Field Book No 6
5th to 10th December 1860
[Wednesday 5 December 1860]
At 9h pm this evening as well as last the zodiacal light was bright but ill-defined it duly extended to an altitude of 20º above the horizon and presented the appearance of a [shoulder?] on the south side but I am inclined to think this was a deceptive appearance arising from the proximity of its apex at some stars in Sagittarius.
[Thursday 6 December 1860]
Camped half a mile from where the saddles were left. walked over after having tethered the camels and found everything safe and just as we had left them with the exception of the goatskin bags being nearly empty Soon after 8pm the zodiacal light was beautifully developed it assumed a different appearance from that which had last evening being a bright narrow cone slightly inclined to the horizon and reaching an altitude of 25º to 30ºthe base of the cone was hid by a dense bank of smoke which proceeded from bush fires in the neighbourhood of Coopers Creek.
[Friday 7 December 1860]
At 8h 35m a brilliant meteor of a pale bluish color fell from near β Arcturis perpendicularly to about 12º above the horizon…..
Friday 8 December 1860.
On waking this morning I found the weather very sultry and oppressive the sun rose red and glowing and from the sky a more gloomy appearance than it had previously. we started at ten minutes past five and proceeded in a SSE direction croßing sand hills and graßy flats alternately in the latter we found the dry sandy channels of creeks which convey the surplus water when there is any from the ranges to the flats and clay pans amongst the sand hills the average direction of the flow in these creeks is from ENE to WSW. At 11h am we reached a spur of the sandstone ranges stretching out to the south but so we altered our course a little to avoid it but returned to our former course after going a few miles as there was a line of gum trees and some high red sand to the SE indicating the course of a [?] [?] creek we found however that the creek travelled so much to the southward that
to follow it down would take us too much out of our course and as we could perceive no tracks of the lost camels we at two o clock changed our course to SSW intending to go direct to Camp LXIII. up to this time the air had felt very sultry and close and the clouds had been getting gradually more dense but not of that character that usually accompany violent thunderstorms. about three o clock we could perceive thunder and lightning ion the N + NW the wind had been blowing steadily all day from NE with a force of 4 to 5. About half past three the storm reached us we had just camped in time to get the things under shelter the wind continued to blow from NNE and increased in force to 6 + 7 the rain where we were was not heavy but there appeared to be a greater quantity falling to the NW of us in about half an hour the storm had paßed but there were showers in every direction. between four + five the wind shifted to WNW and I anticipated a return of the storm but it soon shifted to west and subsequently returned to NE from which quarter it blew lightly all night without bringing any more rain.
Saturday 9 December 1860.
We started at quarter past four this morning intending to take a late breakfast at Coopers Creek but at eight o clock we reached some clay pans amongst the sand hills where the rain had been heavier than with us and as there was plenty of good water and fine feed for the camels we stopped. whilst here the rain came on again without thunder or lightning and with every appearance of continued wet weather the wind in SE as before and the clouds moving in s SW direction, we started again at ten. the rain continued falling steadily but not heavily until noon.