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January 1862

Tracks of McKinlay and party across Australia
London: Sampson, Low & Son & Co.
(Ferguson 9005).
1863.

Wednesday, 1 January 1862.
All hail, to the new year. May we have a more jolly and a happier one than the last, and may it also prove more profitable to us all than the last. This year opens bright and fair the sky without a cloud, and millions of stars out. I sit at 1am ruminating on the past, and hoping for the future, for it is my sentry from 12.00 to 2.00. The blacks had annoyed us much during the first part of the night, numerous fire sticks being seen in various parts, through the bushes and scrub, which kept us on the alert, in case they had intended anything in a hostile way. I believe they had some notion that way, as our black came into camp, and slept by the fire all night. Nothing happened, and the others turned in at 12 o'clock, having fired once or twice into the bushes at the sight of the fire sticks. Nothing, however, was seen between 12 and 2, not a stick. Another very significant thing occurred. The fair deceivers decamped from their domicile, where they had been since our arrival, and did not return till the next morning early.

Thursday, 2 January 1862.
Two of our men going out for the horses were told by the native to take their saddles with them (we always carried revolvers, so did not require any other aids), and it was a long time before they would; but he was so urgent that they eventually did. They caught the two first horses, and got on them, to go quickly after the others, and head them, when to their astonishment, they disturbed a hundred or more of these black brutes, armed for war, with boomerangs and spears, etc., cowering and hiding in the bushes. They appeared not to notice them, but went after their other horses. At last they began to move, when the horsemen gave chase, and drove them across the creek. Poole, and I, who were superintending the jerking of some mutton, were surprised to see some black fellows running from a sand hill, seemingly in a great hurry, and appearing to show us by their gestures that the whites were coming round the lake. The women also joined them, and it was evident that they had some plan in their heads to surprise the camp, and rob it, if not murder us, as well. We did not see the force of their arrangements, so did not move. They wanted us away, and the fellows that Bell and Ned drove across the creek would have come down and done for the few in camp, and murdered us in detail; pleasant, kind creatures, certainly I confess should not like to be eaten by very ugly savages. The idea is not agreeable; bad enough if you were sure two or three pretty young females of the wild tribes had the picking of your bones; and even then, living a little longer is preferable and so said all of us. So they were frustrated this time. Had they come in for a good fight, I should have more to write about. They have a wholesome dislike and dread of firearms; moreover, essentially cowards. If they can catch you on the hop, well and good; but for anything like a fair stand up fight, they don't believe in it. Washing clothes today a job which everybody detests, though it must be done. Cutting down and burning scrub behind our camp, as it affords too good an ambush for our sable friends; and it is not worth while giving them a chance of surprising us, which they might have done easily from behind. About 5pm Mr McKinlay and party returned from the eastward, having ascertained that there are lakes there, for which you will search his journal; or, rather, the following extract :

McKinlay – Monday, 30 December 1861.
Sky very much overcast and very sultry; wind from north east. Started at 8.10 with two camels and five horses, and a weeks provisions. At four and half miles got to Appam barra, near old camp, at the dray crossing. At 8.45 arrived at about one mile west of dry lake Toondow low annie; centre bearing of lake, north and south, three miles, by a width, east and west, of one and a half miles; well grassed. At ten and a quarter miles passed south end of lake, and travelled on flooded ground on west side of Cariderro Creek, in which there is water, to where we cut the Cariderro Creek, about sixteen miles, at a place in the creek where a large creek branches off east, and fills a large lake, now dry; abundance of feed. Lake called Max courgamilie, and found water in creek a short distance south, from which quarter it appears to come. It is a splendid gum creek, from 80 to 100 yards wide, and fifteen to twenty feet deep, and flows a northward course. Started after spelling a time, and went one and a quarter mile, on bearing of 239° to Appa dar annie, now a dry lake with abundance of good feed in its bed; then went south by east, eight miles, along the Cariderro Creek. It is a splendid one, and well lined with fine gum trees; and as far as we went, I may say, was one continuous sheet of water, and with not less than from 200 to 300 natives. I have named it Browne Creek, after W. H. Browne, Esq. Many of the natives have, apparently, quite white hair and beards; they were particularly anxious that we should encamp with them; they were the first tribe that we fell in with so fully armed, every man with a shield and a lot of boomerangs, and some with spears. I thought it better not to camp there, as they had a good deal of sneaking, and concealing themselves from bush to bush, and might have brought about a disturbance, which I did not desire. Took some water in air bags, and started out from the creek, one and a quarter mile; then on a bearing of 5° for Appacal radillie Lake, seven miles fully. Crossed, and camped on east corner of dry lake Mar cour gannie, and on the margiu of the dry lake Merrada boodaboo ; the bulk of this last lake bearing north from this, and splendidly grassed.

