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June 1862

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

Sunday, 1 June 1862 - Still in Camp 8.
Patients about the same, very weak and feverish, but must endeavour to make a move tomorrow. Wind from north, north-west to west, and rather warm. Had a visit from a number of natives, they do not appear so shy as usual; they do not circumcise but have one or two teeth out in front of upper jaw. From what I could see the young men are not allowed to talk, but merely making a hissing and twittering noise to make themselves understood, and pointing and motioning with the hand whilst the old men do the talking business. I could make but little out of them. I made them a few presents with which they seemed much pleased; got a few words of their language and with a promise to return tomorrow they took their leave. They are not at all such a good sample as are at the lakes north and east of Lake Hope. They say there is plenty of water ahead on the course I intend to take, but from want of knowledge of their language could glean nothing of the parties that came in search to the north coast; but that they have seen whites was quite evident from their knowledge of the use of the axe. They seemed much in dread of the camels, the only animals that were near the camp at the time, and expressed by motions a desire that they should be driven away.

Monday, 2 June 1862 - Camp 8.
The heaviest dew last night I have experienced for many years, accompanied by a dense fog till between 8 and 9 a.m. Wind from west-north-west. Palmer attacked with same fever that the rest have. The others very weak but I think a little better. Made a start this morning at 9.20 a.m. on bearing of 95 1/2°; at 10.14 lagoon on right; at 10.27 crossed creek with plenty of water from south-south-west; at 11.50 lagoon on right--all forest land with a greater number of the paper-bark tree than any other; at 11.15 much spinifex; at 11.20 creek close on left with plenty of water; at 11.35 crossed creek, it goes off into many lagoons southwards and eastwards; good grass and plenty of water, not much spinifex, the country rather too thickly wooded to be open forest. Halted at lagoons on the left at 1.20 coming from south of east and flowing to north of west. Although this country is rather too thickly wooded to be called open forest it is still an excellent pastoral country, the grasses sweet and plenty of water, the lagoons being covered with nymphans or waterlily, and the soil sandy. We passed many patches of burnt ground, some burnt earlier than the rest, having green grass nine to twelve inches high. Stopped short today on account of the patients who are very weak, Kirby in particular; distance travelled twelve and a half miles. In the afternoon wind from west-north-west. Saw nothing of the natives this morning before starting. Several palms seen through the forest, a few close by this camp of no great height; the feed in general is very dry except in the neighbourhood of the creeks or lagoons.

Tuesday, 3 June 1862 - Camp 9.
Wind south; considerable dew but nothing to the night before. There is a good deal of spinifex here and the timber is nothing like so strong or good as around yesterday's camp and for miles on all sides of it. Three creeks appear to rise here and join and become one, all from the southward of east to north of west. Started at 9.8 a.m., the horses having strayed some distance back to the burnt feed. Bearing 95½°, open forest with spinifex; at 10.30 crossed small creek (dry); at 10.45 crossed small sandy creek (dry) water on the right; at 11.30 watered horses and then crossed creek from west-south-west to east-north-east, small creek from south joins close by; at 1.25 crossed creek with water; at 2.12 crossed sandy creek from north-east to south and another close by, then scrub and rather thick forest till 5.50, then camped no water; distance about twenty-six and a half to twenty-seven miles. One of the horses (Harry) after being ridden into camp appeared to blow a good deal and from little to more till at last he got seriously ill and died at 9 p.m. He must have been poisoned or bitten by a snake.

Wednesday, 4 June 1862 - Camp 10, Harry's Camp.
After our dead horse. Wind southerly. Started at 7.18 a.m., still on bearing of 95 1/2°; crossed sandy creek (dry) from north-east to east-south-east; at 9.52 crossed same creek still dry running to north of east; at 9.15 recrossed same; at 9.20 recrossed; at 9.25 recrossed the creek not far off on the right; country rather scrubby. Sent Hodgkinson to follow the creek round to ascertain if water existed in it and if so to stop or overtake us. Went on till about 10.30 when Hodgkinson overtook us having found sufficient water for our use. Returned at once to it about a mile back and camped. The old female camel done up; will leave her saddle as it is much knocked about and divide her load between the others and the horses; she may follow which I think she will; distance on course to camp about eight and a half miles. The patients improving, Kirby remains very weak and spiritless. This morning wind cool from southward; during the day changed round to east-south-east and in the evening to west-south-west and rather cloudy. This is a wretched little creek, for some miles sandy, now in its bed are layers of stone and clay; it frequently loses itself on the flat land. The timber in the forest consists of two kinds of papery-leafed bark trees, box, gum, and a very handsome tree, leafless but bears a flower, besides various shrubs, etc., and spinifex.

