Saturday, 1 March 1862.
Camp 16, situated on the right bank of the Flinders River.
Left same this morning at 8.40. At 10.30 travelled five miles east-south-east on an average course along the right bank of the river over rich level land covered with roley-poley, pigweed, grass, and saltbush, and wooded with box, terminalia, and other trees. At 11.20 came south-east and by east over land such as I have just described for two and a quarter miles. Halted with Jemmy and on a short plain horizon made the following observation, namely, meridian altitude of the sun 77 degrees 27 minutes; latitude 20 degrees 3 minutes 30 seconds. At 12.23 started on the tracks of our party. At 12.58 came one and three-quarter miles over sandy level land on which I observed, amongst other grasses, tufts of kangaroo-grass. At 1.30, when we had come south-east one and a half miles over an unwooded plain and very rich soil covered with roley-poley, pigweed, saltbush, and luxuriant young grass, we overtook our party. At 2.20 came south-east and east over an unwooded well-grassed plain to a watercourse from the east, with long holes of water. Here a black was observed in the distance. As this was the first whom we had seen since leaving the Depot, and as I never had observed tracks on either this expedition or the one to the south-west which a thundershower would not efface, I think there cannot be many blacks in the country near the Gulf of Carpentaria. At 3 came east-south-east over rich low plains with large patches of saltbush for two miles. At 3.35 came south-south-east over slightly undulating land with abundance of grass, and slightly wooded with trees and bushes, for two miles to a watercourse from the east. On the country I have just mentioned grow bushes like the garden-box, loaded with fruit pleasant to the taste. We broke branches and ate the berries as we rode along. At 4.23 came up the watercourse a quarter of a mile and crossed. This was a matter of difficulty as it was boggy. At 5.20 came over rich level country with boggy watercourses from the east and encamped. Distance today twenty and a quarter miles.
Sunday, 2 March 1862.
Camp 17, situated on the right bank of the Flinders River.
Tea-trees here fringe the channel which looks permanently watered. Although this was Sunday we came up the river. I thought it as well to do so, Mr Bourne and Jackey, while they were away from our party shooting, having observed a strong body of blacks. We started at 9 a.m. At 11 came south-east and by east over rich level land, grassed with herbage and wooded with box and bauhinia. At 11.15 came south half a mile and encamped. It rained heavily so the work of packing up, saddling, packing the horses, driving them over sloppy, boggy ground, unpacking them, and making a fire with wet wood was anything but pleasant employment. Distance today five miles.
Monday, 3 March 1862.
It rained so heavily that we remained here. The ground was so soft that the horses, much as they are inclined for rambling, did not go further away than a quarter of a mile.
Tuesday, 4 March 1862.
We started this morning at 8.20. Came east three-quarters of a mile over rich level ground with a few trees upon it. The ground was so soft from the rain that the horses were with difficulty driven along. From following each other in single file and sinking at every step to their fetlocks the track they made was so deep that it will not be easily effaced. At 10.50 came south-east for five miles and a half across rich plains with the greenest herbage; the plains separated from each other by wooded land with shallow streams flowing to the northward. At 11.35 came south-south-east two and a quarter miles up along a shallow stream with slightly wooded plains on its banks. Here Jemmy and I stayed behind the party and got the following observation, namely, meridian altitude of the sun 76 degrees 3 minutes, latitude 20 degrees 19 minutes. At 12.45 came across the plain on the tracks of the party two and a quarter miles. At 2.35 came at a quicker pace, as the ground was harder, for two and a half miles south-east and by east, and crossed a shallow watercourse with box-trees along its margin coming from the south. At 3.30 travelled over rich plains separated from each other by wooded land with watercourses from the south for one and a half miles south-east and by south. At 4 came half a mile south-east and by south over thickly-wooded land and overtook our party where they had formed their encampment. Jemmy, Jackey and Fisherman were very successful in collecting food for their supper. On the plains they caught a great number of rats, and near here they caught five possums. Distance today eighteen and a half miles.
Wednesday, 5 March 1862.
Camp 19, situated on the right bank of Flinders River.
