Tuesday, 1 April 1862.
Beautiful morning; wind east and fresh. Travelled zigzag through creeks from the eastward for about twenty miles and camped on large one from south of east that we could not find a crossing at; our distance in a direct line would not be much more than half that, and the exact course not known till I get on one of the hills; to east and north no view, being perfectly shut out with timber. The country near the creek is a perfect bog, and even a man has great difficulty in getting out of some places that he is induced to try, thinking it crossable. After getting to camp went about examining the creek for a crossing, and think I have found one that perhaps may do, but even after crossing this one the country is like a net, intersected as it is with creeks, magnificent pasture on the flats; a native fishing weir is a little above this. Across the creek and you can see the fish snapping at the flies in the holes--all the creeks indeed that I have crossed from the east have both fish and mussels in them, but here the creeks are very formidable. Small crown top of the hill, another very fine one some little distance south of that; all those are on the western side of a large range, close by, running apparently north-east and south-west. I sincerely wish I was safe on the western side of these main creeks as I am thus driven contrary to my wish much east.
Wednesday, 2 April 1862.
Started to cross the creek about three-quarters of a mile to the eastward; but just before starting, whilst the horses were coming, two of them got bogged and we had some difficulty in extricating them, however we made a start; got to the crossing place--got two of the camels and two of the horses bogged and had considerable difficulty in getting all over safe, however did so with the exception of getting some of the things wet, so it was late when we crossed. I at once camped to dry them and got things put to rights for a start in the morning. Started off to get a view of the country from a remarkable crown-topped conical hill about six miles off, and had a most extensive view. I find that we have for the present passed the worst of the creeks, and that now there is in view only one of much magnitude and it bears off eastward, passing on the south-east side of an isolated hill or double hill; they are the only hills seen from this elevated spot from a bearing of 358° round to 44° southward and westward; from the forementioned of these bearings and masses of hills jumbled together, and to south and east of the latter bearing is another mass of hills; at the bearing itself the hill terminates in small cones immediately east of my position; a little to the north and a little to the south is one mass of table-topped hills, some apparently strongly timbered on top, with a perfect wall from ten to thirty feet perpendicular round summit of all, and some are detached. Hunter's Island Gap, or rather the bluff on its northern side, bearing 26° from Hunter's Gorge to north and west, is round to 358° in the far distance, is a mass of table-topped ranges with, apparently, three gaps in them.
Thursday, 3 April 1862. #
On bearing of 110° along the creek for one and a quarter miles, on bearing of 65 1/2° for three and a half miles, on bearing of 1 degree for three and a half miles over several boggy creeks; then after several fruitless exertions through bogs and creeks, with a large deep strong running stream and through quagmire, was obliged to retrace my steps and get outside of the creeks, having failed completely in getting over them; they would swallow horses and everything we had got. Went on bearing of 99° for three and a half miles and camped on a magnificent lagoon about one mile long and about 200 yards wide, a perfect flower garden.
Friday, 4 April 1862 - Camp, Jeannie Lagoon.
Went and had a view from hills east; saw there Kangaroo ranges far to the east, tier after tier, country timbered, etc.
Saturday, 5 April 1862 - Camp 28.
At daybreak sky wild-looking to eastward; wind from south; strong. Never in all my experience found the flies so thorough a pest as they have been for the last week or ten days. We get on without our bread quite as well as I expected; the vegetables we use by boiling are famous things, both as a substitute for bread and keep the party in good health. The natives on the main creek lower down south call it cullie; it is a sort of spinach and does not grow more than a foot high but spreads perhaps twice that much. Started over on bearing of 45°; at three three-eighth miles came to and crossed a broad swamp from the easter hills; a little further back on the right of my course appeared to be another lagoon; at five-eighths of a mile commenced crossing low sandhills; splendid feed all the way. Changed the course, the ground ahead having too many high-looking sandhills. Saw a couple of natives in the distance crossing the swamp; I crossed some considerable distance west of them; they evidently did not see us. Cannot keep straight; there is a large deep creek here immediately on my left, about fifty yards wide; bearing of 60° for one and a quarter miles; then bearing of 24°, crossing the creek (small one); making for north-west end of another sandhill two and a quarter miles further; then bearing of 15°, passing on the left some fine myall and sandhill country, splendidly grassed and strongly wooded with myall and other trees of various kinds in splendid foliage; two and a quarter miles bearing of 33° over sandy undulation on the right and innumerable creeks on the left for one and one-eighth miles; in all sixteen and a quarter miles and camped on some mulga near some of the branches of the creek.
Sunday, 6 April 1862 - Camp 29.
