Albert River, 22 January 1862.
Journal of Landsborough's Expedition from Carpentaria, in search of Burke & Wills
Depot, Albert River,
I have the honour to inform you that our party arrived here all safe and in good health on the morning of the 19th instant, when we were informed of the successful overland journey, through, in a great measure, an unknown country, of Walker's party, and of the glorious news of their having found the tracks at the Flinders River of Burke's party returning from the Gulf of Carpentaria; and also of your having found tracks lower down the river, which were probably older than those found by Mr Walker's party, as the latter were the return tracks.
Mr Walker's party, as you observe in your letter of the 20th ultimo, will no doubt do all that is possible and not give up (if he can follow the tracks) following the missing party, in whatever direction they may go. This however they will find difficult and tedious, if not altogether impossible.
I have brought back all the horses with the exception of two that were drowned. I shall therefore, as I have your sanction, so soon as I have recruited the horses and rested till there is a probability of my party being able to travel, which we cannot do at present, as the country is, I think, too boggy, start again, with a better hope of success in the main object of the expedition than I had on my last journey, when, in accordance with my instructions, I went as far as the dry state of the country and my time would admit in the direction of Central Mount Stuart.
For our next expedition we have, as you are aware, no tea nor sugar. When you are leaving, I am sure, if you can spare us any of these necessary articles, you will do so; also some lime-juice, rum, quinine, caster oil, and laudanum, which are so useful for the prevention or cure of diseases to which we will be liable during or after wet weather.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Captain Norman, of H.M.C.S. Victoria,
Commander Norman's Reply
H.M.C.S. Victoria, off the Albert River,
I do myself the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 22nd ultimo reporting your return, and containing an outline of your proceedings, and the nature of the country you passed through going towards and returning from the direction of Central Mount Stuart; also a tracing of your route for the Royal Society of Victoria.
In reply to your requisition in the same for a further supply of stores for use on going on the south-east route, I regret to inform you that, from not having them, I shall be unable to supply you with tea, sugar, and rum; but such other articles as we have and can spare you will be furnished with; but should you consider it will in any way endanger your party going overland without the stores you have asked for, or from the smallness of the number for which you can carry stores, or for protection, I do not consider that it is imperative you should do so, having every reason to believe that Mr Walker's party will do everything that is possible and necessary to continue following up of Mr Burke's tracks, and you can all return by Victoria; but, as you have stated, there is a possibility of Walker losing the tracks, and you will have the same chance of finding and following them up as he will by going on the south-eastern route, you have my sanction to proceed if you consider you can with safety do so, taking with you as many of your party and whom you think proper, and the remainder will be taken round by this vessel.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
W. Landsborough Esquire,