The horses having rambled a considerable distance out on the plain Jemmy and Jackey were a long time bringing them to camp, and we did not manage to start this morning until 9.3. At 10 came over two kinds of well-grassed country in an east and north direction for three miles, the first part wooded with box and bauhinia, the second a plain between belts of timber. At 11 came east-south-east across a plain to some extent overrun with roley-poley to a deep stream flowing to the north. Here I swam across to the opposite bank to a plain which appeared beautifully level and made on it the meridian altitude of the sun 75 degrees 36 minutes, latitude 20 degrees 23 minutes. Started again at 12.50 and came up along the stream in a south-east direction one and a half miles over well grassed land wooded with box to the outlet of a stream from the river and encamped. Distance today seven and a quarter miles.
Thursday, 6 March 1862.
Camp 20, situated on the left bank of a northern channel of the Flinders River.
The water having fallen greatly since yesterday we carried the saddles and packs over and then led the horses. As the northern bank was boggy we had to apply the whip severely to some of the horses to get them to ascend it. At 9.57 a.m., having packed the horses, we started. At 10.58 came east and by south up along the left bank of a watercourse with a thin margin of box-trees for three miles. At 11.12 Jemmy and I left the party and came south for three-quarters of a mile across a plain to the right bank of the river where, halting, I made the meridian altitude of the sun 75 degrees 6 minutes, latitude 20 degrees 31 minutes. At 12.40 came half a mile north-east. At 1.12 come along a plain in a south-east and by east direction one and a half miles to a deeper and broader outlet from the river than the one we crossed in the morning. Overtook our party here and assisted to unsaddle and unpack. The horses were then driven into the stream and swum across. Afterwards we pulled the saddles and packs across with a rope and encamped. We adopted the following plan for taking them over the river. We attached the articles to the middle of a rope and passed one end of it over the fork of a tree on the southern bank; one end of the rope being pulled with sufficient force to keep the goods clear of the water, and the other end pulled with much greater force, the goods were safely landed on the southern bank. This would have been accomplished easily if we had had a pulley, but as we had none it took hard pulling to make the rope travel. The country we passed over has the same rich character as the land I described yesterday. Distance today four and a quarter miles.
Friday, 7 March 1862.
Camp 21, situated on right bank of Flinders River.
Knowing that plains with just a sufficiency of trees for firewood and shade has proved better than any other for pastoral purposes, this country delighted me; but I must say it would please me more if there were a few high hills in the distance. I was however charmed with the landscape around the camp this morning. In the foreground I saw fine box, excoecaria, and other trees festooned with beautiful cumbering creepers, and beyond them the horses feeding on a fine grassy plain extending to the north and eastward to apparently distant blue mountains. As the day advanced this picture unfortunately lost a portion of its beauty by the disappearance of anything like mountains in the distant horizon. We started at 8.14 a.m.; and at 11.40 came east for ten miles along a plain behind the wooded country near the river, but further back it is either covered with roley-poley and pigweed or with young grasses which I am afraid are annuals. Yet notwithstanding these drawbacks it is a very fine country, and if care is taken by the future occupiers not to overstock it sheep and cattle will do remarkably well upon it. When it is occupied it should be improved by having seeds sown during the beginning of the wet season to produce plants with deep roots which will take the place of the annuals. If this was done and tanks and wells made in the back country the land would probably carry at least twice the quantity of stock it could now; but to get improvements of that character made a freehold tenure would probably be required. At 11.40 Jemmy and I waited behind the main party on this extensive plain and made an observation of the sun, namely, meridian altitude 74 degrees 34 minutes; latitude 20 degrees 37 minutes 30 seconds. Started on the track of our companions at 12.10; at 2.14 came south-east and by east for six miles over well-grassed plains and overtook the main party. At a shallow watercourse surrounded by rushes and polygonum I got off my horse to get a drink and carelessly let him out of my hands. In a second he scampered off to the other horses. Jackey however soon brought him back to me. At 2.50 came south-east for about three-quarters of a mile and encamped. Distance this day sixteen and three-quarter miles.
Saturday, 8 March 1862.
Camp 22, situated on the right bank of the Flinders River.