McKinlay – Tuesday, 31 December 1861.
Started at 6.30am to Appacal ra dillie Lake, through side of Lake Merradabooda boo; passed several flooded flats proceeding east from last named dry lake the first of which was an extensive one, passing on our course from left round to the right, and apparently round to south as far as visible, then over alternate and indifferent flats and large sand hills a considerable deal of flooded land to the westward. At fifteen miles, arrived on top of a very prominent sand hill, which I have named Mount MacDonnell, from which hill opens out to our view two beautiful lakes, which, in honour of her ladyship and his Excellency the present governor of South Australia, I have named respectively Lake Blanche and Lake Sir Richard, separated by a small sandy rise, through which passes a small channel that connects them, and which I have named New Year's Straits.

McKinlay – Wednesday, 1 January 1862.
Started at 6.45 round the first lake, Blanche (Lady MacDonnell), to where the creek passes through a low sand hill and connects it with the other lake, Sir Richard (his Excellency the Governor). The first named of these lakes is, where it was tried, between five and six feet deep, and seven and three quarter miles in circumference, nearly circular, bare of timber, and tens of thousands of pelicans on it, one solitary swan, with innumerable other birds, gulls and ducks of various kinds (one new and one dark brown large winged), cormorants, avocats, white spoonbills, crows, kites, pigeons and magpies of various kinds, and plenty of fish. The other lake immediately adjoins, and its south east end is more to the eastward than Lake Blanche, it is nearly circular, and is six and three quarter miles in circumference, but when casually tried was not quite five feet deep; pelicans, birds of all kinds, fish, etc., as the other. Between forty and fifty men (natives) came to meet us as we were passing round the lakes at the creek, which they had all to swim; and from the appearance of the camp, some short distance off, there; could not have been less than about 150, all apparently friendly. Started from north west end of Lake Sir Richard, and went along the course of the creek that fills these lakes on a bearing of 305°; then south south west half a mile,. to a fine basin of water in the valley of the creek, three quarters of a mile wide and more than that in length, and opening again and contracting alternately up to Lake Blanche, which in honour of the veteran explorer I have named Sturt's Ponds; abundance of fish and fowls. Prom this point, course 308° up the creek for four miles; at two miles a creek went off to the right through a flooded flat, thence on a course varying from 224° to 239°, principally through what was recently a large lake now a splendidly grassed plain of vast extent, and at the latter part a few small sand hills. Distance today thirty six miles.

Friday, 3 January 1862.
Shift camp today from this side of the lake to the north east side. Mr McKinlay goes out today with two camels, five horses, and the same party as before, Middleton, Hodgkinson, Wylde, and black fellows, to see some lakes reported to be to the south west, but returned soon after we had finished the sheepfold and pitched tents. They found a fine creek with deep water, well timbered, with plenty of fish. Also they came on the lake to the south, called Wattigaroony, which Mr McKinlay has called Lake Strangways, after the Hon. the Commissioner of Crown Lands. It is a fine deep one, but not well timbered. We keep New Year's Day today with plum pudding and roast mutton, as we were not all together yesterday. I sat in the water yesterday for a long time with only my shirt on, and the consequence is my legs, from the intense heat of the sun, are so burnt I cannot wear any trousers, and feel very unwell. Applied glycerine and they got better. The lake literally covered with waterfowl.

Saturday, 4 January 1862.
Very monotonous today. Shoeing horses, repairing pack bags, jerking mutton, etc.

Sunday, 5 January 1862.
Mr McKinlay took a ride out to the north today, accompanied by Poole and black fellows. He returned in the evening. The following is an extract from his journal of this excursion :

McKinlay – Saturday, 4 January 1862.
Camp - Lake Hodgkinson. Shoeing horses, repairing pack bags, etc.

