the highest agricultural fertility, the extraordinary poverty of its larger fauna as to the number of individuals, must be ascribed solely to climatological conditions.

In the evening read to the party the Church Service for the day.

June 22.—This morning Kowitch and myself, taking 2 riding horses, 1 pack-horse, and 4 days' rations proceeded towards the southward, to ascertain if bald hills extended in that direction, and consequently if we could move our camp that way. We travelled nearly south all day, and camped at a fine bald hill in the evening. Direct distance 18 miles S.S.W. Country traversed, about one-half good alluvial, the remainder poor alluvials and sand-plains.

June 23.—Our course to-day has been principally over clay forest lands and sand-plains. Direct distance made 20 miles S.S.E. Camp in the evening at some low bare rocks, with good feed about and plenty of water.

We passed to-day many exhibitions of bare rock, evidently intumescencies and not dislocated fragments, of the massive granite crust, in low positions, each as the lower part of hill sides, or in the valley flats; and in fact have done so on former occasions which I have not recorded; but I record the fact here, as an evidence both of the thinness of the sedimentary rocks and soils with which the granite is covered throughout this country, and of its necessary corollary, that the slope and form of the undulation of the granite approximately conform to those of the actual surface soils—a fact of some importance in the physical theory of our planet, and nowhere else perhaps so extensively and plainly exhibited as in this district; nevertheless, even here the question how many of the lake valleys occupy fissures, and how many occupy only depressions or undulations, which the granite assumed in its primeval consolidation by cooling, is not of such easy determination; but I think it may safely be affirmed that the great lake chain occupies a line of fissures, and that many of the smaller chains and rich alluvial valleys occupy not lines of fissure, but simply depressions of the granite crust.

June 24.—Having now ascertained the extension of bald bills, water, and of a more or less good country and grass for more than 30 miles due south of the rock at which I left the remainder of the party, I thought it expedient not to extend our excursion any farther, as it would probably necessitate a farther detention of the whole party at the rock, to recruit the 3 horses which we had taken with us, after our return to it; this morning, therefore, I resolved to make a straight course back to the rock, which we reached, after a long ride, about dark this evening.

Our return route lay altogether to the eastward of our outward route, and traversed a continuous alluvial plain of a rich mellow appearance, thinly covered with a short stunted species of woorock and bushes; with a considerable quantity of salt-bush, but little grass. The deficiency of grass in this case, as in other extensive tracts of apparently rich land which have been traversed by the expedition, I attribute entirely to two causes, namely,—

1st. The saturation of the soil during a portion of the rainy season, resulting from the deficiency of natural drainage.

2ndly. The absence of a grass-eating indigenous fauna.

In fact few countries which I have ever visited appear to me to disiderate systematic artificial drainage so much as this fertile district does; and I fear that until artificial drainage be systematically applied, only a small fraction of its potential fertility will be available for the purposes of agricultural industry and commerce.

How far close feeding by sheep and horses will extend the area of the natural grasses, or rather of some few valuable species of them, and develop a thick growth of them, experience will prove. For my part, I anticipate a considerable improvement by these means.

We found the party all right on our reaching the camp, and that Messrs. Robinson and Edwards had, agreeably to my request before leaving them, devoted the 23rd and 24th inst., to making an excursion to the northward for the purpose of ascertaining if water was to be found in that direction. They reported that they had made a distance of about 20 miles N. by W. principally over a good alluvial soil covered with salt-bush and grass, that they had found neither bald hills nor water, except less than one pannikin-full of very muddy water, which they had got out of a hole on the surface of the clay, which was all they had between them for tea and breakfast the next morning; that the country to the north, when they turned back, appeared more broken and hilly than what they had traversed, and also to rise slightly from the southward.

June 25 and 26.—The 5 horses which our two detached parties had taken with them, and which were of course the strongest of required to rest these two days to recover the effects of their extra work.

June 27.—I am convinced that it would be very dangerous, in the present state of our horses, to attempt again to penetrate to the eastward or north ward of this rock until the fall of such heavy rain as would certainly leave surface water on the alluvial soils in those directions, and as weeks or mouths may elapse before such rain will fall, I have determined therefore to proceed towards the south coast, in which direction I think it more likely to find water at this season of the year than to the northward, and I consider it it very desirable that the character of the belt of country, about 150 miles in width, intervening between this granite district and the coast should be ascertained, as the profitable occupation of the country in which we now are for pastoral purposes must depend on its facility of access to the shores of the Australian Bight, its distance from the western coast being too great to admit of its profitable occupation, under a system of the land transport of its imports and exports, from and to the latter. Accordingly at 10.30. a.m. we started on a direct course towards the nearest point of the coast, and travelled until 1.30 p.m., when Hall being suddenly taken very ill with a dizziness or swimming in the head, which compelled him to lie down, being unable for a time even to stand upright, I was compelled to halt at a bald hill which fortunately happened to be near at hand when this occurred, and at which, as usual, we found plenty of grass and water. Direct distance 9 miles S.E.

Our route was generally through a good alluvia soil, but intermixed occasionally with patches of sand-plain and thicket.

After dinner, Kowitch having observed from the top of the bald hill a native fire at a distance of about a mile, being desirous to get an interview with the natives, with a view to obtain information as to the country, and possibly to obtain the services of one of them as a guide, we all, except Hall, whom we left in charge of the camp, proceeded, well armed, in the direction of the fire, towards which we approached as stealthily as possible, to prevent the very possible contingency of the natives discovering our approach before we should see them, and bolting from us.

To our disappointment, we found that the fire had been kindled only by one native woman, who, with her little boy, an infant of less than 5 years of age, whom she carried on her shoulder, was digging roots, her husband being at the time away opossum hunting, as far as we could make out from her signs and shouts.

The poor woman, of course, was dreadfully frightened at the sudden apparition of such monsters she evidently took us to be, and she immediately attempted to escape from us into a thicket, carrying her little boy on her shoulder, both herself and child being perfectly naked. However, being very anxious to have a parley with her, and if possible to get her husband to come to our tents, with difficulty we got her out of the thicket, and by means of signs, by occasionally pushing and pulling her by the arm, whilst Kowitch walked before her, and poured on her an incessant but I believe perfectly unintelligible harangue, setting forth our benevolent intentions, we at length got her as far as our camp fire, by the side of which she immediately squatted down, and remained a very frightened and involuntary guest for about an hour.

Here she seemed gradually to recover her self-possession, and talked very urgently to Kowitch, though little to his edification, as he was able to understand nothing of what she intended to express.

We tried in vain many times to make her taste our bread, tea, sugar, and meat, but she would neither taste them herself nor allow her child to do so, and when at last we allowed her to go back to her fire, making her take these things in her hand, as soon as she got about 100 yards from the hut she flung them all away.

I think she was even more frightened at the sight of our horses, near which unintentionally we passed in bringing her to the tent, than at ourselves, as she shuddered in the most evident manner when she suddenly saw the first of them within a few yards, rushing away from it into a thicket, and telling Kowitch in the most vehement manner that she could not go near such a big monster.

Our object in compelling her to come to our tents was a hope that, if we would conciliate her with food, she might bring her husband to us, and that Kowitch might succeed in getting from him some information as to the country between this and the coast which might prove of use to us.

June 28.—Started at 9.30. a.m., and at 0.15 p.m. camped at another large bald hill. Direct distance 8 miles S.E. Country travelled, partly alluvial plains, partly sand-plains, and thickets.

Although we have travelled to-day only about 9 miles, yet, for two hours after our arrival here, some of the horses began to feed, all preferring to rest; another proof of the weak condition to which the innutritious withered state of the grass at this season of the year has reduced them all. In there present state of condition we shall not be able to travel more than 3 hours per day, but I hope that, when we get near the south coast, we shall find the spring of the grass much further advanced and that our horses will then somewhat recover their lost strength.

In consequence of the 7 days rest which the horses have so lately had, and of the shortness of the two days' journeys which they have since made, I thought it necessary to make a short journey this morning. Accordingly we started at 8.45 a.m. and at 11 a.m., reached a very extensive bald hill, at which we encamped. Direct distance 7 miles S. E.

Our route lay through thickets and sand-plains for about three miles, the remainder of it being through light alluvial land on which however, there is little or no grass.

From the top of this bald hill an extensive view of the surrounding country can be obtained, showing many bare rocks to the north and north-west, and a hilly rising country in that direction, as well as towards the east. From, south-east to south-west the country is flat and low. No lakes can be seen. From the top of this hill, but I doubt not that they must lie in the low country to the southward.