The river presents here a fine sheet of water; the channel has the appearance of draining a large tract of country and is as large-looking as the Nogoa River at its junction with the Comet River. Left camp this morning at 8.1; at 8.55 came east and by south for two and three-quarter miles along a plain behind the wooded country skirting the river to an eastern channel of the river and delayed five minutes to get water; at 11.40 came north-east a mile and a half; then east five and a quarter miles over gently undulating rich land, green with herbage and wooded with box; crossed a small creek near its junction with the river; Jemmy and I here left the party and cantered for two miles in a north-east direction over high undulating rich ground with fine grass to a point commanding an extensive view of the surrounding country. To the eastward I observed about ten miles distant a line of wooded country which probably fringes a stream flowing parallel to the Flinders River. Having halted here I got the following observation, namely: meridian altitude of the sun 74 degrees 8 minutes; latitude 20 degrees 48 minutes. Jemmy and I started to overtake the party at 12.10; at 12.35 came south-east and by east over well-grassed land for one and a quarter mile and observed the recent tracks of a steer or cow; at 1.23 came south-east two and a quarter miles to the river over two kinds of country--the first rich undulating ground with good grass, the second clay flats covered with grass and salt herbs and wooded with box. In that short distance we crossed two watercourses from the east with good holes of water. Not having found the tracks of our party we steered west-north-west and at 2.3, when we had ridden about two miles, we found them waiting for us. As there was water and good grass here we encamped. Distance today sixteen miles and three-quarters.
Sunday, 9 March 1862.
As this was Sunday we rested ourselves and the horses; I make it a rule to fare better on Sunday than on other days so we had for breakfast damper, meat, and pigweed; for lunch, pea soup, and for dinner, cold rice and jam. The country in this neighbourhood I named Hervey Downs.
Monday, 10 March 1862.
Today Mr Bourne, Fisherman, and Jackey went in search of the beast that I had seen traces of on Saturday.
Tuesday, 11 March 1862.
Mr Bourne, Fisherman, and Jackey returned. From Mr Bourne I got the following report of their expedition:
After following the tracts of the beast for about two miles down the river they found it had crossed and travelled out on the plains in a south-easterly direction; followed tracts for twenty miles to where they turned nearly east. Up to this point they found water in several places but, in running the tracks for fifteen or twenty miles further, found none, and very reluctantly turned back (feeling satisfied that the beast had got too much start of them) at 4 p.m. to water and encamped. They had no rations excepting an iguana and a few mussels. These downs consist of loose brown loam, thickly covered with ironstone pebbles, and would be very good country if the roley-poley were not so prevalent.
Wednesday, 12 March 1862.
Camp 23, situated on the left bank of a shallow creek.
A carbine with a broken lock, belonging to Jemmy, the police-trooper, was left behind here. We started this morning at 8.25; at 8.50 came south-east and by east one and a quarter mile and crossed the river at a place where the water has a fall of several feet over flags of sandstone; at 11.40 came east over rich well-wooded downs for eight and a quarter miles. Jemmy and I having left our party and come about half a mile south, I made the following observation, namely: meridian altitude 72 degrees 33 seconds; latitude 20 degrees 41 minutes. Started after party at 12.20. At 1.27 came east half north for two and a half miles over rich undulating land to a watercourse. These downs are so sparse of trees that a small belt of brushwood on the top of an eminence was a remarkable feature. It is situated about a mile this side of the spot from which I made my observation; at 3.20, when we had come up the creek on an average south-east and by east direction for five and a half miles, we encamped. The country we have seen today has decidedly undulating features and a rich soil. Some of the flats were covered with roley-poley but the rest of the country was grassed. Distance today eighteen and three-quarter miles.
Thursday, 13 March 1862.
Camp 24, situated on the left bank of a broad shallow watercourse named by me O'Connell Creek.
Started this morning at 7.35. When we had ridden up the creek about four miles we found the tracks of the beast that Mr Bourne tracked south-easterly from the 23rd camp. After coming backwards and forwards for some time we crossed O'Connell Creek, then came about three and a half miles to the left bank of the Flinders River and abandoned the tracks of the beast as they were going down the river. We followed up the river for about four and a half miles. The first part of that distance it was confined by stony ridges, wooded with acacias and other trees; in the second part were large box flats with unwooded rising ground behind. From our path along the rising ground we observed in the distance a number of blacks near the river; and also observed, ahead of us to the eastward, a long blue range which I found afterwards confined the river on its right side. I named it Bramston Range. Afterwards we came over well-grassed country of a similar character to that I have described last for about five and three-quarter miles and encamped. All the country we have seen today is well grassed with the exception of a few plains overrun with roley-poley. I may remark also that birds, chiefly consisting of pigeons, cockatoos, quail, and hawks, were seen in great abundance. Today we travelled in the following courses: 7.35 south-south-east for four miles up O'Connell's Creek; 1.35 north and by east for three and a half miles to the river, east-south-east four and a quarter miles up the river; 3.30 east half north for five and three-quarter miles; 3.50 north-east one mile. Distance today eighteen and a half miles.
