Sunday, 1 December 1861.
A little rain during the night but not enough to wet a sheet of paper. At sunrise temperature 70°, calm. At noon slight breeze southerly; temperature 110°. Found suspended the spring of one of Terry's breech-loading rifles round the neck of a native; he describes the remaining portions of the rifle out to the north-east, which will be nearly in our north course. Highest temperature during the afternoon in the sun 129°; at sunset 99°.
Monday, 2 December 1861.
Wind south-south-east, temperature at sunrise 77°; sky completely overcast. Start out eastward to examine the country with two camels, five horses, and sufficient food for one and a half weeks, taking with me Middleton, Poole, Frank (a native), and a native of this place. My main object in going out now is firstly to ascertain if there is a likelihood of a flood down Cooper's Creek this season, after all the rain that has fallen along the eastern side of the continent some months back, and which I thought possible might have fallen as well on and to west of coast range, so to secure to us an open retreat in the event of our being able to make some considerable advance northward, and being detained some time. And secondly to ascertain if anyone was as yet stationed on Cooper's Creek, to intimate to them my intentions of proceeding northward for some distance, and the almost certainty of crossing any track of either of the search parties from the northern coast could possibly make en route to Cooper's Creek or even Eyre's Creek. Started at 9.15 a.m., and passed through nothing but sandhill and flooded flat country till 3 p.m., and arrived at Tac Wilten Creek, containing little water but drinkable. For the first few miles the sandhills were further apart with, in the interval, salt-bush and grassy flats. Watered the horses and camels; crossed the creek, passed up the south side; crossed a sandhill; crossed the creek, went a short distance to north side of creek; recrossed it and went up south side to water. This is a long narrow strip of water, not deep and drying up fast. A number of natives here. Crossed creek again and went to Aunrinnie; arrived at north-east end of water and crossed creek at 4.30 p.m. Distance about twenty-five miles. The water here although enough is quite unfit for use, the horses and camels refusing it; but there is good green feed in the flat.
Tuesday, 3 December 1861.
Started at 8 a.m.; passed over sandhills till 8.43 and made large lake, dry, Cullamun by name, destitute of vegetation and no margin of trees; passed over sandhills and flooded flat to a creek very broad, deep, and well defined by timber, and trending northward; not much water at present, good here but unfit for use above and below, like that of last night; creek called Agaboogana. Distance about eight miles. I went there rather out of my course to water the camels, being the nearest in going anything like the course I wished; passed sandhills through south end of large dry lake at 11.22, and again sandhills; then through large flooded swamp, Narrogoonnoo Mooku, with no marginal trees; southern end a good deal of cane grass; then again sandhills till 12.46; then large cracked flooded plain, Wandrabrinnannie, till arrived at a creek with no water; crossed and rode up creek on south side to east of north to Barka Water, no feed; got down into the bed of the creek and rode up about three-quarters of a mile to a water called Moollaney, pretty good; no great quantity and but little feed. Total distance about twenty-five miles. A lot of stones of a fruit found here, of a very ornamental little tree from six to fifteen feet high, which I have secured.
Wednesday, 4 December 1861.
At or rather before daylight Middleton, in attending to the camels, unfortunately got his foot seriously injured by a considerable-sized stick which was stuck in the ground; its end penetrating deeply into the foot as he was returning to the camp down the steep bank. I am afraid I will have to return with him; I have pulled out several ragged pieces of wood from the wound; a lot of small tendons protrude. I will try one day up the creek and see if he can stand it. Started at 9.40 leaving creek on right; crossed small flooded flat to sandhill; then good low sandhills, firm travelling; passed a water called Appomoremillia, about one and a half miles to our right in the creek. Crossed creek in the centre of a cracked flooded flat bearing to the north by west; passed over sandhills and a heavy flooded cracked and timbered flat in which is a creek bearing north-east with sandy hillocks and native wurlies. Bore south to creek Goonnooboorroo with little water. Distance about sixteen miles today. Middleton's foot pains him much.
