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July 1862

McKinlay's Journal of Exploration into the interior of Australia (Burke Relief Expedition)
Melbourne: F F Bailliere.
(Ferguson 12057).
1863.

Tuesday, 1 July 1862 - Camp 27, or Jack's Swamp.
After our unfortunate horse; poor old fellow, many a score miles he carried me till some time ago he got a little lame and has never done so well since. No dew last night. Bell is, as he has always been, a day complaining and a day well; Davis something similar; Middleton has now got quite well and the rest of us are all pretty right but would be all the better of a change of food for the better; none of us appear very energetic on horse-food; unfortunately maggots got into it and did not improve it either in appearance or quality, but we are not over nice now. Plenty of splendid timber in this part of the country. Wind rather strong from north and continues steady in that quarter. Trying today to jerk a portion of the horse to cause what we have got to spin out. A good many fleecy clouds flying about early part of afternoon and the wind has changed a little to the west of north. In our present state we don't want to see any rain till we get into the stations, as now we are tentless and of course have nothing to cover the sick in case of wet. Late in the afternoon wind considerably to the west, at sunset quite a calm, very cloudy and every appearance of rain, trust that it will blow off. A great number of large-sized kangaroos here but rather shy. Although there is abundance of grass of different kinds here the camels eat but little of it and do very badly; about the lakes north-east of Lake Torrens is the place for them; they eat nearly everything in the shape of grass and shrubs that grow there, but here it is quite different; but few acacias here of which they are very fond.

Wednesday, 2 July 1862 - Camp, Jack's Swamp.
No rain last night and but little dew; the clouds have all dispersed. Wind from north varying to east and west of that point and a beautiful hot day. The horses appearing to do well. Maitland improving; Kirby about the same, also Palmer.

Thursday,3 July 1862 - Camp, Jack's Swamp.
Little dew again last night, wind northerly and easterly throughout the day, sun rather warm but not disagreeably so. The hills hereabouts are composed of substrata of decomposing sandstone with roots growing or dead in the fissures, the top rugged at and near the crest, with a description of stone like decaying burnt brick, broken into fragments although apparently united; very precipitous and often overhanging near the tops of the ranges, with table-tops, generally scrubby, still with good timber even on top and where it is more open, fair grass in places and spinifex in others, with heavy deep ravines down the slopes on all sides and well-grassed and timbered in the valleys. From the top of range near our camp one has an extensive view; southward is a large valley, the receiver of all the drainage of the hills east and west of it; south the range is low and over it can be discerned several conical wooded hills of greater and lesser sizes; beyond them in the distance can be seen two considerable ranges from north-north-east to south-south-west; at the latter point they suddenly terminate in nearly precipitous bluffs, showing that there must be a stream of some importance skirting that end of them, or some extensive valley; an easy way of arriving at them would be south from this camp and over the low dividing ridge; the waters or creeks in this valley, after uniting into one or more large courses, flow to north and east till they pass east of this a few miles off; further view is intercepted by the ranges north and east of that. Maitland appears much better today and Kirby I think is improving a little; Palmer is not quite so well. I hope he will soon get over his illness; he is a very useful man; neither shoeing horses nor almost anything comes wrong to him; indeed he has shod all the horses I may say since he joined the party, and has been a very useful fellow.

Friday, 4 July 1862 - Camp 27, Jack's Swamp.
Very cold during the night. Every appearance of a nice day. What little wind there is is from north. We start from this with 46 pounds of dried horse flesh which I hope will be sufficient to carry us to stations on the Burdekin. The invalids and animals have improved during their stay here, and we start this morning on about our last bearing generally, although we cannot go direct from the hilliness of the country. Bearing 62 1/2°. All round this quarter quartz of colours is strewed over the face of the country in addition to the decomposing stones. Started at 8.6 a.m. firstly up the swamp side northerly a short distance, then easterly over a saddle in the range for the eastern slopes towards the main drainage to the northwards. At half a mile on top of the saddle in the range with drainage to the east. Then had to keep a little northerly of our course to avoid a rugged range on the right. At about eleven miles direct struck the main drainage creek (Ross's Creek after W. Ross, Esquire, Mulma, Murray, New South Wales) but the actual distance travelled was considerably over that. Then followed the creek on a bearing of about 20° off and on. At one and a quarter miles it receives a considerable tributary from west-south-west (Cole's Creek after S. Cole, Esquire, Commissioner of Crown Lands, Euston, New South Wales). A large mass of hard dark-coloured, slaty-coloured rock in the centre of the two creeks with a passage on each side. At four miles it receives a very deep but narrow creek from the west (Beveridge's Creek after Peter Beveridge, Esquire, Swan Hill, Victoria). Obliged to get into the main creek to pass it. Plenty of water and feed. Camped. A splendid creeper (scarlet) is here upon a number of trees, climbing to their very top. The fruit is very showy, oblong and quite the size of an orange but tastes exceedingly nauseous, full of pulpy seeds, birds and opossums eat them. After getting to camp went to top of a high range at three-quarter mile distant east-south-east. From it I had an extensive view. At 40° easy to pass through range. From 82 to 90° very mountainous. 5° a very extensive valley apparently inclining westwards. Blacks burning at 10° in the distance. North is a large irregular peak range; in the distance another a little east of it.