Friday, 14 March 1862.
Camp 25 situated on the left bank of a western channel of the Flinders River.
We started this morning at 7.37. When we had come seven miles over rich well-grassed downs we observed a great number of blacks on a level flat which extended to the southward. Mr Bourne and I approached them and they all ran away except some gins and children who hid themselves in a waterhole. We remained near them for a short time and were joined by Jemmy and Jackey. The gins and children soon abandoned their hiding-place and assembled on the bank, where they had their coolamons filled with rats. The old gins repeatedly offered the wives of the men who had run away to us. Amongst the females whom I observed was a girl about ten years old with a large bone stuck through the cartilage of her nose. We declined the offer, although I daresay Jackey would have liked to have taken one of the ratcatchers with him: but Jemmy said he would not, as he does not approve of wedded life. He has seen it, I presume, under disadvantageous circumstances. The young gins had fine eyes, white teeth, and good expression. The children looked particularly lively and intelligent. Jemmy understood a few words of their language but not sufficient to get information from them. Their word for water, cammo, I caught while we were getting them to fill our pint pots with water. After bidding them farewell Mr Bourne and Jackey proceeded after the packhorses and Jemmy and I went up the flat to a place about three and a half miles south of Bramston Range and, having halted, I made the meridian altitude of the sun 71 degrees 45 minutes; latitude 20 degrees 29 minutes 16 seconds. Started after the main party at 12.20. We soon found them as they had been obliged to stop to repair a saddle. Having started again we came one and a quarter miles over rich downs very much overrun with roley-poley. As we had been getting too far away from the river we steered towards it, and having reached water in two and a half miles we encamped. The country we passed over last consists of well-grassed downs. In the water we got plenty of mussels which made an agreeable addition to our rations. Distance today seventeen and a half miles by the following courses: 11.50 east-south-east seven miles; 12 south one and a half miles; 1.16 east-north-east one and a half miles; 2.40 east-south-east four and a quarter miles; 3.30 east-north-east two and a half miles; 3.45 north-east and by east three-quarters of a mile.
Saturday, 15 March 1862.
Camp 26 situated near a creek named by me Sloane Creek, at a point about three miles south-east from Bramston Range.
Started this morning at 8.15. Having come one mile and a half we reached a small hill bearing 2 degrees 84 minutes from the south-west end of Bramston Range and 50 minutes from table ranges up the river. On this hill Jemmy and I stopped for some time and then proceeded after the main party. Following their track led us over rich, high, unwooded downs for five and three-quarter miles to a creek with a shallow broad channel. This stream evidently flows towards the river. I named it Walker Creek. After crossing Walker Creek we came over high downs for about twelve miles, and having found water we encamped. Towards the river the country is wooded with a kind of myall, but not the drooping acacia. Amongst it the horses have gone to feed in preference to the open country. The ground on this side of Walker's Creek is composed of a reddish soil with occasionally detached pieces of basalt. It is covered with the best grasses, the highest portions thinly wooded with small trees, amongst which I observed white-wood, myall, and Port Curtis sandalwood. The Port Curtis sandalwood has been exported, but as far as I have been able to learn was not a profitable article. However it is first-rate for firewood, giving a better light than other woods, and the perfume it emits is disliked by mosquitoes. From our path today we observed that the right side of the river was confined by wooded ranges extending without prominent features from Bramston Range to table ranges near here. We travelled on the following courses: 8.50 east and by north one and a half miles to a little hill; 10.15 north-east and by east for three miles; 11.10 east-north-east two and three-quarter miles to Walker Creek; 3.10 north-east twelve miles to encampment. Distance today seventeen and three-quarter miles.
Sunday, 16 March 1862.