Beautiful cold morning; what little wind there is is from the south-west. Started away on bearing of 40° for thirteen and a half miles; first part over stony myall undulations (open) the latter part free from stones and much less wooded except in the creeks that constantly come in from the ranges from the eastward. As I am now passing a couple of circular table-topped hills pretty close on the right I will change my course for a thicket of myall and camp that I may be enabled to ride to the height and have a view of the general course of the creek, as what I am on is too flat to get a view at all. Changed course and camped; distance travelled fourteen and five-eighth miles; day beautifully cool. A tier of ranges continues on my right all along, varying from five to eight miles distant, timbered with mulga, same as one I went on the day I camped at Jeannie Lagoon; a mass of detached pyramids, cut and conical coronet-topped hills are between my course and the main range and I have the creek to the right. Not far off passed abundance of water on course over top of Euro Hill; creek bears suddenly off westward--a likely way to get over the range and meet it again by a gap in range bearing 349°. It appears to pass through and receive large tributaries from the west and northward, between large leading ranges on the west and through range with gap on the east side, that I talk of passing through to meet it again on bearing 318°, or of bearing 340°--nearer considerably than the former. This hill is a conical coronet-topped hill of burned sandstone mixed with some quartz and is four miles from camp, on a bearing of 157 1/2°. Belts of mulga between camp and this; the country to north-east and round by east to south for some miles is not all good; a little spinifex and the ground perfectly strewed with bronzed stones of various sizes; no ranges visible from north round to north-east, but plains and mulga scrub; one larger hill similar, but coated with spinifex and bush of various sizes, is close by bearing 300°; another about the same size as this, thickly coated with spinifex, and a couple of bushes about 300 yards off bears 225°. Between me and main range to the east are numerous red pyramid hills of various sizes, and southward a number of detached table-topped hills, peaks, and mounds, all more or less timbered. Just as I was getting up this hill a fine euro hopped off down the side some distance off, and when I got on the top another sprang up and as I had my pistol with me I fired and luckily killed him, so I call the hill Euro Hill. After I had finished on the hill I disembowelled the euro and carried it to the camp to have it used and help the meat to last; I hope we may get plenty more.
Monday, 7 April 1862 - Camp 30.
Exceedingly cold during the night but a beautiful morning. Started on bearing 5 1/2° for six and three-quarter miles; first part of it over open flats with mulga creeks and watercourses, many with water; next over burnt stony undulation with mulga watercourses; at five miles came in amongst a quantity of detached hills of lime and sandstone; the ground strewed with bronzed burnt small stones and takes the print of an animal's foot readily, having a light soil under. At the end of this distance, six and three-quarter miles, two creeks again full in view, one apparently on bearing 9°, passing above and below a small table-topped hill, the other on bearing of 40°, which I suppose I must follow till I can cross. For five miles passing stony slopes towards the creek and a vast abundance of vine with large yellow blossoms, the fruit being contained in a leafy pod; that fruit when ripe contains three or four black seeds as large as a good-sized pea. I must try them cooked as I find the emu tracks very abundant where the vine is most plentiful. I can from this point see the creek distinctly break off from the branch on bearing of 354°, but I must keep on the branch still; bearing now 35 1/2°. The tops of the low hills are of a whitish colour, and an immense quantity of gypsum is scattered over them as well as over the slopes as I came along, and the tops and slopes of the hill have mallee with other trees and shrubs; course 35 1/2° for three three-eighth miles, first part burnt undulation of thin brown slate gypsum cliffs for a short distance, without a shrub or bush on them; precipitous slopes, tops alone having bushes or trees; latter part over undulation more or less stony to creek where it turns suddenly to northward again; bearing of 338° over flooded well-grassed country for two miles on to the main creek; a hill on opposite side within twenty-three yards of creek bank. This is a magnificent stream here. It is at least 250 yards wide and from forty to fifty feet down the banks to the water, lined with noble gums, box, bean, and other trees; how deep it is difficult to say. Lots of ducks of various kinds, cormorants, magpies, corellas, pigeons of various kinds, with the usual accompaniment of crows and hawks. Small hill visible in the distance to south of east; very extensive plain in that direction also, as well as east and north of east, with abundance of excellent pasture and timbered low ridges, stony, but well grassed with limestone and the everlasting plum-pudding stone with sandstone. Current in creek I should say not more than half a mile per hour.
Tuesday, 8 April 1862 - Camp 31.
Cool during the night with a heavy dew, beautiful morning, not a breath of wind: keeping a short distance from the creek to cross a boggy tributary from the east, for two and three-quarter miles, then through timbered stony rising ground, plenty of feed; the bronzed middle-sized pigeon of Cooper's Creek seen here; bearing of 40° for two and a quarter miles along limestone and plum-pudding slopes; part of creek on left on bearing of 30° for three and a quarter miles, timber for building purposes to be had here in sufficient quantities; bearing of 45° for three-quarters of a mile; bearing 50° for one mile; bearing of 40° three-quarters of a mile over myall open country, some of it very stony where the flood has swept over it; now on the right are some fine plains backed in by low myall ridges; bearing of 42° for four and three-quarter miles, the creek on the left, tributaries seem to come in and join on opposite side, cross a creek from east in its swamp, plenty of water (Kell's Creek); I have come to a stony crossing-place and recross over to north-west side; the female camel bogged but we soon got her put to rights; for the last three miles the ground we travelled over is nearly one mass of stones, limestone and agate or flint, and very bad travelling; the creek runs strong--I have called it Mueller's Creek after F. Mueller of Melbourne--fifteen and a half miles. After getting to camp got a horse and went out north of west to a ridge some short distance off and saw to the westward a large tributary that I think will suit my course; at little over quarter of a mile a very large creek comes in from north of north-east and flows southward, it has ceased running and has a broad stony bottom but has splendid reaches of water; this I have called the Robinson after J. Robinson, Esquire, of Hume River. Considerably to east is a well-defined range in the distance, running north and south with three detached mounds of hills and I have called it Mount Mueller after F. Mueller, Esquire.