June 30.—In consequence of the weak state of the horses, and of the dryness of the country, for still no drop of water can be found except in cavities on the surface of the bare rocks, I do not think it prudent to leave the country in which these are exhibited, and consequently have altered our course to-day to south by west, in which direction I expect to shift along their southern margin. Started at 9.20 a.m., and at 2.20 p.m. stopped at another rather extensive exhibition of bare rock, on a hill side, where we found plenty of water but very poor feed for the horses, which are nearly knocked up by their five hours' work. Direct distance 15 miles S. by W. Country traversed, about 2 miles thicket, 4 or 5 miles sand-plain, the remainder alluvial soil, generally of a light texture.

[VII. Journal: July]

July 1.—The horses are now so weak, owing to the withered state of the grass, that I think it would not be prudent either to make the south coast, or to attempt to return by a more northern route than our outward journey, as, in the latter case, we shall, still run much risk of being without water; I have therefore again altered our course, and now intend to steer south-west for some days, assuming that we shall still be within the limits of the bare rock district, and afterwards to adopt a still more westerly route until we reach, the limits of the settled country.

No winter climate can be conceived more delightful than the weather which we have experienced since leaving Tampin; since which we have only once had a rain which could wet a person through, either by day or by night; but have had generally warm cloudy weather, with occasional outbursts of sun shine, and sometimes, but rarely two or three days of bright sunshine, with frosty nights.

Notwithstanding the very small quantity of rain which has actually fallen hitherto this winter, I believe any grain crop would have grown well throughout it, on deeply ploughed land, for I think that the atmospheric moisture would quite suffice, to keep any of the cerealia in in a state of vigorous growth on well-ploughed land, which had been once saturated with a day's rain, and that the warmth and moisture of the atmosphere, and the limited quantity of sunshine, would keep any young corn in a state of vigorous growth.

It still remains to be proved by experience whether this be an exceptionally dry winter for this district, or merely an average one; the remainder of the annual rainfall which, on theoretical grounds, may be anticipated to be very small for the latitude, being received in violent thunder-storms during the summer.

I am inclined to believe that the latter is the more probable hypothesis, but nevertheless I do not doubt, that the winter rainfall, coupled with the general warmth and humidity of the atmosphere, will be found sufficient for the most successful cultivation of the cerealia.

As two of the horse's strayed away during the night several miles on. our track, we did not start until noon; and at 4 p.m. we camped at another extensive rock, with plenty of water and grass such as it is. Direct distance 12 miles south-west.

We passed many bare rocks to-day, principally on the north side of our track, and from the tops of the higher ones we obtained extensive views of the low flat country to the south and south-west of us, in which I have no doubt that the chain of lakes lies. About one-half our route was through alluvial plains, the remainder was over rocky ground, in the vicinities of the exposed rocks, and through sand-plains, which generally showed a good sprinkling of small rounded pebbles of ironstone on their surface.

My mare Beauty knocked up to-day, and had to be left about 2 miles short of our camping ground. I shall send back for her to-morrow morning, but I fear that she will he of little service to us during the remainder of our journey.

July 2.—Again altered our course to W. S. W., in order both to keep within the margin of the bare rocks, where alone water is to be found, and to make our way back to the settled districts as directly as possible, all the horses being now so weak that I cannot reckon on doing more than 7 or 8 miles per day, at which rate we shall run our provisions very short before we get in, and apparently we have no prospect of eking them out with game until we get nearer the settled districts. Direct distance 14 miles W. S. W.

July 3.—Started at 9 a.m. and at 1.30 p.m. camped at another extensive bare rock with plenty of water on it, and with the usual complement of withered grass and rushes around it. Direct distance 11 miles W. S. W.

The horses travelled very badly to-day. Beauty again knocked up, although carrying only my riding saddle, and after pulling and driving her with the greatest difficulty for the last hour of the journey, we were obliged to unsaddle and leave her about one quarter of a mile short of the camp, from which distance she was got in late in the afternoon. Three of the other horses also were driven through with difficulty, being quite knocked up when they got in. Traversed a good deal of thicket intermixed with alluvial plains.

July 4.—In consequence of the horses being so weak, I resolved to rest here all day, which I hope will somewhat recruit them; also to throw away all the oilskin covers foe the packs, which so far, from the absence of rain, have been of little service to us, and judging from the settled appearance of the sky, I think it not likely that we shall much require them during our return journey. In fact Robinson, Edwards, and Hall, all confidently think that the rainy season in this district is passed, and certainly the weather is more like that of October or November in the York district than that of July. More agreeable winter weather could hardly be conceived. Future experience will show whether this is an exceptional winter for this country, or, being an average one, at what season of the year the principal rain-fall usually takes place.

This agreeable weather, combined with the weak state of our horses, which compels us to limit our travelling to 3 or 4 miles per day (in which however all, except one, walk the whole distance) renders our journey, as far as fatigue and hardship to ourselves are concerned, very easy work, and as we have not yet consumed more than half of our rations, and being now on our direct course to York, which, making a liberal allowance for the weakness of our horses, I hope to reach in five weeks, we still enjoy a full supply of provisions.

We still are unable to procure any game whatever, although constantly on the look out for it. From the top of this rock, at sunrise this morning, we observed the fog lying in long lines in many localities from west by north to east; which lines of fog I take to indicate the lake-valley.

July 5.—This morning, in order to reduce the loads of our horses as far as possible, and it being not probable that we shall require them, as their first set of shoes are still good, and not nearly worn out, we threw away all the spare horse shoes, the total weight of which was about 70 lbs. Started at 10 am, and at 0.15 p.m. halted in some good feed. Direct distance 6 miles W. by S.

We passed a great number of bare rocks, generally very little elevated above the surrounding ground, but some of them covering perhaps 10 acres; the remainder of our route was pretty equally divided between alluvial soil, and sand-plains; the country being still as dry and dusty as before. At about 4 miles from this morning's camp my mare Beauty again knocked up, lying down on the road, and refusing to proceed, although carrying only my empty saddle. As I see that there is no hope of my getting her on into York, I abandoned her where she lay down the second time. I have no doubt that with rest she will recover her strength, and I hope that she will find her way back to York, in the course of a month or two.

Poppet also, a mare supplied by Messrs. Phillips and Co., was much knocked up to-day, and I fear that we shall not take her in with us.

It is now evident that our journeys must be restricted to 6 or 7 miles per day, until we get into much more nutritious feed, than any which our horses have had for the last month; but, as we still have provisions sufficient for two months consumption, and shall probably be able to get kangaroo when we reach 150 miles of York, our present distance being about 300 miles. I am not at present under any anxiety, with reference to food; but these very short distances make the time pass very tediously, the excitement of novelty and of the vague hopes and expectations which we indulged at starting, being now exhausted, and as our homeward track is only some 50 miles to the south of our outward track, we cannot even expect to see any country materially different from what we have already seen.

Up to this date we have experienced none of the hardships, which so frequently fall to the lot of explorers, and upon which, in proportion as they are painful in the actual, one is apt to look back in the past, with somewhat of pride and satisfaction, and unless all our horses should knock up, and have to be abandoned, I trust we shall get back to York without any great measure of them. We have the most delightful weather which can be conceived, an abundant ration, and from the weakness of our horses, very short hours of travel. I should find the time less heavy on my hands, my few books and the conversational powers of my companions being now quite used up, if our daily travelling distances were doubled.

In the afternoon Kowitch and myself walked back along our track to where my mare had been left. We found her feeding near that spot, but so weak that I do not intend to attempt to take her on with us.

July 6.—In consequence of having rested one day during the past week, and of having made such very short journeys during the other days, I thought it necessary to make a short journey to-day, although Sunday. Accordingly we started at 11 a.m., and at 2 p.m. camped at another bare rock where we found better feed than usual. Travelling distance 9 miles, direct distance 8 miles W. by S.

We observed to-day, for the first time during many weeks, a few fine tall blackboys, (xanthorroeas) on the upper part of a sand-plain.

We passed many bare rocks with grass about them, and about one half our route was over alluvial soils.

In the evening read the Church Service for the day.

July 7.—Started at 8.15 a.m., and at 0.20 p.m. camped at a bare rock, with water, but very poor feed about. Direct distance 11 miles W. 1 S.

The weakness of Spy and Monarch compelled us to halt at this bare rock, as there appeared to be no prospect that we should find better feed within any distance that they would be able to travel. We passed one large dry lake bed, which did not appear to form a link of any chain of lakes. Our route lay mostly over sand-plain.

In a gully, cut 5 or 6 feet, and draining the lower side of a extensive sand-plain, a good section of the geological formation of the country was exhibited, as the solid granite was shown at the bottom; on it a fine, hard marl, or sandstone, having a thickness of 2 or 3 feet and a dull white color; then a gravelly soil of a light red color, containing pebbles of ironstone, and having a thickness of about one foot; this being the surface soil.