Thursday, 5 December 1861.
Obliged to camp with Middleton. On a large gum tree marked
Dec. 4, 5, 1861
One large creek comes in here from the south; and immediately below this about 100 yards another from same quarter. Bronze-wing and crested pigeons here; also some beautiful parrots, black ducks, teal, whistlers, painted pidgeons, and wood-duck in small number; also parakeets and quail. Some dry grass here on top of banks up to my waist; further out there is some good tussocky grasses and there has been plenty oats. Secured seeds from the bean tree and the stones of the fruit before alluded to. Fish in water here, although there is only a small quantity and drying up fast. In looking for the horses in the morning up the main creek found, about three-quarters of a mile from this, where Burke had camped in the bed and had dug for water. From the appearance of their camp and quantity of camel dung he slept more than one night here. I think when they camped there there was water both below and above; it is now quite dry however. A small quantity of sewing twine was found at this camp.
Friday, 6 December 1861.
Middleton's foot a little easier; thought of returning as he is quite unfit for work, but have made up my mind now to go on and ascertain the facts I went out to obtain. I therefore started at 8.25 a.m. for the upper waters of the creek, keeping on the south bank; crossed several creeks until 12 o'clock, when we found in the camp, a little above Pardulli, a gum tree marked:
W J Wills
NNW, XLV yds
Turned out our horses here for some time; between the last crossing of the creek and this I got a view of a couple of red sand bluffs and distant sandhills, or hills of some kind, to north-west. Started from Wills's grave at 4.10 and crossed creek; struck the creek again at 5.35 with plenty of water to Howitt's camp, XXXII; thence on to Burke's grave, striking dry creek and following it to Yarrowanda; arrived here at 7.10 p.m.
Saturday, 7 December 1861.
Started at 7.7 a.m. and came to Burke's grave--about two miles on south bank of creek. On the north-east side of a box tree, at upper end of waterhole, native name Yaenimemgi, found marked on tree:
R O'H B
Deposited a document in case of the return of any party. Saw a cobby horse on arrival here last night; tried to catch him. Saw the tracks of cattle up the creek, short distance from him; they had gone further up the creek to a water, Cullimuno. Spelled today.
Sunday, 8 December 1861.
Started back for camp; passed large numbers of natives; marked small gum sapling MK roughly; made for heavy creek that joins another at Strzelecki's Creek, and camped at a water called Tacdurrie, a small water about two miles from Gooneborrow in the main creek. Distance travelled today about twenty-seven and a half miles.
Copy of document left at Cooper's Creek, dated 7th December 1861.
To the Leader of the party out for the remains of the lost Burke and Wills, but more especially to the Officer in charge of the Depot likely to be formed on this creek.
I beg to state that I have had communication with Adelaide and have received papers from there intimating the relief of King, the only survivor of the Melbourne Gulf of Carpentaria party, and an announcement that the Melbourne Government were likely to have the remains of the late gentlemen removed from this creek to Melbourne, to receive a public burial and monument to their memory, and at the same time stating their intention of establishing a Depot somewhere on this creek to await the arrival of one or other of the parties (in search of the late Burke and Wills) from Rockhampton, or the Albert, on the Gulf of Carpentaria.
I beg to state I am with my party stationed on a lake about eighty-five miles westerly of this; and immediately on my return there I start northward, and for the first part of my journey a little to east of north, and will, at every suitable camp on my route, bury documents conveying the intelligence meant to be conveyed to either of the parties, by the Depot party likely to be formed here, of the fate of the late party; by which means they will be put in possession of the facts, and can return to the Albert or go on through to Adelaide. There is at present, and will be for some time to come, easy access to Adelaide by my route, which the wheel tracks of my cart have clearly defined.
By this means of intimation to the parties in question it will relieve the party to be stationed here from the necessity of passing a summer in this hot region. My course will intersect any course either of the parties out from the northward can make between Eyre's Creek and the late Burke's Depot on this creek.
I beg to remain, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
Leader of the S.A.B.R. Expedition.