Wednesday, 9 April 1862 - Camp 32.
Heavy dew, beautiful still morning, a few fleecy clouds. Started, bearing of 285° for one and a quarter miles, at three-eighths of a mile crossed the Robinson, at three-eighths of a mile further crossed a nice creek with large reaches, the Mansergh; at three-eighths of a mile further changed our mode of travel to the bearing of 330° for two and a quarter miles; then bearing 354 1/2°, spinifex hill or range close on the right, good open country travelled over; creek on the left about two miles off, alluvial deposit on plain, over which we travelled for six and three-quarter miles then entered a mulga range (low) bronzed stone on the ascent but plenty of feed and numerous traces of kangaroo. Saw lots of emu on the plains; still on bearing of 354 1/2° to creek, passing on the right a vast quantity of spinifex and ranges of sandstone right on the banks of creek for three and a quarter miles, crossed it on a bearing of 284° three-quarters of a mile, plenty of water, the creek I have called the Fletcher after G.B. Fletcher, Esquire, Tapio, Darling River, New South Wales; then bearing 295° for Coronet-Topped Hill, centre of next creek, at three miles made the creek, went one quarter of a mile into it and camped; the last three miles has been a pipeclay, slaty, spinifex, miserable country with detached conical, white, clay-slaty hills, top of the range all spinifex, although timbered with a white-barrelled gum of no great dimensions; distance travelled today seventeen and a half miles.
Thursday, 10 April 1862 - Camp 33.
Fine morning, wind moderate, south, on bearing of 300° up the clear ground in the apparent centre of this immense creek; passed north end of stony (sand) spinifex-topped and pipeclay, north end at one and one-eighth of a mile; bearing of 315° high bluff, spinifex-topped, hills all along at the right of creek, except the valley of the creek, this is the most miserable country we have been in for some time, if you offer to ascend the ridges they are nothing but a mass of very rough stones, spinifex, and mulga, myall, and white-stemmed gumtrees, very difficult to travel over, three miles on 315°; obliged to change course, great part of the heavy creek, on my left, crossing my course, and bearing up more to eastward another creek bears off to considerably west of north, now on bearing of 285° crossing the different branches of this immense creek which I have called the Cadell, after F. Cadell, Esquire, the enterprising and indefatigable navigator of the Murray and Darling, etc. etc., not that he will ever be able to steam up this length; 285° for one and a quarter miles of other creeks that appear to go off on a bearing, at present, of 200°, which I follow on its north-east side, or rather up through it, as it is divided into innumerable branches with abundance of water; camped at six and three-quarter miles on this course in the centre of the creek; the hills recede a good deal from the creek and are not so rough-looking or abrupt as they were in the morning and yesterday; the creek I have called Middleton, after Mr Middleton, one of our party, who at all times has rendered me most material services and who, had I lost him during his late severe illness I should scarcely be able to get along without, he is always ready at the post when there is anything particular to do.
Friday, 11 April 1862 - Camp 34.
Fine morning; wind moderate south. This creek receives a tributary from the southward of west about a quarter mile lower down than this. I shall pass through this creek to north-east side, that being the best and most open travelling, the south-west side having myall timber from the creek to the ranges as far as visible. If the country at all suits and, as my food cannot possibly carry me back to Adelaide, I shall shape my course for the southern part of the Gulf of Carpentaria about the Albert River, thence to Port Denison, then to wait instructions from South Australia. On bearing of 45°; half a mile across the different branches of the immense creek, then on bearing of 314° along splendid plains, passing at nine and a half miles a detached small tier of ranges running on to and ending at the creek; from the top of the nearest one the creek appears to bear through ranges 294 1/2°; ranges on this side appear only detached and far distant from the creek, leaving magnificent plains intervening. A small red conical hill is close to the creek about a mile from this bearing 306 1/2°. I now recross the creek on bearing of 294 1/2° as it is more suitable for my purpose, the creek in the distance at its western bend bearing 305° about nine miles distant, at which place it receives a tributary from the ranges to the eastward on the course of 294 1/2° for eight and a half miles. Camping on south-western side of creek, passing over excellent country. Travelled today eighteen and a half miles. The creek that comes in on the opposite side I have called Saville's Creek. From this camp a coronet-shaped hill, at or near the termination of a tier of ranges approaching the creek within five miles, bears 30°, a bluff termination of ranges from the creek on south-west side and on south-west of our tomorrow course bears 279 1/2°, about eight to ten miles.
Saturday, 12 April 1862 - Camp 35.