The white colored rock in this locality, and generally to the eastward of this, (which rock I think is more correctly described, as a marl than as a sandstone,) is no doubt geologically identical with the dull whitish sandstone which I have described in former part of this Journal, as a rock of undoubtedly marine origin, and bedded immediately on the granite all through the country eastward of the Avon. I have little doubt that the rock described by Flinders as forming clifts on the western shores of the Australian Bight, which attain an elevation of 4 or 500 feet, and which have since been described by Eyre as a chalk, is only an extension and great vertical development of this rock.

The fact of its texture here much resembling that of a marl, whereas near the Avon it is lithologically a common sandstone I ascribe to the large proportion of feldspar contained in the granite of this country, and on the assumption that this really is the rock which forms the white cliffs of the western shores of the Bight, I conclude that the granite has there dipped far beneath the surface, and that the existing surface in consequence has a very poor soil.

July 8.—Start at 8.45 a.m., and at 1 p.m. camp at another bare rock, with, poor feed about it. Direct distance 11 miles west.

The greater part of the country traversed to-day is sand-plain.

Monarch and Spy very nearly knocked up again to-day, and only with much trouble were they brought on to the camp. I fear that they will not travel with us many more miles, even without any load whatever.

July 9.—Started at 9 a.m., and at 1.30 p.m. reached another bare rock, near a dry lake, with plenty of samphire in the lake, and excellent grass about the rock. Direct distance 17 miles W.

The greater part of our route again to-day has been over a sand-plain, here and there broken by wooded hills, mostly capped with ironstone. Monarch, who carried only 1 empty riding saddle knocked up, and was left about 6 miles from the camp, and Spy, who also carried 2 riding saddles, also knocked up, and was left one mile from camp—in both cases being pushed on as far as it was possible to get them.

We observed several native fires on the north side of our track to-day, and about 4 p.m. when all of us were very tired, and apparently had no prospect of getting water or grass to-night, very fortunately we were accosted by three natives, who approached within about 300 yards of us, and standing there, shouted that they were mena men, pronouncing the word 'men' as distinctly as possible.

I immediately despatched Kowitch alone to them, fearing that if more of us went towards them, they might be frightened and run away, and I was very happy to observe that he had not much difficulty in making himself understood by them.

He soon learnt that one of them had been to Lake Dambling, near Kojunup, and another had once been to Comining, Mr Smith's station; that both had seen white men and sheep, and had tasted damper and tea, and that other black fellows had seen our outward track. On making known to them that we were searching for water and grass for our horses to-night, they readily offered to take us to both which they accomplished in a distance of about 2 miles.

It was very interesting to observe the high spirits into which this friendly meeting with these three natives put Kowitch, and the animated and most noisy conversation which he and they sustained, not only during the short distance they guided us, but at least up to midnight after arrival at our camp, where they spent the night.

We of course entertained them most hospitably on tea, damper, and pork, not so much in payment for the really valuable service which they rendered in taking us to good water and feed, which we probably should not have found without them, and at a time when all our horses are showing signs of knocking up, as with a view to conciliate their good-will and services to the squatters whom I hope to see dispersed over this country in the course of the next 2 or 3 years, and to whom it will be in their power to render valuable services.

As it may facilitate the finding of these natives to those who may shortly send their flocks out into this country, I record their native names, which are as follows: Kumbar, Dandokoert, and Kiddymurrin.

July 10.—This morning Mr. Robinson and my self, accompanied by Kiddymurrin and Dandokoert went back to fetch up Monarch and Spy, which we accomplished about noon, though, the former, who had wandered about the greater part of the night on barren hills, quite destitute of feed, was driven in with much difficulty, but I hope by resting here all to-day and to-morrow, we may yet be able to get them and all the other horses back to York with very easy stages, and driving two or three of the weaker ones without any loads whatever.

An excellent sheep-station might be formed at this rock, the native name of which is Kicharring, there being plenty of grass about it, and plenty of samphire about the lake Moonberry, which, as far as I can understand the natives, or rather Kowitch can do so, is one of a chain running from north to south, (but upon this point it is difficult to make the natives understand the purport of the question) and not a solitary lake.

The former version is the more probable, and conforms to my observation of the features of the neighbourhood, and also to my experience all through this country.

As two of these natives are to go with us as far as Mr Smith's station, I hope, by dint of patient enquiry and cross-examination, to obtain from them much useful information relative to the climate and prominent natural features of this country, before the conclusion of our journey.

July 11.—After breakfast, myself and one of the natives started to explore the lakes, and to ascertain whether they form a chain or not. In a walk of about 3 hours we crossed 6 or 7 lakes, trending to north and north-east in the ascending direction, and to the southward in the descending direction.

From a careful examination of the lakes and their margins, I arrived at the following conclusions, namely:—

1st. Either from a gradual diminution in the mean rainfall, or from a slow secular uprising of the entire country, or more probably from both these causes combined; these lakes hold much less water now than formerly. The conclusion is founded on the following phenomena, namely:—

1st. Many of these lakes are now overgrown with samphire through their entire areas.

2nd. Others are overgrown with samphire throughout the central portions of their areas, leaving between these and their banks a narrow margin, which is under water in some, but not in all, winters.

3rd. No one of these lakes contains any water whatever at present, but their floors are generally a dry, hard, and, where the soul is light, dusty as at midsummer; and the natives assert positively that they will not have any water whatever this winter, the rainy season being over; but that they all contained water last winter. Although it is impossible to obtain from them a positive and persistent reply to the questions whether the lakes being dry throughout the year be an usual or unusual phenomenon, from the general tenor of their replies, and the absence of any expression to the effect that this has been an unusually dry winter, I am inclined to think it has not that character with them, and consequently that these lakes are frequently dry the entire year.

4th. Intumescencies of the bare granite rock cross out in many points on the margins of these lakes, and the faces of these I found universally to be worn into shallow caves and cavities of varied forms, by the ripple of the lake waters; but, to enable such ripples to reach them, the water must formerly have had a depth of 7 or 6 feet in the central parts of the lakes, whereas both the distribution of samphire and the testimony of the natives alike show that the depth of water in them never in any winter exceeds 8 or 10 inches, under existing conditions.

2nd. The granite crops out, either in the bank or very close behind the banks, of all these lakes, and in three or four localities about each lake. The granite, as we have also elsewhere ever found to be the case* holding water at this season of the year in the cavities of its surface, and being surrounded with a larger or smaller margin of grass, and one or more native wells, holding permanent water, existing in the earth-filled cavities of each rock.

3rd. My former statement of the dullish white colored fine-grained sandstone, sometimes approaching, as here, to a marl in texture, and mechanical character, immediately overlying the granite and underlying the red colored soils, whether schists or clays, sands or gravels, derived from them, is fully confirmed by the sections exhibited in various localities of the cliffs or banks of these lakes, which I carefully examined, with special reference to this point. Further, that both the former and the latter are bedded conformably to the existing undulating surfaces of the granite.

4th. The entire country has a considerable slope from the northward, the northern banks of each of these lakes being invariably the highest, and when exhibiting the granite, that granite being the most water-worn by the ripples of the former hike surfaces.

5th. The absence of rivers, gullies, and other natural water channels, is to be ascribed, not to a want of slope in the surface of the country, or the porosity of soil, (for the porous soils here cover a very small fraction of the surface), but exclusively to the very small rainfall.

Since writing the above, I have ascertained from our three new native guides, of whom one has been actually to the south coast, and the other two a considerable portion of the way towards it, that bare rocks are to be found only for a distance of two days' journey south of this, and that the country thence to the coast is sandy, poor, grassless, and lakeless, from which testimony, combined with the observations of Flinders and Eyre on the cliffs of the Bight, I infer that the granite gradually dips from this parallel towards the south, and that the depression has been filled—

1st. With a great vertical thickness of the chalky white-colored marl or sandstone, which was undoubtedly deposited before any portion of the granite, from which its materials were derived, had reached the surface of the ocean, and before the waters of the ocean obtained (from whatever source) those salts of iron with which the red sedimentary rocks, whether schists and conglomerates, or soils derived from them, have been colored.

2nd. With these same red-colored schists and conglomerates, or with a soil derived from them.