Monday, 9 December 1861.
Started at 7.25 a.m.; followed creek down and passed Goonaboorroo waterhole; passed flooded cracked flats and sandhills to Molanny Creek. Distance travelled today seventeen miles.
Tuesday, 10 December 1861.
Started and crossed creek at 7.30 a.m., over sandhills, then through bed of large dry lake or swamp; name of swamp Wando Binannie; a good deal cracked and bad travelling. From thence through low sandhills, flooded box flats, steep sandhills; crossed Narro Dhaerrie swamp; crossed creek at east end of main water; this drying up fast. Crossed creek twice and camped on south side of lower end of Tac Welter.
Wednesday, 11 December 1861.
Started at 6.30; crossed creek and flat; over sandhills and flooded flat with large saltbush and polygonum; timber to the right and some samphire bushes; crossed my old single track, with alternate sandhills and cracked flooded flats, and arrived at our Depot camp on Lake Buchanan at 11 a.m. Distance about nineteen miles.
Thursday, 12 December 1861.
Remain in camp; temperature at sunrise 68°; wind east; 11.30 a.m., temperature 165° in the sun out of the wind; very hot indeed and wind north-east; dead calm at 6 p.m.; temperature 100°; sun overcast; temperature at sunset thermometer exposed to sun and wind 90°.
Friday, 13 December 1861.
Dead calm at sunrise; temperature 64°; at 7 a.m. wind north-east temperature 102°; at 9.15 wind north temperature 150° in the sun and out of the wind; at 10.30 temperature 158°; at noon hot; wind west; temperature 138°; sunset light breeze from south-west; temperature 95°.
Saturday, 14 December 1861.
Started at 7.45 a.m.; crossed sandhills and timbered flat and creek running north about 200 yards wide; passed end of very stunted box-tree flat running parallel to our course and camped on creek with little water.
Sunday, 15 December 1861.
Started at 8.8 a.m.; passed through long dry grass with scrubby box; then flooded box flats to Paul Cooroogannie and reached Depot at 6.5 p.m. It blew quite a gale of wind during the day from south-south-west with dust and a few drops of rain.
Monday, 16 December 1861.
Wind changed to east (strong); temperature at 7 a.m. 65°; wind moderated during the day. Making ready to start tomorrow.
Tuesday, 17 December 1861.
Deposited memos to Chief Commissioner of Crown Lands and finders of deposits under a tree here marked :
from Oct. 20 to Dec. 17, 1861
Dig arrow at 1 o'clock
Bullock dray started at 8.30 a.m., eight bullocks in team and three loose; crossed north end of swamp; then small sandhills; then creek or watercourse cutting my course at rightangles; passed south end of considerable-sized flooded flat, connected by last-named watercourse. Pole of cart just broken. Left cart and proceeded with some of party to Goonyanie Creek. Great difficulty in getting a suitable stick for the pole; sent Mr Hodgkinson and Palmer with the bullocks back to our late camp on Coodygodyannie to get a pole there if possible; left bullocks there for the night. They returned unsuccessful. Hunted Goonyanie Creek up and down myself with but indifferent result, but must cut one such as is to be found and make shift with it till a better can be procured. A great number of natives here; the creek northward ceases one quarter mile from this and loses itself on a polygonum plain--no doubt forms again. South of this it continues for about one and a half to two miles and is lost on flooded flat. There appears to be a great quantity of fish here; some very fine ones being caught this afternoon, one of which must have weighed from four to five pounds (a perch). Although the water here is very much reduced since I was here about the middle of October the water in two holes is yet pretty deep; no great quantity of grass here.
Wednesday, 18 December 1861.
