Torowoto to Cooper Creek
27th October to 2nd November 1860
Tuesday 30 October 1860.
Giving the camels a days rest at the swamp Mr Burke and I employed all the day in making up our reports for [them] to be sent back by Mr Wright who is returning to Menindie to fetch up the remainder of the party to Coopers Creek.
Wednesday 31 October 1860
This morning Mr Wright left us to go back to Mininda Mr Burke’s depot [.?.] [.?.] [.?.] together with a tracing of our route up. Mr Wright took with him Dick and Mountain both of them having strongly objected to going on to Coopers Creek. We started northwards at the same time as he started for Mininda, the country over which we paßed is tolerable well graßed but not equal to that between Teltawongee and Torowoto. We paßed one or two flats of muddy soil full of deep fissures there are several claypans at several places only two or three of which contain water. All the water that we have found in the claypans since passing Camp XLIV has been of a thick light coloured and creamy not altogether disagreeable to the taste but it leaves a muddy impression on the palate after one has swallowed it. When made into weak tea it has
of poor chocolate so much so I believe that anyone not knowing of the water might be deceived into the notion that it really was chocolate. At about 3h pm we met with a black fellow who invited us, through the medium of our own guide, whom, by the by we can scarcely understand, to go down and camp down by the waterhole where he was living, and as Mr Burke wished to humour the latter who was very anxious to accept the invitation we went down. The water there was of same muddy nature as described above and to avoid being humbugged we made some chocolate instead of tea with it.
Thursday 1 November 1860
Started at 6 40 am and at 9h am passed Kalampay the place we intended going to yesterday it is a muddy claypan like the rest. beyond Kalampay we came to a mud plain of great extent and level surface of yellow clay supporting in some places a few stunted saltbushes but over its greatest extent having no vegetation whatever the mirage was very [nicely] developed in fact was almost impossible to divest oneself of the idea that he was [?] lakes. to the NE I noticed an appearance connected with the mirage which I could not satisfactorily account for at this time but it was soon explained that when we reached some high ground and saw a real lake to the East + North of us.
At 11 40 we paßed a large claypan containing plenty of water of which we let the animals have a drink and then after paßing over some hills of metamorphic rock we came down on the bed of the lake of which the mud plain croßed in the morning was no doubt a dry portion. this lake is of immense extent but seems to be very shallow, where we [reached] on the NW side it was nowhere more than two or three inches deep and the water was coming
in very fast towards us? I suppose from the effect of the Easterly wind, which the blacks state there is a continuation of this water all the way to Bulloo wherever that is we paßed a part of the lake again in the afternoon there was some bamboo grass growing in this part of it. the lake is bounded to the Westward by metamorphic hills 40 to 50 feet high but having a very gradual slope. I examined several quartz reefs cropping out of these hills of a very peculiar character which as I have never before seen a great quantity of the quartz as more the appearance of [?] flint having a dull bluish tint with milky [?] it has decayed and been eaten into holes by [?] the bed rock is in some places a hard schist and in others it more resembles hard lumps of indurated clay. Finding it too late to go on to Tongowoko the blacks took us to a nice waterhole in a gully to the left where the water was not of that muddy nature that all we have seen for the last two days has been, so far we were much better off than if we had reached Tongowoko for the water here Camp XLVIII is very creamy. We started from Camp XLVII at 7h 40m the horses having strayed away delaying us until later than usual our journey of 14 miles was over an uninteresting extensive saltbush plain severely [?] above the level of the lake it would not be bad sheep country if water is to be obtained but I fear it is a difficult job.