The hypothesis of the unbroken granite crust slowly dipping towards the south is confirmed both by the testimony of these natives that the bare granite hills extend, and increase in number, so far as they have any knowledge of the country, to the north of this, and by the observation of Mr Austin as to their extension towards the north in the line of country traversed by the exploring expedition under his command in 1854. The native name of the lake near which we slept these two nights is

July 12.—Started at 11 a.m., and at 2 p.m. camped by the side of another lake, of which the native name is Wallwalshibby, and on some bare rock, with a fair quantity of grass about it, and plenty of samphire on the lake. Direct distance 10 miles. Country traversed, principally sand-plains, with a considerable quantity of coarse grass on them We again passed several lakes; all dry, and covered with samphire.

Started at 9.40 a.m., and at 2 p.m. camped at another very open hill side, exhibiting many small intumesencies of the granite, and covered with excellent grass for the horses; the old grass having been burnt during last summer. The native name of the hill is Budarding.

Our direct distance made to-day is 10 miles W. The country traversed is principally sand-plain, with much coarse grass and other herbage on it, and many lakes in its depressions, of which two contained water of a depth of 1 or 2 inches; the remainder were dry, and covered with samphire.

This morning we had for breakfast 2 ducks, which Kowitch shot last evening, being the first ducks killed by any of the party since we left York; and we all enjoyed them not a little, as we are getting rather tared of our unvarying diet of cold salt pork and damper.

Our horses travelled better to-day than for the last 3 week's, having evidently benefitted by the many day's rests which they have latterly had, and I hope that by restricting our journeys to 10 or 11 miles per day, and by putting on the three weakest of our horses the empty saddles only, we shall be able to take all in, except the three already abandoned. This is much more than a fortnight since I expected to accomplish.

This evening read the Church Service for the day to all the party.

To-day we learnt from the three natives who are accompanying us to Mr Smith's station, and whose replies to the question were positive and satisfactory, that the lakes in this neighbourhood never overflow from one into another; but that each receives, and retains until evaporated, the drainage of the sur rounding country; which fact furnishes further evidence of the smallness of the annual rainfall here; as a depth of 3 feet of water would generally make any of these lakes overflow info the lake adjacent; and it cannot he objected that much water may be received into the lake-basins, and there lost by soakage into the subsoil, as the floors of many, in fact of most of these lakes are imporous red or white clays, and the subsoil under these floors is generally a very hard and compact rock, composed of small pebbles of granite, bedded in a tenacious dark red clay, and I apprehend very imporous.

With reference to the very important question of the supply of sweet and good water to be obtained by well-sinking all through this singular country, it being evident that, for 8 or 9 months of every year from the defect of surface water and of all natural springs, the flocks, which I anticipate will occupy this country in a few years, must depend entirely on well water, and therefore that the distribution of water within the soil is a problem of peculiar interest, I will here briefly record my opinion, namely,

1st. That good water can be stored up only in those cavities and rugosities of the buried portion of the long sloping surfaces of the intumescencies or undulations of the granitic crust, which form the bills, both soil-covered and bare or bald, of the country, through which (cavities and rugosities) in every rainy season, the drainage of both the exposed and soil-covered face of tha granite flows (into some lower receptacle or reservoir), which here is a valley containing either a chain of lakes, or an isolated lake; in the latter case being correctly termed a basin, and not a valley.

2nd. That all water obtained in these ultimate receptacles of drainage must be salt; because the subsoils of these must contain the salt brought down into them annually, for countless ages, by the drainage from the above-mentioned higher portions of the granitic surface, as those salts must be left in the soil in each summer's evaporation of the drainage of the preceding winter.

Now there is no doubt that sodium is a constituent of all primitive granite, and that the granite of Western Australia contains this element in comparatively large quantity. Hence, on the most obvious and substantial theoretical grounds, the substrata of the undrained valley bottoms of this country would be inferred to contain much salt, and experience, in the only case in which the matter was tested by us, fully confirmed such an inference; for Hall having sunk a hole about 18 inches deep in the floor of the lake at which we camped on the, and allowed it to fill by infiltration, hoping thereby to get clear water in lieu of the liquid mud which covered the lake floor, succeeded indeed in getting clear water, but it was as salt as the strongest brine.

In fact here, as everywhere else in this colony, a mass of soil, of whatever texture, which is so situated as to adjacent imporous rocks that water will soak into, but cannot drain or percolate through, it, is sure to abound in salt; and as there is an annual drainage or percolation into, but no drainage or percolation through the soil-strata of the wide valleys and lake chains of this country, it is evident that these strata must receive and retain all the soluble salts contained in the surface of the exposed granite annually disintegrated, when the water itself has been evaporated by the summer sun.

Such being the physical elements of the problem, the future settlers of this district most limit their search for good water to the upper portions of the hills, (or intumescencies of the granite) whether earth covered or bare, and having studied the contour of the bare portions of the rock, and that of the sloping ground which conceals the lower portions of every intumescence of the granite, form the best conjecture which may be passable as to the position of the concavities and rugosities of the surface of the granite buried under the soil, and sink his well directly into the computed centre of one of these.

From my observation of the fact that one or more of the shallow native wells exists in the vicinity of each rock all through this country, and from my estimate of the probable rugosity of the soil-covered portion of every bald hill-side, I anticipate that a little experience and good common sense will enable the settlers of this district to find inexhaustible supplies of water in the margin of every bare rock and at comparatively trifling expense, both as to first sinking (the soil in the margin of the rocks being always light and porous), and as to the subse quent lifting of the water for the use of the flocks and herds and perhaps experience will show that any little expense which has to be incurred in these two operations is more than recouped to the stock owners of this country by the superior control over their stock, more particularly over all horses and cattle, and their consequent greater tameness and tractability, which the absence of all surface water for the greater and hotter part of every year, will enforce on the latter, by compelling them to come in to some well, and there receive water from the hand of man, instead of being able to drink at some part remote from the habitation and sight of man.

In my opinion there can be no question that the many advantages and economies incidental to this enforced daily approach to, and reliance on, man, operating on the extensive herds of horses and cattle which are likely to be fed in this country, will much exceed in value the cost of artificial watering, and I expect that every one who has had the misfortune to possess large herds of horses or cattle scattered in a semi-wild state over an extensive country, will readily concur in this opinion.

July 14.—Started at 8 a.m. and at 11.50 a.m., camped at a native well, called Churtmony, with fair feed about it, and several small lakes near it. Direct distance 11 miles west by north. Our entire route this day was through a continuation of sand-plains, slightly broken here and there by lakes and wooded valleys.

Monarch and Spy, although carrying only one riding saddle each, could with difficulty be kept up in the rear of the train, and I expect that we must reduce our daily distance to 7 or 8 miles, in order to take them on with us.

July 15.—Started at 8 a.m. and 0.25 p.m. camped at a bare rock, with water and grass, of which the native name is Northa-nopine. Direct distance 12 miles west. About 8 miles of our route lay through sand-plains, of a light yellow colour probably derived from feldspar, and of a texture which would dispose the soil to lead into a firm road under a moderate amount of traffic, and carrying, a considerable quantity of coarse grass and other herbage suitable for sheep and horses. In fact such is the prevailing character of all the sand-plains in this country, and I have no doubt that they will prove valuable as sheep runs. The remainder of our route lay through fine stiff alluvial land, admirably adapted to wheat growing.

I have omitted to record heretofore that the three natives who have now accompanied us 4 days as guides to Smith's station, are perfectly naked, as are all the natives of this country, which affords a strong proof of the mildness of its winter climate since, although the country is quite destitute of kangaroos, it abounds in opossums, dammars, and kangaroo rats from the skins of which they might easily manufacture cloaks, if the climate were such as to render them essential to their health or comfort.

Since we have been accompanied by these three natives, I have been much impressed with a fact, which, having a strong bearing on the science of philology, and not having observed it recorded in the journals of other explorers, I here record, for the consideration of any philologists into whose hands a copy of this Journal may perchance fall, namely, that whilst the natives instantly repeat any and every English word, phrase, or short sentence which may be addressed to them, with most marvellous correctness of pronunciation and intonation, and apparently with perfect facility, although without the most remote conception of the Import of any one of the words, Kowitch our York native, has very great difficulty in catching, and repeating not only short sentences, but even single words, such as names of persons, places; and natural objects, uttered by them, and when I want to get the name of a place, a tree, or any other object, Kowitch has to make them repeat the word several times before he can catch it and then evidently has to modify and amplify its parts not a little before he can make it comprehensible and analagible to my ear.