Saturday, 5 July 1862 - Camp 28.
Dewless night as was also the night before and several others previous. Very hot yesterday. Last night during the whole night the sky was completely overcast and close, this morning the same. The main creek here is well lined with gums and well-grown oaks, the bank fringed with reeds; low down is about fifty yards wide at the bottom level and twice that width at top and steep but grassed all down the slopes. The forest over which we travelled yesterday was very much cut up with sudden and deep watercourses, making the travelling more difficult, and in many places was stony (brown stone). Started at 8.23 a.m., the horses having ranged rather far. Crossed the creek and on bearing of 22° along it pretty good travelling through open timber, till at about two and three-quarter miles the creek came too close under a range to allow us to follow anywhere near its banks. Ascended the range and at three miles the creek on the left changed course to from 40 to 45°; sometimes to the north of that, at other times to the south of it. At a short distance over the flat, after descending the range which was of no great elevation, came on the creek again and followed it on the above bearing. As we struck the creek the footprints of two horses in the bed of the creek, and shortly after more and more, which at first led us to suppose that the country was stocked thus far up; but after following along in the bed we found the traces to be all about the same age and that some time back. At length on right side of creek on the bank, at the distance on our last course of three and a quarter miles, we saw the remains of an old camp, ridge pole, and uprights, with the letter K cut on a couple of gumtrees, which at once led us to believe it was some party or other marking the boundaries of their runs. Got up out of the creek at this place and went on bearing of about 20 to 25°. Immediately after starting on this bearing we passed over rather open ground with spinifex but not very strong. The creek now out of sight on the left. At three and one-eighth of a mile struck what I take to be the Burdekin, but no tracks of drays or stock of any kind up this length. It flows east at this place. Went about three-quarters of a mile on this course and two of the horses becoming knocked up I am obliged to halt. What told upon them so much today was that the banks of the creek were so rugged we were obliged to travel in the loose sand in the bed of the creek. We hope to make better progress tomorrow. From here the river appears to flow about 15° north of east but that won't continue far; I imagine we are a little above the junction of the Perry with this river. The bed of the Burdekin at this camp is about from 90 to 100 yards, and the strong-running stream is confined between bergues on the north side to a space of about twenty yards, and little better than knee-deep. Only a few small fish visible. Magnificent gums on its banks and plenty of excellent timber in every direction. This will be a most difficult part of the country for drays travelling on account of the many steep-sided creeks. At anything like a flood quite impracticable.

Sunday, 6 July 1862 - Camp 29.
Last evening the wind blew for a short time fresh from east by north then lulled down; shortly after the sky became overcast and during the night we had a light Scotch mist; this morning no wind but sky overcast with every appearance of rain. We tried some green hide that we were reserving for camel's boots in our soup of this morning, and being pickled in salt when taken from the bullock it imparted quite an agreeable flavour to our scanty meal and we all enjoyed it much. Some of the party put up badly with this short diet and appear to get quite dispirited, although at sight of the tracks yesterday they are quite elated, but it was only for a short time to become further depressed after. Horses all about amongst the bergues and high grass; late at starting. Started at 9.12 a.m.; for the first three and three-quarter miles through open forest, good country; large oak creek from the south-west joins the river at that distance. Our course to this was to south of east-south-east nearly south-east; the river then bears east for some distance, then north, then south, and afterwards to about south-east; first part through some exceedingly intricate country, hills close on the river with deep ravines and most difficult travelling. In its present state no dray in the world could pass by it; first of all we got one of the camels down in a creek, next one of the horses rolled over into the creek and we had to make a road for them at last to descend into the creek; now into and along the bed of the river; now up the steep banks and then up stony hills to head, or more easily cross the ravines, which was very trying to our animals, and finally completely knocked up one of the weak horses which was with much persuasion got to the camp in the afternoon after the camp was formed. After arriving he was killed and we commenced to use his flesh to save the other dry meat as we must spare a day here to refresh the animals; the latter part of the day's journey was over rather better travelling; the hills still close to the river with deep ravines. On this last bearing fully six miles on the opposite or left bank of the river, at about two miles distance from our camp here a large creek with abundance of running water joins from north-west by north through apparently a not prepossessing country, very hilly and little or no valley belonging to it; in travelling along the bed of the river occasionally the bed is of a quicksand nature and very heavy. Sun quite overcast all day, at night it cleared off. Wind south-east.

