Thursday, 20 March 1862 - Camp 37.
29° 19' 30", 139° 26' 30"
Travelled for fourteen miles from Blanchewater over poor stony plains, and camped on a waterhole in a box creek.
Friday, 21 March 1862 - Camp 38, Baker's Station, Appamourana.
29° 12', 139° 17'
Travelled to-day at first over stony plains, afterwards among rugged hills. It came on to rain steadily about nine o'clock from the south-west, and continued, with occasional peals of thunder, until about three ; claypans every- where full of water. The country rather better about Appamourana, which consists of a stock- yard and a stone hut, on a large plain of red gravel. The Tooncatehyn Creek has a well defined channel, lined with small gums and polygonum, and contains some good waterholes. Most hos- pitably received by Mr Herbert James.
Saturday, 22 March 1862 - Camp 39, Manuwalkerninna Creek.
29° 1', 139° 8' 30"
Left late, as the horses had strayed. The day cloudy but hot at times, and the flies a perfect torment after the rain. Travelled about fourteen miles to this place over a gravelly country, with patches of sand ridges, which are now well clothed with grass. The creek appears to have a wide, irregular channel, with occasional waterholes. The high white sandhills on the other side of Lake Torrens in sight all day, at only a few miles' distance.
Sunday, 23 March 1862 - Camp 40.
28° 40' 30", 139° 13'
Left the stony plains behind at about two miles from last night's camp. Crossed a salt creek connecting two dry lakes (boggy) of no great size-the only indication hereabouts of the celebrated Lake Torrens, and came to the sandhills which occupy so much country to the west mid east of north from this lake. For about twenty miles followed McKinlay's dray track through very poor country, growing scarcely anything but salsolaceous plants, and camped where there was a little green grass, and by good fortune, a small quantity of water still remaining in a claypan since the rain. The sandhills have a general but by no means a decided direction to the south, and are neither so high nor so steep as those crossed by us on our route down.
Monday, 24 March 1862 - Camp 41, Lake Hope
28° 22' 45", 139° 13' 45"
Travelled for about sixteen miles over a sandhill country of an inferior description, but without the saline appearance prevalent near Luke Torrens. At about half-past two o'clock, saw Lake Hope from a high sand ridge, a large extent of water lying in a long flat depression, and bordered with a narrow belt of stunted box trees. Camped by McKinlay's marked tree (MK conjoined, in a square) ; abundance of grass on the shores of the lake, but the water slightly brackish. Day cool and pleasant.
Tuesday, 25 March 1862 - Camp 42, Wallpappaninna Lake.
28° 14' 30", 139° 6' 30"
On leaving the camp this morning, followed round the edge of the lake to the north and west. The country bordering it consists of high ridges of red sand, having a general north and south direction, and is very poor, hardly producing anything but a few bushes. The edge of the lake where the water has retired, for a space varying from 30 to 100 yards, is now covered with grass, and in places with native clover. The lake looked even larger this morning, viewing it from the upper end, than it did last night. It is probably eight or nine miles in length, by about half that, at the widest. Its great want is good country and better timber ; it is, however, I suspect, very shallow in most places, as the banks have a very slight dip. At the upper end we came to the creek which supplies the lake. Pelicans, swans, and other wild fowl could be counted by hundreds. Four natives, all tall fine men, made their appearance, each bringing a small present of fish. One could speak a few words of English, and offered to accompany us. We followed this creek till one o'clock-at first though (through) a valley rather better than a mile wide, flanked by high ridges of sandhills, running at a very acute angle to the creek. The flats in places were well grassed; afterwards the sand-hills closed in, confining the creek to a narrow channel, now dry. At one o'clock came to Lake Appadeer, a wide flat basin surrounded by sand-hills, and not long dry. No water being here, but a small salt pool in the creek, the natives took us across a very high sand ridge to this lake, where we camped. It is about two miles long by one wide, and is surrounded by consider- able sandy flats; no timber. Tho water is very unpleasant, and is rapidly drying up. The natives collected as soon as we appeared over the sandhills from all sides. I camped on an open grassy flat, and we wore soon surrounded by natives watching our doings. They brought us wood and water, and were not very troublesome -only inquisitive. At one time, I think, they mustered fully 100.
Wednesday, 26 March 1862 - Camp 43, Perodinna.
28° 1' 45", 139° 15' 30"
Started early to avoid our inquisitive neighbours, who, however, gathered round us to see the interesting process of packing up. Four accompanied us on the road to this camp, where there are two or three tolerable pools of rain-water in the creek bed, a perfect luxury to us after the water we have had the two last nights. I strongly suspect that before long all the lakes about here will be either dry or salt. The country to-day, very poor.