Natives walking about greater part of last night. Two of them came into camp, one of whom was known and allowed to remain; the other (a stranger) was started at once. At their camp, which was about one hundred yards off, they kicked up a great row for a long time. Started Mr Hodgkinson with Palmer and a native to Lake Coodygodyannie for the bullocks, and Davis and Wylde out to the broken cart (about three miles off) with water, on two camels, for the party left in charge of it, namely Kirby and Maitland, today increased by Wylde on account of so many natives. The bullocks duly arrived during the day, having gone back to the old camp. Immediately proceeded to cut such a pole as was to be had here, and took it out to the dray to be got in readiness to suit as well as possible the purpose required, and returned to camp with the bullocks.
Thursday, 19 December 1861.
During the night a native dog came up to the sheepfold and was shot by Frank (a native). The natives, encamped a short distance from here, hearing the report of the gun, immediately took to flight and with them the native Bullingani who was of so much use to me; however another is easily got. Some of them returned in the morning. Temperature during afternoon in sun 145°. Was unable to get dray ready early enough to go a stage, but brought it in here in the afternoon, ready for an early start tomorrow morning.
Friday, 20 December 1861.
Marked a tree on north bank :
Dec. 17, 18, 19, 1861
Temperature at sunrise 78°. Sky completely overcast. Found Frank asleep on duty and reprimanded him, when he became saucy and sulky and determined to return to settled districts. Settled with him to date. He was twelve weeks with us and received an order for 6 pounds, being the amount due to him at the rate of ten shillings per week. Started and passed through flats till we came to a creek where we stopped for a short time; crossed creek to the margin of a lake bed containing some water. Went north some distance to get round the lake to where the creek is dry. This creek fills this lake--Goonaidrangannie. Camped on north-east end at 1 p.m. There are a great number of natives here; the water appears very deep. Mr Hodgkinson swam out about 300 yards with a plumb-line and found the depth 10 1/4 feet; but further south and east it is much deeper. This lake must be at times a great rendezvous for natives in extreme drought. One of our best working bullocks, before he came ten miles, was killed by the heat although, after getting to camp at 1 p.m., the thermometer was tried and the greatest heat arrived at was 144°. I was not aware that the bullock was dead until the arrival of the cart later in the afternoon. The driver, seeing he was much exhausted, had him and the one and the one yoked with him turned out of the team, and went on a short distance and sent back for them, owever, shortly after, when the animal was found quite dead--consequently we were unable to secure any of him for food as it would not keep; but at daylight in the morning I will send for his hide as it will be much needed. He will be a serious loss to us out in such a country where we require a spare bullock to spell another occasionally. A good deal of thunder and great indications for rain, but blows off with only a few drops; quite a hot wind and altogether has been a very disagreeable day. Wind from north.
Saturday, 21 December 1861.
Started three men out to skin the bullock and bring in the hide. Wind south; sky overcast but hardly expect rain. Tree marked ;
on south side. The men returned with the hide at 8.10 a.m. The bullocks, after their distress of yesterday, were left unhobbled and have strayed to some distance, not having come up yet at this hour--8.10 a.m. Bullocks arrived, and we started at 10.20 a.m. Camels and horses started at 12 o'clock. Came through some splendid feed to another lake containing but very little water and that quite bitter. Start for Moolionboorrana at 3 p.m., and arrived there at 5.53 p.m. Distance about twelve and a half miles; first half distance was flooded flats and sand-ridges. On our way to Thoorabiengannie at four and a half miles made the bed of a dry lake, Tiedhenpa, with splendid feed and park-like appearance of considerable extent. The remaining part of the distance was alternate low sandy hills and flooded narrow flats. Camels and horses arrived at Lake Moolionboorrana camp on north-east side of creek at 3.30 p.m. Distance about eleven miles. Exceedingly scant of timber. The cart and sheep not having got to camp, started Bell and Wylde with three horses back to ascertain the cause of detention, and take food for the men if they were unable to bring the dray during the evening; but it became so dark that they could not retrace the tracks of their horses. At 10 p.m. returned to camp without having seen or heard anything of cart or sheep. Will start off again at daylight. A number of natives round the lake. Innumerable pelicans, and numbers of ducks, gulls, waders, cormorants, fish, and pigeons, and abundance of green grass; but no shade or protection from the extreme heat of the sun. Rain has fallen here some short time since, small quantities being still in the claypans; and from the cloudy appearance of the sky with thunder to the north I fancy it has fallen heavily in that quarter.