The fact is that these euphonious and well developed names, whether of persons or places, which appear in our own maps of this colony, and are adopted by the Europeans generally as the native names of the same, have as small similitude to the genuine original native names which they purport to be, as one of the now thicket-covered hill-sides of this country has to what the same hill-sides may be one or two hundred years time, when covered with highly cultivated fields, gardens, vineyards, nurseries &c., or perhaps more nearly, such as the river Clyde in Scotland, with its enormous and innumerable ships steamers, wharfs, and sea-walls of the present day, has to the same river of two centuries ago, when a cutter of 20 or 30 tons burden could with difficulty be brought up it. What locking, dredging, canalizing, embanking, and walling have done to develop into ample and harmonious proportion many hundreds of streams in Europe and North America during the last two centuries, that the alphabet, grammar, and arts of writing and printing, and finally poetry and literature in general, have done for the current of human speech in all the nations of mankind which happily have enjoyed the invaluable advantages. But few of those whose lot has been cast under these happier auspices can adequately conceive the vast measure of harmony, distinctness and what, for want of a better term, I would designate as organic development, by which their language even in its lowest forms, is separated from the shapeless utterences of the wild man, whose race for a thousand generations has possessed neither religion, laws, poetry, literature, social institutions, nor traditions, and who probably does not exchange words with fifty individuals beyond his own wife and family in the course of twelve months.

The fact is that the alphabets of civilized nations ancient and modern, however defective they all have been, and are, have still suffice to the great purpose of giving form, harmonious development, and proportion to human speech; whilst religion laws, poetry, and political institutions have given a permanency to the parts of speech, from generation to generation which cannot exist in the isolated families of wild men, who are utterly destitute of all those elements of social life, and whose undeveloped speech consequently undergoes a greater mutation by the combined action of degradation and capricious introsusception, within the life-time of one generation, than that of Greece has done in the twenty-five centuries which have elapsed since Homer painted, in immortal lines, alike the heroes who avenged and defended, the seduction of their frail and fair queen and countrywoman.

July 16.—Started at 8. a.m., and at 0.30 p.m. camped at another and very extensive bare rock, of which the native name is Moltthomy. Direct distance 10 miles W. by S.

This rock is surrounded by a great extent of excellent pasture, and in our route to day we have passed over three other bare rocks, each surrounded by grass, about 4 miles of rich alluvial soil, and as many of the loamy yellow-coloured sand-plains, which carry a vast quantity of grass and other herbage suitable to sheep.

July 17.—Started at 8 a.m., and at 11.45 a.m. camped at a swamp, called Mondagee. Direct distance 10 miles W. S. W.

Our route to-day has been entirely through forest land, of which rather less than one-half has been a fine sticky stiff soil, suitable to the cultivation of wheat—the remainder has been of a lighter character. The forest consists of woorook, morrel and cedar.

In consequence of its having rained both last night and the previous night, we found the ground rather boggy in some places, particularly in the vicinity of the rock which we quitted this morning, and probably, if we had been without the guidance of the natives, who know the country, we should have experienced some difficulty from the circumstance.

The feed round this swamp is at present poorer than any which our horses have had for some week's past, but probably there is good feed on the swamp itself in the summer-time.

July 18.—Started at 9 a.m., and 0.20 p.m. camped on a lofty and extensive hill, called Nullah-culling, on the top of which a considerable quantity of bare rock comes to the surface.

This is one of the most picturesque and pleasant looking camping grounds which we have had during the Expedition, all the upper portion of the hill being very open, with a thin sprinkling of fine jam and oak, (casuarina) trees, distributed both in small groups and singly, and with an excellent bite of grass around them. It would make a very eligible sheep-station, its distance from Comining being about miles..

Direct distance made to-day 9 miles W., of which distance 4 lay over an excellent stiff red alluvial soil, the remainder over sand-plains, which, as usual, contain much grass and herbage suitable to sheep.

Rain having fallen all yesterday afternoon and last night, the country has become very boggy, and in consequence, although we travelled only 3 hours and 20 minutes, both ourselves and horses were more than usually fatigued when we camped.

As we are now approaching so near the termination of our exploration, our distance from Comining not exceeding miles, and since throughout the entire country traversed by the Expedition we have invariably found grass around the base of every bare rock, and water in the cavities of its surface I will here suggest a solution of the phenomenon of the superior quality of the grass close around the margins of the bare rocks, as compared with that half-way down the hill-sides, or in the bottoms of the wide valleys which between the hills—a problem which was frequently before my mind.

The proportion of the mineral elements of agricultural contained in equal masses of granite increases with the depth of original bedding of each block, or, in other words, the greater the depth of the bedding of any block of granite in the primeval foundation of the granite crust, the greater the proportion of the mineral elements of agricultural fertility which it will contain; the masses compared being taken in the same vertical column.

Now it is evident that the existing soil around the margin of any bald hill must be formed by a more recent disintegration of a portion of the rock's surface, than the subsoil of the same margin, or than the surface soil at a greater distance from the rock.

Therefore it must be formed from the disintegration of a portion of the rock which originally under lay that, from the disintegration of which the more distant surface soil and the adjacent subsoil were derived; that is, from a portion of the rock originally endowed with a larger proportion of the elements of agricultural fertility.

But the existing surface soil around the margins of the vast bare rocks is not, in fact, derived from a richer quality of granite, than that from its subsoil and the more distant surface soil were derived, but in the former case less time has been afforded to the winter rains to wash out of it, and down into the neighbouring valley bottom, all the soluble salts formed in the disintegration of the minute fragments of granite which primarily constituted the soil than in the latter case; therefore both being compounded of better original materials, and from those better materials, have been less worn out or expended, the surface soil around the margin of every bare rock should be, as our observation shewed us that it universally is, better and richer than the sample at a considerable distance, say half a mile from the margin of the same rock.

On the principles herein propounded, it is evident that the wide alluvial bottoms of the undrained valleys, which have received and retained perhaps for hundreds of thousands of years soluble salts washed down into them from the exposed surfaces of adjacent projections of rock, must be extremely rich in those elements of fertility, and I feel confident that experience will prove them to be so.

But in ascribing the fertility of the alluvial soils of the wide plains and valleys to the cause above defined let me not be supposed to ascribe to such agency the mechanical formation of these alluvials. This must be ascribed to oceanic action during the ages which probably were expended in the slow emergence of this country from the sea, during which I believe, for, reasons elsewhere stated, that its contour was very similar to that which it now possesses.

Under these conditions, the finer particles of matter derived from the detrition and disintegration of the masses of rock projections above the general level of the floors of the ocean, would be held in suspension by the waters of the ocean for a time and finally deposited at a greater or less distance from their sites of derivation, there forming fine grained strata of clay, whilst the coarser particles would form a gravelly soil round the margin of each such projecting mass of rock.

Viewed under these aspects, the observed distribution of the soils of this rich district is entirely comformable to the views which I have in other parts of this Journal ventured to propound of the geology of the entire country as far as the red-stone face of the Darling Range, particularly to an opinion which I have previously expressed that its elevation from beneath the ocean was due to no topical elevating forces, as these would certainly have left some evidence of that action in tilted and and dislocated rocks and strata, but is to be ascribed solely to a relatively slow rate of contraction of the earth's radius, in this portion of its surface, as compared with its rate of contraction in other portions of the sphere, and which would of course have the same effect of relatively elevating the surface here, as a positive elevatory force of a topical nature.

When sufficient geological sections of this country to afford a satisfactory basis for an estimate of the mean thickness of the sedimentary rocks shall have been obtained—and, as I have elsewhere stated, I believe their mean thickness to be singularly small, and on the actual track of the Expedition to be much less than 100 feet, increasing to the southward, and diminishing to the northward,—this country will probably afford to geologists more ample and satisfactory data than any other equally extensive portion of the surface of the earth for the discussion and approximate solution of a problem of great interest, specially in geology, but also in physical science generally, and the theories of the gradual and successive development of the existing physical conditions of this planet, namely, the amount of the undulations and prominences of the granite crust of the earth, at the epoch of its consolidation from a state of fusion due to heat, because it will be easy to estimate from such date what must have been the original elevation of the existing prominancy of rock, over the adjacent depressions of its surface, which are now filled by sedimentary rocks and the surface soil.

July 19.—Started at 8 a.m., and at 4.10 p.m. camped on a rocky piece of ground, with a fair quantity of grass, but with no water within a mile to which distance we had to send the natives to fetch water for our tea. Travelling distance 22 miles, direct distance 16 miles, as the natives led us by a very circuitous route to avoid thickets. About one-third of the route traversed was stiff and apparently rich alluvial soil; the remainder was divided between sand-plains and thickets.

At about 7 miles from last night's camp, from the highest part of an extensive sand-plain which we crossed, we observed Mount Hampton, of which the native name is Boojarring, bearing north 25d. W. by compass, distant 20 miles; it being by far the most lofty and conspicuous hill which we have observed in the whole journey, Borayukkin and Tampin bearing from same point W. 7d. S. and W. 15d. S. at apparent distances of about 18 and 25 miles respectively.