Thursday, 5 June 1862 - Camp 11.
Mild morning, wind from southward and cool, no dew. Started at 9.4 on bearing of 95 1/2°. Creek close on right. At 9.37 crossed creek. At 9.48 receives a tributary from east-south-east (no water). Very scrubby for a few miles and then more open forest. At 12.38 came to a large and broad creek or mass of creeks or river. Water not abundant on account of its being sandy in its bed. As the camels have had to be tied up for the last two nights, the country being so densely timbered, I stay here and camp. Followed the river down about three-quarters of a mile west-north-west, which appears to be its course. Here it is upwards of 300 yards broad, banks no great height. Distance on course ten and three-quarter miles. Wind about 11 a.m. changed round to east and north of east and warm; as we got to camp it blew gently from west-north-west. Patients except Kirby mending gradually. I should imagine the river to be the Flinders but if so it must turn after it passes this very much to the west to enter the sea near where it is laid down on the charts. Its bed pretty well the whole way across is wooded with the paper-like barked, narrow-leafed tree, and a few other shrubs. It appears as if there was not at all a heavy flood down it this season as few or none of the trees are washed down.

Friday, 6 June 1862 1862 - Camp 12.
Dull morning, rather cloudy. Patients much improved. The female camel left behind yesterday has not made her appearance yet, still I have little doubt but that she will follow. Not a breath of wind at sunrise. Started at 8.17 a.m. Still on general course bearing of 95 1/2° over open-timbered, well-grassed land. Afterwards at 10.11 came to and crossed same river from north-north-east to south-south-west. It was not far off all the morning to the right. Spelled seven minutes till 10.18. At 10.36 recrossed river where it is stony and rocky with sand in its bed, coming from south. At 11.3 struck river on right but did not cross. Followed along its north-east bank till 11.15. Still close by at 11.27. At 12.50 crossed small sandy creek from south. Spelled for six minutes till 12.56. Then bearing along the creek till 1.11 p.m. on bearing of 325° three-quarters of a mile; distance on proper course 95 1/2° thirteen and a quarter miles. Just after camping I found that what I take to be the River Binoe is about 120 yards east of us, flowing about 322°, with a lagoon on east bank, with yellow lilies. The small creek we are camped on has plenty of water. The Binoe River has none just here. All the creeks and the river have lots of cork-screw palms in and near them. Good forest all day and abundance of grass.

Saturday, 7 June 1862 - Camp 13.
But little dew last night. The old camel has not come on; perhaps she will remain until she freshens up a little and then shape her way south or east. No wind, beautiful morning. Hodgkinson shot a native companion; have seen no game for some days. Started at 8.40 on bearing of 110°. In four minutes crossed the Binoe. At 9.8 came to and recrossed river or creek Binoe. At 9.45 crossed creek with rocky bed and with water from east by south. Spelled five minutes till 9.50. Quartz ridges. At twelve o'clock spurs running to south and west. At 1.40 from top of hill dismal view seen ahead; nothing but bare burnt up ranges. Struck the River Flinders or one of its largest branches at 2.18 p.m. Crossed over and camped at a long sheet of water in its bed on south-eastern side. Distance on course sixteen and three-quarter miles. The journey today has been over thick scrubby forest which tore our pack-bags a good deal. From 9 a.m. the ground was a good deal strewed over with small ironstone pebbles, not bronzed as they usually are, till 9.45 then ridges and ranges of quartz and sandstone. Drainage south and west. A high range on the left, some 6 to eight miles off, wooded to its top. Immediately below it runs the Binoe I think. Course of the range is about 100°. This watercourse comes here from the north-north-east or even north of that, and bears away to the south-south-west as far as discernible. Wind during the day from east to south-east. As this is a good place for killing I will kill our last bullock as he has become a nuisance in driving the horses by rushing among them on the march and out through them in front and on all sides, causing them to travel in an unsteady manner and assisting to further tear the bags. All the patients getting on well. Natives burning down this creek or river some little distance and ahead and a little to the left of our course today, the first we have seen for a few days. I omitted to mention a couple of days ago falling in with a number of frameworks about six feet long by four wide and three high, risen by four forks placed on the ground, then side pieces, and the top covered with similar pieces closely all over lengthways, and on top of that grass; then fires at head, feet and both sides. I should say to sleep on during wet weather. Killed our bullock but little fat on him, but he is not of a fat kind.

Sunday, 8 June 1862 - Camp 14.
Wind from east and north of east in the morning. Cutting up and drying the beef; the fat drying won't detain us. A great abundance of the River McKenzie bean here on the sandy parts of the watercourse. Here the watercourse is about 100 yards broad, in many places bergues of sand separating it into different channels. Wild dogs abundant. Saw traces of kangaroo, emu, and wallaby on our way here yesterday. Wind changed during the afternoon to south-east and south-south-east. This sheet of water is from 250 to 300 yards long and twenty yards broad. Kirby much better and the others getting quite convalescent.