Sunday, 22 December 1861.
At daylight sent Mr Hodgkinson, Bell, and a native with four horses to cart, to know cause of detention, etc. Unfortunately the thermometer got broken yesterday which will prevent in future our ascertaining the temperature of the interior, which is much to be regretted as no doubt it would interest many. Wind south. Bullock cart got to camp at 8.20 a.m. having had an upset. Nothing particularly wrong with it. Sheep all right. Will spell today to recruit bullocks and men that were with them, all having had to be on watch during the night as the natives were round and about them the whole time--for what purpose they did not know. At 8.30 wind chopped round to north-north-east and very warm. This lake is circular and almost without timber; but is a fine sheet of water and will stand the weather well. There is a great deal of soda in it. It is about two and a half to three miles long from north to south and about two miles from east to west; the creek that supplies it (filling it from north-west end) coming from north. The bullocks are so jaded with the heat of the past two days and the heavy nature of the ground that they have hardly left the water during the day without being driven; they even went so far as to go out and lie down in it for hours.
Monday, 23 December 1861.
Wind north-north-east; sky very much overcast to southward and round by west to north. Bullocks started at 7.40 a.m. I started with native at the same time and reached the Creek Gadhungoonie, with a considerable quantity of water and fully half a mile in length; but so thoroughly bitter and salty that it was quite unfit for man or beast. Must now start out to another creek some distance off (by report) although I meant to give the bullocks a short day of it. Spelled till the camels came up and started on to Abberanginnie Lake Creek, or rather I believe, Watthiegurtie Creek, which is the creek that fills the lake--the latter being now dry. Came over some seven and a half miles of country to Watthiegurtie, which is also salt and bitter, and started then for Caunboogonannie. At 2 p.m. passed in my way two salt lakes to the south with salt-water in them, respectively named Anodhampa and Thoorpalinnie; passed also to north a recently dried up lake named Gnooloomacannie, well timbered round its shores, with abundance of grass all over it. Arrived at this splendid lake (Caunboogonannie) at 3.55 p.m. Splendid water and feed. This lake also is nearly circular and about two and a half to three miles in diameter. This lake I have called Jeannie after a young lady acquaintance--Miss Pile of Gawler. The cart could not get further than the last bitter water we passed today. Immediately south of that is the dry bed of Lake Uilgobarrannie, and immediately on the north-west side of that lake is the dry bed of Lake Caunmarriegoteinnie. This little creek, flowing nearly south, fills Abberingannie Lake, now nearly dry, and Lakes Anodhampa and Thoorpalinnie--both at present with water but unfit for use; plenty of good feed round all.
Tuesday, 24 December 1861.
At daylight sent Mr Hodgkinson to the cart with a packhorse and two canteens of water, and to point out a more firm place for the cart to cross Watthiegurtie Creek than where we crossed the camels and horses, it being very boggy. A vast number of natives here, and upon the whole about the finest race I have seen in the colonies, and at present apparently friendly. Any quantity of fish and hundreds of pelicans. This country is fit for any description of stock and, with anything like a moderate supply of rain, would be most excellent country; even as it is it is not equalled to the southward as far as Kanyaka, Mr Phillip's station near Mount Brown. Mr Hodgkinson found a better crossing for the cart a little north, and it arrived here in safety at 12.30 p.m.--they found a little drinkable water last night. Kirby, with the sheep, got astray today but was soon picked up again and brought to camp about sunset by Wylde and Bell.
Wednesday, 25 December 1861.
Christmas Day; wind variable, principally from the south, but warm. Natives were prowling in numbers about our camp late last night. I sent up a rocket that exploded well and had the desired effect, causing a general rush of the whole of the sable gentry towards their camp, which latter in their fear did not check their mad career until they found there was no pursuit; but today they again came up to our camp quite unconcerned as if nothing had happened--better it should be so as no doubt I shall find them of great use in pointing out the principal waters within their knowledge. Spelling to recruit everybody and everything, and hope to make a good start tomorrow morning. Had an excellent dinner of roast mutton and plum pudding and did not envy anyone in the City of Adelaide.