Monday, 7 July 1862 -Camp 30.
Although the stars were out during the night and no dew we have it very cloudy again today. I went to top of one of the highest hills on right bank of river today and had an extensive view. The river appears to bear nearly east generally for the north end of some large mountains in that direction, at which place I think the river receives the River Perry from the north and then flows south. Between the hill I was on and that there appears to be a good deal of level-looking country, and the hills on this side seem in a great measure to cease a short distance off. In every other direction it is rugged with high broken hills and an indifferent grass upon them with the exception of the very limited flats near the river, on which latter there is always abundance of good feed and splendid timber. Wind still from south-east by east but little of it. The creek that joins this river about two miles up coming from north-west by north I have called Clark's Creek after Walter Clark, Esquire, of Deep Creek near Melbourne. The banks of the river are here very steep and difficult of access.

Tuesday, 8 July 1862 -Camp 30.
Heavy dew last night; foggy this morning. Very dense vegetation along the banks and bergues of the river. The fish seen as yet are but small, the largest are of the catfish kind. Started at 8.45 a.m., late, the horses, even with the abundance of feed here, having strayed in all directions. At one and three-quarter miles crossed narrow and deep running creek from south by east. One of the camels in going up the hill out of it tumbled over backwards, and detained us forty-two minutes. Then ascended stony hills to avoid the ravines close to the river. At four and a quarter miles a conical stony-topped hill close by on right, south, and south of that a swamp with poplar, gums, etc., river close on left, country open both sides of river, particularly opposite side to north-north-east; at five and three-quarter miles crossed creek from south-east (good, not broad nor deep but abundance of water) then undulating stony country with low-sized trees (stunted) river bearing northward; at seven and three-quarter miles crossed creek from south-east by east, a little water; at nine miles crossed narrow deep creek, bald-topped range of hills close ahead same side of river, running from north to south. The river here sweeps round the north end of them, making a considerable detour to north of east; we ascended the easiest of the ridges easterly to avoid the steep gullies, and saw the river taking a sweep south; I think it receives the Perry at its south bend. At twelve and a half miles on an easterly bearing changed course to south by west, or even west of that, over ridgy but good travelling and latterly flat country, well grassed, for two and three-quarter miles and camped, one of the camels refusing to travel, lying down occasionally. Distance travelled about fifteen and a quarter miles. I wish our animals were now in the same condition they were at Hayward's Creek and I would soon be at Port Denison. I am surprised that the squatting stations are not further advanced up this river. Our invalids are slowly recruiting. Has been a beautiful day.

Wednesday, 9 July 1862 -Camp 31.
Heavy dew last night. To give the horses a chance of doing better last night they were let go without hobbles, and this morning they have strayed to some distance and again caused us to be late in starting. Started at 11.10 a.m. A number of natives must have been here on our arrival last afternoon but must have decamped very hastily on hearing us, leaving all their spears, cooking and cooked vegetables, food, etc. etc.; the food they were cooking in their ovens and what was lying cooked consisted of excellent roots of some kind or other, and a round fruit which they roast and which is very good. We used all the roots and found them most excellent and left in exchange a tomahawk, which no doubt will suit their purpose as well, and suited us much better. I took the precaution of carrying all their spears up to our camp, that in case they might return to their camp in the night they might not molest us; it saved us keeping watch but we neither saw nor heard anything of them except their dogs howling. Numbers of blue mountain parrots here, and a few ducks only. The river here is formidable and the banks rather steep for easy access. On the south-south-easterly course; at one and three-quarter miles crossed deep rocky creek with a little rainwater and very steep banks; at three and a quarter miles passed a lagoon, more lagoons off to the south-west under the low ridges; at six miles crossed a small oak creek from south-west by west; at seven and three-quarter miles crossed small good creek with plenty of water from south-west by west. Halted at a couple of lagoons, nine and a quarter miles. One of the camels we will be compelled to leave here; he has been a most useful animal; we will in consequence have to curtail further our little effects and leave many things behind. Our journey direct south-east and little south today has not been more than about seven miles. The lagoons which are deep run in a north-west by west half west course. Buried things we left at south side of ironbark tree fifty-two paces about west 28° south of a marked tree and camp fire.