Monday, 9 June 1862 - In Camp 14.
Drying the beef, shoeing, mending pack-bags, and various other little things etc. No dew last night. Still morning. Most beautiful weather. What little wind there is is from south by west but hardly perceptible. I took Middleton with me to go out to reconnoitre and feel our way for next stage through the hills ahead. Found that the watercourse comes from north or a little west of north from between the heavy-timbered ranges to north and west, and bald hills, or nearly so, to north and east, and probably winds round nearer its source more to the east. A number of thinly-wooded hills with small creeks running from them to west and south appear to run round south for some distance, perhaps ten to fifteen miles or more. Beyond the highest in the distance the natives are busy burning, and this leads me to suppose they are on the other or principal branch of the Flinders River; but I shall know more about it in a few days. Abundance of water in the small creeks as far east and south as I went today and some lagoons in the flats. The natives commence their range of fires from 20° west of south to 30° east of south, and I think I shall find that it will meet me on my course. Wind in the afternoon from south by east, strong occasionally, towards evening it died away. Beef now dry. We start from here tomorrow if all is right and we have nothing more to detain us. The horses are shod except one and that one, one of the best, no shoes being large enough. I hope he will be able to get along. Our food now consists of about 230 pounds of dry and salt beef, everything else in the shape of food gone but I think we will have sufficient to carry us into the settled districts of Queensland on the Burdekin River where we will be able to get a fresh supply. We have a little salt and amongst the lot about half a pound of soap.

Wednesday, 11 June 1862 - Camp 14.
The bed of this branch here is one mass of concrete and conglomerate, with small and large masses of ironstone, just as if it had lately escaped from a furnace, with pebbles and pieces of quartz, some sandstone, and sandstone in which is a mass of quartz. In many other places it is quite a bed of sand its full width, and in other places separated into different branches by bergues of alluvial deposit and sand, with trees of different kinds and shrubs and reeds upon them. There is a table-topped hill down on or near the north-west bank a few miles, lightly wooded from north-north-east to south-west and apparently stony. Not a breath of wind at daylight; afterwards in forenoon from east-south-east. Started at 8.30 a.m. on bearing of 110°, for first few miles through open forest intersected with small creeks flowing to west and south, some containing water with lagoons on the flat occasionally, the drainage of the ranges to the eastward and north of our course. The spurs coming down close on our left stony but well-grassed and very lightly timbered, in fact nearly bald ridges. Over first stony ridge at 10.10 and considerable-sized double creek at 10.17, dry at crossing. Top of next high range at 11.15; five and a quarter miles. Very extensive view. Spelled on top of hill waiting for the camels for forty-five minutes till noon. Then started on bearing of 127 1/2° for south-west end of large range in the distance that would otherwise come right across my original course. There is an immense large black circular range from 127 1/2° round by east to west-north-west, with reaphooky faces and scrubby tops, and a number of detached conical and coronet-topped hills. At 1 p.m. water in a rocky creek close to the right. Watered the horses. Spelled ten minutes till 1.10. Crossed creek at 1.15. Sandy, scrubby forest. Crossed another sandy creek at 1.57. Crossed another sandy creek at 2.3. At 3.15 on top of rocky mulga hill with granite and mass of quartz pebbles. Some difficulty in getting over and down a rocky range (granite principally). Struck a small creek with sufficient water for our use and good feed, and camped at 3.50 at distance of ten and three-quarters to eleven miles on last bearing. Distance travelled about sixteen miles. Course of the ranges close by, the one that we last crossed and the one just close by before us, 40° west of south with the drainage in same direction.

Thursday, 12 June 1862 - Camp 15.
Dewless night, wind at daylight east-north-east. Started at 8.6 a.m. on bearing of 127 1/2°, top of first mulga range after passing over very rough ranges; at 9.20 struck creek north-east of the large range I am making for, watered horses, etc. After scrambling and creeping over rocks and precipices arrived at south-west end of large hill; at 10.15 at about three miles spelled for thirty-four minutes till 10.39. From top of hill on which there is a little spinifex you command an extensive view; the whole country is black and dismal in appearance in every direction; a fine large range appears in the distance from 100 to 150°, with well-defined gaps, etc., drainage all to the southward and westward. Now rounded this hill and went on a bearing of 100°; just after beginning to descend traced a party of horses going northward under eastern side of large range, apparently when the ground was wet. Descended much more easily than we ascended; we got into a fine valley with good timber and plenty of grass, and at 11.50 about three miles came to a running creek from northward. Traces of a hurricane along the creek, tops of all the trees on the ground or suspended in the air by bits of bark; the timber on each bank does not appear here at least to have been touched. Obliged to stop here as Maitland has not overtaken us; he stayed behind at the camp for some purpose or other and did not afterwards come up; I am afraid he has missed the tracks as it is stony and rocky. This large hill is composed of sandstone of various° of fineness, quartz, pebbles, etc., principally; distance travelled six miles direct. Here the creek or river is timbered across with the narrow-leafed papery-barked tree; some short distance up the stream from here this description of timber nearly gives place to gums. I have no doubt but that some day or other this place will be taken up as a station. Fish are in the deep holes, some that I saw about a couple of pounds weight. I also saw some young guardfish from nine to twelve inches long and many smaller. Lots of euro and kangaroo but very shy. Maitland made his appearance shortly after camping.