Thursday, 26 December 1861.
Decr. 23, 24, 25
Arrow at 7 o'clock.
Documents deposited for relief party under tree marked as above. Wind strong south-south-east. All the animals right this morning; started the bullocks and sheep at 7.45, rounding the north end of lake--my course is right through it bearing 89° for Lake Dhalinnie. At two and a half miles came to creek that falls into this one we are now encamped on; go up it half a mile north-east to cross it; sent the cart round by the creek to be on level ground whilst I go direct to Dhalinnie. At four and a half miles clear the lake, and at three and a half miles further arrive at the Lake Dhalinnie--a treeless lake, fully a mile from north to south and little better than half a mile from east to west. Appam Barra from this bears 4°, Cannboogonanni camp 269°. Started at 10.11 a.m. to meet the cart on a bearing of about 330° to take them to Appam Barra; meet the camp 10.30 and go on a bearing of 6 1/2 degree for Appam Barra at 10.40. After spelling ten minutes crossed creek at 11.53; at 12.10 got to Appam Barra Creek, well filled with water, going north-north-west from north-north-east, then round to south-south-east and south, in the distance filling a few lakes in its course on coming from the first quarter--a considerable number of natives here. Went on the north-north-east course one and a quarter miles on bearing of 8°; camped immediately beyond where a branch leaves the main creek going southward--a good-sized creek about, at its junction, seventy yards wide and fifteen feet deep; main creek about one hundred yards wide and twenty to twenty-five feet deep; lots of mussels, crayfish, and fish of all sorts. No great abundance of feed here nor is the country so good as has been passed, having a very desert and sterile appearance with a jumble of sandhills, flooded land, and a considerable quantity of samphire bushes, large saltbush, polygonum, and other shrubs. The natives (a fine body of men) whether from curiosity or otherwise, were with much difficulty got away from the camp at night.
Friday, 27 December 1861.
Wind north-east; the animals went straying some considerable distance and were late in being recovered (4.30 p.m.) having gone back to last camp, therefore we did not get a start today. Half of the horses broke and lost their hobbles; and the loss of chains is serious as they cannot be replaced here.
Saturday, 28 December 1861.
Not a breath of wind at daylight. Distributed yesterday to natives (fifty-three) necklaces, etc.; there was a considerable number more men present in the morning but they had gone somewhere before the distribution. They are a splendid lot of people and in most excellent condition, much better than the appearance of the country here would warrant. They appear friendly but were about during last night. A large flight of galahs just passing. Gulls, pigeons, and ducks of all sorts abound. It was my intention to have taken the cart round to examine the lakes and creeks east and south of my present position; but as the sandhills are rather large and steep I will do it with the camels and horses, and merely today take the cart to a better place for camping during the time I am engaged at this work, and more on the course I wish to follow after this part of the work is finished. Marked tree at camp :
Horses, bullocks, camels, sheep all right, although dropped a lame ewe heavy in lamb last night which has not yet been recovered. Started at 7.30 and went round northward one mile and crossed creek at four miles; got to a pretty little lake Wattiwidulo. Abundance of good feed and water; natives round the lake; but on going about half mile to top of a small sandhill I then had opened to my view an extensive basin of water forming part of the lake continuing far off to south-west by south. A splendid sheet of water which I have named Lake Hodgkinson after my second in command. Course today 338°. Immediately on arrival here was completely besieged by the natives, male and female, young and old, for beads for necklaces which I distributed as far as they went, but it has much reduced my supply and leaves but a scanty remnant for the next lot we meet, as meet them we surely will in such a country as this, affording them as it does such a supply of food. I will proceed with a couple of camels and some horses to the eastward a short distance to examine some lakes and creeks reported to be in that quarter, and will leave the remainder of the party in camp here till my return. The country travelled over today though a short distance was very good--plenty of grass on the sandhills of a good sort. Although that veteran explorer Sturt must have passed not far from this in his last attempt to gain the centre of the continent he reported to have only fallen in with, or had reason to believe, there were but few natives. How the large body of people that is scattered all over this part could have escaped him I cannot account for. Go where you will you will find them in groups of fifties and hundreds, and often many more, and generally a jolly lot of fellows and all in capital condition. As has been noticed by former explorers the females in number amongst the children are much greater than the males, but neither very numerous. Amongst the adults (both sexes) they knock out the four front teeth of the upper jaw; but there are others both male and female that are quite perfect, more here than noticed anywhere else on the journey. Killed a sheep on arrival here today to jerk for our coming journey to the east, but was so fat that the small flock had to be examined for a poorer one for that purpose. That does not speak badly of the part of the country we are now in.