Thursday, 10 July 1862 -Camp 32.
Ice in the quart pots this morning, the first we have seen during the whole of our wanderings up to this; but I once before saw where it had nipped off the young burnt feed before making the Burdekin. Have called this Coppin's lagoons after our camel that is left here. Started at 8.52 a.m. south-east about two and a half miles or so. At one and three-quarter miles on an easterly bearing crossed a rocky and sandy narrow deep creek from south by west with plenty of water in large holes; good travelling till we turned easterly, then a little ridgy; at three and a quarter miles a large creek from north-north-east joins the river in a bend; a large mount in about that direction. The river now suddenly turns south-east to south-south-east from east-north-east; at six and a quarter miles crossed the River Clarke and had a tumble, horse and all, heels over head into it; it had no stream but large sheets of water in its bed (sandy). From south-west by west the large range on opposite side of the Burdekin runs about east-south-east and west-north-west, splendid bold mounts; crossed oak creek from south-west by south at nine and three-quarter miles; from junction of this creek westerly end of mountain range, table-topped, beyond the Burdekin bears 341°; at eleven and a quarter miles crossed small steep creek. The river, now closely confined between steep hills, kept along the stony bottom of the range for some time, but the camel turning over, and it being more rough ahead, was obliged to get into and follow the bed of the river for some distance. At twelve and three-quarter miles ascended the riverbank on same side; at thirteen and a quarter miles crossed very steep creek with water, and at fifteen miles halted at a small rocky creek on the ranges with water and feed sufficient for our use. Since ascending the banks out of the river our course has been about north 50° east over a succession of stony ridges with some spinifex.

Friday, 11 July 1862 -Camp 33.
Heavy dew last night. Started at 8.15 a.m. on same bearing over ridges till three and a quarter miles, being the point where Dr. Leichhardt descended the steep mount close by. From this point the mount and peak on opposite side of the river some distance off bears as follows: south-west of table top 280°, north-east peak 331 1/2°. Got into the bed of the river here comparatively easily and followed it down its rocky and sandy bed for some distance till obliged to turn out on the opposite side. A large island of rocks in the centre of the river and deep water on both sides, the hills precipitous into the river. We got up the opposite side pretty easily and followed it down, crossing a deep ravine and stony ridge, and recrossed at two and three-quarter miles on a bearing north of east, and crossed the river back again, very steep on the side we crossed from but good getting out, and came over ridgy, and latterly, basalt country, on bearing of about east-south-east, and camped on the opposite side of the river at three miles on last bearing, where there was a suitable place in the bed of the river for killing one of our horses which was completely knocked up. This camp is about two miles up from where the river takes a south-east bend and receives a river running into it at that bend. About one-quarter mile from it and nearer our camp another large running creek joins the Burdekin which I have called the Campbell after Dal. Campbell, Esquire, Melbourne. The larger one below, which is about one-third the width of the Burdekin but down which quite as great a supply of water is running, I have taken the liberty of calling the Bowen after His Excellency Sir G. Bowen, Governor of Queensland. The latter stream joins the Burdekin from north by east but comes from distant mountainous ranges to the east of north-east. The smaller stream the Campbell joins the Burdekin from north by west, but comes from north, or a little east of that, from a mountainous country. As seen from a hill close by to west of the Campbell the Burdekin there comes from a little north of west, and flows to south 20° east, but not visible either way far.

Saturday, 12 July to Monday, 14 July 1862.
In camp, drying horseflesh; the wind from east; dewy, and at daylight foggy along the banks and valley of the river but soon clears off; we have had splendid weather for drying our meat. Caught some very nice fish but not sufficient to be of any real service. The timber is not anything like as large or so good as it is further up the river. The bed of the river here is from 400 to 500 yards wide. The horse Goliah has given us fifty-two pounds dry meat. We have shot a few crows, a cormorant, and a white eagle with blue back, to make a stew for breakfast, that with a little salted hide and about two pounds dried meat will make a very good meal as matters stand at present. The remainder of the dried meat and what we may shoot I hope will last us as far as the Farming River, which is about ninety miles from this, to which river I saw people start for from Sydney upwards of twelve months ago, and they must certainly be there now; perhaps we may be fortunate enough to meet them this side of that. I have been quite disappointed at not finding the stations much higher up the river even than where I now am.

Tuesday, 15 July 1862 - Camp 34.
Dull morning; heavy dew; much sheet lightning during the night to south and east, heavy clouds in that direction this morning. Started at ---- a.m.; for the first half mile or more down the river bed east 8° south; then crossed and on bearing of south 35° east; the river at crossing not more than 100 yards wide; first part through open timber, and gentle ascent for one and a quarter miles to a basalt and sandstone range, flat, well-grassed table-topped, and descended the same at two and a quarter miles; the dip from the table-top to the slope only a few yards; large boulders of basalt and sandstone; then well-grassed but ridgy and occasionally scrubby country; crossed springy creek at west-north-west (gum); at three and a quarter miles crossed fine gum creek, running, with lots of palms (corkscrew) from west-south-west at five miles; the country good till six miles, when it becomes more ridgy and stony, with spinifex, but improves shortly after; at eight miles crossed good creek; springs, etc., from south half east; close under ranges towards the source of the creek the ridges open and apparently well-grassed, though rather steep and stony; then over higher ranges and stony ridges, well-grassed, and descended a very steep one, the river close by on the left; at ten and a half miles rather rough, with ravines at foot of the range running into the river; at eleven and a quarter miles crossed a small creek from west-south-west with water in holes; then rocky low ridges with but scant vegetation for a short distance; then over rather flat travelling, well-grassed but indifferently timbered, and a good deal of it inclined to be swampy in wet weather; a good many poplar gums on it. The latter part rather rotten sandy ground. Made the river at the point where it is forced by rocks on the opposite side to this, sweeping out a very large piece of the bank on this side to the distance of several hundred yards, making the river bed at this sweep quite 800 yards across and well-timbered round the sweep on this side; caught some excellent fish this afternoon, a black bream, the largest five inches deep and fifteen to sixteen inches in length, excellent firm-eating fish and a great help to our evening meal. Distance today about fifteen and two-thirds miles. Rained a little during the afternoon with first of all a strong gale from the southward accompanied with thunder. Saw a platypus in the river this afternoon, first I have seen during the journey. Cormorants here are numerous but difficult to be got at and our shot is not heavy enough for them. Our crow-stew was excellent this morning.