Friday, 13 June 1862 -Camp 16.
Dewless night, wind from east by north. I take this to be the main branch of the Flinders; the hills on its right proper banks are very bold and must be over 3000 feet high. If they are not before named I have called them Gregory's Ranges after Augustus Gregory, Esquire, now Surveyor-General of Queensland. The point I changed my course at yesterday I have called Mount Wildash after F. Wildash, Esquire, of Queensland. Immediately east of Mount Wildash close by is another bluff equally high which I have called Hawker's Bluff after the Honourable G.C. Hawker. Started at 7.58 a.m. on bearing of 100° for the southern end of dark range in the distance; at 8.30 south of conspicuous sandstone rocky peak which I have called Morphett's Peak after John Morphett, Esquire, of Adelaide; dip of about 35° in the sandstone to about north-east or a little more east. Kept the above course three miles over good travelling country; spelled a few minutes then up and down and over very rocky ranges, in many places precipitous and most intricate travelling from 9 a.m. till 11.30; three and a half miles farther, then table-land till 1.50, the drainage is to the east, no doubt to go south after it has cleared the rocky ranges; spelled, watering the camels from 2.25 to 2.45 p.m., up to this eight and three-quarter miles further. Commenced ascending another mass of similar rocky ranges; stopped at 3.40 two and a quarter miles further to look out a track to endeavour to get out of this awful place. Started again at 4.55 p.m. after spelling one and a quarter hours, could not get the animals over. Went back till 5.22 one mile on our track, or to sixteen and a half miles on bearing 100°, to try another place, southerly and westerly along and over very rocky ranges till 6.15, about two miles on average bearing of 215 to 220°. Came to a small sandy creek, then another, where by digging we will be able to give the animals some water, there is plenty of feed; it has been a very distressing day for the poor brutes; distance sixteen and a half miles on course of 100°, and two miles on 220°; gave each of the animals from two to five buckets. Although when first seen the little water that was visible did not exceed a quart with a few small dead fish about 1 1/2 inches long, but after digging and clearing away the sand we got sufficient for tonight and tomorrow morning. It has been close and oppressive which has added to the distress of the horses and camels. One of the latter, an old Indian, could hardly be persuaded to come along. Very light rain commenced about dark or a little after, but I doubt whether it will come to anything; however it will damp the grass for the poor animals and make it more palatable.

Saturday, 14 June 1862 -Camp 17.
Only rained sufficient to damp the grass. Still cloudy; not a breath of wind at daylight. Craggy hills to commence the journey with this morning. This sandy watercourse flows to west and south, a mere narrow channel, but it was of much service to us; we would have fared badly for the poor animals had we not fallen in with it, insignificant as it appears. Our pack-bags got sadly torn yesterday with broken timber and rocks, all of which latter is sandstone. We passed much splendid splitting timber on our way yesterday, stringy-bark and other trees I don't know the names of, but useful timber. Crossed the creek at 8.38 a.m. on bearing of south by east till 8.55 three-quarters mile; spelled looking out on top of hill sixteen minutes, then on east course chiefly; at 11.30 six miles south one mile from the hill I was making for yesterday. Still on easterly course up and over a rugged and scrubby range till 2 p.m. about three and three-quarter miles. Lost an hour in searching for one of the horses that bolted and kicked off all his load prior to this. Boco (horse) obliged to be left behind. Then about north-north-east descended a range very steep and rough, then spinifex precipices, sharp ledges of rocks and every roughness one could imagine for about two miles or thereabouts, chiefly in the creek, then creek bore about east by north to east-north-east which I followed till after dark about six and a half miles, altogether about nineteen miles. Obliged to leave another horse (Governor) in the creek, fairly knocked up. He has been very soft although the highest priced horse of the lot, one bought of Mr Boord for 50 pounds. There is another will have to be left if the country does not immediately change for the better; fortunately we found water in several places in the bed of the creek or the horses would have fared badly--a little grass of a very coarse nature just in the sides of the creek, the rest all spinifex and scrub, the latter the camels greedily devour; the rough country has told much on the feet of the latter, another of which, the old Indian, I am afraid will have to be left behind. First pines seen today since crossing Lake Torrens.

Sunday, 15 June 1862 -Camp 18.
Very cloudy, every appearance of rain. Started at 9.10 along the bed of the creek still about east by north; at 10.35 three miles the creek receives a considerable tributary from the south-east, in fact it is the main channel and the one we are in the tributary, then it flowed north 15° west to north or nearly so till 11.45 when the horses knocked up, must camp and give them the rest of the day and probably tomorrow; on this latter course about two miles; distance travelled between five and six miles. After getting to camp ascended the hills on the right or eastern side of the river and never beheld such a fearfully grand country in my life, nothing but towers and pinnacles of sandstone conglomerate, fit for nothing but wallaby and euro; and if it is for a thousand years from this time it can be used by no other animals but them and the natives as it is at present. The apparent course of this river from the greatest height I could get to is about 305°, going in the first place after passing the camp a little more north for three or four miles--it is a terrible country. Should the river, on a closer examination tomorrow, prove to go as I imagine it does, I have nothing for it but to retrace my steps and go up the main branch and try and cross the range at top. Still very cloudy and looks as if it would rain every minute. I wish I had a little more food, if I had I would give the animals a week here but I have barely sufficient for six days. Oaks have been seen today in the bed of the river since the junction of the two channels. The river runs below the junction of the two branches for some distance, but here it is dry its full width which is about 150 to 200 yards and is very picturesque, with beautiful drooping gums, papery-bark trees, and various others, and the bold cliffs towering one above the other with awful grandeur. No one can conceive how much effect the travel of the last few days and the shortness of nourishing food has had upon our animals which ten days ago were fit for anything--always excepting this description of awful country. Wind from all points of the compass.