McKinlay – Sunday, 5 January 1862.
I, with Poole and a black, went out north to see what the country was like. On bearing 360° over sand hills, arrived at and found lake dry; four and a half miles of stones around it, same as in Stony Desert; went through the middle of it, it sweeps round from north east to south west; passed through it where it was two miles broad, it is fed from Lake Goonalearae (now dry); the lake passed through has not had a supply of water for years apparently; lots of dead mussels and crayfish in its bed. At two and a half miles further (nine miles in all), over sand hills, changed course to 16° for a large sand hill in the distance, the country to the north being rather low. At two and a half miles on this course came upon a succession of flooded basins, some of great extent, Gnatowullie, and slightly lined with stunted box, some as high up the sides of the sand hills as forty five to fifty feet, entirely supplied by the rains, but have not had a supply for some time, as there was neither water nor vegetation which flooded basins continued till I went nine miles on this last course, and from the top of the hill could distinctly see the beds of innumerable others of the same kind. From west round to north east and east some dark peaked sand hills, north east of last course, as far as I could discern with the aid of a glass; turned back on course of 200° to where I saw some shady box trees about two and a half miles, and turned out horses to rest, and went to camp direct. On bearing of 187° at five and a half miles, came to the water course that supplies the dry lake Marroboothana from Goonalcarae, which I have named the Ellar, and the creek that fills it, in which there is at present water, Ellar's Creek.

Sunday, 5 January 1862.
A terrible row with the horses and bullocks. They went of in scores to night, either driven of by the natives, or frightened in some manner by them. Several of the party went after them, and a nice night's walk they had of it, as they could not head them for a long time. They did at last, and turned them. Saw no natives about the horses. They were very wild after they were brought in, and must have been terrified by something or other. Still very busy jerking mutton.

Monday, 6 January 1862.
We started from Lake Hodgkinson this morning at 6.30 after marking a tree, under which McKinlay had placed some documents for any one of the parties who might come this way. On to Lakes Blanche and Sir Richard, twenty three miles hence. The cart started first, with our little sheep also. We arrived at the lake about 3.30 through some very unprofitable looking country; we shall spell here to morrow. About one hundred and fifty niggers round the lake. Another very cheerless camp, but there is fine bathing in the creek that runs into the lake. The water is quite clear, with a delightful taste, and makes most excellent tea.

Tuesday, 7 January 1862.
Remain at Lake Blanche. Mr McKinlay and Hodgkinson, with black, went out to the north. Not the slightest shelter here; the sun scorching and the wind like the blast from a furnace. Mr McKinlay returned early today, and soon after there was a decided attempt to drive of the bullocks by themselves. Some of us were soon in the saddle and after them, but the wily blacks were nowhere to be seen. Got the animals all safe after having been driven nearly round the lake. The bullocks broke from natives once, and they tried ineffectually to turn them, after following them some three miles. When they saw us they instantly took to flight, and easily hid themselves in the bush. Brought bullocks into camp and hobbled them short for to night, so that they could not very well bolt again. It would be a serious thing if we lost them, or indeed any of them, as if the grub runs out they would stand to us in good stead, and you cannot depend on your gun, as anything like good game is very scarce, in fact I never saw so little in any country I have been in. Strict watch.

Wednesday, 8 January 1862.
Moved our camp this morning three quarters of a mile to a little wood, and pitched. The wind fearfully hot, and the white sand distressing to the eyes. We were obliged to adopt this plan, as in the other place there was not a stick to boil or bake with. All we got was from the grave of some poor defunct native. They always pile wood over the native graves. The heat is insufferable. We shall surely get baked or cooked somehow alive, if this goes on much longer. McKinlay and party preparing to start for the east for the purpose of finding water, if he can, in that direction. The four camels to go and no horses, that is the arrangement at the present.

Thursday, 9 January 1862.
Camp, Lake Blanche
It looks as if we should have a terrible storm, but as usual I suppose it will blow over. A heavy gale last night demolished the tents and made us all very uncomfortable; it would be all the better for us if these blows would come in the daytime, when we could see what we were about; but no, these accidents seem generally to happen in the night, when it is more difficult to get to rights again. Plenty of thunder and lightning. The gale lasted two hours or more.

Friday, 10 January 1862.
We had hoped that the tempest would have cooled the air a little, but it is clear we are to be cooked. All done up. No energy left hardly. The animals are all under what little shade there is; poor things, they feel the weather greatly. There is plenty of fish here, with lots of adoo. The sunset tonight was magnificent.

Saturday, 11 January 1862.
My legs very painful from the effects of the sun. Heat fearful.

Sunday, 12 January 1862.
Thunder and lightning; no rain. Heat not abated one iota. If it does not get cooler soon and we don't have some rain, some of us will be getting ill I fear.