Fine morning. I have had to send back to last camp for a small saw, carelessly left behind by the cook. On bearing of 294 1/2° on south-west side of creek direct, seven and a half miles through, the creek came direct in my course and sheered round again north before that distance; then bearing of 313° for five and three-quarter miles, and camped, making the stage short to await the messenger for the saw. Wind south. Immense open downs or plains, well grassed with similar hills to what we have passed, wanting the spinifex. Messenger arrived with saw.
Sunday, 13 April 1862 - Camp 36.
Evenings, nights, and mornings are beautifully cool; the days are quite hot enough. It is astonishing to see how fast the waters have dried up. I hope that near the tops of the creeks the water will not fail us, for up to this we have had lately much more than we want. Bearing of 336°, on south-west side of creek still. Ranges now on the left and at the distance of from thirteen to fourteen miles, appear to come right on to the creek on both sides at two and a half miles; on bearing of 336°. Tributary from south-west side; at five miles another tributary on same side; at six and three-quarter miles another. At fourteen miles the hills close, those on the north-east side nearer than the south-west side ones. At fourteen and a half miles tributary joins on opposite side from the hill close by. At fifteen and three-quarter miles hill (burned sandstone) comes on to the creek; the timber in the creek nearly all white gum, the North of Adelaide native orange, and a new fruit, something similar, that when ripe splits open down the sides whilst still green, and grows on a low prickly shrub, leaf not unlike the orange but longer and when near other trees or shrubs entwines itself round them and grows to a good height. The actual distance today direct is about fifteen miles, as the creek came in my course and receded again before we came to camp--camped across the creek. Kirby by some unfortunate mistake on his part did not arrive here tonight. Will send after him first thing in the morning; burnt a blue light and made a low fire on the top of the hill for him but without effect.
Monday, 14 April 1862.
No word of Kirby; sent after him, found him on the tracks some miles away, and did not get to camp till near noon. He says he got entangled in the creeks and could not make the tracks out. Lots of kangaroo and emu here but shy; cloudy and hot. Looks as if we were to have a shower; I wish we may. Camp here today.
Tuesday, 15 April 1862 - Camp 37.
Late in starting, some horses being absent; nice cool breeze from north-north-east--bearing of 2 1/2°; creek on the left at three-quarters of a mile, tributaries join on each side; at two and a half miles remarkable peaky and table-topped hills on right; hills close on both sides. At four and a half miles changed course to 8°; at one and a half miles heavy tributary came in from east-south-east, and is I think the principal channel; completely ran the creek out north andthen followed and ran out the principal one. Retreated twice and compelled to camp at a water in the flat a quarter of a mile north of where I struck the creek. Distance today six and a half miles; although I suppose I travelled treble that distance. After camping got a horse and went out over the ranges in a west and north direction and saw what I suppose will be a course to suit me tomorrow; otherwise it was my intention to have taken one man and a packhorse, and pushing over the range northward to see if we are near the north watershed, or to have found a practicable route. Ranges are covered with spinifex and rough stones. Hodgkinson shot a euro which will help us on and save a sheep.
Wednesday, 16 April 1862 - Camp 38.
Started on a general bearing of 292° over the ranges and at seven miles direct got onto a large myall flat; at nine miles passing over myall flat. Red table-topped range close on right; passed through the mass of them and the last of the range; and changed bearing to 325° for three and a half miles, making for a gum creek that appeared to come from the ranges from north and east. Found no water on the road nor in the creek but fortunately some in a side creek at which place I camped. Saw a native signalising to westward, a considerable distance.
Thursday, 17 April 1862 - Camp 39.
Beautiful morning. Started on bearing of 305° across an extensive myall, gum, and box flat, with innumerable tributaries into it in all directions. General drain up to the south; water in many watercourses as we cross the flat, and must be an immense creek a little lower down, where they all unite. Keep the course for eleven miles, crossing a fine open creek running northward, which I think is the same that we crossed this morning flowing south; then over spinifex ridges on bearing of 300° onto a fine open flat. Heavy ranges west. Apparent fall of water northward; about four miles south of this and immediately over the open undulation at the distance the flow takes place south; on this last course two and a quarter miles; on bearing of 295° for two miles, 293° for two and a quarter miles over splendid country and camped at first creek we met with plenty of water. Unfortunately Kirby with the sheep has got astray; and Hodgkinson, who was sent after him in the morning to swerve him from the course he was then on and bear up north for ours, came up to me in the midst of a spinifex range, whilst leading on the party, with the stupid information that he could not follow his tracks; and on being rated for so doing and sent back arrived at 10 p.m., and never got on his tracks again but says he went back to the camp we left in the morning--for what purpose he only knows; in consequence the unfortunate man did not arrive at camp. I will send after him first thing in the morning. After getting into camp I rode out south towards the watershed but found it further off than I anticipated from this camp. It must be from ten to fifteen miles and most excellent country. The main range west from what I could see of it is very stony; few trees and a great abundance of kangaroo and other grasses. Emu and kangaroo in abundance. Range runs to east of north a little and to south of west a little and is formidable. Distance travelled seventeen and a half miles.
Friday, 18 April 1862 - Camp 40.