Today Fisherman and I left the party in camp to ascend the lowest down of the three table ranges on the right bank of the Flinders River. We reached the left bank of the river in a north-north-east direction in about two miles and a half. The river has a sandy level bed which is about eighty yards wide. After crossing the river Fisherman marked a gumtree growing at the bottom of the bank E broad arrow over L. From the river we reached the base of the range in rather less than a mile. I expected to find it of a sandstone formation with triodia on its surface, but on ascending the range I found that, although it had a sandstone formation, it was covered with a dark perforated basalt and at other places with rich soil and good grass. From the summit I observed that the river was joined at a short distance above this range by a tributary to the south-east, and that the following hills bore in the directions named: A high distant table range which I have named after Frederick Walker, Esquire, my brother explorer, 130 degrees; a table range three-quarters of a mile distant 90 degrees; a table range about three miles distant 45 degrees; three conical hills on a range about seven miles distant respectively 44, 43 and 39 degrees; a tent-topped hill about seven miles distant 22 1/2 degrees; a hill with an irregular top about nineteen miles distant 20 degrees; Bramston Range 245 degrees; encampment 195 degrees. After descending the range we proceeded to the junction of the creek and marked trees on both sides of the river just above its junction. Between the hill and the river we found marjoram, a plant that we have been searching for since we got our last supply at the Leichhardt River, to use as a substitute for tea; and also found--what interested us much more--the old tracks of an expedition party. The tracks were very indistinct but, as Fisherman succeeded in following them for a short distance to the north-west, I suppose that they were the tracks of Walker's party when on their way from the Nogoa to the Albert River.
Monday, 17 March 1862.
Camp 27, situated on the left bank of a southern outlet from the Flinders River at a point about five miles south-south-west from the table-topped ranges on the opposite side of the river.
The horses were so much scattered that almost the whole of the forenoon was spent in bringing them in. The main party left camp rather before noon. Jemmy and I stayed behind to get an observation of the sun. Started on the tracks of our party at 12.20. We came along unwooded, well-grassed land at the back of country wooded with myall for three and a half miles, then over country more overrun with roley-poley but otherwise of a similar character for two miles to the termination of the myall. Here I observed that we were about four and a half miles west from the end of a range, which I suppose confines the river on its right bank, and north-west from Frederick Walker's Table Mountain. After coming four and a half miles we reached a place where there was plenty of good water and grass with a high bank and encamped, as Gleeson was very unwell. The last distance--four and a half miles--was over unwooded downs covered with barley and other grasses. Came on the following courses: 1.30 south-east three and a half miles; east-south-east two miles. 3.40 east-south-east four and a half miles. Distance come today ten miles.
Tuesday, 18 March 1862.
Camp 28, situated near the left side of a watercourse of the Flinders River at a point bearing 130 degrees from Frederick Walker's Table Mountain.
The horses were scattered almost as much as they were yesterday morning and the most of the forenoon was spent in mustering them. Started at 10.35. When we had gone towards Frederick Walker's Table Mountain for three miles Jemmy and I left our path on the high ground and went down on a flat extending to the northward for about two miles, where, taking an observation, I made the meridian altitude of the sun 70 degrees 13 minutes, latitude 20 degrees 40 minutes 30 seconds. Started after the main party at 12.15. Having ridden seven miles we reached Frederick Walker's Table Mountain and ascended it. From its high summit I observed that stretching across part of the horizon there was nothing to be seen but plains. Along another part, on the south-eastern side, there was a succession of ranges from which we bore in the following way: From the end of the ranges in the distance 151 degrees; a distant range 147 degrees; a red rocky hill about seven miles distant 140 degrees; a table range about one and a half miles distant 103 degrees; a high distant conical hill, the one that I probably saw from the table range near 27 Camp, 5 degrees; the table ranges 310 degrees. We were thirsty and as we did not know how far our party would have to go to get water for the encampment I spent as little time as possible in making observations. Having started after the main party we overtook them just as it was getting dark. They had gone round the mountain and, as they had not found water, they were proceeding to the north-east in search of it. Continuing the same course we reached at 8 p.m. water and encamped. The land we passed over today is good; the soil is a rich reddish loam. The country consists of downs luxuriantly covered with good grasses except at places which are overrun with roley-poley. These downs are thinly wooded in places with myall, white-wood, and Port Curtis sandalwood. Frederick Walker's Table Mountain is of a sandstone formation and is covered at places with triodia. On the southern side of it there is a dry watercourse which rises from the northward. At many places in coming up this river we have observed a most interesting vine which produced pods of beautiful silky cotton. As the pods were pleasant to eat we were on the continual lookout for it. Distance today about eighteen miles.
Wednesday, 19 March 1862.