This has perhaps been the most fatiguing journey which we have had during the Expedition which is due not only to the distance travelled but to the stiffness of the ground, which made the walking very heavy.

At about 12 miles from our camp of last night we came upon our track made in this sixth day of our outward journey, at a distance of about 4 miles from our fifth camp.

In discussing this day the question of the cause of the extreme scarcity of the larger game, such as kangaroos, emus, and gnows, in this rich and extensive district, we arrived at the following conclusion, which I here mention, as it may be of interest to those who study the distribution of animal life on the surface of the globe, namely, that this scarcity is due entirely and solely to the absence of water in this country in a large portion of the year, and to the necessity thereby imposed on the fauna of the country to come to the native wells to drink, which gives the natives such facility of destroying them, that they have completely extirpated the kangaroos, and have reduced the emus and gnows to a very scanty number.

This theory is confirmed by the observed fact of the abundance of the kangaroo and emu in every portion of the colony, at the introduction of the white man and his flocks, where large surfaces of permanent water exist, and also is negatively supported by the unquestionable certainty that, if these species of game had existed ever so abundantly in the district at the epoch of the first immigration of man, (not the game-law-loving Anglo Saxon, but wild black men), the latter would infallibly have reduced them to their present limited numbers, in the course of a few years, or, at most, of a generation or two, availing themselves of the facility of destroying them, which the scarcity of surface water at many seasons of the year would give them.

July 20.—In consequence of there being no water for our horses, and that for ourselves being at a distance of a mile from our camp, and very muddy, we were compelled to move on this morning, adding another to the many Sundays on which we have been under the necessity of travelling.

Started at 10 a.m., and at 1.20 p.m. camped at a large bald rock, called Water-biddin, which we passed on the forenoon of our fifth day's outward journey. Direct distance—9 miles west.

There is an excellent grass on every side of this rock.

I learnt from our guides to-day that the native name of Mount Bayly is Torlgoring.

From the top of this hill Borayukkin and Tampin bear respectively W. 12d. S. and W. 43d. S, true, at apparent distances of 9 miles and 27 miles.

July 21.—Started at 9 a.m., and at 0.15 p.m. camped at Borayukkin. Direct distance 9 miles W. 12d. S.

Nearly the entire route to-day has been through alluvial soil, in general thinly covered with timber woorock, and morrel.

In the course of this day's journey we had considerable difficulty in getting the horses through several boggy places, and if their loads had not been very light we should have been obliged to make considerable circuits to avoid such places.

Borayukkin is a very fine massive rock with an excellent sheep run about it, and the rock on which we camped on our second night from Tampin, on the outward journey, and of which the native name is Mullocutty, is about 4 miles from it, bearing E. 40d S. by compass.

I have carefully examined the surface of this hill, as well as that of most of the hills (bare rocks,) which we have passed or encamped at during the past fort night, and have found them all destitute of those wavy striae which I have elsewhere recorded as being exhibited on the surface of all the bare rocks 100 miles to the eastward of this.

July 22.—Started at 9.30 a.m., and at 2.10 p.m., camped at a small pond of water in a gum forest, with grass at a distance of about one half mile. Travelling distance 14 miles; direct distance 12 miles N.W. by W.

At about 300 yards from the rock at Borayukkin, on its west side, we found the remains of a bush-hut erected by the Messrs. Dempster in their expedition two winters since, and we followed their track, bearing north-west, about 7 miles, when we left it to our right, on a clear piece of grassy ground, where the natives shewed us the spot at which a party of white men had erected a tent, and remained for two days about 8 or 9 years ago.

Our route to-day was again principally through alluvial forest-covered land, and thickets, growing on a good alluvial soil, as in fact many descriptions of thicket appear always to grow on.

From this camp, according to the shewing of our native guides, Tampin bears S.W., Narimbeen W. and Wardering N.W. by W.

The natives tell us that we shall reach Narimbeen (about 3 miles E. by S. from Mr Smith's station, Comining), by a six hours' journey to-morrow—a consummation, which, with the usual impatience of the actual, and craving for a progress bearing us along to our ends, which marks the weakness of human nature for any particular enjoyment or occupation, such as rest, exercise, food, conversation, thought, &c., we all ardently desire; although we have experienced little of hardships or fatigue, and have had much enjoyment in this expedition, for which I trust we shall all be sincerely grateful to a merciful Providence, which has watched over us; and although we shall probably, ere long, look back with regret to the conclusion of this expedition, and earnestly wish to embark in another.

The country has been in places very boggy again to-day, and we have had more or less gentle rain all day.

From the account of the natives, the Messrs. Dempsters came to Borayukkin from the northward, and proceeded from it to Wardering, and thence to Comining.

Whilst the subject is on my mind, I would here respectfully suggest that areas of 4 or 6 mile, square, of which the centres shall coincide with the highest point of each bald rock, be reserved as sites for future towns and suburban allotments about Borayukkin, Tampin, and Boojarring, to which latter rock, which is by far the loftiest and most extensive of any which we have discovered throughout the expedition, I have proposed to attach the name of his Excellency Governor Hampton, and I would add to this suggestion that in each case the entire area of bare rock be reserved for public purposes, the streets of the town being laid out around the margin of each rock.

Nothing could give a more unique and characteristic appearance to the future towns of this country which undoubtedly is capable of maintaining an exceedingly dense agricultural population, and a wealthy landed aristocracy, than those massive and magnificent elevations of bare rock, projecting in their respective centres high above every structure raised by the hand of man, and doubtless they would contribute no less to the health and enjoyment of their future populations, than to the beauty of their appearance.

July 23.—Started at 9 a.m., and at 4.30 p.m. to the great delight of all the party, reached Narimbeen. Distance travelled 22 miles, direct distance 16 miles west, the natives having taken us by a circuitous. route, as they have a very imperfect knowledge of this country, having only been at Comining once in their lives, when they came into it from the north ward.

We were all very tired with our long walk, which, from the boggy character of many places, was very fatiguing.

Again passed a large proportion of alluvial forest land, but of a lighter colour, and apparently poorer quality than to the eastward, the timber being of woorock and morrel; we also passed two or three small patches of bare rock, with feed around, and through about 2 miles of thicket and as many of sand-plain, which again was of a far poorer quality than the sand-plains to the eastward, and more thickly covered with a coarse gravel of iron stone.

I observed to-day, for the first time for many weeks, a sprinkling of fragments of quartz around the upper portion of same of the low small rounder hills in the alluvial forests.

July 24.—At 8 a.m. Mr Robinson and myself walked over to Comining, Mr Smith's head station, distant 3 miles west by north. Here we had the pleasure of finding Mr W. Smith, and of getting some news as to the events of the world, during our 81 days' seclusion from it, though Mr Smith's information as to the topics reached only to the early part of June, when he came out to this station, but he had one Illustrated London News, of a later date than those which were received in the colony prior to our departure, which he most kindly lent us, and which I enjoyed with no less zest than that with which we devoured a leg of mutton, which he also kindly presented to us.

Mr Smith walked back with us to our camp at Narimbeen, and showed me the figure 7 deeply cut on the stem of York gum, growing by the side of a gully on the north side of the south, which is the principal rock at Narimbeen, and distant from the nearest part of the margin of that rock about 100 yards. He also told me that the natives had shown him at a spot about 10 miles W. by S. from Narimbeen another tree similarly marked with a figure 6. I have no doubt that the figures designate respectively the 6th and 7th camp from York of Messrs. Roe and Moore in their expedition into this country made in the year 1836.

Note.—When on my return to Perth I brought the subject of the figures on these trees to Mr Roe's attention, he kindly referred to his manuscript journal of the expedition of 1836, and found that the spot which they designated Emu hill was their 7th camp; that they inscribed the figure 7 on a stem of a large York gum on the north side of that hill, as was their practice at every camp. Thus there is no doubt that Narimbeen is the Emu Hill of their designation.

July 25.—After breakfast we moved the camp on to Comining; there being excellent feed for the horses about that rock.

In the afternoon we all joined in a game of cricket, which Mr Smith invited us to, and which, albeit the ball was made the same morning by Mr Smith out of thongs of kangaroo-skin, and the bat was also chiselled by him out of a log of stinkwood, (which by the bye, I think affords a valuable material for such purposes), we all enjoyed much.

July 26.—At 9 a.m. started with Kowitch and a native of Comining called Harry, and three horses, for Mulyeen, after seeing Mr Robinson and the remainder of the party start on Mr Smith's road track to Dangin, at which place, or at Bunmal, I am to rejoin them.