Sunday, 29 December 1861.
Camp at Wattiwidulo, or Lake Hodgkinson. Just where we are encamped by it it does not appear to be deep, but to the south and west I fancy there is a good deal of water. Wind south-west and exceedingly hot and sultry. In the afternoon an old man arrived here from our old Depot and reported that a party of whites had arrived at the late Depot with a number of horses and were on their way this course from the settled districts. What faith to put in the report it is difficult to say. Ready to start east in the morning.
Monday, 30 December 1861.
Sky very much overcast and very sultry; wind from north-east. Started at 8.10 with two camels and five horses and a week's provisions. At four and a half miles got to Appambarra, near old camp at the dray crossing. At 8.45 arrived at about one mile west of dry lake Toondowlowannie; centre bearing of lake north and south, three miles, by a width east and west of one and a half miles; well grassed. At ten and a quarter miles passed south end of lake and travelled on flooded ground on west side of Cariderro Creek, in which there is water, to where we cut the Cariderro Creek, about sixteen miles, at a place in the creek where the large creek branches off east and fills a large lake now dry; abundance of feed. Lake called Marcourgannie and found water in creek--a short distance south, from which quarter it appears to come--it is a splendid gum creek, from eighty to one hundred yards wide and fifteen to twenty feet deep, and flows a northward course. Started after spelling a time and went one and a quarter miles on bearing of 239° to Appadarannie, now a dry lake with abundance of good feed in its bed; then went south by east eight miles along the Cariderro Creek. It is a splendid one and well lined with fine gumtrees, and as far as we went I may say was one continuous sheet of water, and with not less than from 200 to 300 natives. I have named it Browne Creek after W.H. Browne, Esquire. Many of the natives have apparently quite white hair and beards; they were particularly anxious that we should encamp with them; they were the first tribe that we fell in with so fully armed, every man with a shield and a lot of boomerangs and some with spears. I thought it better not to camp there as they had a good deal of sneaking and concealing themselves from bush to bush, and might have brought about a disturbance, which I did not desire. Took some water in air bags and started out from the creek one and a quarter miles; then on a bearing of 5° for Appacalradillie lake, seven miles fully. Crossed and camped on east corner of dry lake Marcourgannie, and on the margin of the dry lake Merradaboodaboo; the bulk of this last lake bearing north from this and splendidly grassed.
Tuesday, 31 December 1861.
Started at 6.30 a.m. to Appacalradillie lake, through side of Lake Merradaboodaboo; passed several flooded flats proceeding east from last-named dry lake--the first of which was an extensive one, passing on our course from left round to the right and apparently round to south as far as visible, then over alternate and indifferent flats and large sandhills--a considerable deal of flooded land to the westward. At fifteen miles arrived on top of a very prominent sandhill which I have named Mount MacDonnell, from which hill opens out to our view two beautiful lakes which, in honour of her Ladyship and His Excellency the present Governor of South Australia, I have named respectively Lake Blanche and Lake Sir Richard, separated by a small sandy rise through which passes a small channel that connects them, and which I have named New Year's Straits.