Camp 29, situated on flat ground on the left side of a small watercourse at a point bearing in the following way from the following ranges: one end of Frederick Walker's Table Mountain about five miles distant, the other end about four miles distant, 245 degrees; one end of a table range about one and a half miles distant from Frederick Walker's Table Mountain 199 degrees; the other end 192 degrees; the end of a long table range 160 degrees. Jemmy was so unwell this morning that we had to delay some time before he could proceed. Started at 9.52 a.m. Having come three miles north-east we waited for some time as Gleeson was too unwell to travel. Afterwards we proceeded about two miles and encamped. The land we saw today was on the whole well grassed; the flattest portions of it are wooded with myall, Port Curtis sandalwood, and western-wood acacia. The country looking from the unwooded plains is beautiful and with luxuriant herbage; the surrounding isolated ranges lends an interest to the scenery. The river has here a sandy channel about 120 paces wide with a shallow stream meandering along its almost level surface.
Thursday, 20 March 1862.
Camp 30, situated on the left bank of the Flinders River at the north-west base of an isolated range bearing the following way from the following ranges: one end of Frederick Walker's Table Mountain about eight miles distant 2 degrees 36 minutes; the other end 2 degrees 23 minutes; a range about six miles distant 209 degrees; a little isolated hill 193 degrees; north-west end of a table range about five miles distant 189 degrees; north-west end of a table range about two miles distant 174 degrees; south-east end 149 degrees. This morning I was glad to find that Gleeson and Jemmy had recovered sufficiently to start on the journey. We started at 10.12. After crossing the river we followed it up on its opposite bank in an east direction for one and a half miles and crossed it at the end of the range on the left bank. We then followed up a creek I named Jardine's Creek in a north-east and east direction for five miles and encamped. From camp Fisherman and I went west-north-west for two miles and a half to the top of a range bearing as described from the following ranges: a distant conical range (probably the one observed from near 27 Camp) 3 degrees 48 minutes; the end of Frederick Walker's Table Mountain 245 degrees; the other end 238 degrees; the place where Fisherman thought Jardine's Creek joined the river 255 degrees. The country we saw from our path along the right bank of the river was not, of course, extensive, but what we saw was flat, covered with long grass, and wooded with bloodwood and gum. These trees were the largest I have seen in this part of the country, and almost the only ones I have seen since leaving the Depot at all well-adapted for building purposes. The country in the valley of Jardine's Creek is most beautiful. It is thickly grassed and in some parts without trees; in others thinly wooded or wooded with clumps of trees. The hills on both sides of the valley are picturesque. Distance today six and a half miles.
Friday, 21 March 1862.
Fisherman and I left camp this morning and went south-east for fourteen miles. The first four miles took us over the range to the head of a creek, the next five miles down the creek, and the next five miles to the left of the creek. We then went south-west to the creek and selected a place for the next encampment. Then, returning to Depot camp, we followed up the creek, and it took us in a north half west direction for five miles to our outward tracks. Then, returning by our track to camp, we reached it by travelling for an hour after dark. In going and returning we spent nearly twelve hours on horseback. At camp I was sorry to learn that Gleeson was still very unwell. The country on the other side of the range is nearly level; back from the creek it is chiefly overgrown with triodia and wooded with ironbark. The ironbark-trees are the first I have seen on this expedition. Near the creek and at some places for a mile back from it the soil is rich with luxuriant good grass, except at places where it is thickly wooded with western-wood acacia and Port Curtis sandalwood where the herbage is not so rank, but the saltbush amongst it is a good sign of its having the most fattening qualities. The ranges on the southern side of the valley are not so good as the ranges on the northern side, the former are more sandy and are not so well covered with rich basaltic soil.
Saturday, 22 March 1862.
Camp 31, situated on the right bank of Jardine Creek at a point about five miles above its junction with Flinders River. Started this morning at 10.20; at 3.20 p.m. reached the place I had chosen yesterday for our encampment and unsaddled. Gleeson had so much recovered that he did not complain of fatigue during the day's journey. Distance today fourteen miles.
Sunday, 23 March 1862.
As this was Sunday we rested ourselves and horses. Gleeson and Jemmy still unwell; the former very weak and complaining of want of appetite and sleep.
Monday, 24 March 1862.
