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to the Exploration Committee.

Original item held at the State Library of Victoria, SLV MS13071, Box 2085/5a, Item 3.
Victorian Relief Expedition Records, Dispatches sent by members of the Relief Expeditions to the EC.
Alfred William Howitt dispatch, [Undated, but c. 29-30 June 1861].


Blue Background


I have the honour to offer a few suggestions for the consideration of the Exploration Committee, upon which I should feel inclined to form a plan of operations, in case it should be decided that the contingent party is still to proceed to Cooper's Creek.

I should recommend, in the first instance, that it be increased by Mr Brahe, whose knowledge of the country would be most valuable; and who has signified his readiness to join my party; and also by a medical man with, if possible some bush experience.

As Mr Brahe is of opinion that the horses and camels now at Menindie will be fit for service in a month's time, I should have no difficulty in taking forward a number of horses proportionate to the increased party, and calculated to transport easily five or six months' provisions from the Darling. Circumstances might also require the addition of a few camels.

With this party I should push on for Cooper's Creek as rapidly as I could do in justice to the packhorses, and should then endeavour to find a more favourable spot for a depot than the last.

Should it be deemed advisable to stay out longer than the time, for which the packhorses had carried provisions, it would be necessary for a second party to leave Menindie as soon as possible — say three weeks or a month — after the first bringing forward with the camels, necessary supplies, and remaining at Lake Bulla until communicated with by me respecting the site of a depot.

From Cooper's Creek the first step would be to explore the country at Eyre's Creek, as documents may possibly be buried there; and from this point to take such measures as could only be seen as the best when on the spot and in possession of all the information possible to be gained.

I believe that with the camels, and by acting at the same time energetically and with caution, that a large extent of the country could be soon explored, in which either traces of Mr Burke's outward route or water would be found. In the latter case it would enable the search for information respecting Mr Burke's party to be carried still further and without loss of time.

The above suggestions are offered merely as a rough sketch, which would be extended or modified as circumstances directed, and are founded considerably upon information which I have derived from Mr Brahe.

With respect to stores and outfit, I have not been able to learn much; but I believe that the contingent party would meet with no great obstacles in that way. But with regard to a further supply of stores being sent, it would have to be understood definitely either that the contingent party were to return on their stores being consumed, or the communication closed between Cooper's Creek and the Darling by want of water; or that a second supply would without fail be sent forward so as to enable both parties to pass the summer in the interior, if compelled to do so by drought.

I have, &c.
A W Howitt,
Leader of Contingent Party.


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