Having observed, in the hasty visit to Mulyeen, which I made about 15 months since, that (for this country), very remarkable elevation, boldness and fine form of the Mount Stirling Range (of the highest point of which the native name is Goondering.) and also been informed by Mr Smith and Kowitch of the existance of caverns in a large rock called Karkabine a little to the east of Mulyeen, I resolved to make a slight detour to examine these objects.

Mr Smith accompanied me about two miles of the route to show me a large rock, which he thought somewhat remarkable. Here I found that three large narrow wedgelike portions, pointing towards the centre and summit of the rock, had slid down a vertical depth of probably some 50 or 60 feet. I doubt not that these masses had been cut off from connexion with the remainder of the rock by vertical fissures, and had thus been enabled to sink and slide somewhat away from the parent mass. There was some excellent grass about this rock, as in fact there is all over Mr Smith's run.

At about 5 p.m. we camped at a bare rock, native name Yarryarry, with a fine native well, and a fair quantity of grass about it. Travelling distance 21 miles; direct distance 16 miles N.W. our native guide having taken us by a circuitous route, on the plea of avoiding thickets. We passed many fine bare rocks, and a much greater quantity of grassy land, the grass being of a more poor and wiry character than I had expected.

July 27.—Started at 8 a.m., and at 5.30 p.m. camped at another bare patch of rock, distant about 3 miles E. S. E. from the highest point of Mulyeen. Travelling distance 25 miles; direct distance 23 miles W.

We passed to-day through or along the margin of a dozen lakes, all very shallow, with the exception of one, as to which our native guide informed us that its present depth is up to his chin, and that it always retains water throughout the summer, but that the water then becomes brackish.

All these lakes have white sand floors, and white sandy margins, notwithstanding which indications of the barrenness of the country, I observed a consider able quantity of samphire about the margin of each.

A bare rock called Kokine, surrounded with a large extent of poor grassy land, and having on its western side a fine permanent spring which I should think would supply ample water for one flock of sheep all the summer, combined with the samphire of the lake valley, would render this an eligible station for one or two flocks of sheep.

Late in the afternoon we reached Karkabin, which certainly is one of the most remarkable and interesting rocks which I have ever seen in Western Australia.

It stands on the western side of a large bare sand-plain and is distant from the highest point of Mulyeen hill (Mount Stirling of the map I suppose) about 5 miles E. S. E.

Its most singular and striking features, as a whole, are seen with great advantage at a distance of a mile, or more, on the opposite slope of the sand-plain, towards the south east, and are as follows:—

1st. The nearly circular form of its horizontal section as viewed from the south-east.

2nd. The great enlargement of the horizontal section of the hill at the height of from 30 to 50 feet above the talus formed round its margin—a phenomenon which, I doubt not, marks a vast pause in the gradual elevation of the rock above the surface of the ocean, during which the lower part of its periphery was exposed, for a disproportionably long time, to the wearing action of the waves and currents of a shoal sea, of which the latter, from the contour of the adjacent sea floor (which, as elsewhere observed and on similar grounds, I believe to have been almost identical with that of the existing surface) must have been very great.

3rd. The division of the portion of the rock visible above the enclosing talus, by a nearly horizontal cleaveage, due probably to difference of rate of cooling, into vast circular trunks of a thickness varying from 20 to 40 feet.

4th. The prior, or, at least, contemporaneous cleavage of gigantic scales of the rock from the upper portion of its sides, and the lower portion of its sloping upper surface, which overhangs, as above observed, the lower portion of its visible base.

One of the vast scales of rock, which I do not think was by any means the largest, but was the most accessible, I roughly measured with my whip handle, and found its thickness to vary from four to nine feet, its mean horizontal length to be more than 20 yards; and its average height to be about 15 yards. It had slid down a distance of about 63 or 70 yards, a large portion of its lower edge was imbedded in the surrounding talus; its upper edges rested against the vertical side of the parent rock, between which and its interior concave surface was a great cavity filled with angular blocks of rock of volumes varying from one to eight or ten cubic yards, probably detached from the scale in the act of sliding, and which the angular forms attest the fact that, at the epoch of their deposition in this chasm, the sea had sunk to a level at which its waves could not reach them.

Whether the long edges of these vast fragmentary sheaths or scales ever coincide with any of the planes of horizontal fissuring I had not time to examine, but it would be perfectly easy to define to inches the portions of the surface from which many of the scales have been derived, so perfectly do they still retain, on their interior surfaces, their original form of concavity. In fact they are both concentric and coaxial with the mass of the rock.

5th. On the northern side of this hill, which is more vertical, the upper portion of the rock does not overhang the lower, but it presents a number of wave-worn cavities, in which the vertical side of the rock has been eroded to a depth of 10 to 12 feet which erosions, standing at a level of about 40 feet above the plain of maximum erosion on the eastern face, mark, I think, another great pause in the progressive retirement of the ocean from this part of the world.

Altogether a careful study of this very remarkable rock, in all its features, impressing one so strongly with the idea of a very limited topical elevatory force, operating very slowly through a long period of time, and therefore not involving either upheaving or tilting, has strongly confirmed the conclusion to which the examination of innumerable other bare rocks in this expedition had previously conducted me, namely, that we must ascribe their developement to forces of a most limited topical character; consequently acting at a comparatively shallow depth under the surface, such as to the aggregation within, and immediately under, the granitic crust, of masses of rocks, whose secular rate of contraction in cooling is much less than that of the adjacent granite.

It thus appears that to account fully for the existing contour, and the elevation above the sea of this very singular and geologically interesting portion of the earth's surface, we must conceive,

1st. That during the secular transition of the mother granite from a state of fluidity to its crystalline form, it passed through a viscous or semi fluid state, in which some of its mineral constituents being quantitatively in excess over the remainder of them as to combination in crystallization under the current conditions of temperature and pressure, the former were partially aggregated into masses of comparatively limited volume, different in composition and crystalline combination, from the great mass of nearly homogeneous granite in which they floated; and these masses, having either a more rapid rate of cooling than that of the surrounding mass constituting the crust generally, or in the cooling, obeying a law of contraction slightly different from that followed by the crust generally in the chronic process of contraction, whilst the granite generally was still in a viscous state, gradually pressed upon, and bulged out, the stratum of viscous granite floating upon them in numerous localities, but without at that time rupturing it.

2nd. That, subsequently to this epoch, and probably separated therefrom by a vast lapse of time, the entire country gradually emerged from the ocean, not from any positive elevatory force acting uniformly upon this large segment of the earth's surface; for that would not probably have left evidences of its action in tiltings and extended fissures of the crust generally, (and such are nowhere to be seen); but, as I have already ventured to suggest, from the more rapid contraction of the earth's radius, in its secular cooling, in other portions of its mass, which would of course enable the sea to drain off from this segment of its surface.

3rd. The fissuring of the masses of these rocks in planes determined by the distribution of its mineral constituents, originally horizontal, but supposed, as above, to be drawn out of the horizontal by these topical aggregations of matter obeying a law of less rapid contraction in cooling both during the vast ages in which they were submerged, and during the ages which have elapsed since their emergence from the ocean.

If the above speculations be well founded, we may safely infer that this extensive district, stretching from the meridian of 116 deg. E, at least as far as 123d. E., and I am inclined to believe very much further, has enjoyed a permanence of form, a stability of contour of surface, such as is probably unequalled by any other portion of the earth's surface.

July 28.—It raining hard all the morning, we remained in camp until 3 p.m. when we moved on to a very romantic and pretty looking little glen, abounding in fine mountain oaks, close to the south side of the three principal masses of bare rock which constitute the noble hill of Mulyeen, Direct distance 2 miles W.N.W.

Spent the remainder of the afternoon in examining these splendid masses of primitive granite, and over-looking from the top of Mulyeen the undulating and comparatively varied surface of the country stretching to the east and north, dotted with innumerable round bald rocks, though of small masses in comparison with that of Mulyeen, and presenting altogether a more rugose surface, and a more broken and uneven horizon than I have seen elsewhere in the course of the Expedition.

After sundown, feeling a sort of craving for society—for the solitude of the wilderness, like affliction, makes kindred of us all; and Kowitch so much prefers the society of Harry (who listens with open month to his well-coloured narrative of the incidents of our journey, and especially to our gallant adventure with the native woman, which the former is never tired of relating) that I get little of his society now, he and I started to try to find Mr Parker's shepherd. After a walk of 4 or 5 miles by moonlight, we returned without attaining our object, the flock being removed to some spot in the neighbourhood which we could not discover.

