19 JUNE 1862: 2.
Sunday, December 1861 [Albert River Depot].
Monday, 9 December 1861.
Monday, 16 December 1861.
Wednesday, 18 December 1861.
Friday, 20 December 1861.
As Jack Horsfeldt has been compelled to return to Rockhampton by the Victoria, on the report from Dr. Campbell that he was quite unfit for a land expedition, I was much pleased when Captain Norman obtained for me the services of Mr Moore in his stead. Mr Moore's duties especially are to have the sole charge of all the stores. On this subject I may as well mention that Captain Norman was much pleased to find that my experience corroborated the opinion he had given Mr. Landsborough upon the necessity of a land party having one person answerable for the stores. It is impossible to avoid waste where every person is at liberty to help himself.
As we left the Albert River the next day, I may now mention how gratified my men were, especially the natives, at his approbation of their good conduct, and the zeal they expressed in their determination to follow Burke's tracks; and too much cannot be said by me to express my thanks for the kindness shown me by Captain Norman, and of his endeavours to fit me out as completely as possible. I now start with 130 days' rations of flour, tea, and sugar, and 50 lbs. rice, 50 lbs. peas, to assist. Unfortunately, we have but 30 days' meat. This would be of little consequence, as we have lots of powder and shot, but, unluckily, very few caps for the fowling-pieces, I trust, however, that when I meet Captain Norman upon the Flinders, he will be able to supply this awkward deficiency.
It has been a source of great satisfaction to me that Captain Norman has coincided in opinion with me as to my future movements.
I was also glad to find that, from his observations of the soundings in the gulf, he had come to the same conclusion as I had from what I obtained on land. Mr Gregory says that the plains which he makes to stretch across the whole width of the bottom of the gulf were formed by the retiring of the sea. Now, in the first place, the sandstone ridges which Mr Gregory crossed continue much further to the north, making the division of the different watersheds. These ridges in many places are very fine downs, and on the Flinders there are traces of basalt and trap. The country, therefore, is a succession of plains, hills, and downs; and as Captain Stokes places on his chart three hummocks on the very verge of the water of the Gulf of Carpentaria, I have no doubt these are the terminations of three of the low ranges crossed by me. The plains are formed by the crumbling down of these ranges, and this process is still going on. The land is gaining on the sea, not the sea retiring from it; and this, as I have stated above, was the opinion already arrived at by Captain Norman.
I have been led in my journal to fall into an error, through Mr Gregory having called the running rivulet of the Albert 'Beame's Brook.' Mr Woods, first lieutenant of the Victoria, showed me, by Leichhardt's map, that 'Beame's Brook' was not anywhere near it.
The Plains of Promise,' as marked by Mr Gregory on his map, I found to be a succession of small plains, intersected by flooded box; and Captain Norman showed me Captain Stoke's map. and his track up tho Salt-water Inlet, where he went on foot over the very ground crossed both by me and Mr Gregory. He there places no 'Plains of Promise,' but does mention the flooded box. The Plains of Promise were not seen by Mr Gregory at all, for he crossed to the north of them.
Saturday, 21 December 1861.
Sunday, 22 December 1861.
Monday, 23 December 1861.
Tuesday, 24 December 1861.
Wednesday, 25 December 1861.
Thursday, 26 December 1861.
Friday, 27 December 1861.
Saturday, 28 December 1861.
Sunday, 29 December 1861.
Monday, 30 December 1861.
Tuesday, 31 December 1861. [Flinders River]
Marginal note: 'What we took for the river abreast of us turned out to be a branch of fresh water. Tracks of many blacks were found there by Rodney and Jingle. It will be remembered that no rain fell here on 1st January.
Our position was critical and I caused four horses to be caught and we rode at the creek mob which broke up and fled across the plains. It was necessary they should know our strength and I allowed two long shots to be fired, both of which took effect. As my object was attained, I stopped further firing and we got back to camp at dusk. As I supposed I was about seven miles from the spot where I had agreed to meet Captain Norman I sent up a rocket at 8pm.