Wednesday, 16 July 1862 -Camp 35.
A good shower during the night; foggy this morning, but the rain evidently all cleared off; started at 8.3 a.m. course south by east; crossed deep creek from north-west by west, little water; at two and a half miles passed a swamp; at three and three-quarter miles crossed oak creek from west-south-west; at four and a quarter miles changed course to south 35° east; crossed at one and three-quarter miles a small creek from north-north-west, plenty of waterholes; same creek afterwards was close on our left at five and three-quarter miles where it joins the river, and another oak creek close by joins at nearly or at same place. Then changed course to south 11° east and passed lagoon at three miles; passed through an end of considerable swamp; at six and a quarter miles on our left and after going a short way saw where it had wound round a ridge and was a large sheet of water and swampy land; before and after this passed through several nasty thick belts of scrub with a very fine large white tree with dark rough butt growing amongst it, Moreton Bay ash, I imagine; made the river at nine and three-quarter miles where some drays and sheep had crossed some time since; followed the river down one and a quarter miles south-south-west, and crossed a fine creek from west by north and camped about three-quarters of a mile up the creek; one branch of it comes from north-west by north, the other and best from west half south. Basalt ridge close to the river and south banks of creek; a short distance down the river a cliffy precipitous tier of ranges comes right on to the river with dark scrubby-looking tops. On the right bank of the creek with its junction with the river is a mass of sandstone with bullets of stones through it, and a yellow hard-looking clay perfectly detached, the clay wall having a dip of about 45° to south-west; abundance of water up the left hand or southernmost creek. Distance travelled twenty to twenty-one miles. I have called the creek we are now encamped on Gibson's after Gibson, Esquire, of Great Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Thursday, 17 July 1862 -Camp 36.
Ice again this morning, very cold during the night. Started at 8 a.m.; four and a half miles on bearing of south by east along and over basalt country, crossed rocky oak creek at three and a half miles from west by south, swampy; continued this bearing for six and three-quarter to seven miles and changed course to 60° east of south; one and three-quarter miles an immense swamp and lagoons, basalt ridges; close round crossed over these ridges; bore a little more to the east; and at five and three-quarters crossed a splendid stream from south by west with a number of anabranches. Basalt on the flats as well as the ridges; changed course to about east by south, horses tiring; halted at same, strong-running stream at four and three-quarter miles; as it passes it flows over falls in an east-south-east course along the foot of basalt ridges and comes, as far as visible, from west and north. East of this, apparently opposite side of the Burdekin River, are bald-topped ridges about eight miles distant; basalt ridge on this side a considerable distance in that direction. Distance twenty-two miles today. I have taken the liberty of naming the stream (to all intents and purposes an important river, though narrow compared with some streams, but down which quite as great a supply of pure water is now running as in the Burdekin) the River Browne after W.J. Browne, Esquire, of Booboorowie, South Australia. Large masses of granite are here in the bed of this river and on its banks, although the ridges close by are composed of very cellular basalt and close-grained sandstone. No mountains visible at all close in any direction. From the top of the heights, close to our camp, lots of tracks of sheep and cattle. No appearance of a station; fancy they have taken to the creeks.