Thursday, 27 March 1862 - Camp 44.
27° 55' 30" 139° 20' 45"
Our guides from Lake Hope remained at the native camp at Perodinna, and a blackfellow who was out with McKinlay, named Boulin-ganne, accompanied us this morning. He says that the water on McKinlay's route is now dry. Four other natives accompanied our guide. We left the creek we camped ou last night soon after starting this morning, and crossed a country which may be summed up in a few words. Alternate ridges of red sand, running nearly north and south, with large box creeks and box flats, which follow the fall of the country between them. As seen from the ridges, the country looks thickly timbered and scrubby, and bears every sign of receiving the drainage of a very large district, and it seems probable that not only the flood waters of Cooper's Creek find their way down here into the numerous lakes, and thence into Lake Torrens, but also creeks which rise still more to the northward. Everything very much burned up and dry, the rains having produced but very little grass. Two shallow pools of rain-water here.
Friday, 28 March 1862 - Camp 45, Apparalpa.
27° 47' 30", 139° 29'
Yesterday evening. after writing my diary, the tribe of blacks who were camped near to us took offence at the camels coming down their way, and were hunting them with waddies, when Williams stopped them. Hereupon a great commotion took place. The lubras and children were all sent to the back of the sandhills, the men held a council, shield and boomerang in hand, each one talking at the top of his voice. Our guide and three of his friends who had travelled with him came over to our camp, looking somewhat uneasy, and said that the others had driven them away, and would not give them anything to eat. It had rather a suspicious appearance, but ww were quite ready for double their number, and they cooled down. Our four natives requested leave to sleep by our fire, not liking to go to the other camp. This morning I had a great deal of trouble to prevent our guide's three friends from coming any further; they seemed to have a great friendship for us, and would sit for hours looking at our doings, or run about and fetch wood or water for us; in fact, do any little services, and travel all day - only, as far as I could see, for the satisfaction of being with us. The country passed over to-day was thickly timbered and scrubby, lying in flats and dry lakes, between ridges of drift sand. I found it very difficult to determine the fall of these wide valleys, but I believe that most of those passed to-day run to the W. of N. Porcupine grass on the sand ridges. Camped after twelve miles at two small pools of rain-water. A camp of blacks about half-a-mile off, collecting the portulac, &c - the native harvest just now.
Saturday, 29 March 1862 - Camp 46, Corderinna.
27° 38', 139° 32'
On leaving camp this morning came at once into a change of country. Extensive dry lake beds lying between long ridges of red sand. They are for the most part covered with a kind of couch grass, and round the edges lightly timbered with clumps of box. They have a much better appearance than the country we have passed over, and remind one somewhat of the grassy plains met with nearer the coast ; indeed, they might be better described as grassy plains flanked by sand ridges, and subject to floods, than as lakes. At one o'clock, came to a box creek running between two sandhills into one of these grassy plains, and found a large number of friendly natives camped at two small holes of rain-water. These storm waters are their mainstay just now, all the lakes and flood waters hereabouts being now dry. It has been reported to me by these natives that McKinlay's party are somewhere many days' journey to the north, beyond a large flooded creek, which has cut off the communication with the south. Some of them stated that the intermediate tribes had told them that the whites were surrounded by water. Although native rumours are always much exaggerated, there may probably be some foundation for this report, and it had struck me this morning, on riding across the alternate sand- ridges, and creeks, flats, and dry lakes, that in the event of a flood coming down, a party might find it somewhat difficult to extricate themselves before being hemmed in.
Sunday, 30 March 1862 - Camp 47, Murdacoloa.
27° 34', 139° 43' 30"
Left our guide Boulin-ganne with the Cudgee-gudgenee blacks, who are, by the by, the ugliest race I have seen, and took on a native belonging to the lower end of Cooper's Creek. Passed over country similar in some respects to that seen y\esterday, but inferior, and with greater intervals of sand- ridges between the lakes. Very little grass any- where, and only a scanty supply of saltbush and acacias. About noon, passed a good pool of rain- water in a bare clay flat. At three came in sight of a large branch of Cooper's Creek running through earthy and clayey flats, and flanked by sandhill. Appearance of the flats as miserable as those met with elsewhere on Cooper's Creek. Our guide was disappointed in finding the water- hole dried up Tho natives had sunk a well eight feet deep through stiff blue clay, in which we obtained a small supply of excellent water. Distance, eighteen miles; day hot.