The return from Carpentaria to Cooper's Creek
19 February to 28 February 1861
Tuesday, 19 February 1861 - Boocha's Camp.
Wednesday, 20 February 1861 - Pleasant Camp, 5
Thursday, 21 February 1861 - Recovery Camp, 6 R.
Between four and five o'clock a heavy thunderstorm broke
over us, having given very little warning of its approach. There
had been lightning and thunder towards S.E. and S. ever since
noon yesterday. The rain was incessant and very heavy for an hour
and a half, which made the ground so boggy that the animals could
scarcely walk over it; we nevertheless started at ten minutes to
seven A.M., and after floundering along for half an hour halted
for breakfast. We then moved on again, but soon found that the
travelling was too heavy for the camels, so camped for the
remainder of the day. In the afternoon the sky cleared a little,
and the sun soon dried the ground, considering. Shot a pheasant,
and much disappointed at finding him all feathers and claws. This
bird nearly resembles a cock pheasant in plumage, but in other
respects it bears more the character of the magpie or crow; the
feathers are remarkably wiry and coarse.
Friday, 22 February 1861 - Camp 7 R.
thunderstorm in the evening, about eight P.M., from E.S.E.,
moving gradually round to south. The flashes of lightning were so
vivid and incessant as to keep up a continual light for short
intervals, overpowering the moonlight. Heavy rain and strong
squalls continued for more than an hour, when the storm moved off
W.N.W. The sky remained more or less overcast for the rest of the
night, and the following morning was both sultry and oppressive,
with the ground so boggy as to be almost impassable.
Saturday, 23 February 1861 - Camp 8 R.
of the difficulties thrown in our way by last night's storm, we
crossed the creek, but were shortly afterwards compelled to halt
for the day on a small patch of comparatively dry ground, near
the river. The day turned out very fine, so that the soil dried
rapidly, and we started in the evening to try, a trip by
moonlight. We were very fortunate in finding sound ground along a
billibong, which permitted of our travelling for about five miles
up the creek, when we camped for the night. The evening was most
oppressively hot and sultry, so much so that the slightest
exertion made one feel as if he were in a state of suffocation.
The dampness of the atmosphere prevented any evaporation, and
gave one a helpless feeling of lassitude that I have never before
experienced to such an extent. All the party complained of the
same symptoms, and the horses showed distinctly the effect of the
evening trip, short as it was. We had scarcely turned in half an
hour when it began to rain, some heavy clouds having come up from
the eastward in place of the layer of small cirro-cumuli that
before ornamented the greater portion of the sky. These clouds
soon moved on, and we were relieved from the dread of additional
mud. After the sky cleared, the atmosphere became rather cooler
and less sultry, so that, with the assistance of a little smoke
to keep the mosquitoes off, we managed to pass a tolerable
Sunday, 24 February 1861 - Camp 9
Comparatively little rain has fallen above the
branch creek with the running water. The vegetation, although
tolerably fresh, is not so rank as that we have left; the water
in the creek is muddy, but good, and has been derived merely from
the surface drainage of the adjoining plains. The melaleneus
continues on this branch creek, which creeps along at the foot of
Monday, 25 February 1861 - Camp 10 R.
been very little rain on this portion of the creek since we
passed down; there was, however, no water at all then at the
pans. At the Tea-tree spring, a short distance up the creek, we
found plenty of water in the sand, but it had a is agreeable
taste, from the decomposition of leaves and the presence of
mineral matter, probably iron. There seems to have been a fair
share of rain along here, everything is so very fresh and green,
and there is water in many of the channels we have crossed.
Tuesday, 26 February 1861 - Apple-tree Camp, 11 R.
Thursday, 28 February 1861 - Reedy Gully Camp, 12 R.
Came into the Reedy Gully Camp about midnight on
Tuesday, the 26th; remained there throughout the day on
Wednesday; starting at two A.M. on Thursday.