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from Menindee, Tuesday, 22 January 1861.

Original item held at the State Library of Victoria, SLV MS13071, Box 2083/4, Item #9.
Victorian Exploring Expedition Records, Correspondence.
Ludwig Becker; Letter to the Exploration Committee, dated 22 January 1861. H16204.

 

This letter accompanied Becker's Fifth Report along with this note and seven sketches. It was posted in Menindee on Tuesday, 22 January 1861 and was received in Melbourne on 5 February 1861.

  © La Trobe Collection, State Library of Victoria - www.slv.vic.gov.au 34. [Owlet moth]
  © La Trobe Collection, State Library of Victoria - www.slv.vic.gov.au 35. Water-marks on the banks of the River Darling.
  © La Trobe Collection, State Library of Victoria - www.slv.vic.gov.au 36. Scincus
  © La Trobe Collection, State Library of Victoria - www.slv.vic.gov.au 37. Scincus
  © La Trobe Collection, State Library of Victoria - www.slv.vic.gov.au 38. Gullomalla
  © La Trobe Collection, State Library of Victoria - www.slv.vic.gov.au 39. Rough sketch of the route of Lyons & M'Pherson
  © La Trobe Collection, State Library of Victoria - www.slv.vic.gov.au 40. Natives on the Darling

 

1861, Tuesday, Jan.22.

Today 3 month have passed away since we arrived here. I think it not worth while describing a camp life. I will only put down a few lines stating my occupations while here. I rose with the sun & was the last in bed. During that time the hours were occupied by me daily with meteorological observations- investigations in objects of nat: history- sketching-writing-and the necessary camp-work. Now & then a bullock was killed & the meat salted & dried; or I went out shooting birds for procuring fresh meat; of late I & the cook were busy with drying about 150 large fish which the falling waters of the Darling brought back from the Billibongs.

It remains now to say a few words about my sketch. The greater number of these drawings, I think, don't want any explanation, the remarks attached to them will suffice; still, a few words about some of the sketches I consider necessary & I begin with:

Minindie, No.18 it is a pen & ink drawing which represents that place. I was sorry to learn that its old name was of late officially changed for 'Perry' as you will see by the postmark of this parcel.

No. 23 - A junction of the Bamamero creek with the Darling gives a fair representation of the character of the trees as generally found at the banks of the Darling: under the group, seen in the sketch, our meals were prepared & our daily guests there were myriads of flies; now & then a snake and harmless lizards.

No. 30 shows the country between Minindie & the Depôt. The formation is similar to that we had found all along the Darling; sandhills, whose highest parts are from one mile to several miles inland from the river, send their spures and out-runners close to the Darling. The space between those sandhills is filled out with a deposit composed of clay mixed with a fine sand. This depositis the result of the overflow of the Darling. The trees growing there, generally round the edges of the, now dry, lakes are chiefly gum-trees of a stunted nature; they have seldom stems, but as soon as the trees are above ground, they branch out. Polygonum covered the deeper part of these places, while many kinds of saltbush and other shrubs are met with on the sandhills as well as in the mud plains. The river has its periodical floods, every seven or eight years all the country around is inundated, it is then that all the depressions of the country are filled with water, lakes are formed generally 4 to 6 feet deep -backwaters or billibongs, are running, and fish and waterfowls are every where. That is the time when all the natives appear round & sound, but it lasts with them only as long as there is super abundance of food: the blacks do not know how to store, and a stranger to them is the hamster.

No. 32, River Darling at sunset. The glowing rays of the setting sun gilded every leaf of the beautiful group of trees around & opposite the depôt. I selected a point 500 yards lower down the river, and, looking towards our camp, eastwards, I found that bit of nature so rich and poetical that I saw no necessity for asking my fancy or imagination to lend me a hand while painting the scene now before you.

I have the honor to remain, Sir,
your obediently,
Ludwig Becker .

 
     
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