First thing in the morning got the horses and started Middleton and Palmer to endeavour to trace the unfortunate man Kirby who has not made his appearance. He must have had a bitter cold night of it; this morning south wind was as cold or colder than I have felt it for twelve months--we were glad to get to the fire besides fortifying ourselves with warmer clothing than usual. I with Poole started to cut his tracks if he came out through the range on his course through open country south of this, but were unsuccessful in finding any trace of him. Middleton and Palmer got on his tracks and followed them to about dark when within a very short distance of our tracks here, and more than half the distance to this camp, and thought it not improbable, from the course he was then pursuing, that he had got to our camp and came home but the unfortunate had not; had he been followed the day before by Hodgkinson with the same perseverance all would have been well and much anxiety spared to all. If the poor man has kept to the ranges I'm afraid there is little hopes of him--it will be a sad end for the poor fellow--a better man for his occupation could not be found. Just fancy an unfortunate man lost between two and three hundred miles from the coast in a perfect wild with twenty-three sheep (and I question if he has any matches) left to sink or swim beyond reach of any Christian soul. If he is recovered he may than God. Will still keep up the search for some days to come in hopes of recovering him. Camp bearing 208 1/2° about four and a half miles; furthest north point visible of McKinlay's Range 304°, from thirty to forty miles. No range visible between that and 18 1/2°. Nothing but heavily timbered creeks, innumerable tributaries from both sides and south end. Exact course of main creek not positively discernible, but for the first twenty miles from camp it bears much east, from Observation Hill it appears as far east as 3°--termination of McKinlay's Range as visible from camp on bearing 341°. Furthest southern point of McKinlay's Range as visible from Observation Hill 214°. Some miles beyond the watershed south, hill where watershed takes place about six miles from camp bears from the Hill Observation 216° from camp.
Saturday, 19 April 1862.
Horses sent for per first light; night very cold again. Not having had anything in the shape of food since the morning Kirby was lost, except a couple or three spoonfuls of flour each in water, I determined, Kirby not yet arriving, to kill one of our bullocks; had them up to camp and shot one in the grey of the morning; three now remaining; in the event of Kirby not being found with the sheep all correct, not very bright prospect for the party to travel to the Gulf and round to Port Denison upon; certainly we have the horses but I would be loath to kill them except in extreme need, but I will still hope for the best, but cannot stay beyond a week whether found or not, as our provisions, beef, will be lessening daily; the flour we still have is a small quantity reserved in case of sickness and for the purpose of putting a small quantity daily in our soup to make it appear more substantial; at present the vegetable the party were all so fond of has disappeared except some old dry remnants which all feel the want of much. I hope it may reappear. After cooking some of the liver etc. for breakfast and some to take with them, started Middleton and Palmer again to follow up Kirby's tracks from where they left them, and started Bell back to the last camp to examine minutely the track as he went along, and all about the camp in case he may have retraced his steps, which is what he ought to have done. By noon of same day, on our not making our appearance on his course, I started out and skirted the foot of the range where he ought to come out on his course, but was unsuccessful in finding the slightest trace of the unfortunate man. What thoughts must pass in his mind. Not a probability of ever again seeing anyone of his own colour. Possibly destroyed by the natives whose fires are to be seen daily, although they don't make their appearance--never again to see his home nor his friends; it must be awful for the poor man. Dusk now setting in I have better hopes of his recovery as neither of the three horsemen have made their appearance. Just at dark up rides Middleton with the joyous intelligence that man and sheep are found, Palmer staying behind to push on and overtake Bell and Kirby with the sheep on our track here, and Middleton took a more direct route here to give information of the good news, at which all of us were glad and thankful. About 11 p.m. horsemen, Kirby, and sheep arrived safe, and I was truly grateful for the deliverance. The poor man says he never expected to see us again. Bell fortunately picked him up within three miles of our last camp; he was then, after having been considerably south, and now completely bewildered and thinking he had missed the camp while travelling in the dark, steering a north-west course, and in ten minutes longer would have been on our track for this place. Middleton and Palmer had traced him throughout; and as they found they were drawing near our track Palmer went to the track to see if anything was to be seen of him there, and called out to Middleton that they were found, and gone towards home on the tracks, when Middleton immediately started with the information, leaving Palmer to follow and overtake and assist them to camp with the sheep. The man Kirby on arrival was completely worn out, not for want of food but with a troubled mind and want of sleep. He had killed a sheep the second night after leaving last camp and had with him a small portion for his use. How thankful he must have been to see Bell!
Sunday, 20 April 1862.
Very cold morning. Kirby sleeping and recruiting himself. The meat drying; in consequence of the last detention it has put us far back from where we otherwise would have been, and the course appears pretty open to us now.
Monday, 21 April 1862.
