Departure, 3.00 pm, 4 August 1861.
2[?] August 1861.
Latitude: 18° 7' S; longitude: 153° E.
Steady trade-winds with fine weather. Lihou Reefs 65 miles distant.
Tuesday, 20 August 1861.
Weather changing ; 15° 46' S, 151° 35' E; thermometer 80° Fahr.
Friday, 30 August 1861.
Weather unsettled. A southerly set of current of 22 miles (14° 55' S, 149° 42' E).
Monday, 2 September 1861.
Strong gales, SE veering SSE. 12° 12' S, 144° 50' E.
Thursday, 5 September 1861.
Gale broke, and at 6.15 pm, anchored on Great Detached Reef, 18 fathoms, sandy bottom; 85 fathoms cable out. (NB: The course steered from noon, this day showed a current of two hours to northward. Noon 11° 31' S, 145° E.)
Saturday, 7September 1861.
Found convoy (the Firefly with the horses for Landsborough's expedition on board) wrecked on a coral-reef. Horses all saved but three.
Wednesday, 11 September 1861.
Barge of Victoria went adrift.
Sunday, 22 September 1861.
Engaged till this day lightening and getting off the Firefly, and reached Cairncross Island, east side of Cape York, against strong ebb-tide (peculiar to this season), which had landed barge unharmed after drifting masterless 60 miles (of course favoured by a still more rapid flood-tide).
Tuesday, 24 September 1861.
Noon, latitude: 10° 55'.
Thursday, 26 September 1861.
Noon, latitiude: 14° 34' S, longitude: 139° 46'; therm. 77½° Fahr.
Friday, 27 September 1861.
Winds light, easterly, and northing after 8 AM Anchored off Bountiful Island, and ascended Mount Flinders quite low. Soil of island sand or disintegrated sandstone, covered with rank, dry, wiry grass. By 29th had caught 126 turtle for jerking, &c., to save provisions.
Sunday, 29 September 1861.
At 4 pm anchored in Investigator Roads in 5 fathoms. The winds for the last three days had been north-east during the day, and southerly at night. At 1½ to 2 miles off various discoloured patches were rounded or passed, but no perceptible difference in the depths of soundings was found the water being of a very light colour generally makes the navigation rather exciting. The changes in the colour of the water this day have all the appearance of sand-shoals, or dangers of some kind, but nothing dangerous to navigation was met with on our way up the gulf. The depths found are generally very uniform, deepening from the eastern shore to 38 fathoms towards the middle of the gulf, with generally mud or sandy bottom; some few casts of rocky or hard bottom were found near latitude 12° 25' S, longitude 141° E, with some 18 to 24 fathoms, and for 35 miles in a SSW course.
29 September to 17 October 1861.
Engaged arranging for Mr Landsborough's departure, who left 16th November. Note that whole coast appears to be intersected with creeks and rivers for some miles. Entered (17th) what was supposed to he a channel, but proved to be the outlet of a river (supposed to be the Leichhardt)
17 October to 18 November 1861.
Nothing calling for remark except intense heat.
Wednesday, 20 November 1861.
Heat at 2 pm 104° in shade.
Friday, 29 November 1861.
Heat at 10.30 pm 107° !!!
Thursday, 5 December 1861.
Landed at 'Junction' (Albert River), the spot fixed upon for a depot on leaving Melbourne, and found the place had been some feet under water last tide, and that for miles the plains were then covered with salt-water, showing the place to be quite uninhabitable, with no fresh-water to be had for miles around. . . . . . . After we had passed two reaches going down, we were suddenly surprised by an ambuscade of natives on both sides. They were painted, and armed with long spears, womeras, and clubs ; but they were not fired at. Thermometer 98° to 109°.
Saturday, 7 December 1861.
Mr Walker arrived in the midst of a furious gale. At 10pm cleared up; light ESE wind. Thermometer at 2 am 70° Fahr.
Friday, 20 December 1861.
Mr Walker started on return journey.
Sunday, 29 December 1861.
At daylight visited the place of meeting marked [A], and found the nature of the country such that the tides overflowed it at the springs, with nothing but mud and mangrove in sight. About 22 miles further up, the river became more tortuous, and several sand-banks were passed, contracting the tide, which was running up strong. I continued on with the hope of reaching Burial Reach ; but, after going on to 1pm we stopped to dinner, when I landed, and found the country better, with grass, and water in plenty. Left again at 2.30pm, and proceeding 10 miles further, came to some cliffs on the eastern side (dark brown clay) 12 feet high. I had now come by estimation 35 miles up, and had not got to Burial Reach, or anything like it, by Stokes's description; no "grassy islands," or ''sloping banks down to the water's edge clothed with grass," but only mangrove and mud, and one or two sunken islands with the tops of mangrove a foot above water as we passed them, to indicate their position. The country around here is the best I have seen in the Gulf, and the grasses, of which there are varieties, very good, with the timber larger and looking more healthy than any part of the Albert. But, finding no traces of any one, and the upper part of the river here not agreeing with its description, I began to fear I must be in a wrong river, so I determined to start on the turn of tide, return to the ship, and make a further exploration of the coast to the eastward of this entrance. At 10.15pm started with the first of the tide downward, and in a dead calm, with much thunder and lightning all round the compass.
Monday, 30 December 1861.
At 7.30am the storm having passed seaward, stood out of the river to the bar, and waited until turn of tide and north-west A or sea-breeze to fetch the ship, which we did at 3.30pm. On examining Stokes's book and chart with the first lieutenant, I found there could be no doubt of my having been up the Flinders, and that the difference in time of tide in seeing these places makes so much difference in their appearance. Stokes appears to have gone up and down at night. I passed from the first position [A] right up, by daylight.