Monday, 13 January 1862.
A little cooler today than it has been. Mr McKinlay going out tomorrow; the heat had hitherto prevented him; he goes eastward to prospect the country generally.

Tuesday, 14 January 1862.
Mr McKinlay starts this morning, and takes three horses part of the way; Ned brings them back. The reason why they go is that Mr McKinlay wishes to put as little on the camels today as possible. Bell taken very ill with cramp in the stomach. We thought he was going to die right off. He was quite doubled up and could not speak. I gave him some medicine which restored him in a short time. At one time we really thought it was all up with him.

Wednesday, 15 January 1862.
Bell and I very ill from dysentery. Found some dogs, dead from poisoned baits placed for the purpose. They are very numerous here, and from the small quantity of wood we could not get enough to build a good yard for the sheep, and we feared they might be getting at them. Ned with the horses returned last night about 11.30pm. The heat did not contribute to our recovery. The sun comes through these American drill tents (I was about to say “like”) “without” winking.

Thursday, 16 January 1862.
We are still very ill, and yesterday another of the party, Maitland the cook was taken with the same disease. He suffered very much at first. It must be the weather, or the water, or perhaps both combined. Mr McKinlay and party returned about 1pm, and found us on our beam ends. The sooner we are out of this nasty hot and sickly camp the better.

Friday, 17 January 1862.
Intensely hot and oppressive, with the wind east of north. Not very good for the sick fellows. I (Davis) am better, but the others are not. It is the general opinion that there must be something in the water that makes us all so unwell. Thank goodness we leave this lake tomorrow for Ellar's Creek, which has been represented by Hodgkinson to have some fine water in it, distance about fifteen miles. The native name of this place is Appocoldarinnie. Prepare for a start tomorrow, as we none of us like this place. Hurrah !

Saturday, 18 January 1862.
We are off from this infernal sickly hole. The cart preceding the cavalry and camel corps as usual. Very sultry, with tempest last night, and about 2.30 this morning we arrived at the creek. The country passed through much as usual, sandy and unprofitable; and just fancy our disappointment, more especially the poor fellows who were so ill, finding that instead of camping under the fine shade, and their day's work being done, they had to leave it and go on some ten miles further to Lake Hodgkinson, as the water was so very bad that neither man nor horse could touch it. This was a dreadful blow for the poor fellows, but those who go out on expeditions of this sort ought not to know how to spell grumble, for who can tell what will occur, or what sort of country they shall see next, or whether they will find water at the camping place, even if they tried till 12 o'clock at night ? Yes, such is the lot of an explorer, and a hard life and a jolly one, no care for the morrow, no duns to fear and no debts incurred. It is a primitive life, but as before said a jolly one; but there is one thing wanting, it is the smile and solace of gentle woman !

Oh woman in our hours of ease,
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
And variable as the shade,
By the light quivering aspen made;
When pain and anguish wring the brow,
A ministering angel thou.
After that I must take a cooler before dinner.

This would have been a pleasant, cool, and pretty camp, but fate and bad water conspired against us, so now after stopping a short time to rest, proceed to Lake Hodgkinson. The water had gone bad since it was visited by Hodgkinson. Very sultry and looking like rain. I hope we shall not be disappointed. On our way to the creek we passed a fine lake, and to every appearance with water in it. The natives who were with us were even deceived, and McKinlay has called it Deception Lake, for all of us were regularly sold by its appearance. We arrived at Lake Hodgkinson, and found it much dried up, and the water quite bitter; so we have now to go on to Hayward's Creek, which flows into this lake, and there we find excellent water, fine feed in fact, everything that men in our position require, beautiful shelter, almost a necessary in this latitude. The dray did not camp with us, but at the east end of the lake. We had to dig to get water for drinking purposes. A short distance from the edge of the lake, after only about four feet sinking, they found beautifully clear water and well tasted. There is splendid bathing here, the water up to your chin. This luxury will soon drive our illness away. We shall remain here till some change in the weather takes place, and also to recruit the sick. It is too hot at present for a dip so we must wait patiently till it is cooler. A few friendly natives come into camp. The animals suffering much from, the heat, and we were nearly baked in our saddles, but rewarded at last after our disappointments by everything that could gladden our eyes.

Sunday, 19 January 1862.
Dray came in about noon today. Last night heavy rain, and we 'had to turn out and secure the perishable articles with tarpauling. Lots of rain to north north east, indications of more. We bathed today. Found crawfish here. As there is plenty of material for the purpose, we begin tomorrow to build whirlies with a fine bushy shrub which abounds here. Bell still ill. Bathing will soon set us all right. Many natives higher up the creek. We still keep two black guards with us, and very useful we find them.

