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Mount Murchison, 26 January 1862.

Original item held at the State Library of Victoria, SLV MS13071, Box 2085/5a, Item 23.
Dispatches sent by members of the Victorian Relief Expedition to the Exploration Committee.
Alfred Howitt's dispatch, [Mount Murchison], 26 January 1862.


Received by the Exploration Committee in Melbourne on 17 February 1862.

South Australian Advertiser
Friday, 21 February 1862, page 3.

A despatch from Mr Howitt, dated from the Darling, January 26, says he has been north 85 miles, found water, and he expected to reach Cooper's Creek in 20 days.


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Mt Murchison
Darling River
Jany 26/62


I have the honour to report my return here from a visit to the back country.

I proceeded with Mr Myers to within twenty-five milesof East Torowata, where there is a supply of water which will probably last three or four months without rain. The distance from there is eighty-five miles and I am sure of water every night with the exception of one, before reachling Macadam's Range. Should the late rains have extended north of Torowata, which I consider more than probable, I may reasonably expect to reach Cooper's Creek in seventeen or twenty days after this.

I leave the river to-morrow, and expect to be at Macadam's Range in four days and a half.

In consequence of Mr Knpwles being unable at the last moment to make arrangements for leaving with the party, I have engaged Hugh M'William.

I enclose a list of stores &c. taken from the river. In respect to stores, which may possibly be required I should beg to suggest that it would be far better to order them from Adelaide, consigned to the care of Mr M'Ogment, storekeeper, Wentworth, than to rely on obtaining them from the Darling. From Wentworth they could be forwarded per steamer, and in the event of no steamerbeing steamer being on the river above Wentworth; by drays. The cost of carriage is now about £12 per ton to this place.

The stores could be calculated at the following rates:

  • 7 lb flour,
  • 1 lb meat-biscuit,
  • ½ lb rice or ½ lb dried potatoes,
  • ½ lb rice,
  • 1½ lb sugar,
  • ¼lb tea per man, per week.

Canvas would be required for camel packages, as most of them will be useless after this trip; also horse-shoes, Whitney revolver cartridges, &c.

The settlers on the river, with every, wish to assist the expediton with stores, might not be in a position to do so, and I have found the stores at Menindie very inadequately supplied.

My camps will be numbered from this place, and the trees marked as per margin.
(The mark, AH conjoined with arrow beneath.)

On making Cooper's Creek I shall take measures to carry out my instructions as regards the remains of Mr Burke and Mr Wills, and will endeavour to send on a return party to reach the Darling at Mount Murchison by the commencement of May, but at the same time I must say that this is merely an intention, and that its fulfilment depends upon circumstances which I cannot at present anticipate.

I have the honor to be,
A W Howitt,
Leader of Contingent Party

To Hon J Macadam, Hon. Secretary Exploration Committee.

In an enclosure Mr Howitt mentions that a box of photographic plates are at Menindie, and are to be forwarded to Melbourne, also various specimens of rocks, plants &c.


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