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August 1862

McKinlay's Journal of Exploration into the interior of Australia (Burke Relief Expedition)
Melbourne: F F Bailliere.
(Ferguson 12057).

Friday, 1 August 1862.
In Camp. Boiling down the camel's meat. Poole unwell with a slight attack of fever and ague. We made a fine breakfast this morning off the camel tripe and feet. I went out onto the top of a very high hill to have a look at the country in front of us. We shall start tomorrow; I hopeshortly to find a station, if not we shall have to kill another horse, and shall have to walk and ride alternately; I hope we shall not come to that as the whole party will be obliged to be kept back on account of having to keep pace with the pedestrian.

Saturday, 2 August 1862.
Started at 8.53 a.m., course east by north, each man taking with him a certain weight of the boiled camel before him, as we are now reduced to eleven horses, one alone with pack-bags. After travelling for some nine or ten miles we came upon the tracks of bullocks, quite fresh, andshortly after were gratified by the sight of the bullocks themselves with two white men tailing them. We soon now were pitching into roast beef and damper and, don't let me forget, potatoes and mustard. The station belongs to Messrs. Harvey and Somers and is situated on the River Bowen, a stream that flows northward into the Burdekin. Mr Somers was not in on our arrival; he soon however came in, and we were most hospitably received by him. The flour during the night and for some few days after had the most astonishing effect on all of us from the fact that our digestive organs could not digest the bread, being so accustomed to the easily digested meat; we were most of us in great pain and our legs and feet swelled very much.

The Capricornian, (Rockhampton), Saturday 13 February 1926: 14.
McKinlay's Party reached Harvey and Somers's station on the Bowen River. From there they travelled to Selheim and Toussaint's Strathmore station and reached Port Denison in a few days. At Strathmore they met Brahe, who had been one of Burke and Wills' party.

On 17 August 1862, the party of eight with 14 other passengers, including F. J. Byerley. embarked on the schooner Ben Bolt, Captain Tom M'Ewan for Rockhampton. They put into L Island for water, and to Broadsound for rations and after a tedious trip, landed at Rockhampton and were well received at Gardiner's hotel, the Royal Fitzroy.

They had been well entertained at Bowen; the Squatters sat down to dinner with long knives and revolvers in their belts. All the pioneers carried arms.

After being entertained in Rockhampton they embarked on the S.S. Balcuntha, Captain Tronton, and left for the south. The ship piled up on the Flats, and Captain Trouton and the party returned to Rockhampton in the ship's boats. They attended the races and the dinner and the ball that followed.

Bell and Hodgkinson remained in Rockhampton. The rest of the explorers, M'Kinlay, Middleton, Kirby, Wylde, Pool, and John Davis, returned to Adelaide.

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© 2020, Dave Phoenix