Monday, 20 January 1862.
Hayward Creek Camp.
There being a great quantity of light rushes on the creek side of our camp, we cut them down today to prevent a surprise, and very good beds they make. Rain to the north north east.

Tuesday, 21 January 1862.
Mr McKinlay gave our two natives a sheep to have a jollification with their friends higher up the creek. A novelty to them I should imagine.

Wedensday, 22 January 1862.
The sick slowly improving. We cut down trees to make a good yard for the sheep, so we shall be here some time; also plenty of a small bushy shrub, “whillaroo”, to build a house over McKinlay's tent, and improve our own domiciles. We can follow the bent of our own glad wills, for there is no one here to say anything against it; in fact, the natives absolutely come and ask permission to fish in their own waters. Mr McKinlay goes out for a short journey tomorrow to see what effect the late rains have had on the country towards the north.

Thursday, 23 January 1862.
McKinlay leaves today, accompanied by WyIde, Hodgkinson, and the two natives. They started about 12, and took with them plenty of provisions; McKinlay says he may be away three weeks, at all events they have taken with them supplies for that time, but I don't think he will be out so long, as the rain has fallen so partially. We were building yesterday, and are still at work at the McKinlay bower, and very comfortable it will be. This is about the nicest camp we ever had, and the bathing, don't mention it. Bell is better, but he has had a stiff time of it. Only about 600 lb of flour left, no great shakes you will say; we shall soon have reduced rations again; never mind, half a loaf is better than no bread.

Friday, 24 January 1862.
The day broke magnificently, and continued so fine that it put me in mind of a spring day in the old country. If we go on as we are, the governor will have a fairy kind of palace instead of a bower, so deliciously cool, the wind finding its way through the boughs. It is to be hoped that he won't get too comfortable, and so remain here longer than he intended, although a good spell will be of vast service to the sick and weak, for it is a frightful thing to be on a march, under a broiling sun, feeling as though you could hardly move, and nothing to look forward to in camping but the usual tea, and no chance of a wet just to revive you; although tea is a great drink, and I believe never enjoyed by any one of the party so much in their eyes, though there is not a man who would not give a quart of it for a pint o' beer. Some of the men shoeing horses very cold on the morning watch, and greatcoats called out for active service the bathing has done us a power of good; the sheep, too, are as fat as possible and they have turned out little trumps for travelling; they know the voice of old Kirby who has the care of them as well as possible, and well he does take care of them, and no mistake.

Saturday, 25 January 1862.
Another fine day, and cool, we could never have better; what a blessing for us who are so busy overhauling and repairing tents; large flight of ducks and teal, too high to bag any for the pot, going north east; do they smell water after the heavy rains in that quarter ? Bell much better; a header into cold water three times a day has worked wonders with us all; but talk about fish, they knock up against your legs as you are swimming, and one absolutely jumped out of the water and hit WyIde, in the eye; he did not black it certainly, but the eye looked rather fishy. Very cold again during the night.

Sunday, 26 January 1862.
Kept today holy, it being Sunday, and read the Bible aloud, just to put us in mind that we were, or ought to be, Christians, though in a heathen land. 2pm McKinlay and party returned, having failed to cross the Stony. Desert for want of water, the horses looking very badly on that account, having hardly had a drink since they left this on Thursday; the men, too, did not look well, having had very little themselves.

Monday, 27 January 1862.
Still at Hayward's Creek; we are employed today, merely to keep us in working order, in putting up a verandah to McKinlay's palace. Nice work, very, with thermometer 120° or 130°. A great argument at dinner today, Middleton and Palmer v. Wylde, as to distance to a certain spot; to be chained tomorrow for deciding the bets; it will be a close shave. The natives are very much displeased at our remaining here; they are trying all they can for us to go, as no doubt we are disturbing their fishing arrangements, for we are close to the creek from our tent one, two, three, and into the water. McKinlay is very little troubled about it, as he says in his journal, “Natives very much displeased at our remaining here, but until the weather suits my purpose better than it has done at present they must put up with it.”