No dew last night, still the meat is unfit to pack, will have to give it today still, and then will make a start in the morning. A splendid large creek flows west of south over the fall of water, and at fifteen to sixteen miles from this there is abundance of water in it, and must increase wonderfully as it goes southward and receives its various tributaries. I have called it the Hamilton after G. Hamilton, Esquire, Inspector of Police, Adelaide. The one flowing south from our last camp (39) I have called the Warburton, after the Commissioner of Police, P.E. Warburton, Esquire, of Adelaide. The range between the two going south I have called Crozier's Range after John Crozier, Esquire, Murray River. The ranges west side of the Hamilton going southward I have called William's Ranges. From the division of waters the ranges west of this and the creek flowing northwards, a branch of which we are now on, I have called McKinlay Creek and Ranges; I only hope the creek may hold a course west of north. The ranges on the east side of this creek going northward I have called Kirby's Ranges to remind him of his narrow escape. Tributaries come into this creek south of this position, and west and east as far as I can discern from top of range, about five miles north-north-east of this; there is abundance of water in many of the minor as well as the main creeks; mussels in all. Magnificent pasture all around and lots of game but wild.
Tuesday, 22 April 1862 - Camp 40.
We have been here now since the afternoon of Thursday last the 17th, and high time it is that we make some progress. Wind south-east; cold dewless nights; the meat has dried after a fashion but not sufficient for keeping any length of time without further exposure to sun and air--which we must do as soon as we get to camp for several days. Kirby has now quite recovered and we start on a bearing of 345°. I call this small creek Black-eyes Creek--after the bullock we slaughtered here; at three and three-quarter miles crossed the what appears main channel of the creek coming from west-south-west, and various others coming in all directions; this is an immense creek, sandy and gravelly bed, with large and to me perfectly new trees, with short and broad dark green leaf and often clustering in fine saplings from the bottom and growing to a good height; also some fine gums. Creek now on the right; country after crossing the creek is splendidly grassed and firm sound ground between creek and range which is some distance off; but we will be gradually approaching it on our present course. At seven and a half miles crossed sandy creek from west; at ten one-eighth miles crossed large deep creek from west, at twelve miles sandy creek from west; and at fourteen miles sandy creek from west; at fourteen and a quarter miles large sandy creek, west, with water in sand; went down the creek east for a quarter of a mile to water and camped at the junction of the other creek we crossed a short distance back with this; the creek immediately below this is about 300 yards wide with excellent timber; there has been a little spinifex during today's travel but the bulk of it has been well-grassed and fresh varieties of good sound country; a specimen of copper picked up in one of the creeks; a great abundance of quartz and mica strewed everywhere. I think I forgot to mention that at the division of waters on the low bald undulations limestone is strewed about in large and small circular pieces from the size of a saucer to three and four feet in diameter, besides large blocks of it; the hills on the west are of a hard stone between flint and sandstone, strewed about with quartz; the eastern one is of burned slate or clay, pretty much resembling many that we have already passed and what I was on, topped with spinifex, and the side with good grasses.
Wednesday, 23 April 1862 - Camp 41.
Mild night, wind light from west; started on a bearing of 345°. A fresh broad-bean from a fine runner found here but rather green to obtain seed from; may get some ripe further north. A couple of small fish about two and a half to three inches long are in this waterhole, came up at the flood no doubt and left here. The horses are gone back on their old tracks and the two men who went after them, like idiots, got about half of them and retraced their steps to camp, afraid no doubt to go off the tracks to look after them in case they should get lost--this I am sorry to say is not an uncommon occurrence and has all along pestered me very much, and has in many instances caused vast detention; the worst of it is that some of them instead of improving in following tracks appear to me to be getting daily more stupid. The sheep and bullocks I have sent on on the proper bearing, so that if it is even late when the horses are found they can be overtaken and a journey made; but it does not give me an opportunity of finding water and good camp as I otherwise would be able to do getting them in a proper time. Wind at 10 a.m. changed to east-north-east, beautiful morning. At middle of the day, the horses not making their appearance, I sent after the sheep and bullocks and had them turned back to camp; they arrived at sunset and the horses just arrived at the same time, having strayed amongst the spinifex a considerable distance. I took a horse and went to the nearest hill about seven miles distant to observe the course of the main creek, but the day proving warm and misty I did not get so distinct a view as I anticipated, it was extensive enough but indistinct although the elevation I was on must have been more than 3000 feet from level of the creek, and much higher ranges on to west of it; from top of it portions of the main range appear in the far distance at 347 1/2°; no other eminence round the horizon to 95°; the whole intervening space filled with creeks running in all directions towards the main creek, that must be distant from the hill I was on easterly nearly twenty miles with an apparent northerly course; this hill is detached from the main mass of range and distant from four to five miles. It and the most of the intervening space between the camp and it is literally one mass of quartz and quartz-reefs, mica, etc., and on top of range is a sort of flaggy slate, all apparently having undergone the action of fire--this range I have called Sarah's Range; it bears from camp 323° seven miles; a great deal of spinifex and abrupt creeks between camp and it, not a speck of gold visible but it appears to have undergone the action of fire; this is another day lost. Such detention makes me quite irritable and fidgety.
Thursday, 24 April 1862 - Camp 41.