Friday, 18 July 1862.
Very cold during the night, but beautiful morning. This river runs parallel to the Burdekin for some distance and at only a very short distance between. Started at 8.20 a.m. over the basalt ridges for the sake of better travelling than we are likely to have in the Burdekin, for some distance at least. South for one mile, then east-south-east through open forest with basalt blocks occasionally, and rather swampy-inclined land for two and three-quarter miles. Crossed a small sandy creek, vast numbers of young palms, from south, then the land of granite formation and stony; drainage to north and east. At three and one quarter miles crossed large sandy creek with water and a number of large palms and gums, from south-west, immediately after crossing, undulations of quite sandy country but commencing with but little scrub; but at about three miles from the creek obliged to turn out of it in a north-north-east course or all our packs would have been torn off; the scrub was full of game. On the last course we went about one and a half miles till we got to the edge of the scrub, then about east by north for about one and a half miles on to the south-west side of the large creek last crossed, now in immense, large, deep, and long waterholes running in about an east-south-east course, about parallel with the Burdekin, which creek we followed on its right side, the scrub coming often to the banks. Very fine stone fruit got here of a purple colour, quite an ornamental tree about twenty-five to thirty feet high, fruit in clusters, about the size of a large plum and very good boiled or roasted. At four miles on this course crossed an oak creek from south half east, with water coming from west side of stony ridges; then about three-quarter mile further to river in a course east 15° south, then followed down the river for about one and a quarter miles and camped; distance travelled about sixteen and one quarter miles. I have called this the Kissock after W. Kissock, Esquire, Great Bourke Street, Melbourne. One of the horses completely knocked up, and as we can observe no recent traces of stock on the river made up my mind to kill him, spell a day, and carry as much of his flesh, boiled, with us as will last a couple of days. The river is very broad here, forming small falls with large blocks of granite-looking rocks, of a light and some of a yellow colour, across its bed for some distance.

Saturday, 19 July 1862.
Spelled. Very cold night, beautiful morning, and throughout the day the same weather.

Sunday, 20 July 1862 -Camp 38.
Very cold night, beautiful morning. Proceed down the river. Started at 8.37 a.m., our course for a short distance about south-east then east-south-east; at one and a half miles crossed rocky creek, easily passable for drays, from west-south-west; crossed sandy oak creek from south-east by south (dry). At three miles crossed sandy palm creek (dry) from south-south-east; at six and a quarter miles undulating nice country; at eleven miles struck the river; a high point in a considerable range on opposite side of river bears 88° east from this point of river. The river now runs in a south-west by south direction for about one and three-quarter miles, and in that distance crossed two oak creeks, one from west-north-west, the other from north-west by west; the river then runs about south for about one and a half to one and three-quarter miles, and suddenly takes a large bend to east or north of east, at which bend a very large oak creek joins river from south-south-west; a range of hills a short distance off on that same bearing. Camped in bed of creek; lot of young oaks in bed of creek just sprouting. This creek I have taken the liberty of calling the McKeachin after Alexander McKeachin, Esquire, of Delagato, Manaroo, New South Wales. The timber here is neither so abundant or so good for building purposes as higher up the river; the latter is from 700 to 800 yards broad here, and a strong running stream on right side.

Monday, 21 July 1862 - Camp 39.
Hoar frost last night with ice on the ground again this morning but beautiful weather. Started at 8.40 a.m. south-east by east to clear creek and range, then south-east by south. Crossed sandy oak creek from south half east. At half a mile crossed several sandy creeks near together from west of south. At three miles crossed two sandy creeks from west-south-west; when united will form a considerable one. At six miles crossed large creek from south-west by south. Gums, palms, and the paper-bark trees at six and three-quarter miles. Crossed at seven and a half miles large creek with oaks, gums, paper-bark trees. From south by west a very fine creek and excellent timber. No water at crossing but abundance of reeds on banks. At ten and three-quarter miles considerably ridgy, and passed large masses and cliffy hill, apparently of limestone. Close on the right from the top of one of the ridges is seen to the right a fine valley coming considerably from north of west and bearing off round some high dark-looking hills ahead, with cliffy and rugged tops, no doubt the valley of the Fanning River. Kept above course till at fourteen and a quarter miles rough hills being close ahead, and the Fanning being too much off to south and east, followed a small creek north-east for one and a quarter miles and camped at a little water. The country here has all been burned. Distance travelled about sixteen and a quarter miles.

Tuesday, 22 July 1862 - Camp 40.
Neither dew or frost. Started at 7.52 a.m. north by east, crossing two oak creeks from left to right, joining the one we camped on last night. Made Burdekin River at eight miles. Highest point of Mount Razorback bears from that point a little east of east-north-east. It has been raining here lately. Then on bearing of east 15° south at three-quarters of a mile an oak creek joins the river from south, the river then bears much away to east, or even north of east. Still on bearing of east 15° south. At two and a quarter miles crossed small oak creek from south by west. At four and three-quarter miles crossed fine large oak creek from south-south-west, sandy bed and reedy banks. Open forest. Saw some natives and heard others who were much alarmed. At eight and a half miles crossed sandy oak creek from south-west, very zigzag in its course. Country very ridgy and inclined to be lightly scrubby. Made the river at fourteen miles. Latter part very ridgy and many precipitous creeks from the slopes, but otherwise well-grassed. The greater part of the country travelled over today was of granite formation with veins of quartz here and there, and lots of loose quartz scattered about. A large hill opposite side of river here that I take to be ---- Range, and another down the river about one and a half miles bearing about south by west. The river here comes from north for some distance, and after it has passed this on to the range about one and a half miles down the river that appears to come right on it it bears off suddenly to the north of east. No traces of stock or drays seen on the river, and as another of our worst horses has become done up I will kill him here and spell the other horses a day; boil as much of his flesh as we can to take on with us and feast ourselves on the head, feet, and bones for a day, taking his shoes off as usual in case some of the others may require them. It perfectly astonishes me not meeting any settlers ere this. Distance today about twenty-two miles. Splendid weather. Timber indifferent here and not very abundant.