Tuesday, 28 January 1862.
The natives still at us today to decamp; they have got a fine story today that the floods are coming down, and that if we remain here much longer we shall be drowned, as the “arimitha”, or native name for flood, is coming down, and has reached a certain place which McKinlay knows well; so he is of to morrow to see if there be any truth in the assertion, and if there is to shift camp to some higher ground. We all hope not, as this is a jolly place, and we shall lose our splendid bath in the morning. We went out early this morning to decide the important bet of yesterday; the distance was 1376 yards, so WyIde loses £2, which never will be paid until we reach the settled districts once again.

Wednesday, 29 January 1862.
McKinlay and Middleton go out to see if there be any appearance of the said flood; it will take some time to get there from the north on account of the many lakes and creeks it will have to fill on its way. They returned about 5pm, very hungry, as they generally were after a trip, and had seen no signs of a flood. There is seven or eight feet of water in this creek now and first rate water it is, but it is receding fast, for every morning we look to the gauge, a stick stuck in the mud graduated to inches, so that it is easily determined how much it recedes per diem; it is going at the rate of three quarters of an inch a day. I wonder if McKinlay will order us to dig a well here also; I should not be surprised, but there is enough water, provided it does not go bad, to last us for years; never mind if he does, there is nothing like healthy exercise, is there, reader? Talk of the old English game of cricket, it is nothing to digging wells when there is water close to camp; it keeps us from mischief and growling, and that is a great desideratum.
There are, McKinlay says, any number of natives up this creek, which is five or six miles long; he saw between 400 and 500. He did not go up to their whirlies, but from the number he saw he computed them as numerous as stated. There was a small camp close by, but they were gone to join the main body, for what reason deponent knoweth not, as we have never molested them. They pass our camp with their nets to drag the creek; they ask McKinlay always before they do so, and he of course grants permission, and they return loaded with the scaly paroo, or multa multa galover (native names of the fish generally caught); but they are not very generous with them, and should we get into a fix like poor Burke and party, we should fare but badly had we to trust to their hospitality.

Thursday, 30 January 1862.
We gave our camels a good washing with soap and water today, and bathed them well, and are making little bags for seeds, as everybody is collecting the unknown productions of the north, and curiosities of all sorts. The flies are very troublesome, they are in millions, you may say; they bite, too, just a little nip; had we only a mosquito net large enough to get under at meal times. I have some net certainly, but not large enough to get under for protection from these pestilent little varmints. They come on your meat, and it is with difficulty that you can help eating numbers of them; but we are getting used to it now, like eels to skinning; should you happen to bite one but, no, I will not say anything on that painful subject. All the party, McKinlay included, with the exception of myself and Middleton, have been attacked with vomiting and griping after meals. They can keep nothing on their stomachs. Why it should be so no one can tell, as we all eat from the same meat, and live precisely alike. As I before mentioned that I thought the rations would soon be reduced it has come to pass, and next week they will be reduced to 5 lb of flour a week, and I dare say very soon to 4 lb. It is better than having none. There are rations waiting for us at Finnis' Springs, to south west, about 300 miles from our present position. Water is getting scarce below. I hope we shall not be locked up for the want of it. However, McKinlay Lake will be a good stand by, as I don't think that can ever go dry, on account of its depth, though it might go bad like the others, and we should be in a fix with bad water and reduced rations. McKinlay says “I wish it would rain, that I could start through the desert out of this, and get on to the waters north and west of this, and be doing something, as this sort of life is worse than hard work on the constitution”. There is one thing, this detention here has enabled us to have the backs of the working animals attended to better than we otherwise could have done, and they are on splendid feed; but the flies and the excessive heat of the sun are two things against them, on account of the sores and wounds some of them have, and they will not readily heal. Several of the horses have been bled, but from the heat and flies the necks of the animals have swollen much. This is the devil's own country for insects.

Friday, 31 January 1862.
Went out after camels, to see how they were getting on, and also to see that they had not rambled far from the feeding ground. On my return found McKinlay, Middleton, and Nelmilly, a native, gone off to Cann boog o nannie Lake (Lake Jeannie), to see how the water was, and also to find an easier road for the cart to go towards Moolionboorrana Lake. They found a pretty good road, but the water quite unfit for use. The horses would not touch it, so they dug a little hole about eighteen inches from the water's edge, found most excellent water, and made some tea. What is it that turns the water bad ? When we were there before it was first rate. Is it the accumulated dung of the wild fowl, and the excessive heat of the sun, or what is it? This I leave to more scientific men than myself. Lots of natives round this lake. Found innumerable small fish, of the parro kind washed up by the ripple of the lake; perhaps they are killed by the effect the water had on them.

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