July 29.—Started at 10 a.m., without our native guide Harry, who, on the plea of being mendic. (Kowitch told me that he suffered from rheumatic pains in the feet,) declined to accompany us any further, and at two miles passed Mr Parker's old sheep-station on the west side of Mulyeen, and travelling along an old sandalwood track, unintentionally passed Kubbine on our left, and at 6 p.m. camped at about 6 miles on the west of that station; travelling distance 28 miles; having ridden fast the greater part of the afternoon; the country traversed consisting for the most part of very flat and slightly inclined valleys abounding in sandalwood and jam trees, the soil silicious and poor, but covered with a thin poor grass.

July 30.—Started at 10 a.m. and making across the bush about 6 miles in a S.S.W. direction, came upon the Kubbine and Bunmull road, which we followed to the latter place, where I hoped to find Mr Robinson and the remainder of the party encamped.

Reached Bunmull at 3 p.m. and found that Mr Robinson had not yet arrived. Travelling distance about 22 miles. It rained pretty heavily all last night, and in torrents all this day, so that we got thoroughly drenched, and found the road for miles knee-deep in water; all the gullies running strongly strongly 2 feet deep.

July 31.—Slept in Mr Herbert's house last night, he most kindly pressing me to do so, and the saturated state of the ground not inviting us to sleep in the tents.

At 10 a.m. Messrs. Robinson, Edwards, and Hall with the horses, came up, having camped about one mile on the east side of Mr Herbert's farm, and having experienced the same drenching rain yesterday which Kowitch and myself had suffered. After a short delay, we proceeded on our way to York, and about 3 p.m. reached the house of Mr P. Parker in that town, from which, 85 days before, we had taken our departure on the Expedition now concluded.

The news of our arrival spread quickly through the small population of the town, and we were surrounded both with friends glad to see us back safe and well, and, as many of my friends assured me individually, looking, stronger, healthier, and fatter than I have done for 15 years past, and with others anxious to hear an account of our adventures, and of the country which we have traversed; and if my account of that has disappointed extravagant expectations entertained by some, as on the other hand I know it is too favorable to be fully accepted by others, who can hope and believe no good thing in store for this colony, we had the pleasure of meeting a warm and hearty reception from all, and I have moreover the satisfaction of holding a confident belief that, well within the life-time of many of the prompters and members of this Expedition, a stream of wealth will flow into the town and district of York, derived from the pastoral and agricultural resources of the country which we have traversed and of whose very peculiar physical features I have endeavoured to convey to the reader correct conceptions, sufficient to raise that town and district to a position inferior to that occupied by no inland town or district of Australia, of which, as from the physical causes which I have endeavoured to delineate must ever be the case of York and of all the country traversed by the Expedition, the prosperity may be based solely on agricultural and pastoral resources.

[END of Journal]


Printed and published by Stirling Sholl & Company, at the office of the Inquirer and Commercial News, St George's Terrace Perth, where all orders, advertisements, and communications are received.


VIII. Appendix.

{Page 45}

From: Proceedings of the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, 1864, Volume VIII, pp. 45-46.

Narrative of an Exploring Expedition into the Interior of Western Australia, Eastward of the District of York, Commanded by Henry Maxwell Lefroy, Esq. (Superintendent of Convicts), from May to July, 1863.

The object of the expedition was to discover new districts suitable for sheep-farming, the outmost station at present being Smith's, about three days' journey only east of York. It was found that primeval granite was the chief formation for full 6 east of York, occasionally fissured but nowhere upheaved, except towards the western face of Darling Range. This is covered in certain spots by sedimentary rocks, nowhere more than 100 feet in thickness. The general effect of the scenery consequent upon the (meridional) facture mentioned above, is imposing, but their agricultural fertility is slight. From the Avon eastward to the limit of the drainage basin (118 30' e.) the country is flat, with abundance of wide shallow valleys. Leaving Smith's Station the country improves, the grass being good, with a sprinkling of trees resembling the mimosa, and a species of dwarf pine. Animal life is so scarce, that in 155 miles the party only saw four kangaroos, three emus, and no natives; though they one day came upon a recent track of a solitary individual. On the numerous lakes passed, there were noticed only four ducks, and neither cockatoos, turkeys, nor parrots. As they proceeded inland they came upon a chain of lakes bordered by samphire plains, at present 10 feet above the level of the stream, but probably less in the rainy season. Beyond this a rise of 5 feet in the lake waters would probably inundate a tract five miles wide. A careful examination led to the conclusion that there had been no overflow for many years, possibly for centuries, and that for several winters the average depth of the water had not reached 2 feet. Some fine cypresses were visible here. If grazed closely by sheep, the young grass would be of the most nutritious quality, the depth of the rich alluvial soil being 15 feet, as evidenced by numerous natural surface-drains. Little or no wind was experienced throughout.

The President said the Paper had been curtailed with reference to the geological phenomena of the region in question, which, as a geologist, he almost regretted. The idea of the author seemed to be, that there was a mass of granite here, the nucleus, as it were, of the original formation of the globe, which had remained undisturbed for many ages. It was a phenomenon which ought to be discussed in the Geological Society. The Paper was one of merit, written by a gentleman who had passed a period of twenty years in the colony, and who had no doubt made accurate observations upon the country. He had also brought forward clear proofs that there were in this {Page 46} region large tracts of valuable alluvial land, which might be cultivated with great profit to the colony.

General Lefroy said, when his brother told us, with the experience of a settler of more than twenty years in West Australia, that the region he had been the first to explore contained an extent of valuable agricultural and sheep-farming country unequalled in the colony, it opened up some good news to those who were well-disposed towards that unfortunate colony. His brother dwelt very strongly upon this point, particularly upon the extraordinary richness of the granite in those felspars which were the element of agricultural fertility, wherever they were found. There was also great interest in the view which he announced as to the possibility of our having in this portion of the Australian continent access to the primeval nucleus of our planet, the primeval granite over which there has never been any great depth of sedimentary deposit, which has never been disturbed by fissures or disrupted by intrusive rocks, and which is nearly in the condition in which our globe would have been originally if it had been a granite sphere cooling gradually. Mr. Lefroy was deeply impressed with the evidence presented in many directions of the extreme antiquity of this region. We find in the vegetation of Australia the living representatives of the most ancient vegetation of the globe. It is the same with a portion of its animal kingdom, and also with its representatives of the human race. For example, the only native Australians met with by the expedition was one female and her child, both in a state of absolute nudity. The extraordinary sparseness of the human race, and the very peculiar conditions under which they exist there, point to a degree of primitive simplicity and antiquity which he thought would be found of considerable interest hereafter.. Houseless through three-quarters of the year, perfectly naked in all weathers, and distributed over the country at a rate probably not exceeding one family to forty or fifty square miles, it is difficult to conceive of human beings in a deeper state of degradation. "Man," says Mr. Lefroy, in one of his letters, "is here only another species of the mammalian fauna who has the singular property of being both carnivorous and graminivorous, and is as unconscious of traditions, laws, moral principles, and social institutions as the scanty kangaroos or emus who share the country with him." The language of this female was unintelligible to the native from York who accompanied the party. No kindness could overcome her terror, or induce her to accept what they offered her. Having no personal acquaintance with Western Australia, General Lefroy could not venture to say how far his brother's anticipations of a beneficial change in the vegetation of those great plains, to be brought about by cattle-feeding, would be realized; but it would appear that a moderate expenditure of labour would remove the curse of aridity by saving the abundant water which is sent by heaven, but, in the singular conformation of the surface, finds no valleys to drain it off, no basins to collect it, and no depth of soil into which it can subside. It seems to evaporate with the minimum of benefit to the earth. The expedition had suffered much, both from the want of this necessary and from the muddiness of what they could collect. On one occasion they were 36 hours without it; but, notwithstanding this, he was glad to say they lost only two or three horses, and returned themselves all the better for their hardships.

Map of H. M. Lefroy's Expedition in the Interior of Western Australia, May to July, 1863. Lefroy's route is outlined in red; the Dempsters' route of 1861 is shown in green.

National Library of Australia (Trove) Map rm4161.

Click on the map to enlarge it.

IX. Sources

Sources: The Inquirer and Commercial News, August-October, 1863, from Trove website.

1. Introduction: Wednesday 5 August 1863; article/69137532;

2. Lefroy Journal [1]: Wednesday 2 September 1863; article/69136427;

3. Lefroy Journal [2]: Wednesday 9 September 1863; article/69136295;

4. Lefroy Journal [3]: Wednesday 23 September 1863; article/66013708;

5. Lefroy Journal [4]: Wednesday 30 September 1863; article/66014613;

6. Lefroy Journal [5]: Wednesday 7 October 1863; article/66013697;

7. Lefroy Journal [6]: Wednesday 14 October 1863; article/66013715.

8. From Proceedings of the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, 1864, Volume VIII, pp. 45-46. Read 25 January, 1864.


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