Monday, 16 June 1862 -Camp 19.
In the bed of the River Gilbert (I take it to be) no room for camp anywhere else. The country is literally teeming with euro and wallaby, but as the natives are about in the rocks and precipices hunting we have no chance of shooting any. Very cloudy yet; rained a little during the night but nothing of any consequence; we cannot now be more than from sixty to seventy miles from the River Burdekin but from this spot utterly impracticable. Had to come down this length for anything like feed; traces of numbers of natives and their fires still burning. Went up the rocks and precipices on the eastern side of the river, and found that a high range extends eastwards, running north-west and south-east, completely blocking us in from here. Rode down the river to see if there is any likelihood of our getting out east by a tributary that it receives about one and a half miles down but found not. Rained a little in the forenoon and slight showers during the afternoon. Found that the old Indian camel (Narro) was unable to get up and go about to feed so, considering that the horses and the two remaining camels (Arabs) wanted a spell for a few days, I resolved upon killing the old camel and using him whilst here to save our dried beef, reluctantly as he is everything but a favourite morsel, but when we are compelled it is no use hesitating so had him shot; and firstly had his liver stewed or steamed, which I must say was the most extraordinary morsel I ever attempted to eat; it was as dry and juiceless and of as little flavour as if it had never formed a component part of any living animal; scarcely any of the party could touch it.

Tuesday, 17 June 1862 -In Camp 19.
sandy bed of river. Rained pretty heavily during the night in showers. Cut up the meat of the camel to dry but the weather is very unfavourable; the rest of him eats much better than the liver; the heart is quite as good as a bullock's and the meat, considering the condition of the animal, not at all as tough as one would expect; the party after starving for two or three meals have quietly taken to him now and rather like the meat.

Wednesday, 18 June 1862 -Still in Camp 19
Not the most enviable place in the world. Heavy dew last night. I am afraid the meat we are attempting to dry will be a failure on account of the moist state of the weather. I was sadly grieved on return of the party that went to see after the horses to learn that one of our very best horses (Rowdy) was lying dead a short distance down the river, still warm; he must have been poisoned or bitten by a snake; at present we will feel his loss much as he was so strong and always kept fat. Although the meat will not be quite dry I will see and make a start out of this in the morning in case it may be some poisonous herb that may happen to be in the bed of the river. I will return up the river to where the main branch joined the tributary we came down, and try by following it for some distance to get some place where I can ascend the ranges to the east, but I expect it to be a work of great difficulty; however that I will think nothing of if I only succeed and get the animals all over safe. The weather seems taking up now.

Thursday, 19 June 1862 -Camp 19.
Beautiful morning, not a breath of wind. Try what success we will have up the main branch of this river in finding a passage over the range to eastward. Have got rid of everything we can possibly spare and that will now be of little use to us and had them buried on the south-west side of creek, under the creek side of large broken-off standing dead tree, and up the bank about forty yards from a large gumtree, with a large square patch of bark taken off and small arrow at 4 o'clock in the direction should they be sought for, which I much doubt. The horses don't look at all the thing I am sorry to see, knowing that they have some heavy work immediately before them; even before attempting to ascend the ranges we have to travel in the bed of the river where the sand is excessively heavy and trying on the poor animals in their present leg-weary state and want of condition. I never saw animals fall off so suddenly in my life. Followed our tracks back to the junction of the two branches about two and a half miles, then took the left-hand or south-east branch, found it improve much more than I had anticipated; the rocky hills recede occasionally and leave a nice bank of grass, but most of it recently burnt by the natives; on our left the rock appeared now to be chiefly slate, while on the right it still remained sandstone and quartz; the bed is broad and generally very open and sandy, upon which we have principally to travel; followed it for about eight miles in about an east-south-east course. From here (Camp 20) for some distance (seen from a hill here) the river appears to receive from the east by south generally plenty of water at intervals and generally at those places running; no doubt all the way it runs either over or under the land. Where we are now encamped the river is upwards of 150 yards broad. We found on turning out the camel meat to air that it was quite putrid and had consequently to throw the whole of it away; at this time it is a very great loss to us, the loss of upwards of seventy pounds of food. Even with the spell our horses have had they come along very indifferently, and I am almost afraid some more of them will have to be left behind as I have not sufficient food to wait spelling for them till they get flesh; there does not appear to be the same nourishment in the grass that there is almost anywhere else. Saw the smoke of natives a few miles ahead of us; I suppose we will see something of them tomorrow. Shot a new pigeon, will try to preserve the skin. Some figs were got by some of the party this morning before starting; I ate one of them apparently ripe, it was very insipid, the principal part of them were full of small flies. Distance travelled by bed of river not direct about ten and a half miles.