Night mild, warm morning. Bearing of 345° for three miles, within which distance three tributaries from the range from the west cross us, not of any great size. Change course to 352°, the ground being rather stony and full of spinifex, and the side creeks very sandy, and little hopes of water for the animals although plenty could be had for our own use. At one mile, tributary; at two miles another; four and a quarter miles another; at seven miles junction of two, where we camp; although the distance is short, the bullocks being absent this morning when I left camp, and it appears had gone towards our old camp about eight miles before they were overtaken. I hope all the animals will be at hand in the morning to enable us to make a good day of it tomorrow. Just below the junction of these two creeks (although the southern one is only a small one and in it we got the water) the creek is from 250 to 300 yards broad with splendid gums in it on its banks. Although I searched up and down the main creek some distance still no water to be found, the bed of the creek is so very sandy. My reason for camping at so short a stage was that from the top of the hill I was on I fancy I could discern a continuation of dry-looking country beyond this creek. Very little spinifex on the way today; plenty of grass and very good travelling; masses of quartz and mica all along our tracks; ridges low with some spinifex run in considerably to the east towards the main creek--lots of myall and other shrubs. The natives are busy burning on the ranges some distance west of this and have been burning daily ever since we came on the creek, and I suppose are still unaware of our presence or they would have paid us a visit. For the last 150 miles at least there have been on the slopes and tops of all the ranges decaying red anthills, not tenanted and gradually decaying--many of them appearing like sharp spires and washed in every shape by the rains and the weather.
Friday, 25 April 1862 - Camp 42.
Mild night, warm morning. Animals all at hand for a good start. Bearing of 352°; crossed good-sized creek at three and a half miles; another good-sized creek at eight miles; and at ten and a quarter miles another, but deep. During first part of the journey over good open white gum and myall forest; last part ridgy, with spinifex; quartz all the way; at twelve miles and a half crossed creek; at fourteen and a half miles crossed creek; native got water by digging in the sand; at sixteen and a quarter miles changed course to 5°, the ridges and spurs coming too much in my way; four and three-quarter miles on this last bearing to a mound of slabs of sparkling stony-like mica, about fifty feet, and two mounds of similar form, but wooded on the right, no water; left Middleton here to tell them to camp for the night and watch the animals, and went myself westward to endeavour to find water for them in the morning and found it at three miles on bearing of 301°, so returned; met them just having dinner; repacked and led them to water--distance travelled twenty-four miles. This is an immense creek and is still flowing slowly through and over the sand in its bed; it is upwards of 300 yards wide, comes from the west and south through the ranges, joins another about a mile north of this and passes round a small stony hill on its right bank, then takes a northerly course then, and lastly as far as I could discern, a north-east course. Very heavy gum timber. I am sorry to say today our marking chisel was lost so we will not be able to mark any more trees. The creek I have called the Marchant after William Marchant, Esquire, of Mananarie. The main creek is now a very considerable distance east. I hoped to have struck it before this but the spurs from the main range keep it off. Passed today a vast number of smaller tributaries from west; immense reefs and masses of quartz and small ranges composed of shining slabs of a grey, tough and wavy stone with masses of quartz. A good deal of spinifex but no scrub to interrupt us. Will make for a distant low spur of main range tomorrow in my course.
Saturday, 26 April 1862 - Camp 43.
Very mild night; a great many clouds; a likelihood of rain. Started on bearing of 336° over a vast quantity of strong spinifex; bad travelling although not very stony. Not so much quartz today although large piles of it are to be seen. Crossed Marchant's Creek and at one mile crossed a tributary. At ten miles came to a very fine creek about 400 yards broad, in one of its branches from sixty to eighty yards; broad water completely fills the space as far as you can see southward and westward. I have called it the Williams after Edward Williams, Esquire, of the North of Adelaide. Immense holes in a light blue rock in the creek a few hundred yards north of this full of water and apparently very deep, an abundance immediately beyond in the creek, which appears to flow northward. I have come rather a short journey today as the sheep and bullocks had no time to feed yesterday. Very cloudy and sultry. Lots of small fish in this creek, none yet seen longer than three inches; amongst them are a lot of fish about the same size or a little larger, with fine vertical black stripes commencing at the shoulder and a black tip to lower part of tail--body generally lighter-coloured than the other fish.
Sunday, 27 April 1862 - Camp 44, Williams Creek.
Mild night, not so like rain this morning. Bearing of 355° crossing this creek at an acute angle, crossed this creek again at three miles, crossed again at five miles--creek close on the right; at six and one-eighth miles crossed a deep tributary at its
junction--heavy timber, plenty of water. Williams Creek still close on the right full of spinifex on the slopes and short rough abrupt creeks; bad travelling; at seven and three-quarter miles commenced travelling in bed of the creek, west side, till eight and three-quarter miles, the creek bearing off more to the east. At present I keep on my course of 355°, over good country the latter part of course. At thirteen miles came to and crossed a splendid creek with abundance of water and lots of fish coming from the hills west and flowing apparently east. This creek I have called the Elder after Thomas Elder, Esquire, of Adelaide.
Monday, 28 April 1862 - Camp 45, Elder's Creek.