Today we followed the creek down for about fifteen miles and three-quarters and encamped at a fine waterhole. All along the creek there are fine deep waterholes. The channel is a kind of sandstone formation, particularly good for retaining water. About eight miles above here the creek is joined by another watercourse, about the same size, from the north-west. I have named it Coxen Creek. The country is not so level as it is higher up the creek. The soil is very good with grass, saltbush, and herbs. Sheep or cattle will do well on it but it will not carry much stock to its acreage as it is confined at many places by ridges with triodia and only a small proportion of other grasses. Triodia is certainly better than nothing, as stock will eat it when it is young, and at other times will eat it rather than starve. The best part of the country is thickly wooded with acacia and other small trees. This would not be objectionable where blacks were quiet and where it is not necessary at times to run sheep in large flocks; but in the first occupation of the country it will be so, as labour will probably be scarce. We travelled today at our usual pace from 8.27 a.m. to 1.55 p.m. Gleeson was so much recovered that he did not complain of fatigue. We came here on the following courses: 9.27 south-east for two and three-quarter miles; 11.10 south-south-east five miles to the junction of Coxen Creek; 1.55 south-south-east eight miles.
Tuesday, 25 March 1862.
Started at 8.15 this morning. Came down the right bank of the creek for about fifteen miles and encamped at 2.53. The creek has fine deep holes of water. The channel generally is confined by sandstone at places by shelving rocks a few feet high and inaccessible for horses. Here the channel is broad and sandy; about seven miles below the last camp it is joined by a smaller watercourse from the north-west named by me Raff Creek. The country we saw from our path was mostly good. It consists of well-grassed, thinly-wooded flats, separated from each other by belts of Port Curtis sandalwood, bauhinia, and other small trees, and at other places by low ridges with triodia. The country in the immediate neighbourhood consists of low ridges of poor soil with numerous rocky gullies. These ridges are chiefly wooded with ironbak and grassed with triodia. We traversed down the creek in the following way: 9.25 south-south-east three and a quarter miles; 11.4 south two and three-quarter miles to Raff Creek; 1.30 south five and three-quarter miles; 2.10 south-east and by south one and a quarter miles to a small creek from the north-west; 3.54 south two miles to here.
Wednesday, 26 March 1862.
We left camp this morning at 8.45. When we had travelled at our usual pace till 1.45 we encamped at a small creek from the north-east. We stopped here as we found dray-tracks near the creek that I wanted to trace. After unsaddling Fisherman and I traced them a short distance to the north-east. The tracks were made probably by the parties who have occupied Bowen Downs. Bowen Downs is a fine tract of country that Mr N. Buchanan and I discovered about two years ago. The country we passed over today is easily described. It is undulating poor land of a sandstone formation, grassed with triodia and wooded with ironbark and bloodwood. Having left the creek on which we encamped last night our course today took us back onto high ground from which, descending, we reached this by the following courses: 11.45 south-south-west eight and three-quarter miles; 1.45 south five and three-quarter miles. Distance come today fourteen and a half miles. In a waterhole near camp Mr Bourne caught a great quantity of small fish, an agreeable addition to our fare, and from the same waterhole Fisherman got a quantity of mussels for our breakfast tomorrow.
Thursday, 27 March 1862.
Camp 35, situated on the right bank of a small well-watered creek at a point about half a mile above its junction with a larger creek from the north-west. Jackey and I left camp this morning at 9. When we had gone down the creek in a southerly direction for two and three-quarter miles we left it and went west, expecting to find the tracks of our party as I had asked Mr Bourne to steer south-south-west; but, not finding the tracks, we returned to camp and reached it at 1.15. At camp we learned that the horses were only mustered a few minutes before our arrival. In my ride with Jackey down the creek I saw the recent tracks of a cow or steer (probably made by the beast that had been on the Flinders River). I would have tried to have found the beast with a view of killing it for the benefit of our party, but from seeing the dray-tracks near the camp I thought this was unnecessary as I was convinced we were near a station. Before leaving the subject of the beast I may mention that it may have been taken from the Darling to one of the stations on the head of the Burdekin and, having strayed from there to the Flinders River, was now on its way back. Started from camp at 1.45 p.m. When we had come a mile we crossed a creek flowing to the northward. On both sides of the creek there are stony ranges grassed with triodia and wooded with ironbark. After leaving the creek we crossed the ridges and came on land with a good deal of rich soil and wooded with belts of myall, Port Curtis sandalwood, and western-wood acacia. About these scrubs the grass is very good and there is a luxuriant undergrowth of saltbush and salt herbs. When we had come four miles from camp we sighted to the south-west a small isolated hill and went towards it. When we had crossed about three and a half miles over country like what I have just described we reached the isolated hill and Mr Bourne and I ascended it. It is surrounded by rich, well-grassed, high downs, wooded at places with small belts of myall. The shape of the hill is like an artificial mound with the ruins of a tower on its summit. It is so like a hill I saw when I was last on Bowen Downs that I almost fancied it the same. The hills in this neighbourhood however do not correspond with those in my chart. About four and a half miles to the north-north-west we observed two table-topped hills, and in the distance to the south-south-east a hill which may be the Simon Pure Tower-hill. From the hill we came east half north two and a half miles and encamped.