Friday, 20 June 1862 - Camp 20.
Heavy dew last night; sky completely overcast with very heavy rainy-looking clouds. We have now on hand dried meat sufficient for about five and a half days, at the rate of one pound three ounces per day without salt or anything else, which is not very heavy diet. I never saw a country where less game was to be obtained; what euro and wallaby are here are so very wild there is no getting near them. Just here the hills are not so high or so rough as some distance further down; I hope they may continue so, that the animals won't be distressed more than possible. Not a breath of wind this morning. Our course as seen from a hill close by last night will be about east-south-east for some distance this morning. Started at 8.10 a.m.; at three and a quarter miles came to a barrier right across from range to range, and after considerable detention succeeded in finding a road on our left round the range that the barriers form from; at four miles came to where one branch (the largest) comes from the south with plenty of water in its bed in the stone and rocks; the other branch is considerably to the east so will try it, although it does not at all look a watery branch but is much more in the direction I want to go. About the same course, over much more open country, hilly and thinly clad with small ironbark timber, and is chiefly of slate formation and well-grassed, but no water in its bed as far as we went, say about five and a half miles further where we fortunately got sufficient at the junction of a small side creek with the main watercourse to suit our immediate wants. It is perfectly surprising to see such a broad channel with such ranges close by and no water. One other of our best horses obliged to be left behind today; he has been ailing for some short time and all at once refused to proceed. A few kangaroo seen today. I trust we will fall in with plenty of water tomorrow, our horses never do so well as when they can go to water themselves instead of watering out of buckets. For some distance the creek bears to north of east; in fact the next bend, about a mile long, is from north or so, when it appears to turn to south and east. We managed occasionally during today to get upon the slopes from the hills on either side of the creek, which was much better travelling than in the soft sandy bed of the creek, which I have called Stuart's Creek after Mr. McDouall Stuart, the indefatigable explorer of South Australia. This part would make a good sound sheep country if water at all times was obtainable. A number of oaks all along this branch, and more just here on our left side of the creek where the water is, and we are encamped.

Saturday, 21 June 1862 -Camp 21.
The clouds of yesterday passed over with only a few drops of rain just after starting. Today cloudy again; wind from east by north; started at 7.53 a.m. As the horses came in to water, just before starting, we found that the horse Jamie had come up during the night but looks hardly able to drag his legs after him. It is a great pity as he is a splendid hackney and is a great loss at present. The narrow-leafed papery-barked tree grows on the sides of the creek to a great size and height, completely overtopping the gums, oaks, etc. There is very little feed in this part of the country that the camels are fond of. At about four miles, creek running, with plenty of feed; for three and a half miles further the creek comes from north-east by north, then a little more east. General course today about north-east and distance travelled about sixteen miles, when we fortunately got sufficient water in a barrier in the creek, evidently from recent rain, the bed of the creek otherwise perfectly dry. Three more horses knocked up and obliged to be left behind, namely Bawley, Fidget, and Camel (mare) although good travelling. Ascended hill at camp and found that the first leading main range bears east and about 40° north, which I intend making for.

Sunday, 22 June 1862 -Camp 22.
Wind from east by north and cloudy; obliged to lighten further our load by leaving the tents and spare pack-saddles and bags here on north side of creek; started at 8.20 a.m. The barrier here is composed of a yellow close-grained stone impregnated with small specks of quartz, and the hills on either side, pieces of granite of the same kind are also strewed in the bed, brought down by the currents. A few oak-trees immediately above this camp. Passed over hilly well-grassed ironbark granite country on a bearing of about 90° (but first of all a little to the north of that, and afterwards as much to the south, which equalised the bearing) for the point of a range which I mean to ascend. Got to it at eleven and a half miles; then quarter of a mile along top of range, the ascent of which we found excessively difficult, and had two of our best horses nearly killed by falling backwards down the hill, and only being brought up from going to the bottom and getting smashed by some trees and rocks; the camels especially we had to unpack twice (two ascents) and I once thought we were not to get them up they are so weak, especially the smallest one--a splendid little animal. Then we got a comparatively easy descent and made for north end of a heavy range close by on a bearing of 85°. At three-quarters of a mile got to the end of it, over rough country intercepted with innumerable creeks, hills, rock, and timber; then bore east-south-east for distant bluff of range along well-grassed but very hilly sound country for two miles. Could hardly get the small camel along, and no appearance of water, and it within an hour of sunset. Went down the spur of a small range we were on and providentially at the bottom found in a little blind creek sufficient excellent water for ourselves and all the animals. I'm sure I don't know what the poor animals would have done had we not found them water; and to our uneasiness two of the men, Maitland and Kirby, were seized with sickness on the road and useless to us. I found after getting over the large range that I could have got round it had I kept south, and by travelling a circuitous route, but from the western side of the range the way I came was the only way visible that was passable, and it was nearly as impassable as it was possible for it to be. From the top of it you command a very extensive view in all directions. To the south in the distance is a fine long leading range, apparently running from west-north-west to east-south-east; to the north and west high black ranges; to the east heavy dark ranges but don't appear united. Drainage can't make out.