Last night we slept in the bed of the creek on the sand. There must have been a terrific flood here lately, such as this part of the world has not been visited with for many years; between thirty and forty feet over our heads in the bed of this creek are now to be seen logs, grass, and all sorts of rubbish left by it; and immense trees torn up by the roots, and others broken off short at twenty to thirty feet from their roots--showing the violence of the current. No doubt there is plenty of permanent water in the range further up in the last three creeks we have camped on. Mild morning with fleecy clouds. Wind south-south-west. Another deep creek joins this where we struck it, coming more from the south-west; water at its junction with this. Plenty of water up this creek; did not go down it. Our journey today on bearing of 355° over sixteen and three-quarter miles was over good, lightly-timbered, well-grassed country and a good deal of flooded country. Saw no water but lots of birds. Shot an emu. Changed course to 347° for a small hill in the distance and at two and a half miles crossed several irregular watercourses from the north flowing to south and east; went then to a small spinifex rise, timbered. At eight and a half miles struck a creek with water; I have called it Poole's Creek after Mr R.T. Poole of Willaston. Distance travelled today twenty-five and a half miles. After getting into camp myself and Middleton went on to the hill in front and at two and a quarter miles arrived at it. It is perfectly detached and stands in the open plain--is very stony or rather rocky. Open plains to the north and west as far as you can discern; to the north-north-east appears dark timber which I hope to be the main creek, and appears to be bearing to north and west. A couple of isolated hills from fifteen to twenty miles off bearing respectively, the southern one 251 1/2°, the northern one 254°. The southern one I have called Mount Elephant, the one to the north Mount McPherson, and the one I am on Margaret. Another in the distance bearing 258°.
Tuesday, 29 April 1862 - Camp 46, Poole's Creek.
This creek takes its rise from the westward on the plains between this and the hills which are now a considerable distance from us; and after passing this encampment bears to east round by north. Mild morning, wind easterly. Shot two young emus. Pass over immense plains with small belts of bushes here and there and in places more especially near the isolated hill on the plain. At eleven and a quarter miles further came to a watercourse from the westward and flowing considerably to north of east with plenty of water. Camped to give sheep and bullocks time to feed, as it was half-past 8 p.m. ere they reached their camp last night, and one of the bullocks considerably lame. Distance travelled about thirteen and a half miles. Instead of plains, as I have called this open country, it is rather very gentle undulations and a considerable portion of it occasionally inundated as for instance of late. Another large waterhole in this course at about a mile on bearing of 355°; the creek then appears to bear off to the eastward. I will still hold on my course of 15°, but would sooner it were 25° west of north as on that course I would be going pretty direct for the mouth of the River Albert, now I imagine about 150 miles distant, if the watch has not put me too much out--it stops sometimes and when it does go it gains one hour in twelve.
Wednesday, 30 April 1862 - Camp 47.
Blackfellows burning grass to east-south-east of us; the first bushfire we have seen; morning pleasant with wind from south-south-east. Some or nearly all complained of being sick after eating the first emu, but I liked it much and so did some of the others; they are a great acquisition and have saved us three sheep; the largest weighed when ready for the pot forty-eight pounds; the smaller ones when ready for use thirty-one and thirty-three pounds, and are much better than the old one. The grass passed over yesterday although abundant is rank and not of that sweet description we have before seen, but no doubt excellent for cattle and horses. Just as the animals were being brought in for packing Davis found, in a small shallow pool nearly dry, numbers of small nice-looking fish of two sorts--longest not more than three and a half inches; one sort like the catfish of the Murray, the other spotted like a salmon. For five miles over timbered plains on a bearing of 345°; at three and a half miles struck a small creek coming from west and south with plenty of water; and at five and a quarter miles further an immense deep creek with water (gum) crossed at rightangles from the western banks which are very precipitous. I have called it the Jessie. At six miles came to and crossed a noble river, now a creek as it is not running, but plenty of water; from 300 to 400 yards broad. At crossing the first, cabbage palm seen on its western bank between this and the last creek; on left of course is a splendid belt of white gums on the dry sound flat; this river, like the other creek, flows from south of west after crossing a northerly and easterly course; I have called it the Jeannie after a young lady friend of mine. At fourteen and a half miles came to a fine lagoon running easterly and westerly; good water in abundance; went round it and camped north-west side, as the natives are firing close by on the south-east side; distance nineteen and a half miles. For some considerable distance back it has been an open timbered country; plenty of myall and useful white butt gum; drainage as yet all to the east and slightly north. I thought the Jeannie bore more north but it bore off again to the eastward; no game of any kind seen today except a turkey; a great quantity of vines on which grows four or five black fruit, like peas and extremely hard, from every flower, and on which the emu appears to feed much. There were also two other vines or runners on which grow an oblong fruit about one to one and a half inches long, green like cucumber, but bitter; the other is a round fruit about the size of a walnut, darker in colour than the other, not so abundant, and which the emu seems to exist much on at present. Some seeds of each and many shrubs, flowers, and fruits before new to me I have obtained. A number of partially-dried lagoons all round this about three-quarters of a mile long; one is about six feet deep; a very fine sheet of water.