Poria Creek, 2 September 1861.
Original item held at the State Library of Victoria, SLV MS13071, Box 2085/5a, Item 10.
Received by the Exploration Committee in Melbourne on 31 October 1861.
Menindie, Darling River,
We do ourselves the honor to enclose to you a despatch from Mr Howitt, according to promise made previously to obtain, if planted at a point given, viz., at the spot where he left Mr Burke's track.
We were on our return from a trip round Bulla and the adjacent country. The enclosed was planted on Poria Creek at Mr Howitt's twentieth camp from Menindie, near Mr Burke's fiftieth camp from Melbourne. The tree was marked
the broad arrow pointing north-west in the direction Mr Howitt was going; close by on the same tree was the following
The despatch was placed in an old Cartridge Tin. We crossed Mr Howitt's track previously (on the 19th Sept), on a brook called by the natives Yanburrowa, the track leading north-west, straight for Mr Burke's second depot at Cooper's Creek.
Mr Howitt had rain where he left the despatch...
was making good progress and we anticipated he had arrived at the depot, by that day (the 19th Sep).
We have the honor to be, Sir,
To John Macadam, Esq, Secretary, Royal Society.
Camp; Poria Creek,
Before leaving Mr Burke's track to Bulla for the purpose of striking a direct line for camp 60, Cooper's Creek. I think it advisable to bury documents here, hoping that some of the parties I believe now to be; out from the Darling may chance to find tbohi.
Since leaving the camp at Pamomaroo Creek, I have travelled at an average rate of seventeen miles per day, and have so far the satisfaction to report that the whole party of men, horses, and camels are in excellent order, and without anything unforseen occurs, I hope to be able to say the same before leaving Cooper's Creek on Mr Burke's track for Eyre's Creek.
I expect to reach Camp 60 on Cooper's Creek in four days; and as it is very important whether we shall find water before that time after leaving here. I have given the horses a day's spell and shall carry on as much water as possible from here. From Torowoto (now perfectly dry) we have found water and feed become scarcer as we proceeded, and have great doubts whether, unless rain falls shortly, there will be any water between that place and this camp, a distance of ninety miles, excepting at Cannilta Creek where one waterhole will probably hold out for a month. Up to the present time, however, we have been so fortunate as to find sufficient water for our stock, with the exception of three nights. Very little rain appears to have fallen up here; and the feed is very much burned up. At Carryapundy there is not a drop of water.
The natives here (belonging to Bulla) have as yet kept aloof from us, but have signalized us by fires.
The camels are improving, and are nearly cured of the scab. Mr Brahe, in whose hands I have left the management of the camels, has taken great pains with them, and I can see a decided change since we took them out of the hands of the Sepoys.
I expect to let two of the pigeons go at Mr Burke's last camp on Cooper's Creek in about ten days or a fortnight, but shall be guided by circumstances.
On leaving Cooper's Creek I shall endeavour to mark our track as distinctly as possible where no trees can be marked. As stated in my last despatch I shall, where possible, put up a pile of stones on some prominent ground
Before leaving Cooper's Creek I shall bury documents at the last camp. I have communicated with two of the Bulla natives met with at Kurlejur seventeen miles this side of Carryapundy, through our boy Sandy, but could learn nothing of Mr Burke's movements being known to the tribe.
I have the honor, to be Sir,
Hon. John Macadam, Hon Sec, the Exploration Committee, Melbourne.