Monday, 23 June 1862 - Camp 23.
Heavy dew, cloudy morning. Will be obliged to stay here to recruit the animals where there is plenty of excellent feed and sufficient water, and am sorry to say kill a horse and endeavour to dry or jerk him, in the meantime I hope the weather may prove favourable for that purpose. I did hope not to be driven to killing the horses; had I for a moment thought so when at the Gulf I would have shaped my course south for Adelaide, but I never dreamt of such a rough country as I found in this direction, Walker and Landsborough will have found it so likewise. Ascended one of the ridges close by but could not tell which way the principal drainage went, it is open forest land from north of east by south round to north of west for a great extent of miles, with heavy ranges beyond, and a couple of breaks apparently in the range at 110 and 145°, which to take I have not yet made up my mind, and the horses are so weak that I don't wish to take more out of them than can possibly be avoided, and reconnoitring at present would only cause probably another horse or two to be left, which is everything but advisable. Wind was fresh during the night. Killed one of the horses had of Mr Scott, being most suitable for our purpose, and an excellent packhorse he was, always having carried during our travels one of the heaviest packs, and was one of the unfortunate animals that fell down the range yesterday. It is a little cloudy but I hope it will blow off and give us favourable weather for drying his flesh; ate his heart, liver, and kidneys, and found them excellent made into a sort of hash with a little remnant of pepper we had.

Tuesday, 24 June 1862 - Camp 23.
A little dew early part of the night, but little the remainder. Keen cold wind from all quarters, chiefly from north-east to south-east and clear sky; if it continues will suit our meat-drying well, which will be of vast advantage to us; to lose the flesh of another animal as we did the camel's would indeed be a serious loss. Our two patients Maitland and Kirby deadly sick; whatever can be wrong with them I can't imagine; the latter has been ailing off and on for some time and has got dispirited in the rough country. Busy this morning cutting up the flesh of the horse and tying it on the lines to dry; had he been in good condition it would take a good judge to distinguish his flesh from beef; it makes most excellent hash and soup. One of our horses has mysteriously got lame in his stifle since coming here, I hope not permanently.

Wednesday, 25 June 1862 - Camp 23.
Wind the same as yesterday and fluctuating--very heavy dew last night and very cold. The last two days have been warm and suit our purpose for meat-drying admirably. The two invalids are still very unwell, but trust they will be better by the time the meat is thoroughly dry and cause us no unnecessary detention till we get into the stations on the river Burdekin, where they can have a change of food. The horses appear to benefit on this spell and feed.

Thursday, 26 June 1862 - Still in Camp 23.
Heavy dew, foggy morning till about 10 a.m. when the meat was hung out to dry. Wind from all quarters but turned out rather a nice warm day, and will be about sufficient to dry our meat to enable us to start in the morning. Shoeing some of the horses that cast their shoes over the rough country, and preparing for a start; the lame horse is a little better; the invalids I cannot say are much improved. There is a great scope of good pastoral land here but rather hilly. I have made up my mind to try what appears to be the easiest and, from here, the straightest course on a bearing of 110°. The drainage appears to go from here firstly to the south-east, receiving all the drainage of the large ranges apparently from 110° round to south, when it appears to turn suddenly round some prominent ranges after receiving drainage from the westward of this, and uniting in one large watercourse and flowing behind a large leading range to south and east. Probably the head of the River Clarke takes its rise here.

Friday, 27 June 1862.
Wind as usual for the last few mornings--northerly; heavy dew but a beautiful morning. The natives were busy grass-burning south-south-east of this in the valley last afternoon. It was observed too late or I would have gone down to them and might have got some information from them as regards the courses of the different creeks, etc. etc., and probably the whereabouts of the nearest station on the Burdekin or one of its tributaries, so that we might be enabled to get a supply of food by the time this is exhausted. The horse turned out for us about seventy pounds of nearly dry meat which I trust will last us till we get to where there is beef or mutton. Started at 8.30 a.m., first on bearing of 119° for a saddle in a low ridge between this and the large range for two and a half miles, then drainage to this point southerly; then bearing of 110° for five and a half to six miles farther, drainage for two-thirds of this distance to the northward; at the end of the distance arrived at a nice brook running to southward close under the range. Got to a peak in the pass at two miles farther on last bearing (110°) then bearing of 101°, firstly over rather rough granite country, latterly over good pastoral, and latterly to a reedy swamp with small water-creeks coming in from right and left. Followed on the south-eastern side of the swamp for some little distance and camped at two and a half miles further. The whole country today is I may say composed of granite, and sound country well-grassed and watered. Distance travelled about ten and three-quarters to eleven miles. After getting to camp went and ascended one of the highest hills near to get a view of the country ahead; had a very extensive view from it, apparently comparatively level country from 62 1/2 to 103 1/2° for some distance, with a sudden dip at about twelve to eighteen miles distant, heavy ranges in the distance beyond, and as seen from this hill very rugged and mountainous country from 62 1/2° by north round considerably to east of south. On a bearing of about 140° under the range I am now on there appears to be a considerable tract of openly timbered and level country, but which way the drainage goes is difficult to determine from top of hill. The swamp and creek we are encamped on and after passing this appears to flow about north, or a little to west of that, but from the top of the hill could see no break in the main ranges to allow of its passing through to either northward or westward.