Friday, 28 March 1862.
We started this morning at 8.55. When we had come about sixteen miles we reached Tower-hill. On its summit I found a small tree that I remembered Mr N. Buchanan had marked L when on my first expedition to this part of the country. Almost half the way to Tower-hill was wooded with myall and western-wood acacia. In the middle of that wooded country we crossed a range and observed unwooded downs to the right of our path. The remainder of the way was rich undulating ground slightly wooded with trees and grassed with the best grasses. To the left of our course there was low ground wooded at places with box, and at other places with western-wood acacia. From the range in the first part of the way Tower-hill bore south-east and by south, and a little range south-south-east (the latter is about one and a half miles west-south-west from Tower-hill). After descending Tower-hill we came half a mile and encamped. In a waterhole near camp Mr Bourne and I while bathing found mussels in abundance; but as our caterers, of whom Mr Bourne was the chief, had shot two turkeys we did not gather any mussels. We came on the following courses: 10.30 south four miles to a range; 12 south-south-east two and three-quarter miles to open downs; 2.45 south-east eight and a quarter miles to Tower-hill; east half a mile to encampment. Distance today sixteen and a half miles.
Saturday, 29 March 1862.
From last camp we reached Landsborough's Creek in twenty-three and a half miles. I expected today to have reached a station that Mr Buchanan when I left Brisbane told me he intended forming on this creek. I told my party to expect that we would here get fresh provisions. When we had travelled upwards of ten miles from last camp, and in that distance only saw the appearance of a single horse track, I came to the conclusion that Mr Buchanan had taken no stock up the creek, and changed our course so as to strike it lower down. Further on Mr Bourne, Gleeson, and I felt confident we were on stocked country; but this impression was soon changed by Fisherman telling us that he believed the grass had been eaten off by grasshoppers. The country we crossed today is a rich soil and is wooded along the watercourses with box, and at other places with a few bushes. Near the creek the land is flat and badly grassed, but back from the creek the land is undulating and well grassed. From our path we saw on both sides of us table ranges which gave a charm to the landscape. We came here on the following courses: 11.20 south-west and by south eight miles; 12.10 west one mile; 12.48 south-south-west one and three-quarter miles; 1.20 south one and a half miles; 2.35 south-east three and three-quarter miles; 5.25 south seven and a half miles.
Sunday, 30 March 1862.
This being Sunday we rested ourselves and horses.
Monday, 31 March 1862.
Camp 38 situated on the left side of Landsborough's Creek at a place about two miles north of a table range on the opposite bank. We started this morning at 10.25. When we had followed down the left bank of the creek we crossed Cornish Creek a short distance above its junction with Landsborough's Creek. It had been recently flooded, and although the ford was a good one the stream was still about three feet deep. Below the junction of this creek the watercourse is called Landsborough's River. (Lower down we ascertained it was called the Thomson River.) On the left bank of Cornish Creek there are wooded ranges extending for several miles down the river. After leaving these ridges our path down the left bank of the river went over rich undulating ground with good grass and a few belts of box-trees. On the opposite side of the river there is a considerable extent of wooded country. On our journey one of the packs having partly broken loose so frightened the horse carrying it that he galloped off, and was not recovered until he had scattered his load, consisting of medicines and peas, broadcast on the plain. The medicine was recovered but the bulk of the peas were lost. About ten miles before I reached camp I made the meridian altitude of the sun 63.18, on a good land horizon; latitude 22 degrees 27 minutes 39 seconds. We came here on the following courses: 10.20 south-east and by east two and three-quarter miles; 11.40 south-south-east four miles; 12.45 south-south-east two miles to ---- Creek; 3.20 south seven and a quarter miles. Distance today sixteen miles.