Wednesday, 23 July 1862 - Camp 41.
Wind cold from north by west; neither dew nor frost.

Thursday, 24 July 1862 - Camp 41.
Wind from same quarter or a little more west; neither dew or frost but very cold during the night. Crossed the river here to save a considerable sweep first to south between one and a half to two miles, then to north of east. Started at 8.20 a.m. This is now the sixth horse we have been compelled to kill for food, I trust it may be the last; went across the river yesterday and saw the tracks of a few head of cattle and from what I could judge not very old; hope to get to a station during the day. From our camp here a fine peak on left side of river, between main range and river, bears 48° east of north. At the bend on right bank of river, below our camp quite two miles distant, the end of a large hill comes on to the river bearing 195°; a very rugged peak east of it on same side bears 183 1/2°. Only two packhorses and one camel now. Bearing east 33 1/2° south over stony granite ridges; made the river at a southerly bend at eight miles. A deep creek joins at this bend. Then bearing south-east by south for a peak ahead, at two and a half miles crossed large oak creek and several smaller ones before that; at four and a quarter miles at peak changed course to south 2° west; at five miles made river, crossing in our course several creeks from eastward. Mount McConnell from this bears a little east of south-south-east; instead of altering our course to south 2° west from the peak, a good road avoiding some rugged ranges could be had by keeping right on course of south 23 1/2° east. The river immediately below this passes in an easterly direction between two ranges that come right on to it. The peak on the left bank I have called Foster's Peak after A.W. Foster, Esquire, of the Murray River, New South Wales. The bluff on the right bank and a little nearer than the peak I have called the McLeod after James McLeod, Esquire, of the Darling River, New South Wales. A fine long leading range some distance from right bank of river, running north and south, and apparently table-topped, I have called the Fletcher after G.B. Fletcher, Esquire, Tapio, Darling River, New South Wales.

Friday, 25 July 1862 -Camp 42.
Started at 8.35 a.m.; first over stony ridge, then good open forest on a bearing of east by south; at five miles struck a river from north-north-west which, immediately after crossing, went about east half north. This river I have called the Foster after A.W. Foster, Esquire, of the Murray, New South Wales; followed it in its course for two and three-quarter miles, it then suddenly turns south-east; had to follow it a quarter of a mile. Large mountain lying right across my course and running about north by west and south by east; which I have called Mount Buchanan after Alexander Buchanan, Esquire, of Anlaby, South Australia, from whom the whole of this party met with the utmost kindness and consideration. I then crossed over and went on a bearing of east by north through open country, till at one and three-quarter miles crossed a fine river from north by west which I have called the Scott after E.B. Scott, Esquire, of Moorno on the Murray River, New South Wales. Went on this course about two and a half miles; ascended a peak here and found Mount McConnell to bear 225°. Another large conspicuous mount from seven to eight miles off bears 340°; west and south of Mount Buchanan bears 261°. Changed course here to south one-quarter west, an immense mountain being ahead in the easterly course, I should like to be able to go, which I have called Mount Middleton after our right hand man, one of the party, whose attention to his difficult duties and the good example he showed to the rest of the party would entitle him to the esteem of anyone in my situation. One and a quarter miles south one-quarter west, then east half-south; immediately after the river changing eastwardly the Foster River joins it; about two and a quarter miles on last course and camped; the camel about done up and the country next to impassable; before getting to camp had to ascend a long stony and steep range, and no sooner up than down again in another place, and which did not advance us half a mile on our course. We had a hard frost last night; very difficult country. Mount McConnell bears 238 1/2°.