Saturday, 28 June 1862 - Camp 24.
Course 90°, heavy dew, beautiful morning. The water although running strong here is of a milky appearance. Started at 8.10 a.m. over granite ridge and crossed swamp and water-creek to north. At two and a quarter miles boulders of lava on the eastern side; at two and three-quarter miles crossed large creek with plenty of water, which I have called Frank's Creek after F. Marchant, Esquire, of Arkaba north of Adelaide. It comes from southward. At four and a half miles crossed small running rivulet from south; at five miles crossed a larger one from same direction; at six and three-quarter miles crossed a running creek in a swamp from south also; at seven and three-quarter miles crossed a splendid creek with oaks, etc., quantity of swampy ground on either side flowing same as last, which I have called the George after George Marchant, Esquire, of Wilpena north of Adelaide. At ten and a quarter miles crossed rivulet running to south; at ten and three-quarter miles examined boggy swamp with plenty of water, drainage to south. At eleven miles on top of small rocky range. Most extensive view ahead of level-looking country. At twelve and a half miles boggy swamp, went round the south end of it, its drainage is northward; at fifteen miles crossed a good-sized creek with sandy bed, some oaks, the water merely trickling through the sand but sufficient for all our wants; good timber. Camped here. Two of the horses nearly knocked up. Creek flows east on passing this.

Sunday, 29 June 1862 - Camp 25.
Maitland very unwell, Kirby only so-so. There is also water in a small creek close by to south which joins this creek close by; ranges visible within a few miles to south of south-west; wind from southward chiefly but variable; I have called the creek we encamped on last night Burt's Creek after G. Burt, Esquire, of Adelaide. Started at 8.18 a.m. on course of 90°; at half a mile crossed large rocky creek from the south with boulders of lava in its bed; there was lava also at starting; a continuation of rough lava country for three miles; bad travelling. At three and three-quarter miles crossed strong running river or creek, granite bed; fish; with oaks, current to northward. At six miles crossed small dry sandy creek to east-north-east; top of granite ridge at six and one third of a mile: spelled nineteen minutes for a view; bearing of 84 1/2° for a distant knoll in what appears a leading range, and a possibility of getting easily over it. At one mile crossed a small dry creek to east-north-east; at two miles crossed dry sandy creek to east-north-east; at two and three-quarter miles crossed oak creek (dry) to east-north-east; at five and two-third miles crossed large oak creek (dry) to east by north; at one and three-quarter miles further came to lagoon, not very large but suits our purpose for a camp as one of the horses can't be persuaded to come on. I expect I will have to kill him to live upon for a few days whilst the other horses spell; some of them are very weak but the feed is too dry to kill him here; distance travelled about thirteen and three-quarter miles. Saw three emus today and a few turkeys; kangaroos were also seen for the last two days; the strong running river that we crossed at three and three-quarter miles from camp this morning I have called the McKay after G. McKay, Esquire, of Mellia, William's River, New South Wales. The latter part of today the feed has been very dry but generally speaking it is an excellent country for any kind of stock; the only impediment to sheep is the very abrupt banks of the creeks for drays for the cartage of wool, but that would be got over with well searching; saw a native but he made off at full speed when he observed us.

Monday, 30 June 1862 - Camp 26.
A good deal of box and apple-tree about here; our chief timber of late has been ironbark and other very useful trees, with gums always about the creeks and swamps. Saw yesterday on the way a few of that ornamental fruit-tree of Cooper's Creek, which I have not seen for some time, but it was of small growth; the soil I suppose not being suitable. Will go on for some distance on same bearing as yesterday, to see if I meet better and more green feed accompanied with water to spell the horses. Although I am quite satisfied that I am close upon the Burdekin still I may not be close upon any of the stations. Little dew last night, wind light, and latterly a little inclined to be cloudy; sun rose 58° east of north. Started at 8.3 a.m. At three-quarters of a mile crossed a creek from the east-south-east, deep and dry; rather thickly timbered country and not so rich. Gradual ascent to top of ridge; division of waters about three-quarters of a mile west of the mound or peak I was steering for at four miles. Abreast of peak at four and three-quarter miles; went to top of it; it was very steep and composed of very rough sandstone, granite, and decaying slaty stones. Had a pretty extensive view from it; but my view north, of 62 1/2°, was intercepted by rough ranges. The drainage from this tier of ranges, eastern side, appears in the first instance to go to east-south-east or even south of that; and afterwards when all the watercourses unite in the flat some distance off to go to north and east. Started from this peak on bearing of 62 1/2° for a break I observed in the distant range; at one mile crossed an oak creek (dry) to east-south-east; at three and a half miles crossed another oak creek (dry) lots of kangaroo about, and no doubt there is water although we did not see it in our course; at four and a quarter miles came to and crossed a swamp and creek with water in one hole that will be sufficient for us and camp. Maitland so ill he can hardly hang on the horse's back and the horse Jack knocked up; killed him during the afternoon; although a bag of bones he will make soup for a few days and give Maitland a chance of recruiting, and will be a means of refreshing the horses and camels. Journey today about nine miles, the latter part very ridgy and rather rough although well-grassed; but indifferent travelling on account of the watercourses down the slopes being rather deep and steep on both sides. Kirby still keeps about the same thing; he is a mere bag of bones compared to what he used to be. Palmer has been complaining for some time and gets little better or worse; a violent headache generally seizing him about noon every day. Hodgkinson is also generally complaining. Wind afternoon from north.

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