Saturday, 26 July 1862 - Camp 43.
A dewless and frostless night. Camel very much done up. Started at 7.53, followed the River Scott. On the left bank is a high precipitous mountain which I have called the Frederick, and on the right hand another high mount which I have called the Phillip, after the two brothers Fletcher of Melbourne. Just as the river takes a south-east course the Scott joins the Burdekin as it comes from south-south-west, flowing to north-north-east. In its whole width a perfect mass of slippery rocks and deep water, and where we struck it no apparent current; although when it contracts more and runs through more narrow rocks there is a strong and rapid stream. After getting about one and a quarter miles along its bank in a north-north-west direction was compelled to halt; perfectly impracticable and will be a most intricate crossing. Mount McConnell bears from this crossing-place about 241 1/2°. This is a fearful country and now that I see it I am not the least surprised at not finding the Upper Burdekin peopled and stocked. A man has difficulty in getting along on foot, much more so with quadrupeds; as for vehicles of any kind quite out of the question anywhere in this quarter. I am at present at a loss to conjecture how the dray, or drays and stock, found their way up the river so far, unless they went up west of Mount McConnell or found some more practicable route lower down the Burdekin, which latter I very much doubt. The hill just opposite our encampment I have called the Poole after R.T. Poole, Esquire, of South Australia. We are encamped by a large gum tree, as the river takes an east by south course for some distance. The most rugged country a man would ever wish to behold; and to add to our difficulties in swimming across numbers of huge alligators are here close to the camp. I ascended the hill just behind our camp with much difficulty to view the country ahead and about me. It was exceedingly stony and rocky. From it an extensive view, but much higher hills were in the distance in various directions. It is about three-quarters of a mile distant from our camp and bears from it 240°; Mount McConnell bears 242 1/2°. A conspicuous dark mount, from eight to ten miles off, bears 34 1/2, round the north end of which the Burdekin passes. The furthest point of the Burdekin seen along its course, about four miles off, at which place it suddenly runs to the northward 63 1/2°. A considerable sweep of the river between this and Mount McConnell bears 216 1/2° from five to six miles distant. A high peak, and close by it a high mountain in the same line of ranges about seven to eight miles off across the river, bear respectively 93 1/2 and 104 1/2°. Beyond the north end (distant) of the above range is to be seen another dark mountain bearing 76 1/2°. Killed another unfortunate horse (poor old Joseph Buggins). The hill on which I now stand I have called Mount Bertram after Alexander Bertram, Esquire, of Sandhurst, Victoria. The mount that bears 104 1/2° from this, beyond the river, I have called Mount Haverfield after ---- Haverfield, Esquire, of Melbourne. The peak that bears 93 1/2° I have called the Grierson after R. Grierson, Esquire, of Great Bourke Street West, Melbourne. The conspicuous mountain that bears 34 1/2° I have called Mount Roberts after G. Roberts, Esquire, of the Murray, New South Wales.

Sunday, 27 July 1862.
No passage over the ridge or mountains practicable. A raft constructed of such materials as we can get here floated but indifferently with our canteens, one leaky air pillow, and our boiling vessels inverted, some of which were not air-tight, is ready for crossing tomorrow, the things and the men that swim but indifferently; many of the alligators close by in the same reach.

Monday, 28 July 1862.
After much swimming by Middleton and Hodgkinson we managed to cross all the things and the camel. The horses we could not get to cross so left them with the men to look after them till tomorrow when we shall try them again and hope for better success; it is a most difficult, intricate, and dangerous place; if they all cross in safety it is more than I expect.

Tuesday, 29 July 1862 -Camp 45.
By much perseverance and difficulty got the horses and remainder of the men safe across; by 4 p.m. packed up and started down the river east by south, very rough, walking nearly all the way for about one mile, at which place we take to the ranges; in the morning, on our way at about three-quarters of a mile, two considerable running creeks join the river; another running creek joins the river at camp. I shall take the camel on and our only packhorse-load of stuff shall leave behind here till it can be sent for; it consists chiefly of seeds which I should be sorry to lose. I had intended to leave the camel here also, but after thought it best to try and take him on over the ranges one stage and kill him, and by doing so save a horse.

Wednesday, 30 July 1862 -Camp 46.
Buried the things safely and securely from wet, and should not the natives find them and dig them up they will be perfectly secure till we can send back for them. Obliged to shoe one of the horses which lost his shoe in crossing yesterday on the rocks. Started at 10.15 and at once tackled the range, up a steep hill, down again in a north-east by north direction, crossed a deep ravine, and ascended the first of a series of steep stony hills in a north-east by east course; from the summit Mount McConnell bears 246°. The conspicuous mount round the north side of which the Burdekin passes bears 23°; followed the river in that direction for about five and a half miles to a creek, the north and east drainage of the large range under the western side of which we were latterly travelling, and round the termination of them we camped at a running creek of excellent water coming from east of south-east. We are here very reluctantly obliged to kill our good and faithful companion the last remaining camel (Siva) that was with us in all our reconnoiterings and other journeys; he was indeed a splendid animal but now quite unfit to travel beyond this. I hope to get sufficient of his flesh to carry us into a station, or if the country is at all passable to Port Denison. We are encamped under some splendid shady large-leafed tree in the bed of the creek, leaves about ten inches broad and twelve to fifteen inches long; some of the men found that the leaves dry were a good substitute for tobacco and were soon puffing a cloud.

Thursday, 31 July 1862.
Spelled here today to boil down camel. Mild night, day warm, many recent traces of natives here under the shade of these trees, they are firing the grass in various directions around us but we never see anything of them. The remnants of a broken gourd we found here, it has been used as a vessel for carrying water; it was the size of a large coconut with a neck about six inches long, through one side of which they had drilled a hole for a cord for slinging on their arms.

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